Daily Delight Project

Finding Delight Is Harder Than I Thought

May 31, 2024

Gelato is delightful

Looking for delight is harder than you might think.

For one thing, I had to decide what a delight actually was. The dictionary defines it as an extreme pleasure or satisfaction, a joy. In my mind, it’s different from a simple pleasure—it has to cause a certain type of feeling, a sudden lifting of my spirits. Honestly, this doesn’t happen every day. Even though I tried to look for delights every day, I didn’t actually succeed in finding them as often as I’d hoped or expected to.

There are likely several reasons for this. Awareness is one of them—in the bustling round of daily life, far too often I operate on auto-pilot, not noticing all the delights around me, just trying to get through the day’s to-do list. I also think that the dumpster fire of the past few years has had a numbing effect on my ability to notice joyful things. I’ve developed a shield to protect my emotions from being triggered. While that’s helped me cope through stress and sadness, it’s also numbed my ability to feel delight.

I chose to take pictures of my daily delights, and that added another level of difficulty. A couple of times, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of things that delighted me (a tiny green frog in our mailbox, a cardinal taking a bath in the birdbath).

What I did find and post about (full posts on Instagram and Facebook):

  • The sweet ritual I have with my dog when I come home
  • The growth of a pineapple on our lanai
  • Choosing a new novel to read
  • Watching Tank run around like a youngster after his bath
  • Rewatching a favorite TV show (Brooklyn 99)
  • Our gardenia bush blooming
  • Picking up library holds
  • Eating at a fancy steakhouse, using a gift card from our son
  • A backyard full of butterflies
  • Beating the squirrels to ripe tomatoes
  • Eating dessert first
  • The gift of a framed cross stitch project

I’m going to continue to look for delight. Ross Gay, the inspiration for the Daily Delight Project, wrote mini essays about his delights, so I think I might try that instead. Hopefully, as I keep practicing, finding delight will become easier and more frequent. Practice makes perfect!

What delight have you discovered lately?

Daily Delight Project

Welcome to the Daily Delight Project

May 03, 2024

A delight
Photo by caleb weiner on Unsplash

You might have noticed that over the last year+ I’ve been struggling with a lot of challenging, sorrowful events and taking you all right along with me into the emotional depths. Even though this blog is intended to be a be a bright spot on the internet, a place you can go to read about more positive aspects of life, I also want to be honest and real about how my life plays out. I don’t want to just give you the highlight reel, or indulge in toxic positivity. I’ve tried to honestly share my feelings and experiences, to normalize the fact that life does hold sorrow and that it’s completely fine to feel that pain and grief.

But while I continue to feel all the feelings, I think it’s also time to consciously and more frequently focus on something besides dealing with my heavy and confused emotions. (And aren’t you glad to hear that?!)

Enter the Daily Delight Project (DDP).

How the Daily Delight Project came about

A few years ago, I read poet Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, full of his beautiful little essays about things which delighted him. Since then, I’ve wanted to do something similar, but you know, Life Happened. And kept happening.

But now I feel ready to give it a try. I’m starting with just jotting a few lines in my journal or planner, and I also plan to snap photos with my phone and post them on Instagram/Facebook. I’m shooting for every day in May, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t manage that. (Check out my first few posts here.)

One thing I’ve found already is that first, I have to deliberately look for a possible delight. This makes me pay more attention to my surroundings and what’s happening around me, instead of retreating into myself and ruminating. Once I’ve noticed something, I have to allow it to delight me—in other words, I have to do more than just notice, I have to look deeper and think about what I’m seeing.

For example, when I’m outside, I might glance up and notice the white puffy clouds against the deep blue sky. If I really pay attention, I do feel delight at their beauty—I really love those puffy clouds! But I don’t always take the time to enjoy them.

At first, this has felt awkward and kind of weird. But I’m hopeful that the more I do it, the more delight I’ll feel. As Ross Gay wrote, “It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study.” 

How you can be a part of the DDP

Would you like to join me in the Daily Delight Project?

Start by simply noticing what delights you. You may want to jot your daily delight in a notebook or on your calendar. You don’t need to do anything else to benefit, but if you want to share your delights with others, you might:

Text a friend.

Share a post on Facebook.

Post on Instagram—use the hashtag #dailydelight2024 and tag me (@kathyjohn335) so I can see your posts.

Share a few of your daily delights in the comments section below.

Email me with your daily delights at kathyjohn335[at]gmail[dot]com. I would absolutely love to hear about them!

I hope you’ll join me and share what you find delightful!


Field Trip Friday: Chocolate Kingdom

October 16, 2015

Baby cacao tree and pods

This edition of Field Trip Friday takes us to Kissimmee, FL, just outside of Orlando, where my partner in adventure Laure Ferlita and I “forced” ourselves to join a chocolate factory tour at Chocolate Kingdom. The tour was interactive, which means we got to taste things!

Though the tour was a bit goofy (somewhat touristy and aimed at children), our guide was cute and enthusiastic, imparting tons of interesting facts and history, and information on how chocolate goes from cacao bean to delicious treat. We also ordered custom chocolate bars which they made in front of us. I chose dark chocolate, pecans and caramel. Yum.

I learned quite a bit about chocolate. For instance:

Chocolate is made from a seed that comes from a fruit tree. The name of the tree, Theobroma Cacao, means “Food of the Gods.” The seeds/beans grow in a football-shaped pod. “Cacao” (ka-KOW) is the raw unprocessed form, which will later be called “cocoa” after processing. Each tree produces about 2,500 beans a year, and it takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate. Though it is native to Central and South America and grows throughout the tropics, about 70 percent of cocoa comes from West Africa, according to the National Confectioners Association’s Chocolate Council.

Cacao fruit
(photo courtesy Darias Martin)

Cacao pods mature throughout the year, and contain about 30 to 40 beans covered in a sticky pulp, which is also eaten and used in drinks. At this point, the beans themselves are bitter. After the beans are harvested, they are fermented (sweetening the flavor and making them more chocolatey), dried in the sun, and shipped to a factory. Factory workers sift the beans, weigh them, and sort them by type. They are roasted, cracked and winnowed, and the resulting pieces of bean are called “nibs.” We tasted some of these on the tour, and while they’re not sweet or even very chocolatey-tasting, I liked the flavor—they’d be good on ice cream.


The nibs are crushed and ground into chocolate liquor (there is no alcoholic content, despite the name). The liquor can then be crushed in a press to remove the cocoa butter (eventually producing cocoa powder), or be made into chocolate with the addition of sugar, vanilla, more cocoa butter, and milk (for milk chocolate). This chocolate will be refined, mixed, and otherwise processed to produce the chocolate we eat.

Other miscellaneous facts I found interesting:

Cacao beans were used as currency in early Mesoamerica.

Chocolate can have notes of berry, citrus, black licorice, cinnamon, mushroom, toast, and other flavors, according to one professional chocolate taster. Where the chocolate was grown, under what conditions, and how it was processed helps to determine what flavors the chocolate will have.  

The melting point of cocoa butter is just below our body temperature of 98.6—that’s why it melts in our mouths.

Sadly, the chocolate I brought home after the tour is just a memory. But, I hear Chocolate Kingdom participates in a Festival of Chocolate every year in Tampa—sign me up! 

What’s your favorite chocolate treat?


Why You'll Have to Pry My Books From My Cold, Dead Hands

August 14, 2015

“I love the book. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the compactness of it, the shape, the size. I love the feel of paper. The sound it makes when I turn a page. I love the beauty of print on paper, the patterns, the shapes, the fonts. I am astonished by the versatility and practicality of The Book. It is so simple. It is so fit for its purpose. It may give me mere content, but no e-reader will ever give me that sort of added pleasure.”—Susan Hill, Howard’s End is on the Landing.

I could have written these words. Like Hill, I am a bibliophile—one who loves and collects books. My books are friends. To have my friends around me is a comforting simple pleasure, a delight. I’m all for living with less—less clutter, less activity, less stress. Except when it comes to my books.

You’ll have to pry my books from my cold, dead hands.

In addition to my ever-growing pile of to-be-read (TBR) books, I have many shelves of books I’ve already read. They’re not valuable first editions, but they’re treasured and priceless to me. I cull them from time to time, but I take so much pleasure in my personal library that it would be painful to disperse it. (If you’d like a peek at my shelves, click here—I was part of Danielle’s Lost in the Stacks Home Edition feature at A Work in Progress.)

I don’t keep every book I buy—only ones I think I’ll reread at least once, books I’ll use for reference and/or inspiration, and books that were once important to me that I can’t quite give up yet.

Some of the books I own I’ve searched for over years, or stumbled upon serendipitously. Less than a handful are autographed by their authors, including a copy of the children’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. Many years ago I heard the author, Judith Viorst, speak at my local library, and was completely tongue-tied when I asked her to sign my book afterwards. Just looking at that book reminds me of the entire experience of that night.

My books don’t have to be beautiful, but as I’ve gotten older (and my bookshelves more crowded), I’ve started being pickier about what they look like. It pained me that my second-hand copy of All Passion Spent had an unattractive cover illustration (but not enough for me to turn down the copy that became available on Paperback Swap). I covet the lovely dove-gray Persephone books, though I’ve yet to collect my first one. Perhaps looking for books I think are attractive will slow down the entire acquisition process!

I use books to boost my mood, and it’s comforting to have my favorites at my fingertips. There are certain books I reread frequently—not having them on hand might constitute an emotional crisis.

As William Giraldi writes in “Why We Need Physical Books”: “Across a collector’s bookshelves, upright and alert like uniformed sentinels, are segments of his personal history, segments that he needs to summon in order to ascertain himself fully, which is part of his motive for reading books in the first place—whatever else it is, a life with books is incentive to remember, and in remembering, understand.”

I start every day in my office, where I allow my eyes to play over the titles on my shelves while I drink my morning coffee. So many of the books I’ve kept have left a lasting mark on me, and sometimes I need to see them to remember. I need to pull them off the shelf and flip through them, letting them transport and transform me for a second time. What could be more of a simple pleasure than that?

Do you keep books after you’ve read them? What are your favorites?


Seven for Summer: My Summer 2015 Reading List

June 26, 2015

Despite the hot weather we’ve been enduring for the past two months, the official start of summer was just a week ago Sunday. And you know what that means…it’s time for cool drinks, embracing air conditioning, and a new summer reading list. Sifting through my shelves and list of unread books is one of my favorite simple pleasures.

This year’s list will be long on delight, so I’m choosing books I really want to read, rather than books I “should” read to fulfill a reading challenge or some other self-imposed criterion. After all, come fall, I don’t have to write a paper on what I read during summer break!

So here is a tentative list of the books I want to read this summer:

The Law and the Lady—my summer Wilkie Collins. Looks like a good one—described as “probably the first full-length novel with a woman detective as its heroine.”  There is also a free Kindle version available here.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin. I loved both of Rubin’s books on happiness (The Happiness Project, Happier at Home) and fully expect to love this book, too. In fact, I already have a copy from my library and will probably eventually buy my own. Rubin has helped me understand my own nature better, and she has a knack for breaking down concepts in such a way that you can take action that makes a difference in your life.

Jack of Spades, Joyce Carol Oates. I’m becoming fan of Joyce Carol Oates. I’ve only read a couple of her books, and wow. This one sounds kind of scary, but I’m intrigued. I’m in line behind quite a few people on my library’s hold system, so it may be later in the summer before I can start this one. 

A Writer’s Diary, Virginia Woolf. I love reading diaries, and a writer’s diary by Virginia Woolf? How can I resist? 

My local used bookstore is going out of business (sniffle) and I picked up six books for a dollar there this week (and I wonder why my TBR shelf never gets any less full). I’ve already started The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and I also hope to get to The Bat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart.  

Cotillion, Georgette Heyer. The irresistible lure of romance and humor. 

I could list more—in fact, I’m sure I’ll be reading a few mysteries over the summer, too. But I want to leave some room for meandering, for picking up a book just because it sounds interesting. The last thing I want to do is turn the simple pleasure of reading into a stressful experience. Where’s the delight in that?

What’s on your summer reading list?


Field Trip Friday--First Orchids

June 19, 2015

Did I need more orchids? Well, no, I didn’t need any, but when my orchid-loving friend Barb asked me if I wanted to go to a wholesale orchid nursery, I said yes. I counted my empty orchid pots (there have been a couple of casualties lately) and decided I could buy a few. How many did I buy? We’ll get to that.

After a two-hour drive, we came to this unprepossessing exterior:

Which led into this:

No, I didn’t drool.

But I did spend a happy hour with my friend examining orchids, choosing which to add to our collections, trying to guess what the ones without open blooms would look like. Prices ranged from $3 to $12, depending on the size and variety of orchid. We filled a large box with our choices, paid for them and loaded them in Barb’s van. Definitely a delight-ful field trip.

I bought nine. Most are in some stage of blooming, but I have one that will be a surprise. Its buds are tightly closed and I don’t know yet what it will look like.

Here are some photos:

Have you taken any field trips lately?

Bucket list

The Summer Bucket List--How to Survive the Hot and Sweaty Months

June 08, 2015

“June is the Friday night of summer, and all is full of possibility.”
—Laura Vanderkam

Each new season brings its own delights. Though summer is not my favorite season here in Florida, each year I grit my teeth and make the best of it. I was inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s words (see above, and read the full post here) to start thinking about things I can accomplish and enjoy during these hot and sweaty months. Maybe working on the list will distract me from the heat and humidity?

In keeping with my word of the year (delight), this summer will be long on delights/adventures/pleasures, but that doesn’t mean I’m only going to play. I want to experiment with different writing venues (#2) and try some new exercise classes (#7). I always take a little more time for reading (a future post about my summer reading list is in the works), but this year, my summer bucket list includes:

  1. Take Tank to the beach. Yes, really.
  2. Go to the library to write (the only downside is I can’t take my coffee with me).
  3. Take a week’s “staycation” (or maybe several long weekends?).
  4. Go to a Tampa Bay Rays game with my mom when she visits in August.
  5. Sketch in my sketchbook. Maybe even finish—i.e., fill all the pages of—a sketchbook!
  6. Make homemade frozen pops. I never got around to doing it last summer.
  7. Try a month of unlimited classes at Karma
  8. Spend a day by the pool.
  9. Go to the beach at sunset with my husband.
  10. Rewatch The Princess Bride and Support Your Local Sheriff (my cat is named after the female lead in this movie).
  11. Try the new gelato place in town.
  12. Make pesto with the basil from my garden. (Done!)

What’s on your summer bucket list?


What I Have

May 08, 2015

What is it about human beings that makes us want—oh so much—what we don’t have, while discounting what we do have? I’ve been noticing this about myself lately, especially in relation to traveling. I love to travel, whether it’s a trip to visit family, a week in Georgia, a road trip in New England, or a dream trip to Greece. And due to life circumstances beyond my control, it’s unlikely that I’ll be doing any traveling for a while.  

Which stinks. Big time.


Unless I take this time to notice the simple pleasures and everyday adventures within my reach, the delights that I would miss if I were traveling. After all, I love my home. I love reading, puttering, being with my animals, being with my family. I love sitting at my computer, eating oatmeal and playing Mahjong Titans. I love the way my morning coffee tastes, I love my library and its used bookstore. I love sleeping in my own, very comfortable bed. I love looking at these faces:

If I were traveling, I’d miss these things. Right now, it’s time to appreciate what I have instead of yearning for what I don’t have.

It’s also time to look for ways to infuse my daily life with some of the elements I most enjoy while traveling. There are plenty of things to sketch and take pictures of within driving distance, even walking distance, of my house. There are attractions people come to Florida to see, and when I get tired of that, there are books to whisk me away to foreign shores.

So I’m letting go of the frustrated feeling I’ve been carrying for the past couple of weeks. There will be a time when I can travel again. Until then, I’m going to try not to discount what I have—which is a very happy, interesting, full life.

What do you want that you do not have?


Morning Walk

April 17, 2015

It poured last night, so I expected the air to be soupy this morning, but it’s surprisingly cool and fresh. As I walk, hear birds chirping, see cardinals, a catbird, and a blue jay flitting about. I also see a hawk glide silently to a perch high in tree.

Since I’m alone and not walking for exercise (i.e., fast), I notice things I frequently miss: the way the traffic along the main road near us hums almost harmoniously; the large shell ginger plants outside someone’s backyard, heavy with flowers; star jasmine scenting my own backyard. I see places where wild hogs have rooted through the woods looking for food. When I look up, I see spring green leaves forming a canopy over the path. Simple pleasures usually lost in the hurry of daily living.

I’m lucky enough to have a quiet, safe place to walk right in my community—I can walk right out my back gate onto a paved trail. I usually take it for granted. Even worse, when I do use it, I almost always only use it for exercise—making the loop as quickly as I can instead of taking it slowly, exploring, noticing. As part of my focus on delight this year, I plan to take more of these short, rambling walks. At least until the heat and humidity make it impossible to enjoy. I know that day is coming, and soon, but until then, I’ll indulge in a few more relaxed morning walks. Who knows what I might discover?

What delights do you take for granted?


It's Not All Daffodils and Donuts

April 06, 2015

Friday I wrote about my trip to Georgia, and I realized after I posted that I had only included only what was positive during the trip. That’s what people usually want to read about, not necessarily a list of complaints about what went wrong, but it made me feel a little dishonest. The trip was excellent, and had very few bumps and bruises, but it did have a few. For example: just before we left, I got sick (with a cold) for the first time in at least two years. While I was gone, my husband had a rough week with our elderly dog and it worried me enough to consider coming home a day early. I got a cold sore part way through the trip, and Marianne got into some poison ivy that she’s still coping with. I tell you this to remind you (and myself) that few things are unadulteratedly perfect. Most experiences are a mix of good and bad, happy and sad, thrilling and annoying. It’s up to us to choose what to focus on. And when we choose to focus on the good, our memories usually, kindly, allow the bad to fade away.

Life isn’t all daffodils and donuts—sometimes it’s cold sores and poison ivy. So the next time you’re facing something that is not living up to your expectations or is more difficult or unpleasant than expected, there are a couple of ways to help yourself through. For instance, you can think about how you’ll enjoy having done whatever-it-is when you’re through (childbirth comes to mind here…) or how great the end result will be. (Again, childbirth comes to mind, but there are plenty of less extreme examples!)

The Georgia trip was filled by far with more delights than difficulties, but even if the balance had fallen the other way, I would have tried to look for the good. What good does it do to focus on the bad? That’s not what I want more of in my life. I much prefer the daffodils and donuts.

When you face difficulties, how do you focus on the positive?


Georgia On My Mind...and My Shoes

April 03, 2015

As promised, today’s post will detail some of the delights of my trip to Georgia last week.

My friend Marianne and her family own an old farmhouse on acreage in Georgia, and she invited me and two other friends for a week’s stay there. We all accepted happily...and then life intervened. Our two friends had to drop out, and what started out as four barn buddies on the road turned into an intimate, two-person trip. Marianne and I have been friends for years, but this is the first trip we’ve taken together.  I was confident we’d do well, and from my standpoint, we did.  (You’ll have to ask Marianne how she feels…) We talked about everything from awkward childhoods, first loves, how we met our husbands, how our college-age kids are doing, to what’s new with our horses. After two long drives and a week’s togetherness, we’re still friends!

Some trip highlights:

The first morning after we arrived, we drove to Blue Ridge, where we visited the Blue Ridge Art Center, and ate lunch at a little coffee shop/restaurant. We explored some of the charming shops, both of us reveling in the ability to browse without our male family members hurrying us along. We scoped out a used bookstore and wondered about the fluffy white trees blooming everywhere (anyone know what these are?).

After Blue Ridge, our next stop was Mercier Orchards, where we stocked up on essentials: cider donuts and cinnamon pecan bread.

We picked up some groceries and fortified ourselves at Starbucks, then hit the meadow for some quality rambling.

On day two, we packed up the camp chairs to sketch. No sooner had we settled ourselves on the hill than we felt sprinkles of rain, so we adjourned to the front porch, where we both sketched the corn crib (see my sketch below). It had stopped raining by the time we were done with our sketches, so we moved our chairs down by the creek. We sketched a bit more, read, or simply listened to the music of the water.

After lunch, we carried bucket and shovel down to the meadow to collect some daffodils for transplanting up near the house and corn crib. Marianne performed the labor (and I do mean labor) wrestling the bulbs from the thick Georgia clay, and digging holes for them in their new locations. I planted the bulbs and helped water them in. Our reward: a cold, hard cider on the front porch before taking a hike up the hill at the far edge of their property.

We enjoyed comfortable temperatures the first few days, but the weather turned cold and damp towards the end of the week…just in time for us to go trail riding! Suitably bundled up, we mounted our trail horses (Polly and Diesel), and proceeded to learn the outfitters were called Adventure Trail Rides for good reason. The trails wound mostly up and down hills, one so steep the horses had to take a running start to get up it! The trails themselves were thick, slippery clay laced with rocks, but our horses slithered surefooted through them anyway.  As long as I gave my horse his head and let him pick his way up and down, we did fine. It was fun riding in a completely different environment—at home we mostly ride in a ring or at the very “roughest,” on flat, sandy trails. We joked that our horses would take one look at these trails and go on strike. Yes, we have sissy horses. (We didn’t take cameras or phones on the ride, so I have no photos from this experience, unfortunately.)

We woke up Sunday to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and a car covered with frost! Reluctantly, we said good-bye to the farmhouse and hit the road.

The farmhouse had wireless Internet but no TV, and I didn’t bring my computer, deliberately giving myself permission to disconnect. Without the distractions of TV and hours spent on the Internet, we had plenty of time every day to take long walks through the meadow and up the hill. Our meals were quiet and relaxed. I wrote in my journal nearly every day, and read whenever I got the chance. It occurred to me that at home I make myself artificially busy by thinking I have to read all my emails, keep up with umpteen bloggers, and do so many other little things that don’t really matter. As usual, I came home determined to tweak my daily routine to make it more fulfilling. I’ve started unsubscribing to email newsletters and skimming (or even skipping) blog posts in my feed reader. At the farmhouse, instead of TV, we played music from Marianne’s iPod (she’s the playlist queen!) and that’s something I want to do more here at home. I’ve started making my own playlists and I’m looking into getting an iPod dock with speakers so I can listen to music without using ear buds.

Travel, friendship, sketching, wandering outside, having precious time for doing nothing—these simple pleasures and everyday adventures mean so much to me. Thank you, Marianne, for giving them to me last week.



March 30, 2015

I just got back last night from a week in Georgia with my friend Marianne, so bear with me while I unpack my suitcase and sort out my impressions. I’ll write about the trip later in the week (lots of delight: horses were ridden, hard cider was drunk, hikes were taken, daffodils were transplanted, and more!). I’ll also be responding to your comments here on my blog and catching up with yours! In the meantime, here’s a preview photo for you:

Georgia corn crib


While Walking the Dog at Two A.M.

March 16, 2015

My dog Scout will be 16 years old on Sunday, and as you might expect, she has some health issues. One of them is that she can’t always sleep through the night without having to relieve herself. Her bed is on a chair on my side of the room, so I’m the one who hears her jump down, and I’m the one who slips on her leash and takes her outside. Usually, I try not to wake up all the way so that I’ll stand a chance of going back to sleep, but this morning, at 2 a.m., I found myself looking up at the stars while I waited for Scout. The air felt cool and fresh, Orion’s belt twinkled in the night sky. The neighborhood was silent, peaceful. Scout was quick, and I returned to my warm bed and quickly fell asleep. What could have been (and often is) an annoyance turned into a moment of delight for me.

I’ve been working on going with the flow, relaxing my death grip on life and paying more attention to little moments of delight when they’re presented to me: when my favorite song comes on the radio, when Prudy jumps up on my desk for some attention, when I grab my book and steal some reading time in the afternoon. It’s easy to find delight in things like that—not quite so easy to find delight when woken at 2 a.m., and I admit that I’m more likely to complain about that situation than to recount how lovely the stars look sparkling in the velvety darkness… Just this once, though, I was able to let go and admire the night sky. It was unexpectedly delightful. I’m not sure I would have found it so without my recent focus on delight. Which goes to show, I guess, that you find more of what you focus on.

Has anything unexpectedly delighted you recently?

Oh, sure, sleep NOW...


It's the Little Things

March 09, 2015

I hope you had as pleasant a weekend as I did. My mother-in-law came for an overnight visit, which gave me an excuse to drop my usual routine and go with the flow. I don’t know about you, but I too often become slave to my schedule and to-do list (out of fear that I’ll slack off and get too far behind to catch up!) instead of staying in the moment and doing what feels right. This weekend, I relaxed more, spent time talking with Mom and followed my instincts regarding the things I did.  Despite “losing” an hour to Daylight Saving Time, I ended up having the most delight-ful weekend, as well as accomplishing the following:

Ate at a new local restaurant we’ve been meaning to try for breakfast Sunday.

Repotted plants. A few of my orchids needed attention, and I had a new rosemary plant to take out of its peat pot as well as some tiny basil seedlings that needed transplanting.

Trimmed catnip leaves to dry for Prudy (and a few of my friends who also have catnip-loving cats).

Cleaned and refilled the birdbath.

Refilled the squirrel bird feeder outside my office window.

Bathed Scout and washed her dog bed.

Took Prudy on a supervised wander in the back yard.

Picked some volunteer Florida Everglades tomatoes (and ate them).

Watched an episode of The Gilmore Girls from a library DVD while I planned my week.

Sorted through some old magazines, keeping the few pages I wanted and letting the rest go.

So often it’s the little things, the simple pleasures, that add up to happy days—both now and in the future. Even though I did only what I felt like doing, I still got many things done. And I’ll enjoy the results, when my orchids bloom, when we eat the fresh herbs, and when I watch the squirrels birds on the feeder.

What did you do this weekend?


Daring to Delight

March 02, 2015

I’m determined to do a better job of living my word of the year in 2015—why not when it’s such a nice one? So I plan to review my progress every month or so, and see how much delight I’m allowing into my life. Since I am the “gatekeeper of delight,” so to speak, here are three ways I’m exploring the concept:

Instead of blindly rushing through my day, I have made deliberate attempts to slow down both my movements and my thoughts so I can pay better attention to the details. That first sip of coffee in the morning—delicious! How relaxed and strong my body feels after yoga class. The deep pleasure of climbing into bed at the end of the day. I’m blessed with more delightful moments than I recognized.

It can feel really selfish to seek out delight, but I am letting go of the guilt feelings that arise when I “indulge” myself. Last month, I made the mundane more delightful by picking up a cinnamon dolce latte and a new book to read while I waited for an oil change. I played music every chance I got—using my iPod while vacuuming and mopping and listening to Pandora while working in my office. I’m also making sure I take short breaks during the day, rewarding myself when I complete a task, especially if it’s one I don’t enjoy. When faced with any choice now, the go-to question is, “Does this delight me?”

I’m also working on becoming more mindful of ways to share delight with other people, through acts of kindness, thoughtful words, or sharing something (book, movie, website, food!) that will bring pleasure to someone else. There’s much delight in sharing delight!

So far, the first life lesson “delight” has given me is this: It’s OK to enjoy my life. To take delight in simple pleasures and everyday adventures. I don’t need to feel guilty or uncomfortable because I have such a good life when so many people do not. It has been repeatedly pointed out to me that my suffering or unhappiness doesn’t help anyone else. In fact, it can add to the unhappiness of those who care about me. Instead, I dare to feel more delight, more happiness, and to spread it to others every chance I get.

When and how do you dare to feel delight?


Which Do You Say More Often: "I Can Hardly Wait" or "I Can Hardly Stand It"?

February 09, 2015

Crocus, anticipating spring!
I just came across the following idea in Chellie Campbell’s The Wealthy Spirit: Children have “I can hardly waits” while adults mostly have “I can hardly stand its.” Children are usually looking forward to something—school being out, a birthday, an exciting milestone. While adults, well, we are more often NOT looking forward to something—often those same somethings the kids are looking forward to!

I don’t know about you, but I thought being an adult would be more fun. Instead, I’m having my roof replaced, having the leaky dishwasher fixed and fighting the traffic while the county repaves the road that runs just outside my subdivision.  Fortunately, I’ve just remembered that I am the boss of me—and it’s time to follow Campbell’s advice to those of us with “I can’t stand its”: “Find something to look forward to with joy and focus on that.” 

But what if there’s nothing we especially look forward to? It’s time to schedule something! Maybe plan a summer trip, or buy tickets to a show or sporting event we want to see. If that’s not possible (and even when it is), schedule something smaller in the meantime. Plan to rent a movie and eat popcorn on Friday night with your spouse. Make a lunch date with a friend. Decide that at 8:30 tonight, you’ll curl up in bed with a good book. Just choose something you’ll enjoy and look forward to. Write these anticipated pleasures down in your calendar or on your to-do list.

I’m willing to bet you’re all fine, upstanding, law-abiding, tax-paying individuals. You give to those around you—now give to yourself. Give yourself something to look forward to. Simple pleasures and everyday adventures don’t plan themselves, you know. As for me, I’m looking forward to a visit from my two sisters-in-law, a Field Trip Friday involving a flea market, and a production of Annie at the local performing arts center. 

Now your turn. Fill in the blank: I can hardly wait until _________.


My 2015 Word of the Year

January 30, 2015

I’ve had mixed success with the word of the year concept. While I’ve learned from and tried to permanently incorporate the connotations of my previous words of the year (open, light, passion, and the “secret” word I never wrote about in 2014, brave), I have not always felt that I fully embraced the concept. I tend to set a word of the year and mostly forget it, rather than draw on it for inspiration and guidance throughout the year.

In contemplating this situation, I realized that previous words had something in common: they were ways in which I wanted to change myself. And while self-improvement and change are good, and I’m certainly not saying I don’t need to continue to change and grow, I am, frankly, tired. In 2015, I need less struggle and more flow. Just for a little while, I want to leave myself alone and become more accepting of who I am right now.

So this year’s word of the year is…



Delight does not require that I struggle to be something I’m not. I don’t have to strive for it. I just have to pay attention to the delight that already exists in my life, and to actively seek delight in all that I do. Delight gives me permission to enjoy life, to turn my attention onto what’s going well rather than focus on what I want to be different. With delight to guide me, I’ll be more likely to say yes to what sounds fun, as well as look for the pleasure in all the everyday tasks and responsibilities I have.

I don’t have to look far to find things that delight me: my wonderful animals, a stack of books to read, blooming orchids, a good cup of coffee, the jumble of art supplies stacked in my office. I’m easy to please, and choosing delight as word of the year seems like something to look forward to!

I’ve read that we attract what we focus on. I’m eager to see just how much delight I can draw into my life in 2015. I’ll keep you posted.

What delights you? Have you chosen a word of the year? Do share.

Prudy delights in destruction.