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I’ve been going through She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst as part of an online bible study. Each time I sit down with that book, I realize I like her and her  insight even more (today I also listened to her talk about cultivating, curating and creating content for writing). As part of my devotion time today, I reflected on some questions at the end of chapter 12. The first question got the thoughts stirring about simple joys. Sunday feels like a great day to contemplate the little details that my senses can enjoy on this day of rest as well as every other day.
First I made a list of things that I can engage with my senses that make me smile. Considering just today, I came up with:
crisp, cool air: I missed fall last year since I was in Houston (yes, Houstonians, it truly does exist outside the magazines and movies), and I daydreamed about sweaters by late spring, which probably didn’t help me feel any cooler in that hellish Houston heat. This year, I bask in the cool air again and feel especially thankful for it. Especially this weekend as the cold has finally set in, it feels good to be cold again.
colorful leaves on the trees: This falls into the category I started above. Again, I didn’t witness fall last year, and that included the beauty of the trees changing colors. They truly do hold a beauty all their own, and the cool air only adds to the wonder of fall.
the yellow mums sitting on my desk on a plate with sea shells I gathered with my best friend Katrina in Galveston during her visit: Yellow is a joyful color, and flowers always add beauty to a room. The shells add another positive aspect with their memory association; they even come from a memory of a sunny day (probably the only time I enjoyed being outside in Texas…the ocean air made a tremendous difference).
music on my iPod: “Believe” by Hanson was playing as I made my list. My iPod contains a lot of music, and they reflect a lot of memories and emotions. It helps to hear expressions of feelings to which I can relate. Oftentimes, music gives words to what’s on my mind, and it keeps me from going too deeply into my head. It also reminds me that I’m not alone in my experiences.
candy corn pumpkins: My severe allergies have made it difficult for me to find my favorite Halloween candy for years. Persistence pays off though because after checking labels for years knowing each time I would most likely find the bags were possibly contaminated from my allergens in the factories, I finally found some safe candy corn pumpkins! Let’s just say I bought a few bags. Tonight I can enjoy them during my Sunday Ritual. After I paint my nails I can do Halloween weekend my style and watch Stranger Things while I eat pumpkins.
aromatherapy pillow mist on my pillow: I rested my eyes earlier and enjoyed the mist on my pillow. I thought aromatherapy from essential oils sounded hoaky when I first heard about it, but I reconsidered after I saw that Mayo Clinic agreed it could possibly help (any small improvement in mood is worthwhile). Last year I received a diffuser and essential oils and started using it. I enjoyed the different scents and how they seem to relax or lift my mind a little. This afternoon I rested as I inhaled the scent of eucalyptus and tea.
I agree with Chrystal Evans Hurst that simple joys matter. I’m glad that I took the time to fill in my blessings journal throughout the day today and that I took the time to do her reflection questions. It continued to serve as a starting point on staying positive and being open to God’s involvement and guidance in my life.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17