Help Me Help Me (and You)


September’s almost over, so it’s time to tell you what I’ve got coming up here in October.

Last year I wrote about how much I dislike the month of October and all the reasons why. This year I decided to do something different to help me like it more.

I reached out to several of my friends and fellow bloggers to help me help me. (Yes, I know it should be “help me help myself,” but I like my way better.) I asked for their funny stories, beautiful pictures, family traditions, and special insight so I could share all the smiles with my readers. I’ll also be pulling some stories from my archives (I’m looking at you, “I Sat On A Knife” story) and sharing some of my creations and favorites with you.

We’re also going to be talking about happy places, so of course we have some features about the Happiest Place on Earth, Aldi’s. What, that’s not your happy place? Ok, we’ll talk about Disney and other fun places too.

Knowing what’s just around the corner has got me excited about next month, so it’s working already!


I don’t have quite enough content for every day of the month yet, but that’s where you can help me help me. If I haven’t asked you directly, consider yourself asked! Do you have something you’d like to contribute to this month of smiles? Leave me a comment with your e-mail address and idea or email me at annasjoy at gmail dot com.

I don’t usually push my readers to subscribe, because I don’t do a lot of it myself. However, if you’d like to get all the joy this month, you can sign up over there ———> to get emails whenever something is posted here, and then unsubscribe at any time.

I also have a public Facebook and Instagram page, so unless you need me to just call or text you every time something is posted here*, I think we’re covered!

What are you looking forward to about October?

*(I won’t)

The (in)courage post is up!

20170909-Carpenter-PermanentHomeHow many American flag-themed décor items are appropriate to have in any given room? Asking for a friend. It’s me, actually. I have at least six in my living room but there are some empty spots on the wall, so I could still add more.

I love America. I’ve served her both in the military and as a spouse to a soldier-turned-diplomat. I’ve given up years of my life to be deployed and to be a solo-parent when it was my husband’s turn to go. I’ve given crisp salutes to officers at the Pentagon and pushed my kids’ strollers past guards in embassies overseas.

Though I obviously love my country, and our flag, my ideas of what it means to be American are ever-evolving and I’d sway a little if you asked me to pin it down to just one thing.


Read the rest (if you haven’t already) over at (in)courage.

They posted it Saturday morning and sent it out to their email subscribers (oh, just about 48,000 of them!) and before I even woke up, I had several messages with comments thanking me for my service and the article.

(Do you want to get free, daily notes like mine showing up in your email? Sign up here.)

The team at (in)courage has been so great to work with, making me feel so welcome and, well, encouraged! I also adore the graphic they made to go along with the article. I’m already planning to submit another post the next time they take submissions and will be looking for other sites to submit posts to.

If you’re on Facebook and like to follow writer pages, you can find me here.

I kindof love this cover photo I made on

I’m also on Instagram and Twitter @annasjoy.

Thank you, my dear friends and family, and welcome to any new readers who may have stumbled in. I’ll always be thankful that you take the time to read what I write.

A Good Surprise

I don’t love surprises. I actually don’t like them at all. I get this from my mother. No surprise there.

Gratuitous Mommy and me shot because she’s beautiful

My poor husband tried to surprise me once when we were dating and once again as newlyweds and then he learned. I still can’t explain why I wanted to be “surprised” with the gender of our first baby, but really there’s not much variance there, so I could handle either of the two possibilities.

The surprise I’m talking about here, though, is one I’m actually really enjoying.

I’m almost 40, as you know, and it’s been a delightful surprise, but probably shouldn’t be, how much my friends are really good at supporting me lately. Like cheering me on type of support. Like unabashedly telling me I’m good at stuff. And not even just trying to make me feel good when they say I should try or apply for certain things because of course I’ll get it. And when good stuff happens to and for me, they aren’t surprised because they knew it would.

For example, a few months ago, I submitted an article to (in)courage, an online community of women offering blogs, book clubs and other ways to connect run by DaySpring, which is the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark. Beforehand I did some research and didn’t read any of the voices there that sounded like me. They were good, professional, touching and sweet, but not me. I still wrote my story, planning to share it here when they sent me the nice rejection letter. Nothing to lose, right?

I sent it to a few friends to look at, they offered helpful suggestions but told me it was good and it’d be accepted. I didn’t believe them, but thanked them and sent it in anyway.

Wouldn’t you know (you did know, of course!), (in)courage accepted it! fullsizeoutput_1c4

My article is going to run Sept 9! What a great birthday present! (Nope, that’s not my birthday, but pretty close!)

Included in the happy and surprising acceptance letter, the site editors requested the links to my public social media accounts. I don’t have any public social media accounts. I should probably set some up.

So, between now and Sept 9, you’ll see me get a little more proactive with self-promotion. I don’t know anyone who loves to promote themselves, but it’s necessary these days for getting published and I can’t avoid it anymore. I’m going to stomach it by not thinking of it as “self-promotion” as much as amplifying the opinion my friends have of me. When I say “Hey, read this thing I wrote!” I’m really just saying, “My awesome friends think this article is really good, maybe you will too!” That’s better, right?

If you are good at being surprised, I’d love to hear about your favorite surprise. If you’re not, I’ll see you at the annual meeting which we all know about because we don’t like being (what’s that? I’ve run this into the ground? Ok, gotcha!)