Joy

Who Reads the Instructions Anyway?

My sister cleaned out her office a couple of years ago and passed on a poster to me that I’d always admired. I rolled it up, took it home and set it aside for a while. Recently I found a frame and hung the poster in the guest bath.

Now I notice people are spending longer in that bathroom than usual.

It’s a poster filled with awesome ideas. Just reading it takes a few extra minutes than you’d expect. But then, it also makes you think, so you reread parts of it. That’s the sign of some great information in a good format.

I wish I’d thought of it, but I didn’t. Someone named H.Jackson Brown Jr. back in the 1990’s thought of it. I looked online and guess what? The same copy I have on my wall is online as well. Must be a classic.

If I counted correctly there’s sixty-two great thoughts on being a better person. Implementing even one of them would improve your life. It’s all relative. Maybe some suggestions are impossible or unreasonable or go against something you believe in, but mostly, it’s simply sound, logical ideas for having more happiness in your life.

The rest of today’s post consists of just that poster, nothing more.  No comments from me even.

And you don’t even have to visit my guest bath. Happy reading!

instructions

Copyright 1991 H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Published and distributed by Portal Publications Ltd., Corte Madera, California

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Categories: good ideas, Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few True Things

photo-18 copy 20Heaven has shined on me recently. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I visited heaven recently. Perhaps both are true. Either way I’ve had a few thoughts without any details. Maybe I’ll elaborate on some of them in the coming weeks.

A few things I’ve learned this weekend:

  • Time can and often does slow down when you’re with someone you love.
  • Serendipity happens when you least expect it.
  • Being open to those thoughts that have been pushing on a locked door inside your head just might take you somewhere surprising.
  • Being cold can feel exhilarating or miserable depending on the circumstances and even more so, on your attitude.
  • Breathing very cold air in a very warm bed produces happy dreams.
  • Just because something makes you nervous doesn’t mean it’s going to feel bad, you might even experience sheer bliss.
  • The stars look brighter and appear closer from inside a bubbling hot tub.
  • The best recommendation for a great place to eat always comes from a local resident.
  • photo-18 copy 21There’s no such thing as too much hot chocolate or too much whipped cream on your hot chocolate.
  • Saying goodbye never feels good.
  • Saying hello outshines saying goodbye like sunlight outshines a starless night.
  • Chocolate goes with everything.
  • I’m a mountain girl at heart and will probably always feel restless living in the desert.
  • Say yes to trying something different, the chances for joy lean in your favor.
  • Blue comes in more shades than any other color of the rainbow, and I pretty sure I saw most of them in the past three days. Green comes in a at a close second.
  • Taking a different path downhill from the one you take uphill can make all the difference.

photo-20 copy 6

Hoping none of this comes across as too vague or too pie-in-the-sky. But, if it does I’m not too worried about it. I’m feeling saturated with love, joy, relaxation and warmth.

Hoping you’re able to find similar things in your days.

Categories: Joy, Nature, Outdoors, People | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Quotables

These may just be irritating to some people…which makes me laugh. But they might be a nice thing for others. I figured, if most of these quotes come from smart-ish philosophers, brilliant authors, or catchy poets they’d carry a little more weight and not come off so preachy or Pollyanna-ish.

Take ’em or leave ’em. It’s my Sunday contribution. Enjoy.

“Everyone wants happiness, nobody wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.” – Author Unknown

(Honestly wouldn’t this look cute on a meme with a happy little rainbow? or maybe a double rainbow?)

Then there’s this great idea from Robert Frost, of “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” fame. I figure he must know a little something about happiness. And Sunflowers make me happy, so voilà.

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And who could argue with Immanuel Kant.

“Rules for Happiness:

something to do,

someone to love,

something to hope for.”

–Immanuel Kant (this link takes you to a slightly PG rated 3 minute philosophy buzz about Kant – highly entertaining, but maybe discounts his believability as the author of this particular quote.)

And then there’s this lovely thought by Jane Austen that captures how I’ve felt lately…

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Categories: Happiness, Humor, Joy | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Ode to Joy

How many times have you sung along to a song, not completely certain of the lyrics?  A few hundred at least? Yeah, me too. When you do find out the actual lyrics it sometimes changes how you feel about the song. Or it just makes the song make more sense.

Three and a half weeks after those first ominous days of uncertainty after her stroke, I watched my Mom sit down at a grand piano in a quiet wing of the hospital cafeteria. Her occupational therapist sat nearby as she put both hands on the black and white keys and played a simplified version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Surely orchestrated by some angel in charge of perfectly timed moments, for me that brief experience felt like serendipity!  That song played within an hour of arriving at the hospital, captured my emotions at finally, blessedly being with Mom after so many weeks of enduring the tug and pull of needing to be in her physical presence.

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven's orig...

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s original Ninth Symphony manuscript. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I’ve heard “Ode to Joy,” especially the final movement when the chorus joins the symphony and raises the roof with Schiller’s German poem put to music, my heart has soared.

Imagine how my heart felt then, hearing my Mother, a pianist all her life, play the piano again, albeit, hesitantly. Relief, at her ability to read music and have it translate from eye to brain to hand to ivory, flooded through me. Surely as more healing takes place, as more therapy trains and retrains synapses and connections, she’ll be able to sit down and enjoy playing the piano with ease and confidence again.

I’ve never known the translation of the German lyrics. I only knew that my head and heart responded to the music with a sense of exultation and energy.

Surely, I thought, as I watched Mom struggle through some other simplified piano music, the lyrics to “Ode to Joy” must be very powerful to lend themselves so strongly to the impact of the music.  Of course, I looked up the translation and wasn’t surprised.

Sorry to say it wasn’t a poem about the joy of a mother and daughter reunited. But it’s not far off. It’s a song of brotherhood, of relationships, of the joy that can occur because of those connections.

Honestly, the whole of humankind is a family. The potential for joy astounds when looked at that way. But of course, we personalize and take things in small bites. We learn how to interact in family groups and then let that translate out into the world.

That’s just my take on the music and lyrics.

But don’t take my word for it. I’ve included the English translation below.  And I also want you to be able to feel the joy in this music, so, of course, I’ve included a phenomenal flashmob link for you to click on. I recommend having tissues nearby.

Now that I know what the lyrics are, it changes how I feel about the music. From here on out it will remind me of my mother, of my family, of those most important of connections. Those permanent bonds of love and caring bring more joy than anything I know.

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise ;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift ;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can fell contentment,
And the cherub stands before God !

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendour of the firmament ;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world !
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions ?
World, do you know your Creator ?
Seek Him in the heavens !
Above the stars must He dwell.

Categories: Hope, Joy, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It Depends

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”

–Shel Silverstein

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Categories: Family, Gratitude, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anticipation and Aftermath

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Categories: Family, Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For My Dancing Daughter

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful that we’re adding to our family tomorrow. We’re getting a son-in-law! My youngest daughter gets married on Wednesday!

As predicted years ago, this happens before my oldest daughter ties the knot.

Not that it was ever a contest. It’s all about personalities and differences. They’re both unconventional in completely different ways, so we all knew it would play out this way. It’s kind of fun to watch things unfold. This daughter getting married is the very one I wrote about in my Beanie Baby post.

This daughter loves dancing. She always danced her own steps and made up her own moves. She’s been that way with her whole life. Free spirited, wanting to do things her own way, confident, independent, persevering, determined. What a beautiful young woman she’s become. What a stunning bride she’ll be!

Since there isn’t a mother-daughter dance at a wedding, I’m taking a moment here for a mother-daughter song. So here it is:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance!”

You might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, didn’t you just marry off a son a couple of months ago? Yup! Sure did! What vitality and light our new daughter-in-law brought with her. Lucky us! And my son? I’ve haven’t seen him smile this much since he got his Big Wheel at three years old.

Fireworks

I suspect something similar of my daughter, once the jittery, excited, nervous, busy, chaotic ride of the wedding day events unfold, I’m pretty sure her smile will be unending and blissful. For now, she’s holding it all in, like a firework, keeping things in check and under control until the last possible moment. Once she lets that smile break out, showing her real emotions, we’ll all bust out in contagious laughter and smiles.

I have to admit, I’ve definitely let my emotions run amok lately. Lots to do to prepare, plenty of everyday stress mixed in, plus the record-breaking heat we’ve had.

I’m sure I’ve been motherzilla-of-the-bride lately.

But, now that I think about it, I’m sure I can blame it on the denial I’m in about her moving out and moving on. Sure, I’ve been ready for it, praying for it, happy for her, for this next big step in her life. But at the same time, she’s my baby!

What’s next?

Holy mackerel, what isn’t next? It’s not like, once she leaves I’ll have nothing to do, hardly so.

But there’s this sense of loss when children progress, and this one I haven’t really addressed, until now, strangely out loud and in public. But I’m only acknowledging it briefly, to remind myself to think about it later. After all, Thursday will be just another day.

Wedding cake.

(Photo credit: THEMACGIRL*)

Or not.

Sigh…

Sniff…

Until then…

Wednesday is Wedding Day, a joyous occasion, a new beginning, a day for laughter.

A day for cheers.

A day of dancing,

A day for tears.

Here’s wishing my daughter a beautiful marriage with the love of her life!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Counterpoise

English: spider web with fog droplets, San Fra...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful beyond thankfulness. I’ve become like a sponge, saturated beyond holding another single drop. I don’t say this in a bragging way, certainly not. No. I say it with amazement and wonder and awe and tears. If I had been told a few short years ago that I could feel such joy I would have laughed, scoffed and denied the silly notion.

Why such unrestrained, ridiculous gratitude?

  • The absolute happiness on my son’s face with his new bride.
  • The smile beaming on my daughter’s face with her CSU cap and gown.
  • The shine of love in that same daughter’s eyes.
  • A pregnancy glow in another daughter.
  • Another wedding in a just a couple of months.
  • Being surrounded by family, extended family, friends, and love.

This seems like more than any one person deserves or should have in one short period. I kind of see it as a counterbalance to a few years ago when my pendulum swung wide and far from gratitude. Maybe it’s a reminder that life isn’t always about the bad stuff, which I believed for such a very long time.

My kids deserve it. They’ve worked hard to get to where they are, to have earned such happiness. Where they are now has very little to do with me. What they have now has everything to do with their  own determination, desires, sweat, experience and even redirection.

Does a word exist that describes this pendulum swing, counterbalance, this overabundant, joy-filled time?

Sure the word is…

Counterpoise.

Sounds delicate, doesn’t it?

It is. Fragile, tenuous, weblike, lacy, barely there.

But, oh so stunning.

Take it in, breathe deeply, enjoy.

Then remember, remember, remember.

Remember.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pencils, Batters, Sewing, Music and Typing?

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for do-overs. Something about second chances fills me with hope.

Eraser

Eraser (Photo credit: plounsbury)

All kinds of second-time-around opportunities surround us that we might not even see as do-overs.

  • A batter taking a swing gets at least three chances, more if a couple swings send foul balls flying.
  • Pencils are built for second chances. An eraser on top implies that mistakes happen and rewriting occurs. That’s not a weakness in the pencil design, it’s a recognition that we humans inevitably goof.
  • Sewing tools include seam rippers that help you take stitches out when something has gone wrong. Tiny snippets of thread undo a bit at a time until the entire length of stitching is removed. It’s then ready for another go at the needle.
  • Practicing piano, or violin, trombone, drums, flute, guitar or any musical instrument serves as many second chances to get it right before a performance.
  • The delete button on my keyboard makes do-overs easy and quick. When I first learned to type the second chance required back spacing then messy white-out followed by drying time, then a retype.

Repairs Ahead

Second chances abound. They serve as reminders that I am a work in progress and so is everyone around me.

My daily do-over starts with the beginning of another day where I have a new chance to get something right today that I made a mess of yesterday. Maybe that’s another reason I like mornings so much.

English: Pencil Eraser Deutsch: Radiergummi mi...

Second’s the Best

Remarriage after a divorce is a blessed do-over. I don’t know the stats but logically you’d think that things would go better in that new relationship because of lessons learned the first time around. Not to mention, there’s that appreciation factor, having lost something, then found it again, you cherish it more, care for it more, keep an eye on it better.

My son ties the knot later this week. This second chance at marriage bubbles over with joy and promise and so many good things. I want to dance across the park, shout over the tree tops, run like a banshee and sing at the top of my lungs.  Don’t worry, I’ll remain dignified and just smile as the happy tears run down my face.

Ah, the blessedness of a second chance.

Pencils ready?

A great song to go along with this idea:

Enjoy a song all about second chances.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Delight, Immeasurable Joy

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for tiny pink toenails, sticky handprints, sidewalk chalk scribbles, sand-filled shoes, small hands clasped in mine, here and now thinking and snuggles.

My two-year old granddaughter calls back long-lost days as a young mother. I feel almost, but not quite, like a time-traveler. There’s something about the intervening years that allow me to relish her tiny, detail-oriented, focus-scattered perspective.

The tiniest of bugs receive her full, undivided attention as they travel across the sidewalk. Butterflies, pebbles, birds, airplanes, the moon, dirt specks, water droplets, the small and the large all occupy the whole of that specific moment. For having such a short attention span she sees more than I do in a day.

Seeing the world anew through toddler eyes opens my own eyes wide with wonder.

It’s refreshing to slow to her small steps and engage again in the tangible world.

At the same time she seems to travel at light speed at times. Focused on doing a task she’s set for herself, such as filling the tub with toys for bath time, or getting ready for a trip to the park. It can take all I have to keep up with her rocketing from room to room, books to buckets, kitchen toys to stuffed tigers, blankies to sippy cups. Her toddler speed can take my breath away with her energy and excitement and unpredictability.

There exist few other delights as rich and full as those this sweet girl brings me. For her smile that brings one to my face I am ever so grateful.

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Cutest two-year old I know.

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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