On Joy Lists

Ever since I read the comments from last week's post I've been thinking about Joy Lists. Why I write them, why I started writing them, what they mean.

I started writing Joy Lists when my life was falling apart. I was overwhelmed by everything that was not joy. My thoughts were flooded with negativity, with pain, with fear. I started writing Joy Lists to try to turn that around. To find light in the darkness. To regain hope.

spring, garden, roses, Above and Beyond Rose, May, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

At that time, and even after life began to move forward again, I needed the practice of keeping Joy Lists. It might have been work, but it was important work.

hearts, hearts in nature, messages from the universe, garden, sweet alyssum, flowers, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When life is more joyful, it's easier to see the joy. It doesn't take the practice of writing Joy Lists to be able to see it.

While I was working in the garden this weekend and thinking about joy, Joy Lists and gratitude, Anne Shirley kept popping into my head. In particular I kept thinking about her initial thoughts on prayer:

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”
                               --L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
garden, fuchsias, flowers, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I love her idea of feeling a prayer. I am not a religious person and talking about spiritual beliefs isn't really part of my blog (except, at times, when I talk about messages from the universe), but talking about gratitude is. Gratitude is a form of prayer, no matter your beliefs. Being in tune "with the Creator" as Nancy put it and "being open to joy" as Karen put it, are both ways of "feeling a prayer", don't you think?

strawberries, spring, garden, flowers, strawberry flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I certainly don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with this post, or to misinterpret or trample anyone's beliefs. But I do want to encourage you to find your joy. If you're in a joyful time of your life right now, that might be easy for you to do. If you're in a darker pace, joy might be a bit more elusive. I know both places. And I know how hard it is, sometimes, to slow down enough to appreciate the joy even when it is abundant.

clematis, Aliana Clematis, flowers, spring, pink flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I haven't made up my mind about Joy List Monday, yet. I haven't yet formulated the new plan for my blog. What I do know is that joy, a focus on joy and my encouragement for you to daily discover it, will remain at the heart of what I do (no matter what form that may take).

I hope you are taking the time to notice and experience life's many beauties, graces, magic and joy, today and always.

p.s. If you need a little extra joy today, take a look at this short film which premiered today on Shorts of the Week. It's a documentary by Yoko Okumura sharing her mother's love of strawberries. I'm not obsessed with strawberries, but I do believe they represent joy and I do agree with Yuko that joy can save the world.

Strawberries Will Save The World­čŹô - Short Documentary from Yoko Okumura on Vimeo.


  1. Strawberries are joy givers!!! I've been eating strawberries this week and they definitely elevate my mood! I enjoyed watching Yoko's video of her Mum and other strawberry enthusiasts. I believe that you will find joy in anything you are passionate about. I just need to find my passion! I hope you have a great week Anne. :)

    1. Yes they are! :) Strawberry season is such a joyful time.

      Glad you enjoyed the video. It was a delight when Yoko contacted me about it. You're so right about joy coming from one's passion (or passions). I don't think your passion is as far away as you think, Simone.

      Enjoy the rest of your week!

  2. I like this post, Anne. I do "feel a prayer" when I'm working in my garden. Yesterday I spent almost all day digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, pruning and planting. The warmth of the sun on my back, beautiful bird song in the air, people walking by and stopping to chat. Gratitude is what I felt. Gratitude for the sky, the sun, the birds, the flowers, the green grass, being healthy and able to work all day outdoors. Falling into bed at the end of the day exhausted, but happy. Whatever you do or don't do with your Joy List feature on your blog, you have made a difference in the lives of others by promoting joy. Hugs, Nancy

    1. Such a beautiful moment you've captured, Nancy. Being fully present and aware (and grateful) is truly prayerful. And truly joyful. Exhausted but happy is a perfect description for this time of year. Wishing you many such days as the season unfolds!

      Thanks so much for being here and for your encouragement and thoughtful insights!

      Hugs back.


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