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What’s Your Happy? Keeping a Joy List

June 3, 2013

Keeping a Joy List

A few of you have sent me other materials by Dr. Brene Brown and they are, all of them, excellent. I highly recommend her talks for Ted, as well as the podcasts that were recorded to go along with the release of Daring Greatly. I’m listening to them while at the gym, and so many times I’ve wanted to hop off the elliptical and run for my laptop to jot down notes on some insight she just shared.

One that struck me this week was part of a discussion on resiliency.

How do we build up resilience to shame and vulnerability?

How do we teach our children to be grateful, not entitled?

How do we step away from the “I wants” and gather up the “I haves”?

She shared how she and her husband have started compiling a joy list.

I’ve heard of life lists, or bucket lists. I’ve even kept one of my own. But this is different…a joy list. Not things we hope to achieve, accomplish or experience. A joy list is the answer to the question:

What are the moments in which you feel completely, totally content?

When do you feel true…joy? Think about it. Be mindful in your moments. Write them down. I’ve only been doing this for a few days and already I feel more blessed, more focused on what I’ve got rather than what I want. It’s a beautiful life if only we stop and look around us every once in a while.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Just-awake sleepy head cuddles. When big boys are still babies, soggy with sleep, lie quiet head in the lap.
  • Dinner in the back yard, by the fountain. Vivid sky abundance of blooms peaceful and it is something we can say that we did, together, all of us. It is my happy place.
  • Rare moments when everyone is just hanging out, doing their own thing, and the TV isn’t on, but no one is fighting, and we’re all together, and it’s family. Like right now. 
  • Not cooking. I’m no chef, I’m much better with flour and sugar and a rolling pin, but I do prepare dinner often. Not having to prepare dinner (or clean it up) is nothing short of sheer bliss. In any way shape or form
  • Praying together as a family.
  • Playing catch with my dad. Throwback (bahaha!) to my teen years; hours spent throwing a football in the front yard until my shoulder was numb, because I was determined not to “throw like a girl.” 
  • Swinging on the rope swing at the cabin. We have a family retreat in the mountains and Dad finally put up the swing we’ve all been begging for. The last two visits, it’s pretty much all we did in our spare time. It was perfect. 
  • The ocean. Anywhere, anytime, in any season. Crashing waves and salty air sweep cobwebs from weary souls. I think God did that on purpose.

What’s on your joy list?





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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2013 6:55 am

    Fantastic idea!

  2. Bethany Hall Fitelson permalink
    August 5, 2013 10:14 am

    I love this! Danny and I did something similar in a spiritual direction exercise at a retreat in March, and it was so eye-opening. To actually make a list of things that give me life made me realize how little I intentionally plan for those things in the midst of the daily grind. I have been much more conscious the past few months of saying yes to things that give me joy, because they are life-giving even when my schedule is full. (For the record, ocean air and dinner outside with friends were on my list too!)


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