Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Got Through Christmas...

A virus hit a couple family members over the Christmas holidays, but we not only survived the inconvenience, we had a very nice week! Both sons are home for most of the Christmas break and my husband had a couple days off, so we just relaxed and simplified. Each person got a couple of gifts, we watched Christmas programs, football, and movies.

Yesterday was spent filling boxes for a donation to the Idaho Youth Ranch. I went to drop them off earlier today, and then treated myself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte! So good! I'm now working on a donation box for the Boise Rescue Mission. I have a box of brand new socks and one box of gently used ones. This time of year, they need all kinds of cold weather gear. It feels good to be able to share with others just like it was done for me, when I was a small child being raised by a single mother. Just trying to pay if forward!

I hope your holidays were filled with blessings and joy! May your New Year be happy, bright, and filled with hope!

© 28Dec2015 ajj

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas, Relationships, Goodbyes...

There are so many things which go into making Christmas special, in the traditional sense. Baking, shopping for gifts, mailing cards, decorating indoors and out. We've done very little of these this season. We also broke tradition and already started making sandwiches with our special "Christmas" ham, spicy honey mustard, and aged cheddar cheese. I haven't decided what our Christmas dinner will now consist of. We've pretty much decided nobody really enjoys a big turkey. Maybe just a turkey breast with baked sweet potatoes or a roast?

My main goal is to keep it simple. I tried for so many years to create the perfect Christmas. It never ended up being perfect, after all, I don't live in a Norman Rockwell painting, but it was always fun and filled with love. I'm embracing the solitude of the holidays. Our family unit has become very small, and I've lost touch with many extended family members and some old friends. I've been thinking a lot about relationships and the value of reciprocation.

Part of this was due to a realization which hit me pretty hard a couple weeks ago. As much as I loved my dad, if I had been the one to pass on during my first 30 years of life, he might have shed a tear for my passing but it would not have been for me. It would have been for the idea of me, because he never really took the time to get to know me. I saw him at Christmas and at the occasional family gathering, but he was usually talking with his siblings, and we never shared more than a word or two. I still loved him, who couldn't love a guy with a laugh like that? I loved hearing him sing and the way his eyes twinkled when something tickled his sense of humor. If he had passed on during my first 30 years, I would have wept, not for him, but for the idea of him and who I longed for him to be. A father, a daddy, a friend.

Fortunately for us, we became reunited in the later years of his life. We did become father and daughter. We became friends. We had a relationship, and when he did pass, I wept for who he was to me, for a beautiful human being I still miss to this day.

The lesson is to remember love takes effort, it takes connection. It's a two way street, not a one way road. If you close the door, if you don't make the "journey" towards a relationship, you will never know who you were missing. When that inevitable day comes when they leave this life for good, will your tears be from the loss of not knowing them or from the sadness of saying goodbye to a heart you knew so dearly and so well? Either way is a loss, but one is definitely better than the other, in my opinion. It's also about finding peace in whatever the circumstances may be.

© 14Dec2015 ajj

Friday, December 11, 2015

I'm Not Ready...

Christmas is almost here, and I'm just not ready yet! I'm hoping to get a tree up by the middle of the week, but I still have shopping, baking, and other decorating left to do! I didn't do cards this year. Time simply got away from me. Speaking of time, this post must end here. I've got so much to do this evening, but I will be back to post again before Christmas arrives! Wishing you joy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Peace on Earth...

This is one of my favorite versions of this old Christmas classic. The link will take you to the YouTube video.

It was another heartbreaking day, but I still dream of Peace. I still Believe...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thinking of Thanksgiving and Family...

I just watched Home for the Holidays, a 1995 movie with Holly Hunter. It's about a seriously dysfunctional family, and it made me long for the family gatherings of my younger days.

I think every family has some skeletons in the closet, odd relatives or even outright irritating ones, but it's still your family. There's something lovely about bringing all the disparate members together in the confined setting of a holiday weekend. Somehow, even when things go terribly wrong, the outright messiness of it is endearing, even precious, when we look back on it. There is nothing more grounding than being part of a big, crazy family unit.

As you gather with your family or your friends this coming week, soak in all the moments, the uniqueness of your experience. The aggravations as well as the joys, because it all adds up to a distinctly personal page in your life story.

Embrace those you are with, reflect on those who are gone, cherish every bit of it!

Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving holiday!

© 21Nov2015 ajj

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Writing Again...

Over two years ago, I decided to give up on my writing dreams. Life just seemed so complicated. I didn't have the energy to invest. I have an odd assortment of short stories and the beginnings of a couple of books. One in particular, was close to my heart, but somehow it seemed to slip away from me.

The past few weeks, I've had a renewed urge to write. I've dabbled a bit more on this neglected blog. I've revamped the files on my computer, placing the writing folders in a more orderly set up. Everything but actually sitting down and writing, until today.

For the past couple weeks, I've been haunted day and night with old story ideas and a few new ones. My dreams have been full of people I've never met and crazy stories that are begging to be told. After another night of restless dreams, I got up today and began by reading through the chapters I'd written. The spark was still there. I did a bit of editing and refining, and then it was time to start typing. I'll admit, I didn't get more than a few hundred words, but it felt so right to be working on it again!

I love writing! I love stories! Whether I am ever published, is not the question. The question is, why haven't I been doing what I love? Life is just too short too set aside the things we love, the things we are meant to do. So, I will keep writing! I'll try to keep you updated on my progress, as well as sharing a few thoughts and stories with you once in a while.

Leaving you with this thought... Find your dream and follow it!

© 12NOV2015 ajj

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lovely Day...

This morning was my monthly ladies group from church. We met at the IHop for breakfast and conversation. My aunt shared some beautiful thoughts with us about finding joy in the small things rather than just focusing on the big miracles we'd like to see happening, letting go of our insecurities, and using what we have inside to give to others. From a song she wrote some years ago, there is a line:

"...I am nothing in my humanity. But, the Spirit of God who dwells within has a power vested in me."

I may feel insignificant and unable to provide much help to others, but if I have opened my heart to God's love, I find He has equipped me for the moment. When I am called on to give help or encouragement, I know I can draw on His power "vested in me" and it will be more than enough.

Wishing you a day filled with joy!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Felt Like Sharing...

I'm taking this moment to share a blog post by a fantastic teacher I know. She's practically a cousin and most definitely a friend. Tammy pours her heart into her young students. Please take a moment to read it. This post will show you her love for her students and for teaching. All first graders should be so blessed! Just click the following link:

Forever in First: The Jane Movement

As I take myself off to bed, I'm wishing each of you a glorious Sunday!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Updating Has Begun...

I've considered updating my blog for a long time, but lethargy set in, and I just didn't have the push to do it. With autumn weather really arriving, and thoughts of family and holidays, I began to think about change. There has been a lot of unplanned change in my life over the past several years, but I've neglected to make many of the changes I wanted for myself. I started by reviewing my blog. Step one was to post a more current and honest photo of myself. I feel I haven't aged well, at least not as well as many of my contemporaries.

I always believed my appearance wasn't that important to me, but I discovered I had a little more concern about it than I had realized. My last photo was from about 8 years ago. The new photo you're seeing is from this past June, taken by my husband while we were out at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.  I look older than I imagine myself, but what stood out for me is how happy I was that day. I was out on a date with my husband, which we don't do very often, and we were having a wonderful time. That's what is most important to life. Not looks, wealth, or other status.  Finding the joy in relationships, enjoying our lives, and loving others! What more could we want?

I've removed some of the pictures, tags, and links from my sidebar. Freshened up the color and text. It's a beginning. Now that I've begun, I feel like there are going to be even more changes coming soon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What I Will Miss...

I wrote this list several years ago, when my health was very bad. I wanted to remind myself to appreciate each day. To embrace and cherish all the little things. To think about the things I would miss. These were a few which came to mind that day.

The sound of laughter
The way my husband looks at me, with love
The smiles of my sons... the way their eyes light up
Rain, the sound, the smell
The call of the mourning dove
Seeing an eagle in flight
The feel of grass between my toes


Live each moment. Cherish life. Love yourself and one another. Treasure the small things.

© 23Oct2015 ajj

Friday, October 9, 2015

More Waiting...

Needed to visit the urgent care today, which ended up being a two hour wait for a 10 minute consult. Sinus infection and swollen lymph nodes, which required a prescription. Pharmacy short staffed due to illness resulting in more waiting. 

I got home in time to meet the Cable One technician who installed my new high speed internet and modem! So exciting! For about 15 minutes after he left, which is when the modem began to fail. Son worked on it for a while, finally phoned. After about 40 minutes on the line, mostly holding, he was told a tech might be able to come back out by 9 PM, but if one didn't show up, we are to call again tomorrow. You guessed it, we'll be phoning again tomorrow. All this waiting would normally drive me crazy, but I'm feeling relatively calm. Could be the cold meds though. Lol! Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yard Sale, Photos, Internet

Life has been busy. The yard sale went well, but I still have a garage filled with small "treasures" needing new homes. Might be time to start up the eBay sales again. There will definitely be some large donations to the local thrift stores!

Received a call about more family photos at the Antique store, but I haven't gone yet. Spent too much money already, and if I don't see them I won't miss them... right? She's agreed to hold them for a week, so we shall see...

Getting high speed internet installed tomorrow. Maybe I'll actually be here more often. I get so weary of waiting, waiting, waiting for a page to load. Feels like the old-time dial-up days. I can still hear that tone in my head. Well, this was short, but I'll be back after the upgrade!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Busy Weekend...

After a busy weekend, which involved attending a special church service, a visit from out of town relatives, preparing for an upcoming yard sale, and more, I'm relaxing this afternoon with an old movie, Gaslight. It's a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman.  It's about a woman whose husband is trying to slowly drive her mad. It's a favorite of mine. It also stars Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, and a very young Angela Lansbury.

There's something about an old black & white classic, a hot cup of coffee, the hint of autumn just around the corner. I feel very content right now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


That is what my last week has been! It's a long story, to be shared in full at a later time, but involves a stranger, photos of ancestors discovered in an antique store, lots of money being spent, and the recovery of over 100 family photographs! Some had already been sold during the previous two months, but I'm grateful for what I was able to get. Here are a couple just to give you an idea.

My Great Grandmother, Gertrude Weaver Smith Evans
This is an image of my great grandmother I had never seen before. Even without the name inscribed on the back, I'd have known her face! Below are two of her babies who did not live on this earth very long. I had never seen their faces before, so it was a blessing to find these photos!
Vera Smith
Hershel Smith
That is the short version of my story. One day soon, I will share the longer version. It was such an unbelievable find, and I hope whoever purchased the other photos of my ancestors is treating them kindly.

© 09Sep2015 ajj

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Procrastinating... Again...

I was just having a big laugh at myself. I'd decided to look through my blog drafts, you know, those half-done posts that never made it to the blog. One was labeled "Procrastinating" and talked about how I should be cleaning instead of blogging. Well, here I am again!

And the wind quickly swept her up and away...

Right now, I have laundry to finish, a comforter to locate, and a few little things I wanted to help my youngest do before he leaves for campus in the morning. What am I doing? Well, I checked my email. Printed some stuff for the elder son. Checked Facebook and that took longer than planned, which is no surprise! It's like a creepy vortex, sucking you into the dark hole of other peoples delights, problems, big news, political views (dear Lord, spare me!), funny photos, sentimental photos, cartoons, complaints, half-formed thoughts, and full-blown documentaries on the daily routine of their lives. After reading all that, somehow I feel compelled to put down my own version of any of the aforementioned, or sometimes all of them! Before I know it, days have passed! I'm bleary-eyed, dehydrated, and pretty cranky! This is the punishment for the Procrastinator! You feel like you're doing something, but in reality, you're in some kind of a Twilight Zone/Doctor Who crazy alternate universe where nothing important ever gets done!

The draft was dated May 2013... Time to get back to the cleaning... Right after I answer a text...

© 27Aug2015 ajj


This week is a farewell to a beloved great uncle. He was 98 years old, lead an amazing life, and was loved and admired by those who knew him. He leaves behind a huge extended family, including a total of 93 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. His legacy extended beyond family and into our community. For me personally, he always had a big smile and a twinkle in his eye. I still remember going out fishing on his boat when I was about 9 or 10. I only caught a squawfish (I believe they may be called pikeminnow now) which nobody wanted to eat, but he made a big deal of it, pointing out it's huge size and making me feel so special. Farewell, uncle Arvad, you will be missed.

My sons both start back to classes next week. The youngest will be packing tomorrow in preparation for his move back to campus on Friday. I've enjoyed the summer with both sons home. Seems like it just flew by, and autumn is just around the corner.

Farewell to the ease of summer break, long days, late night conversations, and hello to new schedules, life changes, and my favorite season. Can't wait for the frost, the golden leaves, and the bright orange pumpkins!

© 27Aug2015 ajj

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Soul Medicine...

I got out of the house again this weekend! Last week was a wedding; last night was pizza and Dominoes with some dear friends; today was church service followed by a baby shower. 

It's medicine for my soul to gather with people I love. To share our hearts, to laugh. At one point last night, the four of us were laughing so hard it brought tears. Going along in my day to day existence, I forget how nice it is to get out and reconnect and just have fun!

My "Must-Do" list now includes "making time for friends and fun"! Relationships take nurturing to grow and thrive, and the payoff is worth every effort I make. The rewards are a light heart and a joyful soul!

Take a moment and call an old friend!

© 16Aug2015 ajj

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Days are flying by! When I was young, summer seemed to last forever, not so anymore. One son will be back at college classes in two weeks and the other in four. My summer to-do list looks much the same as it did when I made it, and I've added even more items. Some are "must-do-soon" like selling excess stuff that's been in our storage unit for the past year. Others are little projects to get a jump start on the holidays.

Oh yes, I mentioned the Holidays! Don't hate me, but I even thought about typing the "C" word! Hohoho! The thing is, if you are a person who intends to make cards or gifts, or you just like putting thought into a unique gift basket or bag, it takes time and planning. If I don't get these things done early, my beloveds will get whatever type of item is left for last minute procrastinators, and I find those kind of things do not bring the happy "I know how much you love me because you selected such a thoughtful and perfect gift for me" face! I really want to see that "face" when I give, because it is a gift back to myself. It feels great to bring a little joy to someone I care about.

I intend to enjoy this last month of summer, even while chipping away at my lists. I attended a lovely summer wedding last weekend. I've taken time to step out of the house to gaze at the night sky, to watch lightening and listen to distant thunder, to feel cool grass on my bare feet, do a movie marathon with my sons, go out to dinner with husband and friends, read, and read some more. It's important to make memories, even the small, simple ones. It makes life lovely. It feeds the soul.

A summer night image to share with you, courtesy of Dover Publications.
Happy Summer, my friends!

© 13Aug2015 ajj

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reflections on High School...

This is the weekend of my 40th high school reunion. I wasn't able to attend for a couple reasons. First, I didn't make up my mind in time to RSVP and secondly, I just haven't been feeling well. MS and heat don't play well together. Both events were outdoor venues, so wisdom called for opting out. We were invited to drop by later this evening for the dance, but my dancing days are pretty much behind me and my husband is at one of his classic car groups tonight.

I didn't have a lot of close friendships in high school, but I did have a lot of acquaintances I enjoyed immensely. It would have been fun to find out what they've all been up to for the past 40 years. I haven't done a good job of keeping in touch with even the closet of those friends. Time has a way of shifting our priorities.

At this point in my life, I'd love to reconnect with some of my old friends. I still see their smiles in my memories.  In high school, I was a bit of a lost soul, trying to find my voice and place in the world. I feigned confidence at times and tried to hide from the world at other times. I know I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I've tried to live a kind and decent life. I know I'm more accepting and forgiving than I once was, and I like to think I'm still fun to hang out with. There's nothing like sharing a laugh with a friend.

Looking back over the years, I can say I've been blessed. I share my life with a wonderful husband and two sons. As I think about my school years, even with all the angst and craziness I put myself through, I mostly have sweet, funny memories of kids who were all going through their own growing pains. To those who've made it to 40 years, I send my good wishes! To those who left us too soon, I remember you with a smile, thankful you graced this world for a season.

© 25Jul2015 ajj

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Clothing Purge...

I'm in the process of an extreme clothing purge. I've emptied closets and drawers of all my clothing, except winter coats. Pursuant to advice in "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" I piled it all on my family room floor and am going through it a piece at a time. The photo below, from about 1976, is proof of my hoarding. I found that shirt, a hand-me-down from my grandpa, still hanging in a closet. I can barely get my arms into that once baggy, grandpa shirt, now over 38 years old! Why was I keeping it? I guess it reminded me of grandpa, and Halloween fun, but it's way past time to let it go! It's still in great shape, so it's going into one of the donation boxes.

This is me, in about 1976, after a Harvest Party, wearing my grandpa's clothes. 

Explanation of the photo... I'd borrowed grandpa's shirt, and his painting pants, for a costume to wear for a Harvest Party at my church. I'd just washed my clown make-up off, because my face was on fire, and mom came in and insisted I pose for a photo in her newly wallpapered bathroom. She was really proud of all the work she'd done. How could I refuse?

Anyway, this clothing purge is just phase one of my organizing project. I'll try to keep you updated on my progress. I'm excited to make some big changes in my home!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Random Childhood Memories...

This post was originally started on my mom's birthday in the early spring. I'd been remembering an odd assortment of things from my childhood.  Summer images. The way a certain yard looked with tall, bushy shrubs, long un-mowed grass that would swish as you walked through it, cellar doors on the side of a white cottage leading to a dark unknown below. A little ditch that ran alongside the yard, overflowing on irrigation day, creating a fun place to cool off. A thin wire fence, the kind that curved gracefully at the top like little hills running along one after the other. Smells of hot summer air, grass, fading flowers. Sounds of push mowers and from a home somewhere in the distance, a power mower. Hollyhocks standing tall, a huge bumblebee slowly making it's way from flower to flower. Images, scents, and feelings imprinted into my memories. Bits of summers past. Sweetness. Serenity. Summertime.

© 8Jul2015 ajj

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Day Tale, Both Sad and Happy...

Every year a momma duck nests in our yard. I have dreaded it this year, because the road directly behind our house is under construction. It's being widened to four lanes. The momma ducks always insist on crossing the road rather than walking down to the canal on our side. Maybe they dislike swimming under the bridge to get to their favorite side of the canal.

This year three or four duck couples have been visiting and dining below our bird feeder. Sadly, one of the males was hit about three weeks ago. The widow sat for hours in our yard, and didn't even seem to be leaving to go to her nest. She finally began to disappear and show up occasionally to eat.

Early this morning, there were only three males out back. I knew that it was close to time for ducklings to arrive.

My husband and I were relaxing about an hour ago, watching TV and just enjoying Mother's Day. There was a knock at the door. A distraught man was there. One of the momma ducks had jumped right in front of his car. She was dead and the ducklings had run back up the berm and into our yard. He and his wife began to help us try to herd the 8 little ducklings into a box. Right! They were so fast, and "shouting" warnings to one another. Another of the duck couples was sitting under a tree and began to move away from the action. The ducklings tried to follow them, but they didn't seem interested in adopting a passel of babies. I'm sure she has a nest of her own out front in among the irises.

Ducklings were darting everywhere! Two headed back toward the road, two into the gigantic rhubarb stalks, two under the fence. The neighbors south of us got into the recovery and returned the two from their yard. It took a lot of energy, but we finally had all eight.

My husband closed the top of the box and headed to the canal. We felt their best chance was in the water, where all the ducks gather when their eggs have hatched. He could only access one side of the canal, and he could see another couple with about 8 of their own. He waited for them to calm down, then gently let our 8 into the water. They immediately heard the other momma and headed for her, but she wasn't sure and quacked at them. They stopped and waited. Then all floated under the bridge. By the time my husband got to the other side, she had accepted the additional 8!  The duck couple was last seen swimming happily away with 16 ducklings!

This is momma and ducklings from 2011. No pictures from today.

My husband took care of burying the momma, which was so sad, but all of her ducklings survived this Mother's Day. I also survived it, and I'm praying by next spring the road construction is complete. I'm also hoping the ducks will chose a nesting area closer to the canal!

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day!

© 10May2015 ajj

Monday, May 4, 2015

MRI Dread...

Tomorrow my spinal MRI is scheduled. The dread has been there from the minute my doctor said I needed to get it done. I have such a dislike of that narrow, noisy tube! Lying on my back for two hours is almost unbearable. It doesn't help that I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Head cold or allergies maybe. Not quite ill enough to cancel, but concerned that sneezing may interrupt the process causing them to have to start all over again.

Oh deary me! What am I going to do? For now, I think I'll put in movie and do a little "escape from the real world" therapy. I'll let you know how it all turns out! Till then, wishing you a lovely spring day and lots of JOY!

Praying for peace of mind....

Monday, April 20, 2015

Music and Memories...

Songs evoke such strong memories in me. My heart can be broken all over again, or I can be filled with the joy of first love. Music often transports me back in time.  I see the way the sunlight was shining, the road I was driving on, and the smiles on the faces in my car as we sang along. Music can soothe the spirit, or bring the energy back into a room. It may bring waves of tears, but they can be soul cleansing tears. It can make you laugh and dance with the abandon of a child.

I've been listening to some old favorites the past couple of days, and realized how much I've always loved music and how I'd let that love slip away over the years. I made a promise to myself to bring more music back into my life. Maybe I'll even dust off that piano and see if I can remember how to play.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the dark...

I don't really have a fear of ghosts or spirits, well perhaps a tiny bit on occasion, but I do have a fear of what, or who, could be lurking out in the dark of the night. I know this is a result of early childhood experiences, but even knowing this doesn't remove it's occasional grip on me. Neither does my faith in God, because some amazing people of faith have had terrible things happen to them. For me, faith is about how you handle what comes your way. It doesn't make you immune from disaster or terrible events.

I'm trying to set aside the random scary thoughts invading my peaceful space. Part of the problem is I have not been sleeping well, it's getting late, and it's very dark outside. I'm sure sleep will find me soon, and before I know it, morning will arrive with the bright scents of hyacinth and fresh air, the sounds of birds, and everyday traffic, and all will seem right with my world again. Until then, I will attempt to shoo away the buzzing voices of fearful and scary imaginings.

Sometimes saying a thing, or in my case typing it, is enough to make it seem small and trivial. I feel so much better now!

Wishing peaceful dreams to all...

© 25Mar2015 ajj

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Today is my mom's birthday. I miss her most days, but even more on special days like today, because we usually spent time together celebrating.

An old, faded Polaroid of my mom, back in the 6o's. She was so pretty!

Those who don't believe in spirit visitation may want to stop reading now...

I was trying to get myself ready to go to church service, even though I didn't feel well. It's what my mom would have done. It didn't happen. Then I heard steps coming down the hallway, but all the doors were closed and nobody was in sight. Must be mom, I thought to myself, with a smile. Instead of pushing myself to go, I picked up my Bible, which belonged to my mother before it was mine.  There are still some notes she wrote during church services tucked inside it. I read a few scriptures she had notated. I thought about Biblical rules versus grace. Many things in my life have evolved over the years. My faith in God is still as strong, but I have less tolerance for extreme views and for condemnation of others. I believe in leaving judgement to God, living the best I know how, and loving others as unconditionally as my human mind can manage to do.

As I sat thinking about what I've been taught over the years. I thought about the mind-set many Christians have towards those who don't share their exact point of view. I said to myself, "I refuse to be mean and unforgiving." Suddenly the three-way light across the room, clicked and turned up a notch. For a moment the room was flooded with an extra bright light, then it went back to normal. I felt my mom in the room. My mom, who loved people and refused to judge them or their life choices. Mom, who taught me to love even the unloveable. All the way from stray cats and dogs, to homeless people on the streets, to those who were defined by others as sinners. No one was beyond deserving her love and understanding. There was never a "lost cause" anywhere she looked. Just love and forgiveness. That doesn't mean she wasn't tried on occasion. It doesn't mean it was always easy. It means she took the effort to love, to set aside anger and judgement, and to extend herself beyond what our human nature often does. She offered a smile and a hand up! I learned some of my best lessons from my mother. I was truly blessed to have her in my life, and I am still being blessed! Happy Birthday, mom!

© 22Mar2015 ajj

Monday, March 16, 2015


Sometimes writing about darkness, releases light back into my life. In the wee hours of this day, I wrote about darkness and depression. After I finished, I finally dropped into a deep sleep about 4 a.m. and woke again at 8. The day feels different. Better. I still need more sleep, so a nap is on my agenda for the afternoon, but spilling all my dark thoughts was therapeutic.

My first impulse, when I woke, was to delete my Dark-thirty piece and the Facebook post where I shared it. I've done that before, but I'm not going to this time. Life isn't always perfect. People have moments of darkness, despair, grief. There are so many people struggling with different levels of mental illness and depression. I believe those struggles shouldn't be hidden. Shine a light into any place of darkness and perhaps it will permanently dispel that darkness. Even if it's not permanent, light for any amount of time is comforting and healing to the spirit and to the soul. It brings release from the darkness. It brings hope.

"... I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 KJV

© 16Mar2015 ajj


As my husband would say, it's dark-thirty, and I'm still up! I've been reading Facebook posts, searching through hundreds of photos, and listening to Adele, who is singing "Love Song" at this moment. "Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel..."

I've been doing a lot of soul searching and reflection. I'm trying to visualize how to be effective in reaching the goals I've set for myself. I'm filled with ideas! My imagination is endless! The problem is, what to do with all the thoughts in my head, the loud voices, the amazing ideas!
When you're lost, like a child, there are angels to carry you along.
Some with magical wings, some with a kind word or a casserole.
I once thought I'd make a great writer, because of all the stories that live inside me, but I lack the required discipline. I haven't even kept the simple commitment to this blog.

Recently I convinced myself I must be an introvert, because I love being alone with my books, movies, music. I rarely leave my house. I'm at peace being home alone, or just with my immediate family. I used to be the girl who was the first one out the door, who called all my friends to organize a night out, who loved parties and dancing, talking 50 miles a minute, laughing, living. I told someone recently I must be a split intro/exto-vert.

I'm messy inside. A little "dark and twisty" (a phrase borrowed from Grey's Anatomy). Maybe I need to "dance it out" or sing it out. Maybe I should pray it out. It's late, and I just don't know anymore. My son told me he thought I was very depressed. This is while we were laughing over Season 7 of Top Chef, chatting about food choices, the clutter, life... He's right, I know. My home tells the tale. I've gotten lost in it, surrounded by "stuff" I don't love, but don't have the energy to do anything about. So, I'm baring my thoughts with a few of you, my blogger friends, and with the occasional stranger who might stumble through my little grey gardens.

The light of day will wash most of this away, and everything will be ok. Maybe I will get back to work on that book. It might be important, or it might be nothing at all. There's only one way to find out. It must be written.

© 16Mar2015 ajj

Saturday, March 7, 2015


I've been on an extended break from blogging. It was unplanned, and I'm trying to regroup and begin writing again. There have been a few bumps in the road, nothing major in my immediate family, but very distracting anyway. I will try to stay in touch a little bit better in the coming months.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Random Thoughts...

“Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.”—John Edgar Wideman
I discovered The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor this morning. I'm surprised I hadn't found it before. I've been a fan of Keillor for a long time, through public radio. His voice is soothing to listen to, and on this site there is a short reading each day. Listening to it makes me want to read more and also to write.
As I sit typing, I can hear a flock of ducks overhead. The sound cut through the silence of this Monday morning, this Martin Luther King Day. A typical Monday, at this time of the morning, would be filled with traffic noise. Cars rushing by on their way to who knows where. Jobs, school, shopping. This morning is so quiet. In the distance I hear a solitary vehicle. It takes me back to my childhood home, a peaceful place. Peace. A beautiful word. A state of being. A dream. Wishing you peace today and always.
© 19Jan2015 ajj

Thursday, January 8, 2015

First Post of the New Year

My year began without a lot of fanfare. After three weeks of having both sons at home, and all of us taking turns with some kind of cold/flu bug, we finally got out of the house on New Years Eve! As we have done for many years, we spent the evening at the home of some close friends, playing games, eating, laughing, watching the ball drop on TV, and welcoming a new year in. It's a tradition I treasure.

This week I needed some rest, so I indulged in catching up on some favorite programs, watched a couple movies, finished one book and began another. I'm currently reading the first Maisie Dobbs book by Jacqueline Winspear. The book was a gift from a friend, and I am really enjoying it!

I've been thinking about all the things I want to accomplish and wondering if I'm being realistic. It's a long list. I have added some exercise to my day. If I'm going to get myself in shape for my 40th class reunion next summer, I will have to be much more disciplined than I have been. Wow, just typing 40th class reunion is shocking to me! A good reminder to treasure every day, because it goes by so quickly.

I'd hoped to infuse this post with a bit of humor or some fantastic revelation I'd discovered, but this is my life. No bells and whistles, no big fireworks display, just me living life one ordinary day at a time. As always, thanks for stopping by to visit me!