Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. Inspiration for this weekly feature comes from all over. I learned to quietly allow Simple Joys to happen and be receptive to them and thus I have been finding them everywhere, at every time, when I least expect them. Because my memory is waning in my advanced years (39), I now keep a notebook/journal/back of an envelope with me at all times to write my thoughts down as they will morph into Simple Joys.

The heyday of readership of Simple Joys was in the summer of 2011. We used to get between 500-600 hits on the piece in one day. From my promoting and the retweeting of many there was a constant stream of eyes at the site devouring Simple Joys. After a few weeks the numbers dwindled and, although I’m still happy, we only get between 100-200 hits now. I don’t see that as failure at all, but I am saddened by the numbers. Not because my numbers went down, but because people are not taking the time to let Simple Joys wash over them. Perhaps my piece is too personal every week and it repels people. That very well may be, but I counter that people are still far too attracted to the negative in society. That the scandalous, the base, and the frightening still win out over love, harmony, happiness, and gratefulness. Regardless, I will keep on doing what I do here. It cheers me, it humbles me, and it, quite frankly, feels damn good. I believe one day the numbers will soar again. In the meantime, whether we get 200 hundred hits or just eight (Racer 187, Jules, Grumpa, Art, Dr. Mo, Rob, Spreading Joy and the Soulful EMU), that’s more than enough for me. I write this for my own piece of mind and sanity.

The fact that anyone reads at all, that the words resonate with anyone besides me, well, that’s just the cherry on the top of my ice cream sundae of a “career”. And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Decorating for Halloween. Once September becomes October I bring up a box from the basement that contains years’ worth of lovingly collected Halloween decorations to strewn about the house. In my pre-children days I chose new items each year to tuck into a corner, display on a shelf, and adorn a wall or valance. Now it sometimes seems more like work to display all of the items, but when I hear the delight in my five-year-old son, see his eyes sparkle in wonder, and acknowledge his “thank you”s throughout the day for putting “all of this stuff up”, it is more than worth it and, quite frankly, a pleasure! The decorations are all cute, not scary. They conjure up the innocence of young children Trick-or-Treating as pre-schoolers. They harken back to a time when no one thought about tainted candy. My children delight in these treasures, anticipate Halloween with a child’s heart, and escape into the world of imagination and creativity. Not bad for a “box of stuff” that makes its appearance every first week of October! Seasonal Simple Joy!

Fun Da Middles. As a rule I try not to put too many items that cost money in Simple

. This product, however, is so wonderful I couldn’t help but spout about it! Fun Da Middles is a Betty Crocker cupcake mix that has a surprise filling inside that is easy to assemble. Because of the filling you needn’t decorate the outside with frosting. The cupcakes are far less messy yet surprisingly so rich and tasty you simply don’t miss the frosting; seriously! We have tried two varieties, chocolate cupcakes with a white filling that resembles a Hostess cupcake, and yellowcake with a chocolate filling. We all enjoyed the former so much that we weren’t sure we’d like the golden cupcakes. Still, I had the mix so I made them to enjoy this past weekend. At the last minute I added some mini chocolate chips to the mix to throw in some texture. They were, according to my eloquently verbal five-year-old, “the best cupcake you have ever created, Mom!” Looking for an easy “wow” cupcake? Look no further! Fun Da Middles by Betty Crocker are a Simple Joy I plan to revisit often with my family!

Working Together. For twenty-five years my husband and I have grown together, learned much, and tried to embark on many projects. As we were kids for the first part of those years we were rather headstrong and convinced our way was the only right way. But, in that quarter century we have also learned that we accomplish so much more when we work as a team than we ever could working against one another. We do good work together. Recently endless downpours in our native New Jersey left a bunch of water in our basement. I hate to mention it because others suffered far worse this summer/fall than we did, but it was still a problem needing addressing. From cleaning the basement to digging a trench to insure we don’t get future flooding down there, we’ve worked long and hard. In our seasoned relationship we have been able to do all of this backbreaking work together (he does so much more of the manual labor than I, but I still pitch in a lot) and NOT FIGHT. Working together to fix and fortify our living space and getting along famously is a Simple Joy I hope to engage throughout the rest of our lives!

Hanlon Razor. I am fortunate enough to do three Internet radio shows every week. I enjoy everyone I work with on these programs, but one person sticks out, Hanlon Razor. Hanlon is a

politico, a musician, and the Buffalo Sabres’ biggest fan! He is extraordinarily smart, talented, and hilarious! The man gets me laughing so hard the tears stream down my face. Most of the people we work with on air are younger than we are. My references, at times, fall on deaf ears save for Hanlon. He is a great entertainer, an intelligent being, and just a hell of a nice guy. Working with Hanlon Razor and calling him friend is a Simple Joy I hope continues far into the future!

Simple Joys come in every shape and size. From items that make life convenient to things that make life sweet, from poignant moments to hilarious ones, and from people to products, they are ever-present in my life now that I know how to open my mind, heart, and soul to them and accept them. Want to shake off the negative, let go of the oppressive, and smile again? Longing to experience good times without worry? Look for your Simple Joys. It only takes practice to find all of the Simple Joys that exist to enhance your life. Aren’t you worth it? I think you are.

Please join me tomorrow as I wax poetic on yet another topic.


  1. Bouncing out here in the dark (doing my #the3day training walk) I'm reading and FEELING your #SimpleJoys  It's my COFFEE on Tuesday mornings!!! Keep on SPREADING your POSITIVITY!!! it is #Needed & #Appreciated!!!
    Much Love
    Dr. Mo (@FitInMyHeart)

  2. Candice,

    Good morning. It was good to touch base with you after a long absence on Twitter. Many thanks for sharing your posting today. It made me smile. When you smile you know your heart is warmed.

    I appreciate and am grateful for your friendship. Keep up the great work and bringing smile to those who need it.


  3. Outstanding post Candice. I, too, have been trying to make more of an effort to see the little things and get joy out of those simple things lately. I have been recognizing God's little blessings lately and as I grow in my relationship with Him I am more and more blessed, despite the hardship I am currently experiencing. Your post was an excellent reminder for me. Keep up the great work.


  4. Well, I wasn't going to decorate for Fall this year, but now maybe I'll put out a few things. :)

    Pink Ribbons. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I am involved in the cause, every pink ribbon puts a smile on my face. I have a shirt for every day of October with a pink ribbon and message on it! In 10 days I'll be in the "Avon Walk for Breast Cancer bubble" cheering on those walkers who are working so hard to get all their steps in to complete the weekend.

    Glitter Glue. I am a team leader for a Quick Stop for the above mentioned AWBC. Last night I spent time making signs with Glitter Glue. I ♥ this stuff! SOOO much easier now than back in the day when we had to put the glue down then sprinkle the glitter, tap off the extra, repeat and get glitter everywhere! This stuff is awesome! And so pretty!

    Good News. Always great to hear good news from friends and loved ones. I recently heard that a friend of mine who had lost his job earlier this year is starting a new job today. My husband got news that his contract job may become permanent. WOO HOO!

    Fruits of Your Labor coming to fruition. My eldest chose to do cross country this year in high school. He has never done cross country, and he isn't much of a runner in general. Lately, he has been frustrated with his race times, the achy muscles, and all that goes into training for his meets. He mentioned that he wish he could quit, but that he wouldn't because he started so he would finish. This sent my heart soaring! My husband and I taught him at a young age that if you start something you need to see it through, especially if people are relying on you (such as a team). He is on the fence as to whether he will join again next year, but he will finish this year and have that confidence in himself that he finished what he started even though it was hard.

    ♥ to you Candice!

  5. Waking up to find it is Simplejoysday is always a great pleasure :-)