Joy… Joi… Joy… Down in My Heart….

Why I Cherish Both the Word and Name

Joy
Yesterday I took one of those fun online quizzes that tell you something about yourself after a series of questions. This quiz was called, “What Your Parents Should Have Named You.”

After answering a series of questions, it told me that my parents should have named me… are you ready for it… Joy.

Well done, mom and dad!

My great-grandmother came up with the idea of spelling it with an i instead of a y, but Joy is my name… it’s just spelled with an i.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to say those words in my life, “…spelled with an i.”

Joy is, and always has been, one of my absolute favorite words. It symbolizes happiness, peace, contentment, bliss, and a whole other list of words that (as Andy Griffith might say), “Ain’t nothin’ but good.

Earlier this month, when I wrote a review of the NinkaStudio Theme of the Year Calendars, they graciously told me to pick out one of the words as a thank you. Naturally, I went with Joy.

Because it “Ain’t nothin’ but good.

I’ll let you in on another reason the word and name mean the world to me.

Many years ago (never mind how many, nosy Parker), my mom was a pretty sick 22 year old who’d just found out she was a mother-to-be. Her thyroid was going haywire, and being so long ago, treatments for such things were nowhere near what they are today.

She was told that the baby (me) wouldn’t make it and that, for her health, it was best to terminate the pregnancy. When she vehemently refused, she was assured that her pregnancy would not be an easy one in any sense of the word.  She was also told that her baby would not be “normal” – to which she simply said, “But it’ll be MY baby.”

The pregnancy was especially bad, causing her a great deal of sickness and discomfort – I’d imagine even more so given the grim forecast. As for the baby, I think I turned out normal enough.

On the day I was born, when it came time to name this small pink human that caused so much trouble, my mom chose “Joy.”

Spelled with an i.

That doesn’t just mean the world to me on a personal level (my name was one of the sweetest gifts she ever gave me, right after life, itself). It also means the world to me because, at the end of a battle – one in which she… at such a young age… called the shots – she chose Joy for more than just a name. She chose Joy as the way she’d view the situation.

I’ve had many life lessons in my years. Heck, I’ve even created a few of them along the way. But this one has left a profound effect on my psyche. Maybe it’s why I, without even thinking about it, choose to see the humor in life. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I seldom ever take anything seriously and why I’m always looking for the next reason to smile.

I often sign my name online Joi (“Joy”) to make sure my mom’s chosen name is completely conveyed. Ever since I had a teacher once call me, “Joe-I,” I take no chances.

I believe in positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, and motivational books. I also believe in the power of words. I believe that if you take one very special word and make it your “Spirit Word,” it can be your very own safe haven.

If you’re looking for a word to remind you that there are always reasons to smile…. a word that, itself, if filled with sunshine…. I have a word for you: Joy.

Spelled with a y.

~ Joi

Perfect Quote About New Year’s Day (Quote Graphic)

Leave it to a Poet to Capture it Beautifully...

New Year's Day Quote
Poets are, unquestionably, some of the most talented and gifted of all writers. They’re just brilliant – and I’m not saying that because one of my daughters happens to be a poet (though she is especially brillaint). Poetry is one of the hardest things to write – I’ve tried!

Edith Lovejoy Pierce – the poet who coined the beautiful quote above – captured the essence of New Year’s Day beautifully.

Just as you’d expect a poet to do.

Have a beautiful, safe, and perfectly wonderful New Year’s Day and may 2016 bring you everything you ever hoped for – and even things you never even hoped to dream of!

~ Joi (“Joy”)

NinkaStudio “Theme of the Year” Calendars

I Really Love the Idea Behind These Beautiful Calendars...

Breathe
 

Well, guys 2016 is just about here. 2015 was a bumpy ride in my family, so we’re welcoming 2016 with arms wide open.

If you’re as into calendars as I am (I usually have about 4) or if you love positive affirmations and motivation even half as much as I do, you’re going to be blown away by these printable calendars from NinkaStudio.

The “Theme-of-the-Year”  printable calendars are available and each one is more than just a pretty face.  These special calendars allow you to keep a special theme or “word of the year” front and center in your life all year.

Laugh
 

Themes (“Word of the Year”) Include:

  • Simplify
  • Awake
  • Balance
  • Laugh
  • Imagine
  • Breathe
  • Enthusiasm
  • Release
  • Sparkle
  • Rest
  • And many more!

From NinkaStudio:

A theme-of-the-year is a very simple concept that a lot of people use instead of New Year’s resolutions. It’s also called “One Word Resolution”, “Word of the year”, “Personal Mantra”, “Intention for the year” or simply “One Word”. Instead of focusing on lots of goals that often get abandoned within a few weeks, a simple word or phrase will be your guide. One word is easy to remember, simple to focus on and can gently guide your decisions, plans and actions in all areas of life.

Trust
 

For a VERY low price, here’s what you get:

2 printable files:

  • 2016 Year-at-a-glance Calendar (choose between US Letter with Sunday start or A4 with Monday start)
  • 8″x10″ printable theme (JPG or PDF) – print & frame or set it as your desktop background

I hope you’ll click through and find the word (or words!) that resonate with you. If you find several, consider buying each – after all, can we really have too much motivation?

Keep smiling! ~ Joi (“Joy”)

Joy

Art Little? Do Thy Little Well…

Beautiful Words from Goethe

Art little? Do thy little well: And for thy comfort know The great can do their greatest work No better than just so. - Goethe
A Favorite Goethe Quote

Goethe almost always knew the right thing to say, didn’t he? I say almost because he was human after all, with all of the snails and puppy dog tails that come with it.

I think this is always a good thing to keep in mind whether we’re quoting an individual or backing them for President. We’re all human – deep down, we realize that – but how quickly we forget when a weakness is exposed in another.

We want compassion and understanding for ourselves and we even want it for people we support. Yet, when anyone else messes up – by gosh we’re all over it like a cat on a fat mouse with a limp.

I actually caught heat years ago for using a Goethe quote and for saying it was a wonderful quote. Come to think of it, I’ve also gotten flack for using John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Ronald Reagan quotes.

If I highlight a quote, it’s out of great appreciation for the quote – not always for the quoter. It’s to share the thought, not necessarily the thinker.

Many of the words Goethe left behind are wonderful and if they can be used to bring inspiration, motivation, and encouragement to people – I’ll quote him for years to come.

Was he perfect? No more so than any of us. Heck, even Mother Teresa wasn’t perfect.  I only know of One Man who was perfect and no other will ever even come close.

There’ll be people we like, there’ll be people we don’t like. There’ll be people we all but hate with an un-Christian hatred! That’s just life. But here’s my own personal take on the situation: The fewer people we dislike or (worse yet) the fewer times we go searching for reasons to dislike them.. the better off we’ll be.

Why? Because negativity is a disease that eats us from the inside out. It’s also a habit – you look for reasons to dislike someone and it becomes second nature.

That’s anything BUT a good thing.

There’s another reason to always keep an open mind – one that most people don’t even want to consider. Shhh, don’t let it get out but, we might be wrong! I know, I know – I don’t like it any better than you do, but it’s just the truth.

I have my faults and I’ll be the first one to own up to them. Heck I’ll even alphabetize them if you want me to. But one thing that can be said of me is this – I have now, and always have had, a very open mind.  I think one of the reasons may be the fact that I’m so blissfully aware of how imperfect I am. Maybe somewhere in my mind I’m always thinking, “You could very well be wrong, dear, don’t go shutting any doors or bolting any windows….”

Just recently – while following the Presidential Candidates and reading everything I could get my hands on – I changed my mind. Twice! Some people get so locked into an individual (or party) that they put blinders on their eyes and plugs in their ears.

Talk about a surefire way to make sure you shut out knowledge. Don’t know about you, but I want all the knowledge I can get.

A mind is like a parachute – it works best when, to a point, it’s open.

Just be sure no one comes along trying to fill it with their thoughts… choose your own. Your mind, your thoughts.

Whatever you do in life, wherever you go, and whomever you choose to be – never think of yourself as “too small,” “too young/old,” or “too inadequate…”  The only “too” you are is “too awesome” and I can tell that from here.

Tuck away these words by Goethe and pull them out when needed. They really are WONDERFUL words.

Make each moment count double! – Joi (“Joy”)

Art little? Do thy little well:
And for thy comfort know
The great can do their greatest work
No better than just so.
-Goethe

Three Easy Hacks for Handling Stressful Moments (or Hours, Days, Weeks, Months….)

Free, Quick and Easy Ways to Bring Calm & Peace Back to Your World

Quote About FInding Peace

Quote About Havig a Peaceful State of Mind

Ever had one of those days? I hate to brag (*sarcastic smile*) but my much loved family and I have had one of those YEARS.

I’m not complaining, mind you. We’re still standing and, I’ll let you in on a little secret, we’re still as happy as ever. In fact, we laugh off a lot of the crazy things that have happened. The things we can’t laugh off, we look square in the eye and say, “Even you didn’t destroy us.”

Emergency rooms, wisdom tooth removals, x-rays, blood work, emergency vet visits, shot out radiators, cat operations, a car wreck, broken washers, cat blood work, hospital stays… Wow, 2015.  ZERO chill.

Get this – mice crawled up into my vehicle earlier in the year and did hundreds of dollars worth of damage.

I know, right?!

At the risk of bragging again, “Mom Research” has made me an expert on kidney stones, wisdom teeth, Barrett’s Esophagus, low iron, low vitamin D, and inappropriate sinus tachycardia – not to be confused with appropriate sinus tachycardia which is much worse.

A worried mom can out-research any college senior.

Around August, we thought that maybe… just maybe… the worst was behind us and the rest of the year would end on a nice peaceful note.  HA! 2015 heard us and laughed at our Mary Poppins complex.

Again… I’m not complaining. Not everyone gets this many adventures back to back to back to back.

… to back.

We’ve all discovered one thing – if you don’t have a “go to” way to relax and de-stress, you’d better find one because one day (or one year) you’re going to need it.

Whether your favorite way of handling stress is reading, watching tv, playing games, surfing the internet, watching YouTube videos, or attempting to do them all at once (you do you), I want to tell you about three simple little stress-busting “hacks” that you may one day find useful.

Lighthouse Landing Marina on Kentucky Lake
A Peaceful Setting Can Bring Peace to Where You’re Sitting!
Hack #1 For Restoring Peace & Calm While Eliminating Stress

The first one is as simple as finding a picture that takes you to a place of serenity, peacefulness, and calmness.

You can look online for “relaxing pictures” or even look through your own camera or iPhone. You’ll know THE picture when you see it. It’ll cause you to feel happy, safe, peaceful, and as though you haven’t a care in the world.

You may do like I did and even set it as your phone’s background. That way it’s always just a glance away – and 2015 pretty much demanded easy access.  This probably won’t surprise you, but my image is a picture of my cat.  After all, nothing soothes a crazy cat lady’s nerves quite like a cat picture.

Peace of Mind Affirmation

“My peace of mind is not disturbed by things beyond my control.”

Hack #2 For Restoring Peace & Calm While Eliminating Stress

The second trick is to find a quote or Bible verse that helps to center your thoughts so they don’t run amok. When thoughts run amok, they become worries and then they’ll drag you all over creation with them as they run.

Exhausting.

Below are some of my personal favorite quotes and verses. Memorize the ones that resonate with you and you’ll always have them handy. Trust me, anything you can do to keep your thoughts and worries from lacing up their running shoes is time well spent… and energy (and sanity) preserved.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

“Breathe in. Breathe out.”

“Peace is always beautiful.” – Walt Whitman

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only ‘peace.'” – Mahatma Gandhi

 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

When you find a quote or verse that resonates with you, memorize it and whip it out any time the thoughts begin trampling around your mind. Focusing on the quote will stop them in their tracks.

Hack #3 For Restoring Peace & Calm While Eliminating Stress

Music soothes the savage beast…. the beast being stress. I’m not necessarily talking about today’s pop or country music – although if they float your boat, sail on.

I’m talking about Classical Music, Japanese Garden Music, Piano Music – beautiful music acts as a salve to burns life leaves across your psyche.  A quick search on YouTube for any of these types of music will give you lots of choices. One of my favorite types of music to put on while cooking cleaning is Japanese Garden Music. When you search for the phrase on YouTube, you’ll find videos that play for 3 hours straight.

By the end of the three hours, it’s like, “Stress? What stress? Where’s my pillow?

Finally….

When we have a problem (whether it’s stress, anger, fear…), being proactive makes us feel better instantly. Why? It puts us back in the driver’s seat. If you’re under a great deal of stress or things just don’t seem to be going your way, try the three hacks above – it may take one… it may take two.. it may take all three.

Just pour yourself a nice hot cup of tea and hack away.

Quotes About Remaining Calm and Finding Peace:

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

“A man of calm is like a shady tree. People who need shelter come to it.” – Toba Beta

“Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.” – Andrew Bernstein

“The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Beautiful Quote About Peace (Quote Graphic)

When We are Present in Each Moment...

Quote about Peace and Living in the Moment (Present)

Quote About Living in the Moment

One of my favorite sayings I like to whip out is, “Make each moment count double.”  The thought, feeling, and core belief behind the words is this: Each moment we spend in the PRESENT is a PRESENT we give ourselves.

When we spend time in the past with either regret or longing, it’s as though the PRESENT remains on the table, unopened.

When we spend time in the future with worry or fear, it’s as though we don’t even glance at the unopened PRESENT.

Our time is the most beautiful gift we can give to anyone.. including ourselves.  Do all you can to live in the moment.

And make each one count double!

~ Joi

 

Guide to Managing Your Emotions with Aromatherapy

Beautiful Infographic Packed with Wonderful Information!

Aromatherapy Infographic
Ironically, when I was contacted about sharing the beautiful infographic above with my Self Help Daily readers, I had just been talking about aromatherapy with two of my three daughters.

Life’s sense of irony always fascinates me.

We had been discussing the wonderful effects from Lavender and Vanilla. I told them that, years ago, when I lost my dad, I had A LOT of trouble unwinding and falling asleep at night. I found that lavender helped calm my frazzled nerves and even soothed my shattered emotions.

Vanilla has a similar effect.  Whether (like me) you work from home or outside the home, you know certain days just have stress written all over them. I once threatened to rename a particular Tuesday “Bluesday” because it did nothing but cause me grief from sunup to sundown.  On days like this, I just automatically reach for one of my favorite candles – usually vanilla or lavender – but I always have seasonal ones on hand as well.

Pumpkin, cinnamon, and evergreen make the world a sweeter place too.

I hope you enjoy the infographic above as much as I did.

~ Joi

Infographic Credit: Holland & Barrett