What Would Make You Feel More Joyful Today?

Day #31.  What would make you feel more joyful today?  DO THAT!

Having a clean desk, office, and house to start the new year would make me really joyful.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to spend some effort making it happen!  But spurred on by my continuing committment to JOY, I WILL do it.  It’s not really all that much of a mess.  The big thing is all the filing, but it needs to be done, so I’ll do it.

I’m also going to put some serious consideration into making a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  I almost NEVER do that, but I’m going to incorporate my progress into this blog (prepare to be bored), so we’ll see how that goes.  Even though I LOVE myself (or maybe because I do) I realize I have some bad/annoying/unhealthy habits.  So I’ll work on them.  Anyone who can go from a 28-year smoker, smoking 2 packs a day to a non-smoker cold turkey, and stay stopped for 32 years ought to be able to eat right and exercise more.

And because I love to travel, I’m going to spend some time today planning a train trip in the spring.  I LOVE checking schedules, looking through time-tables, arranging stopovers, etc.  So I’ll do that, and dream a while as I do it.

Yesterday, Miss Kate (my granddaughter) decided she would like a sweater, so I may get the chance to go to the yarn store and get some yarn and a pattern for a 9-year-old’s sweater.  That will be fun.  I’m almost finished with the redo of my own Aran sweater that I just made up the pattern for and I kind of messed up on the arms.  I think I figured out what I did wrong, and I should have it fixed and finished to wear to the Open House at a friend’s tomorrow.

I’ve got the venue planned and the out-of-town guests invited to Big Al’s 70th Birthday Party.  Early next week, I’ll work on evites for the rest of the guests.

I’m looking forward to the Rose Bowl tomorrow and rooting for the Horned Frogs of TCU.  Then next week we get all the major bowls. The Orange Bowl rooting for Stanford in honor of Papa.  The Sugar Bowl, OOOOOOOoooooo Pig – Sooie.  The Cotton Bowl, I’m conflicted, sort of want LSU -Geaux Tigres – ’cause Bill & Co. root for them, but Daniel is a TAMU grad – Gig ‘Em.  And finally, I’ll have to Quack (I hope) through the National Championship game – Go Oregon!

This is Day #31 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

Be an Anonymous Donor

Day #29.  Be an anonymous donor.

The CPA in me rebels against this one.  After all, how can you take the donation on your Income Tax Return, if you try to do it anonymously.  (Just kidding.)

But seriously, I’m not sure what benefit there is in donating to anything anonymously.  I think the important thing is to donate to the causes and organizations who 1) need it, 2) deserve it, and 3) represent you to the world. 

I support Habitat for Humanity, and Heifer Project International The best thing about these two charities are their insistence on participation by the recipients.  Folks who get homes from Habitat have to pay for them with “sweat equity”.  Instead of a handout, it’s a handup.  With Heifer, the recipients of the baby animals have to promise to share their first-born off-spring with others in the community – to pass on the gift.  I can’t imagine anything better than housing the homeless and feeding the hungry.

Other charities I support are the Joy Gift of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  This goes 50% to racial and ethnic schools and colleges, and 50% to the Board of Pensions assistance fund for retired pastors and their spouses.  I also support the Fellowship of the Least Coin by contributing my pennies at Presbyterian Women’s Circle meetings.  These funds “become grants for special projects of evangelism, service, ecumenical solidarity, awareness-building among women and relief throughout the world.”

My brother is a 12+ year cancer survivor, so I make a small donation to the American Cancer Society, in his honor.  My mother died of Alzheimer’s Disease, so I send a few dollars to the Alzheimer’s Association every year in her memory. 

Of course, I support the work of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church with a pledge, and through the church I support local missions, international missions, Christian Education, and many, many other causes.

To recap, anonymity isn’t nearly as important as the donation.  Give to whatever causes you feel drawn to.

This is Day #29 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

Do Something Simple for Someone Else

Day #28.  Do something simple for someone else.

I’m having a hard time finding anything to write about, because it’s not a foreign concept for me.  I try to do little things all day-every day for other people.  From picking up something Big Al has dropped on the floor, to answering strangers’ questions about products in the grocery store, I try to be on the lookout for ways to help other folks.  I guess this was just the way I was raised, and I think I raised both my sons to be the same way.  They are both kind and giving, willing to do little favors for other people all the time.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard either one of them say (at least since they were adults) “It’s not my job” or “Let someone else do it.”  My parents and grandparents called it “being thoughtful.”  I think that’s a really good phrase to use.  It means you think of other people before you think of yourself. 

This is Day #28 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

Say “I Love You” to At Least One Person Every Day

Day #27.  Say “I Love You” to at least one person every day.

I admit it.  I’m not very verbal when it comes to saying “I Love You”.  I never have been.  Just like I’m not very demonstrative when it comes to hugs and kisses.  I never have been.  I think it’s because my parents weren’t particularly demonstrative with outward displays of affection, but I never doubted their love for each other or for me or for my siblings.

My grandmother had this poem in her collection.  I found it here.  Although it was in a volume of Edgar Guest, apparently it was copied in long hand.  I searched for it all over the web and this was the only reference to “hands have offered prayers of love all day”.  (I remembered the last line.)  Apparently except for that site and this post, the little poem has disappeared from memory.  And I love it because it’s how my grandmother and mother lived their lives and how I try to live mine.

Too Tired To Pray


She thought, when night had finally ended day,

“Dear Lord, tonight I am too tired to pray,”

And wearily she closed her eyes in sleep,

Slipping far into the shadowed deep.


Up in Heaven the dear Lord heard and smiled.

“Today she soothed a little, crying child.

She stopped her work to take old Ella Kloop

A fragrant, warming bowl of her good soup.

Her house was orderly, her garden tended.

Her children fed, their clothes all clean and mended.

Her husband, home from work, found happiness

And quiet peace in her deep gentleness.”


The dear Lord smiled again. “Too tired to pray?

Her hands have offered prayers of love all day!”

This is Day #27 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

Grateful Right Now: 5 Minutes. Out Loud.

Day #26.  Grateful right now:  5 minutes.  Out loud.

You can’t hear me do this, so I’ll just give you some more things (more fleeting) I’m grateful for to add to the list from yesterday.  (Those things are pretty permanent on my gratitude list.)

  1. I’m so glad my brother had the NFL network and let me stay for the Cowboys’ game last night!  I’ve been bummed out for a week knowing they would be playing and I wouldn’t be able to watch.  The final score is not something I’m grateful for, but at least I got to see the game and know the REAL story.
  2. We’re having brunch at church this morning, so I don’t have to worry about food!  Ate so much yesterday, I’m not sure I would be any good at meal planning.
  3. I get to be the sponsoring elder for one of the new lives in the church this morning.  It fills my heart with gladness to be able to welcome George Wells Erwin, born October 1, 2010, into the family of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. And I’m a little filled with trepidation to know that I will be responsible for praying for him throughout his childhood.

This is Day #26 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

(Oh, by the way, MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

Day #25.  Keep a gratitude journal.  Daily record at least 10 things or people you are grateful for.

  1. Big Al
  2. Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church
  3. My children and grandchildren
  4. Christmas
  5. My health
  6. My Facebook and Twitter friends
  7. My Bridge buddies
  8. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast
  9. My brother & his family for opening their home to us for dinner today.
  10. My sister who woke me with a “Christmas Gift” text message.

This is Day #25 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.