The opening line of one of the best-known hymns in the English language, inspired when Henry Van Dyke was struck by the beauty of the Berkshires. I have been struck, too, by the two worlds I am called to live in.  One world is filled with doomsday prophecies, conspiracy theories, natural disasters and the like.  It is being piped into me on airport televisions, radio stations, newspapers, social media, and more.  And it’s UGLY.

The other is the world where JOY lives.  And because I’ve been on my Joy Journey this year, I have seen that it is possible to “live in Joy” instead of fear, to see that Joy is present instead of hopelessness.   I cannot imagine my frame of mind if I did not have this special 2018 Joy mission to accomplish. For those just tuning in, at the onset of 2018, I chose three words to govern my life this year:  Freedom, Joy and Change.  I promised to notice the things that gave me real joy, to write them down and to share 101 Joyous things with you as the year progressed. In May, I listed 32 things that brought me pure joy.  Now, I’ll report on more.  And since I started noticing the things that give me joy, I’ve realized that I have a LOT to be grateful for. I have a TON of fun. Here’s a snapshot of what I’m talking about:

  1. Reuniting with my many “old” friends and colleagues at the AICPA ENGAGE ConferenceTamera Loerzel Jen Wilson 2018 Award
  2. Seeing my partner Tamera’s luminous face as she was named one of the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisors Most Powerful Women in Accounting
  3. Completing my 8 years as our church's acolyte co-master
  4. Helping my parents through a health crisis and hospitalization for my mom and watching her fight her way back to us
  5. Seeing my momma work crossword puzzles again
  6. Making my mother laugh
  7. Spending an incredible week at the beach in Kiawah Island with my family
  8. Running, biking and kayaking on Kiawah
  9. Appreciating the wonder of nature – alligators, birds, the Saltmarsh, the majestic ocean, sea turtles, dolphin, and more
  10. Facilitating several clients’ leadership retreats and appreciating the wonderful progress they’ve made in becoming NextGen firms
  11. Making my partner Tamera laugh on our many trips together this summer
  12. Suffering through a sweltering 10K in August and being propelled forward by my husband’s shout, “Let’s go, JLo!” from across the lake
  13. Paddle boarding after that race with Brian and having him really love it for the first time (Yes! A convert!)
  14. After initially resisting, committing to return to the role of Youth Group Leader at church
  15. Helping my “big girls” pack up for college – a normal routine for the “big” one and a first time for our middle one – and seeing how prepared and pragmatic they were
  16. Knowing, that despite my tinge of sadness when leaving them at school, they were 100% ready for this next stage of life
  17. Making my girls laugh
  18. Having my flower gardens toured by the Bellevue Garden Club
  19. Going with my girls and friends to see Peter Frampton and Steve Miller again
  20. Watching almost every one of our youngest’s volleyball games this fall
  21. Running my 3rd Market to Market Relay with a wonderful team of women leaders and having my husband volunteer to drive the van for us (honey, are you sure???!!!)
  22. Returning to my role as the party mom
  23. Seeing Def Leopard and Journey again
  24. Seeing our “baby” crush her first quarter of high school
  25. Making my husband laugh
  26. Watching a bunch of smart TV on Netflix with Brian late night
  27. Meeting a new, young running buddy and having her push me
  28. Early morning CrossFit with Brian or running with Jossy when I'm home
  29. The serenity of yoga with my girl Melanie
  30. Providing support for and praying for Mel as she battles cancer
  31. Making Melanie smile
  32. Going to Friday Night Lights to watch my nephews play ball
  33. Traveling to Chicago for “work” with my girls and seeing Hamilton with our “starter nanny” Jessjen-10k-august-2018
  34. Running on the Chicago waterfront and shopping on Michigan Ave.
  35. Having Hamilton speak to me about my work and inspire a blog on succession
  36. Visiting my 50th state in the U.S. – Maine – on my birthday
  37. Running my fastest ever Half Marathon (2:02) on October 28
  38. Running that race without a plan
  39. Reading the wonderful writing of my fellow teammates and being inspired by their insights and talent
  40. Making my team members laugh
  41. Running in Central Park several times and at least three with Tamera this year
  42. Finding a late-night Starbucks on a business trip
  43. Waking up to the smell of coffee made by my non-coffee-drinking husband
  44. Decorating the soffits in my kitchen for Halloween (and now Thanksgiving)
  45. Having Convergence team members achieve a new level of mastery at something they’ve been working toward
  46. Teaching NextGen leaders in any of our Leadership Development Programs and hearing their ideas for change and betterment in our profession
  47. Saturday morning brunch at the Village with my mom and dad
  48. Making my dad laugh
  49. Baking peanut butter cookies for my dad and hubby
  50. Sleeping in my own bed
  51. Watching a “show” with my family from my comfy bed
  52. Learning that a component of our government’s checks and balances have been restored
  53. Finding out someone who was leaving us wants to stay instead
  54. Making audiences laugh
  55. Making this Joy List

Truly.  The act of writing these things down as they happen and reviewing my Joy List for these blogs magnifies my blessings and reminds me of all the good there is in the day-to-day, the here-and-now and in the special people that we are fortunate to have in our lives. In the words of the Joyful, Joyful hymn, getting present to your JOY “melts the clouds of sin and darkness and drives the dark of doubt away.”

So, where is your JOY coming from?  What actions or activities bring you JOY?  Who in your life delivers JOY?  Notice when you feel joy.  Write down the who, what and when so you can replicate it.  Review your Joy List regularly to remind you of all that is good in your life.  Share it with others – with us! We’re interested and your sharing will bring us JOY.