January 8, 2016
These days, there are lots of trendy little sayings advising us about how to find joy. I know some people who regularly turn their back on joy. They are so invested in their misery or their martyrdom that feeling joy would ruin it for them. I remember many days that I would be walking thru the office, singing a tune and smiling. Often, I was met by a scowling face who’d ask, ”What are you so happy about?!” As if my happiness was a personal affront to them! Admittedly, there are times and places where it can be difficult to feel it – and my workplace was one of them. It’s not easy to feel joyful when you are constantly surrounded by human suffering. And that was just the employees…(Joking. Well, sort of…)
One of the gifts my mother gave me was the ability to just be happy.. She was always smiling, despite the chronic pain that filled her days from an early age. The downside is that people, including me, often failed to recognize that she was suffering. But, if you don’t want people to pity you or to see you as a victim, that can be a good thing. Isn’t it better to choose those with whom you share your darkness than to wear it like a badge?
So, where, exactly, do we find this elusive joy? It’s not always obvious and it doesn’t have to be a big deal. There are days when I find joy in my morning coffee. Or in the way the sunlight reflects off the treetops in the front yard. There are moments when my grandson says something to me that fills me with joy. Or, at the grocery store, when a song I really like comes on and I sing a few lines while perusing the cereal aisle. It’s always there. You just have to be open to it. You have to CHOOSE JOY. Decide, right here, right now, to be happy. Look around you and see something in your home or on your desk – maybe it’s a little trinket from a vacation or a gift from a coworker or a favorite photograph. Pick it up and remember how it came to be yours or why you chose to display it. Let yourself feel that again. THAT’s what I’m talking about!
There’s no quota and no limit on these moments. Give yourself permission. String a few of them together and you’ll be surprised how your outlook changes. How many ways will you feel joy today?
Comfort goes hand in hand with joy. Why not whip up some healthy comfort food for dinner tonight? This is a favorite of mine. Easy-Peasy and delicious. I like to use Stop & Shop’s frozen veggies that is a combination of peas, carrots, corn, green beans and baby Lima beans. But whatever veggies you like will work just fine. You won’t even miss the crust – I promise! Add extra veggies to bulk it up, reduce the calories and add fiber.
Chicken crockPot Pie
- 1 can cream of chicken soup, reduced fat/Healthy Choice
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (or combine peas, carrots & whatever you like)
- Two potatoes, peeled and cut into small, bite size pieces (or frozen Ore Ida hash browns)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Mix together: Soup (undiluted), vegetables and potatoes
- Place in crockpot (lightly sprayed with cooking spray, like PAM)
- Place chicken breasts on top
- Cook on low for six hours or until chicken is cooked well
- Remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork
- Stir remaining ingredients and then return chicken to crockpot
- Mix well
(Disclaimer: Since I’m not at home today and not actually making this right now, I’ve borrowed a photo from the web.)