Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holy Holiweek

Here I sit, living between Christmas Day and the start of a new year, and I wonder how these particular holidays would fare if ranked by their measure of holiness. I mean, which holiday do people regard as the most holy? Christmas or New Years Day? Is it really as obvious as it seems? What, after all, makes a holiday holy?

And what if Christmas and New Years were measured against holidays like Easter, St. Valentines or Independence Day? What then?

The list I've begun is flawed if I hope to reflect the feeling of all humans--all children of God--for the prism through which I view holy days is obviously Christian and decidedly American in its orientation. But because I recognize that, I hope I also have the capacity to recognize the holy impact brought about by Chanukuh or Purim or Diwali or Vesak, for instance. I'm ignorant of their meaning but not unaware of their capacity to reveal divine truth.

Which brings me back to where I started. Reflecting on this time between Christmas and New Years and what it might mean to people in terms of holiness. As I wonder, I remember of my affinity for birthdays: individual people's, individual birthdays. After all, a birthday is the one day set apart for a person to be held high regard. I feel birthdays are extremely holy.

Perhaps that's why Christmas has universal appeal regardless of religious affiliation. It's a holiday set around the celebration of someone's birthday. And not just any someone, but a person that a large percentage of the globe's population regards as a savior. And the Christmas birthday celebration involves gifts and parties and stories about the honoree.

And that's not something unique to Christians.

Vesak is Buddha Day, the major holiday of the year for those who are Buddhist. And guess what it celebrates? Buddha's birthday!

And guess what else: Sikhs celebrate Gurpurbs, or festivals associated with the lives of Gurus. And the most important of those festivals commemorate the birthdays of major Gurus. Birthdays, yet again!

Celebrating birthdays connects us to our belief that we, too, have been specially sent from God. Or maybe it feeds our awareness that because we are God's, we are special.

And isn't the celebration of a new year simply another way of celebrating a new start? All major religions, regardless of the calendar used, highly regard the beginning of a new year. And isn't that, really, just another version of a birthday? A start to a new year is a chance to start anew. A day of new birth.

So what an interesting week this is each year -- the week between Christmas and our western culture's new year. This year I'm focusing my thoughts on the divinity to be found in these day for all of God's children, all across the world--whatever new starts might be happening in their lives, in these moments.

May we all have a Happy Holiweek!

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the Moment - the Now

Stross' last year of high school is slipping away, and I'm not certain I'm honoring its sacredness to the greatest degree possible. Then again, I'm not confident that honoring it would be in my best interest. I'll begin marking moments with tears soon enough: his last conference, last dance, last prom, last day of school. And then the hardest one: the last time to pick him up after school. I'll be an absolute mess that day. Guaranteed.

Maybe it's best not to mark "last time" moments anyway. Maybe holiness exists amid the ordinary. Remember Emily's question of the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"?

She asks: "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute?"

He replies: "No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some."

Living fully engaged in daily moments is the goal anyway, isn't it? Breathing in, drinking in, taking in. Connecting with all moments that comprise life. There's simply no catching up or going back. It's all about the now.

The men and women arriving at work to learn it's their last day. Did they see it coming?

The girls and boys (who believe they are women and men) giving in to lust as they kiss days of virginity goodbye. Did they see it coming?

The moms and dads watching their toddlers cross the room unassisted, never to crawl again, it seems. Did they really see those days coming?

The grandpas and grandmas kissing each other goodnight, not knowing what morning would bring. Did they savor the sweetness of their last kiss?

I sure hope so...

You know what, I'm gonna sign off. I have two not-so-little-anymore boys to tuck into bed. (Yes, they still ask me to tuck them in.) And you know what? I'm gonna savor every single second of it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Strange Mood

I'm in a strange mood.
And what makes it strange is that I have no word for it.
It's nothing really bad.
It's nothing exceptionally good.

It just is.

And yet it's much more than that.
More than 'is,' that is.

Maybe I'm simply feeling "isness."
(Whatever that is.)

Strange. I know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

So What?

So what if ...?
So what do ...?
So whatever...?
So what.

Where do words lead?
What can words do?
Why are words the way?
Who can use words best?

You know.
Yes, you do.
You know you do.

You're right!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

At the Water's Edge

I feel that many areas of our lives are awaiting a faith plunge that will immerse us into a holy state of divine submission--the kind I reference in the last chapter of Involuntary Joy. Standing on the edge of deep waters, I'm not exactly sure when to leap. Or maybe I already have and am feeling the anticipation of mid-air suspension. Sorta like that commercial where the boy is digitally trapped in a mid-air cannonball until his mom develops her photos.

I'm intentionally using plural pronouns for it's difficult to separate what's happening in my life with what's happening to my family. I think it's unavoidable. After all, what's the saying? "If Mom's happy, the whole family is happy?" Consequently, if the adage proves true, my mid-air suspension encompasses our family as well.

Since mid-July -- when I went back to work full-time -- Mark has been doing a fantastic job resuming his Mr. Mom role: picking up the boy's after school, making supper as necessary, chauffeuring the boys to doctor appointments, moving laundry through the machines, and other assorted household duties. I'm not exactly loafing when it comes to domestic chores, but I simply don't have the time to commit to all the daily tasks I used to.

I don't have a choice right now anyway. The college needs my assistance. I need to help it bring in a large freshmen class next year.

I find the prospect invigorating; therefore, it must be how I'm to spend my energy these days. And I certainly don't want my efforts to be for naught. I want the college to have one of its highest enrollment years in recent history in spite of our country's economic downturn. This college fulfills a role in higher education that I've not witnessed among other academic institutions. And so I find myself in a situation where my passion matches a deep need. Not a bad place to be.

But then there's the reality of Stross' senior year. And the need for him to explore his job skills before graduating.

And the church's new pastor, caught in a brand of church politics that began long before his arrival and kept alive by church leadership who avoided the sometimes necessary scars of leadership.

And our sons' developing independence-the youngest outpacing the oldest.

And freelance clients who need my skills in portions equal to what I supplied prior to mid-July in spite of my lack of time.

And students -- in quantities more than one instructor should teach in a single class period -- who exhibit competing tendencies of intellectual abandon and educational engagement.

And my body's demand for regular sleep, healthy food and purposeful exercise (because I really do feel better when I maintain balance).

And finally the book -- Involuntary Joy -- always reminding me of my deepest connection to things that matter, a touchpoint that holds the precious milestones that brought me to this moment.

So here I stand. I can do no other. And I don't stand alone. My family--husband and sons--stand with me. I can't think of a time when that hasn't been so. What a blessing.

Please know that I continue to be grateful for a spouse who understands how to stand at the water's edge with me--holding my hand as we plunge into all areas of life that invite divine immersion.

Part of life's wild ride, I guess.

Amen. May it indeed be so.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Need to Say This About Palin

I recognize how dangerous it is to say anything that ventures into personal territory regarding a very public politician. I'm gonna do it anyway.

And here it is: Pursuing a vice presidential bid is insulating Sarah Palin from much of the pain that's inherent to raising a child with special needs.

I don't care how many families of children with Down Syndrome border the rope line to greet her. Meeting them and hearing about their individual triumphs and tragedies is akin to experiencing your life as a movie. Only when every string of moments that comprise her days starts to feel as unreal as a cinematic creation will she be able to understand the poignancy of a life forever altered by chance. And I'm not talking about the entertaining, feel-good political Hollywood story she's living now. I'm referring to the documentary her life has become. (Even if she's not fully aware.) The kind of truth expose' that few choose to sit through, and yet those who do leave forever changed.

I'm watching you Sarah Palin, and I'm remembering. Each glimpse of you with Trig gives me an opportunity to replay our family's story as I tune-in to witness yours. When I don't see you with him, you are just a politician to me. Basically, when he's out of sight, your unique circumstances are out of my mind. And I remember that feeling in a personal way too. Like you, I relished my hours at work, knowing my husband or someone else was caring for my son until my work day ended and I had to head home.

And so, I've started praying for you, Sarah Palin. (We are the same age after all, so I identify more than you know.) I'm praying that your crash into reality goes smoothly. And that your eventual day of deeply personal enlightenment might serve our country well no matter the title that accompanies your name: vice president, governor or mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long Live Elvis!

I continue to believe that Elvis Presley transcends life and circumstance. And it's not just because of the simple, universal beauty of his music. I believe it's connected to the perpetual essence of who he is--a spirit that continues to bring joy into lives.

Take tonight for instance. I delighted in a performance by a group of musicians from Lifeworks (all of whom have profound developmental disabilities) called Musical Syndrome. They exuberantly performed several Elvis tunes as part of a rock band. And they played all the instruments of a rock band while singing as edgy and passionately as Elvis himself used to.

And I had to wonder: How did they ever learn about Elvis? What ever caused them to connect with The King? Because each one of them was certainly connected.

One man--the drummer--took the stage only after walking directly to a life-sized Elvis cut-out. (BTW: The cutout Elvis was sporting the gold lame suit). The man spent at least one full minute speaking privately to the cutout. N one could hear what he was saying. We could only see the interaction. As we watched, he stopped talking long enough to reach up to stand the collar of his shirt at attention then quietly offered a private comment to the visage of his alter ego. As the exchange ended, he touched his hand to his lips, kissed his fingers, and then touched them to the mouth of the cardboard Elvis before taking his place on the throne of his drum set. And, yes, he kept a steady, pulsing beat as his group proceeded to rock the house.

Totally captivating. Purely joyful.

So, yep. I think humans have an intuitive ability to connect to Elvis' spirit. Or maybe we have the ability to connect to the same spirit Elvis did when he was regularly rocking inhabitants of this world.

It's gotta be something transcendental. There's just no other way to explain it. And how cool is that?

Long live Elvis! Long live The King!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There are days when it seems we could prove the entire world is connected--if we could only see the connecting threads.

Today was such a day.

Many of the people I encountered this day are connected to me through relationships that pre-date my knowledge of their existence. Still others are connected as friends from earlier realms of living--high school, former church home, former job--and their lives circle back to cohorts who may not have known of our shared friendship. But today the threads were made known.

I get the visual imagery of a ball of yarn being tossed around, criss-crossing the globe until a web holds everyone fast.

And you know what? I like thinking of that type of connectedness. I like believing each of our lives matters to another--actually lots of others. Maybe even into the dozens, hundreds or thousands.

A shout out to you, Joy Harris. Thanks for asking Beaverdale Books about Involuntary Joy and for giving Pastor Jane the idea for a Breakfast Conversation. I am blessed by the life we all shared this day. And you helped make both happen. Our lives are forever linked...perhaps they always have been. Many blessings to you, Kevin and Grace.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I miss you...

I miss writing. The kind of writing that formed Involuntary Joy.

I miss the quietness of thought. The laid-bare, emotional examination and gut-wrenching introspection that demand honesty...and communion. It's probably the communion I miss most--an irreplaceable kind of alone time with the divine.

I feel things beginning to perk inside again. The kind of things that bubble forth as revealing words of witness to a life that few know of firsthand.

So I'll welcome these things as they flow. And I'll keep them close, pondering their wonder in my heart. Someday soon they'll shape what comes next.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Summertime has come and gone, taking with it plans to post at least once a month. And to think in June I was promising to wax on about all the stuff at the center of life.

So what shifted my focus this summer? Stuff at the center of life.

The boys had daily schedules full of sports, junior theatre, and spending time with friends. Mark and I began shooting video for a college recruitment video, only to stop production after the college hired me as an internal consultant for marketing. Essentially that meant that I became the person we reported to regarding plans to finish the production. Recognizing the conflict, I halted production so I could have time to assess if the video would even be needed. Or if it would serve the college better if I reassessed how to assemble the footage we'd shot. Basically I became the boss of me.

I know...it sounds as messy and confusing as it is.

And that's not the whole of it. Since July 14, I've been working full time again. And it was pretty jarring for all of us at first. Skye had never known me as a mom who worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and many days more than that because I was brought in to help manage an imminent crisis: People losing jobs. Not fun.). And Stross was on the brink of his senior year (in fact, he's in the thick of it now with his senior photo session behind him). Which brings me to Mark: He took on the full brunt of the change with an emotional wakeup call. "I'm going to need to become a bit of Mr. Mom again, aren't I?" Well...yes...

The week of July 14 found us in a familiar, albeit complicated place: Mark feeling life spin out of control, drenching rain flooding parts of Iowa in catastrophic ways, the Winnebago-Itasca Rally running full throttle, us on the brink of a vacation with my parents, and me enjoying the adrenaline rush that comes when a career move answers a vocational call. And it was the same institution causing the upheaval again.

Should any of you reading this be wondering if we ever flashed back to the end of Involuntary Joy's Part 2. Yes. But we were smarter this time. And Mark got better, faster because we were. Am I leaving things out intentionally? Yes. But if you've read the book, you know.

Let's see...what else.

On July 11 a wonderful woman named Thuy came from California with her two beautiful children to meet our family and share what the book has meant to her. Her visit touched me deeply, motivating me to resend a letter to the literary agent in New York. He responded near the end of August, declining representation but saying mildly encouraging things like "you are a good writer" and "..it was a difficult decision" and even "I've been proven wrong before." He encouraged me to look for an agent that would connect more emotionally to the book's content than he did. Which is wonderful advice, except now I've co-opted my time to an institution. That, too, just like 15 years ago.

What's up with that?

And then there is the vacation with my parents. Our grand plans for a 10-day excursion to Yellowstone turned into a five-day expedition to the Wisconsin Dells after my grandmother died the day before we were to depart. We still created cherished memories. Just not the kind we'd already fashioned in our minds. And my grandmother...whenever I think of her now, I imagine her happy and content. She'd been missing my grandfather for seven years. And at nearly 92, life can be a lonely existence. I hope hers wasn't. But I think a lot of days it was.

She missed her 92nd birthday by a month. And her birthday has always been exactly one week before mine. I wasn't as reflective as I normally am on the anniversary of my birth. Yet I was reflective. And tired. But that's to be expected. I'm working full-time again. With a department to establish, three search committees to manage for three positions that each have human resource complications, a fall marketing campaign to create with little to no budget and various personality quirks to navigate among people who've never known the Joy who really kicks ass at organizational communications.

Oh, yeah. I've started swearing a bit. It began in my head the moment the college president told me about his conversation with the Board of Regents and why he wanted me to consider taking a position he planned to create so I could step in to help. That day the words ringing in my head were: Oh, shit! (or OS) And they -- honestly -- seemed to come from a holy place -- as bizarre as that sounds. Maybe the need for me to respond affirmatively came from holy place and my resistance took the form of swearing. Anyway, I've had many OS moments since then. And always in the context of: "OS! You mean I have to deal with that too, God?" The answer comes as a silent: "Yes, Joy. Face into the wind and keep moving."

So that's what I've been doing. And will continue to do. And maybe somewhere along the line I'll make time to query another agent. Either that or offer myself as a VP choice for Obama should Biden need to step down. Apparently the country has a thing for 44-year-old, former pageant finalists who have a journalism degree, a child with disabilities and a husband who's comfortable being Mr. Mom. Also, I've not held a broadcast television position but I've taught students how to be on air from a PR standpoint (and done that myself), and I've even held a job where I facilitated the training of mayors if never having been a mayor myself. What's more, while I don't have my NRA card, my father and uncle did teach me how to shoot a variety of guns.

So yeah...if some president-wanna-be calls me in for a job, I'll probably be crazy enough to take on that responsibility too!

Monday, June 30, 2008

What is at Life's Center Anyway...

...what IS at my life's center? Sometime I'll write about this as follow up to the metaphor entry. And then I'll address this question: Is Stross really the center of my life? Sometimes it feels like it, but the real answer is basically: No. He's just the center of my perfect storm. There's a difference.

Of course, that response leads to this question (which really was the point of the first question): What centers your life, Joy?

Ah....good question....

My shortest answer: Love

My shortest, more complete answer: The fulfillment of my identity as a child of God (defines how I grace-filledly share love).

My longer answer: (To Come!)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Metaphor: A Perfect Storm

I've enjoyed several opportunities to speak for AEA training sessions (special education) this past spring--all positive experiences that I find myself continuing to reflect on, mostly because I like the metaphor that shapes my presentation: a perfect storm.

Now I know that many serious writers and other types of communicators consider this metaphor a cliche.' But as far as I'm concerned, if a perfect storm perfectly describes how your child's life can set all aspects of your own in simultaneous, tumultuous motion, then the metaphor demands respect, not dismissal. A perfect storm is a perfect storm for a reason.

I think I was drawn to the concept of a perfect storm, in part, because its turbulent water images compliment the threatening, yet navigable water images I use in the last chapter of Involuntary Joy. That ... and this truth: Calm resides at the center of a storm--even a storm described as perfect.

Here's what I think is cliche': to say faith resides at the center of a storm. After all, most would agree that the role of faith is to help someone move forward, successfully navigating their life's troubled waters. (Yes, I'm gonna stick with the water imagery.) Faith moves us--perhaps even carries us--through wind, rain, thunder, lightening and wave swells. Therefore, it cannot remain quietly at a storm's center if we are to be lifted to a safer place. Faith is too active to be calm. That's why, for me, parking it at the center of turmoil weakens the metaphor of a perfect storm.

However, I can imagine that type of life. A life where faith abides in the middle of turmoil and a man, woman or child feels secure as storms buffet around them. The faith that sustains that type of daily existence is profound. It courts a sense of calm in the midst of strife. And I like the assurance that brand of calm brings--even if I regard it as less appealing than serenity, calm's deeper cousin.

Serenity is the peace that exists in the midst of all that comprises a perfect storm. It's the unshakeable entity that keeps your spirit staid and sure, even as you feel the stings and blows of unfathomable turmoil. It's serenity that says you cannot be engulfed no matter the circumstance.

On a continuum of peacefulness, I value serenity over calmness.

But maybe I'm too caught up in my metaphor. Maybe it's enough to simply hunker down with a faith that invites calmness. A faith that waits with you until normalcy returns.

It's just not how I've experienced life since my oldest child's birth. Stross' arrival--with life-limiting circumstances that permanently altered my own--wasn't calm. And even now his daily existence isn't calm. And it's certainly far from normal.

Yet there's a serenity to it. I know I won't be engulfed.

Stross is my son. Everything he is and everything he has set in motion are fully part of my life. Indeed: Stross' life set my perfect storm raging with no signs of it ever subsiding.

And so, when I'm using the metaphor of a perfect storm to describe how my life feels at times, I don't place faith in the center. Instead faith permeates all the swirling demands of my daily existence. Besides the center of my perfect storm is already filled...with Stross. He's the calm in the middle. And he took his place there without guilt or ill-intention. It just is what it is, and I'm confident that he serenely moves through each of his days fairly oblivious to the turmoil he causes in mine. And I wouldn't have it any other way: Stross in the center, my life's passions and challenges swirling all about, and faith sustaining me as I face another day.

Amen. May it indeed be so.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Someday soon I'll find time--no, make time--to write about things I've been holding inside.


What a wonderful thought.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dear Karissa - Happy Graduation

Dear Karissa:

Congratulations on your graduation from Murray State. I’m sorry we were not able to be with you on your big day. Tomorrow happens to be Confirmation Day for my sister’s son and daughter; and Mark and I, as their godparents, are to be part of their celebration day. However, please know that we are holding you in our thoughts and asking God to guide your future. On to a master’s program—and/or who knows what else, yes? Very exciting.

I had hoped to send this gift in time for you to receive it on your Graduation Day. Instead, I’m typing a note to you while sitting in the purple chair by our fireplace (which happens to be turned on as a way to warm our family on this cold and rainy Iowa day in May). The motivation for writing is a desire to connect more intentionally to the moment. After all, as recently as this morning, you became a college graduate. That’s pretty big stuff. And even though Mark and I witness the phenomenon of college graduation at least once a year, it seems nearly unbelievable that you—a young woman we first met as an infant being held in her mother’s arms—is old enough to be graduating from college. What’s even more fascinating to consider is that one day you, too, will be attending (or unfortunately missing) a niece’s or nephew’s college graduation while thinking: Where has the time gone?

I regret that we’ve not been able to witness your maturing more closely as you’ve moved through childhood and adolescence into young adulthood. Please know that we inquire about each of you Ramey children whenever your Grandma and Grandpa Newcom checks in on us. We’ve enjoyed hearing about your travels out of the U.S., your desire to pursue post-graduate studies and your growing independence and sense of self. Only a woman with moxie chooses to travel alone, and most likely, she’s motivated by passion for the reason she’s traveling in the first place. Those qualities will serve you well no matter where life takes you.

Each year as graduation nears, Mark and I witness students with varying degrees of apprehension for what may come next. It seems the most debilitated are those who believe that if they don’t correctly discern God’s will for their lives, they will be a disappointment—destined to live a life outside of God’s providence. We’ve come to realize this: Nothing can take you outside the bounds of God’s providence. Indeed, “…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)

So our desire for you, Karissa, is this: Don’t be afraid to follow where your heart leads. Don’t be afraid to encounter life in all its fullness—to befriend people some may find objectionable, to travel to places some might find undesirable, to ask questions some might find unnecessary. Because, our dear Karissa, God will always be with you, inviting you to discover all the people, places and puzzlements that make this such a wonderful manifestation of God’s divinity.

May this gift remind you of the unique role you hold among all those who comprise God’s humanity; and as you venture into the next phase of your life’s journey, may you be a shining example of the qualities that are yours as God’s child.

Our love to you,

Aunt Joy and Uncle Mark

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Benign Ignorance?

What in the heck is "benign ignorance"? And why did I believe that was a good term to use in my last blog entry? It sounds horrendous, and yet, each individual word is fairly--benign.

New topic: I heard a great title for a book today. "A 7-year-old in an Adult World" But I think I'd add a subtitle: "The Perils and Pleasures."

Related topic: We had a strange day today. It was our last day to participate in the Dana Program at the Mayo Clinic. A lot to write about--someday. For now I continue to have Mary moments. I'm keeping things and pondering them in my heart.

Numb slumber tonight. New day tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

O.K., O.K.: I'll talk about "what's next"

I've started a new blog entry in my mind many times but have fallen short on results. No sufficient reason other than restlessness-the kind that seeks to protect you from focusing your mind on what's bothering you most. For me: Involuntary Joy's future. It's simply easier to not talk about it -- even to myself.

So what have I been doing?

Well, I've used my restlessness to accomplish numerous family-related tasks: arranging prom plans, ironing out details for four Mayo Clinic visits and scheduling assorted school/family functions. That busywork has kept me from this wonder: Is Alex Glass reading Involuntary Joy? And this even bigger wonder: Does he feel it has a future?

I know it has a future. In fact, recent speaking engagements have continued to affirm the kind of future I believe is in store. Yet, it's a future I can't accomplish alone. As with my flesh-and-blood children, I hope to secure the future of this more abstract child by partnering with professionals who are skilled in the type of endeavors my prodigy needs.

And so I'm breaking my silence: I need a literary agent because Involuntary Joy needs a national publisher. I may even need to partner with an editor--one I've yet to meet--who can help me refine the core of what's being said. I may even need more partners, ones that have not taken form because of benign ignorance or simple unknowing. But I look forward to meeting them, nevertheless.

And so I wait. Actually I continue to wait, trusting in the knowledge that I've cast my desires into the consciousness of the world. I've done what I can do and will continue to do the parts of this life mission that only I can do. But I really look forward to what's coming next.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Something to Say

Blogs give everyone a place to say what they think. That's why it should be a great fit for someone like me. So why don't I blog more?

In a word: Time.

In a phrase: Not enough time to edit what I'm thinking.

Certainly I have a lot to say. I just worry that if I spend more time blogging, I'll also spend too much time worrying that what I had written was not edited well. In fact, even now I'm worried that what I'm writing about here is basically about nothing. And that, in writing about basically nothing, I'm doing it in a wordy way.

And it is...wordy, that is. Isn't it?

So how about a basic update?

This week I spent an entire day writing and editing a piece I first penned (is that word appropriate even when something is typed on a computer?) in March 2001. It's something I'll submit to The Muse, Waldorf College's literary publication. All I've left to do is title it. And since it's not titled, I can't tell you it. I will tell you it's a prose piece that features Skye rather than Stross, as I wanted to give him a little time in the sun as well.

So that's what I wrote this week.

I wrote something last week as well: an article about personal holy days for The Lutheran magazine. I think I've coined the term: personal holy day. And I'd tell you what it means, but then you wouldn't have a reason to read my article when it's published.

I should also mention what's happening with radio support of Involuntary Joy. Last month I recorded an interview with the Rev. Peter Marty, host of Grace Matters, the nationally syndicated radio program of the ELCA. It will air sometime in March. And then yesterday, I recorded an interview for a Christian radio station in Des Moines, Life 107.1 FM. I thoroughly enjoyed both conversations; however, both times I thought of things I should have said after the taping was done. I'm getting better at articulating the core messages of Involuntary Joy, though. For someone who thinks aloud, there is probably no other way to do it.

The next thing I intend to write is the rest of my marketing plan.

And with that, I have no catchy or clever way to end this blog.

So...until later, I guess.

PS - I can't resist this last thought on writing and finding the right words: When Barack Obama wrote "Yes, we can" in his speech the first time he chose to use it, did he remember that it's Bob, The Builder's theme song? Did he care?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy 2008

Life has a way of reminding you it's time to focus. This week I've received a large handful of calls from readers of Involuntary Joy asking me to speak somewhere or simply sharing--in their own words--what the book has meant to them. Needless to say, this has been a week of affirmation that calls me to action.

So...stay tuned...2008 brims with promise. A happy start to a beautiful new year. Thanks for sticking around for the ride.