My Learning Curve: 50 Points of Joy

Hiking would be at the top of Russ’ list.

Last Thursday I said I was going to share my friend’s homework assignment from Deborah.  Then life happened, Rusty had his accident, and the post wasn’t written.  Before I jump into it, I want to thank each one of you who left a comment for us.  We are in awe of the way God protected Rusty from serious harm – he literally has only one tiny cut on his hand.

In other family news, I think I am on the road to recovery from shingles.  I’ve had three days of feeling good; we even had friends over for dinner Saturday night.  I am thankful!

On to the purpose of this post!

In her book, Attaching in Adoption, Deborah Gray writes about Parent Self-Care Tools for parents who are weary or burned-out from the needs of their children.  She gives a list of suggestions that have been favorites of the parents in her practice (p. 308).  The very first one, and my friend’s assignment, is called Fifty Pleasures, or as we call it, Fifty Points of Joy.

She writes,

When parents have begun to be too worn out, it is often because they have spent so much time doing tasks that they have deleted the fun or enjoyable things in their life.  I like to see parents make a list of fify items that give them pleasure.  These are individual lists…

Every week, each person must attain fifty check marks on the list.  Using the same item more than once is permitted.

Initially when my friend told me about the assignment, I thought she said “fifteen points of joy” and that didn’t seem too difficult, but when I asked her again and she said fifty, we both decided it could be a challenge.  That is seven joyful tasks each day!  Imagine the way that could renew your hope and strength if you could make yourself do it.

I want to try, even if I only do it this week, over Thanksgiving.  If enough of my list includes time spent with members of my family, and especially with Russ, I can make it happen — I think.

How about you?  Should we try to brainstorm a list of joyful tasks together?  I’ll start with the first ten that come to mind.

  1. 7 or more hours of sleep in one night
  2. Take a walk with Russ
  3. Read aloud to my girls – our current read is The Sign of the Beaver.
  4. Have friends over for dinner
  5. Read a book of my own that is not adoption-related (I’m having a hard time thinking of one – does Radical count?)
  6. Make love (I know – a little personal – but the joy benefits are significant.)
  7. Go to coffee with a friend (anybody want to join me?)
  8. Bake with my kids
  9. Set a pretty table
  10. Watch The Blind Side with our big kids

Your turn.  Let’s see how many Points of Joy we can share with one another!

Encourage one another,

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

51 Comments

  1. carla
    November 22, 2010

    I would LOVE to have coffee with you!!!! If only we didn't live over 2,500 miles apart… 🙁 So glad to hear you have been feeling better, I will keep praying!

    Reply
  2. coffeemom
    November 22, 2010

    Gosh…I guess I need to work on this one because my reaction too was FIFTY!?!?!????? Now, why is it that 50 good things over a week seems too much? Not the best place to be eh? Sigh. So, I guess I'm gonna brainstorm too:
    Mass
    Morning and Night Prayer (I'm counting this as two, it's two times in the day!)
    Coffee with a friend
    Reading the paper in the quiet house while kids are in school
    Welcoming boys home from college!!!
    Time w/ my husband, alone (hard pressed for that one this week: house full of guests..)
    HOT bath, alone, and for more than 5 mins.
    Solo walk with puppy and ipod nano
    …gee, many of mine are solo….guess I'm craving a little down time. Hmmmm. Maybe if some small doses of are carved into the week I can add some more sociable ones on the list…..

    Thanks for bringing this up, it's a challenge but a good one and very apropos of the week!

    Reply
  3. One Thankful Mom
    November 22, 2010

    Carla, I wish you could too — but I guess it is a little far.

    Reply
  4. Lisa Stucky
    November 22, 2010

    Thanks for sharing! Great idea. I think I might just do the same. And Radical looks like a GREAT read. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Lisa, come back and share a few points on your list with us! You seem familiar to me – did we know each other in Colorado? We lived there from 1994 through the end of 1999.

      Reply
      1. One Thankful Mom
        November 22, 2010

        We lived in Broomfield for over six years. How about you?

        Reply
  5. One Thankful Mom
    November 22, 2010

    We can do it! I am happy to report that by 8:00 I had already managed three joyful tasks! I'm still working on my list, which I'm going to print and then start checking things off each day. I wish I could manage more solo tasks, but my kids are all home from school for the week, so solitude is not likely to happen. I'm trying to rejoice over that — I think I'll play Wii Fit with the kids later; I never did master the obstacle course last winter. We also woke up to a few inches of snow, so I'll add "drink hot chocolate" to my list since the kids love it after playing in the snow.

    Reply
  6. Lauren
    November 22, 2010

    This is such a great idea!
    And so very timely too with both the joy of the holiday season, and the potential we each have to string ourselves out as we deck the halls.
    Thanks for sharing! This is something I will work on.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Lauren, come back to share some of your "Points of Joy" with us! I saw the Christmas lights on your house early this morning when Russ and I walked by. I love Christmas lights!

      Reply
  7. sandee
    November 22, 2010

    50 seemed like way way too much for me too…how in the world to schedule that. And i just finished a book club read of Radical…so I am not sure that is counted as a joyful moment. It is enlightening, challenging, stretching, growing, but not so sure about joy giving…hmmm

    so my list would be:
    -give me kittyt to a new home. (oh but that would make the kids sad, so I will have to skip that one)
    -make a new wintry, Christmasy blog header
    -knit
    -wrap some holiday secrets
    -make the yummiest Thanksgiving stuffing around (from Silver Palate Special Times cook book)
    -watch a holiday movie with my kids, with popcorn
    -play cards with the kids and grandparents
    -make some pajamas for the kids (1 down, 3 to go)
    -browse a thrift store
    -stay underneath my budget
    -read bedtime stories
    -watch my kids be kind to each other (when it ihappens, it is so joyful)
    -breathe deep and relax
    -take a nap
    -start back with my Bible study, or devotional (been out of it for way too long)
    -get holiday family photos done (free from a friend)

    I guess I have a few on my list. 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Sandee, thanks for sharing your list. Any favorite holiday movies to suggest? I think you're right about Radical, not a pleasure read, but if I could have ten minutes of quiet to read it, it would still be a pleasure for me. I'm afraid if I pick up a novel I won't be able to put it down. Be sure to print your list and start checking things off.

      Reply
  8. Mary
    November 22, 2010

    Drinking a cup of coffee with sugar and half and half
    Lighting a candle by my sink during dishes
    Going for a run on the treadmill while little ones sleep
    Reading with my big boy
    Dancing with my little girl
    Stepping outside to hit the baseball to my dog
    Rocking our foster baby and praying bold prayers for him
    Holding my hubby's hand in bed
    Belonging to an organic vegetable co-op
    Reading Bushel and a Peck 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Mary, great list! Thank you so much for sharing it. I had forgotten how much I like a candle on my kitchen windowsill, I think I'll go find one right now.

      Reply
  9. Joelle Holland
    November 22, 2010

    I love this idea. I'm going to try and get my family involved and make a list we brainstorm together. I love the candle while washing dishes idea. Seems very doable.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Doable is good at this stage of life!

      Reply
  10. leah
    November 22, 2010

    Our therapist just asked me to do this same thing and it is amazing how many things I've given up to just get through the day. I call it my energy in list…so here is my list so far:
    -Take a shower everyday
    -Get dress like my job matters everyday
    -Dress my children cute everyday even on the hard days
    -Sleep 7 hours a night
    -Get my hair cut
    -Work out three time per week
    -Take a photo editing class
    -meet with my accountability partner once a month
    -get a family photo taken
    -Have some friends over for lunch (big step and we are not sure if will work but we are going to try it)
    -Go to the beach at least once a week
    -Allow my daughter to go to school full time and not feel guilty about it.
    -blog about real stuff more often

    I started this week on my list and already taking a shower and looking nice is making a HUGE impact in my outlook and felt worth. I love it when the little things make a big difference.

    Reply
  11. One Thankful Mom
    November 22, 2010

    Leah I am so glad for you. I remember when life was brutally hard every day and I could not even imagine having any fun. It is amazing how much it helps to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family. I wrote a post title, Oxygen Mask Moments two years ago that still applies to my life. https://www.onethankfulmom.com/the-daily/oxygen-ma

    Reply
  12. learningpatience
    November 22, 2010

    Oh, I would love to have coffee with you too!
    And I think #6 is a great suggestion for the list!
    Hot Cocoa was the first thing that I was going to suggest, but I see that you already added it (in the comments.)
    How 'bout some dark chocolate?
    Reading the Bible (even if only a verse or two)
    Kissing my husband as I pass him in the house
    Play music throughout the house
    Smile (even if no one is looking)
    Finish a task!
    Stop for just a minute and stretch
    Workout (even ten or fifteen minutes or a walk with the kids makes me feel better)
    Step outside with no other reason than to breathe a little fresh air
    Look at something beautiful

    As I read this post, I thought about how just earlier today I was feeling (for the first time in a long time) that I have "space" in my life for these little fun things . . . I am at a place where I can naturally fit in a few every day, but I remember a time not that long ago where everything felt like a dreaded task, and I would have had to really fight to fit in even a few of these things. I was spent. I wish that I had run across this advice then; I think it would have done me a world of good. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Tonight I stepped out onto the snowy back porch to shake off the tablecloth and the cold air felt so fresh, I just stood there for a moment looking at the stars. Maybe I can count that as a Point of Joy on my list! Yes, I think I can. Glad you like #6– there's nothing like it to add joy to a marriage.

      Reply
  13. Emily
    November 22, 2010

    Nuzzling a sleeping baby's head
    Chatting w/ my hubby after kids are in bed
    Going to bed before midnight
    Clean counters
    Reading with my boys (no little people distractions)
    Painting my daughter's toenails
    Playing outside with the kids
    Walking alone
    Tea and biscotti
    Handel's Messiah

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 22, 2010

      Oh for a sweet baby to love. Little man is four and he is still cuddly and precious…but there's nothing like a baby's head tucked under your chin.

      Reply
  14. charity
    November 22, 2010

    1 bake gingerbread men and pay more attention to the joy of cutting out dough with shapes with little ones than the mess of all that flour
    2 relocate a daughter into the little boys' room so they will have a big kid to "protect" them and may actually stay in their room all night (it worked, she tucked them in and they were asleep in minutes, hence my chance to comment here)
    3 replaced worn out towels in a kids' bathroom
    4 paint my toenails deep orange red, then enjoy feeling like i spoiled myself every time i take off my socks for weeks
    5 sort through old papers, to whittle down the permanent stack of things only mom can find a place for…
    6 clear off the clean laundry from the massage table, then there is at least the possibility of using it to give or receive a massage, either brings joy

    Reply
    1. charity
      November 22, 2010

      7 fill a bag for giving away, always frees up room for joy to have fewer things on my mind to keep track of or to care for
      8 rub coconut oil on the little ones feet and hands, they know they have to sit to let it soak in, and i get to snuggle just a moment with kids who are too big to snuggle anymore
      9 compile a digital photo book online for a child
      10 write in a journal as i read scriptures, then i can relate them to my life
      it is so much easier to get to doing some of these things if they are on a list and we can check them off~!

      Reply
  15. One Thankful Mom
    November 22, 2010

    Charity, this is a great list; thank you for sharing it with us. Your comment about making a digital book got me thinking about my two girls. In my former life I made scrapbooks, but I don't have room for that now. However, it makes Honeybee and Dimples sad that I haven't made books for them. Perhaps if I made them each a photo book, they would feel loved and would enjoy seeing their story in print. Then maybe by the time they graduate from high school I could do more traditional scrapbooks for them. I'm going to give that some thought — and maybe I'll dig out my nail polish and paint my toenails this week.

    Reply
    1. charity
      November 26, 2010

      i have used two sites this year to make books, same problem for me as you, fewer kiddos meant more scrapbooks for big kids, all my little ones born after we bought a digital camera don't have their own yet! i made a book for the youngest about a family vacation to try it out, and it was so fast, took 2 evenings? first i used snapfish.com, if you are thinking about making multiple books on their site, i signed up and receive email offers, a few times a year they do a buy one get one free for the photo books, sometimes even free shipping. that makes them very affordable, so i just organized my photos, you can even put the whole book together on their website, save it and just wait for the coupon to send in the order.

      Reply
      1. charity
        November 26, 2010

        then this summer we went back to the family farm in TN on my husband's side, and i took lots of photos of the textures, doorknobs, building itself…and wanted to make a book that layered the textures as the background of the pages, with old black and whites of the family at the farm over the century, on top of those. a photographer friend recommended blurb.com, which is more like a publishing site, a little more expensive, but not much. it gave me more options for putting in text with photos, and layering photos. if you are going to tell the girls' story, instead of just do a picture book with captions, this might give you more room for that. happy bookmaking!

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          November 26, 2010

          Charity, thank you for the recommendations. I'm thinking more about tackling this project. It would mean so much to them.

          Reply
  16. Bev
    November 23, 2010

    Oh, I love this idea! I am a list-maker, but it's always a to-do or chore list … nothing FUN like this!

    1. Take pictures of the kids in and with my car (we're trading it soon, and I've grown attached to it over the last 11 years!).
    2. BAKE COOKIES with the kids
    3. Paint my toenails
    4. Clean out the too-big clothes from my closet
    5. Burn vanilla scented candles
    6. Hold hands with my hubby
    7. Make Thanksgiving decorations with the kids

    … to be continued …

    I'm being summoned to make breakfast … 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 23, 2010

      Bev, if you have suggestions on Thanksgiving decorations to make with the kids, please share them. My kids are LOVING all of the snow we have, but they need some good indoor activities too. Come back and finish your list!

      Reply
      1. Susie
        November 24, 2010

        Did you see the salad spinner turkeys? I thought they were creative 🙂 http://moremillers.blogspot.com/2010/11/salad-spi

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          November 24, 2010

          Those look like fun! I like the Thankful Wreath too: http://moremillers.blogspot.com/2010/11/thankful-

          Reply
      2. Bev
        December 15, 2010

        Sorry, I just saw your reply! We ended up making a "thankful tree" – which was really just cut branches from our yard that I stuck in a large glass vase. We hung strips of paper with our names or something we are thankful for written on them. It made a great centerpiece, and lasted for a couple weeks until it was replaced with Christmas decorations.

        Reply
  17. Carol
    November 23, 2010

    I have read your blog for a very long time and learned so much from it. I really cant thank you enough for taking the time to write and encourage so many of us. I look forward to trying this. I think this is a great idea and there have been so many wonderful suggestions. My first 'task' (and only one at this point) will be to repot some house plants and some herbs for my deck. And I too wish I lived close enough to have coffee w/you. I would love to spend a day in life of Lisa:-).

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 23, 2010

      Carol, thank you for your kind words – I hope you get your plants repotted and that the Lord brings many more Points of Joy to your mind today.

      Reply
  18. Tisha
    November 23, 2010

    This is SUCH a great idea!! I'm going to think of some too. I tend to usually think of these things as "indulgences" rather than joy inducing necessities that will ultimately benefit my whole family. Thank you for sharing this. I need to change my perspective and intentionally incorporate more joy.
    I am another one (of many) that would love, love, love to have coffee with you!!
    And, I'm so glad Rusty is alright! God is good!
    Happy Thanksgiving Lisa.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 23, 2010

      Tisha -you are so right. As Moms we feel that joyful moments are indulgent, when these "Points of Joy" would actually refresh us and give us strength to press on when parenting is tough. I'm sure we'll meet one day and have coffee – I hope to make it to CO in the next year.

      Reply
      1. Tisha
        November 23, 2010

        Yay!! How exciting! That's something wonderful for me to look forward to. If we do have the opportunity to meet, it will definitely be a HUGE point of joy for me! 🙂

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          November 23, 2010

          For me as well! I envy how close you live to my From HIV to Home friends – such great women.

          Reply
  19. Susie
    November 24, 2010

    I love this post. I love my life and kids and all, but I am NOT good at the joy part. I am happy, but I'm not sure i LOOK happy 🙂
    I'm definitely going to work on this – stealing some ideas and make a list! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 24, 2010

      Susie, isn't it interesting that we can be happy, but not let our families see it? It makes me think of that old children's song, "If you're happy and you know it…"

      Reply
      1. Susie
        November 24, 2010

        Exactly! I want them to KNOW!!!

        Reply
  20. Courtney
    November 24, 2010

    i LOVE this idea!! i hope to find time to work on my list this weekend…
    how freeing to think this is important – to have things that bring US joy!
    oh, and i'd LOVE to have coffee (actually, a diet coke) with you! 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 24, 2010

      I'm a Diet Coke fan too – if it's morning I'll have coffee, if we get together in the afternoon, Diet Coke! It would be lovely to meet you one day. Share your list with us!

      Reply
  21. Wendy
    November 26, 2010

    Wow…great post! I think my hubby actually needs this more than I do (being a bivocational pastor in the middle of a building project and being a great husband to me and a great dad to four and running a hobby farm is taking its toll). Maybe we'll work on our lists together but separately on this delightful long weekend!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 26, 2010

      Wendy, we started out with a combined list, but Russ pretty quickly decided his list was quite different from mine, so he is going to make his own. The interesting thing is that some of our points of joy literally only take a few minutes (lighting candles on the dinner table) while others are a much bigger commitment. Regardless, they both fill the need for joy. I'm not getting in nearly as many "points" each day as I would like, but I'm enjoying all of the time with my family.

      Reply
  22. Ann
    November 26, 2010

    Watch Christmas Vacation
    Watch Cheaper By the Dozen
    Read Radical Faith
    Make Rose's special blanket (before she arrives from China 🙂
    Write Rose a special Christmas letter and put together a flat envelope gift
    Bake scones
    Have coffee with a friend (yes I would love for that to be you–someday for sure 🙂
    Finish my term papers (not sure that counts as joy or relief)
    Organize my roll-top desk
    Put away the Halloween and get out the Christmas decorations
    Work out every day for a week
    Work out any day for a week
    Sleep in
    (Thanks for getting the joy brain cells working–you rock!)

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 26, 2010

      Great list Ann! Thanks for sharing it.

      Reply
  23. Heidi
    November 28, 2010

    Love this idea!

    1. Do something nice for someone else
    2. Drink my Starbucks in Silence
    3. Take a bath
    4. Straighten my hair and wear makeup in the same day
    5. Buy myself something new
    6. Write my World Vision girl a letter
    7. Have an uninterrupted conversation with my best friend in NC
    8. Listen to the sermons I would like to catch up on
    9. Craft a little
    10. Write a list of goals (I try and do this monthly)
    11. Sign up for Perspectives Course
    12. Say a prayer of Thanks for something each day

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 28, 2010

      Heidi, great list – thank you!

      Reply
  24. Alisa
    November 18, 2014

    4 years later and we are going to try this.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 19, 2014

      I forgot that I wrote this! Thanks for reminding me, Alisa. I need to do it again.

      Reply

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