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…

cup

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.

books

bookshelf

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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