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hello my joyful friends,

It has been too long. I have faced some challenges the past few weeks that have had me, well, occupied. I am tempted to fall back on platitudes like, “Life is difficult”, from one of my all-time favorite books, The Road Less Traveled

Life is hard.  You never know what lies around the corner. I have learned that there is one thing you can count on. Change. Change is inevitable.  Which, is a comfort now that I understand it.  If I am feeling sad, that will change. For sure!  And, when I am happy, I know that will change too.  The lesson?  Go with the flow?

For the past 30 years or so, I’ve been on a path.  It wasn’t a bad path, it just wasn’t my path. The path was chosen for me. I was led down the path by someone who seemed to care about me, but didn’t listen to me.  They talked so loud they couldn’t hear me and rarely asked me what I wanted.  Or, after a time, I didn’t even know what I wanted.  I was already on the path that was expected. I figured it was the right path.  But now I understand it wasn’t my path.

I am on a different path now. I chose this path. I am being led down this path by a power greater than myself.   I’m not sure where the path goes so it’s a little scary.  For the first time in my life I am on my own.  But, I have support.  I have two beautiful children who have grown into beautiful people and love me, a sister who is always there for me, a community of women who support me, and friends who care very much.  I also have a strong belief in my God.  So, whatever adventures lie ahead, I’m ready. 

This is a big change. And for someone like me who has resisted change at every turn, it feels like a new way of life.  To have faith that whatever happens was meant to be.  To understand that I am right where I’m supposed to be.  So, instead of wrestling with life, trying to make it go my way, I surrender.  I trust. 

I deserve to be happy.  I deserve the love I’ve been trying to give everyone else.  I am enough. 

Until we meet again,


Faith: unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence; trust, conviction, reliance, surrender

Surrender: to yield to the power; give in, abandon, cede

tidy up…again?

hello joyful friends,

I had planned for this to be my first post of the new year, but it got…complicated.  I have tried to make it more concise, to avoid the inevitable tangents that I am prone to.  And, it still is a new year, with a new president, and a new, you?!  At the beginning of 2019 a friend turned me on to a television show called Tidying Up.  It’s a series on Netflix that hints about how the out-of-control mess (dirty clothes, unorganized closets) in our lives may be  symbolic.  It might be a sign that our lives are in disarray.  That perhaps in addition to cleaning up our closet, that a review of our current life situation might be in order.

I decided to give it a try (cleaning out my closet) and well, it changed my life.  I briefly wrote about this in a previous post.  The beginning of 2019 was also when my back started to give me trouble, my relationship with my mom was giving me trouble, and more.  Fast forward to the end of 2020 where the election of a president was in the balance, a global pandemic had taken over our lives, and my back troubles were determined to be chronic.  I was also trying to figure out how I fit in my family, my workplace, in my now adults kids lives.  No, I haven’t figured it all out but I am more open to change. 

Change – verb: to make different, alter, modify.  Replace something with something else. 

And, I did, replace one thing, my trying to change someone, into me trying new things like baking, arranging flowers, and shopping at thrift stores.  Being a compulsive, some would call obsessive person, I do everything obsessively.  I bake almost every day.  I buy flowers almost every day.  And my latest obsession…uncovering great “finds” at thrift stores has led me back to square one. 

This is actually my son’s room, not a stunt double or a google pic!

I need to rethink things, again.  My house is overflowing with stuff.  My poor son came home from college to find his room filled with my “finds”.  Marie Kondo taught me to hold an article of clothing in my hand and ask myself, “does this thing” (shirt, pair of pants, painting, small dresser – yikes!) spark joy for me? 

So, how do I get started?  So much disarray. My therapist says it’s my attempt to stay busy, to keep my mind off the mom relationship that was so important to me, to keep my mind occupied instead of worrying about the future.  So, how to get the spending, the wanting, the obsessing under control?  A new years resolution you say??!!  Well, you know what’s next, at least I think you do.

Resolution – noun: a firm decision to do or not to do something. 

Am I ready to make a firm decision?  My intention is to: (see how I artfully avoid the word “try”?)

Live within my means. Live within the moment. Live with what I have. Live with peace. Live with acceptance. Live with joy. Live with an open mind. Live with a willing heart.

My intention is to live with and be with people I care about. Be with people who care about me.  My daughter always teased me when I was in my dark period saying, “you aren’t going to meet anyone sitting on this couch!”  Then she started saying, “you aren’t going to meet anyone in a thrift store!”  She was wrong!  Believe it or not, I met the nicest guy, let’s call him E, at a thrift store.  E seems like a sweet man.  He reads my blog, and well, after this pandemic thing clears up, we might even have a meal together.  Stay tuned my joyful friends!  More will be revealed!

Until we meet again!


just joy.

hello my joyful friends,

Happy new year to you all!  I have already written a post for this first of the new year, but am doing a take two.  The first draft was too…scattered. The tangent still looms large in my writing. So, this year I will focus!

After January has past and the review of the previous year; the best songs, the best TV shows, the best food trends, etc., have faded, after the resolutions have been attempted and forgotten, what is left? 

A gift. A new year.  Yes, an opportunity for a fresh start.  What do I want for the new year?  Joy!  Joy, of course! More joy for myself, more joy for my friends, more joy for my family, more joy for friends I have yet to know.  (Talking to you E!)

joy:  a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Joy is almost impossible to define, but you know it when you feel it.  It is brief.  It doesn’t come with a hangover like great pleasure or a vacation.  It does not go up and down like our moods.  Joy can surprise you at any time, anywhere. Joy is free.  Free to enjoy, (no pun intended!) free to give. Seems like joy, the word at least, was everywhere this year! Time magazine was feeling the joy. All Recipes featured joy on their cover, and even Martha was joyful this year!

Of course, I was feeling the joy! Boy o boy, was I feeling the joy!

And, what I learned last year is how easy it is to spark joy in others.  And, what I learned last year is how rewarding it is to spark joy in others.  I now know the warm feeling that comes over me when I hand a homeless person outside the grocery store holding up a sign “need money” a $20 bill, and a bag of snacks with a blanket and a warm pair of socks inside.  When he takes the money, then peeks inside the bag and says, “Oh, thank you! You made my night!”  True story and I have been thinking about it for two weeks now. 

That is what I want.  Just joy!

So, my joyful friends, my challenge for you this new year is to give it a try.  You don’t need a $20 bill, or a homeless person or a blanket. You only need another person and a kind word, a helping hand, a smile. 

I know you are all busy.  We don’t have enough time these days.  And, what has really suffered is kindness.  No time to be kind to each other because every second of our rushed day counts, right.  Shave off a few seconds by rushing out of the line at the grocery store to, well, do what?  To get home and rush through cooking dinner to rush to baseball practice, to rush home and…well, you get the idea.  And, when we fall in bed at night after rushing through our day, and stress about falling asleep fast to get up and do it again, it is too late. Too late to be kind to the cashier, too late to say thank you or I’m sorry.  Too late to hug your kid and tell them you love them. You don’t get that day back.  There are no do-overs in this life. 

But, there is tomorrow.  Each day is a new day. Each new day is an opportunity to do something different. To try something new.  You can spark joy right now!  Yes, do it!  Turn to the person next to you and say “Hi, good to see you!”  Text a friend and say, “Hey, just thinking about you!”  Pick up the phone, call your sister and say “Have a great day!”

You, my friend, have just sparked a little joy!  How do you feel!?

Until we meet again!



epic: particularly impressive or remarkable.

hello my joyful friends,

Today was epic. This election cycle I became involved in politics for the first time in my life. During the democratic primary I supported Pete Buttigieg. I supported Pete’s run by donating my time and money. At “visibility events” I stood on busy street corners encouraging commuters to honk their horns for Pete. I baked muffins for the volunteers who joined me those mornings back in the spring of this year. I called potential voters, I texted potential voters, I sent letters. Volunteering for Pete gave me a feeling of pride, of being part of, of making a difference. Yes, I felt like I made a difference. The people I met, “Team Pete” were some of the most dedicated, honest, positive people I’ve ever met. Pete will be part of the Biden-Harris team!

In an earlier post I was pretty tough on young voters. Turns out that young people, especially young people of color, substantially shaped the outcome of this election. My son and daughter, 21 and 20, cast two of those votes.

Joe was not my first choice, nor my second. Immediately after the democrats nominated Joe Biden, Team Pete gathered for a photo shoot. The signs we held said “United for Biden”. Pete’s “rules of the road” are a set of values that guided Team Pete as we supported him.

Joy was one of those values. I am joyful today. I am full of hope for tomorrow. I know that change is hard. Change comes slowly. My expectations are in check. I am proud to be an American today as corny as that sounds.

I am proud of our youth, my two especially. When people tell me that their vote doesn’t matter, I tell them that if every person who said that voted, it would matter!

until we meet again,


Cleaning house.

Hello my joyful friends,

Quite the cliff hanger last week, huh?

I mean, was it really that serious?  What was so wrong with trying to “help” someone change for the better.  I guess that  all depends on whose “better” we are talking about.  And, what did all of this have to do with my back anyway?  More on that in a bit.  All I knew then was I needed to stop trying to change my Mother.  I was 57 years old at the time for goodness sake.  She was my Mother, the good, the bad, and all the things in the middle.  She once told me that people are like presents, some have pretty bows and paper, but all of us eventually end up a little ripped and torn.  It was time for me to let her be.  To let her be who she was.  But, quitting a bad habit isn’t easy.  She had helped me “quit” by asking me to leave her alone.  But how was I going to “stay quit?”

Sort of by accident, I got busy, really busy.  With alcoholics, many have what they call a pink cloud when they first quit drinking, a period of time when everything in the world is beautiful, when they are happy, and seemingly without a care.  I suddenly felt that. I felt a surge of energy.  I used to come home after work and turn on Netflix for four hours then go to bed. 

Coincidentally, (I don’t believe in coincidences by the way) I had watched a series that stars a young Japanese woman who helps families get their homes, and in turn, their lives, in order. The timing was perfect. With all that energy I cleaned my house.  I mean, really cleaned.  I “tidied up” my bedroom closet, then my other closet, then my dresser, you get the picture.  The philosophy was simple. If a piece of clothing, didn’t “spark joy”, I thanked it for serving me well, then got rid of it.  I am ashamed to admit that I had a drawer that contained, and I am not kidding, 92 camisole tops.  Yes, 92!  A rainbow of silly little tops that I picked up at one store after another, $3 bucks, such a deal.  Now, that’s insanity.  I only had one house, and let me tell you, it was clean like it never had been before.  I was in it to win it! 

Something about cleaning house, about understanding what sparked joy for me and what didn’t. It had a huge impact on my life, my beliefs, how I was, in the world. But, what now? 


Spark: to set off in a burst of activity