Oh, joy. This word never ceases to be at the forefront of my mind since I choose it to be my One Little Word in 2013. It was then that I realized that true joy is a feeling orchestrated by the Lord – he is the source of my Joy and all things come from him. Even though our prompt for today is to write about five things that bring joy, I have such a hard time narrowing all the joyful things in my life down to my favorites. Call me noncommittal, but here are six things that bring me joy, along with some honorable mentions at the bottom.

September 7, 2016: Things that bring you joy.

+ Family – My sweet husband and my pup make me so happy and marriage has been such a blessing to me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the joy that is waking up next to Kevin, making dinner with him, and dancing around our living room making up voices for Chloe (our dog). In the same way, our extended families are really important to both of us, so we try to spend as much time with them as we can despite living an hour and a half away from everyone! I am also thankful to have the best in-laws a girl could ask for and seeing our families spend time together and love each other is my favorite.

+ Photography – I bought my first dslr camera during my senior year of high school (about seven years ago) after receiving (and loving) a point and shoot model from my uncle. I really wanted something I could play around and get creative with and I have enjoyed the process ever since. I don’t dwell on missed photo opps although I love taking candids and spur of the moment shots to document normalcy in my day. I’ve tried lots of different styles and types of photography, but nature and stills are by far my favorite. I like to keep track of the moments by printing photos and saving them in photo albums and other journaling projects.

+ Travel – I caught the travel bug early on and it has never really gone away. I’ve been to 38 states and have traveled out of the country 5 times. There hasn’t been a single places that I wasn’t able to find something interesting in and often find myself wanting to explore places more thoroughly. I have a hard time narrowing down my favorite destinations, but I really enjoy places that offer both touristy and local fare and experiences. Bonus points if there’s a beach. (The aerial photo above is from our honeymoon in St. Lucia.)

+ God’s Creation – This goes along well with travel, but i’m always in awe of the beautiful things and people that God has created – each sunrise, flower and human are different and similar all at the same time. This often makes my outdoor runs pretty unproductive because I’m always considering the way that branches on trees turn inward, how the sounds of animals and bugs identify them so clearly (or not), and even how each rock beneath my feet is a different shape and size than the next.

+ Learning – Since forever, I’ve been a fan of books and learning. Knowledge and personal growth are so important to me. It is rare that you would find me without both a book and journal in my purse, just waiting for the next free moment when I can crack them open. I find significant value in learning from myself and others, which is why I love challenges and having people in my life who encourage me to be a better version of myself.

+ Being Cozy – Naps, yoga pants, and coffee shop window seats are my m.o. When we purchased our house, my main decor requirement was that things felt cozy and comfortable for us as well as our guests, while still being stylish. I love warm colors, soft fabrics and all variations of wood. I love flooding of natural light and would always choose the golden hours as my two favorite times of day. Add floral patterns or the real deal in a vase and your living my dream.

Honorable mentions: gift giving, chai lattes, entertaining, blogging, being creative, honesty, deep conversations, snail mail, feet pictures, and filled up journals.

What brings you joy?

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