Finding The Joy


Hi you guys! I know I haven’t been here for a while. I’m thinking it’s because when I come on here, I am in a state of accountability and reflection and recently I have just wanted to run away. Between the virus and politics and everything that comes along with it, I have been trying to make sense of what everyone else is saying and what I am thinking. I’m also feeling stuck in a place in my life where I don’t feel I have a lot of control. And frankly I know that other’s have it much worse than me and my own circumstances and I am blessed more than many, but you know when you’re a kid, you feel that you have your whole life ahead of you and even as a kid you kind of know that you can change things. But there have been times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed, wondering… Is this really as good as it gets? What if this is it? I mean, if the world continues to be so self centered and grace and kindness are replaced with greed and hate and anger?

I’ve survived deaths of people that meant everything to me. divorce, earthquakes, loss, miscarriages, and some pretty devastating things that have caused me to be who I am. But I can’t make that statement without saying, I have experienced great joy in the birth of two healthy kids, and grandkids, I’ve fallen in love a few times, and have a husband who really, really, loves me and puts up with a hell of a lot. For the most part we all have our health, I survived a horrendous accident recently that should have killed me. I know God put His Angels around me that night, as well as an off duty policeman who was my witness. And that alone should have made me “snap out of it.” And it did, for a few weeks. But the part that a drunk driver totaled my car and almost killed me, got to me and the anger took over. I guess I could have thought, it was good he ran into me instead of killing someone else, because he was raging drunk and it could have been much worse for someone else.

I have good friends, relatively good health (for my age) and kids that are resourceful and can figure things out if they need to. I know that politics, and covid have thrown us all for a loop and my living circumstances hasn’t been ideal. But we own our own home and cars, and live in a nice lakeside area. And I know I am basically blessed. Recently I have been listening to one of my favorite authors, a Karen Kingsbury’s series and it is basically like going to church as I get through it. And to be honest, the only church I have tuned into for a while now. But the way she writes makes you feel as if God really can speak to you in words that are not just in your head. She has touched on 911 and it’s devastation in a very personal way that makes you feel as if you are living it with the characters in her book. And it’s made me think about just how fast things can change. In my 6 decades here, I know that first hand. But it’s a good reminder.

I’m constantly telling people younger than me, THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS! And I know that I need to realize that for myself. Every day… we walk out that door to face our day, there is no guarantee that we will return. We are blessed, each time we wake up and breathe our first breath of air, are able to stand, to hear, and see and walk, to smell and taste and drive. And… at the end of the day, to walk back in that door!

How many times are we impatient with our phone or computer when three decades ago, a cordless phone was still a luxury item, and facebook wasn’t even thought of nor was it’s creator barely out of 2nd grade? We are all pretty spoiled, impatient, easily offended, judgmental, opinionated human beings and I’m one of them. Every natural disaster or health crisis is a reminder (for me at least) that I am blessed. And I need to snap out of it. But it’s easier said than done. I can continue to write these enlightened posts and never change things or put my money where my mouth is and commit to changing! But it’s easier said than done. How does one truly begin to live in Joy? I guess, I am inviting you to join me. I am going to find out! This is going to be a series on me figuring out how to find the Joy!

“It’s Okay Sir, There’s No One In That Car”


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Anyone who has followed my blog knows this story… but sometimes I just need to remind myself of all my blessings. So please bear with me as I remember.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, having recently been laid off, but still trying to finish out my “time” when it dawned on me what anniversary it was, and how thirteen years ago today, I was bustling around our little store, turning on the Christmas music and the fireplace. Making hot apple cider and setting out cookies.

My daughter and I had just pulled up in front of our little gift store, Rose In The Woods, to “open” as we waited for our employee Caroline to relieve  us long enough to go Christmas shopping.

All month long I’d hear our customers say… “This is my last gift I have to buy!” and I’d panic, because I hadn’t bought anything yet, besides the gold watch I’d ordered for my husband and just picked up from Pan Jewelers, a local merchant in our building , a few days earlier.

As we pulled up, my daughter Brooke asked to wait in the car but I coaxed her into helping me open, promising that with her help, we’d get out of there sooner to go shop! Just as the Fed Ex guy showed up with a back order of quilts, Caroline, our employee walked in the door as Brooke implored,”No mom pleeease don’t open that box!”  knowing that normally, I took the time to open each quilt and hang them on a fat dowel to display. I decided to compromise saying that she could just price them in their zippered plastic packages and was about to find a basket to put them in when the phone rang and my husband was calling from across the street where he’d recently moved his printing business in order for us both to have more room. Asking if Brooke could run over and  pick up a mug for a customer who was scheduled to pick it up that morning.

We both rolled our eyes as if to say “we are never going to get out of here” as Brooke ran across the street. And another customer walked in. I’d just found a basket for the quilts when we heard a loud bang and all of a sudden our painted wooden floor began to buckle and roll as the room began to shake for what seemed like several minutes. I can’t say why, but I directed everybody to get in the back of the store and as they did, the roof caved in, right where my baby would have been placing that basket filled with quilts.

Not knowing, that when our roof caved in, it had also slid off of the building onto the cars below, including our car that Brooke had asked to wait in! I ran outside to find my baby still holding the mug, crying in her Dad’s arms as they surveyed the crunched building that used to hold Rose In The Woods. Not yet knowing about the two women killed right next door, I ran to them. As we stood huddled in the middle of Park Street that day, we watched as heroes began pulling the bricks from things.  I  suddenly noticed as they started removing bricks from my car. So I ran over, and choking back a sob I tapped on the shoulder of one of the firefighters and said…”It’s okay sir, there’s no one in that car.”