Author Archives: lcrawford1

The Choice of JOY


This morning, on a bright and sunny Election Day in southern California, I’m hit with the reality that we have a choice. Now some may say we have limited options, but we must look at the facts, do our best to make a rational decision, and view this election and our lives through JOY colored glasses.

          Negativity hits us square in the face—we have a choice.

          We find ourselves bewildered—we have a choice.

          We wonder what’s becoming of our world—we have a choice.

          Discontent surrounds us at times—we have a choice.

          People appear angry—we have a choice.

          We believe we don’t have much choice—we have a choice.

          Confusion sets in—we have a choice.

          We contemplate whether or not our vote will count—we have a choice.

          Our children watch—we have a choice.

          Our mothers observe—we have a choice.

          The world scrutinizes—we have a choice.

          God sees all—we have a choice.


I encourage you to make a decision regarding this election today. Choose and vote—it’s your right and privilege. You have an opportunity to select the candidate who you believe will help America and our children. Your selection, option, alternative, and preference become your choice.

We live in America and have the right to choose. Every American’s decision is an important one, regardless of our personal viewpoints. I believe in my heart that each one of us does the best we can with what we have to work with. And even though it’s hard to see in some, I trust in the goodness of Americans.

Today, my friend, let your gratefulness abound. Choose JOY and view the world through a different prism. The universe will change right before your eyes as you examine the value in people and the good in life. In an instant, your world will fill with happiness, delight, pleasure, bliss, elation, gladness, and wonder.

JOY is my choice—what’s yours?



Sunrise JOY

mount sunrise 1      Not a day goes by without a sunrise or sunset.

     sunset 2

Imagine the creation of the dawn and nightfall. Take the prettiest sunrise or sunset you have ever seen and multiply the intensity by a number too big to write. The sun makes quite a statement during its comings and goings.

Since I sleep rather late in the morning, I rarely see the sun escalate above the horizon. But, I’m confident in the daylight that will join me on my adventure each and every day.

If you know me at all, you’re aware I often post pictures of sunsets; especially when I’m traveling around our beautiful country. No matter where I go, I’m in awe of the changing sky. But once the sun has descended, the dark of the night isn’t necessarily my favorite part of the day. I prefer the promises that a new morning offers.

My first thought when the light of the sun streams into my bedroom is that I’m overJOYed for another day of life. I’ve been known to thank God before I step out of my bed for the opportunity of a brand new day—one with a clean slate. But when my feet hit the floor running, my adventure begins.

The JOY of the day ahead of me, I spend time alone with my Creator before I shower, dress, and have my breakfast—a fruity-protein-power shake. Once I’m dressed, I’m raring to go. That doesn’t mean I’m out the door, although sometimes there are places to go and people to see. More often than not, there’s much to do on the home front. I’m certain you know what I’m talking about.

Since I’m a writer, it’s imperative that I structure my day. I plan time to sit in my office or the patio to contemplate, research, and write to my heart’s content. My favorite routine is to do one household chore after every 500 words I write or one chapter I edit. An achievement of 2000 words or a four-chapter edit is a good day for this writer.

On other days, I squeeze in time to write. I enJOY quality time with my grandchildren. I might pick up a child from school or watch one play sports. The youngest treasure, a three-year-old grand, spends at least one day a week with me while her parents work. She shares my love for books. We always head to the local library for a story or two and a few books for her book bag. Julianna is still young enough to have an afternoon rest, and when she does, I use the time to work on my latest creation.

Once a week I get together with a couple of my writer friends. I have another group of women who meet with me one day a month. The powerful women from these two groups give me great insight into the writing field. Their passion for creating stories and growing as writers matches my own. I’m thankful for these friends who give me JOY and help me see the sun, even on gloomy days.

By eight each night, I’m ready to wind down. You’ll usually find me lounging next to my husband in a comfy chair with a book or quilting project in my hands. The sun has dipped into the horizon and night surrounds me. When I’m tired enough to fall to sleep, I climb into my bed and ponder my day. As I drift into dreamland, I’m thankful for my journey and hopeful for a blessed tomorrow.


I always thought of myself as a night person because I stay up so late and sleep until mid-morning. As much as I like beginnings, however, I fancy myself a morning person. I sprint through the day and at the end, embrace the promise of tomorrow.

How about you? What’s your favorite—morning or night? Sunrise or sunset? Or do you get JOY from both?

Make it a JOYful day from dawn to dusk, my friend.

joy in the morning


JOY of Quilting vs. JOY of Writing


cropped-Author-pic-no-glasses.jpg  Most of us have hobbies. I spend my extra time either quilting or writing. Much to my surprise, I’ve discovered these two passions are quite similar. Both give me JOY as I methodically work step-by-step to create my projects.

Step 1

Every quilt starts with a design. Once the pattern is chosen, I select a color scheme of three different colors that enhance each other. Then I determine the finished size of the quilt.

For writing, I buy a new notebook to use for notes and thoughts. The tablet stays with me 24/7 so I can write down ideas as they come to me. I decide on a storyline and the ultimate goal of the main character. I choose a place and time and consider one or two other people to interact with the main character.

Step 2

If I am making my own design for the quilt, I draw the plans on graph paper. Once I select or draw the pattern, I figure out how much yardage I need for each color.

Before I start the writing phase of a story, I do an abbreviated outline of three to five words per chapter. I begin to research for the story.

Step 3

Now comes the fun part of the quilt; I shop for the fabric. This step usually takes me a couple of hours at the fabric store. After I choose as many as twelve different materials in the color scheme I’ve decided upon, I lay them on a large table. I move the bolts around and eliminate one at a time until I’m left with the colors I like together. The clerk measures and cuts the proper amount of each fabric. The materials are rinsed, dried, and ironed when I get home. Now I can cut the material into the appropriate size pieces needed for the quilt.

Before I write the story, I develop the characters on Character Profile sheets. I include their age, background, personality, looks, quirks, mannerisms, family, and anything else that is needed to understand the person and make them real to my reader and me. I determine the time and place of the story.

Step 4

The cut pieces of material for the quilt are pressed and organized before I sew them together to form the design. Music helps the time fly by as I sew the pieces together and watch my creation unfold. Sounds like a simple step, but it takes the longest to see through to fruition.

When I’m ready to begin the writing phase of the current story, I sit at my desk, turn on the computer, and let Josh Groban sing to me through my headset. I check the outline to give me a starting point for the chapter and start creating. I am what the writing world calls a ‘pantster’—I write by the seat of my pants. The limited outline keeps me focused on the conflict or main idea of the chapter. I allow my creativity to take over as the story unfolds through my fingertips. It’s important to me to allow my creativity to flow non-stop, so I never stop to reread or edit until I’ve written the first draft.

Step 5

When I finish the quilt top, I iron all the seams and press the entire top. I also cut off the hanging threads. At this point, I can lay the quilt piece on the bed and see how it looks.

Once I’ve written my entire manuscript, I do spelling and grammar checks. To help me see if the story flows and where I might have holes, incomplete sentences, or wrong words, I read through the entire document. I fix the spelling and grammar errors and flag potential issues.

Step 6

The quilt top is pinned to the batting and back piece. This is a tedious task and takes patience and perseverance. I make sure the layers are smooth and taut before I pin the three layers together.

In writing, edits are the most tedious step for me. Although I don’t adjust the storyline, it’s not unusual for me to change a manuscript eight to ten times. This requires reading through the document again and again. After I read from front to back, I also read the story from the last sentence to the first. It’s amazing the flags that rise when reading from the end to the beginning. I also belong to writing groups. We read sections of each other’s work and make suggestions.

Step 7

The actual quilting of the project is done in one of three ways. Some people send their quilts to a vendor who stitches the three layers together on a longarm quilting system. Quilting on the sewing machine is another option. It’s difficult at times to maneuver the pinned layers on a small machine, but it can be done. My favorite method is hand quilting. Although it may take months to complete, it’s a satisfying experience.

I’ve written the manuscript, and it’s complete. Time to send it to my editor.

Step 8

The quilt is sewn. After I hem the perimeter, I wash and dry the project. There’s no better feeling than to remove a project from the dryer and feel the puffiness of the quilted areas.

I make the changes to my writing that the editor suggests. Then I’m ready to query agents. My work is done until I receive word from an agent about potential publishing opportunities.

Step 9

I gift the quilt to someone special or place it on my bed for my enJOYment.

The JOY of writing behind me, I wait to have my book published. Never idle, I work on the next story.


What hobbies bring you JOY? Do you make time for them? I’m a firm believer in having down time from the stresses of life. Each of us was born with unique gifts and talents. I’ve only realized in the last few years that one of my gifts is creativity.

May you discover the unique gift you were born with, my friend, and find time every day to allow that talent to surface. JOY will refresh your spirit, improve your focus, and help you cope with the demands of your life. EnJOY your amazing talents.


my talent


healthy living

health and joy

A proactive approach to health is on many minds these days. We will always need our doctors and nurses, but we’re on a mission to take control of our wellbeing as much as possible.

A year and a half ago, my personal mission to optimal health began. My doctor had given me test results that scared me into a whirlwind of change. My desire to live and spend more time watching my children and grandchildren experience life became my reason to turn my health around. They became my WHY. With determination and motivation, I began my search for wellness. Little did I know my journey would bring so much JOY.

Two medical conditions were my primary focus. My logic told me to eliminate inflammatory and acidic foods from my diet, but I lacked self-discipline when it came to my eating habits. My cravings for carbs and sweets were not because I loved to cook or eat. I ate junk every time stress, busyness, or nighttime consumed me.

I researched non-inflammatory and alkaline foods and made a list of what I could eat. I only put the foods I liked on my list, so it was quite short. For the next year, eighty percent of the time I ate the foods that would not aggravate my conditions. My heath improved, and the doctors gave me positive reports. However, my energy level continued to decline, and I had trouble sleeping at night.            

Lack of protein and nutrition were the culprits, and I knew I had to find a way to get a better balance of the two. My son suggested a nutritional rebalancing system. I have used the meal replacement and cellular cleanse products ever since and added a daily exercise routine of stretches and walking. My body shouts with JOY and thrives from the great nutrition and physical movements. I feel twenty-five years younger.

Throughout my health journey, I discovered the importance of sleep, water, protein, and organic fruits and vegetables. Now, I sleep the entire night soundly. I have energy, stamina, and a healthy attitude. If I had realized that good nutrition and exercise would make me younger, I would have done this a long time ago.

Recently, an article in the local newspaper’s Parade intrigued me. Entitled ‘Get Healthy, Head to Toe’, the article helped me see I am more on the right path than I thought. I hope you enJOY the information:

Many years ago, someone gave me a small can of success. The words on the label read–Success comes in cans, not in cannots. On the back of the can was a list of ingredients for success. I passed this along to one of my daughters when she attended nursing school, but I remember a few of the ingredients. Faith, commitment, persistence, courage, and a positive attitude have kept me focused on my journey to health.

We enter this world with one body, my friends, and I believe it is up to each of us to keep our body as strong and healthy as possible. If self-discipline is an issue for you, I understand. I have had trouble with discipline my entire life. However, I made a choice to overcome the problem. Now, I take life a day at a time and remind myself that I am worth it. I focus on the results—a healthy mind and body. I keep my WHY close to my heart.


 May JOY bless you as you take control of your wellness. Make the changes necessary for a healthy body and mind. Imagine the happiness on the faces of family and friends when you beam with pride at your accomplishments. Imagine your body and mind changed for the better.

I encourage you to discover the necessary adjustments needed for your health. Blessed with a new beginning when the sun rises each morning, aim for what you want in life. Never give up on yourself. The JOY of good health will delight you.


health scripture


happy v day

Valentine’s Day brings JOY to many people, from toddlers to the elderly. To this day, I still remember decorating a shoebox at school so the other children in the class could give me a Valentine.  The anticipation of opening each envelope caused butterflies to swarm in my stomach. The excitement of the day rated almost as special as Christmas and my birthday.

Holding that small bright card in my hand triggered endorphins of happiness. I counted the number of cards and checked with my friends to see how many they received. I remember the ritual as a comfort—one that gave me JOY because so many people liked me enough to give me a greeting on such a special day.

Around the time I began junior high, things changed somewhat. I no longer decorated a box and left it on my desk for classmates to fill.  But, I secretly hoped that someone cared enough to give me a Valentine. In the eighth grade, my very first boyfriend gave me a card and stuffed animal. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

By the time I reached high school, a few good friends passed V greetings to me in class. In my junior year of high school, my boyfriend took me to dinner for Valentine’s Day. I was moving up in the world. He gave me a beautiful card and wrote the sought-after words inside—I love you. I thought I knew all about love by then, and marveled at the JOY I felt because someone other than my family loved me. I knew our love would last forever.

We married after high school and started a family. I knew no one in the entire world could ever love me as much as my babies did. As I look back now, however, I realize it didn’t matter whether they loved me or not—I loved them more than I had ever loved anyone. They depended on me for survival and unconditional love, and I unselfishly gave them both.

A few years after my son and daughter were born, my childhood sweetheart and I broke apart. Isn’t it funny how Valentines come and go in our lives? How the heartaches and tears surface and then disappear as we move on in our lives?

As a divorcee with a young son and daughter, I remember longing for JOY on Valentine’s Day as sadness overwhelmed me . Most of my life I had received greetings and words of affirmation this one day of the year. Now, I stood on my own two feet with all my responsibilities and realized my aloneness. My children decorated their shoeboxes and signed their names on the small cards for their classmates. Their excitement at the end of the day brought tears to my eyes—tears of JOY for their happiness and disappointment for myself.

Eventually, I met a man who knew how to choose the perfect gifts for me. In the thirty-five years we have known each other, he’s always given me a card that described his heartfelt feelings for me. The first year we were married, on Valentine’s Day, he took me for a ride in the country.  A barking pack of dogs greeted us when we stopped at a home. The owner welcomed us and we followed her to the back yard. I almost leaped for JOY when a litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies ran around my feet. I had told my husband when we first met that I had always wanted a Cocker Spaniel, and he granted my wish.

We took Frisby home and introduced him to the family. My husband showered me with unselfish love that day. Throughout our years together, we have shared many a Valentine’s Day. My life has been JOYous and exciting at times. Like most couples, however, we’ve had our low points, too. We’ve raised four children, my son and daughter, his daughter, and our daughter. They have blessed us with ten grandchildren. I do believe we’ve settled into a comfortable routine, one that brings us tidbits of JOY every day.

Looking back on my past Valentine’s Days, I’ve traveled on a path of many emotions. The happy years have pleased me. The bad years made me question my direction in life at times. I must say, though, this JOYfilled period of my life is special. I’ve aged enough to know how to process my sensitivities. I’m old enough to start each day fresh and free of worries yet young enough to enJOY the excitement of each day as a child.

The mischievous side of me wonders if I should have a little Valentine fun and shake things up a bit today. The loved and content side of me says no. We’ve worked hard to get to this place of solid, unselfish love in our relationship. Now is the time to enJOY every minute and watch the world around us share the love of Valentine’s JOY.

This morning, I took my six-year-old granddaughter to my mother’s house. I watched in awe as my eighty-five-year-old mom’s eyes twinkled with JOY when she watched the child’s face. I thought of my mom’s life journey and remembered how lonely she gets at times. But, the glow on her face brought an irresistible urge to shout with JOY. She reminded me that we can find happiness and JOY each and every day—we just need to open our eyes and look around.


What recollections do you have of February 14? I hope the celebration-of-love day brings you JOY and happiness. May each day throughout the year bring you and yours the JOY of love and appreciation.  Live fully, laugh often, and love continuously. Your JOY depends on it.

john 316 valentine