Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.Adela Rogers St. Johns
Welcome, friends, to the first edition of a weekly thing I have decided to call O.M.G. (for Ordinary Mundane Gratitude).
Over the past few years, I’ve studied the data on how a consistent gratitude practice has proven to boost joy (and even happiness); yet despite this I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with my own personal gratitude practice. I’ve kept written journals; I even have a gratitude jar (which I call the “Jar of Awesome”); but it never quite sticks as a habit, because at some point I convince myself I don’t have enough time for it. I’m hopeful this latest iteration – not only noting my gratitude but sharing it – will be the one that lasts.
Why Ordinary Mundane Gratitude?
Because OMG…people often say “It’s the little things” in a joking manner, but….it IS the little things! We miss living in joy because we’re too busy looking for the extraordinary moments that make us happy. Now, there is a big distinction between joy and happiness. Happiness has to do with external circumstances, whereas joy has more to do with a contentment of the soul. Joy is a way of living that reminds us life is good even if our external circumstances are less than ideal.
In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.Brene Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power
Gratitude for the ordinary, mundane things in our daily life is the path to joy. We can live in constant joy by simply noticing all the small, so-called “boring” and “meaningless” details of our life that we normally miss. Don’t misunderstand – happiness is important. But compared to joy, it’s overrated. Joy is what sustains us during the hard times. It’s what gives us the power to transform its opposite – fear – into gratitude, which fuels more joy.
Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.Marianne Williamson
So without further ado, I give you my list of things I’m grateful for this past week. I’ll try to keep it as real and as entertaining as possible. I’m grateful to you for reading it, and I hope you’ll share some of your own gratitude in the comments.
This week, I’m grateful for…
- a FaceBook post from someone who I made a 30th birthday cake for 8 years ago. She said, “You made the best cake! Will you make my 40th soon!”. Of course, I’m always grateful for compliments that come my way. But this one meant a lot to me, because I remember feeling at the time like I was letting her down. There were so many other things going on at the time (including my oldest daughter’s wedding and the death of my mother-in-law) that I couldn’t give my all to that cake – and honestly I was certain she hated the cake, and me, and would never want to use my services ever again. So these words from her were especially sweet.
- the book I’m currently reading: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. This book is a quick read at only 126 pages…but man, I’m having to reread chapters so I can fully absorb and internalize the lessons. Always grateful for books that help me learn and improve.
- Color Street nail strips. Have you guys tried these?? They’re actual nail polish strips (base coat, color coat, and top coat) that take minutes to apply and have NO dry time. I applied them myself on the 16th, and 10 days later there is NO chipping!! To me, these are a godsend. I get a manicure and pedicure every two weeks, but I never get color on my hands because I have to wait too long for them to dry and even then I usually mess one up and then they chip within 2 days (and no, I’m not a fan of gel manicures). Problem solved!! One of the greatest inventions since sliced bread, the automobile, air conditioning and washing machines!
- divine provision. There was a point earlier in the week when I was overwhelmed. I felt suffocated by work deadlines, client demands, and my oven malfunctioning – and then the tiniest straw that broke the camel’s back: I ran out of something I needed. I couldn’t possibly stop to go to the store, and ordering it online would have taken a couple of days. Sitting there with my head in my hands, thoughts swirling like a tornado, three things happened. First, my Apple Watch on my wrist buzzed, reminding me to “breathe”. Second, the realization struck me that I didn’t have to deal with the oven now – my stovetop works just fine, and I have plenty of stovetop meals I can cook (it’s summer anyway, who wants to use the oven??). And third, and most important, when I checked my supplies, I actually found what I needed (I didn’t know I had one in my stash!). God is good!
- losing some of my “COVID-15” weight gain. Yes, it’s a thing…Google it!
- catching what could have been a costly mistake. I was putting together some tax packages for mailing, and I have a client who recently moved from New York to Florida. For whatever reason, my mail application printed a label with her old address on it – and had I not double-checked the packages before mailing them, sensitive personal information would have gone to who knows who. Whew!
- being a grandmother on the younger side. No, I would never advocate being a teen mom as I was, but one of the unforeseen benefits has been that when my kids started having kids in their twenties, it meant that I could actually enjoy them and be an active part of their lives.
- every bit of sunshine and blue sky that broke through the western-wildfire-induced smoke haze we had hanging over New York recently.
- home. No matter how messy at times. Even though it is far from the ideal of what I have in my head of what it “should” look like. Even with all of the unfinished (and not-yet-started) projects. Because it’s mine. I can lock the world out and just be here, in this space. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like this roof over my head.
Until next time, keep practicing the OMG!