Tag Archive for: joy

Just Joys — T.K. Thorne


 Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
       Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        new places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.




The whirling weeks have left me vaguely unsettled, looking for what I have “accomplished.” I am used to measuring that in terms of word count, and I don’t have many of those. Rather than wallow in guilt, perhaps word count is the wrong measurement. I decided to look back and ask, “What happened?” And specifically, “Where did I find joy?”

While I listened to the talented Lia Frederick bring my characters to life in an audio book version of House of Rose* (the first in a trilogy about a police officer who discovers she’s a witch), I pulled the grass/clover/weeds out of the moss on the brick walkway. You might call this gardening. I call it a Zen exercise.  

[* Contact me at TK@tkthorne.com to get a promo code for a free audiobook!]

During the early stress-filled days of the Pandemic, weeding the moss calmed me. It requires concentration (if you pull wantonly, the moss will pull up too; if you are lazy, other plants will take over.) One of the encroachers was a tiny flower with a deep violet base and translucent blue-white petals, perhaps large enough for an ant’s umbrella—a Japanese Mazus. I left it in the moss.


Two + decades ago, I worked in the Birmingham Police Department with two dear friends, Becky and Juanita. Becky recently had a hip replacement, and Juanita stepped up to be a full-time care-taker. (A lesson about the meaning of Love!) We visit regularly, and our tales ensure a lot of laughter, the good kind that runs deep as a river between us. Becky’s husband died not that long ago, and she asked me for a painting based on a photo he had taken on a special day. The photo is beautiful, a solitary duck and crimson reflections in the water of (unseen) day lillies on the bank above. Here my first stab at it:

The Left Coast Crime conference in Albuquerque, NM, was a mixture of delight in being with people and anxiety at the crowd after the last two years of isolating and masking.  The highlight was being with my friends, Vikki and Kevin who were experiencing a writing conference for the first time. Also loved meeting fellow Stiletto Gang members, Donnell Ann Bell and Dru Ann Love.  Didn’t get to talk much with Dru Ann (who was always surrounded by admirers!☺), but I sat at Donnell’s table at the banquet, and she kindly offered a ride to the airport, so we got to chat a bit, enough to know what a kind, generous person she is and hope our friendship grows.  
Also enjoyed extended conversations about writing and law enforcement stuff  with fellow panelists and police crime writers—James L’Etoile, Frank Zafiro, Dana King (and his wife, Corky), and Colin Conway. The best part of conferences is the people!
Brushed tangles from Foxy’s tail. Tomorrow it will be tangled again, but
today it’s a silk flag in the wind, and she is prissy, knowing how
beautiful she is (because I tell her constantly). She was a racehorse,
but during the pandemic (or perhaps because her hooves don’t grow well)
she was sold at auction with a future as dog food in Mexico if no one
rescued her. She is such a baby, wanting constant petting and treats.

Janice is almost my age (i.e., an “elder”). We met this winter at a martial arts clinic (yes, really). She rode with her sensei (teacher) from Wyoming to Alabama! Fourteen hundred miles separate us, yet we chatted via email about tying up her gutter that fell in the Laramie wind to the porch with a bungee cord, and I told her about a piece of my day. The thread of a new friendship weaving across those miles lightened my heart.  
Our old dog, Glenny, walked all the way to the barn with me today. Usually, he goes to the end of the yard and then abandons me, heading back to the house. This time I had to wait while he stopped often to read the “newspaper” of smells along the drive, a lesson in patience, but I was happy with his quiet company.

This is not Glenny in quiet-company mode. This is it’s-time-to-cook-dinner mode.

Colors in the water of Becky’s painting are giving me fits. Do I still like it?  Yes . . . no.  Frustrating. Trying to push through the fear of an ugly mess, giving the paper the paint and waiting to see what it does with it.
Took some mint to my sister (so grateful she lives nearby) and helped her move hosta plants she had grown for years to her new house and decide where to put them, as well as an ornate wrought iron gate she bought at a yard sale. (She is a yard-sale queen!) She helped me load two trellis plant stands (that she would have sold, but gave to me), into the truck. I put them in the back yard in front of the ugly metal poles of the clothesline. Any thoughts what I should grow on them?  Clematis, maybe? Only partial sun back there.
More paint on the duck. Hoping Becky will like it. Hoping I will like it. Layers defining, softening, brightening. It will never look like the photo but that’s okay has long as it evokes the wonder of the light, the quiet dignity of the duck rippling through still water, but I don’t know if it’s working or not.  Really struggling with making this right.

I was up at midnight the night before taking this to Becky because it was still not right, but in the end, I went to bed feeling it was good, or as good as I could do. 

She cried when she saw it.  
Her happiness made me very happy.

Writing this woke me to the small joys that happen every day. Looking for “accomplishments,” I miss their significant. What a gift life is.  

T.K.Thorne is a retired police captain who writes books, which, like this blog, go wherever her curiosity and imagination take her.  More at TKThorne.com

Clicking Our Heels – Simple Joys


Clicking Our Heels – It’s a New
Year with lots of resolutions, but considering everything going on in the world,
we thought we’d share something simple that makes each of happy or brings us
joy (think an expanded Marie Kondo concept to life).

Barbara Kyle – Singing! I’ve sung all my life, in shows
when my profession was acting, and now, for the last few years, in choirs.
Music is pure joy.

Lois Winston – Spending time with my grandchildren.

Saralyn Richard – Seeing something I’ve planted bloom.

Kathleen Kaska – The biggest joy in my life is seeing my
husband smile at me. Coming in second is spending time with my great-niece and

Dru Ann Love – A quiet day all to myself.

Debra H. Goldstein – When words flow.

Kathryn Lane – I have two simple activities that bring me
great joy – watching elk in the mountains of northern New Mexico and Zen
meditation. My husband participates with me in both pursuits.

Debra Sennefelder – It’s simple and it’s small, but I do
find joy in my first cup of coffee in the morning.

T.K. Thorne – What a great question to ponder! It gives me
joy to discover a new character or aspects of a character that I’m writing that
I didn’t know; to dance to music while cleaning house; to offer support or
connections to a young writer; and to sit outside on my front porch and watch
lizards and hummingbirds while I write.

Anita Carter– Laughter has always, and will continue, to bring me
joy and positivity.

Linda Rodriguez – A pot of nice hot tea, a sock to knit
mindlessly (since I’ve made so many), and good conversation with my husband.

Shari Randall – A message from an old friend, clean
windows, sunlight sparkling on water, when a favorite old song comes on the
radio…simple things, but all make me happy.

Mary Lee Ashford – Family brings me joy. I think I always
knew that but have a new appreciation for not just the family get-togethers and
celebrations but also for those mundane family moments where you touch each
other’s lives in so many ways. This past year has been so difficult being away
from family members and one thing I know for sure is I’ll never take that for
granted again.

Bethany Maines – My dog. Kato is my eleven year old puppy
and he’s as goofy now as the day we brought him home. And even though we’ve
both reached an age where people tell us that we “still look good!” he brings a
joyful bouncy spirit into the house.

Gay Yellen – Watching my husband cook.

Donnell Bell – Looking at pictures of my grandchildren, playing
cards with my very competitive husband, or sitting on our back patio watching
the quail and the New Mexico sunsets.

Joy to My World

by Bethany Maines
As the year draws to a close, I find myself doing the usual
assessment of what I did this year and what I’ll be doing next year.  But this year, I’m trying to concentrate on
evaluating more through the lens of not just financial success, but emotional
success.  What was fun for me?  Because if a creative project doesn’t bring
me joy, why am I spending valuable emotional time on it?
One of the joyful projects of my year was Blue Christmas. I
like romantic adventures that find characters swept up in dangerous events.  And I liked turning a Christmas Carol into
something that’s not quite so sweet and sugary. 
I also find myself already pondering what Christmas carol I can do next
year.  Santa Baby?  Sleigh Ride? 
Mele Kalikimaka?  Gabriel’s
Message?  What message could Gabriel be
getting and how could it upend his life? Or what message is he sending?  Who is this Gabe guy anyway?  A struggling coffee shop owner soured on love
by the barista who left him cold?  A
photographer who just cannot take one more fake happy family photo for the
holidays? The possibilities are endless and so are the Christmas Carols. 

Another project that made me happy this year was the SharkSantoyo series.  This action packed five
book series follows the ups and downs of Peregrine Hays and Shark Santoyo as
they try to outwit the mob, the FBI and Peri’s private investigator uncle.  I loved creating the overarching storyline,
the quirky characters, the bad guys with hearts of gold, and the bad guys that
were just plain bad.  I loved the
characters and I’m hoping that people will enjoy the roller-coaster ride along
with them.  (Book #3 comes out in April
2018 was a great year for exploring the characters I love
and what I want to write. Next up in my pondering: the best way to pursue what
I love in 2019! 

PS. Have a suggestion for which Christmas carol I should turn
into a story next?  Comment below!
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series, San
Juan Islands Mysteries
, Shark Santoyo
Crime Series
, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to
exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her fourth degree black belt in
karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working
on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on YouTube,
Twitter and Facebook.