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Bite-Sized Bits of Joy

JOY - That little word conveys big feelings, typically defined as immense pleasure and happiness. How often do we humans get to enjoy the pinnacle experience encapsulated in this tiny little word? Weddings? Births? Graduations? For sure. All the big stuff of life. JOY in all caps! But is it possible to find joy in our less lustrous, smaller, everyday experiences?

For instance, consider household chores. Do you enjoy cleaning? Some say they do. While I don’t particularly enjoy the act of cleaning, I certainly enjoy the results because I prefer living in a neat and tidy home. I don’t mind doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher. What I just can’t stand is vacuuming. So it was very interesting to me when I saw an episode of Kindness 101 on CBS news that connected vacuuming and joy!

Kindness 101 is a delightful little series featuring Steve Hartmann and his two children presenting us with various scenarios that can’t help but lift your spirits. The episode on joy revisited a young man named Kyle – originally interviewed by Steve in 2007 - who loved to vacuum! Not only did Kyle, who was then a middle-schooler, love to vacuum, he also loved collecting vacuums. Catching up with Kyle sixteen years later, the Hartmanns learned that he still loves collecting and using vacuums and even has a cadre of “vacuum friends!” I invite you to watch the segment here:

Kindness 101 got me thinking about – and appreciating – those little moments of joy that can be a part of our everyday lives. Like Kyle, I have a collection I love too.

About 40 years ago I started collecting Fiesta dinnerware. Introduced in the mid 1930’s in five colors - red (actually looks pretty orange) ivory, blue, green and yellow. A vast array of new colors and service pieces were introduced periodically and the festive dishes grew in popularity until the 70’s when it was discontinued – and I started collecting it! Over the years I searched yard sales and antique markets for pieces I didn’t have and collected more and more and more colors! It wasn’t cheap, and each new find was a treasure. I got a charge out of seeing my favorite dishware on movie sets, such as A Christmas Story. I put my iconic disc pitchers and other fine pieces on high shelves, where they gathered dust and I admired them from afar.

Then one day I decided that Fiesta would be a part of my daily life, despite the fact that I risked breakage. I gave away all the other dishware in my cabinets, including my fancy Noritake wedding china, and began setting my table with colorful Fiesta every single day. And yes, they do get broken on occasion, but the Homer Laughlin company revived the brand so I can buy new dishes. Watching kids (and grownups too) choose a favorite color and mix or match place settings is worth it. With a dozen different colors in my cabinet to choose from, I match my morning coffee mug color to my mood. And I love how my dishes make my culinary adventures more visually appetizing!

My Fiesta collection is just one way I can find moments of joy in my everyday routine. Another is walking down to visit the river at the end of my street. I also delight in the photos of my grandbabies that my son and daughter-in-law share on social media. Where can you find your own joy today? No need to wait for the next family wedding.

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