Getting busy getting blissy.

Dear friends,

For me, Saturday equals bliss. And this Saturday was as blissy as they get. And it was full. It was blissy-full, to coin a term that will never catch on but I’m going to put it out there anyway.

I started my day with . . . wait for it . . . a RUN! I’ve been such a couch potato for the last 60 days, which probably explains why a blue moon has been orbiting my world. So, inspired by Phoo-D’s comment on yesterday’s post, I conveniently selected the coldest day of winter so far (11 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind) to get off my butt and hit the road for 4 1/2 miles. My dogs Ed (Golden Retriever) and Frito (Chihuahua) went with me. Frito, with his short legs and meager coat, said to-heck-with-it about a mile in and went home. But Ed, who’s kind of a show-off, stuck with me the whole way. I’m pretty sure when we got home he teased Frito unmercifully.

Next I had a phone conference about work matters. We’ll just pretend that didn’t happen, okay, because discussing budget problems on a Saturday morning is not really blissy, now is it? And, honestly, it should be outlawed in the name of all that’s good and right for the world.

Then I drove to town to pick up a few things, including a pit-stop for craft items. I’m in the midst of unpacking my paper crafting supplies and setting up a work space. I’ve got a little idea percolating in my brain that’s part art (read: joy) and part friendship (read: gratitude) and I needed a few more things to get it kicked off. I also grocery shopped for a special Valentine’s dinner tomorrow night.

I came home and spent an hour or so puttering in my dish pantry, trying out various table settings for tomorrow night’s dinner. I think I settled on this one.

I wrote a long letter to an old friend back home. I’m going to enclose it in a Valentine and hope it gives her a much-needed boost. She’s been having a hard time the last few weeks and I wish I could give her a hug.

I read a decorating magazine that came in the mail, but I fell asleep before I finished it. I napped for two hours because, well, probably because I ran for the first time in a month. I slept so hard I woke up not knowing what day it was. Fortunately, I quickly remembered it was Saturday and immediately got my bliss back on.

I made lemon curd for two cakes I’m planning to bake on Sunday — one for my family and one for my colleagues who deserve a celebration for reaching a goal. Go team!

I watched a television special about Soul Train with Mr. Mom and Parker. I told Parker I used to dress and dance exactly like the Soul Train dancers but he didn’t believe me. Then I told him I’m still in love with Tina Turner and he left the room.

I perused a few more of my rescued computer files and found two things that made my heart sing: a recipe for something so inredibly good I’m making it tomorrow (and can’t wait to tell you about it next week), and this photo of my daughter and her (at the time) brand new puppy, Sweatpea.

Sweatpea was Kate’s 13th birthday present. Kate turns 19 next month.  Notice I’m keeping my blissy face on. Your advice after this post really helped.

Your advice always helps. Which is why I got busy getting blissy. Hey! There’s a new phrase that could change your world: get busy getting blissy. You’re welcome.

With gratitude {for friends who actually show up to read about my Saturday silliness},

Joan, who, in all seriousness, wanted to be an etymologist until she realized it was against union rules to make up new words

Joy to the me.

Dear friends,

Not me, but I aspire to feel this joyful every day.

Source: Pinterest

In case you haven’t figured this out about me by now, I’m a knuckle-down kind of gal.

I’ve been described as stoic, serious, determined, decisive, no-nonsense, persistent, and ambitious (among other less flattering adjectives).  No one has ever accused me of being fun. In fact, I’m probably known as a bit of a buzz-kill.  Best I can tell, I never get social invitations based on the bet I’ll get the par-tay started.

While in Tulsa last weekend, I had breakfast with an old friend whose good advice has been a staple in my life.  After we caught up on everything that happened in our worlds since I left town, she asked “So what are you doing to bring joy into your life?”

I nearly choked on my eggs.

“Joy?” I said, as if she had suggested I should be bringing nuclear fusion into my life.

Truth is, I still have no answer.

Okay, that’s not true. I cook and bake almost every weekend and that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I enjoy it immensely but I’m not sure I would say I’m joyful while doing it.

Fact is, I can’t really tell you what makes me joyful. I think this might be a problem. And it probably explains why Mr. Mom suggested as nicely as he knew how not long ago that I need to “lighten up.”  Have more fun. Quit taking life so seriously.

Knowing me, after he said it, I probably thought to myself something like “Oh sure, I’ll get right on that. Yes, sirree, I’ll be sure to have more fun right after I finish solving all the problems at my office and getting our new lives arranged and helping Kate navigate the rest of her life via the college search process.”

If I am honest, I will say that I have spent my life behaving as if joy is a momentary destination rather than a daily state of mind.  I tend to spend long stretches of time planning for large joyous celebrations (such as vacations, outings, holidays) rather than looking for and enjoying tiny bursts of joy in my everyday life.

I started this blog because I realized late last year that I needed to cultivate gratitude in my life – to consciously and determinedly identify blessings and take time to savor them. It has worked in many respects. I’m successfully cultivating appreciation for life’s small blessings, while reducing frustration and discontent in the process.  But I am learning that one can be simultaneously grateful and pensive. Joy is not an automatic response to gratitude.

This I did not count on. It seems to me that gratitude is more of a cognitive response (a reasoned conclusion to an analytical process), while I consider joy to be an emotional reaction. Analysis, I’m good at. Spontaneous gaiety, not so much.

But maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe joy is a fundamental condition of the heart, as much as gratitude, as much as love, as much as hope.

So what’s a girl to do when she wants to bring joy into her life? Should I start by trying to have more fun?  (I realize joy is not the exact same thing as fun, but I can’t remember the last time I had fun and yet failed to feel joyous.) I welcome any and all suggestions for how a tightly wound worrywart can get her joy on.  That child in roller skates in the photo? That’s my new standard of joy. I may not get there every single day, but I’m betting if I work at it I can beat my recent average.

With gratitude {for friends and loved ones who ask me the hard questions},

Joan, who was terribly disappointed when her three oldest friends told her she was the Miranda Hobbes in their foursome, but couldn’t really offer a solid counter-argument