Always look for the JOY

Remember August 21, 2017? 

It was just a few weeks ago when  we were excited about the total solar eclipse within a band across the United States.

Remember the joy surrounding this rare event? Not only were scientists overjoyed, but businesses and schools announced closings and provided  special glasses for safe viewing. People gathered in large stadiums for eclipse parties to view this spectacular rare occurrence.  All eyes were on the sky and there was no mistaking, this was a joyous occasion.

Since then, there have been several major disasters and the joy has been obscured. We are in the middle of hurricane season and it has been a very active season. Such destruction like we’ve never seen. Along with hurricanes, have been earthquakes, fires and tornados. All uncontrollable happenings that have us scratching our heads to wonder, what’s next. 


We are just a week away from fall and it already has been a time when looking for the joy has been an almost impossible task. 

Finding joy doesn’t minimize the sadness and the devastation that is left behind after tragic situations.. 

We feel guilty for even thinking of continuing to find enjoyment in our lives when others are suffering.

Tragedy can tear us down or build  us up. We can dwell on it and keep living it day after day. But that activity keeps us from moving forward.

Through and after a tragedy, we can grow, learn, be compassionate, love and be loved. 

The joy is in finding the love and kindness that can always be found during the devastation.

Life’s challenges are not suppose to paralyze us. Joy is a healer and pushes us forward.


There are simple ways to bring back the joy that has seeped out through personal and/or other tragedies.

Enjoy your children or grandchildren. Children have periods of sadness and then just as quickly they can laugh and move on. Adults…..listen up.

It’s hard to be sad around a giggling child. 

A change of scenery is a way of putting the joy back in life. I don’t know about you, but a trip to the mountains does it for me. Just a few hours of breathing the air and gazing on the magnificence  makes me smile.


And always there is joy in helping someone else.  As we’ve heard countless times, its more blessed to give than receive.

Whatever you give, you will receive more in return. May sound like a cliché, but is so true.

Learn and study something new.

A few years ago, after a personal tragedy, I enrolled in a line dance class. Now that’s something  that requires focus  and concentration.

I didn’t want to be the one in the line that stood out because of all the mistakes my feet might be making. Line dancing became one of the ways  to help me find the joy in moving forward. 


I can’t leave this out. I find joy in decorating and redecorating. If you look at how many times I do this, you would think I am the most joyful person on earth. 

Find that activity that allows you to open up and find a renewed passion for life.

 When sadness comes, allow your tears to flow. And then your smile to shine.

When you have a choice…………always choose JOY.




How do you know when to quit?

For a while now, I have put the brakes on decorating and redecorating the cottage. Like  most decorators, I am of the mindset ….. it’s never done. I could continue with the process of making changes regularly or I could say “that’s it”.

I chose “that’s it!”     I’m going to say it’s done and focus time,  energy, and money  on other things.


(new paint color for front door. The boring white is gone.)


Before below…Yikes…

Since this picture…..replacement windows have been installed,(thanks to window world) shutters fixed and painted (thanks to the Mr.) new light fixture installed ( again thanks to the Mr.) ….mail box and railing  painted black (thanks to me) and front door painted (thanks to me also) What an improvement!!!Didn’t realize how bad is was  until I revisited this  old before picture.

Let’s go inside.

So when to you know when to quit? Let’s do a checklist

  1. Paint was a must. The inside of the cottage  had not been painted in years….I mean many years. You could see the imprint of pictures that use to hang on the wall.
  2. Furniture. We furnished 2 bedrooms, a dining room, living room, TV room and kitchen. Sounds like a lot of furniture. Some of the furniture was bought at yard sales, thrift shops and consignment shops. The two beds are new. Have you ever shopped Big Lots for furniture? Great prices on Sealy Mattresses. There’s my tip of the day. I also ordered a few sale items from Wayfair. These items will be used at the other house when we move back. My plan is to sell other pieces with the cottage or have a yard sale. We have a year to decide.
  3. Rugs. Rugs were needed to cover the old hardwood floors.  These 4 rugs were not expensive at all. They are neutral colors. I will be selling these at the end of the adventure.
  4. Window treatments. I resisted the urge to show off the new replacement windows and keep the windows uncovered. Privacy issues and keeping the heat out in the summer and cold in the winter made window treatments a necessity. All the windows needed 95 inch drapes.  As you know that can bankrupt a budget. The bedrooms had to have blinds and drapes. I used drapes I had in the TV room (3 windows), master bedroom (1 window)  and Dining room (2 windows). I caught a sale at Hobby Lobby to cover the 3 windows in the living room.  The guest bedroom has 3 windows and I found drapes at TJ Maxx that were the right color and price.
  5. Wall décor and accessories. This is where it gets tricky.  You have to know when to stop. These are the things that bring the personality , but it can be overdone.


When you think the room needs one more thing….it really doesn’t. When a room isn’t coming together and we can’t figure out  why…….. don’t think adding one more thing will pull it together. Sometimes it’s taking away that solves the problem.

Don’t overcrowd a room with too much furniture or accessories.


I was bringing house accessories to the cottage and taking them back the next week until I was second guessing myself on everything .  

Some of the things I was using just needed to be donated to charity. I wasted so much time trying to make it work and knowing it never would. I’m stubborn and cheap that way.


Do I love everything about the cottage now? Emphatically NO.

There are some things I would like to change, but know I won’t or can’t.  I am at a decorating place where it feels like home. The cottage will be our weekday home for another year. And I’m OK with how it looks and feels.





I will be doing holiday decorating, and other than that……it’s done!!



Summer Games

June has arrived…….the month that officially ushers in the beginning of summer.

Yay for Summer……….. the favorite season for  kids for the obvious reason. No School!!


For you grown up kids, don’t let the heat and humidity of summer keep you indoors under the comforts of air conditioning.

Get out and enjoy the beauties of summer and always have a camera handy..


Some of my  best memories, of the long days of summer,  are the games I played with my siblings and neighborhood kids..

Hide and seek, we played for hours, until it was too dark to see.


During the day, it was never too  hot for a game of baseball with the neighborhood kids.

And as it was just starting to get dark, we brought out the old mason jars to catch fire flies.

Back then we called them lightening bugs.

 We spent many morning or afternoon hours playing Red Rover or Simon Said.


With 5 siblings and neighborhood kids, we could team up for a game of Dodge Ball.

Tag, you’re it,  kept us occupied for hours. And sometimes we varied the tag game to freeze tag.


All summer we were never bored as we kept ourselves occupied without any of today’s modern technologies.


My games of summer have changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t change.

My need to be outdoors. I have  to get outside and spend time with nature.

The healing power of the sun can make you feel like a new person.


I don’t  “lay out” to get a tan anymore. but I ” get out” to get a good dosage of Vitamin D before the hottest part of the day.


Starting the day walking an hour and half around the neighborhood

is my physical and mental fitness program for the summer. 

What I see on the way to the library for my next favorite thing……..

Summer Reading………… Love, Mystery, Adventure, Drama, Comedy