Friday, August 21, 2009

Pure Joy

Friday, August 21, 2009
This past weekend was long and exhausting, but also too short and… wonderful.

Because of my work situation or maybe because I’m a workaholic, I rarely fly home for a visit. Home being the place I was born and mostly raised: Indiana.

My mom still lives in our home state. As do three sisters, one brother, and their significant others and offspring. The other three sisters, oddly enough those here at SIS, flew the coop. Bren, Barb, and I pursued careers as singers, which meant a lot of traveling. We ended up settling wherever the most gigs were or where our significant others were… or both. It’s not that I don’t like Indiana. It’s certainly not that I don’t miss my family. But, dang, time flies for a workaholic and suddenly a sibling says, “Do you realize I haven’t seen you in the flesh in seven years?” And I’m like, “No way!” But… Way.

This year, for very personal reasons, it was imperative for me to fly home. I’m so glad I did. I jammed an awful lot of sib-bonding into three days, although I didn’t coordinate things quite right with my sister Brandy. My time with her was incredibly brief. I’m still bummed about that. But, happily, I was able to squeeze in some quality time with the bulk of my family. I could share highlights from the state fair, the small town café, the family cookout, the Elvis movies with Mom, the Uno game at BJ's cool medieval abode, or Brandy’s ‘House Beautiful’, but instead I want to share a moment of pure joy… albeit faked.

While riding in Barb’s Hummer, at least I think it’s a Hummer. It’s big, black, and cool, and intimidating for a wiener driver like me. Where was I? Ah, yes. While riding in Barb’s massively huge vehicle, I brought up the subject of happiness—spurred, I think, by Bren’s previous post about ‘laughing’.

Beth: Have you ever seen one of those ads where the woman is laughing? Uncontrollably? Where she looks absolutely, I don’t know, carefree?”

Barb: Pure joy.

Beth: Yes!

Barb: I’ve seen them. Beth: Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me that I don’t feel like that.

Barb: Too much stress. Your work schedule. Your writing deadlines.
Beth: Right. I’m thinking I need to reevaluate my life. Reprioritize. I want to feel like the women in those ads.

Barb: We should take a picture of us faking 'Pure Joy'.

So we did.I mean, come on, who could pass that up? Certainly not us born hams.

Even though I faked Pure Joy, I felt Pure Joy after because, dang, that was silly. Then Barb sent me the pictures and I snorted and laughed--again. Pure Joy!
Poor BJ. She's so sweet and shy... and a really good sport. Barb and I roped her into this shot. "Just look amused by my moment of Pure Joy," I said. Hmm. I don't think she's acting here.

Barb and I in a moment of feigned Pure Joy. Or was feigned?? All I know is that we are officially GOOBERS!

Here are two pictures, two moments, that bring me genuine Pure Joy.
With my awesome sisters, Brandy, Barb, and BJ. (Bren couldn't be there! Wah!!) Barb will argue she's the pretty one. *g* If that's so, our brother would venture--Brandy's the smart one, BJ the cool one, and me the sweet one. Hee!

My reason for flying home pronto. My incredibly brave and inspiring brother, Bobby. Okay, these days he goes by Bob. But he's my little brother and thus in my heart--Bobby. He's battling the big 'C' with more grace and humor than I could ever imagine. We here at SIS would appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers. I believe in miracles as do my sisters and my brother. We'd love it if you'd share a moment, any moment, of Pure Joy! When's the last time you felt it?

SIS Beth


Mary Stella said...

You made me feel joy with those pictures! Beautiful family. (Although the smart ass in me wants to ask if you all were feeling joy because you were also feeling your chests. Tee hee.)

You're beautiful AND sweet, B. All of you are beautiful, including your brother.

Tori Lennox said...

I can't recall a moment of pure joy. Ack! But maybe that's because I'm feeling like Miss Crankypants today.

Anyway. Your brother is in my prayeres. Hugs to you all!!!

Unknown said...

my recent pure joy moment was with family too. We have an annual Crabbing trip. Three generations on pontoon boats in the inlet. After kids got over the shock of no electronics there was alot of laughter and memories, old and new.

HUGS to you I will keep your brother and you all in my prayers.

Sisters-in-Sync said...


You crack me up, as always! Please spread the joy!

Tori (or should I say Ms. Crankypants?)
Thanks for the hugs and the prayers. They are much needed.

The pontoon boat sounds like a blast. Thanks for sharing your moment of Pure Joy! And thank you very much for the prayers.

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...


Just when I thought I'd make it through a day without shedding a tear you go and write this, Oh well, I wouldn't be me if the spicket shut off.

Lovely post. Great pictures (of course I took them) Great memories and Pure Joy!

SIS Barb

Anonymous said...


I wish we had more time together too! Even though our visit was short, I still greatly enjoyed it. Hopefully we can figure out ways to get together more frequently.

Bobby amazes me. His strength is absolutely incredible. I am so proud that he is my brother.

As for the pure joy moments, I have a lot of little ones everyday. Like watching Shae sleep, listening to Syenna sing, seeing Sydney turn into a beautiful young lady, getting hugs from Omar...I could go on and on.

This year has been tough (in all different ways) for many of us. I have learned that we must focus on the little things that bring us joy. All these small things sure make the big picture seem so much better.

SIS Brandy

Roni Denholtz said...

I'm sending positive thoughts and white light to your brother, Bob. Today there is so much they can do to fight cancer. My sister is a cancer survivor (it's 5 years now!) so I will think of the best outcome for Bobby.
Pure joy can happen at odd moments--like sometinmes driving in your car on a nice day, with the windows open, and one of your favorite songs comes on the radio (remember "Incense and Peppermints?"

B.J. said...

Hi Beth, I really enjoyed your visit. It was a blast playing Uno with everyone. I think Kylie enjoyed it the most when she got to burn her dad and me. Great pictures. Barb should be happy that I didn't have a fake smile(LOL).

Beth Ciotta said...

Mary, you're right! We ARE feeling our chests. Well, at least it looks that way. ;) So glad we gave you a moment of joy. I know you've gifted me with MANY!!!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Hey, Miss Cranky-Pants. Er... I mean, Tori. *g* Thank you for the prayers and hugs. We'll take 'em! Wishing you some Pure Joy!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

*waving madly* Hi, Marissa! Oh, your Pure Joy moment sounds fantastic. Pontoon boats. Three generations. What fun!

Thank you for the hugs and prayers. I just know our brother is feeling some extra positive vibes tonight!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Barb, you take the most beatuiful pictures. Fun, too. Can't wait to see more! Sorry I made you cry. Not. :)

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

SIS Brandy and SIS BJ!!!!!! I so love it when you chime in here.

Brandy, I agree. Though our time together was short, it was still special. I really enjoyed hanging with the girls. I can see how they bring you Pure Joy in many ways every day. And Omar is so sweet. You're also right in that this has been a tough year for many on multiple levels. Here's to finding joy and peace in the small things!!

BJ, Uno WAS a blast. Good old fashioned fun! I was just telling Steve about it tonight. And I did NOT cheat. I honestly thought that blue card was green! Hugs to Bryee and Kylie and Chris. Have a tenderloin sandwich with pickles and mustard for me!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...


You just made me smile really big. YES, I remember the song 'Incense and Peppermints'! But I haven't thought of it in years. What a cool song and now it's stuck in my head!

Thank you for sharing that inspiring news about your sister. Bless her! And thank you for keeping Bob in your thoughts. Much appreciated!

SIS Beth

Michael Miller said...

I think this weekend was a pure joy for me. I had so much fun getting to know everyone better. My biggest one this past weekend was to see how truly happy Dad was that so many of us could be there. Seeing him so happy made me happy.

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Michael,

Just so you know, you bring your dad pure joy. I see it every time he looks at you!

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...


One of the biggest bonuses for me was getting to know YOU better. You MUST come visit me. We'll do NYC. We'll have great fun. But we probably won't have a chocolate coke. That's an Indiana thing. :)

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Everyone!

Loved your post. Jealous that I couldn't be there with all of you, though it looks like you had a great time without me!
Pure Joy? Every time I see my children perform. Whether it be at a school play or a larger production held at a professional venue! What am I saying? I experience pure joy every time they bring home a report card, or tell me something wonderful that happened to them and every single time that they hug me and tell me they love me.
Pure Joy? Playing pool with my brother and kickin' everybody's butt. Seeing that twinkle in his eye.
Pure Joy? Hanging out with my nephew Michael. He and I are on the same wavelength which is kinda scary.
Teasing Syd about Bartholomew 45-7.
Teaming up with Syenna to conquer the other team!
Having Shae tell me she's coming home with me.
Watching my son and my niece Becca sing "Summer Lovin".
Hearing my niece Kylie laugh.
Getting "water ballooned" by Bree.
Receiving a beautiful picture in the mail from Yo-Yo.
Thinking of Jerry's fav nephew saying "What you said?".
At a time when there are so many difficult factors in our lives, we REALLY appreciate a good laugh and a joyous moment. Maybe because of the difficult time these moments seem incredibly joyous, but we are extremely thankful for each and every one of them.

SIS Bren

Richard said...

Most recent "Pure Joy" moment --- seeing those pictures you posted, especially the second one with you and Barb --"Goobers" (omg, how long has it been since I heard anyone use THAT word!!:))-- which SO reminds me of you two.

Re: Bobby -- I said it weeks ago, I say it again -- my heart goes out to him AND to you Sisters. Puts my "trials and tribulations" in perspective... and I throw all my hopes out to you all.

My PERSONAL "Pure Joy" moments? Pretty much EVERY day my precious puppy, Biscuit, even on my WORST days, in my WORST moods, too busy or distracted or self-involved to think I could be joyful about anything, does some little "puppy thing," even if I've seen it a thousand times, that makes me smile or laugh out loud unabashedly.

And, of course, again even on the "worst" night --- every night I am fortunate enough to be performing, there comes at LEAST one unadulterated moment of Pure Joy (and usually, MANY more than one) that comes from executing that certain phrase "just so," singing that difficult note "spot on," finding that cynical patron smile because of something I've done!

Olga said...

I'm wishing lots of moments of Pure Joy to you and your family, Beth! And sending lots of good wishes and vibes to your brother Bobby...

Post a Comment