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No one could have prepared me for the journey my heart would travel upon becoming a mom over 9 years ago.  A journey bursting with love for my long-awaited child, a little boy entering the world in hushed awe with wide open eyes – windows to an old soul. And, at the same time, a journey fraught with  uneasiness over the feeling that my beautiful boy did not seem comfortable outside the womb.

To continue reading this post, please visit http://zoemmccarthyblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/how-to-use-art-to-free-your-anxious-heart/, where I am honored to be a guest blogger today.

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simplejoy5

Today, dear friends, may you experience the simple joy of life!

SpreadJOY

YOU have a gift to share, dear friend!  Listen to your heart.  Embrace your passion.  Spread joy with wreckless abandon!

Joy

I remember hearing women talk of “nesting” in the weeks and days right before their children were to be born.  Madly cleaning and organizing the house from top to bottom.  While I reveled in this nesting process pretty much from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I think I’ve always been a nester at heart, with or without expecting a child.  I simply love organizing and arranging my environment in a way that works for me and my family.  Aesthetically, spiritually, and functionally.  And, when I encounter transitions and change, my nesting instincts tend to kick-in at a frenzied pace.

Take last week, for instance.  Just two weeks before my boy and girl will be home from school for the summer months.  I felt an urgent need to install those extra towel bars in our bathrooms (I’ve only had them sitting in the corner of our bedroom for, well, almost a year!), clean-out the guest room closet, donate 5 bags of “stuff” to the Goodwill, take a bulging bag of books to the used bookstore, rearrange the art supplies in the dining room, purchase shelves for the garage, organize the crates of outdoor toys and supplies scattered across the garage floor and  stock-up on supplies for summer projects.  I was driven.

I am quite aware of this pattern of mine. A woman on a mission to check-off the remnants of her to-do list, squeezing-out every minute of “me-time” before the last day of school.  Perhaps this is my way of trying to feel in control.  Or, perhaps, I am clearing the way for summer, both physically and emotionally?  I expect each of these hypothesis hold some truth.

Whatever the reasons may be, this week, I am trying my best to slow-down before summer “officially” starts. At our house, summers laced with autism and ADHD can be tiresome.  This is just a reality for our family.  At the same time, when I am able to put my agenda aside and simply “be” with my children, I create more room for joy and less stress.  Joy in climbing trees.  Splashing in the waves and in the neighborhood pool.  Reading books.  Playing games.  Creating art.  Riding Bikes.  Joy in spending time together.

Will I lose my patience when my brain cannot take-in one more moment of compulsive talking?  Probably.  I expect that some days will look pretty messy.  At the end of the summer, though, if I can recount more days of joy than despair, I  consider myself a blessed woman.

Today I danced.  Alone.  With God.  It seemed appropriate.   Today is my birthday, you see, and what better way to celebrate my birth, but to dance!  Dancing is not my norm, but it happens to be this week’s assignment and I am committed to this process of joy-seeking.

I made my first attempt at dancing yesterday afternoon with my boy.  And for a few reasons, the experience didn’t quite live-up to my expectations.  Time was short, as we needed to get our dancing underway before my girl returned home from a play date. (You know how those little sisters can ruin a good time.)  Anxiety was already building when my boy began to fret over not being able to find the particular Disney song to which he had set his heart on dancing.  After listening to the beginning of every song on two different Disney CD’s, I almost gave-up on the whole dancing idea when we happened to stumble on the right song.  My boy recovered quickly, though, and I willed myself to push aside my dampened mood and to dance.  For some reason, dancing like a princess to Beauty and the Beast just wasn’t doing it for me.  And then, I caught the smile on my boy’s face as he wiggled his arms and legs in awkward little dance moves. I took his hand in mine and we ran around the room, scarves trailing behind us.  We breathed in the joy together.

No doubt, I  cherished that dance with my boy;  however,  I decided that I needed to try this dancing thing again today.  By myself.  With music that I like.  Being the direction follower that I am, I donned a 3-tiered skirt (for the swirl effect) and a bright orange striped T (because  it’s colorful and feels good against my skin), hung  a long strand of my girl’s gold plastic beads around my neck,  grabbed a stack of my favorite CDs, and headed downstairs to the basement.  My playlist:  Eva Cassidy, Chris Tomlin, Natalie Grant, and Steven Curtis Chapman.  I know.  These probably aren’t the standard fare for dancing, but a few songs in particular speak to my heart and that’s what I was going for.  I popped Eva Cassidy’s soulful version of People Get Ready into my girl’s karaoke player, walked over to an open area between the hammock swing and  mini trampoline, and danced.  I swayed.  I twirled.  I held my arms open-wide.  I felt that little girl inside me rejoicing.  And after dancing my way through 30-minutes of CDs, I noticed tears rolling down my cheeks.  Tears of joy.  I danced with God.  And it was good.

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