Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component of gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.

Amy Weatherly

Look closely and you’ll see weeds in this picture. Don’t and you’ll find many colorful flowers.

Joy and satisfaction don’t just happen. Look for the good. Find beauty in the weeds. Appreciate the smallest things. Be grateful for this day. Choose joy over discontentment every chance you get.

Be brave and strong and make the best of every day even when you’re not feeling up to it. It’s Friday, friends. Let us rejoice.

Old Scenes, Fresh Joy

I live in the country but still get excited seeing cows or horses in a pasture and chipmunks in trees. I had to stop several times for deer while on a drive the other day. I was grateful to not hit them and thrilled to have such a close view of them.

That’s probably weird.

The good news is that a scene like this brings me unmeasurable joy.

What makes you happy?

Canaanville United Methodist Church


We visited my maternal grandmother most weekends when I was a kid. Since her home at Joy was a couple of hours away, we made the journey from our home on Friday night and left hers most Sunday mornings, a pretty boring weekend for an eighties kid in a house with no tv.

My folks had some kind of boat of a Ford station wagon and, in the days before making your kid wear a seatbelt was the law, I remember sliding on the leather seats as we flew around the twisty, windy roads of Morgan County.

When you left Athens you turned onto the very curvy 690 where I was most at risk for car sickness. Going up this hill, you passed Canaanville United Methodist Church which seemed so big when I was a kid and was a sign that I needed to hold on tight and tell my mother at the first sign of car sickness.

But I digress…

For reasons I do not know and probably wouldn’t understand anyway, they relocated the road, making the entrance to 690 just a stone’s throw from where it originally began. This little country church can still be seen from Rt. 32 but its presence on the journey to Joy is no longer so prominent.

Sunday was errand day for me. After doing my chores in Athens I saw a movie and got the idea to go for a little drive while the light was still nice. One stop on this quick trip was this church. All those years driving by, we never had a need to get out and look around. So that’s what I did. I explored the cemetery a bit before heading backĀ  into town.

It’s just as pretty as ever but no longer seems so large. Instead, it feels a little like it was pushed aside when the new road was built. The cemetery isn’t large but it was enough to keep me entertained as a I wandered around reading headstones. My friends won’t be surprised that I liked the old section best and especially appreciated the headstone pictured below that remains legible but has a severe lean to it.


Incidentally, I photographed a couple of other churches that day. One of which, I learned later, may actually be a private residence now. If so, they probably ought to take down the sign out front to prevent people like me from marching up to their front door for pictures or to let themselves in for Sunday School. But I suppose that’s their business and maybe they don’t care.

I also have to say that those twisty roads are way more fun since I’m in the driver’s seat and have fresh tires on my car! Perspective changes everything!

Glessner Covered Bridge

IMG_5422.JPGThere’s no greater joy than finding something unexpected.

Earlier this month, I took a road trip with a good friend. Our destination was some Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Pennsylvania. Along the way we visited the Flight 93 Memorial, a story that I’ll tell you later this week. We also drove into the village of Shanksville and, on our way out of town, stumbled across this covered bridge.

Meria said this was the happiest she had seen me in a long time, as I practically skipped down the road to get a closer look. As we were driving away, I caught a glimpse of this image in my rear view and just had to stop.


It sounds crazy but my happiest times these days are just spent wandering around, looking at nothing and at everything. You never know what you’ll see in this big ole’ world. Incidentally, this was our first sign of fall this year – it was a cool, windy day and there were patches of color here and there as you can see in the photo below. We loved it.


In case you’re interested, this is the Glessner Covered Bridge in Somerset County, Pa. A plaque nearby says that it was built in 1881 by Tobias Glessner and is an example of multiple King Post and Burr Arch style truss. It was closed in 1995 but rehabbed in 1998. It is now open to traffic.

The pictures below show the construction.

It’s a little dusty

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This is my bike. It is July and this is the first day my bike has left the house since last October. How sad is that? What did this beautiful, shiny, new bike do to me that I refuse to take it out for a spin once in a while? Am I really so busy that I can’t go for a little ride?

Remember when you were a little kid and how much you loved your bike? Or was that just me?

Maybe we should spend less time working and running and stressing and more time doing the things that bring us joy. Real joy. Not the artificial kind that comes from watching a stupid tv show or the fleeting kind that comes from buying a new pair of shoes. The kind of joy that makes us feel young again, the kind that you can’t buy.

Grab your bike! I’ll race you!