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I spy joy in an angel at WinCo

WinCo Angel

It’s Halloween.  This brings my children great joy; for no other reason than they get to go door-to-door collecting bags full of candy. Then I have the joy of trying to control how much they eat, attempting to find that fine balance between allowing a little extra indulgence and creating sugar monsters that put Frankenstein and Godzilla to shame.

It just so happens that I needed to do some grocery shopping today before the Halloween festivities begin. I came across an angel stocking chocolate chips and immediately felt joyful. Turns out this heavenly creature works at WinCo, and is one of a handful of employees that came to work in costume today.

How wonderful! And not just because she was in costume, but because she was in an angel costume.

Angels are symbols of love, acceptance, protection, caring, assistance and joy. How fitting that the women stocking groceries–the very food we feed our families–be an angel.

Truth be told, she really is an angel. Today and everyday.

October 31, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in water tower graffiti

Love Water Tower in Portland

The more I read, the more I confirmation I get that love is really all there is. Everything begins and grows from love. And love, just love, is the answer for everything.

The first few times I encountered this idea, I wasn’t quite buying it. But it’s really grown on me.  When I stop and think about it, and get to what’s at the core–the very base– of everything, love seems to always be there. It’s quite a comforting thought, actually.

And a joyful thought. For what is joy if not an expression of love? Seeing even the symbols, written or drawn, of love bring me joy.

Let’s put them everywhere, shall we?

This joyful site can be spied going east on the Burnside bridge in Portland, Oregon.

October 16, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in originality

Sand Forests on the beach in Seaside, OR

Last month we took a 3-day weekend to relax in Seaside, Oregon. During one of the daily beach jaunts I saw this young boy building something completely original. He wasn’t building the usual sand castle, but something more like a forest, made of twigs and feathers and stones. Only assisted by his father in what appeared to be merely a gathering of goods.

I was struck by awe. And joy. What a wonderful, original work of art.

It also brings me great hope. Hope for our children and the possibilities that are before them–and before us. Endless possibilities for creative thought and unique expression.

What amazing and unfathomable worlds are yet to be ours?  After all, everything is possible. Isn’t it?

October 4, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in The Fun Theory

Although The Fun Theory has been around for a year now, thanks to Volkswagen, I was just introduced to it last week by my mom.

The Fun Theory is simply that having fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.  To prove it, Volkswagen ran a few “tests”.  You know, I think they’re onto something.

I’d love to know how to turn the stairs in my house into a giant keyboard. With that kind of fun I might just be able to put on those skinny jeans that have been sitting on a shelf in my closet for a year now. Or maybe two…

September 22, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in Operation Beautiful

You're Beautiful!

I heard about Operation Beautiful, but I hadn’t yet seen it in action.  Until today.

On the corner of 14th and Yamhill in Portland, Oregon, I found You’re Beautiful chalked on the sidewalk.

What a joy.

No matter how you feel about yourself, seeing those words, knowing they were intentionally written to remind you–all of you, which means everyone–about your innate beauty, touches your soul on levels felt and unfelt. 

I felt the message in my bones. And somewhere, I’m sure, that message got imprinted on a subconcious level. And the whisper of “you’re beautiful” echos still in the air around me.  I’m beautiful.

You’re beautiful.

Spread the word.

August 18, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in a helping hand

A helping hand

Driving home from work yesterday I saw a wonderful act of kindness between strangers.  Sitting at a light in the 97 degree heat I noticed the car next to me had its hazard lights flashing.  I let out a sympathetic “bummer”.

My sympathy soon turned to awe as the car in front of me pulled ahead of the stalled vehicle and stopped.  The driver and passenger got out, the passenger got in the driver’s seat and the driver came back to the stalled vehicle and said something to the people in it. The passenger of the stalled car got out and the two men stood behind the car until the light turned green, then they began to push. They got the car through the light and off to the side of the road, where the first car was waiting for them.

It made me feel so good I couldn’t help but smile and wave.  And quickly take this photo with my phone.

It’s so nice to see a kind act between strangers.  And it reminded me that such kindness is more common than we think.  In fact, it happens all the time.  We just aren’t always right there to see it.  When we are fortunate enough to witness kindnesses in the moment it’s a really good idea to pay close attention to them, and soak up all the goodness you can.  I truly believe it has more anti-oxidant powers than blueberries and acai combined, squared and then squared again.

Wheatgrass, step aside.

July 9, 2010   1 Comment

I spy joy in a bejeweled pink cast

Bejeweled heart cast

While getting my son’s arm in a more permanent cast than the ER version that allowed for tissue swelling, we saw all kinds of broken limbs move in and out of the casting room. We saw purple casts and pink casts and orange casts. And then we saw this one. Pink with purple hearts and accented with bling.  I almost fell out of my chair rushing over to look at it.

“I had to do pink and purple for her,” said the woman pointing to her 9-ish-year-old daughter. I oohed and ahhed and gasped when I saw the purple hearts were not painted on, but were actually made of plaster. “They weren’t this busy when I came in here the first time,” she said.

I told her how much I loved it, and how joyful I thought it was. She didn’t mind a bit when I asked to take a photo of the happy artwork that was helping her leg heal.

How absolutely wonderful.

I have no idea how she broke her leg, I never asked her. And she never hinted at how it most likely was making it difficult to keep up with two young children under the age of 10. We just reveled in the beauty she created out of what I’m sure caused a great deal of pain.

No rain, no rainbows. No broken bones, no bejeweled pink and purple heart casts.

Life is good.  All of it. If we let it be.

June 24, 2010   1 Comment

I spy joy on a trash can

Spreading love in Portland

Graffiti is a word that carries a negative connotation in our society. But sometimes graffiti can be good.

Just a couple of days ago I was walking around Portland and saw this trash can had been tagged with a heart. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “love.”

Who would have thought you could spread love through garbage? Certainly not me, but there it was. Plain, simple, clear as day. Love. Love thy brother. Love yourself. Love your life.


June 21, 2010   1 Comment

I spy joy in a bumper sticker

Bumper Sticker

I saw this on a vehicle parked outside East West Martial Arts as I was taking my daughter in for her karate class and it brought me joy.

We take Taryn to karate because she enjoys it. And also because it’s good for her physically and mentally. As her mother, the confidence I know it’s building in her body image is incredibly important to me.  She’s learning about what her body can do, and that she’s so much stronger than she knew. She’s learning about mental discipline and strength, about what it takes to be the person you want to be. And she’s learning that everything begins with a thought: making that high kick, respecting herself and others, maintaining good posture, breaking a board, keeping a positive attitude…

She’s learning that what she thinks and the actions she takes are much better indicators of the person she is than the shape of her body or the color of her hair.

All of which is summed up nicely on this bumper sticker on a car parked right outside her karate class.

May 19, 2010   No Comments

I spy joy in hand-made Mother’s Day cards

Cards from my kids

There’s something extra special about a kid-made card. I find buckets full of joy in the cards my children make and give to me, especially when they’re so excited about the great artwork they put on paper that they have to walk me through it. “And see right here? That’s me and you…”

Bonus points for misspelled words–that’s a sure sign the kids created these all by themselves. (Ya for mom is really Yay for mom.  Yay!)

Love it.  L. O. V. E.  love it.

I’d pick these hand-made notes over a 3 carat diamond any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

My cup runneth over.

May 9, 2010   No Comments