Our next-door neighbors Joe and Kayla, just had a baby!

We saw the sign this afternoon…

tied to their mailbox…

bouncing in the wind…

a pink, mylar balloon.


I spoke with Joe, the father, who happily exclaimed…

“She’s a seven pound 6 ounce baby girl and Abigail is her name”.


Abigail now joins her brother, Ollie, as their family gets redefined…

“And how is Kayla?” I asked.

Joe smiled…”She is doing fine.”


Deborah and I rejoiced at their news…

remembering when our family was that young…

thinking of all the happiness they’ve yet to encounter

all the songs yet to be sung.


Thinking how lucky they are this family….

for nothing can compare…

to the experiences that await them…

all the love they’ve yet to share. 


Thinking how a new world of joy is opening before them…

that all began this afternoon….

tied to their mailbox…

bouncing in the wind…

a pink mylar balloon

View joy's Full Portfolio



A man and woman…then later two men stopped in the bookstore the other day..

both excited for the same reason…each couple had a baby on the way.


Each couple was out celebrating…as expectant couples do…

Each couple hoping to find advice and perhaps some comfort in a book or two.


After both couples left the store and were happily on their way

I thought…what if every baby wrote a book to their parents…

I wonder what they’d say:


Welcome to parenthood…I’m your baby…the newest member of our family…

I’ll make this book short because from this moment on 

you’re gonna to be pretty busy…with me.


Just a little advice that, if you take, will help all of us to grow…

written in this book…10 things I’d like you to know.


You will receive a lot of good and bad advice…

and you won’t always be able to tell them apart…

so the first thing I want you to do is trust in yourself…and listen to your heart.


Don’t be alarmed when I am hurt…

when I get a bruise be there to soothe and numb it…

Remember…your job is to help me learn about life…not to protect me from it.


I will make mistakes…you will see me at my best and my worst…

If you want me to believe in myself…you must believe in me first.


I will be a baby and child for a short time…please be patient with me…

even those times I make it difficult for you to be the parents you imagined you’d be.


Finally remember to always love me…it’s the most important thing I need you to know…your love is something I will always need…the one thing I’ll never outgrow.


There are other things I could mention…other things I want you to know…

but it’s time for you to feed me…we’ll learn the rest together as we grow.


For now these 10 things will do…10 things that will help ease all our stresses and fears

at least I think it’s 10…I’m not sure…I wont learn to count for another few years.


(I imagine each baby’s book would be a little different but similar in many ways…

filled with each baby’s specific advice…10 things they’d like to say.

View joy's Full Portfolio



I remember her funeral as if it was yesterday…instead of a long time ago.

I remember it was the first step…the beginning of letting go.


The moment we realized…like a summer breeze gently whistling through a tree…

the person who made us smile for a while…is now a memory.


I remember how she loved babies…to her babies had a special charm.

I remember wondering if she noticed the baby at her funeral nestled in her mother’s arms.


This person had a passion for life…a warmth…a smile that would glow.

and though I didn’t know everything about her…I knew all I needed to know.


I knew she was honest and generous…I knew she was gentle, accepting and kind

and when that baby in her mother’s arms began to fuss…I knew she wouldn’t mind.


I think she would have loved her service…it was filled with tributes and scriptures and song…but that same service in that baby’s mind began to run a little long.


She began to cry louder and louder…interrupting the silence and solemnity…

but I didn’t mind it in the least…her cries were like a hymn to me.


I thought the moment she started crying…the service was improved…

and I knew the person we were saying goodbye to would wholeheartedly approve.


There is so much we don’t understand about life and death…I’m glad we don’t know everything…it means we’re free to wonder if a baby crying is one way the angels sing.


Free to ponder at the funeral of a friend…when we hear a baby cry…

if that’s how the angels welcome them to heaven…as we all say goodbye.

View joy's Full Portfolio




Some people look to the heavens for miracles…they search the clouds…the skies…

for me…when I want to see a miracle…I look into a baby’s eyes.


When I need a little boost…a bit of encouragement…some relief from sorrow or strife….a baby’s eyes remind me of the miracle of life.


It’s not only the way a baby looks out at me that makes my heart begin to spin…it’s also all the things I see…when I am looking in.


I see strength and I see courage…I see a willingness to learn.

I see wisdom in a baby’s eyes…as my gaze they happily return 


I see eyes that will grow with knowledge absorbed throughout the years 

I see a lifetime filled laughter…I see a sprinkling of tears.


Yes, I am constantly amazed in a baby’s eyes at all the miraculous things I see…

I see innocence…and beauty…I see magic and purity.


I see a future just beginning…sometimes it leaves me numb…

as I see wonder…and possibilities…and the promise of things to come.


For I know one of the wonders in a baby’s eyes…one perk…one benefit…one plus…

is how, when we are looking into their eyes…they are looking out at us.


And I hope when babies do the looking…when into our eyes they stare

they will find our love, our acceptance and our kindness waiting for them there.


From this they will learn an invaluable lesson…as they continue each day to grow

which will be a great comfort to them…wherever, in life, they go..


They will learn…whenever they want to see a miracle…

they won’t have to search the heavens…

Instead they would be wise

to find the nearest baby…and look into their eyes.

View joy's Full Portfolio




The other day as I headed out on the early walk I always take…in the silence of the morning I heard those familiar sounds a baby makes.


And I thought…isn’t this a wonderful way for a new day to begin…so, as those sounds drifted to me on the morning breeze, I stopped to drink them in.


A cry…a coo…a gurgle…these and other sounds arose…indistinguishable to me…but sounds, I’m sure, his Mommy knows.


That day also happened to be our eldest grandson’s 24th birthday…and as I stood there…on a whim…my memory took me back to a time when those same sounds…came from him.


And I found myself smiling as those sounds…24 years apart…blended together into a symphony…a symphony for my heart.


Later that day as we talked to Damien on the phone…I thought back to his first cry…and gurgle…and coo…and how in 24 years those sounds have transformed into Nana and PopPop…I love you.


And I hope those baby sounds I heard this morning at the beginning of my day…with a little love…over time…will transform in the same way.


I know what you’re thinking…in all these years we’ve watched his life unfold…if our grandson is 24…why don’t Deborah and I look old?


Wait! That’s not what you were thinking…you would not be so inclined…

You’re telling me that how young we look…never crossed your mind!


Well, that’s too bad for if it did the answer is quite simple…

and it’s a reason that often goes unsung…

The sounds our grandchildren make…

will always keep us young

View joy's Full Portfolio


The first time I see a newborn…I am always a bit surprised at the wonder I experience when I look into their eyes.


I see a future that looks rosy…one that, no doubt, for the parents will come too fast…but as I glimpse into their future from my present…in their eyes I also see their past.


They are surrounded by family and friends…who, by their expressions, already adore them…but also in their expressions I see the faces of all those who came before them.


I see Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, Uncles, Aunts…everyone smiling and glad…

I see brothers and sisters…nephew’s and cousins…I see Mom and I see Dad.


And when I look a little closer I see how all these faces harmonize…It appears to me as plain as day…when I look into their eyes.


How lucky are the newborns…not only because of all those people who’d been awaiting them…but for all the people in their past who played a huge part in creating them.


This is why when I see a newborn…I will always be surprised…at the wonder I experience…when I look into their eyes.

View joy's Full Portfolio


our neighbors recently had a baby boy and near as I can tell…not only will he affect his parents…but also the house in which they dwell.


The first change I noticed…(again, I presume, the first of many more)…

there is a light on in the bedroom when I walk…earlier than Ive ever seen a light before.


I imagine the baby is waking up in the middle of the night…because that’s what baby’s do…which means Mommy and Daddy and the house has been awakened too.


And I began to wonder as I saw that light…with all that will come to be…if the house is ready for all the changes…all the transformations he will see.


Is he ready for the different noises he will hear throughout the years?  Is he ready for the joys…the laughter…is he ready for the tears?


Is he ready for all the sleepless nights…is he ready for all the stress?  Is he ready for crayon marks upon his walls…is he ready for the mess? 


Is he ready for all the times the color of that room will change or the different posters that will be tacked upon his door?  

Is he ready for all the times a worried parent will pace back and forth across his floor?


Is he ready when the boy is young to watch him sleeping like a lamb or for when he grows a little older…all the times his door will slam?


Will he be ready, after years adjusting, about the time he’s prepared for his boy to stay…that his boy will also be ready…and prepared to move away?


And when his boy comes back to visit…will he stand up proud…put his best face on…feeling joy at his return…knowing he will miss him when he’s gone?


“I hope you’re ready, house.” I whispered as I saw the light shining through his window frame…You’re about to take wild ride…and your life will never be the same.”


Then glancing back at our house…where long ago a similar adventure began…

“It will all be over much too quickly.’ I said…”so enjoy it while you can”.



View joy's Full Portfolio



Whenever I see a baby passing by me on the street

I smile…

you see I’m captivated by their baby hands and baby feet.


It reminds me of the miracle of birth


how swiftly our time goes

when I see their little fingers…

and count their little toes.


I remember when my children and grandchildren were babies…

Was it really that long ago

when I held their baby hands in mine

and tickled their baby toes?


And again I think how time moves ever onward

does not stop

will not repeat

and how we must cherish every moment 

of baby hands and baby feet.


Knowing babies grow up…

that it’s all part of the plan

I look into the parents' eyes and whisper…


“Enjoy this while you can”.

View joy's Full Portfolio


Yesterday on the news I saw people fighting across the sea…

and as I witnessed hate in our own country this thought occurred to me…


That when it comes to the news…photographed up close or from high above

we are shown a lot of hate…and not a lot of love.


Oh, occasionally there are happy stories we are meant to comprehend

but these are not the first we hear…they’re usually thrown in at the end.


So I was pleasantly surprised yesterday by a story that reminded me who we are

It showed a father singing to his baby who was prone his guitar.


This father sang a lullaby…his baby listened without making a peep

and slowly as the father sang his baby drifted off to sleep.


And when the song was over…a happy tear was shed 

as the father leaned down gently and kissed his baby on his head.


It was nice to see and hear a story that brought a joyous tear…a smile

and made me forget about all the bad news…

if only for a while.


I know there’s bad news all around…we cannot hide our eyes

every day there is fighting, war, destruction…every day the people cry.


But it seems to me amidst these stories…which come in colors black and blue

we should be looking harder to find the love that’s out there too.


I pray for day there is less bad news…

I pray to the heavens and the stars…

for the day we have less stories about hate…


and more babies on guitars.

View joy's Full Portfolio