From love to joy

Last Wednesday I talked about how the arrival of one baby coincided with the death of a dream (at least temporarily) for another.

During the first six weeks of Dominic’s life, doors with traditional publishers continued to close one after another. I received a lot of positive feedback from editors about my writing and the book, but no one was willing to take a risk on it in the current publishing climate.

It was difficult not to let this disappointment dominate my thinking or taint the joys that other areas of my life were handing me. When it comes to compliments and criticism, most people seem to be hardwired to pay attention to the negative – good marriage counselors will often tell you that it takes about five positive comments to counterbalance a single negative comment in a marriage. For me, this dynamic can come into play in other ways as well. A single negative can sometimes seem to overshadow a whole fistful of joys.

I’ve been thinking about this anew this last two weeks. Life in Laos can dish out both intensely good experiences and intensely frustrating ones and some days it’s a struggle not to let the frustrations (circular saws screeching right behind the house all day, ant bites in unmentionable places, sore neck and back, no ingredients or oven to make chocolate chip cookies when the mood strikes, crying baby) overshadow the good things in life.

So as we transition from love to joy in this series, it seems fitting to catalog some of the things that have helped fill my joy cup this past week.

  1. The cool weather appears to have arrived to stay for the next couple of months!!
  2. A husband who took the baby in the 5’s on Saturday and Sunday so that I could sleep.
  3. Two hours of uninterrupted writing time on Saturday.
  4. Walking down by the river in the cool dark of evening with Mike, pushing the pram and chatting.
  5. Celebrating Halloween with friends here with a perfectly behaved baby, the charming movie Stardust, and big bowls of kettle corn (how have I reached this age and never before experienced the deliciousness that is kettle corn??).
  6. Mike arriving home by bicycle for lunch every day this past week.
  7. Friends here announcing their engagement.
  8. Not having to do the many loads of laundry Dominic generates (how is it possible that one small being can triple an entire household’s weekly laundry??)
  9. Cointreau, tonic water, lime, and ice.
  10. Eliciting Dominic’s first real laugh (it took about 200 repetitions of peekaboo, but let’s not dwell on that).
  11. Watching Dollhouse episodes while breastfeeding.
  12. Chocolate ice cream at AB bakery.
  13. Lime green walls and passionfruit sorbet.
  14. Coming to a decision about the future of book baby (come back on Writing Wednesday for the next installment in that tale)…

This post is part of a series on the fruits of the spirit. The current theme is joy.

Over to you: Do you find that the negative in life disproportionately influences your mood and thinking? And what has helped fill your joy cup lately?

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9 responses to “From love to joy

  1. 15. A skype date with Lynne 😉 Just kidding…. but it did fill up my joy basket this week.

    • Ha! I KNEW there was one more thing I was forgetting to add to the list this morning that I thought of at 3am when I was leaning down to jam (oh, uh, I mean “gently place”) the pacifier in Dominic’s whimpering mouth again. That was “skype dates with friends”. No kidding.

  2. Always wonderfully written, witty and honest Lisa. Love it.
    Hold on to publishing that next book dream…it will happen! You are sooo way ahead of me in that domaine! I am still only at the “starting to write” my first book stage…so do count your many blessings my friend. Dominic is so beautiful…luv all the photos and essays/blogs. Precious…hugs to all.

  3. Hi, yes, I am routinely taken out by joy-busters as commonplace as reading the news, and as my long suffering Houseboy will confirm, it can take some serious digging before I emerge from the rubble. That said, the sight of mini-Mike grinning as he leans back in the safe nook of maxi-Mike’s knee definitely came as a welcome joy-boost! Love to y’all xx

  4. Pingback: All’s well that ends well | Wandering. Wondering. Writing.

  5. Not really related to your post, but isn’t it just hilarious the way baby smiles are often a mouth-as-wide-open-as-it-can-get sort of thing? Makes me laugh.

    • I love it. LOVE it. It’s one of the things that makes getting up at 3am worth it. Though, I sort of wish he’d save those smiles for 7am. But we’re working on that.

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