Life in Pennyopolis

Penny discovers napkins
Penny discovers napkins with Grandpa Jim

“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.”
Pablo Neruda

I stood next to Penny while she played with her new toy- a small plastic basketball hoop. As she plunked the ball through the net, the crowd cheered. When she put it through a different hole behind the hoop, numbers would count down on the screen.

throwing-hoopsThis was fascinating to Penny. I sat behind her, not wanting her to fall backwards, while she stood and put the balls through the holes over and over. Every now and then she would turn around, look at me and smile. It was like she was saying “This is so cool isn’t it!”. I was right there with her, discovering new stuff all over again.

My granddaughter Penny was born on January 24, 2016. If you do the quick math, she is now almost nine months old. I raised my own two children, Michelene and John, plus I helped with my grandson Gavin (now 15 years old- wow!). I’m blessed to spend consistent time with Penny these days.

Life in Pennyopolis (as I like to call it) is like looking under rocks all day long. What we take for granted on a daily basis is brand new to her. Every day is an opportunity for discovery, exploration, and learning.

The day starts out with a good breakfast. Scrambled eggs and the comfort of nursing with her mom. Then maybe a short (or long) nap and it’s playtime. There’s at least an hour or two of solid play before the big afternoon nap.

Lots to do in this fancy toy!
Lots to do in this fancy toy!

I know we all have things to do in our adult life but I think we could take a lesson from children. What if our day was made up of learning, relaxation, exercise, and play? We do have work and grown up responsibilities but what if we allowed ourselves the chance to learn something new or really relax? And, connect with others. Penny is a very outgoing child. She loves to meet new people and usually offers them a big smile. People feel drawn to her, just by virtue of her warm and happy personality.

Every time I spend the day with Penny I am reminded of how simple childhood (and life) can really be. Do we need fancy things or lots of money? No. Even with a basket of napkins to amuse us, life can be enjoyable. 🙂

How about elaborate entertainment? No need for it as there is always music. Penny loves music and will often move herself easily to rhythm. Since she was born, her dad has played his guitar and she has listened.

Penny’s mom Jess has a second degree black belt and they do simple exercises together. Penny giggled and laughed the one day when I was witness to this. It was heart warming.

What if we played simply, laughed more, and lived with less? Getting down to basics has it advantages. More down time, less clutter, more happiness. Reaching out to love, connect, and socialize (without substances or social media) allows us to connect on a fundamental, spiritual basis. This is truly the way to live.

“Play is the highest form of research.”
Albert Einstein


Join me on my graceful journey.

16 Replies to “Life in Pennyopolis”

  1. “What if we played simply, laughed more, and lived with less?”
    Oh Joanne…what a wonderful post to start my day. I can’t help but fill up with love and warmth when I see Penny’s smile. Thank you so much for the reminder of the magic of childhood. Those daily discoveries and simple joys.
    And I love that you call this magic place Pennyopolis – In my house, I go to TannaLand when I want a dose of joy.
    Thank you for sharing your corner of paradise. Much love to you and all the sweet ladies in your life. xoxox

    1. Who is Tanna? I’d love to know. Thank you for sharing your joy today. I love how you always have a smile on your face and happy words. I loved writing about Penny! She truly brightens my world! xo

  2. Pennyopolis is the best place to be!
    What a wonderful post, Joanne. All the pictures are delightful, but the last one made me laugh out loud and want to scoop her up and kiss her cheeks. Which of course would make her give me a Stranger Danger! stare and a howl, and you could rescue her with cuddles and love…so it would be a win-win. 🙂
    She is so beautiful, Joanne. <3

    1. I love that last picture too Marylin! She had an apple outfit on, complete with a little apple hat. It was adorable! I think she would let you scoop her up. She’d let out a squeal and then probably give you a kiss. 🙂 She is just like that. xoxo

  3. Jo- I love this post. With my current situation the childhood quest of discovery and their overwhelming Joy certainly helps me with the changes I have to make in my life right now.

  4. Hi Joanne, this post just made me feel grateful and blessed “all over again” that God has blessed me with grandchildren! Reading about your interactions with Penny also awakens a sense of gratitude within my heart that I always have the opportunity to interact with my grandchildren( I am very blessed and lucky). I certainly feel your love for Penny❤. Just watching her play, and reading your thoughts, I am reminded of the “beauty” of innocence & honesty of our grandchildren. It makes my heart so happy and and reminds me that this is truly the way to live. Penny’s is lucky to have such cool parents! Hope you have a playful day, Joanne.

    1. I think when I was younger I didn’t have the perception (or wisdom) of looking at small children in the way that I can look at them now. Now they are opportunities, ways of perceiving the world as babes, innocent in discovery and learning.
      We are blessed aren’t we Cindy, to be privy to this beautiful creation of God- grandchildren.

      1. Yes Joanne, agree! With age comes different life experiences and greater wisdom (perception). I have a quite different appreciation of the beauty & innocence of my grandchildren, and their discovery of learning than I did years back. It is just amazing to experience such “realness” and love ❤

  5. Perfectly written. Oh, just pure love and happy.
    It is such a pleasure to read your thoughts about your grand.
    We are so lucky to be graced with grandchildren to remind us to see/discover the joy in life.

    Yesterday, we saw a picture of grand number 2 wearing a skirt she made out of a packing material bag. haha

    You were meant to write this blog post.

    I can hear the love and wonder coming through between the sentences.

    I always, always come away from reading one of your posts feeling like I was bathed in Grace.

    hugs from the West Coast,

    1. We are so lucky to be the grands of grands, aren’t we? We are blessed to have this chance to love and cherish them without the daily responsibilities. I love this opportunity to be with Penny and watch her grow and discover. xoxo

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