Jacquelynne Steves

What Brings You Joy?


[joi]  noun

the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or 
satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

As a business person, I need to constantly re-evaluate what I’m doing and what I offer to my customer. And in fact, I am always asking myself WHO is my customer? What does she need? What does she want? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how what I do isn’t a necessity– most people aren’t lying awake at night wondering, “Where can I find a really cute bee applique pattern?” or “Gee, if only I could find a set of coordination bee quilt labels to give my friends at the guild, my life would be so much easier.”  And so, sometimes I really wonder if what I do is really worthwhile? Does it have meaning? Does it need to have meaning?

And then I remind myself that everyone needs to have joy in their lives. What brings you joy? Well… there are about 7 billion answers to that question… Everyone has their own definition of joy, and everyone will find joy in a different way, unique to them…  Because we are all different, each of us a unique facet of the image of our very creative Creator.

Sooooo, I ask you- What makes you so happy, you just get giddy and maybe do a little dance?

For me, it is looking at anything pretty- walking through an Anthropologie store with all its bright colors and gorgeous patterns puts a little lilt in my step. I want to buy everything because I want my home to look like that- I imagine how happy I’d be every day looking at that pretty stuff. So I buy the pretty tea cup (in fact, I’ve treated myself to several!) and in the morning, when I open the cabinet, and see my pretty mug and cup collection, it makes me smile a little. It brightens my morning. Sometimes, I’m not really even in the mood for tea, but I want an excuse to use that pretty mug…


Books and magazine also make me smile. Beautiful photographs and pretty illustrations make me feel relaxed. Sometimes, the thought of making a yummy-looking recipe or a gorgeous project is enough- even if I never make it, the possibility of it is almost as satisfying as the making itself. I guess this accounts for the extreme popularity of Pinterest! We can dream about creating all of these lovely and delicious things, and even if we never make them, that’s alright. We’ve already enjoyed the anticipation or possibility of it. And, every year for about the last 10 years, I have purchased about 10 hand illustrated wall calendars. Not because I need so much daily reminding about the date! It’s because I love owning those pieces of art, I love looking over them years later. I have quite the collection now.

My shelves are crammed with those calendars, as well as quilting books, cook books, and back issues of British Country Living magazine. Most of them have not been “useful” in that I never actually made anything shown in the book or issue, but I consider them valuable friends nonetheless. They have given me pleasure and peace as I flipped through them, multiple times, with a cup of tea in hand. I don’t regret buying any of them, and I really can’t imagine letting any of them go. As I said, they feel like old friends, friends whom I’ve spent time with. You know, when you spend time with a friend, you don’t have to do anything “useful,” or practical, just the time spent enjoying one another’s company creates fond memories and is of the greatest value.



I guess that’s why I love writing my e-magazine and writing and illustrating my books. I love being surrounded and inspired by pretty things, and I hope that my readers feel the same way. I want them to feel like my work is an old friend to them, which brings them peace or giddiness or excitement or inspiration. I want what I do to put a smile on people’s faces.

Child's Play book by Jacquelynne Steves

And so now I ask you, because I REALLY want to know…. What brings you joy? What makes you happy, giddy, or do a little dance? What ‘s the thing that just lights up your world??

And even more importantly, are you finding time for a little bit of that joy every day?

Tea cup art Have a Joyful Day Jacquelynne Steves


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    Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful post – it is very important to try to understand what things bring us joy, and then to remember to take the time to do those things!!

    I think for me, I find joy in spending time with my family – it could be a family vacation, or a day at the beach, or a hike in the woods, or even just a relaxing time together. And although I don’t “do a little dance” like you do Jacquelynne, it does bring a smile to my face and gives me happy memories to think back on.

    And I do need to find more time to just enjoy those times – to be a little more deliberate in carving out those times in our busy schedules and just soaking them in….

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I think we all need to be more deliberate, Jennifer. Life flies by quickly, and in the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” :)

    • georgena bird
      Posted July 2, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      thx. i needed that. just wonderful

  • Mary McNeill
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    My granddaughter is my greatest joy. She’s 16 now and just got her beginners. She’s still the best company in the world. I took her on an Alaskan cruise last June,we go camping, we’ve gone to the symphony, drama classes, and an Indian Pow Wow just to name a few things we’ve done together. She still loves to spend a week-end with grandma even at 16. I am blessed.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Mary- what a lovely and special relationship you have with your granddaughter! Sounds like you two are great friends! That truly is a blessing.

  • Snoodles
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this one’s easy….I find joy in creating! I sometimes get emotional describing the process, or an idea that sparked a design in my notebook. Unreal how deep it runs, and how happy it can make me, to complete one of those designs. Lovely post!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Snoodles! I agree! That’s what I mean by “happy dance!” Sometimes, seeing bright beautiful colors and designs, or sketching out all kinds of ideas, makes me so excited I literally jump up and down!

  • Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Beautiful post! I find joy in quilting, or even thinking about quilting. Somehow working with fabric and thread calms me and brings me great joy. I also love being outside, for a walk or tending to my strawberries.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Leanne, yes isn’t wonderful how just thinking about the things that bring us joy, brings us joy! Being outside is good for my soul, too. I can’t wait for the weather to get nicer so I can get out more.

  • Sarah
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    This is just what I needed to hear! Lately I’ve been trying so hard to keep my family happy by making those things they like rather than what I like. I’m always being teased for the number of quilting books and magazines I have. Your beautiful post has helped me to remember that in fact making those things or looking at books which bring me joy, will also bring joy to my own family. After all when I’m happy and at peace enjoying what I’m quilting or reading, then this happiness spills over to those around me.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Absolutely, Sarah! “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy!”
      I do believe that mothers and wives are the “heart” of the home. We nurture and help and love, and “refueling” our tanks is absolutely essential. I get a bit of good-natured teasing for my “collections” too, but my family knows that when I’m happy and relaxed, they are too!

  • Doreen
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Your post could have been written by me!—the calendars, the quilting books, pretty cups, leafing through a decorating magazine, flowers, birds, downloading quilt patterns, things British including mysteries both in books and on TV, a well-written turn of phrase. You get the idea. At age 82 there’s no way I’ll ever be able to make all the quilts or buy more pretty things. But I can get pleasure by just making what I can and looking at the rest. Well, I DO buy something just because it’s pretty every once in a while. Your newly discovered blog REALLY brings me joy. The things you make are just what I like!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Ah, Doreen, seems we are kindred spirits! So glad you found me here! And so glad that what I like and do resonates with you. Thanks for your comment :)

  • Connie
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I love encouraging people by giving them little surprises I’ve made when they don’t expect anything. And secondly, planning my next quilting project which many times happens to be one of those surprises!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      That’s true, Connie, that giving can be so much fun! And I love the planning process, too. That’s why I love my EQ7 program- I can “make” hundreds of quilts on my computer which I will never have time to make in real life, but it’s almost as fun :)

  • Suzanne
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jacquelynne for sharing your thoughts. There are many joys in life, some seem more serious than others. But like you, I do a little dance sometimes. Since becoming a grandmother three years ago I seem to have been liberated from my “careful to look normal” ways. Seeing a rainbow will sometimes cause a little dance. A little dance is always an indication of joy. Reading your blog enthuses me to find moments to get back to being creative, which brings me joy. I truly enjoy your creations and find beauty in them. I truly believe that our creativity should strive to create joy, happiness, peaceful in those who see and receive it. As I have a very full house right now my creativity is sometimes only visible in my cooking and cleaning… I too look forward to the spring as being outside in that fresh air and soothes my soul, as the song goes…

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Suzanne, thank you for your beautiful comment. I understand that sometimes creativity seems to take a backseat in our busy lives. But as you said, cooking and cleaning can be a way to be creative. Sometimes just displaying an inexpensive flower bouquet from the supermarket can add a bit of creativity to your day. That’s why I try to make sure that my recipes and projects are, for the most part, quite simple. Because we all want and need to be creative, even if we only have a few precious moments to do so :) It’s important to make sure we remember what brings us joy and take time for those little things. I’m sure your grandchildren bring you the greatest joy!

  • Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh! So many things make me do a little dance for joy! I love my tiny studio of 99 square feet and sometimes I get a little spurt of joyful energy when I tidy it. I love my collection of quilting and knitting books. My tiny little fabric stash gives me joy simply to have it (even though when I say tiny I mean tiny! …which means there’s room for more!). I love being in my yard – we have just retired and moved to an area where many varieties of plants grow, so even though we’ve downsized have a very small home and yard now, I get even greater pleasure from creating and being in my garden. Yesterday I bought perennials and look forward to deciding where to put them later today! I love my favourite cups and mugs, like you. And I love to quilt and sew and write and knit. I am blessed with a loving husband and grown son and furry companions, and am starting to meet people and make friends in my new community.

  • Jacquelynne
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Nita- it always amazes me how much we creatives all have in common! Those are all my favorite things too! I was in my yard yesterday too, just doing some weeding and enjoying the beautiful weather. It did my soul a world of good :)

  • Candis O'Hearn
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I thought it was just me, but I get in a slump. I have so much to do and have had the time and supplies, but just sit there for hours and ponder, then when I do start I’m up till 2-4am and up around 6-8am! I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me! School will be starting soon and I haven’t done or caught up on half the things I wanted to this summer and I’ll still be up late. I have to fall asleep helping a student! I just can’t get started and I have First grandbaby coming in Nov so I designed a dinosaur quilt for him, still working on it 😱. Sorry for the rant😊

  • Wendy Lefler
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jacquelynne. Thank-you for the wonderful newsletter and this article on joy. I love to quilt and do embroidery. They give me joy and relaxes me. Today I was alittle crabby and your wisdom really helped me!! Thank-you for sharing your beautiful designs. I love all you do. Thanks again. Take care. Wendy

  • Wendy Lefler
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi. So excited for free e-magazine. I love your designs and great inspiration when it comes to project ideas!! You are amazing. Thanks so much for this opportunity. Love Wendy

  • Julie Urbancik
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I find great joy in my children and grand children. I also fi d joy in my creativity. I love making quilts and am so greatful when they are finished. I also love seeing other peoples projects. I am so glad I found Jacquelynn. Love her emails and articles.

  • Carla Garceau
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    How inspiring you are! I beat myself up b/c I get bad migraine headaches & feel like I have to push my creativity on the back-burner, since I’m always feeling behind in everything. I’ve only been quilting a little over a year, seriously that is. I really enjoy it , along with music, knitting, crocheting & also covet all the books I have collected. My husband of 42 yrs.doesn’t really understand that passion, though. I’m very much enjoying your “joi de vivre “. Please continue, we all need more of that! Thanks Carla

  • Kari Stutzman
    Posted June 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh just looking at your bookshelves , I know we would be friends if we lived by each other. I am so looking forward to the bee quilt block of the month in August. Several of my quilt group are going to do it together. Our group is called the Busy Bees. We think we are all gonna love it.

  • Nancy Costantino
    Posted July 7, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    3 years ago, my husband and I decided to downsize from our beautiful property with garden, birds and space and of course all the memories – lots of books, lots of cups, lots of space for my craft, Lots of those material things that made our life so very, very good. We both retired from our working lives at much the same time. And you know what? You ask the question of what brings me joy – not the loss of any of the above, but an understanding that my life now is still so very much filled with joy – it may be “different”, but I have time to stop now and smell the roses.
    I can buy a magazine, buy anther cup if I want to, sew any time – and be just as gloriously happy. And reading your email “finding your time to be creative” was precious and I’m sure will be gratefully received by many. Thankyou Jacquelynne for your sincerity and thankyou for all your great ideas you are prepared to share. Pure joy.

  • Yvonne King
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I love this website, so uplifting when your in a slump, so much to do, but so many things you want to make. I love quilts and working on them. Due to a loving husband, I can buy whatever and no complaints. Look forward to your next post.

  • Carol A Kettlewell
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I loved reading things that make others happy and brings joy. Many of them give me joy but I love cotton. I love the feel and seldom buy on line. I love especially the beautiful patterns with a hint of metallic thread for a touch of sparkle. I have done a happy dance in a quilt store when a fabric is so beautiful to me that I can hardly wait to buy a yard. My family are a joy but they wonder how they are going to find all the stash in the house. I have appliqué patterns…more than I’ll ever use but cute ones that I love looking at and dreaming about.

  • Jean Jacobs
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I find joy in learning new things. I conduct a guilting class at my church. It is so much fun to show the ladies what I have learned. I am like you, I went through my quilt books and found a pattern for HST dated 1980. It was the pattern we are working on today. That was quite a joy. Keep up your work.

  • Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I enjoy making pretty things. I still work full time different hours but I love my job as an activity director. I am very happy being with my quilting friends who show me the right way to use a ruler or square a quilt. Love people and hope to make some of your beautiful patterns soon. Thanks for everything.

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