About jfh48

Joan has entered a new chapter in life. She is using her newfound gift of time to hone her writing skills. She self-published her first book, a memoir. Carried By a Feather is the story of Joan's family and the tragedy that befalls two members. Joan will continue to journal all of life's twists and turns, the good with the bad. These jottings are for her eyes only. There is LOTS to write about! The written word is powerful, healing and worth sharing.

Just Say No to Normal

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen many social media posts that are inspiring, uplifting, and thought-provoking. Today, a former classmate, kindred spirit, and outstanding teacher of high school English shared the following quote from Sonya Renee Taylor. (Thanks, Beth.)

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”   

I’ve read this paragraph several times, and I hope you’ll do the same. Consider it your daily ration of food-for-thought. I believe we’re awakening to a time of significant change, and it’s my hope that you’ll sign up for a new way of living, loving, thinking, creating, co-existing, and most importantly, being.

Intuition vs. Fear

We’re living an ever-changing narrative, one that feels out-of-control, uncertain, and even chaotic. These feelings, many of them valid, can lead us to become mired in fear. I’m hearing a lot of fear-based and fear-invoking words in the press and via social media. We must quiet these fears so we can focus on the lessons at hand. And many of these lessons come from within us, from our intuition.

Merriam-Webster defines intuition this way: The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference; quick and ready insight.

I found a few quotes to further define or describe intuition:

“A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”    English Proverb

“If it looks right, but feels wrong, it’s FEAR. If it looks wrong but feels right, it’s INTUITION.”    Unknown

“Intuition is seeing with the soul.”    Dean Koontz

The best way to connect with your intuition is by being quiet. This can be done via mediation (either sitting or walking), yoga, journaling, spending time in nature, or by just being present or “mindful” as you navigate your day. I realize this is often easier said than done. I suffer from what Buddhists refer to as “monkey mind,” and perhaps you do, too. My brain is constantly on, focused on the minute and mundane. This is the ego constantly vying for my attention, and the ego speaks a language that’s often infused with negativity and fear.

Just say no to the ego, and instead listen to your inner voice. It’s always speaking to you and through you. And that voice will comfort and guide you to peace, and more importantly, LOVE.


Change Is in the Air

We are experiencing a time of great change. Some of it will be temporary, and some will be permanent, even necessary. There are many people who’ve spoken about change and their quotes deserve to be shared. Here are a few to inspire you to embrace this opportunity standing before us:


Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.    Don Henley


The hardest part of moving forward IS NOT LOOKING BACK.   Unknown


I’ll end with a quote from the late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr:

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl.

But whatever you do,



She Can Breathe

We’ve all experienced the dreaded symptoms of a cold, allergies, or sinus infection—a stuffy nose, a congested, leaden head, sinus pressure, and mouth breathing. When confronted with these symptoms, we often ingest copious amounts of medication, both over-the-counter and prescription, desperate for relief.

I suspect that for quite some time, Mother Earth has been existing in a perpetual state of congestion, a result of the massive amount of pollutants dumped into her breathing space. Day after day, she’s forced to exist in her clogged state with little hope for a respite from her misery.

As a result of our global timeout, planes have been grounded, trains sit idle on tracks, factories are closed, and people are at home and out of their cars. Our collective standstill has resulted in positive changes in the environment. Perhaps the most notable is the significant decline in air pollution in major cities around the world.

Mother Earth can breathe. And she’s grinning from ear to ear as she inhales slow, deep, cleansing breaths through her nose. She’s grateful for this gift, and she’s wondering what can be done to ensure that it lasts?

A Thank You Note to a Virus

Manifesting the End of Coronavirus. This was the title and subject of a video I watched earlier this week. The gist of the message can be summed up in four words:

What we resist persists.

During this time of isolation and physical distancing, we need to remain focused on the positive. I’d never dismiss the seriousness of this situation—people becoming ill, people dying, the loss of jobs, and more—yet we need to accept and embrace where we are and be patient as this ever-changing scenario unfolds.

In an effort to make peace with our current state of affairs, I suggest writing a note to COVID-19, thanking it for the lessons you’ve learned thus far, and the ways you intend to make permanent changes or shifts in the way you think and live going forward.

Here’s a sample template:

Dear Coronavirus,

In the smattering of days since you found your way into our country, our homes, and our communities, I’ve learned so much about myself, my life, and my priorities. I’ve also become aware of the plethora of things I’ve taken for granted. I’d like to thank you for showing up as my teacher, and I’m grateful for my front row seat in your classroom. Your lessons are necessary and important and are providing me with awareness and opportunity.

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far, and the new plans and goals I have for the future:


I’m choosing to live my life one day at a time, allowing things to unfold without fear, negativity, judgment, and impatience. I’m also doing my best to remain hopeful, optimistic, and focused, and I choose to be kind, empathetic, and sincere in everything I think, do, and say.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With love,

John’s Words

If you’ve been following along this week, most of what I’ve written have been my words, my views. Today, I want to share the voice of someone else. In 1971, the song, “Imagine,” was released. It was co-written by John Lennon and wife, Yoko Ono. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named it the third-greatest song of all time. It’s number one for me and has been for some time.

Here we are, nearly 50 years later, and we’ve yet to manifest the things John sang and dreamed about. It’s not too late. We can do this.

Just imagine what the world would be like if we did?


Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Here’s a link to the audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOgFZfRVaww

How Did We Get Here?

Like quicksand under our feet, we’ve been sinking into a dark, dank abyss. Many have drawn attention to this slow, yet steady slide, but their cries for help have mostly been ignored, even dismissed. How did we get here? The list is lengthy…

A lack of common courtesy and respect

The fracturing of our two-party system

Inability to disconnect from devices

Shrinking of the middle class

Improper care of the elderly

Dismissal of climate change

Living beyond our means

Ageism in the workplace

Unaffordable healthcare

Lack of a living wage

Overcrowded prisons

Unhealthy lifestyles

Mental health crisis

Displaced veterans

Frivolous lawsuits

Human trafficking

Animal extinction

Harried lifestyles

Opioid epidemic

Corporate greed


Mass shootings



Pay inequality

Working poor

Animal abuse

Hate crimes













I’ve often pondered the questions, “What can I do? What can one person do?” The answer, I believe, lies within the lyrics, co-written in 1955 by the husband-wife team of Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller. (Thanks, Brian, for the reminder.)

“Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”

We are at a critical juncture in time. Do we continue our downward spiral or do we grasp the lifeline and begin our ascent? I say we take this unprecedented opportunity to save ourselves, our planet, our creatures, our humanity.

We have the power to turn this around, and the time is now. Will you do your part?



Moving Forward

I’ve been aware for quite some time that our thoughts, words, and actions have wings. That is, everything we think, say, and do makes its way into our world, our consciousness. We need to be mindful, now more than ever, of this universal force.

There will come a time when our restrictions will be lifted. Businesses and schools will reopen, restaurants will have dine-in options, and grocery stores won’t be stripped bare of their wares. People will say, “I’ve gone back to work,” or “Things are returning to normal.”

I think we should refrain from using terms like “going back” or “returning to normal” as this dismisses much of the forward progress that’s taking place as we speak. We’re experiencing a new way of life, making use of time many of us have never had. People are creating and embracing new ways of engaging with their families, friends, and neighbors—family game night, spending time in nature walking, playing, or just sitting, singing from balconies, checking off to-do list items, using phones for chats not scrolling.

If we go back to our harried and often self-absorbed way of life, we’ve missed the lessons that have been placed right in front of us. What’s happening now is so much more than a virus. It’s a wakeup call. It’s an opportunity to restructure the way we live, reprioritize our daily agendas, and increase the time spent enjoying one another.

It’s our chance to do and be better.

Rahul Gandhi says it this way:

“It is the time to move ahead and bring the change.”


My message today is about adopting the “attitude of gratitude.” Merriam-Webster defines gratitude as “the state of being grateful: thankfulness.” If you aren’t a regular practitioner of expressing gratitude, now’s the perfect time to start! Instead of dwelling on what’s been taken away, put all of your time, energy, and focus into appreciating and being thankful for what you have.

I started a gratitude journal years ago when Oprah was preaching about it on her show. Over time, I fell out of practice. I returned to it last summer after reading Melody Beattie’s book, Make Miracles in Forty Days. There’s no right or wrong way to practice expressing gratitude. You can jot down a list in a notebook or journal, or simply take a few moments to make a mental note of the people, places, and/or things you’re grateful for. Try to come up with at least three items. (Ms. Beattie suggests ten.) Do what’s best for you—just take the time to do it. Oh, and this exercise can also be done with children, even fairly young ones.

I’m grateful for our connection, which enables me to share this unprecedented time with you. I’ll end with a quote from Zig Ziglar:

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”


Planting the Seeds for Growth

We are currently living in unchartered territory. Our way of life has changed drastically, with little time for preparation. We’ve literally been turned upside down, which means our view has changed. What will you do with this new view?

We’ve been given the chance to restructure our lives, and these changes need not be temporary. They can last far beyond our current situation. I received an email this morning from Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins. The message was delivered with perfect timing. I share the gist of it below and offer it as food for thought in relation to your own life and this opportunity we’ve been given. Yes, I call it an opportunity.


The truth is, I’m watching people all around me take two different paths…

Some are watching the news, scrolling social media or catching up on Netflix shows because they’re scared and can only either focus on the worst, or are trying to distract themselves. 

But when I look at my friends who have been successful over years and years no matter what situation comes up, you know what they’re doing?

They’re GROWING. 

Here’s the reality—those who don’t use this as a time of growth are actually self-selecting to be stuck and fall behind when this is over. 


And so, my friends, to borrow and bend the famous line from Mary Oliver’s poem:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your opportunity for growth?

Love ya, mean it!