Friday, April 20, 2007

Happiness vs. Joy~

I thought I'd touch once again on the topic of happiness here at Nitty.Gritty. It seems to have come up over and over in different aspects of my life all week long. I find that interesting sometimes, when you almost see a 'theme' emerge in your life- for whatever reason. I will admit, it's been really great to have such a week. Not that I've done anything or really gone anywhere "spectacular", but I have felt happiness in a real way- mostly in the little things. If you're a "regular" here, you know what I mean in that. =)
Today it was a whole host of things sprinkled in with the not so wonderful things thay I sometimes find myself doing. I had to get myself out of bed after about 5 hours of sleep- which if you have a puppy or a newborn in your house, sounds like a really incredible thing! But for me it meant, Visine first thing, and then having to hustle four kids awake, make them breakfast AND coach them to eat said breakfast, getting them dressed...but not just into some old clothes. No. Today was 'spring picture day' I actually had to care about their hair- which meant taking time to comb it and/or wet it down and get Brock to take his shower, and then style hair. I rushed about to get all 8 shoes and 3 backpacks ready, and we were only a couple of minutes tardy.
I never did get to make my coffee...and I had been out too late to prep it and set the auto timer, so I was running on no caffeine. =)
Once I was up and running, I figured I might as well go get some essentials. I'm the kind of person who doesn't really care to shop for the 'disposables' from week to week so sometimes I just put it off. To the point of "almost pathetic" at times.
You could probably have turned it into a 'reality tv game' in my kitchen for a few days this week. Contestants would have been challenged to open the refridgerator and cupboards and actually find something appetizing to make. What do you do with a grapefruit, 2 gallons of milk (one whole, one 1%), a couple of tubs of pretend this is butter, a few eggs (fresh...not leftover colored ones from Easter- just so you don't start gagging here), a half a tub of sour cream, some cheese slices, assorted dressings, condiments and thai peanut sauce, OJ, and Reddi Wip? Oh yeah. I would love to see what Bobby Flay or Giada could do with that! =)
(We had French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream , and sausage links two nights ago...breakfast for dinner. That was our "best meal this week", according to my kids. I happen to love that as much as they do. Chip worked late all week.)
Basically we were down to the last package of toilet paper, minimal diapers, no "Ranch for dipping", and Tide was on sale. So I took the opportunity this morning to hit our local Target and hopefully bought up everything I need for the next two weeks.
After a quick stop at the grocery store, I had everything on my list (at least until we run out of milk, bread and eggs again), including frosted cupcakes- my 'impulse purchase'. What can I say? I couldn't pass up "Buy 1, Get 1 Free" on frosted cupcakes. I left one pack at Wyndham's therapy when I dropped her off for her sessions...and put some smiles on a few faces. I went home and had a little lunch and then a mini-Barbie Tupperware cupcake party with Ava and Bell. They loved it! It cost me a whole $3.29. I still have a few cupcakes left over too. =)
I was feeling tired for most the morning, but found after stocking up and getting free cupcakes, I wasn't noticing it quite so much. I capitalized on this 'burst of energy', and even "rode the cart" along with Ava in both the Target and Meijer parking lots.
Her spontaneous laughter made up for the coffee I had missed- and then some! She started chanting, "Go Mommy, go mommy, go mommy, go!" as the cart rolled toward the car. It just made me laugh. The two guys sitting in their cars watching me must have assumed I'd had a Triple Venti something at that point. Their faces almost made me laugh as much as Ava's chanting. =) I think it hit me then. Happiness to me is about the things that are available to me at any given moment in time- but I have to actually act or respond to those opportunities.
Does that make sense? It doesn't take money (or doesn't have to take money all the time), there's no flashing neon sign that says, "Happiness here.", and I think it's different for almost everyone. We're all unique and have different likes and dislikes and sense of humor and ways of looking at things. What I mean by that is, not everyone would get a thrill out of pushing the shopping cart quickly, and then hopping on it for a short ride through the parking lot. But I do. =)
It's up to each of us to seize those opportunities if we want to experience moments of happiness from time to time. Or days if you go on a Disney vacation..."the happiest place on earth". =)
For me, it showed up again today when I got my mail from the mailbox at the end of my drive. Two of the cards pictured here were in my mail today {Thanks, made Brock & me happy!}. How can I not blog about Starbuck's after getting this little gem of a postcard.
"THANK YOU". On the flipside is a note about the giftcard I have to which they just added $5 bucks- just to say thanks. I mean c' does this huge corporate giant know that I am cynical to nearly every marketing ploy and scheme out there?! They just happen to send me a card (I love mail!) with a picture of a double-shot of espresso on it, telling me that my cute little card that I had just used up, now has an extra 5 dollars on it? They must be reading my blog to know that. =) I mean don't get me wrong. I'm the first to say that lattes are overpriced and that they're a 'luxury item' and that I don't deserve such goodness in my life...but when it showed up unexpectedly (along with a check from one of my CK layouts) I couldn't help but be happy.
Today, I spent some time with my kids outside in the sunshine and fresh air- playing "Ring around the Rosie" and other fun stuff, and tickling Ava while getting her dressed. I kissed my hubby and we shared "I love you's". I ate chips and homemade guacamole (yum!), and sang along with the radio blaring and even though I've still got bathtime and bedtime and I could use a few more drops of Visine right about now; I have to admit, my life looked happy.
Now I have to add, that as I am typing out this blog, Ava has dumped out all her Polly Pockets, her Little Pet Shops and a Discovery Toys foam/shape puzzle in addition to spreading out about 22 dvds- to decide which one she wanted to play first. To top it off, she said she wanted to go potty by herself (we're still working on potty anytime she wants to "go by herself", I support that big girl decision 100%). This time though, it back-fired. She wasn't trying to go potty like a big girl, but instead was balling up wads of toilet paper and dropping them into the toilet. By the time I got "suspicious enough" {Moms- you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about gets quiet a little too long!}, she had played long enough that I couldn't just flush and move on. I had to go in there and do some cleaning up.
That was just now. In the middle of blogging about happiness in my life. And do you know what? I'm still happy, because I realize that I'm lucky to have a little girl who is curious and who is trying to learn new things, and who stood back and said, "sorry" at precisely the right instance.
I jotted down a few notes while listening to the radio a couple of days ago. I don't even know who said it or why, and I am paraphrasing this off the top of my head, but the speaker was talking about happiness versus joy. It went something like this:
Happiness is the sailboat in life. It glides along and takes in the view and it's a beautiful thing. But, it can easily be thrown off-course, and tossed about. It is affected by the winds and the waves, and should the rains come, well, it isn't quite so easy to maneuver.
Joy is the submarine in life. It also glides along the water, but rather than riding the waves and be affected by the winds, it is submerged in it and stays on course. There may not be quite the scenery, but there is a comfort knowing nothing can thwart it's journey- from departure to arrival. It matter not if the rain comes or if the sun does or doesn't shine upon the sub. It's mission remains unchanged.
I just thought that was such a great example for how we should look at happiness and joy. I love happiness in my life. It is a wonderful thing. I wish more people could find happiness, or do a self-inventory and come up with little things they can do to experience it more often in life. Joy, I am finding, is something that takes effort. I believe it really is a matter of choice. I believe, as I wrote earlier this week, that real joy, the unshakeable, indescribable kind, comes only from God. For me it has been and will continue to be an ongoing process, and it consumes more and more of my heart and life, as I look less and less to this world to fill the longings and desires of my heart, and instead seek God and ask Him to give me joy in every aspect of my life.
I don't think happiness and joy are absolutely exclusive of each other. But if I could have only one in my life- I'd choose Joy.


Anonymous said...

you are so right about this.

Disney Scrapper said...

Ok, that's funny because I have been posting this week about the things that bring me happiness ( even the small ones ).

My birthday:

My mini fridge:

Waffles and orange juice:

Especially after the last few days here in Va, I am trying to embrace the small things that bring me joy, and try to stress less about the things I can't change or control. God has told us to leave things in his if we can do just that. That is the true test of faith (lol).

FlipFlop Mom said...

I miss the days of Polly Pockets :( my little girl is now not so little and going to prom this year... I remember the days that I had to be super hero and save "polly" from the horrible vacuum beast... Now I have to save her from boys.. HA HA HA!!!

TRACEY said...

your blog is such an inspiration. Thanks for always having the courage to share your life and challanges along with the beautiful moments with us. Everyone should have such a positive person in their life.

Meghan said...

Hi Jody,

My name is Meghan and I came across your blog through baby Noah's... I just wanted to let you know that I have been blessed by your story and your blogs. My adopted son Ricky passed away about a year and a half ago and you remind me often of God's promise to bring us through pain and trials. Your children are beautiful - and I hope Ricky has had the priviledge of meeting Teagan in heaven!

Meghan Johnson

Anonymous said...

Oh jody I want those cupcakes!!! I wish I could have a girly tea little boy just wants to play in dirt!!!
I think today I will take a note of all the "happiness" things in my day! Thank you!

tammy said...

Hiya Jody~
I was just watching Oprah last week and she had a show regarding Happiness. How we as a society are trying to find happiness from the outside in instead of vice versa. It is truly JOY that we have and happiness is just something that we experience day to day, hopefully. It's just hard for some people to realize that just because they aren't "happy" right now for one reason or another, it doesn't mean that doing this or that is going to change it. The change has to come from within them. {I'm praying that my husband realizes that!} =) Great thoughts from you, as usual. Have a great weekend and enjoy this lovely warm weather, at last!!!
God bless,
~Tammy "up north"

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I would've been real happy with that Starbuck's card:):)

Alyson said...

*Happiness to me is about the things that are available to me at any given moment in time- but I have to actually act or respond to those opportunities.*

Just because I sometimes have to hear things a few times before they really sink in.

I loved the happiness/joy comparison. I have to say I miss out on a lot of happiness opportunities by getting a little too cranky with my kids, but I know I have a constant joy inside - I just never thought about it that way. That makes me happy!

Eminepala said...


i read your comment on mry's blog... thank you for your compliment... i hope you'll start scrapping in orange too LOL

btw: congrats for being a part of the scrap in style tv ;)

Anonymous said...

I have never before left a comment on any blog, but I thought I'd share this quote with you:

"My joy does not depend on my CIRCUMSTANCES, it is God's gift, and it is always available to me."

This, to me, sums up the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness, like you shared, is a direct result of what happens in our daily lives. Joy, rather, comes straight from God. We must trust Him, like in salvation, to accept this free gift.

You're words are encouraging....thank you!

mary h. said...

Girl, I just love you to pieces. You always put a smile on my face.;)

patterns of ink said...

Good choice. I liken it to the difference between having HOPE and having HOPES. They're both good,
but happenings bring about happiness just as joy comes from HOPE without the "s".

Tracy said...

"Happiness to me is about the things that are available to me at any given moment in time- but I have to actually act or respond to those opportunities."

You are so right! I love your words - into my quote book it goes! Your words made me realize how happy I've been in the past few weeks but I didn't notice it! How sad that I haven't taken a moment during those time of happiness, joy and laughter to realize how happy I am! I'm going to make a point to do this more.

Melody in MN said...

This is something that I ponder often, so to read about happiness vs. joy today was really great. Things that make me happy...
buttermilk pancakes on Sat. morning with my husband, walking in the spring breeze with my baby in the stroller, singing for God, reading a really great book, scrapbooking with friends, winking at my husband and daughter and seeing their smile in return...there are many more, but that's what came to mind right now. And JOY...yes, true joy really only comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior! AMEN to that! There is nothing that compares. Blessings to you, Melody