Joy


by Elizabeth Laing Thompson

The joy is in the trying, the hoping, the crying;
The joy is in the wanting, the wishing, the hunting;
The joy is in the dreaming, the planning, the scheming;
The joy is in the yearning, the aching, the burning;
The joy is in the striving, the longing, the sighing;

The joy is in the training, the sweating, the straining;
The joy is in the chasing, the sprinting, the racing;
The joy is in the drafting, the building, the crafting;
The joy is in the writing, the plotting, revising;
The joy is in the baiting, the watching, the waiting;

The joy is in the noble-questing, never-resting, go-out-westing;
The joy is in the white-whale-chasing, windmill-killing, true-love-saving;
The joy is in the risk-taking, heart-breaking, hope-waking;
The joy is in the nerve-wracking, hand-wringing, head-scratching;
The joy is in the star-seeking, moon-shooting, far-reaching;

The joy is in the goal-setting, soul-stretching,
almost-getting—

‘Cause when at last we grasp
that wished-for, longed-for, long-sought prize,
we pause, and smile, and sigh—
and look around, a wistful eager gleam sparking in our eyes,
scanning the horizon for the next
mountain to scale, dragon to slay, heart to capture—
and with eyes twinkling, heart thrilling, joy swelling,
we turn and clap our hands and say,
“What’s next?”

The joy is in the trying, the hoping, the crying…


Words that Are Fun to Say


As a word lover, I take delight in rolling words around in my brain and off my tongue, the way they feel coming together, the way the consonants and vowels and diphthongs (think “ai” and “ei” and “oi”) all work together to make sounds, almost like music. And as a mother of three small, lisping children, I love watching them get tongue-tied as they learn new words and sounds. My two-year-old’s favorite word this week is “delicious.” Suddenly everything she eats is “dewishous.” My four- and five-year-old are obsessed with Fozzie Bear’s favorite saying: “Wacka wacka wacka”—it’s always good for a laugh at our house.

But some words are just fun to say, no matter how old you are… Here are some of my favorites, in the most random order possible, so as not to hurt any of the words’ feelings:

squish
squash
quash
squander
squiggle
sasquatch
(As you can see, any word with “sh” or “squ” in it is pretty much a guaranteed winner.)
wiggle
wriggle
bumble bee
tumbleweed
scrumptious
delectable
smorgasbord (I credit my love for this word to Ben Stiller, and a random favorite movie line, from “Meet the Parents”: “O dear God… we thank you sweet sweet Lord of hosts for this smorgasbord you have so aptly lain at our table this day, and each day… by day. Day by day… by day.”)
ginormous (Yep, it’s made the dictionary now.)
onomatopoeia
serendipitous
felicity
abominable (As in, the Abominable Snowman. Or, if you are my sister Alexandra, you might call him the Abdominal Snowman. No comment.)
ogle
Yiddish (Also, all Yiddish words are fun to say, now that I think about it.)
nebulous
lugubrious
narcissistic
Weeki Wachi (I swear, it’s a real place: Weeki Wachi Springs, in Florida. Google it. Apparently, they have mermaids there. Actually, I could go on and on about all the fun Native American names that pop up on the US map, especially in Florida and Georgia… Hiawassee, Okahumpka, Saskatchewan… the list is endless. But since these aren’t technically English words, we’ll move on. Sadly.)
reptilian
Volkswagen (Okay, so this one isn’t English either, but… well, whatever. My list, my rules.)
All the omni-words are fun:
omnivorous
omnipresent
omniscient
amnesiac
hypochondriac
ophthalmologist (Who knew it was spelled like this, right?!)
amalgam
ubiquitous
wallop
dollop
Yoo-hoo (The Southern variant, Yee-haw, is an instant pick-me-up. Try it. You’ll like it.)
y’all (Another beautiful Southern word, which I like because of its gender neutrality. It frees us from the ever-present Northern dilemma of calling everyone “you guys.” Tsk tsk.)
voyeur
Bunko
hunker
hanker (“I hanker for a hunk of cheese”… anybody else remember that song?)
handkerchief
scintilla
flicker
firefly
quaint
decaf grande nonfat no-whip mocha (That would be my drink at Starbucks. Just saying it makes me happy.)
sasparilla
cinnamon
sassafrass
spaghetti (I am happy to report that my children do, in fact, call it “bisketti.”)
gnocchi (How you get “nyo-kee” out of gnocchi is a mystery to me, but it is infinitely entertaining.)
snot, booger, and related bodily-function-type words, which are fun to say for gross reasons. What can I say? I think a 12-year-old boy lives inside me somewhere. (Although snot and booger do have a certain ring to them.)
shish kebab
shenanza* (*Not a real word. Unless you are my brother David, trying to invent a word that means both extravaganza and shindig, while speaking in front of hundreds of people.)
chuggle* (*Also not a real word. Unless you are my Dad, trying to say chug and jiggle or juggle, or something along those lines.)
Grandolorious! Fantabulous!* (*Also not real words. Unless you are Alexis Weymouth, Crystal Waters’ spunky best friend, who likes to combine adjectives to make them more glamorous.)
The Thirteenth Summer is the best book ever. (Wait, did I actually just write that? That’s a sentence, not a word. Silly me.)

Feel free to add some of your favorite words… this list could go on and on and on… and that in itself is a testament to the beauty of words.