Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I don't generally find joy in things, however, I do find a lot of pleasure in the thrill of the hunt and the bagging of the bargain.

I have wanted a bird bath for my entire adult life. Whenever I looked at them, they were beyond my budget. I didn't want a cheap plastic one - I wanted a cast concrete one that would last.

Today I found a used bird bath on Kijiji for about 30% of the cost of a new one.

What I love about it is its green verdigris colour with hints of copper showing through. It has some design detailing that I find pleasing to the eye.

Buying it has helped jump start my  creative juices on how I want to landscape my backyard. I needed it as the catalyst for my ideas.

Also, I daydream about birds actually using my birdbath, so there is anticipation of joy in the future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Iris of the Year

Today my irises bloomed. They are a delicate lavender shade. Once upon a time I actually collected irises. I had irises from many different gardens of friends and neighbours in a huge variety of colours. It was like a friendship garden. I knew where every iris came from and they brought me much pleasure.

One morning about 6 am, I sat on my front step and watch an iris open from a tightly wound bud to a full bloom. It took about an hour and was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever witnessed in nature.

I think it's time to start another iris collection. Time to increase my joy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Flower Pots

I sat out on my deck today, the sun was shining, my flowers are beginning to bloom and I saw several delicate white butterflies flitting about. Flowers bring me such a sense of serenity and peace, I am so grateful to have a south facing backyard and to have the ability to fill it with beauty.

I found this piece of artwork and absolutely fell in love with it.

Self-taught artist Art Fronckowiak is dedicated to the traditional romantic landscape. His interplay of light and shadow, bright and dark colors bring a sense of peace to his floral architecture and scenic beauty that is temptingly bucolic. His use of acrylic oils lends a modern touch to his otherwise feel of Europe’s Barbizon master painters, as well as the American Hudson River period and an Old Florida style, reminiscent of Herzog, Inness and Bierstadt. Focused on the historic relevance and attention to detail, Fronckowiak conjures sentiment for times past.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hand Made Love

When it rains I'm cleaning out my home office.  As I cleaned out a box from the bottom of the closet I found a stash of hand made mother's day cards from my children when they were younger. I always wondered why I should keep them, now I know. They brought tears of happiness and fond memories.

I'm so glad I kept them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Today as I drove across the Bow river, I saw a field full of sorrel horses. Every year about a month before Stampede, the Shriners bring into the city their beautiful horses and pasture them just below where I live.

I don't know what it is about horses, but I love to look at them. Seeing them run through a field all together lifts my heart in a special way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

mommy and daddy

I am enjoying having my parents visiting me. I am so grateful that they are here. My dad always fixes things around the house and helps me sort out technical stuff on my computer. My mom brings me books and interesting things to talk about.

It's a pleasure to have them here for this week. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Receive Service - Receive Joy

Today my daughter phoned me up and offered to come help me plant my sweet peas. I didn't know I needed help until we started stapling up the netting on the fence and realized it was a two-person job. I guess I've always had help in the past. She did all the stapling and planting while I supervised and separated plants.

She was feeling down and decided she would fill her week with service to others this week (and no she doesn't read my blog!) I recently wrote about giving service as a way to add joy to your life. Today I found out that receiving service and allowing others to help you also brings you joy.

I am so thankful for her help as it would have taken me hours and hours to do what we accomplished in two.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hard Work for Lots of Joy

I spent the past two days preparing and planting flowers in my flower pots on my back deck. Today I sat out in the sun and read, surrounded by my flowers. My mother questioned why I do so much work with my flowers and my simple answer is: "because they bring me so much joy."

Yesterday I dug out a long flower bed against the south facing fence to plant sweet peas. I've had sweet peas at every house I've lived in for the past 20 years. This will be the first year I have them here as last year I stained the fence where they're going to go so that I could put up the netting and not have to take it down later.

Out of all the flowers I grow, Sweet Peas bring me the most joy. I love their vibrant colours, their delicate petals and most of all their blissful fragrance. I love that they grow in abundance and I can fill my home and office with bouquets, and give away bouquets and still have more and more.

Sweet Peas are like joy, the more you pick them, the more they grow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Joy in Service

Over the years I've found that there is joy in giving service to others. So when Tim McPherson called me this evening to ask me if I would help serve at the Seminary graduation dinner, I said I'd be happy to help. He was shocked and stuttered and said I was the first person to say that.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”  Rabindranath Tagor
 Is this a secret that only a few select people know about?

Want to increase your joy? Give service to someone else. Simple as that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Joy Seeker

Yesterday's little experiment of actually asking myself what I could do to increase my joy was a bit of an eye opener. I have been operating on the premise that you keep your eyes open for things that bring you joy and when you do, it's a lovely bit of serendipity.

So how about actually doing things to bring yourself more joy? Actually making a plan and following through? It's a whole new level for a joy seeker such as myself.

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Henri Nouwen
Did you choose to feel joy today?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Sittin

This morning I asked myself "What is one thing I can do today to bring some joy into my life?" I found it a rather difficult question and pondered  for a while. Finally I wrote down: sit on my deck and enjoy the sunshine for 10 minutes.

I was looking for something simple. When I got home from work, I realized that the sun was almost past my deck and I better hustle my butt out there if I wanted 10 minutes of joy.

So I sat out in the sun. My mind was all over the place and it was really hard to pull it back and try to enjoy sitting there in the sun. I obviously have lots of work to do to learn to enjoy sitting still in the sun without making lists and planning and reviewing!

Isn't this deck lovely? Today I bought all the bedding out plants to turn my deck into my own private garden of eden. I'm excited to start planting, flowers always bring me joy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Story Telling

We live our lives by telling ourselves stories about what is happening. It's our way of explaining events to ourselves, to gain understanding and make meaning of our lives. We rely on previous stories we've told ourselves to define our new experiences. We learn how to interpret events from our family, religion, culture, friends, media, I expect the list of influence is long.

An interesting technique I learned in college while taking my professional writing program was to take an existing story, for example Little Red Riding Hood and rewrite it from a different perspective, perhaps the wolf's or grandma's.

This can be applied to our own stories. Perhaps we've told ourselves the same story over and over again about something that happened in our past. We know it off by heart and it never varies. It explains why things happened from one perspective - ours.

I'm finding it fascinating to rewrite my stories with new perspectives. To look for the good things and the joyful things in my sad stories. It is possible to find joy in any situation, sometimes it takes a lot of digging, but it's there to be found if we choose to look.