Finding Hope and Joy

Dear Fellow Journalers,

There was a survey conducted recently that showed 57% of the respondents reporting “significant stress” about negative news reporting. There’s always been negativity in the world but it seems magnified to me lately. To someone undergoing “extreme stress” (loss of job, family issues, health problems) finding hope is, forgive me, “a joke.”

In order to move forward in your life, you need a hopeful attitude and Dr. Rosalind Tompkins founder of the National Month of Hope ( April) ) says that ” finding hope in everyday challenges is the first step in creating a solution. Here are some of her tips:

  • Take a hope break.  Schedule 5 minute “hope breaks”  in your normal day. Find a quiet place and breathe in and out and think about good things happening instead of the worst scenarios.
  • Set goals. Surround yourself with happy people who believe in you.
  • Volunteer in your community or Church. Try reading to children or helping in a town-sponsored food pantry.
  • Have a chat with someone who is in need of hope.
  • Rather than “woe is me” share some hope signs from your life.

Karen Kingsbury (best-selling Christian author) wrote on her blog recently some ideas to help us.

  1. Read a book (not necessarily one of her’s!)
  2. Call a friend.
  3. Play a game with your family.
  4. Take a walk in the sunshine.
  5. Hug more.
  6. Journal (where have I heard that before??)
  7. Do one thing each day to make someone else’s life better.

Her final comments on the post were:

” Life isn’t perfect. But if we don’t determine to choose joy, we can actually lose entire seasons worrying, fretting, riddled with anxiety. Days and weeks pass with nothing but bickering to mark our moments.


Have a joy-filled day,




Dear Fellow Journalers,,

There’s a song recorded by the late Harry Chapin called “Circle” which has been reverberating in my brain for the last several days and I’d like to tell you why.

During the Watergate years in American history (1970’s) the US was in turmoil. As more and more revelations came to light, discussions and arguments arose from dinner tables to the public arena. In those days, the internet and social media was non-existent, but the disturbing “unknown sources” and newscasters’ comments were still biased. Impeachment was the word of the day. After the whole incident left the world stage, in 1974 Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s book “All the President’s Men” was published. The book (later a movie) was read by thousands including me. It detailed the whole sordid story which made for fascinating reading.

Now I know you’re wondering how all this pertains to journaling. Well, it seems to me, that given the political climate of our country and the world today, we’re ripe for another disaster. I have now resorted to watching the evening news just long enough to get the bullet points. The world seems to me, to be falling apart – gang violence, disrespect for our national flag, divisions between races and genders, political and religious long-held views questioned, people wanting to tear down our past to forget (not realizing that the past is what helps forge our present and future), families divided, and finally the most insane and almost prevalent “fad”- ” I don’t like your _____ (fill in the blank) so I am going to hurt you.”

It’s time to calm down and realize that the real “us” is being torn apart. We need to re-group and get our priorities straight. We need to find hope, love and new paths to self-discovery.

Join me this month in our journey to self-discovery. In future posts we’ll talk about hope, self-care strategies, accepting ourselves and finally self-care books.

See you on the path,


The Stranger that lives within us

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Last of G series for the time being. Thanks for your comments!



There’s a stranger that lives within us. And it’s an unwelcome stranger—we don’t want them there. Some have become quite adept at ignoring the stranger, others can never ignore it. Doesn’t matter, because no matter how much you try and evict this stranger, you can’t.

This stranger is called our conscience. No one wants to hear its’ voice saying “YOU SCREWED THAT PERSON!” or “ WHAT YOU DID WAS WRONG!”

But conscience NEVER goes away, NEVER takes a holiday. Oh yeah, you might ignore its’ voice for a while, but it always comes back to haunt you.

The reason that conscience is the stranger that lives within us is because, I believe anyway, that some almighty plan never wants us to become comfortable with it. That’s why it must remain a stranger. A stranger so it can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Just when we want to do something we know is wrong, that’s when the stranger comes out to bother us.

I’ve decided what frankly I’ve always known. I’ve decided if I can’t get rid of this stranger I’ll make it a trusted advisor. That way, it’ll be a little less of a stranger inside me.

I invite you to join me.


On living life

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Another amazing and thought-provoking piece from G.


Have you ever noticed that while we all live on the same planet, we all live in our OWN universe?!? Our universe is of course, ourselves, and all the people we come in contact with. Some days that may mean over 100 people, and some days it may be just yourself and your thoughts. Doesn’t matter— it’s YOUR personal universe. An old saying I REALLY like is: “Be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what terrible things happened in their universe today.” Good advice. But have you ever really considered what effect YOUR universe had on people around you, and, in fact, on you yourself?

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it? Some people enter our universe for mere seconds, like those who take our order at the burger joint. Some enter our universe and become a permanent fixture in it. But believe it or not, those people (even at the burger joint) have SOME effect on our lives, and our universe.

About a month ago I was at a burger place and encountered a young man who reminded me of the importance of personal appearance and hygiene. He smelled badly and had “ring around the collar”. Even though we were in contact for a mere minute, he reminded me to always remember that people judge you by such things. Likewise, we all have people who have had a PROFOUND effect on our lives—our universe. And whether we spent a minute or a lifetime with them, they touched us for the good. And our universe will NEVER be the same.

Let’s not forget that OUR actions and treatment of others may have a permanent and lasting effect on those whose universe WE invade! But no matter what or who comes crashing into our universe, everyone who does has SOME effect. (I’d like to personally thank that beautiful young woman who simply passed me at the supermarket the other day. You made me smile!  I’d also like to thank Sister Marie Blanche, my eighth grade teacher who made me realize that if you really want something, it’s yours, IF you work for it.

So, PLEASE, get ready! Sometime in the next few seconds, minutes, days, years—-someone / thing will enter your universe. Will YOU be ready to think about what effect this will have on your life?


Dear Fellow Journalers,

This piece from G is hilarious and also very true!



I don’t know about you, but I have too much ・stuff.・ You know, that ・stuff・ that just appears and accumulates in one’s life. And I guarantee you that ・ stuff・ is a prolific breeder. Wherever you have ・stuff・, more ・stuff・ will mysteriously and magically appear. ・Stuff・ hates to be alone.

No one is exactly sure what causes ・stuff・ to be. In my case, one cause is that I’ll  be in a store somewhere, see something, and say ・Hey that’s  cool. I can use that.・ Then, I’ll find that item, two years later, still in its original packaging, has become ・stuff・.

The best that can happen is that when you’re  going through ・ stuff・, you come across something that you have an immediate need /use for. You put the item into service right then and there. It stops being ・stuff・ at this point.

The worst that can happen is you come across ・stuff・ and ask yourself ・What the hell did I buy that for?!・ Then you must dispose of it or retain it as ・stuff.・ If you retain, that’s when the phenom known as ・stuff・ begins. And remember, ・stuff・ breeds ・ stuff・.

I recently spent an afternoon going through ・stuff.・ That’s  when I discovered the absolute worst thing that can happen. Intending to rid myself of a bunch of ・stuff・, I fell victim to one of ・stuffs・・ best allies ・But I may have a use for this SOMEDAY!・. Working closely together, ・stuff・ and ・ may have use・ conspire to take over all the space in your life. If you’re not careful, you’ll wake up one day and say ・Where did all this ・stuff・ come from?!・

・Stuff・ also can cast a magic spell. This spell has us saying, I’ve  got to clean this ・stuff・ up SOMEDAY!・ Well friends, I’ve  checked several calendars, and there’ no day of the week named SOMEDAY.

You know something else? If you don’t clean up your ・stuff・, when you die, other people will come in and clean it up. Know what they’ll say? ・Look at all this shit ・stuff・ (insert your name) had? Why did they save this ・stuff・?・

OK gang, time to clean up your ・ stuff.・ BE RUTHLESS! Don’t fall prey to the traps I’ve outlined. Get rid of a lot of ・stuff.・ Especially those wayward parts for a coffee maker you had ten years ago.

P.S. If when you’re cleaning out your ・stuff・, you find some real good ・stuff・, and you can’t bear to throw it out, send it over to my house! I’ve  cleaned out so much that my ・stuff・ is getting lonely and needs more ・stuff・ to keep it company! Besides, and you know this is true, your ・stuff・ will accumulate more ・stuff・ again anyway!


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