Sunday, February 27, 2011

Joy v. Happiness

 Last month at book club, one of the members shared an article that she'd read recently that said we should all strive to experience 15 minutes of joy each day of our lives.   It prompted a huge discussion that carried  over into this month and this continues to be something I'm trying to figure out for myself. 

One of our club members is happy - all the time, and I do mean all the time.  I've seen her put to the test recently in her workplace and even under very negative circumstances she "shifted gears" so to speak.  She remained very happy but at the same time announced that the changes had given her new direction and a new focus.  I too consider myself a very happy person almost all the time.  It's rare that I cry though I can recall one time in my life that I've been really depressed.  There have been events that have made me sad, like the death of my sister-in-law and my dad, but generally I'm happy.   The discussions in our book club became interesting when two very happy people tried to figure out the difference between joy and happiness.  

I've always viewed happiness as a state of being.  I choose happiness and enjoy surrounding myself with things, people and events that make me happy.   When I was growing up my grandpa used to remind me "happy is the girl with a song in her heart" and because of his constant reminder I've continued to hum to myself my entire life, even when my life wasn't happy.  

To me, joy is a much stronger, deeper emotion.  Joy has a much higher threshold and is longer lasting.  It comes from a spiritual or heavenly place.  Having grown up hearing the phrase, "tears of joy" I think of joy as being something very deep within us filled with maximum emotion.   When I hear my granddaughters enjoying life and giggling at nothing at all, that is joy.  The mere sight of a rainbow, my children or my grandgirls brings me pure joy.
My happy friend/book club members sees happiness and joy as much the same - both spiritually based.  I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dance of the Fairies

A couple of years ago a tornado blew through downtown Atlanta damaging buildings in the city and nearby in-town neighborhoods.  A good friend living in one of those neighborhoods helped put together a fundraiser to help raise money for uninsured homeowners.  It was a great event that included a silent auction and I was lucky enough to win a painting.  Honestly from the moment I saw it I was in love with it.   I loved it even more when I read the artist's notes about the painting.  

Hundreds of colorful prisms flowed through the banisters of the Fresh Air Home's second story balcony. The prisms cascaded downward to the grand foyer and greeted the "Lost Children" with magical warmth as we entered through the home's front doors. Naturally bonded by silent fears we listened pensively to the housemothers as they explained the rules, and the consequences which most certainly would bewail us if broken. Moving effortlessly within the dancing rainbows, the fairies whispered words of encouragement: "Leave behind the fears within your confused little minds and the battered scars left upon your little bodies; you will be safe within the halls of your magical summer home."  -    Deborah Elizabeth Empting                                                                                                                   
A footnote following this passage explains that this is an excerpt from a novel the artist is writing.  She further explains that she transitioned in and out of 36 families while growing up in Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia.   Now when I see the painting, I see pink and all the other beautiful things that a child tries to imagine when growing up in a painful world. 
May we all see the world with fresh eyes everyday celebrating pink and all the other beautiful colors in it. 

Joining Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We Don't Do Valentine's Day

My husband and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day.  We never have.  It just wasn't a custom for him growing up so it was never a part of our relationship.  There are so many other occasions we celebrate throughout the year that I've never given it a second thought.   Normally I make a special cookie that I've made every Valentine's Day since we got married but I'm getting a little construction done in the house so I couldn't even bake cookies this year.  
Courtesy of ValentineCelebrations
 As I've been looking at all the decorations on other blogs I couldn't help but think about Valentine's Day growing up.  Every year not only did we have to make a special valentine for everyone in our class, we also had to decorate a valentine box.  Did you have to make a valentine box?   My mom was a working mom in the 50s and 60s and with 4 kids there was rarely "make it" time but when I was in second grade she helped me make the most beautiful valentine box ever!  It even won the class award for the best valentine box!   Oh I wish I had pictures of the shoebox that had been covered in white meat paper (thank you Piggly Wiggly).  Then my mom cut strips of red tulle that she gathered on the machine and we glued them around the edge of the box to make a skirt.  
It was magnificent.  

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day full of love and surprises. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Do You Blog? Take the Survey!

Earlier this week someone asked me why I blog.  The question has really had me doing some thinking and I thought it might be fun to ask blog readers the same question.  If you have a few moments, please click here to take a quick survey.   I'm looking forward to compiling the responses and sharing them here on Jojo's Joys.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another Great Class at Viking Cooking School

It was a marathon class but so much fun!   The class is called The One-Day French Culinary Basics that includes the preparation of:
Savory Cheese Soufflé
Béchamel Sauce
Seafood Crêpes
Bouquet Garni
Beef Bourguignon
Classic French Bread
Plain Short Pastry
Tarte Tatin

Last weekend was particularly beautiful so it was especially hard to go through with an indoor activity but once the class got started there was no time to think about any place besides the kitchen. 
My cooking teammates were Emily and Steve, a dad and daughter who enjoy cooking together and they were so much fun to work with.  

Since taking the class, I've made french loaves once and my husband's made them twice!  Nothing beats a delicious crusty loaf of bread, fresh from the oven.  
 I loved preparing the beef bourguignon, seafood crepes (I love crepes!), 
 and the tarte tartin 
but my favorite was the cheese souffle.  
It was so beautiful to see the beautiful puffed souffles coming out of the oven.  

After a day of cooking,  we all sat down to enjoy a wonderful meal.  Of course I got home and my husband asked, "so, what's for dinner?"  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Did I Miss This Magazine?

 I'm not sure how I missed Southern Lady Magazine because it's been around since 1999 but a good friend loaned me a copy yesterday and I just loved it!  It seemed like a smaller version of Southern Living without all the ads.  
 The current issue features a magazine version of Breakfast at Tiffany's breakfast providing ideas for the menu, table settings and appropriate attire (bet you can guess the dress)!    I loved the Tiffany blue felt rose napkin rings that were used at each place setting.  They're very easy to make but where do you find Tiffany blue felt?