Joy

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Joy happens whenever we are even remotely happy. The difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is the emotional elevation of delight over time, while joy is happiness you feel in the moment.

A little more on the word Joy:

WIKI

  • A feeling of extreme happiness or cheerfulness, especially related to the acquisition or expectation of something good.
  • Anything that causes such a feeling.
  • Luck or success; a positive outcome.
  • The sign or exhibition of joy; gaiety; merriment; festivity.

Dictionary. com

  • The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
  • A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated:
  • The expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
  • A state of happiness or felicity.

So, Now that we have the meaning of joy out of the way, let’s take  a look at some more aspects of the word and how you can find more of it!

Kinds of Joy:

So what kinds of joy is there? Well, I listed some I could think of here, enjoy!

Kinds of Joy

Image by xxolgaxx from Pixabay

Small~  Those joyful moments that are happening in the current moment.

Reminiscent ~ The delightful moments we remember with fondness and/or wish to pass down to our children and grandchildren. Examples: Rainbows, Fireworks, Ice cream with crunch/sprinkles.

Inner ~ Moments that come from within, those times when you make yourself happy, finding inspiration inside yourself.

Connective ~ The happy moments gained when in the presents or by interacting with others.

Outer ~ Moments of delight while out in the word, hiking in nature, deep in the city, experiencing what/where you love.

Large ~ Larger events/experiences that bring you pure delight.

Benefits of Joy:

There are always benefits to the emotions we feel and joy is no exception. So what are the benefits of joy? Let’s take a look:

Experience Joy
Image by Igor Link from Pixabay

Well, experiencing joy just plain feels good, which leads to other reactions such as laughing more often, experiencing even more joy, and really joy is just how we are most often. At least, I hope you are.

Having joy in your life, like so many other emotions creates a healthier you, you know all those endorphins and whatnot that are released? (I don’t get technical, so bare with me) Your body becomes healthier because you are in a good mood.

And speaking of being in a good mood, experiencing delight and happiness,  like smiling can attract you to more people which could benefit you if you were trying for a specific position or job. You never know what a little joy could show your potential employer or yourself for that matter.

There is nothing more important than the connections we make with others and your joy could inspire that, not to mention motivate others as well as yourself,  and form better connections with those around you. With just a little joy, others around you will see you as someone they can communicate with, someone they can trust, someone they look at and want to know what you’re taking to be so uplifting.

 

Finding Joy:

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of joy, let’s move onto how you can find joy. In my opinion, you can find joy in any place and in any situation. (Well, maybe not every situation or place, but pretty close.)

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Health

Even your health can bring you joy, let me tell you how:

  • Self- Care ~ As with any area of your life, self care is important. Keeping yourself healthy and moving is going to bring you more joy than you could possibly realize. When you’re not feeling tired, breathless, or worn, you’ll realize that taking care of yourself will bring you more joy than that bowl of ice cream. Trust me, I know! Chocolate is my weakness.
  • State of Mind ~ Keeping your mind in the right state is also important and can bring you joy. When you’re not concerned about every little thing, your mind is free to let all the joy of the world enter and fill you up.
  • Focus on You ~ Take some time for yourself. Do something for yourself, whether it’s taking a walk, a nap, a long soak. Free your mind and relax your body, release the tensions of the day. Have some fun. You choose!

Emotional

Well, joy is an emotion, so use it!

  • No Waiting, No Worrying ~ Don’t wait for joy to fall in your lap, it’s not going to.  Go out and get it! Look for it wherever you are. Seek it in the things you see, the things you read, the events you participate in, even the smells. It’s up to you to see joy in things that may not seem like there’s much around. Trust me there is!
  • What Makes You Happy ~ People are always telling you to ‘Do what makes you happy’, well, I’m going to tell you the same. What are you waiting for? It’s never going to be the right time, get going and be happy! Draw, learn a new skill, rock climb, whatever it is, do it!
  • Appreciate the Small Things ~ Look around you, no, really look! See all those small things, yep, you know which ones I’m talking about. ALL OF THEM, even that half used eraser still has some use out of it. Appreciating even the tiniest things can cause joy. You could not have that eraser when you’re searching everywhere for one! Yes, you appreciate that small broken eraser because it was there when you really needed it and it’s also a memory because your son decided to pick it up and talk to you through it!

Connections

We connect with everyone around us, whether we are walking past them on the street, they are part of our group (family, friend, co-worker, etc.), or we see them on a screen, watching our favorite characters. We all connect with someone in some way…

  • Laugh ~ Everyone has that one person who makes us laugh, whether we are hanging with a friend, watching a particular movie, show, video, listening to a podcast… You get my point. When we need happiness, we have places we look first to cheer us up. Where do you go first?
  • Love ~ Love comes in many forms. If you love music, play it, sing it at the top of your lungs and jam out. Love movies, watch your favorites. If you love being around people, see if you can get together. Do what you love and see those you love to experience more joy.
  • Relationships ~ As I mentioned above, like right above, the relationships you have with people can bring you happiness. Just think about it. I bet you can think about that one person and they put a smile on your face. Who is that person and can you go see them to experience that thing called happiness that makes joy last longer?
  • Positivity ~ Find those things that create positivity within your life and keep them around. Now, I’m not you, so I can’t tell you what those things are, but you do, so go get them and make certain you see them every morning and whenever you need some joy in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and things (pictures/memories/etc) that create positivity in your life.

 

Create Joy:

You can find joy in many places and in many ways, but what about creating joy, and not just for you, for others too!

Painting
Image by Prashant Sharma from Pixabay
  • Plan ~ When you need joy, well, you never know when you’re going to need it so, gather those things that give you cheer and keep them close for when you need them. Keep that positivity with you at all times. Use a small journal to keep a list of things that bring you joy, add images, photos, phrases, anything that brings you joy and look at it when you’re feeling down.
  • Find Purpose ~ What are you passionate about? Where do you find inspiration? Go after them! Find your purpose! Enough said.
  • Accomplishments ~ Create a running list of your accomplishments, no matter how small, put them on there and see how long your list gets. Enjoy the feeling, knowing your rocking it!
  • Create a Story ~ Not just any story… You only get one life, one story, make it one you WANT to tell people about. Create, dream, achieve!
  • Challenge Yourself ~ Do those things you’ve always been wanting to try, challenge yourself to do something new; find, create, achieve joy in your life.
  • Create Something ~ That thing you’ve been putting off creating, do it. Make the time to get it done. Sometimes you have to literally create your joy!
  • Take a Leap of Faith ~ Don’t try to keep making things work that aren’t; let them go, find a new angle and make room for the new.
  • Create Inspiration ~ However you feel to take this is up to you; find your inner child and let it free, take a walk in nature, pray, create, explore, inspire.
  • Take the Bad with the Good ~ Yep, there are going to be times when you just need to cry, so cry. It’s okay, but don’t forget what you’ve learned here. Grab and hold those things that bring you joy and revisit them often.

 

Final Thoughts

We, as humans find and create joy in so many ways from revisiting our childhood and eating ice cream cones with crunch/sprinkles to creating things that inspire others; from watching fireworks and finding rainbows to reminiscing and collecting what makes us happy. Whatever it is that brings you joy, keep it close. You never know when you’re going to need a pick me up.

 

 

Summer Plans (You and Characters)

Summer is here and who doesn’t love sunny days, shorts and ice cream, right? Okay, I know there are some of you ‘crazy’ people out there that do love the cold and snow. I am definitely not one of them. I love being warm, not wearing heavy coats and ice cream on a hot day. Let’s talk about summer plans!

But let’s move on. It’s summer and I bet you have plans, whether it’s a vacation, continuing to work, or spending time with your family.

Summer

Summer is a time of freedom, especially for the younger ones. They look forward to the time away from school, vacations, doing (almost) nothing around the house and just plain having fun.

Beach Time

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I know my children were ecstatic when they worked hard to get their school done early this year. (The benefits of homeschooling!) Though they still have chores, they are glad to have time to be themselves and so am I.

One thing I love to do is watch them as they create, play, or dream of what activities they want to experience next. The imagination and creativity they express is astounding when you allow it to flow. I’ve seen what happens when that is blocked from children and it’s a very sad thing to see. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here for Summer!

Our Summer Plans

One of our ‘traditions‘ and I say traditions because it’s something we do every year in the spring. We create a list of all the things we would like to do or experience this summer as a family. Anything anyone thinks of goes on the list no matter how big or small.

Camping

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

We then spend the summer trying to mark off all the things on that list.

This years list:

  • Visit The Domes
  • Go to the beach
  • Go Camping
  • Visit the Renaissance Faire (We go every year!)
  • Go to a Museum
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go on a picnic
  • Go to an ice cream shop
  • Have root beer floats
  • Play ‘Rainy Day Games’ (We each choose a board game and we play them all)
  • Bird Watching
  • Miniature Golfing
  • Disc golf
  • Bike Ride

We always have a few things that are a bit more expensive and some that may or may not cost anything at all. I’ll create a checklist that is visible to us all and hang it near our calendar. When we complete one of the activities, we check it off and at the end of the summer we look back to see all the things we’ve done as a family.

Writing

I can’t talk about the summer (or anything really) without talking about writing, and although I haven’t been my usual enthusiastic self – writing until my fingers fall off – this summer, I have not given up hope that I will return to that state sometime in the near future.

But to keep with the topic, have you ever thought of what some characters would do if they had a summer vacation? I don’t mean characters who are already on the big screens or whether the story took place in the summer, but if the character actually had a summer vacation from whatever they were doing at that moment, whether it’s a mission, job, career, or whatever. What would they do?

Teamwork

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

What do you think some of your favorite characters would be doing to relax, have fun or just hang for longer than say a weeks time? Yes, anything can happen and we hope it does in the stories we read, but what about outside the story. If the characters were real, what do you honestly think they would be doing with the time off they were given?

Let me know the character(s), book and what you think they would be doing if they had an entire summer to do whatever they thought was fun!

Our Traditions… What are yours?

Traditions

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Traditions are everywhere during the holidays and we are no exception. Though some may find our traditions silly or unique, they are ours and we will continue them for years to come; passing them to our children and our children’s children.

What Are They?

Well, I’ve touched on this as well as reasons for and the importance of traditions in another post you can find HERE. Today I want to tell you about a few we have in our family and I would love, love, LOVE to hear some of yours so comment below or send me a message!!

Reason For Our Traditions

Honestly, some of our traditions started by accident and continued from there. Perhaps it was a treat and was asked for year after year. Perhaps it was something we just always did naturally as the night wore on…

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Whatever the reason, I’m glad we have traditions to pass down to our children that show compromise, love and a willingness to come together no matter the circumstances. My and my husband’s families are quite different, but we’ve been able to blend them so that each of our traditions are still present for everyone to enjoy.

Importance Of Tradition

I’ve touched on this in a previous post as well, but the importance of tradition for us is massive. We are able to bring things to light that our children may not have known about their families, the differences as well as the similarities. It teaches them that even though we come from different families, we’ve come together as one to share in the events that we believe are special to us. Not just the ones that appear during Christmas or Thanksgiving, but during any time of the year.

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What stories can you tell your children about these traditions that they didn’t know about? Do they know how they started? Who started them and what they stand for? 

Some Of Our Traditions

Here is the part you’ve been dying to know, I’m sure.

Since it is the holidays, I’ll focus on those and perhaps I’ll update this throughout the year with our others as they happen.

Thanksgiving:

Every year on thanksgiving we spend time with our family, usually his side because mine is larger and everyone has their own things going on. We usually host, but this year his little brother hosted and it was wonderful. We had a great time with our nieces and their side of the family.

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When all the eating is done and cleanup is finished, everyone had gone home. We settle down with some hot chocolate (glass bottles of Coca-cola for my husband) and put our Christmas tree up while we listen to Christmas music.

Yes, I know its still Thanksgiving and we are very thankful. Thankful that we have each other present to participate in this tradition that been in my life since before I was born. My children are experiencing something I loved as a child.

Christmas:

Now here is what you’ve all been waiting for, right?

With our two families coming togethers and some other complications, we have 3-4 Christmas celebrations beside our own. We schedule a day to meet with all my sisters for a sister Christmas, which is scheduled whenever we can get six sisters together. We see my parents on Christmas Eve, his family on Christmas day, and my family has an extended family party too.

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But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. One of our traditions came by accident when our middle sister couldn’t think of what she wanted for Christmas. My parents would ask her and she would say she didn’t know.

So, my dad being him, did something that would create the best tradition we have ever had. That one act had created years of creative enjoyment for all his daughters to enjoy and it will continue for years to come.

What is it, you ask? What did he do that would spiral us into a creative tradition that we all love? Well, he grabbed a large box, some rubber bands, and one of those rectangular fruitcakes. He taped the fruitcake to the rubber bands, stapled the rubber bands to the inside of the box, wrapped it and had fun asking people to guess what was inside it whenever they came over.

To be honest, I thought it was a bunch of small bouncy balls, but the great thing was that we all laughed when we found out what was inside. And don’t worry, that wasn’t the only gift she received that year.

The Christmas Fruitcake:

That was the year of 1998 and every year since it is passed to another sister to disguise and re-gift to another sister for the next year. Yep, it’s the same one from 1998 and yes, it’s been wrapped multiple times in plastic wrap and duct tape.

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It’s one of the things we look forward to every year and gives us another reason to see each other, cause really? Who wouldn’t want to see what you could do with a fruitcake.

If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve done with this fruitcake, you can check out my Patreon Page. I update it every year with the latest disguise. We couldn’t remember all of them when I decided to start keeping track, but will from now on.

To not leave you hanging, I’ll give you a few things we’ve done.

~ It’s been baked into a birthday cake (my and my twins birthday is close to Christmas)

~ It’s been put in a bear you have to squeeze for it to poop it out.

~ It’s been literally mailed to another sister

~ Buried in a box of coal (I was the lucky one to get that one!)

~ Buried in a box of Crackers (They had snacks for a long time!)

What are Your Traditions?

I would love to hear about your family traditions! Do you have something unique that you pass around as we do?

9 Ways to Say ‘Thank You’ for Free

I wanted to take a minute today to talk about how we can say ‘Thank you’ to our readers for free or for a minimal amount of money.

We as authors appreciate our readers. Let’s face it, if we didn’t have readers we would not be authors. So, here are some ways to say tell our readers that we appreciate them in our journey to become the best authors we can be.

Thank you

Acknowledgement Page:

To show your appreciation to your readers, add them to your acknowledgement page in your book. Either by name (if you have a few readers that have encouraged you or provided feedback recently) or as a whole.

Social Media Shout Out:

Give them a Shout out on your social media profiles with tags so they can see how much you appreciate them and wouldn’t be where you are without them.

Offer Special Deal:

What better way to say ‘Thank you’ than to give those readers a special deal on your books, product, or whatever! They will love it!!

Throw a Thank You Party:

Throw a ‘Thank You’ party and invite your readers to join for the festivities. Partner with vendors who will offer free samples/makeovers/or whatever to make the event even more special for them. You could also perform a book signing while at the party. Give out your ‘John Hancock’ as a special gift!

Present a Personal Note:

Want to create a more personal ‘Thank you’? Give them a personal note from you to them. Send it in the mail and imagine their surprise when receiving something special from you!

Digital Thank You Cards:

Looking for something a little easier, but still personal? Create and send a digital ‘Thank you’ where you can edit the recipient and hit send.

Create a Youtube Video:

Say thank you to your readers in person. Well, sort of. Create a ‘Thank you’ video to your readers and post it to Youtube, then link it to your social media for all your readers to view.

Teach Them Something New:

Go the extra mile and create content or product that will teach them something new about you, your niche, or industry. You may just encourage another author to take the next step in their career! What could be more rewarding?

Giveaways and Freebies:

Offer something for free to your readers that they will find useful, helpful, or just something fun!

Bonus:

Just tell them ‘Thank You’!

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post!

Have some other ways to tell your readers ‘Thank You’? Share them below! I would love to learn more ways to tell my readers ‘Thank You’.