Tag Archives: Joanne Jamis Cain

On Being a Strong Woman

Strong Women in my family! From top left- Sisters Cally, Mary, Daughter Michelene, Penelope's Mom Jess, Penelope, Mom, and Moi.

The Strong Women in my family, taken on Greek Easter 2016. From top left- Sisters Cally, Mary, Daughter Michelene, My son’s partner Jess, Baby Penelope, Mom, and Me.

“One by one she slew her fears, and then planted a flower garden over their graves.”
John Mark Green

In my younger days, I often noticed how older women would brazenly speak their mind. They seemed to have no filter. Saying what they wanted, not caring whether it hurt someone or not, they barrelled over others with unbridled words. I envied this at times when I wasn’t blushing with shame for them.

Fast forward to my (now) mid life wisdom days and it’s amazing the bravado I have. I’m finally in that category of saying what I want and doing (well, mostly!) what I please. I can look people in the eye and not really care if they like what I’m saying. Attempts at diplomacy work most of the time but sometimes they just go flying out the window.

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/fierce-women/

A few years ago, my friend told me a story about her steak eating, beer drinking, ciggy smoking mother who horrified her one day. Her mom was sitting on a bench outside a big retail store with a couple of other large women (yes, complete strangers). As my friend came out of the store, her mom nonchalantly proclaimed, “Where did all the fat people come from?” This while sitting there like it was just a regular day. I asked if the other women bopped her mother with their purses and my friend’s answer was “no”.

Where does the midlife bravado come from? And speaking of which, why does unresolved anger have to come with it? After scaring myself a few times with my own lack of ceiling on my wrath, I confided in an older friend of mine. She said, “If you have any unresolved issues they will come out in menopause.”

This answer provided me a measure of relief. Here was an explanation that made sense. In my first book, I talk about the realization that with my deepening relationship with God, I knew I was loved to infinity. What became the challenge was not to abuse that love by engaging in mean, angry comments to others.

http://quotesgram.com/stronger-quotes-for-women/

http://quotesgram.com/stronger-quotes-for-women/

This is still true now. Lately, I’m using the three A’s approach- Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. To stay in awareness and acceptance but not take any action (on bad behavior) implies an egotistical, self centered way of looking at things (or plain ignorance). Of course I should look at myself. Of course I should attempt to tape my mouth shut occasionally. Of course I should rein myself in. Deep down I do not want to deliberately hurt people.

I have a lot on my plate lately. There are many beautiful relationships I’m currently engaged in with family, friends, and clients. I’m trying to use my new bravado in the way that will suit me best. It helps me be more honest. I feel more open to sharing feelings that previously I might have bottled up. Channeled properly, this bravado helps me make a point and keeps me from stuffing it down deep. Reining myself in when it will do no good (or only hurt others), I’m learning to share unhappy feelings with “safe” friends, those who will love me no matter what. Unleashing unbridled anger at others- worse yet, projecting it onto innocent people- is a big fat no no.

When I feel that quickening beat of a mouthful of wrath coming on, I pull my breath deep into my core and take a moment to center myself. I am a strong woman capable of empowerment and not prone to intimidation, negative thinking, or pity. This mantra will usually restore peace and tranquility. Small bits of these moments, savored like a good chocolate chip cookie, help me retain my sanity. This is a busy world. Let’s not forget to love ourselves in the process.

Latest Granddaughter Picture. Penelope helps me remember what's important.

Latest granddaughter picture. Penelope helps me remember what’s important.

 

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Lipstick and Grace

Daleen's Lilacs

I have a guest blogger today! She is my friend from the West Coast, Ms. Daleen of Sunday’s Child. When I read this post, I admit to crying just a bit. 🙂 Friendship can be that way. God has blessed me with amazing friends.

Here’s her sweet post. Please leave a heartfelt comment and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my book!

Admit it, we have all said it.  “Geesh, I need some new friends.”

While in algebra class, it was easy to find a study friend.  During ballet practice, friends were there to help us learn. Moving with the Army, we met new friends every 4 years.

However, once you go over the 50 year mark, new friends are few and far between.

Most of us have settled down, take a class now and then, same job or work from home, same church friends, same neighbors, not many faces change.

Then when you aren’t looking, almost magically,  God hears your prayer and slips a new friend into your pocket.  One of those good kind of friends.  The ones with a fabulous laugh & beautiful heart.  The kind of friend who while talking on the phone,  just as she arrives at an event, you politely say good bye and good luck, then SCREAM, WAIT!  Do you have on cute earrings and good lipstick?  Seriously, she says, oh yes.  Then tells you the kind of earrings and shade of lip stick she chose.

To be honest, you feel a tiny bit guilty that she is making others wait while she finishes the phone call.  (To the world, it looks like an important phone call. Reality check, Lipstick color IS important!) Along with that tiny bit of guilt, you feel lucky.  Lucky that she is your friend and she is choosing to answer your important lip stick question before she races off to put the fine touches on an event.

I write a blog called, Sunday’s Child full of Grace. https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/

Little did I know those five words would help me find a friend.  I write about the grace that swirls around me.

As you well know, life throws us for a loop now and then.  A couple years ago, I was on the ground trying to get back up onto the trampoline of life when Joanne offered me a cup of coffee and a hug.

Two people living on opposite sides of the country, God saw fit to bring us together.  It is Grace pure, sweet and simple.

joanne

I can’t tell you how many times I have written a slip of paper for my grateful jar about Joanne. (I just re-read this, it sort of sounds like I am a weird stalker of some sort.  I prefer to think of it as the Joanne Fan Club!)

Joanne called!

Joanne sent me a good wish card with a picture of lilacs!

 Joanne has a new grand baby!  

Joanne shared some honey!

Joanne published her book!

 

coffee cupBelieve it or not, we have never had a cup of coffee in person.  Honest truth.  We text and say, I can chat in 15 minutes, pour your coffee and let’s talk.  Then we get to put our feet up & drink coffee until the cup is empty or our phone batteries die.  snort.  Yes, we have talked over those annoying beeps.  Oh you don’t know?  After you chat for 3 hours on your phone it starts beeping.  The beeping means, Enough girls……..go live more life so you have something to talk about next time.

We talk about our grands.  We talk about food, husbands, kids, weddings, more food, bees, honey, quilts, cross stitch, blogs, lipstick, earrings, books, writing books, travel, vacations and yes plans to meet one day.

Joanne writes a blog about grace & love. She writes what she lives.  With the amazing ability to make those around her feel covered in grace and goodness, she somehow makes you feel better just by stopping by.

Yes, her writing is a respite in the glorious commotion of the day.  She gracefully & simply refills your spirit.  Her words remind you that there is good out there and there is an abundance for all of us.

One day, she asked if I would help her with her book.  Good Golly, Miss Molly!  I was beyond flattered that she would consider me.  I was rubbing my hands together with glee.  So excited and thrilled that she asked me to be part of her book writing journey.

Oh no, then it hit.  How on earth was I going to look over her writing and make as I call them “gentle suggestions”?  While in school and even when I home schooled, I loathed corrections made with red ink & capital letters.  Urgh.  Seemed so mean and awful and not very encouraging.  I didn’t want to come off as a school marm with a waaaaaay too tight hair bun, slapping a ruler in my hand wearing less than cute shoes.  I didn’t want to judge.

The air quickly leaked out of my (imaginary, celebratory) fancy balloon bouquet.

While I was thrilled for her book accomplishment, I didn’t want, even gentle suggestions  to smudge our  lovely friendship.  We had to talk.

We talked and talked and wrote back and forth and talked some more.

In the end, I used green ink to make my gentle suggestions.  I asked questions.  Some suggestions she jumped on, others she gently let go. We found a way to balance on the see saw.

In the style of friendship, grace guided us through.

Oh yes, I am beyond happy for her and her accomplishment.   I am grateful we worked on part of her dream together.  It was such a huge moment her life, by her sharing, somehow our friendship sort of seems sealed in the grace of the work.

I got to chat with her on the day her book cover was decided.  The day her book was being published, again we talked.  We talked as she drove to her book launch.

joanne book cover

Click on the book to order!

As I tore open the end of that padded yellow envelope, I held my breath, the book, her book slipped gently out and onto my counter.  I was teary eyed.

I am so proud of my friend.  She is (with gorgeous lipstick, sassy earrings and a beautiful smile) standing in the middle of her goal.  Sort of dream like, only for real.

Heartfelt congratulations my friend!  I loved watching you cart wheel through the book writing process.  You inspire us, your readers.

Here is the beautiful part.  The book is good.  Really good.  Each chapter is a nugget of gold. You feel bathed in grace with each page you turn.  You almost don’t want to dog ear the corners.  Ha.  I already have.  I have drawn hearts and underlined inspiring phrases. You feel as though you are sneaking a peek into her world.  Secret gems that you might use in your own jumble of life.  I know the book was written with the idea of reading a chapter here or there with a lovely cup of coffee.  However, once you open the cover, you fall into the pages and are covered with goodness & love.  You can’t put it down. Yes, that good.

Grace, it’s Amazing.

From Joanne: Thank you Daleen for this beautiful post! Friends, please leave Daleen a comment and you will be entered to win an autographed copy of my book! Be sure to check out Daleen’s blog!

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The Treasures of Christmas

Poinsettia 3

Janoski’s Poinsettias- So Beautiful

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

So here we are in the “in between” week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s that gives us a chance to catch our breath. It’s a good time for rest, relaxation, and yes, reflection. Maybe you’re with family, friends, and your children. Maybe you have time off from work and are taking a well deserved break.

I did a lot of entertaining the last few days. My cousins are here from New York, my sisters are both in, and my (soon to be born) granddaughter’s other grandma made a visit to Pittsburgh to spend Christmas with us. Talk about blessings. Jess’ mom Ann brought me this oh-so-cool gift of special M&M’s with my son and Jessica’s picture on them (no kidding). They were even in this box with little feet on them.

Holiday M&M's

Is This Adorable or What?

I am looking forward to getting to know Ann and Jessica’s family better in the coming years. A new child is so bonding and we will all have Penelope’s best interests at heart as we go forward. She is due on January 9, 2016 (my son’s 30th birthday ironically) but really, she could come at any time. We are anxiously awaiting her arrival.

What are the treasures of Christmas for me this year? It was quality time with my husband’s family on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas Day with my kids, cousins, sister and husband, Jessica and Ann, and especially another holiday with my mom. She never fails to keep up with it all, staying up late, getting up early, and always ready for whatever we want to do. I tease her about the planning we do- the food briefings for Christmas were months ago- but it’s all in jest. Really, her entertaining skills were my basis for what I do today. 🙂

The true treasure was keeping the origin of Christmas in my heart despite the rush and commercial tugs of the holiday. It was about coming back to center, recognizing and honoring what this holiday truly means. I wrote a post about the Navitiy icon for the Orthodox Christian Network and it was even an education for me. That is the great thing about writing for them. I learn in the process too.

I want to wish you a very happy New Year and thank you for all your love and support this year. I am truly blessed with such a beautiful group of family and friends. It makes my life so rich.

Christmas Morning 2015

Sunrise Christmas Morning 2015

 

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Happiness Is An Inside Job

Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary

Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

I was reading the paper this morning and the news is depressing and discouraging. Some of us are unhappy and miserable; worse yet, we are taking our anger out on other people.

Companies expect more and more from their employees. Boundary issues creep up when you want to keep your job but more and more is dumped upon you. What’s a person to do besides chuck it all and head for the hills?

Deep down inside of me there is a little voice that will sometimes cry in the wilderness. If the forest gets too thick, I don’t hear the voice. When I go for a walk with myself, I walk towards the voice. As it gets closer and closer, I slowly regain my sense of self.

What does the voice say to me? It will sometimes say “You are a good person” when really, I am not feeling so good about myself. It will also say “You need to slow down a bit, stop and smell the roses.” Ah, that is a good one. It will also say “You are eating too many mini Snickers left over from Easter.” To that one, I usually laugh and we have a good chuckle together.

I finally consider myself good company. There was a time when I spent no time with me because I was too busy, buried in responsibilities and other mind consuming functions. Rarely did I stop and listen to myself. I sometimes didn’t like what my own inner voice said to me.

Truth is, when I am tired and stressed, my thoughts are not calm. They can be hurtful, toxic and mean. A good night’s sleep and simple food can sometimes restore them. Getting out for a walk or being among nature almost always restores my center.

Happiness is an inside job. Since I cannot change others, I can only change myself. The responsibility to create a happy life is mine and mine alone. So I can either change my thoughts or reposition my own life. Stress management techniques can help us center ourselves better. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help. It is a sign of strength.

I bring with me the tools I learned in the past to help me cope with the present. Sometimes I need more tools in my happiness toolkit. These tools I find in great books, awesome people and spiritual encounters. It takes a bit of humility to open myself to a different way of thinking but it is worth it. I am in charge of my own happiness.

Have you ordered/read my book yet? If not, click HERE for the Amazon link. Thank you!

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