Ode to Joy

joyWhen I was employed and was actually paid to write, I worked with a young woman who had the same hours as me – we came in early in the morning and left in the neighborhood of 4 o’clock. So she and I were about the only ones in the office for an hour or so each morning. I was usually the first to arrive, but each morning, just as soon as she arrived and had put her lunch in the fridge and turned on her computer, she came to my office, sat down, and commenced complaining.

Now, I have told you all before that I think I tend to be a glass-half-empty kind of person, especially as compared to Bill, who sees the glass half full even if the glass is totally empty. But, compared to this fellow employee, I wore rose colored glasses. She didn’t limit her complaints to work, though she did complain a fair amount about her job. But she complained about her husband, and whined about her mother, and grumbled about the weather or her health or what she had for dinner the night before.

It really got to the point that I considered not turning on my light for a bit just to put off listening to her gripe for a bit longer. But then I would remind myself that maybe my listening to her complaints got everything off her chest and she was as cheerful as can be the rest of the day. Somehow I don’t think so.

Blessed are they who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy….

Not that I want to tell God how to do his work (and I say that while cautiously looking up to dodge the lightning bolt) but it seems as though Jesus could have saved himself the three years of teaching by just climbing the mountain and preaching the Beatitudes the day after the Cana wedding. Because they pretty much say everything Jesus taught for his full three years in just a few sentences.

Really, think about it. The rich man and the eye of the needle. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. He who is without sin shall cast the first stone. All of these lessons taught by Jesus say the same thing: Always be humble and kind.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.

According to our homilist, the word from which the term blessed in the Beatitudes is translated means so much more than blessed in its original language. (Greek? Aramaic? Hebrew? See? I’m a biblical scholar.) He said that there is no single English word that translates the full meaning of the word. Blessed is partially correct, but overflowing with joy is closer to the correct translation.

So what is my takeaway from the Beatitudes? That what God wants for us is to be overflowing with joy, and moreover, to be sharing this same abundant joyfulness with others through love and humility and kindness and a gentle spirit. Because just like being around a grouchy person like the woman with whom I worked can make you crabby yourself, being with someone full of joy can make you joyful as well, because abundant joy is contagious.

After all, Jesus concluded the beatitudes with these words: Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

I’m determined to encourage joy through my own joy. It should be quite easy as the temperatures at our AZ home are finally creeping into the 70s this week.


This post linked to the GRAND Social

Thursday Thoughts

Christmas in July
The Colorado weather is being finicky once again. Several rainy days in a row, with temperatures struggling to get into the high 60s. Seriously, Tuesday and Wednesday were so chilly I was toying with the idea of turning on the heat. I dug my heels in, however. I WILL NOT RUN HEAT THE WEEK OF JULY 4TH!

diving dagny

How on earth does that tiny body stay warm?

Too Cold to Swim
I watched the four McLain kids Monday and Tuesday while their mom was out of town and their dad was at work. Dagny and Alastair had a dive meet onTuesday. A woman came to the door, and I cheerfully handed them off to her, hoping like hell it was the person with whom I had been instructed to send them. She seemed friendly, and the kids didn’t look panicked. I’m happy to say they were returned safely, if cold as a Russian winter. Seriously, Dagny – who has not a single extra ounce of fat on her little skinny body – was shivering like a wet dog after his bath. But she was proud of her 5th place ribbon!

Seared Skin
Monday night, when Dave came to pick up the kids, I invited them all to stay for dinner. I was making a delicious dinner called Chicken au Champagne. Sounds like the perfect dinner for kids, right? Anyway, it involves searing the chicken in an oven-proof skillet, and then putting said skillet in the oven to finish cooking the chicken. I did all of that, and when the chicken was done, I took it out of the oven and set it on the rangetop so that I could find a pretty dish on which to serve the chicken. I set the serving dish down by the skillet and proceeded to grab the skillet by the handle with my bare hands. Seriously? Is there anything stupider that a supposedly experienced cook could do? I absolutely KNOW that when a skillet comes out of the oven, you are supposed tie a towel around the handle to protect you from your own forgetfulness. I quickly put my hand under cold running water and I’m happy to say that there was very little damage done. My hand hurt a bit that night, but it was all better by the next day. In the words of our friend Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Good Eats
I always thought Addie would be the grandchild who would be a chef. It’s true that she likes to cook, and is quite adept at the art. Still, I Alastair and shrimpfind that it really is 10-year-old Alastair who likes to eat and is knowledgeable about which spices would taste good on what. He has quite a sophisticated palate. One morning when I was babysitting and getting the kids ready for school, I watched as they all packed their lunches. Peanut butter and jelly for a couple, and plain turkey meat for one. But Alastair went to the freezer, pulled out a ciabatta roll, carefully cut it, toasted it, laid his turkey meat and swiss cheese on the bread, and put a lovely piece of

These are the spices he chose from his mom's pantry.

These are the spices he chose from his mom’s pantry.

green leaf lettuce on the sandwich. I half expected him to pull out a little half-bottle of a young pinot noir to tuck in beside the sandwich. The other night they invited us over for burgers and brats. Alastair had prepared shrimp for an appetizer. He had marinated the shrimp in wonderful spices and grilled them himself. They were simply delicious, as you can see from the photo. I will tell you that he doesn’t necessarily wear a helmet while grilling. I caught him just as he was about to take off on his Razor scooter.


Shortly after seeing the movie Inside Out, Maggie Faith, Kaiya, and Mylee set out to recreate the characters using the medium of Play Doh. Let’s see Pixar do that! I invite you to notice details such as Sadness’ glasses and Disgust’s eyelashes.

in and out characters

L-R: Anger, Joy, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust


The actual characters: l-r, Anger, Fear, Joy, Disgust, and Sadness





Thursday Thoughts

Thinking Outside the Bun, Again
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about our disappointing visit to Taco Bell, I want to tell you that I sent a comment to the head honchos (why, that sounds like something that would be served at Taco Bell!)  at Taco Bell Corporation. It felt mean to blast them in my blog and not let anyone know that they have a rogue store. I assure you I’m not trying to get a free Dorito-flavored taco out of them. I wonder if I will hear something from them, however.

The Sleepover
We had made plans for Kaiya and Mylee to have a sleepover last week, but something came up and it didn’t work out. Instead, the two girls came over Monday and spent the night. Sometime late Monday morning, Maggie Faith telephoned me and asked if she, too, could spend the night. Why not, I thought. They can keep each other busy. Well, let me tell you, the three of them had the best time. Especially Maggie and Kaiya, who are the same age. Mylee is a bit of a happy loner, though she will wander in and out of games. Maggie and Kaiya shared a room, Kaiya sleeping with her head at the head of the bed and Maggie sleeping with her head at the foot of the bed. It didn’t look terribly comfortable, but they were happy. When Mylee woke up Tuesday morning, the first words out of her mouth were, “Nana, I’m having the best time I’ve ever had.”

Take Me to the Movies
As part of their treat, I took Kaiya and Mylee to see Inside Out, the new Pixar movie. I enjoyed it very much, and the girls enjoyed it too. I thought the theme might be a bit vague for them, but they loved every minute. For my part, I was heartily impressed, as always, at the animation. What astounded me was that the characters actually resembled the actors who provided their voices. Such creativity. It is so nice that kids’ movies now are also enjoyable for the adults. Man, that wasn’t the case when Court was young. I sat through many a Smurf or Transformer movie that was just dismal. I love that movies today have lines that are funny for the adults and not offensive for the kids. Five stars for Inside Out. Borrow a grandkid, niece, nephew, or neighbor kid.

More Movies
Bill and I went to see a movie as part of our anniversary extravaganza. We saw Spy, with Melissa McCarthy. It was hysterically funny, if equally off-color. We loved it. We went to a movie theater that had reclining seats. I was afraid either Bill or I would fall asleep, but we managed to stay awake. Can you imagine? Reclining seats. What will they think of next?


See? Smirking.

Scullery Maid
Our new dishwasher was delivered earlier this week, and Bill’s installation was going to be a piece of cake. Except that it wasn’t. The wiring was screwy, (sometime soon I’m going to write a blog post about home building practices in homes built in the 1970s) requiring the need for an electrician, who finally appeared late yesterday. I guess it was too much to ask that they drop all their existing orders to rush to our house to work on ours. Until the dishwasher is installed, Bill has had to shut off our water in the kitchen. So, in the meantime, we are carrying our dirty dishes into the laundry room and washing them there. By hand. Like Daisy in Downton Abbey before she got her edukashun. In the meantime, my lovely new dishwasher sits in the kitchen smirking at me.


What it felt like….

Stormy Weather
Yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock, I rode my scooter to the grocery store to pick up food to grill. There were a few rain clouds off in the distance. At 4:30, Bill and I were sitting out on our patio watching the birds at their feeder. At 5 o’clock, dark clouds began to form like a film that is on high-speed. At 5:10, my telephone began beeping that there was a tornado WARNING in our area and telling us to take shelter immediately. I’m not exaggerating. It was that quick. Of course, instead of rushing downstairs, Bill began working

What it actually looked like...

What it actually looked like…

underneath the sink, trying to get the water turned back on. I texted my loved ones: Are you safe? Dave, Jll, and the kids were safe and sound in their basement. Court, on the other hand, responded to my text saying Yes, why, is something wrong? All was normal in my world.