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”.

Just Say Thank You.

Day #24.  Just say thank you.  Stop taking all the good stuff that happens to you for granted.

I started this yesterday on this blog, with the tribute to President Obama.

Thank you to all my blogging friends who enrich my life in so many ways.  Check out “Blogs I Read” to the right.  You’re sure to find something interesting/inspiring/enlightening/entertaining/all of the above.  If you enjoy their blogs – leave a comment and tell them so.

Thank you to all my Twitter and Facebook friends.  I try to recognize many of you every Friday (thanks to FollowFriday Helper).

Mostly THANK YOU to my wonderful husband of 45+ years – Big Al – and my kids, Ray and Bill, and my grandkids, Ian and Kate, and their mom, Erika, and my sisters, Harriet and Betty, and their husbands, Robert and Keith, and my brother, Bill, and his wife, Sharon, and my sisters-in-law, Jan and Marianne, and brother-in-law, Bernie, and my nieces, Karen and Erin, and nephews, Andy and Jonathan and Tom and Daniel, and their spouses and offspring, as well as the second and third degree cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.,  that make up our sprawling family.  I love all of you and thank God daily for your existence.

This is Day #24 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.

It’s Nice to Be Reminded!

Reasons to be Thankful!

For the “room-lighting” smile:



For the mind that always thinks


 For preventing a second Great Depression:

For the humor: 

For bringing the number of women in the Supreme Court to 3.: For making the White House the “people’s” house: For 1.1 million jobs created in 2010 alone, more than the entire 8 years of George W.Bush: For the love of people:  

For the love of family: 

 For  America ‘s First Lady:



For Health Care reform:


For leaving the past behind:



For the world having respect for  America , again:




For quietly and calmly dealing with crisis after crisis, after crisis, after crisis, even if not being responsible for any of them:


For being so “cool”:


 For being fierce – when need be:


For having the intellect to be curious:


For the capacity to know that you are, as we are, imperfect….


For having the sense to not let it destroy you…


For the capacity to be compassionate:



For being an inspiration to so many:



For saving the auto industry and at least 1.4 million jobs:


 For loving the troops:



For understanding the horrible price of war:


For bringing 100,000 men and women back from Iraq :


And simply for this:


For Being………………..“MR. PRESIDENT”!

Learn from Within

Day #23.  Learn from within.  What will really bring you joy?

  1. A walk down memory lane.  I spent weeks this year going scanning all the photos that have been cluttering up our lives (I’m not completely finished with the scanning, but those not scanned are in albums.)  There’s a two-fold benefit in doing this.  First – I get to remember all the great times that we memorialized in photos.  Second – while I was doing it, I took care to date the photos and tag all the people (that I could figure out).  Now I can search for all the pictures with (for instance) Bill Watters in them.  Or all the pictures from 1973 (if we have any).  They are all on the Windows Home Server, and are “findable” with the Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Because they are on the server, I can access them from anywhere in the world as long as I have access to a computer.  And because Big Al and the boys have access to the server, they can see them all, too, without waiting for me to find them.  I’m trying to be ever so careful and tag all my new digital photos with names and places.  An added benefit to this is the collages that I use for backgrounds on the computer.  Big Al, me, Ray Bill Ian and Kate.  Because these replace themselves pretty regularly as my screen savers, I get to indulge in my “memory lane” trips really often.
  2. Knitting.  This is a rediscovered joy that I’m not going to forget any time soon.
  3. Food.  I admit it – I’m FAT.  I love food (particularly when I don’t have to cook it) and I love eating.  I also realize that I like being healthy.  Unfortunately, I’m to the point where I’m going to have to decide which brings me more joy – eating or feeling healthy.  Maybe that will be a series of blog posts for next year when I finally decide which it is going to be.
  4. Using my spiritual gifts in the church.  I’m currently serving on the session at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, helping to set the direction of the congregation at Walnut Hill and Preston in Dallas.  Although I grouse at times about things the local church, and greater church are or are not doing, serving God and my fellows is one of my greatest joys.

This is Day #23 in my December series “Reclaiming Your Joy”.