Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I have to admit that I don't understand why some normally reasonable people have such an issue with gay marriage.  I am a woman who believes in marriage.  I have been married 39 years and am very proud of the loving relationship that my husband and I have.  Most people I talk to believe that marriage is a wonderful way to show a commitment to love and care for each other through the good and the bad.  So, why isn't this a good thing for everyone?  Why should it matter who your partner is?

I don't usually write in my blog about political issues, but this is one that is very important to me; and I am very puzzled about the attitudes of those portrayed in the commercials we are seeing on TV.  I wonder how they developed the opinion that gay marriage is so wrong.  I can only believe that they are ignorant and have never been blessed with experiences that would change these intolerant views.  I have many friends and family who are in the GLBT community. I have seen the love that they have for one another.  The commitment that they have for their partners is exemplary.  While I believe that I am a tolerant, accepting person to begin with, I know that my friendships with these wonderful friends have helped me understand the issues that they face in our society.

Not too long ago, I backed a film on Kickstarter called Bridegroom: An American Love Story.  This documentary tells the story of a gay couple and the terrible saga of what happened to the surviving member when one died.  He was denied so many rights that would have been afforded if gay marriage had been recognized.  It is a compelling story that explains why gay marriage must be embraced by our society.  I encourage all of you to view their story.  So many are not allowed to support their partners through illness and their children's welfare is often put at risk.  This is a true tragedy.  

I cannot imagine how I would have survived some of the things in my life if my husband did not have the legal rights afforded to him through marriage.  I shudder to think of what this would have done to our children if he hadn't had the rights to support, care for, and guide them under the law as a parent.  Who are we to deny these rights to others?

We are America!  Our country has been built on accepting those who are different from us.  It is true that we have had to fight for it at times.  Many immigrants from different countries and cultures have learned how to get along.  Those of us who are my age remember the Civil Rights struggles and the fight to overturn laws against interracial marriage.  We are a proud country and have to continue the fight to ensure that ALL people have the same rights.  The right to marry the person you love is a right-not a privilege.  We cannot deny this right to anyone!  So join the fight, and vote No on the amendment next week. Embrace the joy of tolerance, acceptance, and human compassion.

Have you found your joy today?

Monday, October 15, 2012


I haven't written in quite a long time.  I think that there are many reasons for this.  For one thing, I have been working on getting healthier by losing weight, and now I am attempting to exercise more.  The weight loss is going well because I recently had vertical sleeve surgery.  It has taken all of my time and effort to make sure I am eating correctly and recovering from the surgery.  I now have more energy, my knees don't hurt when I go up and down the stairs, and I am a bit more active.  However, I need to start walking every day.  In fact, I really need to get the boxes off of the treadmill!

I've also been distracted by the political circus.  I hope that all of you are going to vote.  It's purely your choice which candidate you choose or how you might vote on local races and issues.  However, I do believe that voting is an important right that we need to exercise as citizens of this wonderful country we live in.

No matter which way you lean-right or left, conservative or liberal, republican or democrat: are you as tired as I am of all of the ads and commentary about the elections?  It seems like election season goes on forever! It is everywhere!

I also have noticed that many people have lost their sense of humor.  Luckily, I can still laugh when comics and talk-show hosts make fun of my favorite candidate or when friends forward Facebook entries making fun of my choice.  While I may not agree with the message, I still have an appreciation for the cleverness and humor that went into the message.  Why do we lose our sense of humor during this time?

I know that these are very important issues.  However, what happens to us that we can't step outside of our beliefs to understand the opposition's point of view?  I respect a person's right to believe differently than I do.  I forward Facebook entries that promote my viewpoint, but I don't expect that this will change what someone believes.  I do think that it is important that I stand up for what I believe, but I am retaining my sense of humor.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the election season to be over!  In the meantime, I will watch the debates, listen to the facts, and laugh at the jokes about all of the candidates.  At least, I can find some joy in our ability to make our voices heard through our votes.  Perhaps the laughter will help me get through this seemingly endless time before November 6th.  See you at the polls!

Have you found your joy today?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confessions of an Olympic Junkie

You may have noticed that I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  There is a very good reason for that.  I am truly an Olympic Junkie!  It all started in 1976 when I discovered a love for the Olympics in general and Dorothy Hamill in particular.  Dorothy Hamill won gold in women's figure skating that year.  I fell in love with her charm and with the sport that she introduced to us.  I was hooked!  Better yet: I'm now retired and have time to watch to my hearts content.  As a result, I was glued to the Olympics for the full 2 weeks-on TV and using the apps on my iPhone.

I love all sports in the Olympics!  It is a great opportunity to learn about new sports.  At the very least, I am awed by the dedicated young athletes who have given up years of their lives to train for these events.  Unlike many others, I enjoy the human side of the games and hearing about the lives of each athlete.  I cry with the parents of the athletes as I share their pride in their children and the agony of their children's disappointment when they do not do as well as they had hoped.  It is a snapshot of every parent's experience with their children.
Gabby Douglas's Mom

While I do not have a single athletic bone in my body, I have a tremendous appreciation for the physical accomplishments of all Olympians.  Both of my brothers were in track when in high school and college, so I attended many track meets in my life.  These experiences helped educate me in the work that goes into their training, psyche, and performance.

I certainly had some favorites in these Olympics.  I have been a fan of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings for several years and thoroughly enjoyed watching Beach Volleyball-both men's and women's events.  I was so happy to see them win gold for the third time.

I loved watching the triumphs, spirit, and joy of the Women's Gymnastics Team.  Their ability to put aside personal disappointments to achieve the gold medal was inspiring.  It was also affirming to see their pride and joy in the accomplishments of Gabby Douglas when she won the Women's All Around gold medal.  Thoughts of young girls who were watching her and seeing her as a role model were ever present as I watched these events unfold.

However, my very favorite was watching Michael Phelps achieve all-time career medal winner!  It was truly a historic event: one that I will never see again in my lifetime.  I was so happy for him and for the USA as he met and then broke the record.  This was truly an awe-inspiring accomplishment!

Michael Phelps and his trophy commemorating his Career  Record Medal Win

Now that the Olympics are over, it is time to pick up the normal routine of my life, and I will once again start writing weekly.  While the Olympics were a great joy to watch, I have missed the joy of writing.  I can't wait to get back to it!

Have you found your joy today?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


You may have heard about Kickstarter recently.  Kickstarter is a "crowd funding" site.  I stumbled onto it when my sons started telling me about this great site that they had discovered through a fellow blogger.  They both follow the blog of Professor Beej and started exchanging comments on their blogs and connecting on Twitter.  Professor Beej has also written a novel and stories that are available at this site.  Then he began a Kickstarter project to help pay for the cover art for his new trilogy. My sons were very excited about this and encouraged me to look into it.  I did and was fascinated with what I found.

Kickstarter is a place for people to advertise their projects in order to gain financial support.  It is amazing to look at all of the creative efforts that are out there.  I like it because it is a way to support some things that I really believe in.  Anyone can become a "backer" of a project if they make a contribution.  It can be as little as $1.  The project posts how much they need to raise and an end date by which they need to reach that amount.  They also post amounts of pledges with rewards to the backers.  Sometimes it's a thank you, your name in the credits, a copy of a book; higher amounts may include a lunch with the project owner or a signed copy of something.  These are always very interesting to read.

Some of the projects that I have backed are:

Professor Beej's cover art for his book, Birthright.

Whoopi Goldberg's documentary on Mom's Mabley.

A documentary called Bridegroom about the struggles of a surviving gay partner who did not have the right to marriage.

A documentary about Carol Spinney who is Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

Not all projects succeed.  If you want to read some of the statistics about failure rates, check out the article at VentureBeat.  When you pledge your money, it is not taken from your credit card unless the project reaches its goal and the end date.  This provided some reassurance to me as a backer so I knew that my money wasn't going into an empty hole.

I'm cautious about which projects I want to support.  I choose projects that have the right people with the needed talent to successfully complete the work outlined.  I have not given a lot of money, but I believe that the power is in numbers and that every little bit helps.  I also like being a part of something that I believe in.

Even if I'm not going to contribute, I like to browse the projects that are outlined in Kickstarter.  I am inspired by the creativity, the variety, and the passion of the individuals behind these projects.  I would encourage you to check it out.  You don't have to contribute.  I think that, at the very least, you will find this an interesting concept, and you may be surprised to find something that touches your heart or strikes a chord with your beliefs or just fills you with purpose of a story that needs to be told.  Let me know what you think.

I believe that we will be hearing a lot about Kickstarter as it grows in popularity.  If you are wondering why Kickstarter works, all you have to do is understand how empowering this is for the project hopefuls who entrust their labors of love to this site. It is a very intriguing endeavor, and it is clear that people are using this to showcase their stories, struggles and journeys.  Their joy when they meet their goals is overwhelming and fulfilling.

Have you found your joy today?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reading Becomes Writing

“Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.”

— Susan Sontag

It is probably no surprise that I have been thinking about the experience of writing lately.  In May, I set a goal of writing for 30 days in June.  I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it but was convinced that I should try.  I am very pleased that I was able to meet my goal, but even more, I am happy that I rediscovered a love of writing and with it my joy of reading.

I have always loved reading and words.  I will read almost anything.  Since I retired a year ago, I have read about 100 books.  I have always had a great appreciation for writers and their ability to create the written word that draws me into their story, and I always wondered how they could be disciplined enough to write every day.  I now understand: just make a commitment to write every day and start writing.  At first, it was difficult to do this.  However, each day was easier than the day before.  I discovered that it was actually fun!

After finishing 30 Days of Joy, I decided that I would write once a week.  While it has been a relief that I didn't have to write every day, I have really missed writing.  However, I have enjoyed having time to do some reading, and they are truly related for me.

I am currently reading 2 different books on my Kindle.  I am reading The Magician by Michael Scott which is the second book from The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.  The books in this series are such that I can pick them up when I am in the mood to read them.  While they aren't the type of  books that I can't put down, they are interesting to read.  I like that they take place in different cities in the world, include forms of magic, and have characters that are relatable.  So, this series is my go-to whenever I am waiting for something new to read.

The other book I am reading was recommended by some friends.  It is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  This is the first book in the series.  It combines romance and historical fiction, with a slice of fantasy because it involves time travel.  This is the book that I keep coming back to whenever I have spare time.  I am really enjoying the blend of history with the development of the characters.  I can't wait to read what happens next!

Reading and writing have such a symbiotic relationship which is probably why I love good writing.  You may want to try reading the books I mentioned, or there are some recent blogs that were wonderfully written that you might enjoy.

  1. Teaching an Old Story New Tricks: Media Influences on BirthrightA guest blogger writes about the major media influences in his new cross-genre novel, Birthright.  It is fascinating to get into his head as he reveals these influences.
  2. Book Review: Voices from Chernobyl - A beautifully written review of a book which tells the human side of what happened during this tragic event.
I also found writing to be an interactive process, and I have missed the contact with those of you who were reading my posts.  I know that several of you didn't leave comments before because you had to have an account.  This is no longer true!  I mentioned it to my son who told me that I could change the settings; so I made the necessary changes.  You should be able to comment directly on the blog.  I would really like to hear from you so please comment below.

Whether it's writing or reading that bring you joy or another activity, I hope that you can find a moment for yourself.

Have you found your joy today?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

30 Days of Joy: Day 30-Enjoy

It is hard to believe that I am writing my last post of 30 Days of Joy.  It has truly been a labor of love.  I took a few minutes to go back to the May 31 post where I explained what I hoped to accomplish by writing for 30 days.  I talked about creating Circles of Joy-sharing joy so that others can experience joy in their lives.  My 30 days have addressed a variety of ways that I have experienced joy in my life.  I also encouraged everyone to reach out to others to share words, pictures, and stories of joy.  I hoped to do this daily.  While I didn't accomplish this every day, I was able to do so most days and will continue this practice into the future.

Many of my posts talked about "enjoying" various times and activities in our lives.  It struck me how closely related to "joy" this word is.  In fact, it has the word joy embedded in it.  I had never thought about this before.  When I looked up its meaning in the dictionary, I found:

v. en·joyeden·joy·ingen·joys
1. To receive pleasure or satisfaction from.
2. To have the use or benefit of: enjoys good health.
To have a pleasurable or satisfactory time.

It sounds like such a lukewarm feeling when I read the definition.  Joy should always be exciting and exhilarating!  It makes me wonder:  what happened to joy when it became a verb?  Shouldn't it be the act of feeling joy?  Keeping that meaning in mind:

  • I have enjoyed writing these posts and sharing my life with you.  
  • I have enjoyed thinking and learning about things I had never explored before.  
  • It was fun to reminisce about young love. 
  • It was a joyous occasion to meet my new grandson.  
  • Writing about my family was joyful.  
  • I enjoyed all of it and hope that you did too.

One thing that I have learned:  there is joy in our lives every single day if we look for it.  Some of the days I was writing while in pain from my injury, but I was able to find joy anyway.  It certainly made the pain easier to bear.  I would encourage you to always look for the joy in your life-not just on those happy days when it is easy to find, but also on those days when it is more of a struggle.  I believe that we need joy on those days more than ever.

When you "enjoy" something, think about the joy involved in the experience.  Once you have found your joy, find a way to share it!  It is not meant to keep close but to broadcast to others so that they can share in your joy.  It's not bragging-it's spreading the joy and being positive in your attitude toward life.   Our world is so free to share the negative, troublesome events; why not share the joyful ones?  We will all be better for it!

Thanks for joining me in this journey!  I hope that you will join the site so that you can keep reading as I move to weekly posts and that you will always feel free to contact me through this blog or Facebook.  Have a lovely Fourth of July week!  And don't forget...

Have you found your joy today?

Friday, June 29, 2012

30 Days of Joy: Day 29-Create

A month ago I decided to try writing every day for a month.  This was an exercise to see if I could write every single day.  It also was a way to talk about joy.  If you read my post from May 31, you understand that I believe that it is important to share joy with others-to create a ripple effect.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  It has meant a lot to me.

As I come to the end of my adventure in writing, I am finding that it is time to reflect on the experience.  When I was thinking about making this commitment to write every day, I sat down and wrote down 30 words that epitomized what brought me joy.  I have used 28 of those words and will use another one tomorrow as an ending.  (Technology wasn't on the original list!)  Each day as I sat down to write my post, I looked at the list and one of the words popped out as something that I was experiencing in my life.  I think that's pretty amazing!  I don't know what possessed me to put "help" on the list.  However, it was there when I experienced the need to ask for help after I fell down the stairs.  It makes me wonder-did I somehow know?  A foreshadowing perhaps?

It has been fun to share my life with all of you.  Sometimes I don't know if anyone is reading my posts.  I want to thank all of you who sent me messages and left comments.  It helped to know that my words weren't just getting lost in cyberspace.  I know that commenting on the blog page is difficult if you don't have a Google account.  However, many of you found other ways to comment, and I thank you for that.

Most days the words just flowed.  A few days I found it was harder to write.  You probably noticed that I also did some research which was a lot of fun!  I often looked for and found some fabulous quotes.  I was frequently surprised and amazed at what some famous people had said about the subjects I was researching.  I also spent a lot of time looking for images that enhanced the posts.  A few times I added personal pictures that I thought were pertinent.

Writing as a creative process is something that I obviously enjoy.  I have always loved the creative process whether it was knitting or crocheting blankets for my grandchildren or scrap-booking.  Art was one of my favorite things to teach in my classroom when I was a teacher.  I still want to paint; the time just hasn't been right for it yet.  For now, I am happy focusing on my writing as a creative project.

Creating is important for all of us.  I think that everyone should have fun creating and hope that you have found ways to create in your life.  It doesn't matter what you create; it doesn't even have to be in an area of talent.  The process in and of itself is fun.  I also think that it is important to share your creations with others.  I always put my children's artwork on the doors of our home and read their stories.  I am proud to say that both of my sons and my daughter-in-law have blogs.  They are all excellent writers.  My daughter-in-law writes about her experiences as a mom at Expert Mommy.  My older son writes about gaming at A Green Mushroom.  They both write very insightful posts that are interesting to read.  However, my younger son is the most talented writer of all of them.  He creates fantastic stories and has started sharing them at The Written Tale.  It is due to these wonderful young people that I started my blog.  I thank them for their support in this creative project.

As you can tell, writing this blog and sharing my musings brings me great joy!  I am hoping to continue writing weekly as we move into July.  If you want to keep reading, click on "Join this site" in the upper right so that you can follow my posts.  If not, thank you for going along with me on this journey.  You have brought me great joy!

Have you found your joy today?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

30 Days of Joy: Day 28-Weekend

Today is the day that most of us look ahead to the weekend.  The workweek is almost over, and everyone feels like they can make it to the end of the week.  Just one more day!  This is the mantra playing in minds everywhere.

Weekends are a time to rest, relax and re-energize.  The manner in which it happens depends on the individual:

If you are working during the week, rest and relaxation after a busy week are usually the first priority.


Ah-h-h-h, relax!

Weekends are also a time to get those pesky chores done.

Grocery Shopping

Hopefully, weekends are also a time for play.

My Husband's Favorite


I look forward to the weekend so that I can spend time with friends and family.


Whatever method you use to have fun and find your joy, I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.  Make plans today for this weekend.  You have earned it!

Have you found your joy today?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

30 Days of Joy: Day 27-Walk

I have been trying to be more active this year.  One of the things that I have been trying to do more this spring and summer is walking.  Unfortunately, I have had 2 setbacks: first I hurt my left knee walking downstairs and more recently I hurt my left foot when I fell down the stairs.  This has been very frustrating!  I don't know why it is always my left leg that gets injured; probably because it is not the dominant side and not as strong.

It also seems that stairs are a common denominator in my injuries.  It is difficult to avoid stairs since I live in a split-level home.  In order to go anywhere in my house, I have to use the stairs.  Now I am not normally clutsy, but I am developing an avoidance of stairs because I am trying to heal and don't want to re-injure myself. As a result, I am finding that I am planning my trips so that I decrease the number of times I use the stairs.  While this is probably good for healing my foot, it is definitely not good for increasing my activity level.

Before I had the second injury, I was trying to walk after dinner several nights a week.  I didn't walk far, but I was trying to start slow and build up my endurance.  Then I fell down the stairs.  I have been so frustrated with this injury!  Recovery has seemed so slow, because my foot was swollen, was causing a lot of pain, didn't fit into a shoe, and walking anywhere exhausted me.  (I'm always amazed at how exhausting pain can be.)

Two days ago the swelling was down.  I decided to try putting on a shoe thinking that the support might help with the pain.  I was right!  While it still hurts some, it is much better with a shoe that gives some support.

Once I could get a shoe on, I started wracking my brain for a way to start walking again.  I certainly get some walking in when I go anywhere-especially Target.  However, I wanted more than that.  I knew that uneven terrain was difficult so I needed a flat option, and since I never know when the pain will set in, I needed to be close to a sitting area.  Still, I wanted to find a way to be outside.  As I sat on my deck watching the birds at the feeders, I had a brainstorm.  I could walk laps on my deck!

My deck runs the length of the house and has one step.  If my foot starts to hurt, I have places to sit or lean. Perfect!  I now do laps on my deck.  I am starting slow by doing a few laps several different times a day.  It feels good, and I am so happy to be more active again.  If my neighbors happen to see me, I'm sure they would wonder what I was doing, but I don't care!  I am just joyful to be walking again.  

Have you found your joy today?