What brings me joy?


That’s the question of the day. I’ve struggled with this for a while because, if you read my last blog (psst, go read it, it’s fine), you know that it has been a tough year. That’s a question that has been haunting me the last few days. What does bring me joy?

Today was a snow day for us and so I’ve been focused on this question today.

What brings me joy:

  1. Time with my family: Two weekends ago, we moved our oldest daughter across the state. We had the chance to stay with her and her boyfriend a couple of nights, and go out for lunch with our other daughter as well. They are living within 30 minutes of each other and within a three and a half hour drive. It’s good to see them because they all of them, both daughters AND their boyfriends bring me joy. My daughters are my daughters, but their boyfriends are so different and yet, they make my daughters happy. One is an aerospace engineer, the other is going to law school right now. One is an outdoorsy type with a motorcycle and a love for airplanes, the other is a gamer and doesn’t really appreciate the great outdoors!
  2. Music: Last weekend, we went to Chicago and saw the Blue Man Group. I didn’t know they had a running show in Chicago, so that may become a regular trip for us. They are in a very small theater, so the setting was very intimate. The show, freaking amazing! They did “Blue Man Group things” like pull out the pipes for different sounds, drums with paint, and do goofy stuff on stage, but I wasn’t expecting how much they interacted with the audience. Several times they were out among us several times which was so cool. I loved the feel of the music and the drums in my bones. It just felt right to be there with my wife, who is also a big fan of their act. This summer, we are thinking about where to go. For me, it’s where the music is, whether a big festival (Phish will be about four hours away) or a jam band in a dive bar, this brings me joy. But please, no country.
  3. Food: I’m not quite the big fat man I was, but I still love good food. We ate well last weekend. We found this relatively (before taxes and fees) inexpensive Airbnb right off of Sheffield Aveune (for those Cubs fans, about a 15 minutes walk to Wrigley Field) that was right next to the train, within three blocks of the theater, and in this sweet little neighborhood. We ate Mexican food Friday night, eating at Mixteco Mexcian Grill, a quick walk from our place. Amazing food! Saturday night, we went old school, going to Giordano’s Pizza for some delicious Chicago style deep dish pizza! This was just down the street in the opposite direction. As we’ve been trying to lose some weight, I’ve gain some appreciate for portion sizes and how many calories I’m taking in, but good food brings me joy. Thankfully, my wife is someone who can look at a pile of ingredient and create a masterpiece. Cooking brings her joy.
  4. Nerdy stuff: I never had a true “group” I was part of in high school. I wasn’t enough of a jock, I didn’t drink or smoke, and there wasn’t a book club, so my nerdy side really never developed. However now, I love Star Wars, Marvel, building on Minecraft (though I’ve not been able to play in a while). I’m getting a coding set up ready (since I have to teach computer science of course!). I was a music nerd, playing several instruments in high school while singing both in high school and college. I don’t have the voice to lead, but my voice blends well and adds depth (or so I’ve been told). The internet (and my nerdy kids) have opened me up to SO many different YouTube channels, Redit, and other goofy stuff. My wife sighs and rolls her eyes, which is fine.
  5. Basketball: I didn’t realize just how much joy the sport gave me until way too late. Had I realized this in college, I could see working as a graduate assistant and working my way up the ladder. However, that wasn’t the case as I thought I wanted to be a football coach. My first year of coaching basketball in Alaska all but elminated that desire to coach anything BUT basketball, even though it was a trying experience. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything different. This season, by my standards was a success because we were playing our best basketball at the end of the season. Both our 8th grade team and our club team struggled greatly as we started playing but both teams found themselves, had some girls figure out their roles, and really came around. An added bonus, I coached my 100th win this season against a team that we rarely beat, which was doubley awesome!
  6. Where I live: Not necessarily the area, because we aren’t born and raised here thus, we don’t really belong. No, I mean, literally where I love. Our little 2.75 piece of heaven. It’s a lot of work to take care of, but I so glad we were able to purchase this place when we did in our lives. Our daughters gained a new appreciation for so many things in life. I gained an appreciation for how stubborn Brown Swiss are (and they are absolutely beautiful creatures). And we all gained an appreciation for the fact that so much of what we take for granted has to come from somewhere. The meat we eat, the veggies, the grains, all of it comes from the hard work of farmers, large and small, all over our country.

So, why just keep this to myself?


Ha! I put out on my socials the question, “What brings you joy?”. Here are some responses:

You know, normally I’d have to think about that one but that’s far too easy. My daughter, hands down.

Time with my family

 Listening to music.

My cats

Seeing my kids flourish.

Planting seeds for the garden.

The Iowa BB game.

So, there you have it! We all have those things that bring us joy, that we love without even thinking about them. I love that our experience are so wide, yet, they often come down to friends, family, and the things that make us so unique.

What brings you joy? I love to hear from you in the comments!

And please, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.

If my stupid cat (which brings me joy) would stop catwalling and go to sleep! 🙂