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Prescribing Joy: Wild Is The Wind (2)

Anthony (And now and then an elephant all in white.) is my husband. He’s infuriating and delightful. I love him, else I wouldn’t have married him … even though he was on Survivor (gag!) and marrying him involved marriage (gag!, or so I thought, until I married him).

prescribing joy

Wild Is The Wind (2)

We all spend so much time
trying to find happiness in the world
that we are blinded to it
sitting there
like so much dross on a dusty shelf,
when there is gold to be found
in the everyday,
in the mundane,
in life:

The smell of fresh cut grass on a summer day
The smell of the dust, just as it starts to rain;
The laughter brought on a truly terrible,
ill timed fart;

The satisfaction of rescuing
that one piece of meat that’s
been stuck between two back molars
for the better part of the day,
after Sunday Brunch,
having only used the dexterity of your tongue,
and creative suction;

Home improvement shows;

Finishing the final brush stroke,
on a set of miniature fantasy soldiers
just as the movie you had playing in the background
resolves its audible crisis, rolls credits,
and plays music to exit a theater by;

Your dog coming over to you,
unbidden
on your lowest day,
and putting his head on your knee;

A kiss on your cheek in the middle of the night
from your love,
followed by a half murmured comment to
someone in a dream,
followed by stolen covers and soft snores;

A half naked child waking you up at 3:41 am
on a Tuesday morning,
to find solace in the warmth
that is buried somewhere
deep within the cavity of your nose–
so deep that only a child’s foot can free it;

Twenty-Five undisturbed minutes in the bathroom;

Handwritten correspondence in the mail,
your name scrawled across the front;
Clearing off a long littered desk;
A good cup of coffee;

Driving home in loud silence
after an overwhelmingly
Not Quiet day;

An Ice cold glass of water on a fall morning;

The moment of removing
sock, then shoe,
sock, then shoe,
and then flexing your feet;

Putting on a clean pair of jeans
that you’ve not worn for weeks,
putting your hand in the pocket
and finding a five dollar bill;

Hugs, and smiles, and laughs,
and memories of baby teeth;
tiny toes on children;

Music, played too loud,
from car speakers,
with the windows rolled up,
so no one hears your singing along badly to
Counting Crows,
Tony! Toni! Tone!
The Clash
L.L. Cool J
La Traviata;

Going to bed tired,
laying your head down on a cool pillow
and letting sleep devour you,
one molecule at a time,
only to have that one moment,
that singularity
of knowing the answer is–

Crying, sometimes;
Laughter;
Stillness;

Sitting on the porch,
on any given afternoon,
watching people going about their day,
their ordinary day.

Eyes looking at you with love;
and watching them close,
and flutter to sleep;

So many little things,
lying around our world
like so many wild horses
waiting to carry us off,
(holding on for dear life,)
cackling like school children
overflowing with tiny
triumphant
joy.

last : Reading Dreams | Casting On : next

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Prescribing Joy: Reading Dreams

Rachael (The Ramblings of a Would-Be Writer) is my sister, my most enduring friend, my Silver Star … and actually a writer.

prescribing joy

Reading Dreams

It’s the night time ritual
That blissful chaos
Of tugging jammies
Changing diapers
Potty breaks galore
And just one more water, pretty please
And then just one more… more.

Then reading time’s begun
That joyous time of lap-time cuddles
Silly voices, sing-song rhymes
With heads bowed in
Wriggly bodies writhing
As the chaos
Slowly
Slowly
Settles

To the rhythm of the books
To the sweetness of the rhymes
To the sadness of a monkey
Learning it’s okay to cry
To the swooping of a dragon
Dreaming in the skies
To the cats in hats
The Hortons and the Whos
To all the dreamers dreaming
And all the You Know Whos.

And as I’m reading –
As my voice lilts up and down
To be whomever it needs to be –
As I’m reading I’m feeling
These little bodies next to me.
I feel their joy, I feel their laughter,
At that silly dancing giraffe;
I feel their sadness at the bully
Or when someone’s mean;
I feel their wonder, I feel their bliss,
At the magic crayon and the wishing trees –
I feel it all, and hold it tight,
Finding it easy, somehow right
To give in to the, pretty please
Just one book more,
And then one more…more…

Sometimes, though,
the bodies keep writhing
And the little hands,
No matter the reaching,
can’t find the right books
For the feelings that they’re feeling
So we let them feel the feelings
All the hurt/sad/mad feelings
Until we lay together in a heap
And I find the book that needs reading
To help with all these tangled things
And I pour my soul
Into teaching
Into showing
These sweet little beings
How to find their own road
And their own paths to peace.

And when I sing the last song
And kiss the last kiss
I feel the tired joy,
(No matter how the night’s been)
The aching joy,
Of reading dreams
– And sharing dreams –
From a mother to her child.

last : Loving Joy | TBA : next

Prescribing Joy: Loving Joy

Drew (Drew Downs) is my very favorite priest in the whole wide world. His post about how spaghetti is like this year’s U.S. presidential election really hit the spot for me, as did–somewhat before that–his response to my post about my kind of church, The Church of Sunlight through Trees.

Drew has guest posted here before, and I hope, hope, hope that this will not be his last time.

prescribing joy

Loving Joy

I’m supposed to say “spending time with my family” right? When you ask
“What brings you joy?” I’m supposed to want to be in their presence and to look at their faces and enjoy them.
And most of the time, it doesn’t work like that.

I come home and I see chaos.
Pillows on the living room floor,
the table is covered with legos and cereal boxes,
dishes fill the sink,
Rose kisses me and rushes off to work

The thought of feeding them in this mess, putting them to bed, getting the place ready for
the next day’s existential centrifuge of disorder, overwhelms me

and I stare at these lovely monsters sweetly begging to play with me
and I’m like
“nope.”

Even when I have a spare moment, just 30 minutes, enough to play a boardgame, I open my laptop to do the thing which fills me with passion and desire: to write. To take the swirling vortex of life and find something in there which makes sense and wrestling it into submission. Writing is my mistress.

But really, I just tinker with the new blog design I’ve been playing with for 6 weeks and check Facebook. Then I reluctantly get up, give in, and play; just for a moment.

Then it’s time for bed. Brush their teeth, get them in PJs, read the same books as last night. And when we’re done, I come out into the living room for 10 minutes of pure peace before Rose comes home and we have to socialize.

The problem is that this is my normal. Spending time with family as a prescription for joy doesn’t make sense in my normal.

When I went to the Wild Goose Festival with my daughter this summer and we slept in a tent and pretended we were lost in the woods and were scavenging for food, and saw the Indigo Girls and then listened to them for our 7 hour drive home, we lived joy. So much joy that tears left her eyes that it was ending. Mine too.

When Rose couldn’t get away from work, I took both of the kids north for two weeks to play at my parents’ home and then their cottage; we swam more than they’ve ever in their lives and went on Pokeadventures.

And when my son laughs (only his sister can get him to laugh like that), I am filled to bursting with a joy alien to the rest of my life. It cuts through the normal BS and gets me where ever we are.

I don’t need more time with family. I don’t need more time to write. I don’t need people telling me to have fun.

I need to let go of my work. I need to let go of all the tensions. I need to leave behind normal.

I need vacation. Not because I’m any good at. I’m not. I need time and space to love. To feel

joy. To slow down and drop the weight and live. Then all the stuff that is normal is full of new life. And nothing gives me greater joy than seeing, feeling, living new life.

Give me that joy. Prescribe that to me. I’ll make that my new normal.

last : Finding Their Victories | Reading Dreams (9/9/16) : next

Prescribing Joy: Finding Their Victories

Heather (To Teach Hope) surprised and delighted me when she sent in today’s post. Years ago, a martial artist named Heather contributed to my For This I Am Thankful guest post series. Her site disappeared, as did–for different reasons–her guest post from my blog. (D’oh!)

To confirm this Heather and that Heather are one and the same warms my heart. It’s a gift and a joy to know where to find her now, and to see where she’s been the last few years; for her heartwarming post in this series, I am profoundly grateful.

prescribing joy

Finding Their Victories

I wearily slip behind the wheel of my car, finally done with work. Pausing at the edge of my work’s driveway, I consider my options. Turning right would take me home, and for a moment I am tempted. I’m tired, exhausted, and irritable. Surely, it would be best to go home – right?

But no. I turn the wheel to the left. I drive to my second home instead.

When I arrive, I retreat to the locker room to change. I step into my white uniform, feeling almost as if I’m stepping into another world. Around my waist, I loop the black belt twice around my waist before tying it so that my rank, name, and my school’s Master’s name stand out proudly. It’s taken me years to earn this belt.

But it’s not the belt that brings me joy. It’s not the rank that brings me back.

As I step out of the locker room, a little girl continues a game she created: she gives a loud yell as she sees me. “Oh no, oh no! She’s going to get me!” Then she turns as if to dash away – but not before checking to see if I took the bait.

A few minutes later, a boy tackles me with a hug. Another child grabs my belt from behind and starts tagging along behind me. Two other children join the line, creating a train behind me as I walk through the lobby.

Play ends as the classes change; it’s time for these children to take class, and time for me to start helping.

I shift gears, walking behind the lines of students as they go through basic drills. I tap on this student’s hand to remind him to keep it pulled to his side, ready to punch. That student, I mock-glare at her knees and until she grins and fixes her stance. I show several students that ridge-hand blocks need the thumb tucked in. I stay near another student who struggles with focus, gently redirecting his attention back to the head instructor.

A balance drill leaves most of the students hopping, wobbling, and tumbling to the matted floor. One student gives me puppy-dog-eyes as I walk by, and complains: “This is HARD!”

I solemnly nod. “Yes, it is. But you know what? You’re that good! You can do it. Try again.” I wait, watch for a moment when the balance clicks for the student, even if only for a split second, and then I grin. “THERE! You got it!”

I work one-on-one with a student who’s struggled with his form for the past month. As he finally flows through it, his shoulders lift with pride. I can’t help but to grin, feeling proud of his progress.

Classes change, and students bring their gear in for contact sparring. Today, I stay near the older students, who are usually higher belts. I know these students; they do better with pointed, teasing remarks than they do with gentle encouragement.

“What WAS that?” I give one student a teasingly horrified look. “Do we do sparring footwork like this?” I double over my own chest-guard, running backward with hands lifted up as if scared of the imaginary opponent. Both of the students crack up, laughing – but they return to proper sparring footwork when their match resumes.

I hear giggling behind me, and turn to find two girls had stopped sparring to laugh over something. I narrow my eyes at them in a mock glare. “Giggling? There is no giggling in sparring!” Which, of course, brings a fresh round of giggles. I shake my head. “Fight!” With a last chuckle, they resume their fighting stances.

At this point, I cannot imagine having gone home instead. Beyond the fact that these students learn that they accomplish more than they believed, I see so many other victories: A child who struggles to make eye contact meets my eyes with a smile. A teenage girl who refused to talk begins to speak up for herself. A boy who seemed angry at the world starts to relax. It is in helping these students find these victories that I find joy.

last : Gardening hopes and dreams | Loving Joy : next

Prescribing Joy: Gardening hopes and dreams

Heart and Soul posts pictures and images that remind me it’s not only okay but vital to sink into sweet things, instead of letting them fly by unnoticed. Today’s post is no exception, and I’m delighted to share her uplifting words here.

prescribing joy

Gardening hopes and dreams

To feel immense joy a person must be ready for it. Open your heart to small moments. It’s living without blinders on but with a conscious awareness of joy. When you welcome anything that could make life better, a friend’s hug, a thoughtful compliment, a shared smile, a sunset for your viewing, I believe that’s your joy.

Joy means to me…

small moments that may seem insignificant to others but mean the world to me!

Joy means to me…

a quiet moment walking my yard and thanking God for its peace.

The incredible feeling I get when baking for my family and seeing their contentment when biting into a dessert.

Having my morning cup of coffee in peace, while watching flowers adorn our yard, outside my window and through the open screen smelling their very essence.

Picking weeds and digging in soil that a farmer did the very same thing in the early 1900’s, our gardening hopes and dreams the same, all except a passage of time of over a century.

Digging in the soil with high hopes of cultivating food for our family. Food that I know where it comes from and it’s as organic as you can get.

Quietly watching a graceful deer cautiously cross the road, skirting the edge of our running pond. The joy of wildlife surrounding our little abode and the expectations of many more sudden visits.

Seeing people from the past come out of the woodwork and all at the same grocery store. Being outgoing around old acquaintances and connecting once again.

Feeling the social connection that summer brings because warm weather brings everyone out and about.

A walk on the beach gazing at a vast ocean of beauty. Smelling the salty and fishy air while digging my bare toes in the scorching sand.

Listening and and dancing to music at an exciting concert. Seeing flashy colorful lights and appreciating music and it how it affects my soul!

Being with my family and talking, especially laughing! This is so good for the soul!

All my different experiences, the sources of my joy, all have a common factor. They are simple moments, mostly indulging in nature and simplicity. If you don’t know what brings you joy, pay attention. Write down things that make you happy or cause you to laugh deep in your belly. Notice these special people, things or places that cause you to feel joy. Once you know what they are, hold on to them with all your might. Make every effort to experience these joyful moments every single day!

last : Pouring Light | Finding Their Victories : next

Prescribing Joy: Pouring Light

Belle (SuperMommyOfTwins) has a knack for warming my heart while also making me giggle. I hope you’ll visit her blog and feel for yourself the abundant love there.

prescribing joy

Pouring Light

Joy is the sound of pitter-patter, little feet echoing down the hallway when my two-year-old twins wake up each morning and run to embrace me. Joy is when my tiny daughter throws her arms around me and exclaims “huggie!” while exerting all her might into a perfectly formed bear hug. Joy is when my little son begs to be tickled, then laughs until he can hardly breathe, despite me barely touching him. Joy is hearing them say, “I love boo too” after I tell them how much I love them.

Joy is having my eight-year-old daughter ask me to show her how to cook a meal then enjoying the fruits of her labor. Joy is having the privilege of reading chapter books about values and Godly principals to her and having her gladly and enthusiastically listen. Joy is hearing her laugh and I love that she “gets” my silly sense of humor.

Joy is the feeling of pouring light into the life of my would-be abandoned, seven-year-old niece. Even with her mother in and out of her life and her father gone, she smiles, she giggles, and she enjoys simple, everyday play with my other children. Joy is seeing her rise above that adversity and Gracefully delight in her childhood.

Joy is hearing my two-year-old nephew sing to me over the phone. We don’t live close anymore, but he knows me and keeps me in his sweet little heart.

My children bring me joy! God gave them to me because He knew I needed someone to need me and I needed to hear both laughter and tears of these precious little ones ring through the walls of my house and my spirit. Every moment with them is an opportunity to give and receive joy. Each second, a precious gift from God that I vow to never take for granted.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1:4

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Prescribing Joy: Joy

Madeline (Octopus Lady) is my youngest biological sister. With seven years and two siblings between us, we weren’t close growing up, only really getting to know each other when she first visited me in law school 15 years (!) ago. I love her despite the can of dog food she once dropped on my head, and she loves me despite the times I locked her in the basement and told her Chucky was going to get her. Sisterhood is a joy … now that we’re older. 🙂

prescribing joy

Joy

Joy

Is seeing a rainbow

image1

Walking through the woods

image2

Splashing in the ocean Read more…

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