Exploring and Encouraging a Healthy Life Marked with Joy

Posts tagged ‘Happiness’

A Label-Free World (for 2018)

Hello out there.  I did this blog post quite a while ago, but thought in today’s adversarial political and cultural environment, it might be relevant.  We (okay, I!) judge others much too quickly.

Let’s try, in this new year with relatively few mistakes in it so far, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to refuse to label somebody or some thing based on initial interactions or our preconceived notions.


What an incredible truth!  (And, oh gosh, how it indicts me.)


I LOVE this short video about labeling:



2018: A Label-Free Year (at least for you and me).


The Bear and the Unicorn

For my recent suxteee-seckth birthday, I celebrated with my big ole’ modern family …

… at Savannah’s Tequila’s Town restaurant in Sandfly.


(Seriously?  Can you believe they come hooting “Happy Bday” laden with tequila for the celebrant!  Even though I had my large head prepared for an oversized sombrero and some flan.)

Post-tequila I received some neat gifts, but perhaps my Favorites came from five-year-old grandtwins Madison (inappropriately pictured above next to the tequila) and Matthew. Their mom let them pick out their gifts for me.  Madison gave me a pink unicorn in a love mug …


…while Matthew opted for a brown bear that actually smells like chocolate when you rub it vigorously!


(Matthew is in an over-smiling-for-the-camera stage.)

Oh, they also each got me a large skein of yarn–yellow from Madison and green from Matthew.  Not that I knit (who has the patience for that?!), but because they like to unravel the yarn, make giant spiderwebs and throw it all over the furniture and each other.

Thus, inspired by the tequila, when I got home I opted for a quick photoshoot to document my suxteee-seckth.




Moral of Story:  the strangest little gifts ofttimes make for the biggest shots of … Joy.




A Call to Calm, A Call to Reset

I love Brand New Years, with no mistakes in them.

[Okay, with relatively few (major) mistakes in them.]

Perhaps it is because I just recently celebrated (?) my suxteee-sickth birthday, that I am being all Contemplative about Life, but I want to give you my “Call” for 2018:

A Call for Calm, A Call to Reset.

“Huh,” you say, Returning Blog Reader?

Well, this:  Politically (on both sides of the aisle), I see, hear and sense discord, disagreement and “I’m not working with you.”  It’s really not just Trump.  It’s the political system that is basically adversarial.

“I hate you because you do not agree with me on issues.”

But it’s pervasive in our society, even entertainment.  We say we hate violence, bemoan and suffer over Las Vegas, Charleston and Orlando–and yet go in throngs to movies with gratuitous violence (check out any blockbuster superhero movie), listen to songs which present women as sexual objects to be used and discarded.

Maybe it is time in this New Year to think about what we are doing day by day, vote by vote, movie ticket by movie ticket, song by song.

Breathing is Life.  Deep in, deep out.  Deep in, deep out.  Deep in, deep out.

Calm.  Peace.

Let’s reset in 2018 to a new norm, one that emphasizes Joy, Peace, Calm and Getting Along.

We really can find Good if we look for it.

Joyous 2018!












“All is well.”


Trying saying it.  Even out loud.  Just to see how it feels.



Rainbow Joy

Last evening I went to a fun but bittersweet farewell party for good buddy Ellie Covington (who is Texas-bound, Galveston).


After a torrential downfall forced the party onto the carport, the late-stayers ventured out onto the dock by the marsh and saw this …


(Do you see the second one to the right?)




Of course, we all had to get a little silly.




I quickly texted the pic to my fam and got this response from daughter Emily (mother of grandtwins Madison and Mathew) from the other side of Savannah:

“We can hold it too!”




The joyful promise of a rainbow!

May the excitement and happiness of children be with us all, especially Ellie as she makes her move to the next successful stage of her life!

A Label-Free World


What an incredible truth!  (And, oh gosh, how it indicts me.)


I LOVE this short video about labeling:




Don’t Tell ME You Can’t Tell I Teach at an Art School!


(Van Gogh)



Last evening, I grandson-sat Daniel (8) and Gabriel (5) while daughter Amy and son-in-law Orte went fancy gallivanting around town.


First, we played a quick game of basketball in the 110 real feel (Neal feel!) Savannah heat, quickly realized we were idiots and ran back inside.

Then we ate a hasitily prepared supper (I like the word “supper” in the summer south so much better than sometimes-pretentious “dinner”), consisting of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and scrambled eggs and microwaveable bacon.  (Okay, so maybe not the healthiest Savannah summer supper choice.)

Afterwards, I broke up a third fight over what level to play a video game (Skylanders?  Huh?) and threatened pain if they didn’t stop.  (Do grandchildren anywhere take grandparents’ threats seriously?)

Finally I suggested drawing pictures.  Daniel immediately bought into the peace ploy, quickly pulling out the tools.


We went to work.

D and G:










To be honest, I think I felt more pressure since I teach as an adjunct at an art school (SCAD–Savannah College of Art and Design).  Allright, so maybe I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) there.  But still, it’s an art school.

Daniel’s first (of nine pieces!) finished work of the evening:


“Spyro Super Fire Balls.”

Gabriel’s first (and only): “Morning Apple Orchard” (which looks a little like “Spyro Super Fire Balls”):


(“This makes my hand hurt,” he exclaimed, upon completion–and immediately lay down under the dining room table to rest.)

My first work, “Spotted Dog with a Bad Attitude”:


The muses inspired, and the art continued to roll out.

Daniel:  “Let me brainstorm on what to call my next one.”  (Two second pause.)  “Sharp Tooth Spyro!”  And so it was.


“Mega Bolt Cynder”:


“Destroyer Horn Spyro”:


Daniel wasn’t the only one the muses attended to:

“Green Tree Circle of Life”:


“Self Portrait”:


When we finished, Daniel and I curated an art gallery in the sun room.  (We barely heard Gabriel as he kept yelling from the playroom:  “Stop drawing!  Stop drawing!”)





At one point Daniel looked at me and said, “This is SO much fun!  Don’t you agree, Abu?”

My artistic heart melted.



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