- Thanks for all your support and well-wishes on Wednesday’s post. I know we all have our own hard, and it’s cathartic to hear and know that; it’s also good to band together and go joyfinding. I’ll do a bit of both here today.
- I ended up having a lot of screen time the last few days which kinda bummed me out, but much of it was sweet friends reaching out in support (Hi Elaine, Hi Hillary!); friends with their own “hard” that come alongside and cheer and support. I do find texting a slippery slope, but it’s also a great tool to maintain community. You’ll be proud to know I only checked the news ONCE on my phone all week.
- It was another roller-coaster week of parenting. The kids ended up getting sent home early their first day back to in-person learning because of a pending storm (good call, school board – the roads got very messy mid-afternoon) and the next day was cancelled outright. I tried to make life as easy as possible; simple meals, I hired a
hostage negotiatorbabysitter for one afternoon but I was still bone weary. The kids also fought. A lot. And over perceived slights (disagreeable looks, getting in the way) which could not be solved with a coin toss. Sigh.
- After over a month of fitting work responsibilities in and around kids and online learning and prepping lunches and answering questions and doing laundry…I just wanted a solid day to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Expecting the kids to be in school all week, I had gone ahead and set up a full schedule for Tuesday, but managed to make it through a volley of video calls – only interuppted once by receiving a Post-It note from a child asking: “Can I go on the Chromebook? Circle yes or no!” to which I replied “No and why are you bothering me?!” I kept a close eye on a particularly rambunctious neighbourhood snowball fight through the window, as well as an adorable snowman making effort…all while nodding along to budget considerations and milestone projections like an adult who didn’t have children covertly slipping Post-It notes and building snowmen nearby.
- The taxes that I was so relieved to have done weren’t actually done and there were still forms to sign and lots of back-and-forth with the accountant, but those communications ended up saving about $6,000 in tax, so it was worth the effort.
- Wednesday and Thursday were…amazing. The kids were in school the whole day and I felt like a productivity wizard. I had picked away at things over the last few weeks and kept my head above water, but there were so many nagging tasks that I just couldn’t prioritize when I had to fit work in and around having kids home. It felt so good to get some major meetings behind me and I’m feeling a lot more positive about work responsibilities after this week of catch-up and, in some cases, proactively finishing tasks.
- Now let’s find some joy, shall we?
- The kids have been begging to go sledding and I have to admit the little side-hill on our property (think the size of a ditch) doesn’t really cut the mustard anymore. I decided to get the kids off the bus after their early dismissal and head directly to our favourite sliding hill (yes, Wolfville also has sliding hills). We collected a few friends along the way and it was great fun. Speeding down the hill with Levi and flying – literally – over one of the speed bumps was both terrifying and exhilerating. When we finally came to a stop, he collapsed against me quietly – I worried he had hurt his tongue or head – and then stood up screaming: “THAT WAS SO CRAZY AND FUN!” It really was so, so fun.
- Reading Anne of the Island in bed one night. I was so tired (shocking) and literally felt like I couldn’t move so I used the opportunity to read through most of that book in an evening and it was just pure comfort.
- My dear friend (giver of the awesome, thoughtful mug gift from last week) came over to watch the latest Nate Bargatze special on Netflix (Greatest Average American; I’d already seen it twice, and it only gets better with each viewing). I love to laugh and I love to spend time with Joy – win, win. We quote lines from Nate Bargatze all. the. time. Humour is subjective, but I just think he is objectively hilarious.
- Homemade confetti. Nuff said? The kids (mostly Abby) have been working on using up old scraps of paper; we have a star punch and regular hole punches. This feels like it is bordering on glitter territory, but I did sanction/encourage it. I can’t decide whether to put a warning label on the cards or just let my mother silently curse me when she has tiny circles of colourful paper littering her dining room floor? *Update: I decided to be responsible and, against my fun instincts, did label the back of the envelopes with Caution: Confetti Alert*
- One child was so tired and cranky they excused themselves from the table after a few bites on Tuesday at supper. I let him go – he had a giant bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and two generously full chicken and spinach wraps for lunch. After some snuggling and chats (very joyful), I made a mental note to leave a snack in his room in case he woke up hungry. I forgot. At 4 am our bedroom door opened. This is quite unusual, so I woke up immediately. When I got to the door a tiny voice simply said: “I’m so hungry my legs are shaking.” Sigh. I like that the kids now ask permission to get food in the middle of the night (there was a candy fiasco a few years ago that doesn’t bear repeating), but not at 4 am. I got him a muffin (these 5-ingredient muffins that I’ve been making at least once a week for YEARS; I do add a bit of oil or applesauce to make them extra moist and now sub 1/4 cup brown sugar – total – for the dates because it’s easier and I need easy right now) and a granola bar and cup of water. I told him to eat up and then get back to sleep; when I left he was sitting, legs dangling over the edge of the bed, eating his granola bar with his bedside light on at its lowest setting and it just…melted my heart. An unexpected “joysighting” at 4 am. I hope he got back to sleep. I didn’t.
- Yes, the green beans were joyful! Freshly steamed with a dollap of butter and some salt, I enjoyed every mouthful. We all love fresh beans and I got bonus joy by serving them out of my new bowl from Christmas (inexpensive – Dollarstore, dishwasher safe, and so pretty).
- I’m grateful for most of the food I consume, but this soup was bordering on joyful. I talked to Abby after school the whole time I was chopping and prepping; she ran to the cupboard to get ingredients so it felt like a team effort and the house smelled delicious. Plus there were leftovers…and leftovers give me joy.
- I was tired last Sunday and couldn’t stop yawning in church. Capacity limits are minimal and we were sitting alone with about 50 empty chairs around us. It was cold. Did I mention I felt exhausted. We can’t sing, and watching a music video is just not the same. Worshiping with a group is a powerful form of community and connection. All this to say I wasn’t feeling overly joyful. But then…they showed a musical rendition of Psalm 1 and our pastor explained that the singers – Poor Bishop Hooper – are a young couple singing through the Psalms. I quoted from Psalm 1 in my post on lamenting, and I’m reading a Psalm each morning at the breakfast table. I’ve known God long enough not to be surprised by this, but it was such a burst of unexpected joy. I’m not likely going to listen to all the Psalm songs (try saying that five times fast), but I’ve been listening to this one on repeat.
- Finding this in the drawer of my bedside table, from when Levi looked at our 2021 Christmas card and decided to recreate the back picture.
quotes from Anne of Avonlea
One of my goals for 2022 is to read through the entire Anne of Green Gables series; I’ve done it once before, during my first year of university.
A lot has changed since then!
I grew up immersed in Anne’s world – we watched the Megan Follows movies regularly, we read the books and, living so close to Prince Edward Island, we visited the very regions where Lucy Maud Montgomery dreamed up her famous “Anne-girl.”
But while the characters were familiar to me, I can’t quite get over how much practical wisdom is contained within these books. They do portray the world through rose-tinted glasses, but that’s not always a bad thing.
As per usual, I made note of favourite quotations and thought I’d write them out here. If you don’t get around to reading these classic treasures, here are some nuggets of wisdom I discovered recently. Anne, of course, would be a kindred spirit with my recent persistence in “joyfinding”.
- “Marilla, what if I fail?”
“You’ll hardly fail completely in one day and there’s plenty more days coming,” said Marilla.
- “I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people know more – though I know that is the noblest ambition – but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me – to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”
- “If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet,” said Priscilla.
“I am so glad you spoke that thought…instead of just thinking it and keeping it to yourself. This world would be a much more interesting place – although it is very interesting anyhow – if people spoke out their real thoughts.”
- “After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
- Anne had a long meditation at her window that night. Joy and regret struggled together in her heart. She had come at last – suddenly and unexpectedly – to the bend of the road; and college was round it, with a hundred rainbow hopes and visions; but Anne realized as well that when she rounded that curve she must leave many sweet things behind…all the little simple duties and interests which had grown so dear to her in the last two years and which she had glorified into beauty and delight by the enthusiasm she had put into them.
- “But I’d rather look like you than be pretty,” she told Anne sincerely.
Anne laughed, sipped the honey from the tribute, and cast away the sting.
Happy weekending. Happy joyfinding. And be careful when you open envelopes; there just might be some confetti inside.
Have you ever read Anne of Green Gables books? If so, who is your favourite character? Do you collect favourite quotes from the books you read? Any moments of joyfinding to share?