Joy in December

Hi all on this chilly, rainy last Friday of 2022. Today I’m sharing my last update on my word of the year, which is “JOY”. I’m joining the Word of the Year linky as well as Lisa’s One Word link-up.

The month of December started out with something that would have brought me exhilirating joy under different circumstances but brought just a weak smile to my face now: a visit from my two former day activities staff, complete with a full-on lunch buffet paid for by them. I honestly feel a bit guilty for possibly having ruined their meal with my talks of how much I was struggling in the care home. Then again, to be fair to myself, this was just a day after I’d hit the proverbial brick wall.

The next week saw some glimmers of hope, as my now assigned staff (yay, they finally assigned me a staff other than the support coordinator) convinced me to give a new day schedule a try. This finally gave me some opportunities for crafty activities.

Then on the 23rd, I had the meeting with my now assigned staff, the behavior specialist, my mother-in-law and the mediator. This again gave me some glimmers of hope.

Oh wait, “HOPE” wasn’t my word of the year for 2022. It was “JOY”. And I found joy even when the times were trying. A helpful resource in this has been a sheet of paper with two sides on it that I fill out each evening: on one side, I can list two things that didn’t go too well during the day, but on the other, I need to list two things that did go well. Yesterday’s things that did go well included several nice walks and having finished crafting a polymer clay unicorn. After giving it its finishing touches, I just gave the unicorn to my assigned staff, who for the most part helped me create it.

Overall, the month of December definitely included some important reasons for joy. I am also generally pleased with the word I chose as my word of the year. Even though later in the year it was quite a struggle to find joy, I liked to look for opportunities for it in the ordinary.

Joy in October and November

Hi everyone. I didn’t post an update on my word of the year last month, so I’m doing one now. My word is “JOY”. As usual, I’m linking up with the #WOTY Linky as well as Lisa’s One Word Linky. Here goes.

I honestly can’t remember the joy I was looking forward to experiencing next month at the end of September. I just had a look at the post I wrote then and I said then that I was hoping to enjoy real food, as the staff at my new care home cook. I wasn’t as high with anticipation as I now looking back thought I was, realistically saying I’d have a lot to get used to so was just hoping to enjoy some everyday pleasures. I didn’t specify what these included.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I indeed did and still do have a lot of getting used to do. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever truly adjust to the chaos that is the new care home. As a result, I didn’t experience much everyday joy over the past few months. I did for the most part enjoy the real food, but not as much as I’d have liked, as I wasn’t involved at all. I’m hoping to be able to contribute to thinking up the menu soon, but the staff usually receive ideas from the clients while they are in the communal room and the staff are in the adjacent office. Since I hardly ever join the other clients in the communal room and there’s no set time for the staff to think up the week’s menu so that I could then, it may be hard for me to participate, but I at least voiced my wish to do so once again.

Over the month of November, I did finally try my hand at crafting semi-regularly again. During October, I tried to as well, but there hardly was any time for the staff to help me so I struggled to find the opportunity. I managed to finish two polymer clay pieces during November, the latter of which unfortunately didn’t cure properly so it broke.

I also enjoyed two hour-long walks during October. During November, my mobility wasn’t as great, so I struggled even with 30-minute walks. I did eventually manage to take a couple of pictures during my walks though.

I also looked forward to enjoying visits from family in October. Indeed, my sister did visit me. So did my husband and mother-in-law, both regularly during the past two months. These visits are a welcome excuse to leave the care home.

Honestly, I am not sure whether, at the end of September, I somehow knew that the new care home wasn’t going to be what it was cracked up to be and that was the reason I didn’t specify the everyday pleasures I hoped to enjoy. Even if I knew then, the adjustment honestly is far more intense than I expected it to be. In truth, I’ve been pushed far beyond my limits and the experience has been mostly a nightmare.

Now, at the end of November, I am noticing some tiny glimmers of hope on the horizon that might mean the new care home could actually become less than nightmarish for me eventually. I am not sure these will mean anything in the coming month yet, so I will continue to focus on small joys. For example, I am hoping to enjoy crafting even if I can’t enjoy it nearly at the level I used to. I am also hoping to enjoy some walking, weather permitting, as well as continued regular visits from my husband and mother-in-law.

Five Things That Bring Me Joy on Bad Days #5Things

Hi everyone. I have been feeling notoriously uninspired lately and still don’t really feel like I know what to write about. However, I saw this week’s topic for the #5Things challenge: things that bring you joy when you feel “joyless”. In other words, we’re challenged to list five things that bring a smile on our face when we have a bad day and nothing else can seem to cheer us up. Here goes.

1. Food. Good food can definitely brighten even my darkest days. I am a lover of hot and spicy food, but also enjoy candy and savory snacks.

2. A phone call from my husband. Whenever I feel down in the dumps, my husband can usually cheer me up. Sometimes it takes him some firm setting my mind straight before I am open to cheerful talk.

3. Music. I love upbeat music, including Dance, contemporary Christian and occasionally rock. At other times, calming music is just what I need.

4. Physical activity. When I can motivate myself for it, a walk or some other form of exercise truly helps me clear my mind of all its negative energy.

5. Retail therapy. I can be a bit of an impulse spender when I’m feeling bad. Thankfully though, even online window shopping helps me feel better at times.

What helps you feel better when you’re feeling down?

Joy in September

Hi everyone. How is it the end of September already? I pretty much forgot the month is almost over, but since it is, it’s time for me to write an update on my word of the year: “JOY”. I am linking up with Lisa’s One Word linky. I am also joining the Word of the Year linky.

September started out with good news, as, on the very first day of the month, I heard that I was first on the waiting list for what I now refer to as the prospective new care home. This gave me some renewed energy, but also stress. I was warned that the wait might still be six months or so. “That’s super quick,” my husband said. Well, those who’ve read my blog over the past couple of weeks, know that it’s gone even quicker: tomorrow, I am to decide whether I want to move to the home and, if I want to (which I do), I’ll move next Wednesday, October 5.

Considering this, the whole month of September flew by in a bit of a haze, in which I was both hyper with excitement and overwhelmed with worry. I am still both as I type this post, in fact. Consequently, I hardly found any clear moments of joy that were just that. After all, things I did feel delight or joy over, were also laden with some level of anxiety or anticipation. For example, at my husband’s and my visit to Ikea, I was thinking about what to buy for the new home.

The month of September, of course, was also the month my iPhone and Apple Watch got their updates and I got really used to my Apple Watch. For the first few weeks of the month, I was compulsively moving to get far beyond my activity goals. This past Friday, my dietitian did caution me against it. The next day, with some emotional struggle, I let a day go by when I didn’t fill all my rings. That seems to have broken the cycle, as I’m now able to be a bit easier on myself. For example, yesterday I was sick to my stomach all day, so really didn’t feel like exercising. I am relieved I am able to permit myself these days now too.

For the month of October, I am of course looking forward to enjoying real food, as the staff at the new home cook homemade meals everyday there. I am also hoping to enjoy visits from family, as I have a few planned already for the first week at my new home. Other than that, I am expecting to have a lot of getting used to at the new home, so I’m just hoping to enjoy some everyday pleasures.

Joy in August

Hi all. It’s the end of the month once again and this means I’m reflecting on my word of the year, which is “JOY”. I am linking up with the Word of the Year linky as well as with Lisa’s One Word linky.

The month of July was hard and it ended on an even more difficult note with a health scare. Did I even tell you all about it? Well, I had bloodwork done at the end of July as part of my annual health screening and, while most results came back normal, my EGFR, an indication of kidney function, did not. It’s supposed to be above 90 in healthy adults, had been 81 last year and my nurse practitioner back then had said that anything above 70 was still acceptable. Well, it was 68 this time around. I checked with my GP and he said this could be a one-off lower score, but I do need to be checked again, including a urine test, in a few months.

This health scare, as well as some other worries about my health, did decrease my joy over the month of August. However, I still tried to find moments of joy in the everyday. Like in July, I did sometimes seek joy in material things, for example when I bought a lot of polymer clay supplies a few weeks ago.

However, I also found joy in experiences, such as my and my husband’s trip to Enkhuizen last week and my trip to the town fair yesterday (even though I didn’t buy anything).

Earlier this week, I of course tried to find joy in another material thing by buying an Apple Watch. It’s pure delight seeing how I reach and even exceed my goals. That being said, I did have another health scare today, when the stupid thing told me my cardio fitness level is low. “Low” is the lowest score your Apple Watch will give you. My husband joked: “except for ‘dead’, but that’s not far off.” Great, huh? Thankfully, I do know I can to a degree increase my cardio fitness level by exercising. It is good to feel some sense of control.

Joy in July

Hi everyone. It’s nearly the end of the month and this means it’s time for me to update you all on my word of the year. As usual, I’m joining the #WOTY linky, as well as Lisa’s One Word linky. My word of the year, as I’ve said before, is “JOY”.

Early in the month, I had a horrible setback, as I got the news that my now former assigned staff would be quitting her job at my care facility. This caused some major sadness and emotional turmoil in me, but after a while, I was able to channel it into something good by creating something for her – a polymer clay hedgehog. I enjoyed the creative process and the smile I brought to her face when I gave her the gift.

Overall, I did find that my joy or lack thereof was more than in the previous months tied to my material success, in the sense that, if I felt I was failing at a crafty endeavor, I didn’t enjoy it either. The same goes for my blog: I was ecstatic when reading all the positive comments to the poem I wrote last week, but didn’t enjoy writing when I had the idea that I wasn’t “successful” in my blogging.

Similarly, my joy is also more tied to material possessions than it used to be. For example, the day my former assigned staff left, I ordered a stuffed dolphin for comfort. While this did help me, maybe at other times I would’ve been able to seek joy without having to spend money. I am not saying spending money on comfort items is necessarily bad, but ultimately, they aren’t material things that will bring me joy.

Joyful experiences included a visit to the trampoline on the last day my now former assigned staff worked my one-on-one shift, eating out with my husband and a visit from my sister and her family. While they involved material things too, in the sense that we spent money on the dinner and my sister gave me some beautiful belated birthday gifts, the experiences themselves were truly great.

In some good news, I did do some Bible reading everyday again this week, while I’d hardly done any over the rest of the month. It is causing me a lot of emotions.

Overall, the month of July was filled with some high peaks but a lot of deep lows too. I must say though that, considering the impact of my staff leaving, I was expecting much worse. I really hope the month of August will be better.

Joy in June

Hi all! Here I am with my monthly update on my 2022 word of the year: JOY. I am joining the Word of the Year linky and Lisa’s One Word linky.

Last year, the month of June was rather tumultuous. This year was no different at first. It started with the manager telling me that temp workers had to be put in place to work in my home more often than usual and this would mean I would get temping staff to work my one-on-one shifts too. I wasn’t amused and this caused me to be rather stubborn and strong-willed at first.

I can’t say that working with temp staff has gotten easier over the month. All I can hope for is that, by summer’s end, enough regular staff will have been hired.

Thankfully, there were a couple of extraordinarily fantastical experiences that helped me find joy this month. One was seeing my assigned staff’s pet hedgehog on the 13th. Of course, when picking my word, I intended to enjoy the ordinary. I do that, too.

That being said, I do need to practise being grateful in my heart with any blessings coming my way. My birthday celebrations this weekend show this: my parents gave me presents they’d gotten at the thrift store and, while I was genuinely happy with one of them, I wasn’t with the rest. Of course, I tried not to show it, but I need to work on cultivating a grateful heart even in this situation.

I remember, when I picked “joy” as my word of the year, being in doubt about possibly choosing a word such as “creative”. That, though, sounded too easy. Indeed, most joy I’ve found over the month of June has been with the creative process. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been genuinely enjoying the polymer clay craft in particular. I have a couple pieces that still need a few coats of glaze, but which then I’m eager to show you all.

With respect to finding daily notes or reminders of my word, in the form of quotes, Bible verses, etc., I haven’t been doing so well. I collected a few but then stopped. I might want to collect reminders of my word whenever I see them rather than focusing on one per day as a requirement.

Overall, the month ended better than it started. This may be because this weekend is my birthday weekend (tomorrow is my actual birthday). Then again, I think I said this in April and May too, so maybe the fact that I’m writing my monthly updates later in the month, makes me remember the joys of the last part of the month better, since they’re more recent.

How was your June?

Joy in May

Hi all! It’s nearly the end of the month again, so I’m here with an update on my word of the year, which is: JOY. I am linking up with Lisa’s One Word Linky as well as the Word of the Year linky.

Overall, this month was pretty mixed with respect to how well I did. As mixed as the weather, really. Sometimes, we had sunny, warm weather and I’d enjoy myself and be full of energy. At other times, like today, it would be cloudy and chilly and I wouldn’t really feel up to very much. Of course, my joy or lack thereof wasn’t always tied to the weather, but partly at least it was.

Admittedly, today isn’t a great day. I’m having a bit of a brain fog and, for this reason, had to look over the past month’s blog posts to remember the things I’d enjoyed in May. There seem to have been quite a few, such as the time I went to look at the baby goats at one of my staff’s. Also, the time I went swimming because the plumbing crew had to come out to clear our waterworks of legionella. And, of course, the visit from my mother-in-law.

I also did enjoy the more ordinary pleasures of life. I finally read some more than I did earlier in the year. With respect to crafting, I mostly enjoyed getting inspired rather than actually making things. The reason is probably the fact that I worry I may not be capable of actually achieving the results I want. I really aim to do more actual crafting in June.

I once again was delighted with home-cooked meals a few times, but was also able to actually enjoy the regular food. I must say, I am not doing that well when it comes to appreciating foods that I don’t really like. Just this evening, I had a bit of a tantrum (I can safely call it that) because there were no larger cookies, which we can have on weekends, that I like.

One of the challenges Lisa had for us in her E-mail reminding us about this month’s link-up, was to spend the next 30 days collecting a little bullet point on your word for 2022 each day. This could be a quote, a Bible verse, a thought, or whatever. I haven’t yet started it, but I am fully intending on doing that from now on. It might help me be more aware of my word throughout the month. Let’s see how this goes.

Joy in April

Oh my, how time flies! I fully intended to write my monthly update on my word of the year, which is “JOY”, last Thursday, but forgot. Thankfully, there’s still about ten hours left in April to share my reflections on how I did this past month. I am linking up with the Word of the Year linky, as well as Lisa’s One Word link-up.

Early in the month, I did quite well. I enjoyed my craft of polymer clay to the fullest. Among other things, I discovered color mixing. I was full of new ideas and really burst with energy.

I also enjoyed quiet time and my spiritual life. I was engaging with the Bible on a daily basis.

I also spent time involved with personal growth in general, watching videos on, for example, the enneagram. This is not necessarily Christian, but it is not against the faith either and there are many Christian enneagram experts.

Unfortunately, as the month progressed, I slipped into an emotional rut. I have been neglecting my Bible reading and my quiet time now involves falling asleep to instrumental music. That isn’t bad in itself, but I’d really like to spend more time focusing on God. I’ve noticed, in fact, that I’m drifting away from Him. I could blame this on my low mood, but really it could be the other way around too.

I also haven’t been enjoying my creativity as much as I used to. This goes for both my polymer clay and my blogging. With blogging, this may have to do with the fact that the #AtoZChallenge is coming to an end and the last letters are usually harder than the first. However, I don’t engage as much with other bloggers as I used to early in the month either.

I am also not enjoying my food as much as I used to. Like, we had pizza yesterday. While I appreciated it, I didn’t savor the food as much as I would like to have done. I am reminded in this sense of the mindful eating exercise I did in early March and how I’d really like to apply it to foods I love more.

Overall, early in the month, I did quite well, but towards the end of the month, I’ve been slipping towards the opposite of joy. This brings me to one of the exercises that Lisa provided in her One Word E-mail for this month (I think), which was to look to the opposites of your word and reflect on what they can tell you about your word. Some of the most relevant antonyms of joy include:


  • Depression: well, I wouldn’t say I’m depressed (yet), in the clinical sense. Having been there, I know that my current low mood is different, but I do need to watch out that I don’t slip into the pit of depression.

  • Melancholy: I’ve definitely been feeling this way. Melancholy is a bit of a low mood, with an edge of romanticism attached. I feel this resonates with me in relation to how I feel about living in my current care home.

  • Misery: this sounds a bit, well, too negative for me right now. A state I want to avoid at all cost.

  • Sadness: yes, I’ve felt sad when my fellow client passed away early this month, but other than that, sadness just doesn’t cut it.

  • Seriousness: certainly, yes. I’ve been far too serious about my life lately, which has resulted in my not enjoying the fun parts.

All this being said, in the coming month, I’m hoping to gain some joy back and crawl out of the pit of melancholy and seriousness.

Excitement: Things I Enjoy About My Creative Work #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter E post in the #AtoZChallenge. There are many E words related to creativity, but I decided to share the things I enjoy about being creative. I chose the word “Excitement” for my post title, because that was the title of the prompt in The Year of You for Creatives that inspired this idea. Now, of course, I can no longer cheat and use another “Ex” word for the letter X, but I try to avoid that at all cost anyway. Tomorrow, if I don’t make up my mind before then, I’m going to share about my creativity-related frustrations.

The first thing I enjoy about being a creative, is learning about other artists’ creative process. I love watching and reading tutorials on the various crafts I enjoy and they truly inspire me. This is more of a recent development, since doing soap making in 2016. Before then, I’d just create what I wanted without any sort of tutorial. This, however, often led to disastrous results.

Another thing I love about my creative work, is shopping for new supplies. Either that or just looking for supplies online without actually buying them. I have a huge wishlist of things I want to buy someday. About a month ago, I decided to put some of them on my online birthday wishlist rather than buying them myself. My birthday isn’t until the end of June, so this is quite the exercise in patience.

A thing I especially love about all of my creative endeavors, is being able to share them online. I am in groups on Facebook for pretty much every craft I dabble in currently (and maybe even some I don’t anymore). I cannot really imagine being creative without sharing my work at all.

Lastly, something I am currently very excited about is finding new techniques to try with my crafts. For instance, today I tried to mix a color with polymer clay using my precision kitchen scale (yay, I finally bought one!). Knowing it turned out as I wanted to (for which, in the case of a color, I of course rely on my staff) is pure delight.