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How to find Joy when you run out

When I went to hand-wash my dishes, all three bottles of Joy dishwasher liquid were empty. There was no joy in my house. I had run out of Joy to wash my dishes; I had run out of joy to smile.

My friend’s name is Joy. Several years ago I promised to pray for her and her son Andrew, who has down-syndrome, every time I washed my dishes. My dishes needed to be cleaned, and I needed to pray for my friends.

How to find Joy when you run out

If you are talking about Joy dish soap, buy another bottle of soap when you run out. It is on the bottom shelf in the dish soap aisle; aisle seven in my grocery store.

How to find joy when you run out

If you are talking about feeling joy, and not washing your dishes, think of one thing you are thankful for.

Just one thing.

Some days all I am thankful for is that William Mallow invented clumping cat litter. (We have six cats and seven litter boxes.)

According to dictionary.com, joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. 

Joy is caused by something. 

What if we could control how we felt? What if we could create the emotion of great delight or happiness by how we think and act?

What gave you delight when you were a child? Playing? Reading a book? Taking a nap? Dreaming?

Play. Read. Sleep. Dream.

Do something kind for someone else.


Write a letter and tell someone how they helped you.

Puppies ?

I read an article on-line that suggested you get a puppy to find joy. ( I think a cat would be better.)

Puppies and cats bring joy but they also poop and eat food and scratch and are loud.

You don’t have to buy something to find joy.

You don’t have to play or read or sleep or dream or do something kind for someone else, or exercise or write a letter to find joy. They might help.

But, the main thing to find joy, to feel delight or happiness, is to be kind. Be kind to yourself.

You are enough.

If you don’t want to feel joy, let me give you some suggestions how to never find joy. I follow these suggestions more often than I am grateful. A daily crabby lady.

How to never find joy

1. Compare.
2. Think about all the mistakes you made in the past.
3. Stay up really late.
4. Eat crappy food so your body and brain don’t get fed.
5. Never be grateful for anything.
6. Never say thank you.
7. Gossip about all your friends.

“Comparison is the death of joy.”
― Mark Twain
8. Think negative thoughts all the time.
9. Never learn anything new.
10. Never exercise.
11. Whine.
12. Dwell on everything negative that was ever said to you.
13. Never forgive. Hold a grudge.
14. Grimace at your face in the mirror.
15. Don’t floss your teeth.
16. Fill in the blank.

I hope you find joy today. I hope you are kind to yourself. May you have enough soap to wash your dishes and enough joy to help you smile.


If you would like me to pray for you when I wash my dishes, put your name in the comments, or email me, [email protected]  Sometimes you will get prayed for three times a day, or once a day, and sometimes it might be every other day, or once a week. Sometimes my kitchen is clean, and sometimes I am writing or painting and don’t wash dishes until every plate in the house is dirty.

p.p.s. My friend is giving away a book, 7 Secrets to Winning in Self-Publishing in 2017 for a limited time. She can help you self-publish your book.

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About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Jaya Mork

    PH, i could certainly use some of your light and sparkly energy my way these hard days. xoxoxo

  • Berdeane Bodley

    thank you for your kindness Em. xo

  • Love this and you! Thank you for being you. I’d love some prayers! More joy. No more pitty party for me today.

    • Hello Brianna,
      I will write your name on the wall by the kitchen sink with chalk. Lots of prayers for you today, by sink is full of dishes. Lots of joy, no pity party.
      Hugs and much love to send you.

  • EmFairley

    Pamela, you and yours are always in my prayers. A current source of joy for me is seeing my epic first draft gradually reduce in size as I cull the unnecessary words. My school baseball team’s 6 game unbeaten streak is also a source of joy. The guys basketball team not so much. They aren’t known among fans as the “Cardiac Kids” for nothing. Grin. It’s their Senior Night tonight, so while I’ll celebrate with them, there will and already has been tears for the 5 guys who will be leaving.

    Em xoxo

    • Hello EmFairley,
      So nice to hear from you as always. Well, I want to think you for praying, but every time I thank you, you say I don’t have to thank you. (smile) So I will just say, how much I appreciate you, and I do.
      Such good news about the shrinking size of your first draft. Did you work on it this weekend?
      Sending you hugs and a basket full of joy.

      • EmFairley

        I very much appreciate you too. Grin. Nope, I didn’t work on it this weekend, but am about to get back to it now.
        Em xoxox

  • Marisa

    I’d like to be on your dishwashing prayer list. Perhaps I can also return the favour. We don’t have ‘Joy’ here in Australia as far as I know so you’ll have to make do with being prayed for over ‘Morning Fresh’ or ‘Shine’. 😉 I’ll remember to think of you and to think of gratitude, and to giggle over funny silly things.

    • Hello Marisa,
      You are on my dishwasher prayer list. (smile)I think I will write everyone’s name on the kitchen wall with chalk. I love the idea of being prayed over with Morning Fresh or Shine. I hope you are well today. I will post a photograph of my sink this morning after I walk the dog.
      Hugs to you, and a giggle

  • La McCoy

    Well said. Yes Pray for me and us as I pray for you. Love to you and prayers.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    I woke this morning to find the elastic on my fitted sheet had given up the ghost, and it took me all morning to remove the old elastic from the sheet. Then my dear friend took a piece of the elastic with her when she went to the store & bought me some more. When she returned she had a pot of “daffodils” for me. What joy she brought to me!! I see my surgeon on Monday to hopefully find I will again be able to return to my early morning walks. I usually do well over 15000 steps every day. helps to keep the mind clear too. xo

    • La McCoy

      How beautiful

    • EmFairley

      Praying for positive news for you, Berdeane xoxo

    • Hi Mom,
      I am thankful you have a kind friend to bring you flowers. Hopefully you will have good news from your surgeon today.
      Love your daughter who loves her mother

  • Susan W A

    Thank you, Pamela. Your insight always inspires reflection. You’ve demonstrated how important it is to reflect on who we are, including shortcomings, and to use that acknowledgement to inform our path to learning and growing.

    My joy today was doing something kind for someone. On our way to school, my son and I noticed two students from his high school at the side of the road, examining their bikes. I asked, “Should we ask if they need a ride?”, which my son eagerly did as I pulled to the side of the road. They came to our car, and eagerly accepted our offer. When he saw his friend was settled, the other boy continued his ride to school. I found joy in the fact that I had cleaned out the back of our SUV and could easily put down the back seats to fit in the bike. The boy, Lucas, was thankful to be able to get to school on time, with joy rather than anxiety in his heart.

    Pamela … in response to your post about exercise … a couple random thoughts.
    – I’m lucky that my husband and I both enjoy exercising, but I totally get why some people don’t, and I, more often than I care to, find lots of tasks to distract me from doing exercise each morning.
    – One morning I was in an exercise class. I had gone with every intention of putting my full effort into it and benefiting from the sweat. I found myself only putting in half an effort, though, and started to feel discouraged. Then a thought popped into my mind, and it has become a favorite saying of mine … “Resistance invites persistence”, and I doubled my efforts for the rest of the class.
    – When my son was young and we’d be going to the park play, I would intentionally use the word “exercise” .. “Let’s go exercise!!” so he would have a positive connection between the word exercise and play.
    That’s something else you can try .. substitute the word “exercise” with something else. You may not love exercise, but from what I see you accomplish, I know you like to be active! And exercise is not an all or nothing proposition. We can certainly give ourselves credit for whatever steps we take (literally and figuratively) towards a healthier lifestyle.

    All my best to you, Pamela. You definitely bring JOY to my life.

    • Hello Susan,
      So nice to hear from you and to hear your story about helping your son’s friend. Joy from helping someone.
      Thank you for your thoughts on exercise. It sounds like a matter of perspective. So maybe now I will tell myself I am going to play. 🙂 I have been to the gym, I love swimming in the heated pool. In a few minutes I am going on a long walk with the dog, and then a yoga class.
      I hope you are well, and may you bring joy to all who you meet today with your smile.
      Lots of love,
      Your kind comments and your friendship bring me joy

  • Robn Patrick

    God must be working on me concerning joy. I’v had discussions about it, read articles about it, had my therapist teach me how to initiate it, etc. And here Pamela Hodges wrote about it too. Love the list you included. Sometimes comparison is good, if it teaches for instance, but never for worth.
    One thing that I have used for comparison is a vlog I somehow stumbled into called The Frey Life. It features a real couple, young and vibrant, living and laughing and dealing with Cystic Fibrosis. Yep, that’s the catch. They married knowing she would not live a long life. They married knowing that the disease would be prominent in their life each and every day. But talk about living with joy, these two have abundant joy.
    So recently I’ve had discussions about joy, heard sermons about joy, read articles about it, watched Mary and Peter Frey live it, and now I’ve read my friends post on joy. All of which has given me encouragement to do the things I can do to allow joy to be a part of my life. Thank you Pamela.

    • Susan W A

      love serendipity! How cool that you are open to those messages that tell us there is something we can learn.

      Thanks for sharing the Frey’s story.

    • Hello Robin,
      Your friendship bring me joy. Thank you for sharing how you have been searching for joy. I will pray for you when I wash my dishes. What kind of dish soap do you wash your dishes with?
      I will read The Frey Life. Having joy when there is sorrow must be a choice. A choice to embrace life while we are breathing.
      Sending you hugs and much love.