Monday, January 3, 2011

The Gift

At some point, it becomes necessary to stop messing around and just get down to it. Wow. I just sounded like my mother. Well, she’s right. Or I’m right. Whatever. The point is, I’ve been playing around for a very long time with the look of this blog, and I’ve finally decided to stop and get to the real point of it...which is writing it, of course.

Here’s the thing; I feel as if I’ve been given a precious gift and I want to take really good care of it. I've a lot to learn about blog templates and photoshop and gadgets and such, but it's all part of the learning curve, right? Still, I've given Smiling Heart a bit of a cosmetic makeover, and I have my talented son, Tony, who sat patiently with me even though he's battling the flu, to thank for it. Without his expertise, I never could have done it. Let me know how you like it.

This blog has been bequeathed to me by a group of friends with whom I attended high school nearly four decades ago. High school, for heaven’s sake! Mind you, some of them I barely knew back then (our graduating class numbered around 700), but through the marvel of Facebook,, we have become fast friends, ten gypsies from a small suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.

One of them in particular thought I might enjoy the process of blogging and talked me and the other nine into trying it. Well, he was right. I do enjoy putting my thoughts down on virtual paper. I’ve always loved puzzles, and what’s writing, if not an enjoyable word puzzle? Many thanks, Dubby, for knowing me better than I knew myself.

Recently, though, and for many reasons…reasons like real jobs, new businesses to create and develop, and even other blogs to maintain, our blog has understandably had to take a back seat to other pursuits. Rather than watch it languish in Cyberspace Purgatory, I asked permission to adopt Smiling Heart as my own. As I knew would happen, each of these dear friends offered kind words of support and encouragement in response to my request. I’m pretty sure that a couple of them were relieved, but the truth is they all could do a much better job with the blog than I…I’m just the one with the right combination of time, interest, and chutzpah to do it. I am humbled and grateful that they trust me with this.

So I planned to begin posting on New Year’s Day, but of course, Life interfered. Holidays, houseguests, and hustle-and-bustle took precedence, and that’s fine. I suspect it will happen often. And though I’m a few days late, I have made some resolutions regarding the blog. After all, resolutions can be made anytime, not only on January 1, right? So today I solemnly resolve to:

1) ATTEMPT to post regularly. I did not say “daily.” I do, however, hope to develop a certain discipline in writing regularly, whatever that means. I love a good resolution with a great big loophole, don’t you?

2) Include some piece of art, whether it be a photograph, a painting from a favorite artist, a video clip from a performance, or a poem. Art appreciation is a huge part of my life, and I believe that art is the very essence of any society. My only criterion will be my belief that it may add beauty of some sort to your day. (Warning: you should know that I occasionaly find humor to be very beautiful.)

3) Throw quotes into my posts, as I frimly believe Michel de Montaigne’s assertion that “I quote others only to better express myself.” I’m pretty sure that means that I think there are many people much smarter than I. Heaven knows, I need all the help I can get.

4) Support you in your journey. We’re all going somewhere, headed down a path strewn with flowers, thistles, or roadblocks, often of our own making. If I can encourage you, comfort you, or give you a brief respite along the way, I’ll consider this blog the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Here's a bit of music for you, just because I like it. Chopin is my favorite composer, and Wilhelm Kempff plays this Andante Spianato Op.22 with lush nuance rarely heard today. Perfect relaxation music. Enjoy with my best wishes for a great day.


  1. Good luck, Jo! You know you can ask me for Photoshop help anytime. :)

  2. WOW! I am so proud of you! Of all the things I have wished for~ to read and enjoy your writings. You my friend are a DIAMOND in the rough. Love you and I will follow you always<3

  3. Thanks so much, Randall. Glad to know I'll have help getting over the learning curve road block!

  4. CHopin is always a good idea. Did you know that his heart is encased in a column in front of a church in Warsaw? Weird factoid, I know.

    OK - the blog design is GORGEOUS. Oppulent, pleasing to the eye. Love it. And I'm so glad you're making the pledge to post regularly. I am so excited that you've taken the helm here and will become part of the blogosphere in an ongoing way.

    Mazel tov! Yay!! We're so lucky to have you here.

  5. Vicki...I hope I get to write about more exploits with you! Thanks for your support, friend.

  6. Thank you, Reya. I"ll be asking for your guidance much of the time. Glad you're a patient sort.

    I know about Chopin's heart because Andrea saw it and toured his home, too, while she was in Poland. I learn so much from my children!

  7. Off to a famous start. Congratulations. Smashing the side of this puppy with a virtual bottle of 1996 Veuve Clicquot to wish her bon voyage!

    Just as I snapped on this window, Dylan came on the air singing, Don't Think Twice, It's All Right. It rings in my ears now and I found a pretty good recording here. Bobby seemed to be sending you his blessing as I read your first post. Not with his words but his song.

    I would rewrite the lyrics to say

    When the rooster crows at the breaks of dawn
    We'll look in your window, to hear your song
    For you we turn this light on
    Don't think twice, it's all right

  8. JO! Your first post totally supersedes my expectations - TOTALLY! I LOVE IT! You have created a calm base with carefully placed paving stones between which to plant a garden - that I will TREASURE reading! Word puzzles - YES!

    REYA! I love love love your cuppa jo picture! What a perfect addition! Your photographs have such poetry in them!

    I started my day listening to CHOPIN and feeling the calm already. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your honesty - which permeates this post and is part of your rare, precious gift. You inspire all of us to USE these gifts individually given to us - to share - to BE. My friend!

    As for PhotoShop - taking it in college from an excellent teacher sped up the learning curve, and we got extra credit for trying some of the online tutorials I still subscribe to. These teach effects, images, textures, anything step-by-step and your artist innards might enjoy playing with them. Here's one - I subscribe to this one to get a daily email of the new tutorials - and to organize them online I use identifying tags in my Delicious account so I can find them more easily/without taking up computer memory:

    Dubby - love your lyrics! 'for you we turn this light on'...golden!

  9. Dubby,I can hear the virtual glass clinking at the launch party...thank you! And Dylan's blessing? Well, I can only hope, but tremendous thanks for YOURS.

  10. Nancy, you're way too kind, as always. I keep imagining what someone like you, with your ideas and expertise, could create...maybe some day?

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the Chopin, and thank you for the tutorial, too. My "artist innards" will love it! :-)


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