There's JOY in the mess.

There's JOY in the mess.

The week that Nick and I got married we bought a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon. On the rear door was a sun-worn bumper sticker that read “Don’t Postpone Joy.” And that bumper sticker became our family’s unofficial motto. We vowed to try our darndest to live fully, joyfully. When Johanna was born we gave her the middle name Joy. Partly after Nick’s grandmother Joy, a particularly vivacious woman, and partly because of our earnest aim of joy.

Sometimes living joyfully has meant us taking leaps and being uncomfortable, because I think joy follows your heart’s desires and usually there are bumps (or some flipping steep ravines) before you arrive there.

 Living in wall-tents: joyful! Uncomfortable at times too (cue the entire month of October sharing a sleeping bag with Jo, with two down comforters piled on top of that). Tiny-houses: joyful! And uncomfortable at times too. (i.e. “Tiny” does in fact mean the descriptor tiny, which means you will be living nearly on top of your large dog, husband, toddler and child for 4 years).

 My greatest moments of pure joy are watching my kids play together. For me, there is nothing more sweet, more joyful. And yes, every moment has a prelude and an afterwards. And the full scope of raising small humans has many challenges and ravines as well.

 What I’m getting at is that for joy to exist, the flip side must exist also. Emotions don’t exist singularly. I wouldn’t want them to either. Feeling suffering or discomfort helps me to feel my joys deeper and fuller.

 It seems that recently we have been living a bit more in the other side—a bit serious. A bit “Did you order the windows for the house yet? Shoot property taxes this week? What?! The electrical outlet was smoking today?!” Serious. Serious. But then a glance at Asa, 17 months, in nothing but a diaper and bright red rain boots, siding up to our dog with a great mischievous grin on his face, and serious slides into joy again.

 It’s both. It’s up and down and up before the end of breakfast.

But because we’ve noticed the stress of building a house together and how serious has been creeping up more and more these last months, we’ve been consciously enacting more joyful moments in our day. The kids and I cranking up Fleetwood Mac in the new house and dancing while Nick nails up some blocking. Turning on our wedding song and dancing in the little kitchen after the kids have fallen asleep.

Small moments. Nothing grand. But I swear it’s those small moments that I remember best and cherish the most, as cliché as that sounds. I like those reminders of silliness, of joy, of lightness. And the more they have become a part of our days the easier it has been to access that sparkle.

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Haha yes they are!! Very very true :) thanks Lys <3


Aw I’m so glad to hear that Brigitte, and thanks for saying so. Appreciate you reading the blog, friend! XO


The walls are going up!! (And coming down, metaphorically, too ;) What a beautiful sentiment and so true ♥️

Alyssa Devlin

this blog brought me a lot of joy! thanks for sharing your thoughts paige.

Brigitte Cooper

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