Joy is a Portland-based illustrator and calligrapher who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband James, their three year old son and a soon-to-be daughter. As a woman who puts loving thought into everything, her home, her family and her craft have a quiet intentionality that exudes something resembling true peace. We spoke with Joy about how having a family has helped her embrace every big and small moment and (believe it or not!) sleep in more.
Hello! First off, tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately.
I'm used to introducing myself as an illustrator and calligrapher, but I've been so consumed with motherhood that it seems a bit irrelevant to mention a career title right now. To be quite honest, I haven't been up to much lately—my mind and body have totally hit a wall in my third trimester (I'm currently pregnant with my second child, a baby girl!) and it's been difficult to perform basic daily tasks. My daily activity mostly consists of nurturing myself and my family, which is an incredible amount of work with my limitations at the moment. Even so, I'm truly thankful that this is my current lot and recognize the privilege it is to have these be my main concerns in life.
How have mornings changed for you since having a son?
My husband and I have less guilt about staying in bed for longer because mornings are such a sacred time for the three of us (or should I say four? She takes up a lot of room nowadays). We use the mornings to cuddle and enjoy each other before the busy day begins. The conversations and the physical affection we get to experience in this time never feels like a waste.
What is your favorite morning ritual?
A cup of fresh brewed coffee and prayer.
Do you find yourself more open to creativity and inspiration in the mornings or the evenings?
Mornings. By the evenings I'm only inspired to go to sleep!
Have you created any morning rituals for (little!) James? If so, how has he responded to them/benefitted from them?
(Little) James isn't as much of an early riser like most children his age. But if he does happen to get up early, he knows to come out of his room and quietly climb into bed with us while we are still waking up. Once we get our cuddles out, we always have a full sit-down breakfast together. Every other meal in our family is difficult to have together, so our breakfast ritual is very special. While I make breakfast, James and my husband play together 1-1. I think starting the day with this intentional time spent helps all of us feel like we are able to go about our days focusing on accomplishing what needs to be done.
After breakfast, James helps me in the kitchen. He loves putting away our cutlery and rinsing dirty dishes. I have always been conscious of wanting to make daily chores part of my child(ren)'s natural rhythm. I hope they will see their daily task simply as a part of life. Maybe James is just at the right age, but so far it seems like that has been accomplished! He really enjoys the satisfaction of being a good helper.
The coolest place I’ve ever woken up in is:
Tuscany - I dream about going back to Italy all the time and living in the countryside. Or this tiny cabin right on Lake Quinault in Washington has definitely inspired me to one day own a house by water.
The best cup of coffee is at:
Paddler's Coffee in Tokyo on a hot summer day (you must get their iced latte).
A thing about mornings I’ll never get sick of is:
Waking up to my husband's face. I know that sounds so incredibly sappy, but after 5 years of marriage, I still find myself surprised and delighted that he is the face I get to wake up to.
Photos by James Fitzgerald III