Tag Archives: enjoy simple pleasures

San Diego II – The Beach

Some sidewalks led to more exotic spaces than others.

san diego sidewalk

Not that I don’t like strolling through my neighborhood, but there was an extra excitement bubbling forth as Sarah and David urged me down the sidewalk in San Diego leading to the beach. I couldn’t resist stopping to capture pictures of sea lions

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and several of the dipping sun.

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But Sarah and David ran ahead, calling that I must hurry if I was going to watch the sunset from the sand.

So I rushed ahead only to pause and snap more shots, then revel in the fact that I could run barefoot across the lawn of a green park and catch up to them. A year, and almost 60 pounds ago, I couldn’t have done it. I’m still shocked than I can now.

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Once across the little park we rushed down some stairs to a beach so we could feel sand beneath our feet

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and dip our toes in the ocean

san diego toe

as the sun took her own stroll on the horizon.

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While she journeyed, we played her glow.

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Once the sun disappeared

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into the ocean

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all that was left was a faint fragment of light reminding us of where she’d been. It was hard to see anything but shadowed outlines.

Sarah urged me to walk a little closer to a big rock. Trusting soul that I am, I did. Not making any new discoveries I questioned the quest, and she urged me on. I stepped closer. Suddenly the big rock arched it’s back, and I realized I was just across the space of my living room from a sea lion!

Delightful! (But too dark to capture on film.)

Sharing the moment with Sarah and David, knowing we were there for work, but playing together as family, was surreal. A hunger grew within to share this type of thing with Jerry and all the kids. To work and travel together, seeing the world, experiencing sunsets on horizons all across this great planet. And I was reminded of that day on the mountain last July when God told me it was okay to dream of such things.

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Some sidewalks lead to more exotic beaches than others.

Grabbing Joy

I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve prayed for joy for at least ten years, yet I’m still processing the concept.

During a particularly down day a few months ago my Dad told me, “Well, Baby Doll, the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

I have a very sweet Daddy, but at that moment his words felt hollow. I bit my tongue really hard to keep the snide remark from bursting out.

Of course joy comes from the Creator of joy–but how do I access joy? How do I push through the crap of life to grab hold of it? What is it, really? Happiness? Something deeper? Is it like peace or hope? Does it always include laughter?

After ten plus years of thinking and praying about joy, I’m still not sure I get it. But I have figured out a few things:

  • Joy can be attached to circumstancesneighborhood walk 4
  • Joy isn’t only from circumstances
  • Joy can be a choice
  • Joy can be a supernatural gift
  • Choosing to be grateful brings joy
  • Choosing to be hopeful, to trust in Someone bigger than I, supports joy
  • Worry, fear, doubt, anger are enemies of joy
  • Taking a walk and eeling the sunshine on my face brings me joy
  • Bright colored flowers are my joy language
  • The stillness of a moon-lit night seeps joy into my soul
  • Physical well-being can support joy
  • You can be joyful without physical well-being
  • Loving people bring me joy
  • I can find joy when I’m alone
  • A bubbling stream reminds me of joy
  • Grabbing hold of the simple pleasures of life supports joy

The list could go on forever, and I still wouldn’t define joy. But this I know. Soon after I asked God for joy He asked me to trust Him through the next season of my life which He assured me would include a lot of CRAP.

It wasn’t exactly the answer I wanted.

And the crap of life came. During that period sometimes I had joy, and sometimes I didn’t. But while I recognize that joy can be easier to recognize in the easy, happy times, it can also be found in the bad.

In the gratitudelast few years of the trying season I took advice from the book, One Thousand Gifts, and recorded gratitude.

When negativity was especially tangible (or joy especially accessible), I’d grab colored sharpies and write on the basement walls everything I could think of to be grateful for.  I’d remember that every good gift comes from the One who created the good gifts. And I would remind myself that He cares, and I am loved and noticed.

This week I hit #900 on that gratitude wall. It lists everything from statements like, “The boys did their chores!” to “petals making a fairy carpet on sidewalk” to “Everyone together at Dairy Queen!”

Read with a discerning eye you can chronicle the joy I’ve found in the weight loss journey–comments like, “learning to walk in the neighborhood by myself” or “I lost 20 pounds” or “Jerry said I’m ‘stunning!'”

Maybe the biggest thing I’m learning is how all-encompassing joy is. Joy comes from a million different places, but has One source, for every good gift comes from the Giver. The emotion of joy is more easily grasped when I choose joy in my mind, spirit, and body. It is supported by how I take care of my mind (paying attention to the thoughts I deal on), my spirit (connecting with God), and my body (the foods I eat, how much movement is in my day).

And finally, while I have some responsibility for my joy, it is always, always, always a gift from Love.

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Journeying toward joy

Lavender and Mint – Simple Pleasures

Simple, no cost, no maintenance pleasure. If you’re on a journey to better health, you’ve been told to drink more water. Let’s face it. As fabulous as cool, clear water is, it can become a task instead of a pleasure to get the amount you need. There are lots of wonderful recipes out there to add a little pizzazz to your water. Mine isn’t anything new, but it feels extra special to me because it comes straight from my yard, to my refrigerator, to  my glass.lavender growing

A couple of summers ago I purchased a small lavender plant. A friend told me it was hardy, easy to grow, and had lots of uses. Last summer a friend shared a few of her mint plants with me. I threw them in the ground next to the lavender, no extra care, and they grew.

This summer I’m harvesting. (I did last summer, too. You can harvest right away.) It’s very simple. I break a few leaves off, rise them, and toss them in a pitcher of water. I cover the pitcher and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I have gently flavored (and scented) water to drink.

lavendar in pitcher

I add water a few times a day so the pitcher never runs dry. My mint and lavender leaves last 4-5 days before I decide they aren’t as potent as they were initially and need to be replaced.

lavender glass

I just consumed roughly 12 ounces of water as I typed this post. Each sip brought pleasure as a gentle whiff of lavender scented the air as I drank.

Of course you could have mint water or lavender water. You don’t have to do both at once, though I prefer it.

And just as aside, we served up fancy waters at Sarah’s wedding a few weeks ago. I love it that something as basic and healthy as water can become special with so little effort.

I wanted to write a profound post this first entry after my series about my daughter’s wedding. Guess I wasn’t really up to digging deep this time, but here’s what I’m thinking: Life isn’t usually about the big, impacting stuff–like weddings. Enjoying life is often about the simple moments, the tiny pleasures. Lavender leaves in water. A walk with someone you love. A brief pause in the rushing to enjoy the beauty right in your own yard.

Here’s a bit of what I savored in my pause this evening, right before Jerry and I sauntered through the neighborhood, holding hands in the falling dusk.

From the flower bed beside the front sidewalk

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My mailbox. You can’t tell in this picture, but it is yellow, one of my favorite colors.  My sister-in-law painted it  as a surprise to cheer me up during a gloomy season. This year I planted red and white flowers beneath it to honor my neighbor, who hates yellow and has threatened to paint my mailbox red!

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My other favorite color is pink. (Though since Sarah’s wedding I’ve become partial once again to purple, which was my favorite color in childhood.) I’m especially enjoying this unique flower this year. I love its cheery yellow face, so pretty framed in pink! It’s also cool how the yellow is outlined in purplish magenta.

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What simple pleasures do you enjoy?

Pass along this healthy tip with these tweetables:

Drinking the water you need can be a simple pleasure.

Lavender and mint flavored water: ordinary to extraordinary

Simple pleasures and healthy choices