Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 22


"When one door closes, another opens." That's what my mother always said. "And don't forget about windows," my grandmother would add. Apparently this quote isn't in the Bible, and it is attributed to Alexander Graham Bell and, in slightly different form, to Helen Keller. But is it true? When a door slams shut, will a window fly open? If so, do you want to climb through it?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 21

Joy has its own music, a spiritual hymn with movement and melodies, the notes playing through our days. And it can be muted by the sheer busyness of living. Without realizing it, we can become tone deaf to positive feelings. Negative emotions are so loud, they muffle the lovely background music. All we hear is grinding heavy metal from high expectations, over-committing, too much social media, saying "yes" more often than we say "no."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 19

 During the long winter, I studied positive affirmations, and I slowly began to understand that I was like Dorothy Gale, stuck in Oz, unaware that I had the power to return home by clicking the heels of my ruby slippers. Instead of slippers, I had another tool: Daily affirmations.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 18


What if joy was a rare event, occurring only once a year? Not only would we look forward to that day, we would also worry that something might steal it. What if a catastrophe ruined our special day? What if we fell off a mountain or a mountain fell on us? We might string up imaginary barbed wire, hoping to snag trouble before it had a chance to creep up and steal our joy. The problem is, we could get tangled in our self-protection and sabotage that one, magical day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 17


In the Medieval period, people believed that life's ups and downs were governed by the Wheel of Fortune. When the zenith was reached, the inexorable, downward journey began. From peasants to kings, no one was happy all the time.  Adversity was seen as a judgement from God, but folks also believed that it shaped and strengthened one's character. Then and now, few people endured non-stop trouble or joy.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 16


"And they lived happily ever after. . . ."
A storybook life only happens to fictional characters. In real life, the prince turned out to be a compulsive philanderer, gambler, drug abuser, or garden variety pest.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 15



Our lives are shot through with colorful threads. Some dangle out of reach, luring us with a metallic sheen; others lay behind us in hopeless tangles. We may reach for a thread that's so short, we lose our balance and fall. Or we may grab a thread that's long enough to lead us safely through a labyrinth. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 14

"Isn't this your old house?" a friend asked, pointing to an image on her iPad. I bent closer. The photograph resembled my old Four-Square: brick walkway, L-shaped porch, and Corinthian columns. In 1995, I had stood across the busy street, trying to determine the best placement for those columns. The house was over 100-years old, and I'd spent three years renovating (in the house's long history, which included overhauls from many owners, those three years were tiny). Back then, I'd painted the clapboards pale yellow, the shutters bottle green. I'd lived there a decade, until my husband wanted to raise chickens and move to the country. I remember leaning against those columns and crying. Well, time to dream another dream. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else Link Party
Party with us every Thursday and Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 13


No one can sustain a joyful state. Bad days are just part of being human. Yesterday was packed with challenges, and my pulse zoomed, fast and irregular, like a squirrel racing across piano keys. I wasn't sure if I could get centered enough to work on Day 13. I reminded myself that negative emotions, events, and people can be countered if I made a conscious effort to find sweetness in the world around me. And sweetness, as we all know, is a gateway. I played with Jasper, then reached for my "Grace Notes." Inside this worn, spiral book, I document moments that bless my daily life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 12

The journey to happiness begins in the mind. It starts as a kernel, and the kernel turns into a decision; the decision turns into a plan, and the plan turns into actionable steps.With steps, we begin to walk down a new road.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 11

At some point in your life, you may have put on your favorite striped outfit and asked a quintessential question: "Does this dress make me look fat?" The question beneath the question is, "Do I look ugly, self-indulgent, or weak? Am I giving off vibes of a woman who is splitting apart at the seams?"
The need for approval is human, but it's not helpful. It's baggage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living: Day 10

A few times a week, the neighborhood cat, Gladys, puts dead birds and moles on the doormat. These unwelcome gifts made my chest tighten, so I bought her a collar, one with bells. But she was a born killer, and tiny bodies continued to appear on my porch.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 9


The phone rang in the middle of a cold winter night. It was New Year's Eve, 1975. Even before my husband lifted the receiver, the ringing continued in my mind. Something was dreadfully wrong. My 69-year old father had died. He'd been hospitalized for a fainting spell, but the doctors hadn't discovered the cause. I got out of bed and stepped into an abyss. My daddy was gone. My kind, brave, honest, wise, irreplaceable daddy.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 8

I began a 31-Day challenge on July 1st, and a week later, I still haven't offered step-by-step ways to infuse joy into our lives. It's tempting to create a punch list, drawn from cliches. You have probably seen them on social media, offering an alluring title and the promise of a quick fix.