Her dad was the kindest, gentlest man she ever knew…he was always humble…never mean…he could grow anything in his garden…he was born with his two thumbs…green.


He often told her the important lessons of life…those you really need to know…can be found by planting a garden and watching the flowers grow.


A garden teaches you to participate in life…that your seeds you have to sow…if you’re ever to enjoy a garden…if want to see your flowers to grow


A garden teaches you are not alone in life but part of an endless chain…that although a garden needs your care and love it also needs the sunshine and the rain.


A garden teacher patience…for once the seeds are planted…even when your love and encouragement is steady…every flower in the garden blooms only when it’s ready.


As she took the time to remember her father…while smiling…deep in thought…she remembered perhaps the most important lesson her father ever taught.


“Dad, that plant is so ugly.” She remembers saying. “That one growing up against the fence…it’s too stringy and it’s filled with thorns…planting it makes no sense.”


“It might not look like much now,” her dad said. “It may look a little awkward…it’s not growing very straight…but I can tell you from experience…some things are worth the wait.”


And so against her better judgement she waited…until one morning from the window of her room…she noticed on the top of that ugly plant…two roses in full bloom.


She ran up to her dad in the garden saying, “Dad…it’s so bizarre!

after all this time being ugly…how beautiful they are.”


Her dad smiled, nodded his head…then gently held her hand…

“I told you if you were patient”, he said…”one day you’d understand.”


He said, “Flowers are a lot like people…they can delight and they can beguile…

but their true beauty doesn’t shine through until the moment they choose to smile.” 

View joy's Full Portfolio



Love and truth and beauty…we are constantly searching for their signs…

until we learn the subtle art of reading between the lines.


In our cribs…lying on our backs is most likely the very first place 

we learn to read between the lines of the smiles on a parent’s face.


Reading between the lines of their smiles as they beam down from up above…

we find their beauty…we discover their truth…we experience their love.


As we grow a little older eventually there comes a day 

we learn to read between the lines of everything our parents’ do…and say.


Between the lines of their smiles, their eyes,  their touch…we begin to read…

how they are trying in this life to give us…everything we need.


There comes a time when we’re older, however, when we think what they are telling us is unkind and unfair…

but if we take the time to read between the lines we find their love is waiting there.


And If we’re lucky enough to find someone to love…a partner…where our two loves intertwine….

we find joy in spending the rest of our lives reading between each other’s lines.


As we grow in age and wisdom…the more and more our planet turns…

the more experiences we have…the more and more we learn


how, when we read between the lines of life so much insight is provided…

how between the lines is where… love and truth and beauty…always have resided.


And as together we grow old and wrinkled…

when it comes to love and truth and beauty…

we longer need search for signs…


in all our years together…

we have gotten pretty good

at reading between the lines.

View joy's Full Portfolio



The best advice I ever received about growing old…I offer now to you:

It came from an old married couple…She had just turned 80…he was 82


You are going to love this couple… before I met them I was told

and that was true as their energy and their love was a wonder to behold.


They would drive across the country to see their children and grandchildren for they could think of nothing greater…

The young 80 year old did all the driving while the old man was the navigator.


She pictured herself a race car driver…for her…speed was all the rage…

“When I get on the highway,” she’d say, “I like to drive my age.”


She was proud of her driving accomplishments…how she was always early…never late…and she bragged how’d she’d gotten a speeding ticket in almost every state.


One day they stopped long enough for me to ask, “Hey, you two…what’s your secret…won’t you help me see…the mystery to all your energy…the key to your vitality?”


They smiled at one another and immediately I was caught by the way they gave me this advice by finishing each other’s thought.


“Life is precious.” He said. “We plan to enjoy it or as long as we can.” 

We figure at our age.” She continued. “If we stop we might not get started again.”


Eventually, as Emily Dickinson wrote, (just one of her many gems)

‘Because they would not stop for death…it kindly stopped for them.’


But not until they blessed me with the advice I follow every time my two feet meet the road….

given to me by an older couple 

long ago…

who in their many years together…

always loved and never slowed. 


View joy's Full Portfolio



Life is like a pendulum…rhythmically swinging to and fro…

it swings back and forth through opposing forces wherever we may go.


Nothing ever stays the same…our world is in a constant sway…

it’s like there are a multitude of pendulums swinging every day.


We come, we go…we give, we take…sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail…

we sleep, we wake…we have highs and lows…we breathe in, we exhale.


We’re at war, we’e at peace…we create, we destroy…we agree and we disagree…

we feel sorrow, we feel joy…we ‘re serious, we’re silly…we are a friend, we are an enemy.


We laugh, we cry…we’re foolish, we’re wise…sometimes we are the patient, sometimes the nurse…

we love, we hate…we’re true, we’re false…why we even marry for better or for worse


It doesn’t matter where we’re from, who we are, or our individual upbringing…

the rhythm of time doesn’t stop…the pendulums keep swinging.


There are times we know the length of the arc…like from sunrise to sunset…

while other swings are indefinite…like through sorrow…or regret.


Sometimes the pendulum seems to swing high and fast…like how quickly our family grows…

Sometimes when we’re lost in sorrow…it seems to swing so slow.


Most of the time we have no control over its distance or its flight…

and the best we can do is climb aboard…close our eyes…and hold on tight.


If we’re lucky along the way we realize the pendulum doesn’t just swing…it glides…

so we sit upon its bob…hold on…and try to enjoy the ride.


All the time praying the pendulum will swing quickly through our sorrow…allowing us to retain our smile…

and when it swings to joy…we pray it lingers there a while.


View joy's Full Portfolio





From the moment we are born we begin our journey down the river of time…it’s the same river everyone travels…it’s where all our journey’s blend…however…we don’t control how long we’ll be on the river…or when our journey ends.


We are floating solo…on the river of time there is no boat…

what determines the type of journey we will have is how we choose to float


If we float with love in our hearts…with kindness, compassion and honesty…with our hearts unburdened we are light up on the water and we float more effortlessly.


We float more peacefully this way…how smoothly across the water we glide…we lay back, allowing the current to take us…and there’s a good chance…we enjoy the ride.


If we float with anger, hatred and resentment…this burdens our heart…acting like weights…pulling us down…and as we float across the water…there’s a good chance we might drown.


Our floating is more labored…more painful….our discomfort we can’t hide…we work to keep our heads above the water and it’s so much harder to enjoy the ride.


Knowing our journey on the river of time will one day come to an end…as it does for everyone…there is a question we must ask ourselves before our journey’s done…


Since our ride will not last forever…since one day our time on the river will cease…

would we rather float in pain…

or do we prefer to float in peace.

View joy's Full Portfolio



The moment we are born…that precious moment when we wake…the hands of Fate take the hourglass filled with the sands of our life and give it a little shake.


And as we take our first breath…in a move time-tested and deft…Fate turns our hourglass over…revealing the amount of sand we have left.


Fate is the only one who knows the amount of sand our hourglass contains…We never get to see it…never have a chance to count how many grains remain…


Fate is the only one who knows how large our hourglass is…how wide…how far-reaching…how tall…Fate is the only one who knows if we are meant to live a long life…or if our hourglass is small.


I imagine our creators hoped, by not telling us the size of our hourglass, we would come to understand…how this life we’re given is to be cherished and not to waste one grain of sand.


I imagine they had hoped we would discover the key to what life is all about….

to live a peaceful, 


and loving life…

until our sand runs out.


View joy's Full Portfolio



I finished high school and graduated college…I read books both large and small…but I am not an expert on anything at all.


Not being an expert on parenting although three children I helped raise means all throughout their childhood I was constantly amazed.


Not knowing what to do as a parent…never knowing exactly what it takes…means every day is an adventure and we’re free to learn from our mistakes.


I am not an expert botanist…when it comes to botany…I haven’t got a clue…in a world that’s filled with flowers and trees…I can only name a few.


But not understanding everything about them…or how they came to be…means I am free to enjoy their wonder…the pure beauty that I see.


I am not an expert astronomer although among the stars I’ve dwelt…I can point out a few planets…and find Orion’s belt.


But not knowing everything about how the universe works means I’m constantly surprised…and why when I look up on a cloudless night I still get stardust in my eyes.


I think you get the picture…I am not an expert on anything…of this there is no doubt…

But I, for one, am glad there isn’t anything I know everything about.


Because that means my life is filled with surprises every night and more surprises every day…and speaking as a non-expert…

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

View joy's Full Portfolio



We never know in this life what in the next moment fate will bring…I suppose that’s why we spend so much time relishing in all the little things.


Like spending a day with our children…their children…our grandchildren too…

Like that smile of contentment on our faces…when the day is through.


Like driving in our car with the windows down on a cold Floridian night…

oohing and awing while taking pictures of our neighbors Christmas lights.


Like taking the time to write a letter…sending a friend our warm regards.

Like having a picnic at the picnic table on the patio in our back yard.


Like a walk under a starlit sky or a stroll along the shore…

Like dancing through our lives…with people we adore.


Like seeing a young girl sleeping on her kitchen floor…with her new puppy by her head…Because her parents told her that puppy’s too young to sleep with her in bed.


Like helping a young boy find a book in the bookstore…and having to smile and pause as he pays you with his own money then says, “Thank you Santa Claus.”


I imagine we all have them…little moments we compile…

Little things that give us pause…little things that make us smile.


It’s funny how, at the time they’re happening, they seem insignificant and small…but the more we live…the more we realize…they’re not so little after  all.


So here’s a toast to a life filled with little things…where each one is a shining star…and to realizing when it comes to the little things…

how big they truly are.



View joy's Full Portfolio



We watched our hometown Christmas parade the other day…under a clear cerulean sky…there in the comfort of our golf cart…we watched friends and family marching by.


There is a simple sweetness to a hometown parade that can never be outdone…it’s neighbors and families coming together…simply put…it’s fun!


We then joined a parade of people in town that evening for a Christmas the way it was celebrated long ago…there was Mrs. Claus and Santa, carriage rides, music, food…we even had fake snow.


Hey, it’s Florida and with the temperatures at 70° those were flakes of soap floating in the air…but by the smiles on the faces of the children…and the adults…no one seemed to care.


As we headed home that evening with the crescent moon above us glowing bright…we were treated to a parade of clouds floating across the night.


As I watched the clouds parade by…quiet and serene.

I thought about all the other parades…in my life I’ve seen.


Every morning at sunrise….a myriad of colors parading across the sky….

down by the water on our morning walk a host of birds and fish parading by.


On any given day…a parade of people we will greet…

an array of dogs and cats and rabbits…parading down the street.


A parade of birds and squirrels at our bird feeder…sometimes in this parade…a mouse…

Our friends grandchildren laughing and singing parading through our house.


As we neared home in the evening fog…touched by the ocean mist…

With the parade of parades parading in my mind…I wondered how many I might have missed….


I imagine, over time, many of the specifics of today’s parade will fade out of my brain…

But…and this is the beauty of our memory…some details will remain.


They will join a multitude of other memories…that through my life I’ve made…

To be remembered fondly whenever I have the pleasure of watching a parade. 




View joy's Full Portfolio