Pictures have always been a big part of my everyday life. I was one of those scrapbookin’ fools way back when my kids were young! I am that mom that always has her camera locked and loaded. My kids used to hate how many pictures I took regularly, but now they love it because they love looking back at all the fun we have had. We still love to sit around and look back at all the photos. So yes, I almost ALWAYS have my camera ready!
So when my bestie from grade school, who lives in Chicago (my hometown), came up with a fun idea for a photo challenge, I was all in! During the last Leap Year we did a project we called “366 in Twenty Twelve”. You can find mine on Facebook if you type that in (Although I kept it secret all year until the last day of the year when I put it on public. I didn’t want to bore the Facebook world with my daily photos). That year we each took one photo every day of things we were grateful for and at the end of the year we made a slide show to share with each other. It was so much fun. A few years ago we did another project called “52 Fridays”. For that year we took one photo a week for the entire year. Again, we shared it at the end and enjoyed visiting about our photos. The last two years we just dabbled here & there with photos, but no actual structured plan.
This year we both have seniors in high school graduating. This year is a BIG year. This year I go from family mom to empty nest mom. This year will be the first of many in parenting adult-ish kids; of being back to just me & the hubs; of a lot of change. Sometimes when we are going through change we don’t notice all the subtle shifts only the huge ones. That’s how life seems to go. We just mosey along day by day & then we look back and say “what did I even do?” or “when was the last time I had a night out?”, or how is it already Summer? etc.
Well we are not going to let time pass by without no ticing it…This year we are back to ONE photo EVERY single day in 2017 (by the time you read this, I’ve already taken 60+ photos!). This year to help us stay connected, we created private Instagram accounts for our daily picture projects and share our photos daily with each other. So every day Katie sees my picture and every day I get to see hers. It keeps us connected and accountable! It’s been my favorite challenge yet. So much so that I’ve shared this challenge with a handful of people and now there are 7 of us each posting ONE photo EVERY day in our private Instagram circle.
I LOVE IT! We each have a slightly different focus or reason behind our photos. My photos are ALL from the point of view of #FindingJOYdaily. Each day I think, what will bring me joy. Each morning I look forward with a childish sense of wonderment of what my day will hold. Each photo is captioned with the date and the words “I am grateful for…” Many days the photo includes a person. Perhaps one of my family members that I enJOYed a moment with, or a friend I had lunch with etc. Of course some days it’s a picture of one or both of my cats ~ who ALWAYS bring me JOY. Other days it might be of an item, object or scene I stumbled upon that makes me grateful for how I live my life.
It’s funny, because now my days are being lived with a filter of “will this be my joyFULL moment?” All day long, I go through my day with a tiny nudge to remind me to LOOK for joy and then capture it in a quick photo.
I tried to get one of my friends to join me on this journey, but she said it’s too hard. She said every day she does the same thing- she wakes up, drives to work, sits in her office, drives home, has dinner and goes to sleep. I told her this project would be PERFECT for her, because of just that reason… We get so caught up in our routines that we miss so much to be grateful for. Perhaps today when she woke up she saw a big, fat red cardinal sitting in her tree just outside her window- JOY. When she was driving to work, she may have noticed the way the lake catches the light and sparkles –JOY. When she is working, maybe a fun co-worker stops in for a chat – JOY. When she’s eating lunch at her desk she is grateful for the fresh fruits & veggies she’s able to purchase locally –JOY. When she arrives home she sees her two cute pups run out of the doggie door to greet her –JOY. When she is settling in for the night, she catches a glimpse at the beautiful moon and realizes just how tiny we all are-JOY. You’ve heard me say it before, if we don’t know WHAT we are looking for, we will NEVER find it.
So I challenge YOU this month. For 31 days. Be on the lookout for ONE (if not more) thing a day that brings YOU joy. What will you be grateful for? Each day if we LOOK, my goodness will we FIND!