Posted in In Our Own Backyard, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Rainbow Joy

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

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

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

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

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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!”

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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!

Posted in Holiday Joy

A Most Awesome Father’s Day & Night!

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I hope your Father’s Day (and night) 2015 has been a peaceful and joyful one.  Mine was/is.  Spent time with both daughters and all four grandies.  What a blessing to have them all in my Savannah.  My cards:

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And an incredible Facebook post by older daughter Amy:

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“Happy Father’s Day to my very hip and high impact dad!  I am blessed to have a dad who taught me to love without discrimination, to have joy in all circumstances, and who creates an environment of safety and acceptance where I am free to develop into my best and truest self.”

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What a Difficult and Unparalleled Joy Fatherhood is!

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 5/22/15

MAY — an incredibly joyful month, don’t you think?

Five Reasons for Happy:

1.  An early morning walk along the McQueens-Tybee Island trail (between Savannah and Tybee Island–10 mins from my apartment).

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2.  Grandson Daniel in his end-of-year Who Am I? Research Biography presentation.  (He was Paul McCartney, btw.)

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(Okay. okay, maybe I helped him a little with the tri-board.)

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(He could only get such coolness from his grandfather.  Seriously.)

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The kids had to explain their research, poster-board-presentation-style, to the folks in attendance.

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They do that kinda stuff nowadays in 2nd Grade?!  Research?!  All I did in 2nd grade was spend a year of trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to stop crying for mama.

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3.  Being a judge for the 2015 Savannah Authors Anthology.  Such fun!

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(I want to be a judge … full time.  And get paid.  Exorbitantly.  Call me if you or yours need high-end judging.)

4.  Getting 2015 Beach Ready.

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5.  Seafood at Safe Harbor in Mayport, FL.  (After taking the ferry across the St. John’s River on the south end of Amelia Island.)

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Safe, Joyful Weekend ahead to you all!

Posted in The Joy and Wisdom of Children

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I have FOUR grandchildren.  (Yes, you’re right, I’m FAR too young.  We all know that.  It’s a given.  But sometimes Mother Nature has a way of bypassing her laws of when people should have grandchildren–and presents them in, well, early, early middle age.)

Anyway, the second-from-the-oldest-grandchild is Gabriel, 5, a rambunctious bundle of pure little boy-ness.  He’s often affectionately referred to simply as “G.”  In his most recent pre-K school report, the patient-as-a-saint and give-her-a-raise teacher wrote that Gabriel is “smart, funny, with many friends … and has a touch of naughtiness.”

Here’s G (on the far right) with a few school buddies,

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And here he is the other night with older brother Daniel (8).

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Today I received this text from my daughter/G mom Amy:

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The brutal honesty of children.

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Posted in Holiday Joy

HH – Holiday Happiness

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It’s Sunday night.  December 28.  Three days after the big day.  Christmas gifts and meals are opened and eaten.

Just a few more days left in 2014.

Sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown after the glitter is gone.

So … what is there to be Happy About?  Especially if you’re alone?  Or sick?  Or frustrated?  Or angry?  Or not where you wanna be?

To be honest, I don’t know.

BUT I encourage you to do this:  Go on a Gratitude Rampage.  Start listing — or just thinking about — what you have to be grateful for as 2014 wanes.

Go ahead — try it.  Make a list.

Here’s a tad of mine:

1.  Air to breathe.

2. Legs that help me to walk.

3.  Imperfect family members.

4.  A mind that allows me to think.

5.  Shoes.

6.  Eyesight.

7.  Collard greens (I just sautéed some for dinner).

8.  Music.

9.  Sunshine.

10.  Cinnamon.

11.  Grandchildren.

12.  People who know my name.

13.  Insurance.

14.  Roaring laughter.

15.  Pecans.

This list could go on and on.

May peace, joy and love be your portion now and forever!

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Gratitude is powerful.  Try it and see how it makes you feel.

Posted in Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part Two)

A couple of days ago I encouraged you to consider, and attend to, the blessings that are in your life.  I hope you have taken a brief break from the Christmas rush, and done so.

Here’s my Counting Continued:

6.  Sitting Down and Sitting Still for a few minutes.

7.  A Christmas Visit with my parents (father–91, mother 87).

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8.  Sparkly Lights.

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9.  Appreciating my local Savannah Police.  Our police men and women are the first folks we usually call when something goes awry in our homes, neighborhoods and cities.

THANK YOU, BLUE!

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10.  The ability to see.

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Are you counting your holiday blessings?

Posted in Encouragement, Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part One)

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Have you done so this holiday?  Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings.  I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys.  Here is a sampling of mine:

1.  I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week.  (I was SO frustrated.)  Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital).  It melted my heart.

 

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(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)

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(Absolute grandfather joy.)

Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:

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2.  The ability to smell Christmas.

3.  Enjoying the power of silly.

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4.  Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.

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What fun!

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Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.

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I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story.  I urge you to do the same.  Who encouraged you along your way?

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“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”

So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:

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5.  Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.

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What are a few of your Holiday Blessings?  Come on, share a few.

Posted in College Teaching

The Smile — and Happiness Shared

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The students in my English 123 (Freshman Composition) classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) are doing what I call Visual Essays in this, their next-to-the-last week of Fall Quarter 2014.  We read two books this term, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier, both relating to our course theme of “Happiness and the Exploration of Joy.”  The Visual Essay project invites the students to MAKE, rather than write, their papers. Traditional essay requirements are still required: a focus and thesis, structure, detail and support, etc.  But this essay morphs into a drawing or painting, a sculpture, a collage, a video, a food, etc.  Basically this project is a visual representation of one topic narrowed into a clear thesis/perspective/idea.  The challenge: how to “show” their thesis.

Debora Jacob (from Brazil) went to Forsyth Park here in Savannah last Saturday.  Here’s her Visual Essay titled “Happiness Shared” on the topic of the smile and its significance.

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Thanks for the encouragement, Debora.

Let’s all SMILE more often.

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (10/31/14)

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve!  (Wasn’t it just July 4th last week?)  And I am spookily happy.  Seriously.  Here’s why.

1.  Yesterday going to my grandtwins’ nursery school and carving a Jack O’ Lantern.  Here it is:

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Okay, that’s a lie.  I took that pic near my place in historic district Savannah.  Here’s the one I did:

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Sorry but that’s a lie as well.  (Is that a bat?)  Here’s mine:

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For more decades than I care to mention, my Jack O’Lanterns have looked EXACTLY the same.  But what fun with Matthew and Madison and their little classmates.

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2.  Speaking of pumpkins, here’s my dinner Wednesday night–Butternut Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls.

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Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Gourmet heaven.

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3.  The Savannah Film Festival this week, hosted by my SCAD–Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Such fun.

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What incredible films I saw, including a fascinating documentary about Summerville, GA artist Americana Howard Finster and a mesmerizing selection of short films from Ireland.

4.  Singing with James Brown in Augusts, GA.

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We’re belting out “Papa’s Got a Brand new Bag,” followed by “Make it Funky.”

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5.  The joy of holidays.

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Happy, Happy Halloween to you all!

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