5 reasons for joy amid the madness

This pandemic, with its undefined end and the constant worries about health, is a constant drain in many ways.

Kat Bouska asked us to share five things that are bringing us joy right now, and that’s a good idea. Here are mine:

Wedding planning with my daughter

Tenley is getting married next May, so we have a lot to do! Even though the to-do list is long and I don’t have the ability to write the blank check I’d like to write, it’s still fun … and positive … and uplifting.

The day we went wedding-dress shopping at The White Magnolia – Jacksonville was so much fun. I enjoyed the time with Tenley and her friends. I enjoyed the experience of watching her evaluate her choices and pick her dress. Even with the dresses she eliminated as options, the craftsmanship on all of them was just so beautiful. I enjoyed the reminder that people still take pride in their work and believe in intricate detail.

5 reasons for joy amid the madness

The Hamilcast

I finally got to see “Hamilton” a few months ago when it premiered on Disney+. Of course that only made me want to see it in person even more. And of course there are no live performances to see right now due to the pandemic.

Therefore, I’m doing something that is helping scratch that itch a bit. I started listening to “The Hamilcast: A Hamilton Podcast” when I walk. I started from the very first episode, recorded in January 2016. I’ve worked my way up to September 2016 (episode #35) and have 204 more to go (and that’s if they stopped recording new episodes today).

I love this podcast so much. I feel like I’m watching an infant grow up (I guess maybe it’s at the “elementary-school age” stage right now?) as the hosts evolve and gain more technical skills (along with VERY FAMOUS GUESTS such as Lin-Manuel Miranda himself). Honestly, though, as much as I’m looking forward to that, I’m enjoying all of the guests (most recently, the hosts interviewed Amber Fang, the creator of the Twitter account @hamiltonasdogs. The account doesn’t seem to be active anymore, but it’s all new to me, so I can enjoy the posts from a few years ago, such as this!

5 reasons for joy amid the madness

My job

I still love my job. That’s a life gift I never take for granted.

Speaking of my job, I get to do one of the more fun parts this Thursday, when I’ll be helping to moderate our annual STEM Pathways Summit (yes of course it’s virtual this year — sigh). If you’re a teacher, have a general interest in STEM topics or want to find some ideas to motivate a student in your life, sign up! Signing up will help you access the sessions on-demand afterward if you can’t come on Thursday afternoon.

5 reasons for joy amid the madness


I miss my old fitness life. Most of that is something I can do take action to resolve (except that I can’t return to running) — but I have not made much progress. I have been much more consistent about walking, though, and that small habit change has made a big difference.

Now to add more activity!

Halloween Decorations

I usually walk at night (because that’s when I finally get around to it). This is our first year in our neighborhood, which has quite the reputation for being a trick-or-treat mecca. I’m not sure how the pandemic will affect the number of kids we have, but my neighbors are KILLING IT with the incredible decorations!

So far, we’ve only got one metal pumpkin decoration out in our yard, but I bought lights yesterday, so here’s hoping it’ll be much more ghoulishly festive by October 31.

5 reasons for joy amid the madness

What about you?

I’d love to hear what’s been bringing you joy. Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

14 thoughts on “5 reasons for joy amid the madness

  1. I needed this positive-ity today, Paula! There’s so much of the negative out there. Thank you for sharing with us. You’ve lifted my spirits enormously!

  2. I love the Jacksonville area!

    I enjoyed your post. What brings me joy right now?

    — I took care of a few tasks I had been procrastinating.
    — I purchased some flannel sheets with a cute sloth design (for my camping air mattress). It makes me smile every time I look at them!
    — Best of all… I find tremendous joy in my family… kids and grandkids.

  3. Congrats on the wedding bells! I look forward to watching my family expand one day too. 🙂 Our gym just recently opened up. I forgot how good it feels to build some muscle and sweat a little. I needed that!

  4. There is always something to find joy in. Thank you for filling us in on some of yours..My closest friends and I Walk 3-4 miles a day. And once a week we get together to play 5 crowns and eat. We expend more energy laughing than an aerobic exercise class..

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