Joy, week 3
I smiled as I typed the title to that post. I smiled because it’s fun to type the word “Joy” and think about how I’ve felt joy this week. It’s fun to see that I’m only three weeks in, to know that I get to do this almost 50 more times this year.
Phew. It was a busy week, a good week, an exhausting week, capped off by a Sunday morning complete with two unwilling boys preparing talks and a teen-aged daughter having outfit trauma. But we had a great night tonight, lots of laughter and personality and good times. Really good times.
How have I done? Pretty well, thanks. I feel really good about how things are going. I’m getting better at some things, although as I track my efforts I realize I’m improving faster in the areas that are more exciting/interesting to me than I am in the areas that I know are important but don’t sound enticing. I’m going to work on that but I’m also glad I’m improving in areas that readily bring me joy.
First and foremost, I must say that I do feel happier, that focusing on joy is helping me to recognize and savor it, if only for a moment. I’m still writing daily in my “joy” books for the children. I’m adding quotes to my Joy notebook. I’m pausing more often to connect and enjoy my children. I’m noticing when they’re happy, too. I noticed my nine year old daughter’s smile when she made a mistake in a futsal game, and how the joy of playing so quickly overcame the mistake. I noticed it last night when my son came home from a youth dance and entertained us until well past midnight with his observations, stories and humorous perspective. We laughed so hard that my husband finally fell off his chair, and then of course we all laughed harder. We’re laughing more. It feels good.
On my daily lists, things have been pretty steady for the past three weeks. I’m doing well with reading, study, creativity, a clean kitchen and homework. I’m still struggling with drinking enough water and folding all the laundry immediately after washing it. But this week was more tightly scheduled, so it’s also been nice to see that I’ve maintained that much while being away more. This morning I reviewed both my monthly list and my January list and was happy to see that much of it has been taken care of. I just might send January into history with a check mark next to all 20+ items! That would be a first, and it speaks less of getting a lot done and more of learning how to prioritize and plan.
It’s the weekly items I’m struggling with. Some of them are Sunday items and I haven’t quite worked out the Sunday schedule. Some of them I have no excuse for. I just get swept away in the week and then it’s too late. So of all the areas I’m working on, my weekly checklist needs the most help. It’s good to see these things so I can adjust.
I’m almost 2/3 through The Happiness Project and am really enjoying it. She cites so much research and it’s fun to see how much of it I was aware of and how much I knew intuitively, along with how much there is to learn and try in my own life. In the care I’m reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and enjoying it. I’ve paused in the 7 Habits to work on implementing what I’m learning and I’m trying to find and use the pause button in moments when I tend to get upset or respond poorly.
I finished the quilt I was making for a friend. If you heard a huge sigh of relief around 6 a.m. yesterday morning, it was me. At least I can thank my four year old who woke up vomiting at 5 a.m. for making sure I was wide awake and ready to finish the quilt before everyone got up.
I emailed most of my friends this week to check on their birthdays. I was happy to see how many of them I’d remembered correctly and I’ve enjoyed reconstructing a birthday calendar. It also surprised me to discover how warmly my emails were received by old friends who I talk to rarely or never, friends who have mostly been in the Christmas card only contact mode for a few years. And while I knew it would happen, I was also surprised at how happy it made me to have these email conversations.
Along those lines, I made my first handmade birthday gift of the year for a dear friend who was in town. It was a lot of fun to do, but it also surprised me how worried I was about it being good enough. But I promised myself I would do it this year, so I did and I think it turned out. It also gave me a creative project to complete.
I attended a function with friends this week, meeting my monthly goal of doing something social at least once.
One thing I picked up from Rubin’s The Happiness Project was to “tackle a nagging task.” I tried to work at nagging tasks this week and was able to make progress. I finished some things that weren’t fun to do, but were a relief to complete. I have quite a few of those things to take care of in the coming week and while I’m not looking forward to them I know I’ll be glad to have them behind me. I’ve taken care of paperwork I dreaded, made phone calls, sent emails, etc.
Most of all, I feel grateful for the goodness of God. He has been generous to our family this week, and I feel joyful about it. I’m grateful for answered prayers, for sustaining love, for tender mercies. And I’m so, so thankful for my husband, who makes the sun shine for me on cloudy days.
Yep, it’s been a joyful week. Hooray!