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Find The Joy In What Is Already All Around You

Everyday we are surrounded by hundreds of reasons to celebrate and be joyful.

To make the most of a great day, we must allow joy into our hearts by being constantly aware of joy, seeking it out and nurturing it - daily. Really, we must.


Some small examples of nurturing joy include:

  • staring in awe at the holiday lights sprinkled all around town

  • applauding the courage of a small child learning how to walk

  • buying and smelling some wonderfully fragrant paperwhites

  • studying the stars

  • relishing in the moonlight

  • sitting on your porch with a blanket and something hot to sip and just watching snow fall

As you admire and nurture the joy in these simple things, you begin to show your strength in your very own ability to celebrate the moments of your life with joy. It empowers you.


Here are four more delightful expressions of joy and how to nurture this for yourself:

1. SMILE AND LAUGH

People are drawn to people who smile.


Another person's smile makes us feel relaxed and accepted. A simple smile has great power and it is a wonderful give we easily give to other people. Greet anyone you meet with a warm smile and adopt the attitude that you love to smile.


I love to smile and laugh. Laughter is contagious - when you laugh, others will laugh as well. Laughter also has the ability to dim depression because it's difficult for someone to laugh and be depressed simultaneously. Laughing will distract you from worry and will lighten your load.


Healthy people laugh. They have learned great benefits in laughter. Laughter makes life feel joyful. A comedian once told an audience (I was in the audience) that every time you laugh, you burn 5 calories? Just at that punchline moment, the whole audience went into hysterics.


As the laughter subsides, he follows up with, "There you go! You're all losing weight just by sitting here and laughing at my jokes. Tell your waistline I said you're welcome."


2. ADMIRE THE WONDER

In life today, we move very quickly. We're connected on a super-highway of information that is constantly flowing in and out of our daily experiences. That information captures our attention, causes us to make choices, change directions and work harder at something.


Don't forget to take time to STOP and admire the wonder in things.

Little things. Big things. All things.

  • Admire the wonderful innocence of a child excited about the lighting of the town Christmas tree

  • Admire the wonder of dew drops on grass in the morning as you leave for work, or the song the birds are singing

  • Admire the wondrous applause at the end of an exceptional evening at The Gravel Bar listening to the talents of Sprungbilly

  • Admire the wonder of the coming together of many, non-denominational souls in one single place to worship (Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs.)

  • Admire the wonder of the unconditional lovable licks and kisses from your adorable fur-baby.

Me and my fur-baby, Kirby

When we stop to admire the wonder in all things, we feel uplifted. We see life through a completely different lens. We're admiring life's every moment in such a positive way and when we become experts at doing this, there is no room in our lives for the alternatives.

3. PLAY

Adults know how to play.


After all, every adult was once a child. It's often that we are simply out of practice. Play helps to lighten us by relaxing us and therefore we allow more joy to enter into our experience. Without healthy doses of play, we become grumpy people who stifle our own ability to have fun.


If you've come to know my partner Jeff and I, we really know how to get out of the house and find moments for play (with and without our beloved Kirby.)


No matter where life has taken us, we have always looked for opportunities to play and have fun because we know that play nurtures joy and in turn makes memories for us. One of the things that makes us really tick is that we are always encouraging 'play' for each other.

 

Shopping in Dallas, Texas (circa 2011)

Welcoming 2019 at The Crescent Hotel (12/31/2018) in Eureka Springs, AR

As new residents, here's our first pic on The Rainbow Stairs in Eureka Springs, AR (2018)

These days, living here in Eureka Springs, you'll often find us out and about with our close friends, Missy and John Harwood. They own Missy's White Rabbit Lounge (on the rainbow stairs, in the heart of Downtown Eureka Springs.) When we arrived to Eureka Springs in June 2018, we didn't know a soul, but over time, our community of friends is large and we are so grateful for our loving, supportive friendships with all of you.


The "White Rabbit" had their grand opening in September 2019 and just a few months later, the pandemic closed everything down. In quarantine, staying safe, being careful (in groups of no more than 10) we did our best, like most, to stay in our bubble of ten. My sister-in-law, Denise used to joke that she was in awe that Covid-19 knew exactly when the eleventh person entered the room. LOL!


Well, as fate would have it, since their grand opening just months beforehand, Missy and John, Jeff and I all found ourselves making the most of our quarantine time in the same bubble day after day. Board game nights, firepits, dinners at home, fun on the porch, time on the lake (staying socially distant) and lots more. It was a time that brought us closer together and strengthened this new bond of friendship between us.


Today, that bond is stronger than ever and we all celebrate with so much joy when we are together. Often times, as other locals have started to observe, Jeff and I will do our best to stop what we're doing around the house and take a moment each weekend to hop into The "White Rabbit" for some fun, friendship, frolic and fantastic beverages and music. What's great about visiting there is that over time, especially since the pandemic has ended, this lounge has really blossomed. It's absolutely wonderful to spend time in their lounge with them and many other residents, friends and visitors than it is in our own living room at home (although we do love our very own movie date nights at home, too, from time to time.)


Plus, Jeff and I know that when we are our frolicking and playing with our friendly Eureka friends, no matter who we're with or where we are, there's the added benefit that we all laugh and smile (see #1, above.) The people here truly make the experience. We are Eureka!


In this blog-post, I speak about The Beautiful People of Eureka. We thought that moving here would slow us down (from Dallas) but no. Life is always on the move here and so many of the locals live up to what I described in this blog-post. Please check it out.


4. GET EXCITED

Think for a moment . . . isn't there something to be excited about?

  • seeing family soon

  • that class reunion

  • your new car

  • graduation

  • the Christmas gift you've always wanted

  • your upcoming vacation

  • a visiting close friend

  • a new job

  • getting a compliment from the boss that you're doing a great job

  • your new haircut

Everyday is filled with many things. Challenges, opportunities, wins, losses, disappointment and angst. All that said, there is always something, even if it's just one thing, to get excited about. Excitement needs to be celebrated more often because, as adults, we often fail to allow excitement to nurture our joy and our emotions. If we did this more often and complained less about the losses, disappointments, gossip, judgements, etc. it would allow us to get more energized and more enthusiastic about our own life experiences.

Last week, for example, I hit some serious gains in the gym and knowing how much time and effort goes into it day-after-day and week-after-week, I wanted to take time to celebrate that accomplishment. A week later, I am still talking about it, relishing in it, and enjoying my achievement with those I love and care for -- and it's great to see their happiness back to me as well.


"Follow your bliss. Do what you love. Find your passion." We've all heard these phrases many times before and there is much value to doing any one of these things (or all of them for that matter) because they spark excitement and enthusiasm and in turn, they bring joy to you.


If you find ways to get excited about every sunrise, sunset, rainbow, every breath you take, every person you meet, and every challenge that you encounter, every disappointment that taught you a valuable lesson - joy becomes unstoppable for you.


Your life will change, and you will intentionally begin to live, love and experience joy in all things if you have faith. Despite difficult, challenging circumstances or feelings, there is always something to celebrate with joy. I call it joyspotting. Check out this blog-post for more on joyspotting.


Local tip: Visiting The Gravel Bar at The Wanderoo Lodge will give you a healthy dose of joy for joy is part of the history of the place. Originally opened as a campground in the late 1920’s by the resident Freeman family ( who lived in the large Craftsman style home at the edge of the property) it was named “Camp Joy” and travelers who were touring the Ozarks were so delighted with the setting they started asking for a public bath & a pool. The pool , the largest in the state was completed in 1933 along with the first permanent structure, a changing room which was followed by clusters of charming rock cabins placed throughout Camp Joy. Three of these cabins along with the Freeman Bungalow home still stand today & are being renovated to full use . As evidenced in accompanying photos the next names were the Mount Joy and Joy Motor Court. which evolved to the majority of cabins being removed & replaced by the three conjoined Motel buildings built in sequence beginning in 1954 with the third and final one completed in 1974.

Find The Joy In What Is Already All Around You.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from beautiful Eureka Springs, AR!❤️

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