Merriam Webster dictionary defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” To me, this is a superficial definition of what joy truly means. Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft’s definition is spot on, “Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self.”

Thanks to the gift of growing up in a loving family, I have experienced the true meaning of joy. My mom taught me that when we willingly surrender our lives to God, lasting joy follows. She said, “When God abides in us, we experience real joy.” This is the joy which I have sought my entire life and which I have tried to teach my children. The following blog posts capture examples of real joy – most of which involved my beloved mother Joan Mary. She was a woman who kept God at the center of her life thus joy and peace were her daily companions.