Sunday, December 23, 2012



My mom recently pointed out that I seemed stressed all.the.time ... not joyful.

I answered defensively very maturely and explained rationally that I often don't see her until the end of the day and life is stressful. Figuring it all out is not easy.

I felt frustrated at feeling like I needed to defend someone else's perception of my emotions.

I feel joyful.
I think.
Don't I?

And if she's my mom, she knows me pretty well. So maybe she was on to something.

So I started thinking through the small moments that give me joy.

And also found myself feeling like I had permission to slow down and enjoy life more.
It is okay to sit down for five minutes.
Most importantly, it is okay to hang out with kids with no agenda.
I think I often feel like time with our kids isn't "productive" enough.
But then I feel guilty and frustrated for not spending enough time with them ... and wanting MORE kids.

I would still argue that my life is joyful, but I'm not always conscious of it. Instead there is the oppressive stress of moving forward, making progress, being decisive.

So I put my brain to work, ignoring all the stressful decision making I want to work through, and focused on joy.
Just that word.


And it seemed an appropriate time of year to focus on joy.

When I'm up early for chores I'm so thankful that I was up and outside early enough to see the sunrise. I don't know why the sky thrills me so much - but it does. Every day. And an early morning is not hard to catch this time of year. I love the pre-sunrise dram of the sky. And the bright orange as it hits the barn window and I know the sun has just crested the horizon.

When I'm making and buying presents I'm thankful that we have what we have and suppress the part that wishes for more.

When we're enjoying a meal I'm thankful that so much of our food comes from a season of growing on our farm.

When our children beg us to stay in bed in the morning and snuggle I'm thankful they still would prefer to sleep in our bed than their own. I'm thankful that we have time on most mornings to hang out and don't need to rush into our day (despite aforementioned farm chores).

When my mom points out a concern, I'm thankful we are one of the lucky few in our culture that get such day-to-day contact with my parents.

When the phone rings and it's not a call saying there's a child that needs a home, I'm thankful that parents in our community are able to provide for their children in their own homes.

When the office is a mess, I'm thankful for a husband that can see the big picture and not get overwhelmed by the details of cleaning up.

When it's cold outside, I'm thankful that I have snow pants to wear over my clothes while doing chores. It means I can be a little sloppy with water and mess because the ice cold water won't get to my clothes underneath.

When we have lifestyle differences with friends, I'm thankful to feel affirmation in our choices, even if someone else wouldn't make the same choices.

It's not all easy. There are day-to-day frustrating details. But overall, I am choosing to live this life with all its pros and cons. The next step is to choose to focus on the pros and minimize the cons - even if it's just in my own brain.

What small daily details bring your joy?


Lppick said...

A couple of days ago what brought me great joy was the sound of our neighbor farmer's tractor coming up the road to plow the 16 inches of snow from our driveway!!

lovermont said...

We recently purchased a tractor and we're feeling very very joyful to have it over the last week!