Monthly Theme: Joy

Here's why we've picked "Joy" as July's theme.

Hydrangea

Last Christmas I bought cards to send to my family and friends in other places and they were emblazoned with a single word across the front – JOY – and adorned with gold gems and a healthy dose of glitter. They were very pretty, and I liked their simpleness. I wrote out all my cards, popped them in the mail, and didn’t give it another thought. Three months later, one of those cards was returned to me in the mail. Seems I’d addressed my friend’s card incorrectly, and for whatever reason it took three months for the card to find its way back to me. The Christmas moment having long passed, I decided to shred the card, but felt I should pull the plastic gems off the card to recycle separately. As I pulled the card out of the envelope, the big gold JOY hit me smack in the face and I stopped in my tracks and thought “What is joyful about today?” It was March then, a bit grey and drizzly, but I managed to list off a few things that were bringing me joy that particular day. It put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Since then I have often found myself stopping for a moment, and asking myself, “What is joyful about today?” There are many days when I am really stretching it to find something joyful: “a hot cup of tea at just the right moment” isn’t exactly monumental stuff. But if that particular day has been filled with technical difficulties in your job, a cat that woke you up at 4:30am demanding to be fed, a lost permission slip, and a telemarketer who interrupts the dinner you are eating hurriedly despite burning it… well, that cup of tea IS joy.

Joy is a subjective, ephemeral thing. What brings you joy may not bring me joy, and vice versa. There are so many stories we can share on Tenth that illustrate “joy”, and no two stories will be the same. Little things, big things, complicated things, simple things. Joy is contagious, all encompassing, and can change you. Joy for me today: the amazing colour of the hydrangea growing in my garden, this cute face, freezies on a summer day, drinking from the hose, lemon pound cake with raspberry sauce made by a friend, sunsets, cheerful birds, my son finishing grade two happy and content. Tomorrow my list will be different. In fact, I hope tomorrow it will be different, because there is just so much to be joyful about.

This morning my friend Alexia shared this post by David Suzuki and her comment was “Joy!” Alexia’s happiness in knowing the monarch butterflies are back was contagious. Such a simple, tiny thing, right? The butterflies are back and we will see many of them this summer. I smiled at the cute cartoon.

Screenshot 2016-07-01 08.44.42

One other story to illustrate why we’ve chosen joy this month as our theme, mostly because I can’t resist:

This is Max. He just finished grade one. Yesterday, he lost his first tooth. It was a “finally” moment, as most of his peers have already lost their first tooth. He was delighted at finally losing his tooth, and wrote a very adorable note to the Tooth Fairy. Today he was up at 5:30am today to check that she had taken the tooth, and she had! She also wrote him a reply, praising him for taking care of his teeth and promising to continue to care for it for him. He is running on 100% pure happiness today. He has no baggage to make him think of anything else. His mom, Erin, told me she is filled with joy at seeing his pure and delightful happiness at having finally lost a tooth. “Joy is simple,” she says.

And then this happened. #firsttooth #happykid #seriouslystopgrowingup

A photo posted by sasskitty (@sasskitty) on

Erin’s so right.

So, celebrate “joy” with us this month. Let’s talk about the things that bring you or others joy. It’s July in New Westminster and our city is teeming with wonderful events, attractions, experiences, and people to put smiles on faces and happiness in hearts. This month I’m going to make a point of acknowledging my joy every day, not just once in a while. Because even on crappy days, there is joy.

And as always, please reach out if you’ve got something to contribute to the site this month – it brings me joy to see our labour of love growing and we are grateful to contributors and readers.

Happy Canada Day, New West!

Jen Arbo

Jen Arbo is the editor and co-publisher of Tenth to the Fraser. She's been writing for the site since 2007 and lives in Sapperton with her family. A project manager at heart, she also operates Hyack Interactive, a digital communications company. Find her on Twitter or Instagram.

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