My Joy Ride

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I once heard joy defined as singing, dancing, laughing and playing. In other words, all ways a child expresses herself naturally.

I’m setting off on a daily adventure to explore how joy exists in my life. I’m curious to see where this journey takes me.

You’re welcome to come along for the ride!

along the path cropped

The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
path into woods

Into The Woods…photo by Julie Wise

And I’m Back!

I haven’t posted here for a while, although that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there finding joy 🙂

Last night, for example, a friend and I went to a Paint Nite, an event where a group of people spend a couple of hours painting, guided by an artist. We all work on the same picture although we have our own canvases. It was a lot of fun.

I used to paint with watercolours but I’ve never tried other media. We worked with acrylics which, to my delight, are far more forgiving and easy to work with than watercolours!

And here’s my “masterpiece”.

painting of a desert night sky

Desert Night ~ by Julie Wise

What matters to me most is that we had fun – no pressure and lots of laughter. Definitely a night to remember!

Stuart, Dave and Morley

Yesterday, I lost a beloved friend. I’d never met him, but his voice and his stories had been an integral part of my life for over 40 years. Stuart McLean, like Peter Gzowski before him, had a remarkable ability to weave together all the diverse threads that make us Canadian. Peter accomplished this through his Morningside program on CBC Radio; Stuart through his stories of Dave and Morley and smalltown Canada.

Many times, I remember driving home listening to CBC and The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean, tears streaming down my face, laughing hysterically, and nearly having to pull over as he told tales of Dave cooking the turkey, or Dave and his neighbour’s bike, or Dave on the roof.

One year, we went to his annual Christmas show. He would tour the country, sharing old and new Dave and Morley stories with audiences young and old. He’d also feature Canadian musicians, and that’s where I first heard the lilting music of bands like The Good Lovelies and many more.

Yesterday, I drove home, listening to CBC, tears streaming down my face, nearly having to pull over, as I heard that he had passed away at 68.

Thank you, Stuart, for the stories and the memories and, above all, the laughter.

Stuart McLean book cover

Thanks for the stories, Stuart. May you rest in peace.

Embrace!

It’s Valentine’s Day. A day for sharing loving thoughts with those around you. Just wondering…how often do you treat yourself with loving kindness? When you look in the mirror, do you see beauty and joy? Or do you notice extra weight here, a few new wrinkles there, maybe some gray hairs peeking through?

I’ve been following Taryn Brumfitt on Instagram (@bodyimagemovement), an Australian who joyfully embraces all that she is. Through her documentary film “Embrace”, she encourages all of us to recognize that our bodies are “the vehicle to our dreams”.

Tonight, in honour of Valentine’s Day, she has organized a “Girls’ Night In” across North America. You can download her film on iTunes or Google Play or Amazon, watch it at 8pm EST with thousands of people across the continent, and join her for a Q & A session after on social media.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Maybe it’s a good night to snuggle up with the one you love, or host a get-together with friends and check out “Embrace”! I know I will.

poster for Embrace documentary

A Valentine’s Day special just for you!

Sunny Days

After almost a month of days of endless gray, the sun peeked out through the clouds yesterday. I’d forgotten how bright and warm even winter days can be when the sun is shining.

I stood by the window, eyes closed, and soaked up the rays for the few minutes that it shone. Such joy!

And captured the brilliance on the sun-kissed blossoms of my bougainvillea.

bougainvillea blooms

Sun-kissed bougainvillea. Photo by J. Wise

Daily Joy

If you’re open to it, each day is full of surprises and moments of joy. Today, for example, on a bitterly cold winter’s morning, we suddenly noticed a flock of birds flitting back and forth among the trees.

Curious, we took out the binoculars to get a closer look.

Robins, a bird we normally identify with the return of spring, were happily flying about the snow-laden trees.

A surprise that brought a smile, as well as a shake of the head. Did they miss the memo about flying south for the winter?

robin on branch in winter

A robin on January 8, 2017!

Amazingly Awesome Days

I’ve been reading a book by Pam Grout in which she suggests starting every day with the thought that something amazingly awesome will happen today. What’s cool about this is that you begin to look for amazingly awesome moments in each day as a result. As the old saying goes, “Seek and ye shall find.”

I’ve been having so many amazingly awesome days ever since I started doing this.

Here’s a photo of one such moment: a kookaburra that “adopted” me while I was in Australia. It would land right beside where I was sitting and we would have a “chat”. If I moved to the back verandah, it would follow me there. If I went inside the house, it would hop along the railing so it could see through the open door and watch what I was doing. It would fly down and land beside me as I was hanging laundry.

Amazing…and awesome 🙂

What amazing and awesome things have happened to you recently?

kookaburra on railing

My new best friend! ~ Photo by Julie Wise

Savouring Summer

When it’s cold outside, and the winter wind is blowing snow around, it helps me to remember that it’s always summer somewhere!

Perhaps this photo, taken as I walked on a long sun-drenched beach in Australia, will bring warmth and sunshine into your day.

Australian beach

Summer’s pleasure – a walk along a solitary beach. ~ Photo by Julie Wise

Today I Choose Joy Over Fear

I’m not American. I don’t live in the United States. I didn’t vote in the election. In fact, right now I’m on the other side of the globe.

However, I did hear the collective gasp that reverberated around the world following the election results. And I continue to hear fearful comments today.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to focus on joy and possibility. Find it within yourself, your day, your world. Cherish and appreciate the moments of joy and beauty. Share your joy through images and words so that others may feel uplifted and inspired.

We are all connected. Let’s choose to make the connection a joy-filled one. And, yes, it does make a difference.

woman on a swing

A joyous moment under blue skies