ah autumn, breath of joy, children's literature, compassion, Currency Exchange, featured, ingenuity, Kathy Joy, op-ed

The Currency of Caring

So many of life’s decisions are money-driven: which college is most affordable for my graduate? … will the family be okay if something happens to me? … should I retire now, or wait a few years? … are those investments growing or will they be in the tank soon? Curbside, or in-store shopping?

It’s a luxury, really, to be able to ask these questions. Many of the families we affect through our writings are wondering how to heat the house, never mind investments or 401-K’s.

They are scrambling to keep the kids in school and deciding which creditors can be paid this month. Sure, some regrettable choices have landed them in a world of hurt, but aren’t we all one emotion shy of making the wrong choice?

Our resilient hearts are possibly the most valuable currency we have. One thing we can all bank on, for sure: we have the currency of caring.

ah autumn places your gps cannot locate
intersection of Hurt and Healing, the crossroads of Anger & Release, and the junction of Loss & Joy.

These intangibles — these treasures of survival —  are the currency that can never be stolen, lost or wrongly invested.

Let’s take a look at our impressive portfolio:

We have …

  • The bankroll of unexpected blessings.
  • The treasury of compassion.
  • The cache of childlike wonder.
  • The treasure chest of non-judgment.
  • The abundance of laughter.
  • The nest egg of Resilience.
  • The wealth of watchfulness; of caring for ourselves and each other.
  • The riches of simple joys, shared.

We have the coinage of humility; something we all should carry like extra quarters in our pockets if only to feed the meter of kindness.

Tending to life.

A brief little phrase that packs a wallop.

Can we all just take a moment for:

  • An elbow-bump, maybe even an air hug?
  • How about making soup for a shut in neighbor?
  • Taking a few minutes to shovel the sidewalk for someone else?

polished beach glass rough and tumbleIt just feels like Hope x 1,000 when I look around and see us tending to life.

As we continue being tossed and jostled by the turbulent waters of Covid-19 and a contentious election year, may we emerge smoothed and beautiful – like polished beach glass.

Kathy Joy is the author of the Breath of Joy Series and Will You Hold My Story, a child’s picture book, to be released in early 2021.
Kathy Joy, author

Book cover draft Will You Hold My Story

 

ISBN: 9780997162561 Our best-selling memoir by Golden Writers Joseph Byk and Lynn Byk. Funny, life-giving and wise.
Old man pats girl in title, Will You Hold My Story? by Kathy Joy
Old man walks away with his heavy stories from “Will You Hold My Story” by Kathy Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rolling Forward

By wordsmith Kathy Joy

A page from Simply Summer, a Breath of Joy

 

A quote is hanging in the office of a colleague at my place of work: a building that, due to circumstances, is currently inhabited by a small percentage of our workforce.

This common quote is something a wise driving coach or a life coach might say.

“Even though there are days I wish I could change some things that happened in the past, there’s a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big. Where you’re headed is much more important than what you’ve left behind.”

Anonymous

The majority of my workmates are putting in their time remotely, sometimes passing through the building briefly to touch base, retrieve something, or peer curiously back into a world we evacuated in 2020. The rearview mirror seems so small, but the effects of yesterday have changed our courses.

How prophetic, then, as we drive forward into an uncertain future, to think of the windshield as our point of reference: Where we are headed is far more important than what we’ve left behind. Even this gradual return to “normal” will not look like the “old normal” we once knew.

The band, Pearljam, made their song, Rearview Mirror, popular by not delicately expressing the problems with seeing something vividly once and then having a hard time letting it go in order to move ahead.

That rearview mirror? It’s a handy reference tool, and we can check to see who’s following us into the unknown.

  • Good company or bad, we can keep an eye on them.
  • Look through that big windshield for the great things that await.
  • We’re getting some new dreams and goals to replace the old.
  • Let’s hang on and enjoy the ride.

Finally, whatever regrets or chaos you’ve found in the rearview mirror holding your attention, or slowing you down … let that stuff go. Keep driving forward into the next Great Adventure.

A page from Simply Summer, a Breath of Joy
Kathy Joy, Author of the Breath of Joy calendarial gift books

Kathy Joy writes daily for her local county government, is an experienced and popular radio DJ, and is also a guest blogger for Books For Bonding Hearts See more on her personal blog, Coffee with Kathy. She is available for speaking engagements and holiday events. Book Kathy Joy!

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The Metaphor Bridge

By Tonya Jewel Blessing


A bridge is a meeting place, a possibility, a metaphor

Jeanette Winterson

Last Sunday, Chris and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law, toured the covered bridges in Ashtabula County in northeast Ohio. The region borders Pennsylvania. We viewed approximately ten bridges located almost exclusively on hard-to-find backcountry roads. The weather was delightful, and the homemade fried pies we found at a roadside stand delicious.

The quote by Jeannette Winterson is a new favorite of mine. As an author, I am also looking for a meeting place with other authors and readers; a possibility of sharing my books on numerous platforms; and direction, even in the form of a metaphor, about how to engage people with my writing.

Most of the bridges we viewed were old and worn, yet sturdy in form and function. Since my novels are set in the late 1920s, I understand the old and worn. I enjoy writing about legends, history, folklore, and people of the past. As an author, with the help of wonderful editors, I stick with writing form and function as much as possible. I do, however, lack form and function when it comes to marketing. I am constantly and consistently looking for new platforms to promote my books. Capture Books, a publishing house, has been extremely instrumental in helping me and has thankfully spurred me onward. Laura Bartnick is my representative. Her innovative ideas keep me on my toes.

This month, I am pleased to say that some new bridges have been crossed. An organization that promotes books that feature minority characters, Diversity Between the Pages, wrote an amazing blog about my latest novel. I have a podcast interview set up for next week. I am in the processing of writing an article for a Christian magazine, and I am excited about an virtual book tour with Prism Book Tours, on June 22-26.

Whether you are a writer, singer, teacher, leader, or dreamer remember to engage in bridge meetings, entertain possibilities, and examine metaphors.

Tonya Jewel Blessing

Tonya Blessing is an international speaker and author. You can plan to book her today through her agent, https://booksforbondinghearts.com/contact/.




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Lilacs and the Silence In Between

By Kathy Joy Hoffner

We’re experiencing some threshold moments: the silent in-between spaces where we have left something behind but have not yet entered the next portal. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart expressed it this way,

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence in between.”

Breath of Joy: by Kathy Joy

That interval between moments? That’s the space where we can be awake and ready for the next wonder.

You know what’s really beautiful in this moment?
The lilacs.

Nature considers them “essential” as they hang in abundant clusters from their branches. They have shown up to spread the fragrance of the familiar into our world of ambiguity.
With little regard for restrictions, the lilacs and magnolias, dogwoods and redbuds, are shaking off the grip of winter and spreading their glory onto a grateful canvas.

They are doing the essential work of being beautiful and sending healing.

Silent caregivers, these delicate buds nurture us back to curiosity; we are re-honing our ability to be astonished.

“Honor the space between no longer and not yet.”

Nancy Levin, Network for Gratefulness
Singing Spring, by Kathy Joy, photos by David T. Sayer, Glenn Damon

If we are stuck living inside the uncertainty, it’s at least really nice to look around at what’s real; what returns and wildly splashes color onto the landscape — year after year.

Be watchful. It only happens in the silence in-between. Let’s try to hold these moments with greater openness, in that uneasy experience of curiosity and trust.

Lunch Jab

Kathy Joy is the author of the gift book series, Breath of Joy. She is available for a variety of retreats, speaker events, and conferences. Book her now through her agent. https://booksforbondinghearts.com/contact/

Book Cover, Singing Spring
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Cracked Leather, Split Soles, Tattered Laces

By Kathy Joy, author of the Breath of Joy Seasonal Coffee Table Books

“Good Shoes Take You To Good Places” Seo Min Hyun

One thing we’re not using much of these days is shoes. I don’t know about you, but I’m mostly going barefoot around the house. 

Shoe wear is optional while we remain sequestered at home.

A comfy pair of sneakers park themselves at my door for the occasional walk to the mailbox, or happily, a walk around the block; other than that, my work shoes lie dormant in the hall closet, grumpy about neglect and murmuring obscenities in the dark, behind the closet door.

There’s an artist in Fort Myers, Florida, who is busy painting sandals with messages of love and hope, decorating them with jewelry and then stringing them onto a line. Her name is Annette Brown, and her message is simple: “I think everybody needs to reach inside themselves and create something because we are all artists in whatever form.”

Annette’s neighbors are stepping up, decorating sneakers and pumps and sandals, creating visual reminders of creativity and survival. 

It has become an outdoor gallery of curated shoe art. People are out walking, and they are looking up.

Dangling Shoes
Shoes on the telephone line

Life-giving messages are written, painted and glued onto the shoes to spread cheer for all passers-by.

Shoes are a pretty accurate reflection of our personalities – much like each our own handwritten signature, they are seals of style, a unique identifier for “you”, “me”, fashionable “us”.

On a walk recently I came across an old, worn-out pair of men’s work boots on a neighbor’s front porch. The leather was cracked, their soles were split and their laces tattered. Even so, they looked amazing. 

Because inside of them, some creative person had planted a bright bunch of impatiens.
The flowers nodded in the breeze as if to say, “Look! We can bloom here and re-purpose even this ratty pair of boots!”

New life inside of worn-out containers.

No longer serviceable for feet, yet perfectly whimsical to hold a cluster of perennials.
We’re kind of like that: our bodies feel worn out at times, like a pair of old shoes.
Tired, achy, holding the shape of a hug from six feet away. But, infuse laughter, spring flowers, a hug of safety, some repurposing, and our souls fill up these bodies with sudden vitality.

If we think of our weary souls as conduits for beauty, then maybe we can feel a new infusion of love, peace, kindness and growth. With good soil, water, sunshine and God’s provision, a worn-out soul can be rejuvenated.

We, like that shabby pair of work shoes, are quietly being re-purposed for the future.
Strange soil is spilling into the holes. Unnecessary things are being shed. New and hybrid Seeds are being planted inside our worn leather, things that will sprout in due time and declare our resilience in new fruit and sweet blossoms. These things will delight our private days as well as our days when we are all back together.

Wiggle your toes and step into that.

“How beautiful are the feet of the messenger who brings good news!” Romans 10:15

Jodi Jensen, watercolor artist

This blog supports www.booksforbondinghearts.com, and Capture Books Publishing Group, timely gifts for all seasons. Please visit the link to see my seasonal books, the “Breath of Joy! series. Breath of Joy! Singing Spring is a favorite this time of year.

Kathy Joy, Author of the Breath of Joy calendarial gift books
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