This year, students in grades 3, 4 and 5 at the boys' school were required to create books for the Young Author's Conference. I, for one was thrilled. Jack, Charlie and Sam? Meh... not so much. They were enthusiastic about the stories they wanted to write, but when it came down to the writing, well... the weather was getting warmer, the basketball hoop was put up and they suddenly had much more important things to do. However, a requirement is a requirement, and three boys dictated three stories which I typed verbatim. (Which, at times, nearly killed the OCD grammarian in me.) In the end, the boys created some pretty good stories, and they were presented well. Today, Sam told me he was chosen as a representative for the 3rd grade to attend the conference in a few weeks. I was thrilled! I had won the Young Author's Conference at my school in 5th and 6th grades. (You know, back when 6th grade was still in an elementary school and we scratched our lessons onto stone tablets with dinosaur bones.) I clearly remember the grumpy mumbling of classmates when I was chosen the second year in a row. "But sheee went laaaast year!" I simply shrugged. I certainly had nothing to do with the selection process -- I just liked to write stories. I read through the paperwork for the conference today, and felt a little jolt of excitement when I saw that parents are welcome to attend the workshop with their child. Trying my best to sound nonchalant, I said, "Hey, Sam... do you want me to go to the Young Author's Conference with you?" He answered yes, and I proceeded to do a little happy dance in my head.
I am still on JoyQuest2011. Some days I kind of forget that I need to be "finding the joy," because someone has positioned his or herself in my path, making it imposssssssible to find my sanity, let alone any joy. But I am still trying. Every day, even when I slip and quietly cuss someone out for driving like a maniac, or politely turn away to roll my eyes privately at a person's actions, or even mumble under my breath some choice words to make me "feel better" about the present situation, I'm stopping myself. I immediately say a quick little prayer for forgiveness, then -- you guessed it -- find the joy in the situation. I feel like I'm still deep in training mode, but there are still plenty of days and weeks left to get the hang of it. Breathe deeply... find the joy.