A light joyousness

This photo I took at Keukenhof, Netherlands, in March 2007 seemed the perfect background for this quote from Matisse.

This photo I took at Keukenhof, Netherlands, in March 2007
seemed the perfect background for this quote from Matisse.

Hats off to Matisse!  I think he had a good attitude. Unfortunately, I sometimes want to make sure at least some people know just how hard I am working.  I’m not sure whether that’s a tendency to play the martyr, or a subtle way of trying to make sure I don’t get buried any deeper under piles of undone tasks.  But I suspect it’s more fun to be around someone who makes it all look easy and fun.

How about you?  Do you like it when people think everything comes easily to you?  Or do you want them to know it’s not easy at all, but you’re hanging in there anyway?  I can see advantages both ways, can’t you?

For those of us who have a hard time making it look easy, what are some ways we can achieve at least a touch of that light joyousness Matisse describes?  We might not produce colorful canvases as he did, but surely our daily lives are works of art in progress.  How can we lighten up the world, for ourselves and for others, without shirking our daily responsibilities?

One year ago today:

Diligence and labor

REAL TIME UPDATE FROM ALEXANDRIA, 3-25-14:  This is getting almost comical.  Almost.

These are the plants that were posted recently, photographed in happier times.

These are the plants that were pictured here recently, photographed in happier times.

IMG_0450

The view from my craft room window, 3-25-14.

IMG_0451

Here’s the view from where I sit right now, at the computer, 3-25-14. Here we SNOW again…

24 Comments

  1. raynard

    Julia it’s so humbling to me to hear someone give me a compliment. Growing up I never hear alot of encouragement and that didnt make me a workaholic. It’s only the trials and tests of this life along with ” my heart and mind being renewed daily by God’s word and people he placed in my path such as yourself and others. For all you do I say i will always be grateful and blessed and then I bless others. Be blessed and encouraged and have a great day.

    • Raynard, that is so nice! You know, I don’t think too many people of our generation got an overdose of encouragement. It just wasn’t part of how kids were raised in those days, though some of us got less than others. I appreciate your kind words – they are indeed a blessing and an encouragement!

  2. Remarkable thoughts! Yes, each one of us should like it when people think it is easy for us. No task is small or big. It is only a matter of perspective.

    • Sarvjit, I will keep that in mind and strive to “make it look easy” – perhaps that will make it seem easier to me too! Thanks for being here.

  3. singleseatfighterpilot

    Because you like C.S. Lewis I will offer an idea I got from him: When a friend, in the process of thanking you, seems to go on and on about all the trouble you went to; answer with a heartfelt “don’t mention it”. As an example, think of how it would ruin the mood of joyfulnness if an elderly person is thanking you for a morning ride to an appointment, and you reply by telling him how early you had to get up to accomplish the errand. 🙂 “Don’t mention it” can be alternated with “I enjoyed it — it’s always a pleasure to spend time with you!”

    • Eric, those are great ideas. Sometimes it helps to be given the actual words to speak, as we tend to freeze up in embarrassment when people thank us. I remember your telling me about that passage from Lewis, many years ago. “Don’t mention it” is a philosophy I should take to heart more often, as Jeff would agree 🙂 !

  4. Sheila

    Julia, I can’t imagine the hours that you devote to this blog. You do such a wonderful job. Even this evening you came back to add the snowy scenes that you captured. I won’t go on and on ( as Eric mentioned) so I’ll just say that you really do lighten up our world here! 🙂

    • Thanks Sheila, I was just so amused and bemused today at the snow that kept falling ALL DAY LONG — sometimes lightly, sometimes big downy flakes — that I just had to capture it on some photos and document it in real time. When you read tomorrow’s post it will be even funnier. I remember when I was writing it two weeks ago, I would never have believed that snow would be on the ground on the day it published!! What a year! I’m so happy you like the blog and keep visiting here – it always brightens my day (or evening) to hear from you. Tell Walter we all need to escape to whatever tropics his family came from!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I dare say that Walter would be the first to pack his bags. Oh, I just had a vision of “Woodstock”. I suppose birds travel light! 🙂

        • If only I could learn to do likewise! Walter comes in the most gorgeous outfit imaginable so he doesn’t need to pack anything.

  5. Julia, beautiful view from your home. Thanks for sharing. When some one thanks me, I just say, “thank you, I enjoyed our time together. It was a honor…”

    • Merry, how like you to say something so lovely. I’ve noticed that there’s an art to responding graciously to compliments and thanks. You seem to have it!
      Hope you had a lovely day today. Sorry to be so late getting to these comments.

  6. You have a fabulous view from inside Julia. Winter or spring, it’s great to back on to a forest.

    I actually think blogging, while some posts seem easier than others is a good example of what Henri speaks of in this quote. Behind the scenes there’s picture taking, photoshopping, movie making, gif building, writing and of course doing things worthy of blogging. All delivered in, hopefully, a joyful little package to entertain visitors and yourself. After all, WE wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t enjoyable.

    But I don’t like people peaking behind the curtain. I like it to appear easy and breezy because that’s part of my essence at Boomdeeadda. I wanted it to be a creative endeavour and outlet for me that puts a little smile on a face or two. Of course it’s become so much more than that for me.

    • Thanks K, a home backing up to a view of woods (instead of other houses or buildings) is right behind indoor plumbing in terms of how much I value it. When we are looking for homes that is the feature that usually sells us on a particular place. We have been lucky to have several homes (even one on base in CA) that had nice, private back yards and it’s so lovely to have a pretty view and the feeling of one’s own little world. Even in Hawaii where we had a tiny back yard with an ugly chain link fence in base housing, they furnished me with red hibiscus plants which Jeff planted all around the fences and soon they had grown up into a lovely solid flowering hedge so you couldn’t see the fence anymore and it was like our own little tropical space (complete with a lanai and a huge coconut tree for shade).

      I think you do a great job of achieving that lightness at your blog. That’s why it’s always been my Happy Place. I agree with you that there’s a lot more to blogging than meets the eye, and one thing I like about it is that one can learn as one goes along, adding features or playing with different styles. It’s a great hobby and hopefully something that other people can enjoy now and then, but as you know, the best part for most of us is the connections we find with people we would not meet otherwise, with whom we have things in common. I often wonder what women such as Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath might have thought about this amazing ability to self-publish for free and connect with readers all over the world. Some might say (in an uppity tone) that it’s ridiculous to compare such gifted authors to those of us who blog, but all writers share certain traits, including a need to communicate — and I think a lot of geniuses of past decades and centuries might be envious of what everyday people have available today.

      • Thanks for the kind words J and yes I’m sure the would be envious at many of the things we take for granted. Possibly even our independence as woman. How the world must have seemed at the time, much more intimate I imagine.

        • Yes, it’s hard for us to imagine what life was like for women 100 or even 50 years ago. We definitely take a lot for granted now, though I imagine some aspects of the past might be appealing to us now, at least for a short time. But I’m glad to be here NOW!

      • PS, your Hawaiian love nest sounded wonderful. What a great experience.

        • Yes, we had a nice cozy little townhouse there and it was a wonderful experience. After three years, though, we were ready to come back to the mainland. But we brought a lot of memories back with us and I think we were all a bit different for having lived there.

  7. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who always have to tell everyone how hard they are working. I put it down to the child in me wanting someone to praise me.

    • Yes, I think that’s probably my situation as well. It seems to me that children today get a lot more attention and praise than we got as kids; maybe that has something to do with it? However, I’m glad I grew up KNOWING the world did not revolve around me; I think our generation was pretty independent from a fairly young age, and that’s not a bad thing. My friends and I all went out and got jobs the minute we turned 16 (the age when kids were allowed to work part time) even though we all were still in high school.

  8. Rene

    My sister-in-law, who is not a comfortable hostess, once remarked that I, when the family gatherings are at my house, “…seem to pull it together so effortlessly…” I was shocked, recalling the cleaning frenzies and the cooking disasters that often precede the gatherings. My instinct is to alternately feel like a fraud and pat myself on the back. NOTE: Everyone is invited over to celebrate Easter!

    • Rene, I loved this comment! I so identify with the “cleaning frenzies” and “alternately feel like a fraud and pat myself on the back.” Sounds very familiar! Although, to be honest, no one ever said that I seemed to pull anything together effortlessly! 🙂 Easter at your home sounds wonderful; if only I could beam myself over to the west coast!!!

  9. Jenelle

    Whoa, it is still a winter wonderland over there. We’re gray and rainy in CA today. We need it though. I line my responsibilities by priority and give each one my whole heart. Even if I have two on the list (I just laughed aloud–when does that happen for a mom of grade school kids?!) I chose to focus on them one at a time, in the moment, and find more joy that way. Looking ahead to the next thing while working on something else is draining and distracting. P.S– those poor pink flowers! How sad they must be under that bed of snow.

    • Yes, in CA it was hard to ever be upset about the rainy season, because we always needed as much as we could get. I really miss having a nice green lawn year round. A lot of people here in VA have cool season grasses that stay somewhat green during winter, but never like that gorgeous thick green carpet we had in CA. I agree that focusing on one thing at a time is so much more rewarding. In fact, one of the most frustrating things about my life is the continual stream of interruptions. I have been threatening lately to disconnect our home phone, I’m so tired of it ringing! But so many of the calls are related to important stuff (medical appointments and inquiries, upcoming plans, documents needed etc.) that I don’t have the nerve to eliminate the phone completely. I’m very easily distracted so that’s a huge part of the problem. I’m convinced I’d have been labeled ADD if I had been born 20 years later! I hope our azaleas will survive the snow; they’ve come through other hard winters, so I guess they should be OK eventually.

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