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A few years ago, I made the choice to intentionally look for joy every day. I’d always leaned more towards optimism, but I noticed that my memories of pure joy were becoming few and far between. So, I made a choice to change that because I knew joy was all around me — it just […]
For the first time that I can remember, I wish that I were ignorant of politics. To want to be ignorant about anything is so contrary to my nature. Although I know that I can’t undo what I know, I can’t help contemplating what life would be like if I didn’t know the disruption that was happening in the election process . . .
I could focus on getting my ingredients together for Thanksgiving. I make my own cranberry sauce with cranberries, sugar, dried cherries, and a bit of fresh orange juice; I love to watch the mixture bubbling and rollicking in the pan. And savoring it with the juicy turkey.
Or I could imagine the smells of my mother’s stuffing recipe made of matzah and other goodies, scents that fill the house with memories and joy.
It ain’t because there is no work available. Let’s get that right out in front of everything else. All the world is screaming out for labor; look around you. Every Walgreens and McDonald’s is looking to pick up some extra help. If I were a video game character and I were playing through life as myself I would be picking up extra shifts in between job applications. I’d have a job in a week; a good job, one that my mother would be proud to tell her friends about. I’d still pick up shifts at McDonald’s; more money is better than less money, and there’s nothing wrong with those jobs.
Video game characters don’t get tired, not like real people do. I’d have an even better job a month after that. Not honestly mind you; I wouldn’t have given full value to that first employer, not enough to cover the costs of hiring and training me. Video game NPCs don’t fill out government paperwork. And they take it pretty well when you do things that’d seem skeezy to real people. But I’m not a video game character and I’m not moving up in the world.
We went to the park as a family last weekend. It was unseasonably warm and as I pushed my nine-year-old daughter on a swing (photo) it finally occurred to me what useful tidbit I might offer. Here it is: chase joy. Whatever it looks like to you, make a little more room for it. I […]
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the […]
When I realized it was my turn for the November Group Writing Series and the theme was elimination, I started to fret a little. Elimination is a challenging word, turning it over and over in my mind. It became complicated – talk about the all consuming Mid-terms? The Caravan? Did the Founders stress out this […]
Mostly, I hate to shop. I cook well enough that buying ingredients is sometimes a pleasure, but retail therapy doesn’t work on me. There’s only one kind of store where I consistently leave calmer than when I arrived, and that’s a home-improvement warehouse.
Many household chores produce only ephemeral improvement. Doing laundry and dishes never ends. With toddlers underfoot, as soon as you finish vacuuming or mopping, you might as well start again. By contrast, even minor home-improvement projects can deliver lasting satisfaction. Like many women, I’m no expert in naming all the doodads which make up a proper, manly workshop, but I’m still mechanically inclined and pretty handy with tools. A trip to a home-improvement warehouse promises long-term solutions to household problems. The warehouses also smell good — the lumber especially, though even the weird chemical smells in the lawn care section smell comfortingly of problem-solving. The warehouses’ high ceilings mean the background music is actually in the background for a change, and plenty of products on offer are pleasantly unclad: you see the items themselves, rather than a jarring welter of flashy packaging. These stores are peaceful places.
Ahh! Springtime. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming and people everywhere are coming out of their winter caves. For the last couple of weeks, we here in the Southwest have had our usual springtime winds. Yes, there is nothing like 60 mph wind gusts, kicking up tons of dust to welcome spring into your home […]
“. . . one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.” –Rilke Preview Open
There are so many quotes about joy, and its place of importance in our society. Take joy in the small things, never let your heart be without joy, etc. The importance of joy has been expressly stated throughout religious texts and history. “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin […]
This “summer” story starts in the winter. In order for one to truly appreciate summer, a wintry time must come first.
Each January afternoon the school bus dropped us off at home, and with great determination, my sister and I would resolve to get right out to the milking barn. The sooner we got to it, the sooner we could be finished. But it was so hard to leave the house…. Our mom always had something baking, like cookies or cinnamon rolls. We’d bring in our chilly chore clothes from the porch off the kitchen, and warm them up by the coal stove.
Samuel Johnson once opined on the prospect of a hanging, and the salubrious effect is has on one’s concentration. When a definite end is in site you stop worrying about all the things that you want to do, or need to do, or ought to do. You realize the few things that actually need to […]
Here we are. It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve mostly made it, save a couple of days I had to do my real job. Sorry about that, everyone. At this point, for everyone who has followed me this far, I’d like to thank you for accompanying me on this journey. I’ve had my thoughts and impressions, but […]
In the game We Happy Few, currently in development, Joy is a pill issued by government that makes everyone happy regardless of their circumstances. Downers — citizens who refuse to take the pill — are punished for their obstinance. But suppose Downers were left alone. Suppose that it was a free choice to chemically induce […]
Dear Cordelia, Sometimes it’s demonstrated to me just what a blessing you are. Your mother and I are introverts. We tend to tire of social interaction. Your dad has become less awkward over time, but we are nothing like you. When we’re in a crowd you light up and are energized like neither of us […]
Beethoven for years had wanted to set Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” to music. That he finally and brilliantly succeeded near the end of his life confirms the strength of his spirit despite near total deafness. (The Heiligenstadt Testament provides some insight.) I chose the 4th movement not because it represents the novel use of voices […]
The first Christmas away from home is a small trial by fire. Mine was in 1979, my junior year of college. I was working my way through school at a group home for the developmentally disabled in Renton, Washington. It was a good, painful, joyful, and sad way to make a living, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Working with these folks confirmed for me O. Henry’s observation in The Gift of the Magi: “Life is made up of smiles, sobs, and sniffles, with sniffles predominating.”
The group home’s mission was providing emergency care for kids between the ages of 12 and 18 who’d been abused or abandoned by their foster parents. I was thinking big thoughts as a philosophy major, and to preserve my sanity, I really, really, needed constant lessens in the human scale of reality. If nothing else, the work confirmed for me that Leibniz was nuts to call this mortal coil the best of all possible worlds. The 14-year-old girl who’d been molested by her foster father and one of his sons proved to me unequivocally that life is far from the best.
A fun-loving friend of mine recently took a trip to the Sin City of the South. Somehow, she ended up joining some friends in a club where the dancers get down to their skivvies. Being the sweet and zany girl she is, she naturally ended up on stage — fully clothed — and soon had a […]
As some of you already know, Christmas has never been my favorite holiday. I was born at the tail end of the Depression, prior to WWII, so things were pretty meager. I found out at age 4 there wasn’t a Santa, so I reasoned that was why I got very few toys. Within days of […]