The Practice of Joy

2015-08-07 17.03.26Years ago, to survive our engagement, Kylie and I made a list of things we were thankful for–things to celebrate. I write “survive” because I had wanted to elope, and the day I decided that we would go ahead with our small (26 person) wedding was the day I made a paper chain countdown. Every morning, he would come over for breakfast, and we would break a link off the chain and write on our list one thing to celebrate. I still have the list somewhere.

We’ve kept this practice. At the end of our day, we ask “What brought you joy today?” so that even if our day was horrible, we tell each other about one spot that wasn’t horrible before we launch into our venting. It doesn’t always work, but the intention is there to give each other a piece of our best selves at the end of the day.

So I LOVE this week’s #wholemama link-up word: Celebrate. What do you celebrate this summer?

Oh my. So much.

#1: My baby started walking. She was late to the walking game and needed physical therapy. In May she took her first steps, and now she’s running down the sidewalk to play with the fire hydrant.

#2. I revamped two websites, this one and ChristiansPracticingYoga really needed the work, and it was my privilege to work with a colleague and make it look pretty, accessible, and helpful. I’m really excited about the progress on that site.

2015-08-05 12.08.58#3. Trips to the zoo and city pools. They’re both close to our house, so we go often to get a water fix, expend energy, and kiss statues.

#4. A Discovery of Witches trilogy by Deborah Harkness. So delightful: there’s even an ecumenical yoga class for magical creatures (as in vampires, witches, and daemons in the same room). It’s like Twilight for adults, only so much more intellectual than Twilight: there’s DNA and Darwin and time travel and…  well…  beautiful summer escapism.

#5. In May, Siena and I took a road trip to my parents’ house in Michigan where I wrote and my mom watched Siena. Sleeping was a problem, so I didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped, but it was a beautiful adventure nonetheless.

#6. We hosted a rehearsal dinner for Q&A in our backyard and celebrated marriage. Q had a long road, and it’s so lovely to see her content with her life and her love.

#7. Kylie and I began a compliment campaign because, let’s face it, just one question of “what brought you joy today?” isn’t enough. We realized that in all the mayhem of raising a toddler with finicky sleep habits, we need to affirm each other, celebrate each other, and realize that the other is not the enemy. So now we compliment and thank even more–even to compliment the compliment. It sometimes feels over-the-top, but there is plenty of bad in the world to go around and then some. We’re going to kill it with kindness and celebrate the good. Eventually our compliment campaign will overflow our house.

2015-06-10 19.55.55#8. We got a 25 in Hanabi. That’s a perfect score in a cooperative game that requires limited communication. Woot!

#9. Grandpa Bob. My husband’s former boss is now retired and our adopted in-town grandpa. He comes to our house twice a week to hang out with his bestie. When he’s around, I write to the soundtrack of peals of laughter.

#10. Rest. We hung out at my parents’ cabin in Michigan for two weeks and discovered that, this year, parenting means vacationing with poor sleep. Siena had so much fun that she would wake up in the middle of the night with insomnia. By day, Kylie and I would read and rest, by night we were the vampire parents (hence the compliment campaign). We played in the dirt, swam in the lake, jumped on the trampoline, and waved at all the ladybugs in sight. Sleep issues aside, we are so thankful for my parents and a beautiful place to rest every summer.



It’s not over yet. I have two and a half weeks of summer yet in which to plan two syllabi, play at the pool, organize a few other things, and attend a family reunion. Summer is still my favorite season of life.

What are you celebrating?


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One thought on “The Practice of Joy

  1. I love the idea that you and your husband ask each other what brought joy during the day. Even one thing is worth celebrating even if everything else when bad. It’s a great habit to get into. I love that you wrote things on a paper chain and had breakfast together those days before your wedding. And that you still have the list is precious! We all need to “practice joy” every day! Thanks for sharing your celebration list! I enjoyed reading it.

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