Tag Archives: joy

To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.. ~ William Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.. ~ William Blake

I don’t know how I managed to kill the beautiful magnolia that had graced my front yard for the past twenty years. But the optimist in me saw it as an opportunity to choose a tree of my own.

My search began on the internet. I then quizzed my tree-hugging son, Patrick, about branching patterns and flower colors and the ability to live in a watered lawn environment.  After much deliberation I settled on another magnolia- the deciduous kind that flowers early in spring and leafs out after a spectacular show of color.

You have probably seen this tree in beautiful shades of pink and violet.  But I was curiously drawn to the description of the magnolia with a delicate butter yellow flower.  Now that it is in bloom, I am remembering why.

We lived in Whittier, California many moons ago and I used to drive my son, Peter, across town to El Rancho Presbyterian Pre-school.  Every Tuesday and Thursday morning we traveled down Greenleaf Ave. and took a left on Hadley, passing 100-year-old homes- some of them built at the turn of the century from Sears and Roebucks “kits”.

On one corner there was a dignified old two-story home with a majestic multi-branching tree that reached beyond the rooftop.  The house was painted the loveliest shade of butter yellow.  I would wonder at how they decided on that particular color.  It wasn’t anything like the homes around it.  It was so whimsical to me in the shadow of the stately front yard tree.

Then spring arrived and when we turned the corner from Greenleaf onto Hadley the secret was revealed.  The beautiful tree was in full bloom showing off hundreds of buttery yellow flowers- the exact color of the house.

Stunning.

It took my breath away.

In my imagination I decided that the first time the owners of that old stately home saw the tree in full bloom, they rushed to the nearby paint store with one of the delicate cups in order to match paint for the house.

In order to dazzle themselves and passer-byers with a work of art worthy of the finest museum.  If only for a yearly one- month exhibition.

I will never know if my fantasy is true.  I don’t even know if that tree is still standing. Perhaps some type A homeowner decided it was too “messy” and cut it down.  Maybe the house is now a modern shade of slate green.

Be that as it may, I have planted my own museum piece in my front yard.  It serves my fond memories of Whittier and El Rancho Presbyterian and my curly topped Peter. It makes me happy to see it bloom and thrive.

Who would imagine that a simple tree would bring such joy?

 

 

All Is Calm.. All Is Bright

All Is Calm.. All Is Bright

This is my next door neighbor’s house.  They are the first house on our street to have their lights up and their tree decorated.  I noticed this Sunday evening as I was walking to my mail box across the street. (I hadn’t had time to get my mail for a few days.)

I said to myself  Jeez!  A bit anxious aren’t we?  I then heard a voice in my ear saying “bah humbug..”.

I looked a little closer and noticed through the window people eating and laughing.  My neighbors were having a holiday party and the guests looked cozy and warm inside- the windows somewhat fogged from the heavy breathing, fun laughter, and everyone talking at the same time.

I was transfixed.

It was a rainy night yet I felt compelled to walk by their house again later that evening just to take it all in.  It was like a Norman Rockwell painting and it stirred within me a nostalgia for days less busy, less hurried and less hectic.  Days filled with the care and feeding of three little boys, putting together puzzles with them, dancing to wild music on the turntable and baking Christmas cookies.  Days when the mail man at the door was one of the most exciting events of the afternoon!

I have to admit, I’ve been a little bit of a Scrooge lately.  With a full time job, preparing for Christmas often feels like taking on an additional part time job!  It always has a lovely ending though the beginning can be rough, plagued by my bad attitude and feelings of impending doom.

Sunday night changed all that.  Something wrenched itself loose in me and I wanted what I saw inside my neighbor’s cheery and festive home.  Love and Joy.  Friendship and laughter.

All things calm and bright…

Let the wild rumpus begin!

 

 

Live Simply

Live Simply

This picture of my son, Peter, in our back yard in Whittier, California, takes me back to a time when life was much simpler.  Our morning ritual went something like this…

Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and then a tour of the vegetable garden to see what was newly sprouting and/or ready for harvest.

On this beautiful morning Peter uprooted a bumper crop of radishes and held them in awe and wonder only capable of a four year old reveling in his stay-at-home mom’s undivided attention. (Judging by Peter’s age I’m guessing Robert and Patrick were tucked neatly away at school for the day.)

The weed infested grass in the foreground wouldn’t win any awards I can guarantee you!  And our front yard was no different being that it was the designated area for the neighborhood slip and slide on hot afternoons.

But we were oblivious to the imperfections.  Life was good and we didn’t care what the neighbors thought. After all.. their kids were at our house playing and they were most likely home drinking ice tea and watching Phil Donohue!

During this lenten season I want to live more simply.  Drive less.  Spend less. Worry less.  Pray more while lying in Savasana pose after hot yoga class.  And find more joy in little things.  A phone call from my brother Mickey.  An impromptu lunch with a good friend.  An early morning stroll with a cup of black coffee (sans little boys, sadly) in my Morgan Hill garden to see what’s newly sprouting and/or ready for harvest.

 

Christmas Gifts.. Jump into Joy!

Christmas Gifts.. Jump into Joy!

Watch Patrick on YouTubewatch?v=YJH65jLvmv0

This is my son, Patrick, at our annual day after Thanksgiving Karaoke night at El Toro Brewery in Morgan Hill.

Talk about JOY!

Joy is having your family together for the holidays and making it user friendly by doing some of the activities that THEY like to do!  This annual Karaoke night has become a real crowd pleaser and is a great way to launch the holiday season for the Healy family.  Being that it’s Thanksgiving weekend, my sons have friends home from far and wide who come and reconnect with them over good beer and great entertainment.  Us “grown-ups” come along for the JOY!  (And sometimes we can be coerced to get up and sing… oh somebody twist my arm!)

Life is hard.  The holidays can be difficult. Feelings, memories, emotional baggage can all get stirred up inside us and we can get blue and nostalgic for the way things used to be or fantasize about how we would like our lives to be different.

OR we can take moments of JOY and string them together in order to get through the tough times.

When I think of the popular song Joy To The World I have visions of angels and peace on earth and heaven and nature singing.  How does that translate into the real world?

Perhaps it is at a Karaoke bar on a Friday night listening to your son singing Foxy Lady like nobody’s business!

BTW the beer is about $8 a pitcher.  The JOY is free!