laughter, joy, and making poopy soap

The sun is setting on another cold day (who knew?), and I should have written a blog post hours ago. But I didn’t. I didn’t feel like it. Like that excuse would fly in the real world.

Then I remembered the Monday Joy Dare, and I thought, maybe. Maybe that’s just what  need on another cold (though warm relative to the last month of Mondays) day of no motivation. I’ve been playing with the idea of joining in on the Joy Dare for a while, but honestly, time. Just . . . time. One more thing to add, and anyway, I already blogged on Mondays.

Still, today of all Mondays, I need to take some time to discover joy. To be grateful. To drop kick thoughts of anything other than joy in my Savior and the abundant life he’s given me for no good reason except that he loves me, also for no good reason that I can come up with. Theologically or personally. Some things as huge as grace defy our tiny clinical reasons.

Just take my word for it–I need this today. Maybe you do, too.

The Joy Dare asks people to count their blessings, basically. Then chronicle them, because, hey, we all know no one will ever remember what she thought of five minutes later if it isn’t written down. Let alone five weeks later when we really need something to be grateful for to get us through. Thus, chronicling. In any way you like.

Its funny, because before I saw this dare, this is the assignment I gave my friend Wally. Write down three things you’re grateful for every day. He texts them to me. And no matter how little you think you have to be thankful for, let me tell you, Wally probably has you beat. When I told him to do this, he was fresh out of prison with nothing to his name, homeless, jobless, and facing threats to toss him back in because he had no permanent address. Hard to have one when you have no way to pay the rent. Did I mention all the blizzards they’ve been having on the Northeast?

See, I knew that if Wally could find three things every day now, at his worst, he could find them anytime. I also knew that doing it would make him look for, and FIND, three things. It’s magic, I tell you.

Right now, I need three things. So today’s joy prompt is “Three times you laughed today.” I can’t remember the details of why I may have laughed today. (See? That’s why we write things down. I told you.) But I know they most likely had something to do with my kids. They are excellent laugh-creators. So my laughter is tied to them, and that is good.

I laughed making soap with my oldest last night. She invited me to share in her passion for what she loves to do. Instead of huddling in a reading a book, which I had planned, I made soap. I definitely remember laughing when we both realized it was going to turn out reminiscent of the color of pooh, and I made her promise it would not color my face. “It won’t. I promise. It shouldn’t.”

It’s beautiful soap. I won’t remember the book later, even after I finish it. But I’ll remember that hour of soap making. It was worth a laugh of enjoyment.

I laughed when our middle child came in with her whirlwind trademark style, looking for food, picking up mail, and offering up love. In the midst of the whirlwind, she stopped to try to explain to her California-raised roommate that licking an icicle just meant it melted, not that it stuck to your tongue a la Christmas Story flag poles. I definitely laughed.

She isn’t just here for the food. I’m blessed to know that. It’s worth a laugh of joy.

I laughed when youngest tried to explain to our exchange student why American Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about boyfriends and girlfriends but can just be about love. Some things don’t translate well. But I am blessed that she knows her value doesn’t come from being loved by a boy. And I’m doubly blessed that she’s got the courage and the spirit to open her home and status as the only child left to a stranger from another country who has become dear to us all.

The sheer joy of knowing a kid I gave birth to, with all my flaws and fears, could be that adventurous and giving is worth a laugh of amazement.

Have you laughed today? Have you felt plain, unadulterated joy and the healing force it is? Have you been grateful? It’s the key. Look around, Find your things. Take the joy dare even. You don’t have anything to lose, and you could gain a good dose of joy.