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Friday, April 29, 2011

100th Post of Joy

Time flys when your having fun. I have been having so much fun with you :-) I cannot believe that I have reached my 100th post!!! When I realized I was stuggleing to think up a post that would be special enough for this milestone. Then I visited Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop an got my answer.

In honor of the 100th post, I am officially introducing myself to you, letting you see my face and hear my voice. Please enjoy my 1st Video Log.

Thank you for Chasing Joy with me. Here's to the next 100 posts :-)

Picture credit

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Don't List for Joy in the Workplace


Let’s face it most of us would not work if we did not have to. So here is a little Do Not do list to help things stay pleasant in the office

• If you have a hearing problem don't play a radio in you cube unless
you have on headphones. What is barely audible to you is surround sound
to your co-workers.

• Don't apply your hair spray at your desk. They are nice enough to
offer us bathrooms for that type of grooming,

• Don't ask your co-workers if their shoes, purse, or any other items
is real or a knock-off unless you are prepared for an answer including an expletive and the phrase non of your business

• Do not floss or otherwise picking at your teeth at your desk. That room with the sinks, stalls and all the mirrors does come in handy

• Do not refer to the younger employees as Kiddo unless you’d like them to remind you of just how young you aren’t

• Do not braid your co-worker's hair at the desk . Do I really need to say any more???
Do not wear your baseball uniform into the office even if you play on
the company's team. This is definitely a violation of the dress code.

• Do not tell your co-worker they probably are "hot" when not wearing
their uniform Unless you are hoping to earn a sexual harassment case instead of a raise

• Do not wish out loud that your co-worker will fall and never get
up, not everything we think is meant to be said out loud.

• If you go to the gym and remember you forgot to do something really important, take the time to shower and change. Nothing is so important that you need to be in the office with other people in sweat dripping from your brow onto you sweet stained t-shirt. Another dress code infraction!!!

• Do not fight with your significant other at work on the phone or in person. There is plenty of time for those open and honest feelings at home.

So raise the Joy quotient at your workplace and keep these don’ts in mind as you head to the office. Maybe even print them out and hang them in your cube or write a few of them on your white board.

What’s on your don’t list for workplace behavior???

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Joy of Imperfection

Perfection is the quality or state of being free from fault or defect, flawlessness, the quality or state of being saintly, an exemplification of supreme excellence, an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence. Perfection is non-existent.

This weekend I am doing something that I basically never do. I am entertaining. I am having a small group of friends over for a Jewelry party. For some this is no big deal. For me it is a huge deal. To actually invite people into my private space and reveal another part of myself…. Scary stuff.

I know what you’re thinking much ado about nothing. But here is the problem. This is what my house should look like.

But it actually looks more like this: (picture from)
(****note to potential stalkers this is not a picture of my actual house****)

I have had this idea in my head that when you reach a certain age, certain income, certain point in you career your home should look a certain way. My house is comfortable and I am proud to own it. It is within my means and I am blessed to have it. However, since my house does not fit that image of a perfect house that I have in my head, I have had this crazy idea that my little place was not good enough for entertaining. Because it is not my dream house, my perfect house I have robbed myself of the pleasure of having people over. I’ve also robbed my friends of the opportunity to come into my private space and get to know me even better.

What makes this ridiculous idea that I have to have a perfect place so bad is that I know my friends do not even care. My friends are not judgmental or materialistic. And they love me just because I am me.

So once again I have a Choice to make will I Chase Joy which is attainable or will I chase perfection which does not exist???? I choose to Chase Joy.

What are you chasing?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Running Towards Joy.... Slowly :-(


I hate running!!! It is hard and It hurts :-( But, I am still doing it. Last year I Walked Toward Joy with my friend and we decided this year we'd run our 5k instead of walking it. We started actively training to run/jog the 5K back in February. I got new sneakers for better support as I Ran Toward Joy in March. Now it is the end of April and I feel like this is still so hard.

I guess overall I am disapointed that this running thing does not feel any easier. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic??? I really felt that by now I'd be very close to jogging 3 miles non-stop. However, that is not the case. I can still not even jog 1 mile without having to stop. I have yet to reach a runner's high. I have yet to lose myself in the run. Every step from the first to the last is a struggle.

The physical struggle is starting to become a bit of a mental struggle as well. Initially I was able to tell myself to fight through the heavy legs, shortness of breath, and apporaching nausea because soon this would all be easy. Well it feels as though soon has come and gone and physically it is not much easier than the first day and it is getting harder and harder to convince myself to keep going.

Right now my motivation is the 32nd Annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5k Run/Walk to support Child Advocates coming up on May 15th. Friends are running with me and I won't let them down by quitting. Other friends have been encouraging me as I report on my workouts and because of them I won't be a quiter. Part of me definately wishes I could gracefully bow out. But overall that would be such a dissapointment to myself. Much more of a disapointment than doing the race and not running the entire thing. I know I will feel so proud of myself for having got out there and pressed toward my goal. So I remind myslef of the motivation from my online trainer friend on PNP, the girl in last place is the one on the couch. I am still Running Towards Joy just a bit slower than I thought.

If you are a runner at what point in your initial training did it stop being so hard? Did it ever get easy?

How have you motivated yourself to do something that is really really hard?

Tell me how you are Running Toward Joy, even if you are running slowly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fear, Truth, and Joy

If you give someone the finger you are cursing God
If you kiss (or do other stuff) on a first date the boy will not respect you
If you smoke weed you will turn into a crack head
If you are too promiscuous no man will want to marry you
If you don’t get really good grades you won’t be able to get a good job Party girls don’t grow up to be professionals
If you are nice, pretty, smart, and a good cook you will be beating men off with a stick
If you work hard you will rise to the top of your career field
If you have good morals people will appreciate you for it
Good things come to those who wait

These are just a few of the absolutes I grew up thinking. No one told me these things. (Except the one about giving the finger, my neighbor told me that). I certainly didn’t get these ideas from my parents. Yet this knew in my heart was true. I live my life based on these facts and used them as a guide in my decision making. I can honestly say I have never given anyone the finger other than as a joke.

Now I realize that these are not truths they are fears. They are fears of the possible negative consequences of my actions. I believe I said it before Joy and Fear are mutually exclusive. They cannot exist together in the same space. Now truth on the other hand can clarify your path to Joy. Truth enables you to make decisions based on what you want and not simply what you fear.

The truth is:
If I give you the finger you have really pissed me off
God is so great and I so insignificant in comparison that the idea of me cursing God is absurd
If I kiss (or do other stuff) on a first date the boy may not respect me, he also may have been feeling the same chemistry and dig the spontaneity
If I smoke weed it may be a gateway drug that leads me to the crack house or I could just gain 5lbs from getting the munchies
Plenty of promiscuous women become faithful wives
Not everyone with a great job had good grades. Do you know what your doctor or lawyer’s GPA was??
Some Monday to Friday professionals are party girls Friday night through Sunday
If you are nice, pretty, smart, and a good cook dating still may not come easy to you
If I work hard I may not rise to the top of my career field but I will be at my best at work
If you have good morals many people will resent you for it because they won’t like their reflection in your eyes
Good things come to those who look for and pursue good things

No, this does not mean we should all be weed smoking, promiscuous, party girls, who lack morals, are lazy at work and school and run around giving everyone the finger. Although, that may be just a little bit fun LOL :-) What we should do, what I wish I’d have realized sooner, what I think students these days should know, is to embrace truth (not fear) and base your decisions, what you do and don’t do, on what brings you Joy. Not the selfish short lived happiness that comes from doing what you with regardless of consequences. But the Joy that comes from doing what you feel is right just because it feels right for you.

This is in response to Mama Kat’s Writing Prompt: Something students these days should know.
What do you think students these days should know?
What absolutes did you grow up with that you now know to be not so absolute?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Joy of Volunteering... or Maybe Not

I just returned home from my first volunteer experience. While I wish I could say my cup runneth over with the Joy that comes from doing a good thing, there is considerable room left in said cup. Dare I say it is not even half full???

Volunteering was one of the activities I listed on my Devil's Workshop list. I'd been having a hard time deciding on what kind of volunteer opportunity to try. I am a worrier by nature. Once I know you (especially if I like you) your worries and problems tend to become my sources of anxiety and stress (which is exactly why I avoid Joy Thieves). For that reason I wanted to avoid anything dealing with sick people, children, or homeless/under privileged women. Not that these are not great causes in need of our support. I just did not want to come away from the experience feeling sad, depressed, or worried.

When I received an email from the Support Center for Child Advocates asking for volunteers for their Annual Benefit Auction Reception I thought this is perfect. I could provide service for a great agency that helps Children without the worry of becoming attached to said children, plus the Reception would give me an excuse to wear my new red dress, and bonus maybe I'd meet a cute lawyer (I am single and looking afterall :-)

Unfortunately, I didn't get the warm fuzzes that I was expecting. Who knew that there would be several hundred lawyers, and law related professionals, and one non-law related professional, Me :-( Guess what, Legal professionals don’t make a lot of effort to talk to you after they realize you don’t work in the law field. I briefly chatted with several people but after explaining what I did for a living they’d say “that’s interesting” but then turn away to talk to other lawyer types. I knew the crowd would be mostly lawyers but expected the volunteers to come from more diverse professional backgrounds.

There was one Lady Lawyer who did make some effort to talk to me even after I explained I was not a Lawyer. We did not really have anything in common. I am black. She is white. I am 31. She is in her late 40s early 50’s. I have no kids. She has two. She could afford to practice law as a volunteer. My paycheck is a necessity. So what did we talk about??? We talked about the fact that we both had on fabulous red dresses. We talked about why we wore them, how long we had them, and how relieved she was to see someone else wearing red. Lol

When I signed up to be a volunteer I asked to work registration. However, I had to ask again at the event to be assigned to registration. Luckily they still had a position open. They explained all the instructions very fast and quickly thanked us for assisting. I did not at all feel confident in what I was doing. Also, despite being told thank you I did not at all feel my presence as a volunteer was appreciated or meaningful.

While the evening did not go as I had planned, there is a joyful lesson to be learned nonetheless. Overall I felt stressed, out of place, and underappreciated. However, I did feel very attractive. I loved the red dress I was wearing. I felt confident about who I was and the image I was projecting even while not feeling confident in what I was doing. While I did not necessarily fit in with the Law crowed. I did not look out of place. The lesson learned: the more stressful the event or situation the more effort I’ll put into my appearance. If things don’t go well at least I can grasp a little by Joy looking in the mirror :-)

Have you ever been disappointed by a volunteer experience?

Has a special outfit ever been your source of Joy in an otherwise disappointing situation?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Joyful Food Friend


Dear Food,

What has become of our relationship? For years we had a real friendship. You were my comforter, my stress relief, my hug on the inside. Helping me deal with what was going on all the time. I never had to feel alone or bored. Whenever I’ve needed something to do, I could always go shopping for or spend time preparing you.

Even at work if I am not feeling great there you are giving me just a little taste. A little something sweet to wake me up, a sugar high, yeah that’s what’s up. Or after a breakup you save the day a bowl of ice-cream or some cookies to keep the loneliness away. Even after a workout you are there to say, have another helping you were a champ in the gym today.

Food you have always made me feel so good, full and satisfied. Yet I have looked in the mirror and actually cried. What oh what have you done to me!!! I can hardly believe what my eyes do see. Rolls, cellulite and extra chins, these are not the gifts left by a friend. A frenemy is what you have become making me feel good until I see the damage you have done.

So here and now I change the rules of the game. We can be friends again if you don’t stand in my way. I am Chasing Joy both day and night and to catch her I must be feeling alright. So I’ll need your support with protein and good carbs. Not snack cakes made of sugar and lard. I’ll be looking to you for fruit and veggies too. They will make me feel great and give me energy to stay awake. And if we share in some cake or pie let’s keep the portions in check so our relationship does not go awry. If we follow these rules frenemies we will no longer be because I’ll look in the mirror and like what I see. You will keep me fueled up with energy for sure and keep me satisfied as I continue Chasing JOY…


Your friend.

I wrote the above poem as a response to a prompt on Mama Kat’s Losing It Writer’s Workshop . The prompt was to write a poem about a battle you are overcoming. As I mentioned in my earlier my body my temple posts I am working to make healthy diet and fitness changes.

What are you battling? What obstacles are making it hard for you to Chase Joy???

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Joyful Reminder


This weekend I was invited to share in a new friend’s birthday celebration. At the party I met several of her relatives. One person in particular, a young lady, left a lasting impression. I talked to this young woman for only a little while. But that is all it took for her to leave a lasting impact on me.

This young lady was disabled. I do not know her exact disability but she appeared to have minimal motor control on one side of her body and a speech impediment. She brought up the topic of her disability by apologizing to me if I could not understand what she was saying to me. I assured her that I could understand her. She went on to explain that she was in an accident when she was in the tenth grade that left her disabled. She went on to ask me if I had had the opportunity to finish high school. I responded yes that I had finished both high school and college. Her eyes lit up with excitement at the thought. She also asked me if I had driven myself to the party. I said yes. She went on to explain that she only got the opportunity to practice driving once before her accident.

This young lady told me how she sometimes felt angry and frustrated with her disability because she could remember how she was before the accident. However, during this entire conversation she did not reveal any self-pity. No signs of a woe-is-me attitude. She was cheerful and honest and seemed very pleased at hearing of my having accomplished some of the goals she had had for herself. This young lady was the antithesis of a Joy Thief.

So here I am Chasing Joy when I have so much to feel joyful about. How many things have a taken for granted? A small example, how many times have I complained about not wanting to be the driver when going out with friends? And here is this beautiful young woman excited for me because I have that ability. I do not face any physical or mental obstacles keeping me from my basic needs and goals. I am Chasing Joy without restraint and am thankful for the reminder of what a blessing it is.

What blessings have you taken for granted???
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