A New Chapter


My silence for the last two years as a blogger was because my husband of 35 years had  become very ill and moved to heaven in January. I served as his caregiver and blogging was the last thing on my agenda.  Because I haven’t posted for a very long time, I lost the rights to joyousbells.com.  

Welcome back to Encore Now.  You can also follow me on Joyjourney.co.  I trust that our time together will be filled with love and joy.  This post is adapted from the Joy Journey post.

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I have watched as Joe’s illness caused me concern,turning into stress and frustration.  I attended my sweet husband as he failed.  I tried to give him healthy food, vitamins, herbs and anything else that he would allow.  I prayed and I became desperate.  I would get unhappy with God and He would remind me that He had given us both everything that we needed for life and godliness.  Joe also  knew that but he was so deep in the flow of the disease that it had a firm grip on him.  I watched helpless with a broken heart.

During this time, I was blessed with a church family that came alongside.  One of my sisters in Christ became a care-giver with me.  She taught me so much.  My pastor and the men in the church encouraged me and when the final days came, they took the night watches for me as Joe struggled to let go of this life and move into the amazing heavenly realm.

Joe had Parkinson’s Disease for seven years and in September he fell and broke his hip.  As with so many people who have failing health, this was the beginning of the end.  He was in the hospitall for surgery, then to rehab and home health care; ultimately moving into a nursing home with hospice.

His home going was wonderful.  The atmosphere in the room was filled with the sweet aroma of heaven and stayed with me as I lay in bed with him for the last time.  It was the sweet assurance that all was okay.  The atmosphere shifted some but it never completely left the room until Joe stepped over.

I miss him but I would not wish him back.  He is free and in the loving arms of His heavenly family.  I will  join him one day.  Until then, I have work to do.  I have the joy of spending time intimately with my heavenly Father and my Big Brother, Jesus and being grateful to the Holy Spirit as He navigates me through each day.

I am beginning my new life doing what I love.  I am writing again.  Stay tuned as I will be an active blogger.  Thank you for following me in the past.  I hope that you stay with me in this Encore phase of my new life.

Joe - in happier days.

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Cyber Shopping, Cyber Talking, Cyber Learning, and Cyber Burnout!


After frantic Black Friday in the stores, buying boots that looked great in ad and returning them the next day when sanity also returned, I turned to the Internet.  I found what I was looking for, but I had trouble with the purchase and had to go to the chat room for assistance.  They helped me – and then I didn’t know for certain if the ‘buy’ had gone through.  After sending them a customer support ticket, I finally decided to go ahead and re-enter the credit card and – viola!! I received the e-mail confirmation.  While I didn’t have to fight crowds to get the products, I did experience frustration none-the-less.

The last internet purchase I made was a refurbished lap-top.  It has sound problems with the microphone providing a banshee like wail whenever I lay my hand on the front of the keyboard or try to talk to someone.  I called the provider and they put me through to tech support.  He told me to turn off the microphone, which I did.  The wailing stopped.

To add insult to injury, this morning when I opened my computer, I had a cyber class on blogging that I had forgotten about.  I went to the JoinMe sight and Skype and turned on the microphone and the screaming began again.  I tried to fix it – but to no avail.  I am now on the second computer but, it too, has a mind of its own.  The Office application has a glitch.  As I am typing, the letters decide they have a better place to be than in the word that I am typing.  They jump to the new sight and when I look up; I realize that I have made unfamiliar words inserted into an entirely different thought.

So, now I am in my blogging class and the topic is Cyber Monday.  Help me, Lord!  I remember a kinder, gentler time when I had a Rolodex (not to be confused with Rolex)  and a file cabinet, a phone and a car.  My own mind was the computer and things worked amazingly well.  I didn’t have access to all the things I do today, but truly, it was less stressful.

So, here I am, after a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, struggling to be thankful for cyber-anything.   Thinking back longingly to a time when Christmas Shopping was fun and didn’t start until December.

Cyber-burnout is really just a state of mind.  I have to know that if I didn’t have the internet I wouldn’t have blogging class with friends in Rockford, Illinois, or a Skype friend in South Africa.  I wouldn’t be able to see my grandchild in Madison, Wisconsin, or write to an audience of people I don’t even know and will, most likely, never meet!

After reconsidering, I am thankful for the Internet and the amazing way it allows me to communicate with the world.

Thanks, Al Gore!!!  (lol)

Being Successful in the Face of Fear 101


She came into work early with her heart in her throat.  She had talked to one of her clients last night and things were falling apart.  Anna wanted to put that phone call off.  Her fear must have shown because when her boss walked by, he paused and sat down at her desk.  “What’s up?” he asked.  She grimaced.  “I think that the deal I have been working on is unraveling.”  He looked at her and smiled.  “I know that’s hard.  You have worked hard, but my rule is this, ‘if you have to eat a frog, do it first thing in the morning.’  Then the rest of the day will not have a cloud hanging over it and you can be productive!”  Anna laughed.  She turned to the phone and as she picked it up, she asked her boss for some salt and pepper.

Anna had learned an important lesson.  When we face our fears and do the hard things early in the day, things improve quickly.  The relief of having the difficult call behind her gave her the release to have a day that was highly productive.

Does fear freeze you?  Are you afraid of making cold calls?  Are you afraid that someone is going to tell you no?  Do you have unrealistic expectations?

Truth is that only 5% to 20% of the new activity actually sign up, so a ‘ no’ is just one step closer to the yes that you are seeking.  And here is more good news, all the people you meet and develop a relationship with today are the people who may say ‘yes’ tomorrow or refer someone to you that will rock your world.  ‘

Anyone for frog legs?

What are you afraid to do???  Let’s talk.

Living on Fast Forward in Retirement


The internet has really captured me.  I started working with it because I like to write and now the ministry, that we participate in, has asked me to help with their  blogs and websites.  At sixty-nine years young, I thought that the task was overwhelming and then I got into it and found out that I was right.  The good news is that I have found people to help me develop the web pages which are beginning to come together and look good.  But, because of this activity my personal blogging has taken a back-seat and I really miss it.  So – here goes!

Being retired isn’t just sitting in front of the television, traveling, and feeding, the birds.  My life is full and busy.  I still do the normal things of taking care of the house and yard.  We visit my 95 year-old Mom and our kids.  The ministry has monthly tent meetings and that has kept us engaged.  My Usana business has suffered a bit.  Visit me at http://www.encorenow.usana.com and help me out!

Pinterest is a pin-board that is a fun leisure time activity.  Most interesting to me is that I can do it and not feel like ‘if only’ I had this or that.  It is just a place to see pretty things, learn things, get tips, learn about products, and find humor.  Yes, it can be a time-waster but I am learning just to do it for short bursts of time!

In addition to the normal part of my life, who would have thought that the very thing that I struggled with at work (the computer)  would become a  passion?  So now the writing bug has me wrapped up in blogging and posting to web-pages.  I am learning so much.  I guess the book that I pondered will have to wait.

Here is one of the web sites that I have in process – http://www.fireinthestreets.com.  The picture is what I am using as a header.  Cool huh?

So what is keeping you engaged and happy in your retirement?

Blogging Class Bogged Down by Cyberspace Wierdness 3/07/2012


Well it happened.  I am on Skype and taking a really good blogging class and the Internet in their location is very uncooperative.  It is interesting being a headshot and not being able to see everyone in the class.  Fortunately screen sharing makes things more pleasant.  Today, however, was extremely frustrating.  We didn’t get through everything because of the problems we encountered. 

Let me put it this way, they may have gotten it all, but I missed out on some pieces.

I have learned so much from the class that I really can’t complain.  I am becoming much more confident using social media.  And, people I don’t even know are choosing to follow me!  How great is that?

So, I think I will sing a song instead of being frustrated.  What shall I sing?  “Don’t worry, be happy!”

Liking Linking!!


Social media is such a paradigm shift for those of us who are over 60.  It is a bewilderment and a puzzle.  Some of us just shut our minds to the possibilities.  But we are living longer and we are living stronger so it is important that we stay current.  Younger people fall into the various aspects of the computer world easily, but it can cause our minds to shut down and our hands to be thrown up in despair.

I challenge you to get involved.  If you are computer challenged, take a class.  If you are getting ‘it’ to some degree, take a blogging class, write a blog and get on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  Your grandkids will love it and you will dazzle your more mature friends.

LinkedIn is a site that opens up doors.  Today, advertising is more effective using social media than running a newspaper ad.  Do you have a small business?  Are you working for someone and want to get more customers?  Do you have a ministry that you make known?  Would you like to get a new job? LinkedIn and blogging are two of many social media vehicles that open doors for you.

I would encourage you to take the plunge.  Then continue to study and become more proficient.  You can’t make a mistake.  The computer is very forgiving and if you really mess it up, ask your grandchild to get you back on line.

At times, I still feel lost in blogging class, but I have learned that my mouth is a good way to find out what I am missing – so I ask questions.  I am a 69 year old Grandmother and I am running three blogs and a webpage.  I had worked on a computer in my job before retirement, but I never did anything like this.  I can assure you that I am NOT a techie!  You can do it if I can!

If you would like to know more about me, check me out on LinkedIn.  Kathy Brady Caruso.    Just click on my name and it will take you to the site.  See you there!

Then leave me a message with your thoughts!  Will you give LinkedIn and blogging a try?