1. Barbara says

    Ah…what brings me joy this morning is remembering the squeals of delight when my granddaughters saw me approaching their front yard! More beautiful music I’ve never heard! Joy takes me to gratitude, which takes me back to joy, which by then has become bliss.
    Blissfully, Grandma Barbara

    • beverly Boyd says

      I know that joy! Almost two decades later I still see my granddaughter running toward me, arms out stretched, one ending in a pretty bump below her elbow, “Grandma, Grandma”. Is there any sound more beautiful?

  2. Debbie says

    In the early dawn hours, waking up to birdsong,
    rich and vibrant just outside my window
    The wet nose and eager eyes of my four legged friend as she greets me each day
    Stroking her soft fur as she encourages me out of bed to walk and feed her
    Being just minutes from the crashing surf of the untamed Pacific ocean
    Able to choose walking on the sand along the waves or
    Perching on a bluff high above the churning water and exposed cliffs below
    Waterfalls that cascade over granite ledges and then
    Flow murmuring, and sometimes roaring, around the rocky rapids below
    The early flowers of spring; forsythia offering up the first bright yellows
    Peonies poking up through the slumbering soil exploding into
    Exquisitely perfumed blossoms of white and pale pink
    The unexpected sighting of deer or wild turkey as I drive into work
    Hearing the calls of the hawks, ever near,
    As if to comfort me with their consistent presence
    And propel me higher to greater perspectives
    Walking on muted needles, in the tangible silence of
    An ancient redwood grove
    Deep breaths of fresh air
    Watching the interplay of light and shadow
    On the gentle hills surrounding me in the evening twilight
    Sleep that comes in minutes, not hours,
    To provide welcomed respite
    So that I might wake to another joyous day.

    • Ilana says

      How lovely. As I read this I felt like I was walking through a garden enjoying the flowers you describe. Then I stopped to take a nap on the soft fragrant flowerbed. I was awakened by the “four legged friend” to find the twilight had turned into “another joyous day.” This beautiful poem makes it all seem so simple, so sweet. I’ll reread it when I need a break from the confusion. Thank you for posting it.

  3. Diane Renz, LPC says

    Poetry brings me joy, and here is one called, b.b. king and I

    b.b. king and I dance on the stairmaster,
    I am riding the notes on his guitar strings
    like a surfer edges into the wave
    with a passionate presence
    leading me to a joy
    that sets down
    my ruminations.

    ancient delicate grey haired man,
    with oxygen tubes extending into and out of his nose,
    reveals to me, through his soft open sad knowing eyes, the edge he walks,
    life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness until his last breath.

    as he walks by me
    my heart senses into how little
    defense he carries,
    unguarded heart
    moving slowly in too fast a world that just misses seeing him.
    the frailty of an ever changing
    ever losing aging body,

    I am touched by him.
    my joy not dimmed, but becomes wide to extend toward,
    wrapping around him,
    knowing my turn comes soon.
    he passes by, but soon finds his way next to me,
    as if he could sense the welcome.
    stepping onto the vacant stairmaster ready to meet it as he is,
    smaller steps than mine, but no less heart,
    I lend him my breath when he pauses trying to catch his.

    I am no less for this
    I am not depleted
    not without boundary
    not over giving
    nor over empathizing,
    I am allowing the natural inclinations of connectedness
    to move through,
    not about me,
    it is about us,
    it is generative,
    leaving me bigger than before.
    what was given, and who gave to whom?

    I am left hearing even more deeply
    the pulses of body beyond my own.
    frail aging grey haired man and b.b. King danced me into my heart,
    feeling into its edges of joy side by side with suffering,
    riding each with the same passionate embrace.

  4. Donna Aceves says

    Daily surprises that come with presence, like discovering the cow in the pasture near the road where I walk in the morning. It was a black calf, with a perfect white heart shaped right in the middle of it’s forehead. I can still see it in my mind (and on my iphone). Thinking of that heart on his head makes me smile.
    Walking in the morning.
    Making chicken soup on a Sunday afternoon.
    Rolling on the floor with my grandsons.
    Laying down in our pasture of wildflowers with my camera at dusk to take a photo of the light coming through the lupin.
    Watching my husband brush the horses as they graze nearby.
    Taking an opportunity of a stolen moment to write about joy.

  5. Lalita Noronha says

    What brings me joy?
    Writing! Writing for no reason except to breathe on mountain peaks and in the lowest valleys. To watch how memory creeps over a broken fence and finds a gold nugget. Or stones.

    • Debbie says

      Interesting…. I need to write like I need to breathe, and both bring me peace, eventually. But writing is a strict taskmaster and the journey to peace is not always imbued with joy – at least not at this point in my writing life. That is why this line resonated so within me
      “To watch how memory creeps over a broken fence and finds a gold nugget. Or stones”
      I really enjoyed your though provoking post.

  6. Fran Stekoll says

    I swell up with pride when one of my grand kids knocks at my door surprising
    me. Joy fills my soul when many birds chirp outside my window anxiously
    pecking at my many feeders. My heart skips a beat when I see a whale or dolphin or sea otter out my window as I sit writing at my computer. Breathing in unpoluted air and sunshine brings me joy. Classical music permeating from
    speakers throughout my home brings me joy. Hugs and the smell of fresh baked brownies which I give away to my neighbors brings me joy. Riding my
    bicycle feeling those unwanted pounds melt away from my thighs gives me joy. Smelling the roses blooming and those lilacs which takes me back to
    76 Wallkill Ave., Middletown , N.Y. when I was 4 visiting my Grandmother.
    The anticipation of completing my writing. Reminiscing over all I shared with my late husband Matt brings me joy. Planning to attend the next workshop in November brings me joy. Waiting to see if my NFL grandson
    is picked in the top 100 this Saturday gives me joy. Hearing from my daughters especially if they don’t need anything really gives me joy.

  7. Ana says

    This is easy…what brings me joy weighs 19 pounds, has wonderful grey/black/white stripes all over, and if we’re not careful, will trick us into feeding him twice!! He is my cat Lucien. Technically, originally he came with my fiance, and another cat name Sasha. Sasha is sweet, loves to lay on your lap…the strong and silent type. While Lucien is yelling away wanting to be fed, she sits in the background and let’s him do all the dirty work. When I lay on the couch, she’ll make her way to the curve of my waist, and nestle herself there for long stretches. Lucien however is not fond of laps…all he loves is food, sleep, and playing with the plethera of toys I’ve purchased. (He has his own santa hat, a Halloween bib that says “BOO”, and recently I bought him a real bot tie…we had a formal wedding to got to and I couldn’t resist. I have a picture of both my best men in bow ties.)

    I grew up with dogs, but I had a friend who had a cat and she lived near the World Trade Center. Soon after 9/11, she needed to find a new home and was trying to give away her cat. I said, “are you kidding me?! You love that cat! No sir, I’ll take care of it as long as needed.” She was overwhelmed and grateful to say the least. The cat lived with me for 2 months and it was my first experience with cats…the rest is history. By the time Lucien came into my life, I was ready in oh so many ways. I cradle those 19 pounds in my arms and whisper in his ear “Do you know how much I love you?”. He just looks at me patiently (and sometimes impatiently), waiting for me to put him down. Unconditional love at its most highest. Sasha is my girl, she actually teaches me how to walk and not be so rough around the edges. She and I can’t have children. About that, I am sad for her as much as myself. But we’re connected…I gently rub her belly, and she gently taps me with her paw, many times on my head. Lucien, he’s the love of my life. He definatly came into my life to let me know I’ve been forgiven.

    You see, as many of you know, I was treated terribly growing up, but so were the pets that my family supposedly loved. In turn, I learned to treat myself and animals terribly too. I didn’t know better back then…hurt people, hurt people…and animals. I learned/realized that I hit my pets as a direct result to being beaten by my family. I watched them do it to me and them…it is a vicious cycle. Not something I was ever proud of, not matter how little I did it. After getting help, working through issues and healing, one lives differently…thank goodness. I spent many many years making amends and treating animals in every kind and loving way I could. By the time Lucien came into my life, I felt there was something out there saying to me, it’s time to forgive yourself. I’m not sure if I have, but I am often overwhelmed with the amount of pure joy Lucien fills me with. If I could, I’d share with you one picture of my joy, in the same way after reading the posts I could see your joy. But no need really…I can feel it…I can close my eyes and feel the joy.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ana, Thanks for writing this. You capture your happiness with Lucien, the trickster who begs for extra food, really well. The pain you speak of is raw but I’m happy you shared it in a safe place. I practice forgiving myself everyday. We all deserve that.

    • Ilana says

      Ana- Thank you so much for posting this. I really needed to read exactly this piece today. Forgiveness, especially forgiveness of self is such a difficult thing. Your writing reminded me not only that it is possible but that it is beautiful and well worth the effort. Please pat yourself on the back. You helped someone today. IM

    • MaeMae says

      Very Lovely!!
      One reason we miss out on LIFE so much is because we do not know how to incorporate the Dark Side… to put it in it’s highest place.
      Your writing reveals such a thing in a simply beautiful way.
      I too have a lovely kitty who “selected me” at a time in my life when I was alone and down & out. She is like a Saint who has come to Earth duty-bound to LOVE.
      If there was ever a manifestation of Free Love as we imagined in The Sixties (remember those daze!!) then it is the unconditional love & free spirit of kitties.
      And it allows us our higher purpose in life… to receive that Love and serve & protect our furry soul-mates.

  8. cc says

    My joy at this moment is that my children ages 22 (male) and 24(female) are finding their way, in their time and it has been my joy to share their journey with them, even when some moments are bleak and seem hopeless. We are there for each other. There are other joys too like my wonderful huband and long time freind, my first grandson, almost a year old now, and his wonderful mommy (my daughter in law). My mini schnauzer is in the mix as well.

  9. Ilana says

    There are so many things that bring me joy.

    A little boy running to me, arms spread wide as if he is flying. I immediately throw my own arms open and widen my stance to bear his weight. The music that accompanies this dance is his lovely, beautiful, voice excitedly calling my favorite name. “Mama!” He crash lands in my embrace only to be swept up for another flight. We spin and spin and spin. The world around us fades away and all that exists is that delicious smile and those sparkling brown eyes. This delightful ritual is repeated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon when I pick him up from preschool. Each time, it is as if we have been apart for months rather than hours.

    A little girl, fighting sleep as I sit on her bed reading to her and her sister from ‘The Secret Garden.’ I run my finger from the middle of her forehead, down her tiny perfect nose, over her strawberry lips to the center of her exquisite little chin. She smiles, softly. “I love you so much. Thank you for being the wonderful, darling child you are.” She smiles again, without opening her eyes. “I love you too. Thank you for being my Mama.”

    I stand and move to the loft bed to gaze at her sister. Eight years old, but in some ways so grown up. I press my face to hers; forehead to forehead, nose to nose and she smiles a wide grin. I could drown in those chocolate brown eyes and die a happy woman. Her beauty is more mature than her that of her younger siblings. There is kindness in her soul and a wisdom beyond her years. So many lessons she has to teach and I have the privilege of learning them all.

    There are so many things that bring me Joy. The warm palm of my husband’s hand as I press it to my face. The triumph of conquering my fears as I recreate my character through my healing. The four amazing words that my sister-survivors have blessed me with more times than I need to count; “I’m proud of you.” The awesome privilege of easing someone else’s pain. The magical quiet that comes at the end of each long day when three children are blissfully asleep, knowing they are safe and loved.

    No poem, prayer or song could ever encompass the millions of things that make my life so beautiful. Even in this turbulent time, when my heart aches continually and I want to give up. I must remember all that brings me joy.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ilana, This is so beautiful! Eloquent. Life-affirming. I may not have children in my life in the way I wanted but I share all those emotions you describe. The joy of looking deeply into the pure, sweet faces of a child. That is something that is always ecstatic to me. When my niece was little, she made me forget everything horrible for the three short years I was with her. I was so in awe of that little spark that illuminated the whole universe as far as I was concerned. She saw beauty, or at least something tolerable, in me and that was everything! Thank you for taking me to such a wonderful place! I’m sending you a virtual hug. I want you to know how important you are to me and others, as well as those who call you ‘Mama’.

      • Ilana says

        Thank you, Terry, for the hug. I accept it, treasure it and give it back to you. It is amazing how beautiful it all is when you don’t think about the temper tantrums, the 15 times you have to ask them to do one thing and the continued demands that you give them candy instead of vegetables; simply to concentrate on the sweet faces. I guess that’s how life is. We must continue to see the beauty in each moment. That is the only way to survive.

  10. Ilana says

    To all of you who wrote of the joys of grand parenthood, I salute you. Reading your pieces made my heart heavy. I was unable to comment on them individually. My own parents are incapable of enjoying their grandchildren in this way. I pray that one day I will celebrate my grandchildren the way you do yours. They are such fortunate children to have you in their lives.

  11. Terry Gibson says

    What gives me great joy is trying to write down the funny stuff that goes wandering through my brain. So, here it is for today.

    Six Reasons I Love Self-Deprecatory Humour

    I love laughing at myself. Now, for those who know me, don’t worry that I am doing so to put myself down. Why would I do that? What’s my height again? Oh yeah. I’m four feet six inches on a good day. Trust me, you’ll see nary a hair on my head when the day is less joyous.


    I’m so shy and almost too reverent of people and things. For instance, if you invite me to a family dinner—yes, even when I’m expected–I still won’t knock on your door too loudly. I don’t want to announce myself by jolting you from meal preparation with a harsh rap. How I get passed ‘bothering you’ and into your home before the end of dinner, is anybody’s guess.


    Oh, yes! Like any good Canadian, I am polite. If I bump into a mannequin or mailbox, I always apologize. I blurted out “I’m sorry” to a hydrant once, when I stood blocking its path to the firefighters of the 2012 Calendar.


    Most irritating is that I care about people. You know the type–gentle, sincere, and oh-so-loving–that you want to throttle them. That is me; I admit it freely. It’s my nature and if only toning it down was as simple as lopping off a mole.
    I’m stuck with it. I care about people so much my intentions are often misconstrued. This month, I turned down three marriage proposals (one of which was delivered via flash mob); one request to birth a litter of kids in the Australian Outback (marriage license optional), and another from a guy who lived with his mommy on a farm. All of that happened just because I said, “Have a great day!”


    Don’t get me started on the day I met the second most polite Canadian. “After you,” I said, motioning to him.

    He bowed his curly-haired head, while shaking it side-to-side “No. After you.”

    Don’t try that chivalry crap on me, I thought. I won’t relent because I’m a woman.

    Trust me, that revolving door went on forever.


    I have trouble expressing myself sometimes. In therapy I always cosied-up to what I fondly called ‘doorknob statements.’ In other words, I would spend my hour with my social worker and only be ‘warmed up’ after sixty-two minutes. Therefore, the most important stuff happened when I had my fingers wrapped around the doorknob and was almost out of the office. When she shortened the session to fifty minutes, I was in real trouble. I knew I’d be sticking around for a good long time, so I bought shares in her counselling business.


    Sometimes my emotions are a little shaky. I feel as if I’m all over the place while sealed in a big box from IKEA. Sorting everything out is simple. But wait. The simplicity of my two thousand and one-part reassembly hinges on the half-page of directions included within. That’s fine, except my flashlight and Allen key are both two feet away on the outside of the box.

    • Ilana says

      Terry- This is so bittersweet. It is funny but also sad to hear you put yourself down like that. Perhaps the lesson here is that it is okay to laugh at our shortcomings, now and again, as long as we are laughing. My favorite line was the last part about how simple the directions are, if only the flashlight and the Allen key were not two feet away from the sealed box. One request, though. If ever you come to my home for dinner knock as loudly as you can. If I have invited you it’s because I want you there. I am eagerly awaiting your arrival so CELEBRATE IT! Announce your presence with fan fair and ticker tape. As my guest your are worth nothing less.

      • Terry Gibson says

        Ilana, your response to this has shaken me up a bit. Is that what I’m doing? Making fun of myself in a negative way? I know I became timid in an effort to adjust to the ever-changing rules at home. It was sheer terror; maybe I never stopped being that way in the world–especially after I learned that greater dangers existed outside. I’ve got to think about this but don’t have it in me to analyze today.

        • Ilana says

          Terry- No one knows you better than you. I could have misread anything you wrote so please don’t feel badly as a result of something I say. In addition, I have injured myself deeply with self-deprecating humor. As a result I have issues with it which are MY OWN ISSUES. This may have nothing to do with you, personally. I apologize for shaking you up. I was actually concerned about that when I posted and wondered if I made a mistake. The fact is I care. My loyalty is actually one of my biggest faults. It sometimes causes me to stumble into other people’s private space. Please forgive me for making you uncomfortable. I wish you only the best because that is what you deserve. Be well, IM

          • Terry Gibson says

            Ilana, please don’t worry or blame yourself for anything. I understand that no matter how hard we try to avoid it, we will inadvertently trigger each other. I just did it this weekend and made some people sad because of my blog posts. It made me feel awful, as my goal is never to upset people, though it happens. Your words didn’t trigger me in a negative way; they just left me very thoughtful. I’m still pondering it as I prepare for sleep.

            A huge hug to you, Ilana. From what you said, this exchange (my last comment), has upset you. We all have our issues that are like baggage. If your issues come up during a conversation with me, please don’t worry. I can listen well. By the same token, please don’t be fearful for me, if you can avoid it.

          • Ilana says

            Thanks Terry- I’m glad you are okay. Triggers are unavoidable. It’s a risk we take when we share. I’m not willing to stop sharing to avoid it. Be well, I mean that. IM

    • MaeMae says

      OMIGOD!!! This is the best thing I have read in YEARS!!
      I only wish I could meet you and have a drink or two! I’m only a couple of inches taller and know that Attitude Is Everything.

  12. T.D. says

    I wanted to thank everyone for your kind words and concern. I won’t be coming back but I need you to know that I am in good hands. I have the best professionals working with me as I work out the residue from multiple traumas. I wish everyone happiness, health, inner peace, and the power of the present moment.

    • Debbie says

      T.D. – I wish for you, as well, happiness, health, inner peace and the power of the present moment. It was very kind of you to let us know you are in good hands. And the invitation stands to join back in anytime it might feel right for you. You will be missed and I send you healing energy as you continue your journey.

    • Laura Davis says

      TD, Thanks for making this a way station for a little while. I’m glad you’re being well taken care of and getting the support you need. Thanks for being part of our little community, even just for a little while.

  13. Rachel Staples says

    What brings me joy? Today it is the little things that build the corners of my lips into the smile that fills my heart.

    Waking up to the sunlight shining brightly through my bedroom window this morning.

    My Sweet coming home from work and planting one right on my lips after wrapping his arms around my waist as I do the morning dishes.

    My Puppies lying around my feet while I write (when they are not wanting to go outside and then come back in every five minutes).

    Making it right on time for my Yoga class and seeing one of my oldest friends already saving a spot for me.

    Rewarding myself for going to the gym by purchasing a single Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich while grocery shopping.

    Eating my Skinny Cow in my car while still in the parking lot because I don’t want to wait! Then taking a pic and posting it to facebook to share it with my friends.

    Coming home to the aromatic scent of cumin as I open the door and fills the whole house, which draws me to stir the chicken that I started this morning in the pot cooker.

    The excitement of my puppies show me when I walk through the door as they jump and dance around me as I make my way to the kitchen with the groceries.

    Now, the joyest of joys? Waiting for my GBaby to come over so we can play!

    The fact that this has just been today’s morning and I am so blessed that this is my life.

    These are the things that bring me joy today. Can’t wait for the rest of the day!!

    • Ilana says

      Mmmm. That was delicious. As I read I felt like I was flowing through a delightful dream of the simple pleasures. Even the things that I do not find enjoyable were wonderful to read about because of your pleasure in them. Thank you for sharing this. IM

  14. Stacy says

    I’ve just finished the last class of the semester (I teach composition), and I spoke with each of the students as they left the class. I wanted to know if they saw their own growth from the beginning of the semester, and they did! I nearly danced a jig, I was so excited. Learning to control one’s writing is immensely empowering, and to hear a student say that she feels more confident about writing is music to my ears. Sheer joy.

    Many other things bring me joy, but I am too tired to elaborate. Happy tired.

    I just wanted to jump into the fray. I’ve read some of the comments over the past couple of days and you all seem so lovely I have to say hi.

    Laura, your book helped save my life when I first started therapy in 95 or so. (Courage to Heal) The prompts here are thought-provoking. I’m glad I found you.

    • says

      Hi Stacy, I’m glad you found us, too! I look forward to seeing you post here more in the future. I love this little online community of writers.

    • Debbie says

      Stacy – welcome! I am trying to imagine what it must be like to help others discover their writing talents…. Being on the receiving end of that kind of support recently from Laura, and this blog, has been life transforming! I hope you return to share, teach and learn with us!

    • Ilana says

      Welcome, Stacy. I look forward to your future posts. I am just beginning to heal and this blog, this community, has been an integral part of that journey. I am glad you found us, too.

  15. Bobbie Anne says

    Writing my poetry brings me much joy! It has been raining since yesterday.Here is a short poem below:

    cherry blossoms
    in the pouring rain.

    Now that made me feel better. So, here is another one to brighten my mood below:


    Spring smells like
    fresh cut grass
    daffodils and a bunch
    of dasies growing

    Spring tastes like
    a fresh ripe apple
    with juice dribbling
    down your chin

    Spring feels like
    a touch of hope
    a time of renewal and
    faith that all is well

    I also like to journal. And of course,writing here, In the Writer’s Journey Roadmap brings me joy. I can read the posts here and share with others. It makes me smile.

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