Have you ever really thought about it? What brings you joy? I’m talking joy deep down within your heart and soul. The smiling all day long type of joy. The skipping down the sidewalk with a cheesy grin on your face joy. The humming a tune as you go about your day whether you’re at work or at play, just humming along or whistling to that tune that is stuck in your head. Your feel good, happy dance, basking in the memories joy.
There are several things that come to mind for me. Receiving flowers picked fresh from my yard from my baby girl brings extreme joy down deep within my heart and soul. Whether it’s roses that she picks from my rose bushes or even just yellow dandelion yard flowers that pop up in the grass that she gives to me. Each and every flower is precious and thrills me completely. Just last night as I was riding my horse, Sugar, my daughter came bouncing down the driveway straight toward me with our two goats hot on her heels. As she reached my horse and I, she smiled widely and said, “Close your eyes, Mama,” as she took two fingers and swiped in the air in a downward motion. I could feel a little grin forming on my lips as I did as she asked. When I opened my eyes upon her prompting, I saw a pretty mini rose that she picked just for me. I thanked her and told her how special that was to me, and then I tucked the rose in a loop on my saddle where it stayed secure the rest of the ride. She bounced around the yard, skipping and smiling, as she played with such delight. I smiled deep within my soul.
Another thing that brings great joy is seeing my 18 year old daughter enjoying her new job at the bank. She’s held jobs before, but they’ve been at different fast food restaurants in town where she was on her feet all the time. She had to deal with harsh customers at times, clean up duty, and working long hours for little pay. Now, though, she’s working a job where she exclaimed with excitement after her first day, “I get to sit down now, Mama … the whole day!” It’s the little things that mean so much. Never before has she appreciated being able to sit, until she worked three part time jobs where sitting was not an option unless on a quick break. I have joy in my heart as I watch her go through my closet and pick out clothes to wear to work. Clothes that she once wouldn’t be caught dead in, and now, she realizes the value of these clothes as they are appropriate for a business setting. She has even received compliments on her attire from coworkers at the bank. She says she smiles and tells them that they are her mother’s clothes. Then she adds, “Do you REALLY think I’d buy stuff like this? Pul-lease …” and she laughs as she throws her head back. Ah, but while she jokes, I know she really doesn’t find them unflattering or undesirable, as she is back every morning to “steal” more clothes from my closet to wear to work.
Early mornings are filled with joy as God wakes me with sunlight streaming through my window. I am thankful for the gift of another day with my family. As I hear my husband in the bathroom getting ready to greet the day, I smile inside as I’m ever so thankful that he’s here, a part of my life, and that I get the privilege of being his wife. Just as I snuggle back into the sheets and pull the plush comforter over my shoulder, he comes out of the bathroom and slides his hand into mine. I begin to stir and reach for his arm to pull him closer to me to give him a kiss and hug before he leaves for work. And I smile, deep within my heart, as there is sweet joy to carry me the rest of the day until we see each other again after the work day is through.
Then there’s my parents … watching them interact together after 49 years of marriage. Yes, they have their moments as all couples do, but they get past them. They work it out, and they move on to happier times. They are still making memories together, and I am thankful that I have the honor of being their daughter and a witness to their love and life together. I’m filled with joy when I see my daughters interacting with their grandparents, running into their arms when they see them whether it’s been a few weeks or a few days, the greeting is the same.
And last, but not least, among the things that come fresh to my mind that bring me joy … my animals. Ah, first I have to mention the goat baby, as I call her, that we brought home at just two weeks old and had to keep in a crate in the house due to the cold weather. We bottle fed this little baby every four hours for weeks, changed the crate, took it outside to play, and loved on this little girl every chance we got. Because of how we handled her, she has no idea that she is even a goat right now. As she’s grown, we had to move her outside with our other goat, but you can tell a difference in the two. While Angel was handled as a baby as well, she doesn’t have the bond with us as our goat baby, Tory, has. Little Tory will come over to me and get in my lap, settle in, and let me hold her for long periods of time. She is so content being in my arms, and that brings me great joy.
All of my animals bring me joy. Every single one.
Precious, the little Toy Poodle that we had for 13 years, passed on July 9, 2015. Our hearts were broken, yet we knew the end was near. She hung in there as long as she possibly could, and we had quiet moments with her before her passing. I’ll never forget the weekend before she passed as I sat out on the hammock, and little Precious came hobbling alongside me, her back permanently arched from the arthritis that set in. I leaned down enough for her to climb into my lap, and she sat there with me for the longest time just letting me hold her next to me. As the days went by and her health declined, I wondered if that was her way of saying that the end was near and to just enjoy the moments we do have together, hold on to them and remember these good times we shared as it gets harder in the days to come after I’m gone. Oh I miss that little white cotton ball of a dog. Tears fill my eyes now as I think of her and the history as she was there during both of my children’s childhood. They had so much joy in their little hearts loving on this little puppy that looked like a teddy bear when we got her. There is still joy in our hearts when we relive the moments with her as we think of my oldest carrying Precious around like a baby and dressing her in frilly clothes, to my youngest daughter pushing Precious around in a baby stroller and taking her “grocery shopping” in her little grocery cart. Yes, these memories bring us joy, even on days when it’s hard and we are missing Precious so much. I still find joy in my heart thinking of this little four pound dog that had so much love for our entire family. Even my husband had a soft spot for this little dog. We got her just before we got married, and he was affected by her passing as well.
My horses – oh do I even need to say that they bring me joy? It is obvious by the many pictures I take on trail rides and the smile plastered across my face every time I speak of them to my family, friends, and coworkers. Even when I feel as if I don’t have anything to say that day, if someone asks about my horses, I can talk for hours on end just about them! Yes, I am that horse crazy and in love with them. They bring me joy from the hours we spend on their backs trail riding, to the quiet moments in the yard watching them graze, to the counseling sessions where they take my heartache and pain and replace it with nickers, neighs, and lots of horse love along the way.
Yes, this is the joy I speak of …
What brings YOU joy?