Number 47

** ODE to JOY **

LAST YEAR in the New York Times, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote about that general feeling of listlessness and blah so many of us were feeling at the end of 2021. It wasn’t burnout, he said, because we still had energy, and it wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt a bit joyless and aimless. And there’s a name for it, according to Grant: languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
Languish I did in the last weeks of 2021, and as we crossed over to 2022. I carried the feeling with me. I've worked on it, though, focusing on some healthier habits and spending time processing, journaling, and—my own healing balm—making. I've talked with friends and loved ones; I've received encouragement both beautiful and practical.

Then this happened. One morning, completely out of the blue (and unaware of my state of languish), my sweet cousin Meg sent a text with a nudge to look at the new year and to consider "all the unknown possibilities for joy." What was ahead to thrill and delight, that I could not in this moment possibly imagine? What "new" would there be to love?

This is something I've considered a thousand times over in the couple of weeks since; it is the sentiment I pull to the front when my heart needs a lift. And joy has come, in ways large and small. This is no miracle, I recognize, but the result of being back in a grateful space where I am able (willing?) to notice and celebrate.
Little watercolor dots painted in my journal. Every time I see them I smile.
I hope you pranced into 2022 filled with your own bit of unbridled joy. And if not, I pray you can find the space to believe joy is out there in front of you, ready to manifest in ways that will surprise and delight you.

For as precious Julie Marr reminded us in her lovely Christmas message (that she let me share far and wide):

All is gift. All will be well. You are beloved. I love you, I love you, I love you. Amen.

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THIS PODCAST, Y'ALL. Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett. I MEAN. Each episode, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two. Per promo materials, What ensues is a genuinely improvised and authentic conversation filled with laughter and newfound knowledge to feed the SmartLess mind. Amen! Oh good heavens they are funny and honest and sometimes not appropriate for sensitive ears. I may have a little addiction to this podcast right now and like every woman-of-a-certain-age I know a teeny little crush on Jason Bateman. Start with this episode with Sandra Bullock, who is delightful. I call her Sandy now.
Queer Eye, Season Six on Netflix
I cry every episode. My faith is renewed as the Fab Five show how powerful the gifts of love, acceptance and encouragement can be. I adore this show and these people and every beautiful life they touch.
Wordle is a new online game that has taken the world (and our household) by storm. You get six tries to guess a 5-letter word. There are no official clues, but each guess, the colors reveal how close you are. #addictive #soaddictive
Animal Rescue Groups Raised Hundreds Of Thousands Thanks To Betty White, via Bustle
What I'm reading now:
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(Okay, I didn't realize it until I started this section and six books is a bit much. Do let me explain.)

Atomic Habits, by James Clear
(It's January, right?) It's also reallllly good. Hardback to underline and an audio version from the library, so I am doing both.

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
This is one of those books I've been drawn to for years, simply because I adore the cover. It's also my introduction to James McBride. He's a masterful storyteller, and I highly recommend this read. Listening via audio from the library. Also watching the series on Showtime—Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown is crazy good, by which I mean CRAZY and GOOD.

The Sketchbook Challenge, by Sue Bleiweiss
I have a small Daily Art challenge going with myself (see above) and it's been fun to turn to this for inspiration. Referencing via Kindle (on my iPad) from the library.


These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett
A gorgeous collection of essays, this one I'm dipping in and out of on audio, and I love it in that form because Ann narrates. I deem Ann Patchett worthy of an Audible credit any day, so I own this one on audio which gives me time to stroll through it.

Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson
Most of the time, Tim and I have a "shared listen" going for road trips. Right now it's this fabulous novel and we both look forward to our next drive to the mountains so we can get back to it. I'm very late to the party with Nothing to See Here, but I am mighty glad to finally be there! Audible credit, since our trips may require a long-term commitment to a book.

The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
I've never read Erdrich but I'd say her work has come up for study more than any other author's in the writing workshops I've attended. It is high time I get to it, and I thought The Sentence, her new one, looked amazing. I've just started, so I will report back when I've finished. Audio doesn't work for me when I really want to study a writer, so this one I have in glorious hardback, right by my bed.

I made this beautiful salad for Christmas dinner, and I have repeated twice since! (It's in the fridge right now.) Kale, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, candied pecans, pomegranates—what's not to love? The Ultimate Winter Salad, from Natalie Perry via Pioneer Woman.
From THE DAILY GRACE archives
January 2016
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God of grace

It has come up so many times in recent days, a nugget trying hard to make its way from passing thought to consciousness to heart. It’s looking for a home, that’s what I think, a permanent spot to stay a while, hang out a shingle. And so I have come to understand the little guy will knock knock knock until I open the door, welcoming it in with open arms.
always looking for unexpected joy
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