Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Love, Joy and a Giveaway

The last few days have broken me open.  

I've tried not to read the updates online or watch the news.  I've deliberately tried to avoid reading the stories of the CT victims.  But I can't escape the reminders of what happened.  Every time I look into my children's eyes, especially my own sweet first grade little boy.  The past couple days at the car loop dropping off my children, picking them up. The holiday parties in their classrooms this week. All reminders of the families and their tremendous loss.

But my soul hasn't just broken open to fear, sadness and vulnerability.  It's also been broken open to more compassion, deeper appreciation and true joy.
I wear these awesome bracelets as my new manifesto. I do believe.  I do have hope. (Check out how you can win this arm candy of hope at the bottom of this post.)

My love is stronger, my empathy is bigger, my eyes are clearer.

I posted this video last week, but now, like most everything, it seems sweeter and even more joyful.

Let me get really real here too.  Yes, I've hugged my children more often and held those hugs for what felt like an eternity to them I'm sure.  But I've also gotten frustrated and sent them to their rooms for bad attitudes, taken Wii privileges away and had to apologize for snapping at them at breakfast this morning.  

It's real life, but my god, I even appreciate all of that more.

In honor of joy and love and hope and gratitude, I'm giving away a gift card to one of the most joyful, amazing stores/web sites I know--catching fireflies.

We are lucky enough to live in Metro Detroit (honestly not a sentence I've said that much in the last few years) and within walking distance to one of the catching fireflies stores.  Lucy and I love to go, simply walking inside the store makes us happy.
Here's my Lulu picking out gifts for her teachers.

The store is full of color and art and happiness.  It's the perfect place to find hostess gifts, funny magnets and creative gifts for all ages.

catching fireflies is sponsoring this giveaway with a $34 gift card. The winner will also win a HOPE bracelet along with other a few other colorful bracelets that are made from recycled plastic, and are awesome (see picture above).  The bracelets were bought at the catching fireflies down the street from me.

All you have to do is leave a comment here about what brings you joy or what is filling you with love right now.  The winner will be chosen by a random drawing (using and will be announced on Monday. 


  1. My kids and family bring me the most joy! As well as photos of times that have passed. Thanks for the chance to win - I'm a big Catching Fireflies fan and plan to go there today.

  2. My husband and two year old son bring me the most joy. This week my husband took the week off from work to stay home with our two year old son. I ma finishing up the week as a school teacher with my students. The pictures and text messages of all the fun things they are doing this week melts my heart. Today they built forts in the basement. That is why they bring me the most joy!

  3. This morning this hot cup of coffee and my sweet old little pup sitting next to me helping me read blogs makes me very joyful!

  4. The empathy I see from my kids these past few days has been kind of incredible. They don't know what's happened - we kept our conversations with the 5-year-old verrrrry general and the 2-year-old is all "what's the news?" - but they know that both of their parents have been sad and serious about loving on them. The way that they have responded to us with care and extra-long hugs of their own gives me joy and I'm thankful for their big hearts. :)

    Great giveaway - love Catching Fireflies!

  5. Our joy this week comes in knowing that my husband will be home from military "deployment" in just a matter of days, and just in time for Christmas.
    I've found great joy in the simple moments of the day; snuggling with my children, seeing the looks on their faces when they try a new recipe I've just made, looking at the art they've drawn to add to our Christmas packages...I could go on and on, we just have tons of joy here!

  6. It gave me so much joy to watch my son, Sam, and his classmates sing their little hearts out at his school's Winter Sing program. It was so fun to see all the enthusiasm in the room - both from the kids and their parents. On a personal note, this was the first time Sam sang with his class without having an aide nearby to help him if he got sensory overload. What a great moment for him - and for our family!

  7. My kids bring such joy and example to our family. Both boys have embraced their desire to be deliverers of hope to the less fortunate. Our oldest son recently launched a web business ( which he is raising money for malnourished children in Guatemala. He will be personally visiting that country in February to bring them HOPE. Our younger son is planning on a second trip to Nicaragua this summer to work at a mission there. His last trip he found the language barrier to be discouraging but stated that smiles among children are universal ( and cookies too). The younger generation and their enthusiasm brings me such JOY!!

  8. MMy first grader's freckles. My kindergartner's know it all attitude. The days with The little two.

  9. Joy right now: The weather forecast and blizzard conditions in Wisconsin...I am heading to a winter wonderland on Saturday. Joy in the prep work to leave and anticipation for a great holiday week with my family!

  10. Joy... Hmmm at this very moment is Simplicity. Hugs, tears, giggles, snowdays (school just canceled for tomorrow), Legos, vhs tapes of my old favs that my kids have discovered, believing in Santa and 'elves' living all over the house each night, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, board games and hot cocoa. Singing Silent night at mass on Christmas eve & holding hands with my husband and children while we recite the Our Father at mass. And Joy may be winning a prize on Monday! Lol

  11. My little boy's laughter and excited anticipation for Christmas is so much fun this time of year, it brings a whole new level of joy! I also really enjoy finding a gift for someone that I think they are going to really's the kind of shopping I love! Not to kiss butt...but reading your fun blog & keeping up with your life that way (since it's so hard in our busy lives to actually get together! boo!) brings me joy too. Also...huge fan of Catching Fireflies!