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Posts Tagged ‘finding joy’

May 29, 2015 Edition In a center that provides services for women and children in need, a small floral bouquet sits in a vase. Sunlight streams in from a window and illuminates a rose, making its outer petals glow. Incredibly, this beautiful example of nature transforms an old fire station, which houses the center, into a cozy and joyful place. Joy is everywhere, if you look for it. It’s in the little things in life.

#1 – Spread Joy
Finding joy makes for a life of never-ending gratitude. Don’t limit yourself to just looking for joy, however. How about spreading some? Here is a little booklet that lists 150 Ways to Spread Joy. Indeed, what goes around, comes around.Spreading Joy

#2 – Kitchen Help
Kitchen Infographics Imagine my joy when I found all of these cooking infographics on one site! Almost everything anyone needs to know about cooking and baking can be found on one of these 25 Must-See Diagrams That Will Make Cooking Super Easy.

#3 – Norway Calls
27 Reasons Why You Must Visit Norway
After looking at the photos in 27 Reasons Why You Must Visit Norway in 2015, I had to add another country to my bucket list. I’m positive there must be more than 27 reasons to visit Norway!

#4 – Starfish Story
Starfish Story This story speaks of the power of one. We each possess the power to enact positive change in the world:

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

#5 – Joy
“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”
Karl Barth

Now go and spread joy!

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Joy: Book Letters Everyday, moments of joy exist in your life. How many of them do you recognize and acknowledge? Joy doesn’t always hit you over the head and scream, “Hey you! This is what joy feels like!” A joyful moment does not have to be a profound moment. It can be as basic as sitting at the kitchen table with your family, as delightful as listening to a baby coo, or as serene as watching a bird soar overhead. As you go through each day, stop and identify things and moments that bring you joy, and be grateful for each and every one of them.

#1 – Kick-start Happiness
Don't Wait for Happiness Don’t wait for happiness to come to you. You must instigate your own happiness. There is no better way to start your week or everyday, for that matter, than being happy to be alive. In Kick-start Your Week With a Happiness Regimen, author Beth Kuhel suggests “easy ways to increase your happiness that don’t require anyone else’s input.”

#2 – Choose Wisely, Read Labels
If you are like me, after you read this infograph on fruit stickers, you’ll go into your kitchen and read as many fruit stickers as you can.
Information You Can Get From a Fruit Sticker

#3 – Cityscapes
McNabb Wood Cityscapes Sculptor James McNabb is familiar with wood-working. He used to make furniture. Now he’s into “sketching with a bandsaw.” He collects leftover scraps of wood from other artists, pieces them together, and saws them into intricate shapes to create fascinating wood cityscapes.

#4 – Sugar and Cookies and Bars, Oh My!
Can a delicious cookie bring you joy? Depends on just how delicious that cookie is, right? Maybe you’ll find a recipe for one on Tidy Mom’s post 10 Favorite Cookie and Bar Recipes. 10 Favorite Cookie and Bars Recipes

#5 – Choose Joy
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen

Now go and spread joy!

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California Poppies A morning stroll leads me past a bend of wildflowers. Small spikes of purple lupines contrast beautifully with rounded mounds of orange poppies. One by one,  the tightly-wound poppy buds gradually unfurl as the morning sun warms them. Larger petals catch the breeze and flutter about like dancers with capes. They dance to the sweet melodies of birds, adding perfection to the moment. The day is young, but this day holds promise. How can it not, with such a beautiful beginning?

#1 – Making Napkin Roses
Making Napkin Roses Beautify your home by bringing fresh flowers indoors and make these napkin roses to add a lovely touch to your spring table. Written instructions here.

#2 – Fruit Hacks
Fruit Hacks I can vouch for some of these hacks and am curious to try some of the other 21 Fruit Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier. I’m game for anything that makes life easier, aren’t you?

#3 – The House on the Hill

Behind a Little House

Manuel Cosentino

Italian artist Manuel Cosentino visited a little house on a hill, over a two-year period, to photograph it against dramatic natural elements. Although the little house stands small in stature compared to the vastness of its backdrop, it acts as an anchor to the perpetual motion of time and weather. To see more of Cosentino’s Behind a Little House project, click here.

#4 – Would You Stay Here?
Giraffe Manor in Kenya If eating breakfast with giraffes sounds like an interesting way to start the day, then you need to plan a visit to the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. I’m not keen on any type of “before you die” wording and I can’t figure out why people don’t just say “while you enjoy life.” That being said, after viewing 48 Epic Dream Hotels to Visit Before You Die, I added a few more places to visit while I’m enjoying my life!

#5 – No Matter What, Wildflowers Still Bloom
“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”
Sheryl Crow

Have a lovely weekend. Now go and spread joy!

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kids in Santa hats
Eleven years ago my husband and I took our kids for their annual holiday portrait. Getting them attired for this event was never an easy task, especially the older they got. As we sat and waited for our turn at the photo studio, my family watched other portraits being taken. By the time the photographer called our names, my kids were more than ready to go home. The photographer must have read “Photography Poses 101” or something like that, because he put my kids through the normal repertoire of poses and then uttered, “Okay, you’re done.” That’s when my oldest son said, “Can we get in that?” For an hour he’d been watching little kids being photographed with all sorts of props, but one prop, in particular, caught his imagination – a large plastic pair of Santa pants. The photographer paused to think about the question for a minute. I could tell he thought this prop was only for little kids, but he finally said “Okay.” My three kids voluntarily donned Santa hats and giggled as they crammed into the pants. The boys laughed while they pulled Santa’s suspenders over their shoulders. Everyone in the studio stopped to look at them and we all laughed at the silly sight. What a joyful moment it was and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

#1 – 82 Blessings
Children embody hope, unconditional love, and wonderment. Because children are gifts to be cherished and they are our gifts to the world, we need to nourish them and care for them physically and emotionally.  From the blog Finding Joy comes a list of 82 Blessings for Kids. Read the entire list for the children in your life and for the child in you.

#2 – Looking for Butterflies
butterfly In an article titled Finding Joy, author Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, based her essay on the saying, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over . . . it became a butterfly.” Although she writes articles on healing postpartum depression, her words and the saying apply to anyone coping with issues. She writes about looking for the “butterflies” in life: What is a butterfly? It’s a moment of pure joy. It’s an instant in time when everything feels right. It’s a thing or a look or a feeling, a sense or an energy that grabs us from behind, often when we are not looking. Most of the time, it is fleeting. Sometimes, it rests right in front of us. We cannot see it if we do not look for it. If we aren’t mindful, we will miss it; it will be gone. If we find it, it’s exquisite.

#3 – Finding Joy In My Kitchen
white chocolate popcorn White Chocolate Popcorn, anyone? This and other tasty edible gifts can be found via links from the blog Finding Joy In My Kitchen.

#4 – Enjoy the Moment and the Music
No hip hop dancing was performed during this flash mob in Sabadell, Spain. More than 100 members of symphonies and choirs participated in this event which has been called by some people, “The most beautiful they have ever seen.”

#5 – Be Joyful
“Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of Joy and just be Joyful.”
Anonymous

Have a joyous holiday!

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Frank Ocean quote In the yin and the yang of life, dark cannot exist without light. Joy surrounds us everyday, but some days we relish it, some days we ignore it, and some days we have to dig deeper to uncover it. On a day-to-day basis, many emotions can overwhelm and mask the joy. But as dark, as sad, as pained, or as impassive as we feel, we must strive to find the yang in our lives – the light that keeps us going, the gratitude for what we have, and all the joy that exists in our lives.

#1 – Finding the Key to Empowerment
Singer Alicia Keys wrote an inspirational guest editorial on What It Means to Be Empowered. Here’s an excerpt, but you’ll want to read it in its entirety:

To be empowered to me means finding our own way every day– learning more about ourselves so we can be honest and bold in our choices and actions, and not let anyone deafen the voice that whispers within us to help us find our direction. Trust yourself! No one knows you better than you and it’s truly a beautiful thing!

#2 – The New Old
pumpkins made from old sweaters More ideas for upcycling, but his time it’s all about sweaters! Whether old, out-dated, or too small, you’ll want to hang on to some of those sweaters after you see these 30 Easy and Cuddly DIY Ideas for Recycling Old Sweaters.

#3 – Circle the Cat
How hard can it be to block a “cat” from jumping off a rectangle of green dots? Pretty darn hard! I played this addictive Circle the Cat computer game a few times with zero success. If you beat the game, let me know how you did it!

#4 – With A Little Thread . . .

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam play structure

Photo by Masaki Koizumi

Crocheting is not just for old ladies! Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, a Japanese fiber artist, noticed children jumping on one of her pieces of artwork and decided to take that concept to another level. Using her crocheting skills, she created a colorful, large-scale, play structure for children. See more of her incredible structures here.

#5 – Starlight
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Find joy this weekend.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Drag.

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