Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Intentional Joy-31 Day Writing Challenge

It's almost that time again.

31 Days

Every year, every October, hundreds-maybe thousands-of writers get together and write every day on one topic for 31 days, a project started by blogger Myquillin Smith (The Nester). It's an online writing challenge--you don't have to be a blogger, but most are.

Last year, I tackled the topic of Overcoming Negativity. It has since morphed into a book--a book that I started writing, picked apart and decided to completely rewrite.

This year, I've decided to find joy every day. (I hope I can find joy in that re-write!)

We need more joy in this world. We need more joy in our days. We need more joy in our lives.

Joy is intentional. It's a choice. Sometimes it falls in your lap, and sometimes you need to search for it. 

But it's always there. It might be in a birdsong. It might be in a smile. Or it might be disguised--something hidden that must be sought out in the midst of chaos or distress or pain. 

It's all in our outlook. Sometimes it has to be intentional because we don't feel very joyful. But joy is not so much a feeling as it is a choice.

Margaret Feinberg talks of making a decision to fight her diagnosis and treatment of cancer with joy in her book, Fight Back With Joy. It's a delightful memoir, and she is a woman to be admired. It's not everyone who can do that---yet, it is. It is there for the taking-a gift from God--for me and for you.

Will you take this journey with me?

Yes, I will be blogging every day, and I know some of my readers are happy about that (they've told me they miss me!). But some of you may not want a post every day clogging up your inbox.

I promise two things:

1. I will keep the posts short-because moments of joy are often simple and must be experienced rather than explained. My intention is to simply share the joy I find each day, not to expound on it (and maybe it will teach me to cut down on my blahblah on a daily basis).

2. If you read about my joy, you will find your own joy. Joy is contagious. You won't want to read about the things I've found to be joyful about without wanting your own.

So...look for my first post on Thursday, October 1st, although I've already had moments of joy: joy at seeing my name on a published article (A Testament to the Glory of  Early Morning Runs), the joy of paying for the person behind me at Dunkin' Donuts (a munchkin for each of her two munchkins-I couldn't even talk her into a cup of coffee!), the clear blue sky of the first day of autumn, and perfect bloodwork (my hard work has paid off)!!!

I can't wait to experience all the joy God has in store for us next month!

Blessings Along the Path,

PS: If you'd like to take part in this writing challenge, visit the 31 Days website to sign up. 

Sharing this post with some of these wonderful blogs, as well as with the 31 Days Challenge.


  1. Looking forward to following you along on your joyful journey, Mary!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Elizabeth! I loved the picture on Facebook. Thanks for that.

  2. God bless those of you who commit to that challenge, Mary! I am too much of a perfectionist to go that route, but I know it will reap huge benefits for those of you who do it. Who knew it would produce a book! You go, girl! And I mean that in all sorts of ways, you avid runner, you! ;)

    1. Beth, I am a recovering perfectionist--it's good to do things that I think I need to do perfectly to reinforce (to myself) that it's okay if I don't do it perfectly. But you've got a lot of other projects on your plate! And let's say it morphed into a book but hasn't actually produced one yet. I'm working on it!