Coffeegirl63's Blog

I Love To Laugh August 15, 2015

Laughter thrills me. And it fascinates me. How many laughs do you know? I’m going to hazard a guess that most of you have seen the movie Mary Poppins. Do you remember the song, I Love to Laugh? The laughs that were heartfelt, sincere, and based in freedom were clearly the favorites. This is true for me as well. My favorite memory of a laugh is my kids’ tickle laugh when they were little… especially my now-24-year-old son’s because he liked to be tickled more than the others. My favorite laugh to elicit from anyone is the laugh that comes from an unexpected turn in the conversation.

I don’t remember how much I laughed as a child, but my parents have told me I was a very happy child. If my mother reads this, she will (hopefully) comment a response. I went for several years not laughing much at all… because I thought that was the way I was supposed to be–sober and grown-up. In the self-discovery stages I’ve gone through in the last several years, I’ve realized that I truly do love to laugh. I started by just smiling more, then quietly chuckling… now I just laugh right out loud if something tickles me.

There are some things that can make me laugh every time till the tears flow and my tummy hurts. Almost every episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? is laugh-out-loud funny. Clean, clever improv is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I like stand-up comedy, too, but improv fascinates me with its cleverness, quick-thinking creativeness, and intelligence. It’s exciting that it can go any direction at the slightest twist.

By sister and best friend Jeannie can always make me laugh. She and I can have entire conversations without uttering a word, or with only talking in movie lines. She gets me like no one else, and I’m grateful for how she’s held the pain and laughter of my soul in her hands for 52 years. Our conversations are not complete until there has been real laughter. My favorite is when she makes me laugh so hard my face gets all dorky looking.

My favorite friendships are the ones in which we are fully comfortable with laughter and tears—sometimes tears from the laughter, sometimes laughter from the tears!

I pray your days may be filled with heartfelt, healing laughter. Choose it, make it happen, and embrace it!

And now, I leave you with some beautiful thoughts about laughter:

“When the first baby laughed for the very first time, the laugh broke up into a thousand pieces of light, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. So now every time a new baby is born, its first laugh becomes a fairy.” – Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain

“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.” – Madeleine L’Engle

“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” – Carolyn Birmingham

“I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable.” – Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor)

“Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.” – Henri Bergson

“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.” – Agnes Repplier

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Advertisements
 

Like Chickens With Our Heads Cut Off November 12, 2011

Filed under: Friends,Odd Interests,Writing — coffeegirl63 @ 12:21 pm

A couple months ago, I wrote a piece on words. I truly do enjoy words. I also enjoy the cadence of language. Remember in my words piece that I mentioned my friend who feels the words in his mouth? He may also feel the cadence, since it is generally the entire phrase or sentence he repeats. Alliteration gives me a little thrill every time. Puns and word plays are probably my favorites. Some time ago, my sister sent me a comic (which I tried to find so I could post here) showing a scrabble-like board with a few letter tiles on it and several letter tiles on the floor. One guy was searching through the tiles on the floor, and a couple other guys were standing by watching him. The caption said, “It’s all fun and games, until someone loses an ‘I’!” I thought it was hilarious… laughed out loud. Not everyone would see the humor in that (thank you, Jeanice, for laughing out loud with me), but our world works in wonderful and mysterious ways because we don’t all see things the same way.

I have noticed that people who have a strength in a certain area will have a finer sense of the correct and incorrect in that area. For example, I had never questioned the accuracy of touting a product as “chemical-free” until my scientist friend said, “That’s impossible… everything is made of chemicals. If it were chemical-free, it wouldn’t exist!” Well, of course, I know that. I also know the point the manufacturer was making in his ad. However, since chemistry is not an area of strength for me, I never caught the error. A director may view the world through a camera lens, or he may (in his head) edit every film he sees. An artist may view the world as laid out on a canvas, and she will see beauties and flaws in a painting that I never would notice. I tend to edit what I see and hear. Most of the time I’m not judging the writer’s or the speaker’s intelligence (I’m ashamed to say that, once in a while, I do judge, but I’m working on it), I’m just making it right in my own head. One of the most painful-in-my-ears grammar errors is incorrect use of pronouns, especially reflexive pronouns. I know! Who even knows what that means? My good friend Mandy Houk, English teacher and delightful writer, can give you the technical definition. You can read her writing at http://forbetterforworseforlife.wordpress.com/.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, the myth was spread that using the word “me” was self-centered and evil. Why is one so comfortable saying, “Johnny gave the gift to me,” but must change pronouns when involving anyone else–”Johnny gave the gift to Julia and I”? Fingernails on a chalkboard! Of course, it’s just as painful to hear, “Johnny and me gave the gift to Julia.” You would never say (Oh, PLEASE say you would never say), “Me gave the gift to Julia,” would you? As I said, the most painful of all, to me, is the misuse of reflexive pronouns–myself, yourself, himself, etc. I’ve noticed it in business more than anywhere else. For example, “If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jeanice or myself.” Ok, there is no place in this reality that allows me to contact yourself. It’s impossible. Let’s just take responsibility where it is ours to take. I can contact myself, you can contact yourself, I can contact you, and you can contact me. Clear? Good. Now…. right before I step off my grammar soapbox, I have a request. If I ever express my gratitude to you, there are a number of responses that are appropriate: “you’re welcome,” “absolutely,” “my pleasure,” even “whatever, man!” However, I think I would rather read no response at all than to read, “your welcome” because my first response is always, “my welcome what?”

Ok, I’m done ranting. Painful, I know. I do apologize. Once I start… :-/

One side of noticing nuances in the English language is the great stories it affords one. Currently, I’m writing in four blogs–this one, which is just for fun; two professional blogs, human resources and payroll; and another which you’ll never get to know about because it’s private and I only write for my counselor, and even she doesn’t get to read everything I write. In my latest payroll post, I told the following story:
I was working with a new vendor–new to me, but also relatively new in his company. He sent me an email shortly after we established our working relationship, at the end of which he said, “thank you for baring with me.” Umm. Ok, I let it go. However, the next email was addressed to me, with cc’s to his boss, his boss, and my boss. It ended with, “Joni, I really appreciate that you bare with me whenever we work together. It’s been really fun to get to know you.” I replied, just to him, with the following,
(more…)

 

Writing Letters the Old-Fashioned Way October 23, 2011

Filed under: Friends,Introspection,Writing — coffeegirl63 @ 9:02 pm

I’m just curious about something and hope to hear some feedback from you. (But if I don’t get any feedback… well, you’ll see.)

Do people write personal letters any more? I do, but it seems since Facebook status and texting has taken over so many forms of communication, few people write what I think of as “real” letters any more. Before texting, people who missed each other, or just enjoyed each other’s company on a personal level, used to email each other or talk to each other on the phone. Before we had cell phones with free long distance, phone calls were usually purposeful and fairly short. In the days of expensive long-distance calls, and before that, we wrote letters using a pen and paper.

When my sister’s fiancé at the time (now husband) was in Air Force Basic Training, she wrote to him every day. She always sprayed the letter with perfume and mailed it in a purple envelope with a lipstick kiss where she sealed it closed. Every day at mail call, when the other airmen saw that purple envelope, they’d smell it as it was passed back to my brother-in-law. I think those are important memories. People always saved love letters.

Sometimes, I still write letters the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper. I just think there is something about seeing a letter mixed in with all the bills and the junk that elicits a smile. I don’t write nearly as many pen-and-paper letters as I wish I did. Most of my letter writing is in the form of personal emails.

What’s difficult is that most of the letters I write (whether pen-and-paper or email) go unanswered. Sometimes that means I just don’t get a letter back, sometimes (with email) there is a response, but not to anything I’ve said or asked. Now, I understand that I tend to be a bit “particular” (some would say peculiar) in the way I live my life. When I get an email (I can’t remember the last time I got a letter), I tend to reply item by item. It seems to me that if someone asked questions or took the time to tell me specific details about his or her life, that person would like a response on those questions/details. Am I wrong or over analyzing?

My challenge: Many times in my letter writing, I struggle with things to say. I mean, there is always something to talk about, but what do I say without asking questions, without having anything to say in response to someone else? Do you ever struggle with this? How do you handle it? Sometimes I write away ignoring that fact that there will be no reply. I ask questions. I talk about what I’ve done that day or that week. Unfortunately, that can make me feel like I’m talking to myself, and that just makes me question my sanity. Sometimes, usually just in the emails, I ask question I genuinely want, or even need, the answer to. Do I send another email with just the one question, hoping the recipient will respond?

Another question: When sending a letter or email to a loved one, what do you use for a closing? Very few people even use a closing any more. When I write to my kids, I usually sign, “I love you, Mommy” or “I love you soooooooo much, Mommy” or “I love you, Mama” or “I love you, Mama Bear.” (I know, but they’ll always be my babies, so can’t I always be their mommy, at least in writing? Anyway, they’ve never told me to knock it off.) Some emails (when writing to my boyfriend, who doesn’t live in CO), I sign, “Your… Joni” or “Missing you… Joni” or “Anticipating seeing you in however many days… Joni” or something like that. When I write notes to my parents, I usually just sign it, “Your favorite” because I know it’s true. 😉

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Do you have, or have you had, any experience with writing letters or personal emails? Do you think this post will have any influence on your future correspondence?

Please let me hear from you.

Affectionately yours,
Joni

 

Relationships August 28, 2011

Filed under: Friends,Relationships,Times with My Family — coffeegirl63 @ 9:37 pm
Lately, I’ve been thinking about relationships. There are so many levels of relationships, and sometimes the lines between them seem more wavy than straight.Some relationships are decided for us. My sister (2nd in birth order) and I have been best friends so long that I don’t really remember it happening. It seems we always have been. My mother always said, “friends come and go, but family is family forever.” Maybe she just wanted us kids to play nice with each other, but it’s always stuck with me. My older sister (1st born, with all the stereotypical personality traits) and I were not close growing up. I’m sure she must have at some point, but I don’t remember her ever playing with us. However, we became close after we became adults (she was pretty much born an adult, while I still sometimes struggle with the rule that says I have to grow up). In the last several years, we’ve become very close. Sister 2 and I have each gone through some very difficult times, but we always know we can count on each other. Something withers a bit in each of us when we go too long without talking or seeing each other.
Other relationships begin as one thing and end up looking completely different. My good friend Kevin (http://kevinknebl.com/) and I met in late 2007/early 2008 when he came in to sell me on a payroll/human resource company for Coleson Foods. His role was just to introduce me to the company, which I ended up choosing for Coleson Foods, but typically was not to continue beyond that stage. However, we hit it off and kept in touch. We’d meet from time to time just to visit. I was honored that he trusted me enough to introduce his wife to me. The three of us have become friends, a friendship that has nothing to do with human resources or payroll. His friendship has played a major role in my professional success, as well as my professional and personal self-confidence.
Some relationships start because two people are sort of thrown into a situation together. My good friend Julie (http://glutenfreeveganfam.blogspot.com/) and I met when our husbands were working for the same ministry. Jim and I were working for a ministry that bought property where Julie and her husband had been working, at a different ministry. I met her husband first at the ministry site. His first impression of me was: a rather free spirit in (what he thought was) a mini skirt (it was shorts) hopping on the back of a dirt bike for a tour of the property. He told his wife that she HAD to meet me. Julie’s first impression (before we met in person) was a bit different: homeschooling mother (moving from Tulsa, OK, to Tyler, TX) who made Julie and her family some homemade whole wheat bread, homemade peanut butter, and homemade watermelon jelly to celebrate the birth of their youngest child. Her mental image: denim jumper, no makeup, and long hair in a bun. Reality was somewhere in the middle. However, under Julie’s gentle (ha) tutelage, I am much more a free spirit–although, I don’t know that I’ve EVER owned a denim jumper, and I’m pretty sure I never looked like a typical northeast TX homeschooling mother. Julie and I “talk” almost every day (no fewer than 5 days a week, sometimes more) on IM. She encourages me every time we talk. She’s helped me nutritionally (I’m so much healthier than I knew how to be on my own, but she still let’s me eat chocolate). The biggest thing is that I can tell her anything. She’ll jerk the slack out of me if I’m being foolish, but with so much love that I feel the joy of making the right choice. She doesn’t judge me for anything I do, say, or think. She’s held my hand (virtually) through my failed romances… watching me go through the stages of grief in such quick succession (and repeatedly) that she must be dizzy. But then we talk through how nothing that happens in life is wasted. She helps me work through what I do and do not want in any relationship (romantic or not) in the future, and that it’s ok to make those decisions/choices for myself.
I have another friend, Helen. Whenever we get together, we laugh ourselves silly! We met when she started working at Coleson Foods years ago. She is young enough to be my daughter… in fact, I think she’s right about Jimmy’s age. We got to know each other slowly, until the day she got to open the door to my most embarrassing moment, the one in which I unwittingly completely disparaged the means by which she came into this world. She’s owned me ever since. However, one more than one occasion, she has reminded me that I emotionally scar her like no one else can. And she laughs at all my funny children-stories. We talk about the deep issues of life, and we see the hilarious side of almost everything. We don’t get to see each other as often as we like, and we mostly exchange Facebook statuses. But when we see each other, we walk away with cheeks and tummies sore from laughing. Helen has been instrumental in my learning that I’m valuable enough that I have a right to, and should, set boundaries that can make me free.
There are people in my life that I love, but we don’t socialize as friends. They’re a cross between a friend and an acquaintance, I suppose. However, within those situations, I can pour my heart out and listen as they pour out theirs to me.
I have people in my life whom I’ve never met, mostly work contacts, but our phone conversations have led to a level of relationship that I think we’d get along well if we ever did meet.
Some of my friends are as social as I am. Some of my friends are terrified at walking into a room of strangers and beginning conversations just for the sake of getting to know people. Others are neither terrified nor fascinated by people, they’re just not interested in having any more friends than they already have. As you know, I am in the group fascinated by people; I’m always interested in making more friends, on a variety of levels. Sometimes a connection is made, but life situations don’t necessarily allow that we’ll ever see each other again. Sometimes a connection is made, and we’ll see each other from time to time… always happy to catch up on each other’s lives. Sometimes a connection is made, and a relationship develops that is so deep it becomes a life-long friendship. I love all those relationships. They all shape us and help us become better people, if we’re willing to give and receive love from each other as God has made us to do.
I’ve learned a lot this year about what I have to give to and receive from others. It’s been a wonderful adventure that I hope continues for the rest of my life!