Monday, December 2, 2013

The Season of Joy

by Terri

Joy. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Joy. Such a simple word. Just three little letters but when put together they mean so much. And that’s what I would like to concentrate on this month, finding joy. Tying in last month’s focus on gratitude with this month’s focus on joy is this quote by the wonderful Brene Brown:

“I will practice gratitude to access joy. I will stop and take notice of those small things
 that make my life better, the things that are easy to overlook until they are gone.”

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed during this time of year with all the “to dos” on our lists. Sometimes it seems like an impossible chore to get it all done in time. The shopping, the decorating, the wrapping, the meal planning, the cooking and baking, etc. It can really be overwhelming.

In one of my December posts last year, I talked about not falling into the “perfection trap”.  You can read about that here if you missed it. My favorite comment on that post was by our friend Claudia Wrightson.  She wrote:
“Being the perfect Christmas mom for tooo many years, I realized that my "perfect" decorations were not what they remembered or loved. It was the little quiet moments of the season. :) Once I heard one of my neighbors kids say... "yeah, my mom is kind of insane around Christmas... its scary." I was sooo thankful for that little voice of wisdom. I changed a lot of how I proceeded with the holiday after that.”

Wow, did that ever hit home with me! But more than just loosening up a little and not expecting so much of myself, this year I want to actively seek out the joyful moments and even try to create some. I began to think of the things that bring me the most joy and I made a list. It all starts with reconnecting to the moments that mean the most to you, and making sure you make time to fully experience their magic. I try to do as many of the things on my “joy list” as I can. These things are the things that are important to me, the things that bring me joy. The rest I can do if and when I have time, but I give myself permission to not do them at all. Here are a few of the things that I want to make sure to make time for, things that bring me joy.  

From the upper left, they are:

1.     Taking photos of Christmas decorations.
2.     Baking all kinds of goodies . . . and eating them!
3.     Sitting by the lighted tree at night.
4.     Making cards for gifts from my photos.
5.     Visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens for the Luminarias.
6.     Creating a “December Daily” album of holiday happenings.
7.     Taking my grandson to Macy’s to write his letter to Santa.
8.     Shopping at one of our beautifully decorated outdoor malls.

What are some of the things you enjoy the most about the holiday season? I know when I slow down and really focus on those things, I enjoy everything so much more. 

So my challenge to you this month is to seek out moments of joy. Make a list of the things you enjoy the most about the holidays and make sure you make time for them. Perfection is overrated . . . seeking joy is what it’s all about!

Please share with us either here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or in the Flickr group or Flickr Phoneography group what things you are going to make time for this holiday season, the things that bring you joy.  If you are on Instagram, make sure to tag your photos with #focusingonlife and share your joyful moments this month with us. And I just want to tell you all how joyful it makes me to have you sharing this space with us. Happy December, everyone!


Sherri B. said...

Oh my, what beautiful photos - they put me in the Christmas spirit!

Dotti said...

Such a perfect way to start off our December and such a perfect prompt for the holidays. Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hannakuh, or another tradition, we can seek the joy. The uptop photo is exquisite and you should print the joy list storyboard to put in your kitchen as a daily reminder. Here's to JOY!

CarolHart said...

Such a joyful post! Love all your images. You've inspired me to make a joyful list of my own and take Dottie's suggestion and post it in the kitchen. Happy December to you!

Anonymous said...

Terri, such a wonderful post…and the photos are beautiful!! This post hit right at home for me, with all the anxiety and pressure to make everything perfect for Christmas, most of us forget about those three little words that have such a powerful meaning! JOY is going to be my focus this month and Im definitely going to slow down, enJOY the holidays! Thanks for sharing!

AFishGirl said...

Wonderful, Terri. I needed to read this today. The photos are fabulous! Thank you for this post. Very much.

Cathy H. said...

Over the past few years I've discovered that simplicity makes me more joyful at Christmas. I've cut down my decorating to only my favorite things. I spend more time with family and with my camera taking images of this delightful season. I think the joyful list is an excellent idea. I'll be doing that, too. I can already mark one off...going to a Christmas play with my grandsons!

Viv@within the Frame said...

A wonderful post Terri, it's this perfection thing again isn't it ? It gets in the way and spoils the magic. A joyful list is such a good idea maybe i will start a 'joyful' IG thread.

kelly said...

man did i need to hear this today terri. not only because i too have a tendency to fall into the perfectionish trap. but also because sometimes i try to do too much altogether. thank you for sharing this wonderful advice.

augcott said...

Great post to start of December ...
I am trying ... very hard .... not to let the stress of the holiday season get to me!
diane @ aug's blog

Kim Stevens said...

Coming off Thanksgiving week has me a little less full of cheer than usual...I guess a week with people who don't like you can do that to a person. This is just the perfect post to help me pull up my big girl boot straps and get back to the joy in my everyday. I'm looking forward to my girl coming home in two weeks, and making fudge and less than perfect cookies and playing board games .... I love your photo collage and that first photo is breathtaking Terri!

Linda said...

Thanks for the reminder to slow it down a bit and just enjoy it! Things can get crazy this time of year!

susan said...

LOVE this! adore! thank you for the gentle reminder my friend. and btw…love seeing you in the christmas ornament…so much! {{{hugs}}}

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