Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Find Joy >> right here

My eyes slowly cracked open, sure I didn't need to be awake yet but curious of the time I clicked my phone's home button. 5:56am. I didn't resist my eyes shutting tight.
there is joy in that freedom to give into sleep.

I had tossed and turned, unconsciously searching for a position, snuggled under my layers of blankets and head nestled satisfactorily into my deep pillow, that would end my restlessness. The story of my life is that few mattresses are described as "comfortable enough to be truly restful" by my picky back. Then I found it. The perfect spot. And twenty minutes later it was time to get up.
though it didnt last as long as I would have liked, there was real joy in finding that sweet spot!

Deciding that, yes, I really should eat something for breakfast before leaving for my appointment, I got my milk and cereal out quickly. Finding that the milk had gone sour was disappointing. Yogurt didn't sound good and there wasn't time for eggs. "Maybe there's a Starbucks or McDonalds on the way..." Kicking myself a little for so easily weighing take-out as an option when I operate within a shallow budget, but concluding that it was important for me to do two things: eat before the appointment and make it to the appointment on time, I justified this stretch of the budget. Pulling through the drive thru, heart set on a breakfast sandwich, the menu board reads "Breakfast served until 10:30am". My clock reads 10:30am. "Are you still serving breakfast?" I ask apprehensively, knowing, from experience working in the food industry, those are the words you dread to hear when you've just finished putting all the breakfast ingredients back in the deep-freeze for the day. "Yes, we are." replies the lady at the window and I'm more grateful than the ordinary customer because I know what that "yes" means for the employees. Exchanging eye-contact, cheery smiles, and sincere "top of the morning"s at the window was a my "thank you" and her "youre welcome".
and there is joy in that human exchange of gratitude.


It was tricky to find the building with the office I was scheduled to appear in. Sometimes my GPS gets me close, but not close enough and instead of being defeated by the fear of the unfamiliar I try to remind myself that my brain is full of knowledge and clear reason and proven experience and that we can figure it out! The man taking a smoke break at the door didn't have to greet me and open the door for me, but he did, and when I thanked him kindly he seemed surprised. Unsure what the process I was supposed to walk through at my appointment would be, I waited to see. The fellow responsible for taking my finger prints didn't need to talk to me, he could just as well have been silent, but he noticed I was from Eau Claire, WI and filled the silence, as he swiftly performed his job, with small talk about Wisconsin and the winter weather and Spotted Cow beer. It put me at ease and gave me an opportunity to talk about home with someone who is familiar with the area for the first time in a month.
there is a thin but real joy strung through all of the unknown and mundane of my appointment today, did you catch glimpses of it?

Going grocery shopping on a tight budget after laying awake dreaming of foods I missed eating had the potential to be frustrating. Seeing bundles of lush flowers, just affordable enough to be tempting, at the door did it. I walked around the store, browsing, drinking in with my eyes what I knew I couldn't afford to walk out the door with. I went back to the flowers. I walked around the store carefully gathering items of practicality and indulgence. I went back to the flowers. Desire and impulse and prudence did a little jig and joined together in the decision that I could come back and look at the flowers anytime I wanted for free and, today, that would be enough.
appreciating something beautiful and exercising discipline both bear the fruit of a quiet, confidant joy!

Waiting in a slow-moving line for the luxury of a hearty, delicious, already-paid-for (I love gift cards for that!) meal is just part of life. Turning around to leave, bag in hand, and realizing that I had unknowingly arrived at just the right time to beat the lunch rush put a brighter spin on my wait in line. Made my line seem like the express lane in an amusement park where people with a special pass get to skip the long, winding, roped-off maze line and go right to the front.
fresh perspective brings joy into the hum-drum moments.



Fits were thrown and boundaries were pushed and spit-up came up unexpectedly. First, shaky steps on roly-poly legs were taken and sharing was practiced and new words were learned. The little hands that pushed things away in anger, wrapped sweetly around my neck as goodbye kisses were offered. Parents who can be all-business took the time to celebrate their child's discoveries and achievements with me and shared aloud, to ears glad to listen, the delight they take in their little one.
there is special joy in celebrating the building blocks of daily growth -- especially in children.

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