How To Take In More Joy

September 22, 2016

Are you like me, where productivity is like an adrenaline rush? Where accomplishing and getting things off of your list brings a great feeling of satisfaction? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The world needs people like us to get things done. However…

Embraced Moments of Joy

Do you think this quest for being productive sometimes robs you of joy?

So the other day I tried a little experiment and was quite surprised by the results. My flight arrived a little bit early; I raced through the airport to be pleasantly surprised to see my bag already making its way around the baggage carousel. I reached up with all of my might and pulled that large suitcase off taking no casualties with me.

So, here I was with extra time to spare before my ride would arrive.  I always find unexpected time to be a fabulous dilemma.

As you may have figured out by now, waiting is not a problem for me. I pulled out my bag full of tasks to complete. I whipped out my computer, hooked into the airport Wi-Fi, and set out to be efficient with the extra time I had acquired.

As I sat there, I could hear a commotion in the airport of laughter and shrieks of delight as people were walking into the baggage claim area. I thought to myself, hmm what would it be like to just sit and observe these people and accomplish nothing? After all, this was extra time; I had not expected.

Then I remembered the steps to taking in more joy.

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It Is A Choice To Embrace the Moment

So, I set aside my work and made a choice to “Embrace the Moment” no matter what it had to hold. I figured I didn’t have much to lose, maybe just a little boredom. I want you to know – I wasn’t just watching and plugging away at my computer, but I was fully present with all electronics put aside.

At this particular airport, it isn’t unusual to see crowds of people waiting for their loved one to return from their mission. Usually, I rush right by in my hurry to get to where I need to be. Today, I had chosen something different.

First, I heard the “anticipation” conversations, “Do you think his appearance has changed?” “Do you think he is hungry?” “Will he act differently?” “Did he have fun?” “Is he glad he went?”

Then the crowd presses forward with signs held high, welcoming their loved one home. Mom and Dad are beaming from eye to eye. I find myself joining in the excitement.

Together, we are watching for his footsteps to appear from around the last corner. I am so caught up in the moment; it doesn’t dawn on me that I won’t recognize this person. I do not know him.

By the cheers, I can tell our person has arrived; we watch as he goes step by step past the last security guard. The excitement is explosive; it is almost more joy than a heart can contain. The person then goes from person to person, hugs, and cheers galore.

The Reward

But the one embrace that brings tears to my eyes is the Momma hug. It is like no other hug. I see this grown boy and Momma alike wiping away the tears. Tear of joy, tears of pride and tears of a heart that longed for their love one to return. 

Soon afterward  I felt a  wet tear drop running down my face. Heck, by the time this young man arrived I felt like I should jump up and congratulate his return. It filled my heart to see and feel the love of being reunited.

I had no idea the delight I could receive from this small moment in time. I discovered one could piggyback to strangers “joy” simply by being present and embracing the moment. Joy is so contagious even when you do not know a soul, and joy is all around us.

To think I might have missed this unexpected opportunity to take in and share someone else’s joy – if I had kept my head buried in my computer being productive.

I encourage you to close it all down once in a while and  “EMBRACE THE MOMENT.” Take in whatever that moment has to offer. It just might surprise you that you will walk away with a huge smile and a heart filled with joy.

I would love to hear your “EMBRACING THE MOMENT” experiences this week.

I hope you will join our community at Embracing the Unexpected – sign up today to receive posts straight to your inbox along with a small gift.


  1. Reply


    Maree, congrats your post was the most clicked on the #LMMLinkup this week. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Mary – How exciting!!! Thank you for letting me know. Hope you had a fantastic weekend. Maree

  2. Reply


    Maree Dee, I just read your post and the timing was perfect. I have the opportunity to relax and wait on God. Yet, my brain and my body want to move. Being present invites exposure-to ourselves and before God. It can be a scary place to a “doer.” Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      You are so right it can be a scary place to just sit with God. I sometimes find I end up getting up a million times and starting over. I took a week off to linger a bit with God and rest. As the time came to an end, I was finally getting in the rhythm where it felt awesome. Now to figure out how to incorporate that into my everyday moments. Maree

  3. Reply


    🙂 I really enjoyed this post. The other day I had about ten different things that really needed my attention but none more important than one of my kids. We sat down and played a game of scrabble. Her face lit up because she too, knew I was supposed to be doing something else but I chose her instead. Visiting from Holley Gerth’s link! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Deanna – Thank you for sharing! I loved hearing how your daughter’s face lit up. I hope I can do the same for someone tomorrow. Blessings – Maree

  4. Reply

    Patricia Holbrook

    Oh, how I love this, Maree Dee!! Actually, here I am plugging away on my computer while my 11 year old does her homeschooling just feet away from me. Watching her sweet face, knowing she is right here with me and will soon be gone. Oh, I’m stopping what I am doing right now to go love on her. Thank you for this!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Patricia – You made my day. I can see the two of you sitting together. I am so glad you stopped to love on her. After reading your comment, I decided to do the same with a friend. Maree

  5. Reply


    I love how you said you find extra time a “fabulous dilemma,” Me too! There have literally been times where I thought maybe I had forgotten one of my kids somewhere because I couldn’t possibly have NOTHING to do! I love the idea of just sitting and being present, and I definitely don’t do it enough.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Susan, You made me laugh about “your forgotten kid.” I needed that after the day I had. Thank you. I am not sure if I was present for anything today. Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day. Blessings – Maree

  6. Reply


    I, too, love to be productive. I need to embrace more moments and embrace the joy around me!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Debbie – Praying you find some time in your day today to embrace those moments. Blessings, Maree

  7. Reply

    Karen Del Tatto

    What a beautiful illustration of “living in the moment”!

    I too am a list maker and gain much satisfaction from x-ing those items off. I also tend to be one of those people that does things ahead of time so I will have free time later, except, when the free time comes, there is something else I am “doing ahead of time”.

    I recently went away to a lake house for 30 hours to visit my brother and sister-in-law and I truly let go and became present. I didn’t fret about the time drawing near to leave, but lived as if I was going to be there for the rest of the week and you know what, that 30 hours felt like 30 days. What refreshment I felt by just living in the moment.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Karen – Oh my we are a lot alike. I had to laugh about doing things ahead of time so that I will have free time later. I never realized this, but I do the same thing. I even schedule free time.

      Going to the lake house sounded amazing. I recently took a week off of from electronics and my to do list. I didn’t do it 100%, but boy did I feel well rested. Now I am trying to figure out how to take a little bit of that and carry it forward.

      Thank you for leaving your comment it is nice to know I am not the only one out there crossing things off.


  8. Reply


    Maree I enjoy just driving with my husband to pick people up from the airport when the opportunity arises because I LOVE watching people reunite with loved ones there!! It’s a silly little hobby. I know it’s also weird but when the Lord’s got a firm grip on me and I’m not wriggling in selfishness, I love scrolling through FB on a “joy hunt” to see what God is doing in people’s lives- there’s always something to celebrate! Little things, but special things : ) Thanks for sharing this!!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Wow, what a twist on Facebook. What a fantastic idea; to scroll through FB on a “joy hunt.” I am going to have to try that one. Seeing the airport reunions sounds fabulous. Your post encouraged me to go on a “joy hunt” today. Thank you—- Blessings, Maree

  9. Reply


    Thanks Maree Dee-You know I love a great joy post and this hit it home! I love embracing the unexpected and enjoying moments of time, too. It’s also a work in progress to me as I will typically “use my time wisely” in terms of productivity too. But oh, those moments of being fully present are so needed and precious when we remember to take them. Thanks for the reminder to embrace ALL our moments!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Jill – I agree those moments when we are fully present are precious. Right at this moment, I am being pulled between productivity and an unexpectedly beautiful place we are staying at as we travel home. I had planned to crank out some work but St. George is gorgeous, and the red rocks are calling my name. Thank you for sharing my post. Blessings, Maree

  10. Reply


    I agree, it’s really good sometimes to slow down and notice what’s around us, to put aside the things we have to get done and just embrace the moment. I find people-watching really interesting and fun!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Lesley, We have something in common. I too love to watch people. It is fun to see what makes them smile. Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  11. Reply

    Sue @ mamaofthreeboys

    Close it all down and enjoy the moment!! I will I will I will!! Honestly I think I’m going to do that after I type in this comment 🙂 God bless you sis, you have a lovely blog here!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sue – I hope you were able to close it all down and enjoy the moment. Your comment made me smile and want to do the same. THank you for your sweet comment. Maree

  12. Reply


    Awe, love this, Maree. I’m an observer, a people-watcher. Love your beautiful recognition of the joy that’s around us when we stop to take notice of it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 ((hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – I love to people watch too but somewhere along the way I quit watching and started being busy. I missed so much joy that was all around me. Joy is so contagious – I’m back in search of it in other people. Maree

  13. Reply


    Visiting from Live Free Thursday. This post totally resonates with me. And, yes, striving in my own efforts to be productive does rob me of joy. I’m the type-A personality and like to “get er done” and check things off my list. But it keeps me from enjoying the moment and the process of the project and the details the Lord wants me to see! Thanks for this perspective, Maree. Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad this resonated with you. It sounds like we have a few things in common. I love checking things off my list and getting things done, but like you, I do miss things along the way. Thank you for stopping by.

  14. Reply

    Aimee Kollmansberger

    Visiting from Heart Encouragement…this is a fantastic story. I love it when I take the time to be a *noticer*…to look up and around and see + engage with the world. So much joy and beauty and grace to take in if we pause to be!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Aimee – Thank you for stopping by! Yes, if only we pause. You are so right there is so much to take in. I just took a week to pause, and it was amazing. Blessings, Maree

  15. Reply


    Thank you for sharing your stories. They are heart felt and mean so much to me. I often talk to the clerks in stores just to say “how is your day” They are often overlooked as we hurry to get where we need to be. God has been speaking to me lately especially when I walk into church to say, You don’t always know what is going on with the person next to you. It isn’t always about me. Give them a smile they might need it.
    We are too caught up in our electronics and fail to see the love and laughter around us. Let’s pray that we can be better stewards with what God has taught us and leave the electronics in our purses.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, I totally agree. It seems like so much of the time I feel so rushed to get somewhere I am not even aware of who is around me. I think I need to add more cushion time to enjoy those around me. I know I am missing out. I love the reminder about the clerks in the store. I am going to work on just that one potential interaction this week.

  16. Reply


    I loved your outlook and was so glad to hear you were able to unplug.

    I will never forget my encounter at my local market. I am usually a very friendly person. I usually always have a smile on my face, say hello to strangers, and will engage in casual conversations with random people. On this specific day I remember it so clearly. I had a lot to do hat day. I had my list on my phone of what I needed. I was checking Pinterest to get all the ingredients I needed. When I got to the checkout line I noticed every single person was on their phones in line. (Now I’m no saint, I have definitely been that person, returning an email for work, texting, or just checking Instagram) but on this day I left my phone in my purse and flipped through some magazines. I watched as everyone before me quickly got their stuff, paid and left. I noticed the cashier seemed a little down. I smiled and greeted her and asked her how her day had been going. She responded with, ” you know I’ve been working here all day and you are the very first person to ask me that”. I was a little shocked by that, but continued our conversation. She went on to tell me that she had been having financial problems, problems with her marriage, issues with her daughter and that life for her just stunk at that moment. I genuinely listened to her as she went on. I remember looking at the people behind me and they kind of made that look like, hurry it up. As I was finishing my purchase she finished by saying, ” you have no idea how much you turned my day around, your smile makes me want to smile, and yo showed you cared about me and that meant a lot”.

    I remember getting in my car and driving home and putting all the groceries away and I couldn’t help but think about this encounter. I was reminded on this day that everyone has a story and we don’t know what is going on in someone’s life. Could I have gotten a few emails out while she rang up my stuff? Sure could have but instead I was able to make someone’s day just by having a five minute conversation and smiling. So many times I’m tempted to whip my phone out to send a text, email, check Facebook. My time is way better spent engaging in the moment and making human connections.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I love your story, thank you for sharing. A lesson we can all learn. I am so guilty of having my phone out too much. I am going to try and be more cognizant of my phone usage. How sad that people work in jobs where they are serving us and we can barely say hello.

  17. Reply


    Thanks for sharing that terrific story, Maree! I can absolutely relate…and sometimes find myself in similar situations, making up stories about the people around me! When I can stay around long enough to see more and find out what’s actually going on, I feel like I actually know these perfect strangers and actually celebrate with them in their joy!

    I also want to share that I decided to volunteer in childcare for MOPS at our church today, even though my heart has been aching for my own little grandson who lives far away. Even though I initially had reservations because I thought the experience might cause me to feel even more sad and cause me to miss my grandson even more, I felt so much joy during my time there and realized these little “cruisers” are someone else’s grandchildren… and they are counting on someone like me to be there in their absence!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      That is wonderful you decided to volunteer at MOPS. What a blessing you will be. That has to be so difficult to be away from your grandson. I hope you find receive an overflow of joy from the little ones.

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