Joy Project

Jackson's Momma

Happy Face: taken at the party our friends threw to greet Monkey Boy. It's ok. I know you're jealous that you didn't get to have braces when you were 30 years old with your first baby. The trucker hat was in lieu of a corsage. Because my friends know me.

That day was easily one of the happiest of my life. I was thrilled to have Monkey Boy home. So many of our friends and family gathered to celebrate. So many years of wishing and hoping finally came true. So much love and laughter to share.

It’s no secret the holiday season is not one of my favorite times of year. I don’t really dig Christmas that much. If you’re new to this particular rant, I listed all my reasons last year. Nothing has changed. Except maybe my heart. But only a little.

We may not be as happy as you always dreamed we would be, but for the first time let’s just allow ourselves to be whatever it is we are and that will be better. ~ Garden State

My biggest issue with this season is how preoccupied everyone becomes with feelings. It seems to be required that we all be exuberantly happy. I didn’t stay as happy as I was in that photo for the entire party. There’s no way I could sustain that level of happiness for the entire 28 days of Advent. It’s exhausting. Instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus on joy.

Joy Project 2009

Joy Project 2009 at Robinson Center

My friend, Sarabeth, put together The Joy Project for the second year. She has a real heart to bring “good tidings of great joy to all people,” or at least the people who see the Joy Project flash mobs. If you’re in the Little Rock area during December and there’s a crowd, you could very easily see a group of people spontaneously break into dance to help spread Christmas joy. The Joy Project’s goal is to make the ordinary, busy days in December a little better.

If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness. –Andy Rooney

I think Andy Rooney was actually talking about Joy rather than Happiness, which is why I’ve decided I need my own “Joy Project.” I won’t be dancing. My thought is to stop trying to force my whole family all into irrational hysteria, but simply to celebrate who we are and how each of us have unique gifts and talents. Monkey Boy will remain a wackadoodle. Katy Kat will bounce in and out of the house. Baby Daddy will do a lot of eye rolling and sighing. I will remain sarcastic and dark humored, but will work on making my tongue a little less sharp.

Lucy Dog smile

Cause who doesn't like to see our dog Lucy smile?

I will make a deliberate effort to focus on the ordinary things which bring us joy. I will dwell on the good in our lives instead of how much people are annoying me. I will actually delegate Christmas celebration tasks instead of trying to do it all myself. I will do my very best not to lose my business when things are not done they way I would have done them. In short, I will focus on intentions instead of actions; I will look at the big picture instead of details; I will see the everyday beauty that is all around me, if I take the time to look.

Each of the Wordless Wednesday posts in December will focus on something in particular that brings me joy. The posts in between will document my progress in this Joy Project. It may take more than one Christmas season to undo 35 years of bad holiday mood, but I’m gonna give it my best shot. But if you think I will ring in Jingle Bells, you’ve got another thing coming.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Joy Project

  1. i think you should be dancing with us… but i’ll settle for this friend…

  2. This time of year sucks. There, I said it. I want to enjoy it. I want to be happy, but it never quite happens. In my search for Christmas enlightenment I almost always stumble upon reality and fall on my face.
    (That was crankier than I had anticipated, oh well, I’ll try to work on it.)

    • Kelli – maybe YOU should be dancing this year… there’s still time… 🙂

      Kerri – what a fun surprise this is today! And – you know me well enough to know that the Joy Project is the outward manifestation of my own struggle to find joy this time of year. It’s a hard one for me – it’s been good for me to have something else to focus on.

      Love this, love you.

  3. Sara

    Kerri,

    We don’t know each other, but I just wanted to reach out and say “thanks” for sharing your ordinary joys! Your blog is amazing and I am thankful for it and for you! Have a peaceful season finding the joys in everyday life.