Friday, July 28, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 28

I remember a Thanksgiving in the blue mountains of the Cumberland Rim, the air spiced with roasting turkey, sauteed onions, browning rolls. Visitors came and went, catching up on stories. One of my mother's friend dropped off a homemade chocolate pie, then left in a flurry of hugs and good wishes. Later, when we tried to cut a slice, the rich filling oozed, pooling in the bottom of the pan. We just we dipped it out like pudding, and everybody said it was the best chocolate dessert ever, the perfect ending to our meal. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else Link Party
Party with us every Thursday and Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 27

Each summer my mother sent me away to live with my Southern grandmother. Mimi loved Jesus, lemon pound cake, old fashioned roses, and afternoon tea. As she hummed "In the Garden," she brewed a pot of tea, then made vignettes for us with china and fresh flowers. She also created a world, a little pocket of calmness, a place for a young girl to gather strength. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 26



I remember a hot summer day in 1985, when my youngest son was a toddler. I filled a plastic wading pool in the backyard, and he entertained himself by dipping cupfuls of water out of the pool and pouring it into a concrete bird bath. His forehead puckered when he realized he wasn't making progress. No matter how hard he worked, the water spilled over the concrete rim and vanished.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 25


At times, blogging reminds me of a fast-moving river, its powerful current rushing downstream, washing away everything in its path. Rocks are eroded, creek beds are carved out, and debris is carried for many miles. Drop a penny into the water, and it disappears. Writing a blog post is like building a paper boat and setting it gently into a wave. The boat launches, scurrying into the tumultuous current. Will it stay afloat or get sucked to the bottom?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 24

A few years ago, I took a writing course to help me better understand my characters and their motivations. The class delved into a personality tool called Enneagrams. It consists of  9 basic archetypes, and each one has a designated number and a descriptive tag (it varies), along with behavioral traits. The Enneagram system has been dismissed as New Age hooey, but the FBI and CIA use it to create profiles. By the end of the class, I was able to deepen my fictional characters; but it also gave insight into myself and basic human nature.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 23


During my search for a slower, sweeter lifestyle, I kept track of daily speed bumps--a whole cluster came from social media. I just couldn't believe it. After all, I am a Facebook Failure and a Terrible Tweeter. I prefer Instagram, mainly because I adore my tribe, but my phone isn't set up for alerts or email. How could social media be a problem?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 22


"When one door closes, another opens." That's what my mother always said. "And don't forget about windows," my grandmother would add. Apparently this quote isn't in the Bible, and it is attributed to Alexander Graham Bell and, in slightly different form, to Helen Keller. But is it true? When a door slams shut, will a window fly open? If so, do you want to climb through it?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 21

Joy has its own music, a spiritual hymn with movement and melodies, the notes playing through our days. And it can be muted by the sheer busyness of living. Without realizing it, we can become tone deaf to positive feelings. Negative emotions are so loud, they muffle the lovely background music. All we hear is grinding heavy metal from high expectations, over-committing, too much social media, saying "yes" more often than we say "no."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 19

 During the long winter, I studied positive affirmations, and I slowly began to understand that I was like Dorothy Gale, stuck in Oz, unaware that I had the power to return home by clicking the heels of my ruby slippers. Instead of slippers, I had another tool: Daily affirmations.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 18


What if joy was a rare event, occurring only once a year? Not only would we look forward to that day, we would also worry that something might steal it. What if a catastrophe ruined our special day? What if we fell off a mountain or a mountain fell on us? We might string up imaginary barbed wire, hoping to snag trouble before it had a chance to creep up and steal our joy. The problem is, we could get tangled in our self-protection and sabotage that one, magical day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 17


In the Medieval period, people believed that life's ups and downs were governed by the Wheel of Fortune. When the zenith was reached, the inexorable, downward journey began. From peasants to kings, no one was happy all the time.  Adversity was seen as a judgement from God, but folks also believed that it shaped and strengthened one's character. Then and now, few people endured non-stop trouble or joy.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 16


"And they lived happily ever after. . . ."
A storybook life only happens to fictional characters. In real life, the prince turned out to be a compulsive philanderer, gambler, drug abuser, or garden variety pest.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 15



Our lives are shot through with colorful threads. Some dangle out of reach, luring us with a metallic sheen; others lay behind us in hopeless tangles. We may reach for a thread that's so short, we lose our balance and fall. Or we may grab a thread that's long enough to lead us safely through a labyrinth. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 14

"Isn't this your old house?" a friend asked, pointing to an image on her iPad. I bent closer. The photograph resembled my old Four-Square: brick walkway, L-shaped porch, and Corinthian columns. In 1995, I had stood across the busy street, trying to determine the best placement for those columns. The house was over 100-years old, and I'd spent three years renovating (in the house's long history, which included overhauls from many owners, those three years were tiny). Back then, I'd painted the clapboards pale yellow, the shutters bottle green. I'd lived there a decade, until my husband wanted to raise chickens and move to the country. I remember leaning against those columns and crying. Well, time to dream another dream.