Wednesday, August 19, 2015


 There once was a girl who loved to write.
That’s me.  Joy. Welcome to 44 & Oxford.
I have loved to write ever since I was young, but somewhere between post-college graduation blues and oh-man-this-is-adulthood, I started believing the lie that grown ups don’t write for fun. 
Today, that changes.

Today I remember that I’ve always been a writer; it just slipped away for a bit.  
Let's take a moment and remember together. 

Age 6: I fill the pages of my first diary, shamelessly using phrases such as “Dear Diary” and “See you again tomorrow,” and then hide the tiny key under a ceramic Beauty and the Beast figurine on my highest shelf.
Age 7: I co-author my first novel entitled Tom and Amy’s Birthday Party, a riveting page-turner of two best friends thrown into the ultimate test of loyalty when they discover they’ve planned their birthday parties on the same day.  Venues have been booked. Invitations have been mailed. Classmates are taking sides, and no one is backing down.  Will Tom and Amy’s friendship survive?  (I can’t make this stuff up.  Unfortunately, we gave the only copy to our second grade teacher as an end-of-year gift.  After all, she had laminated the cover for us.)
Age 11: My fifth grade teacher gives me the Most Likely to Win the Pulitzer Prize award.  This is most certainly the result of the brazen letter I voluntarily write to our state governor pushing to expand recycling programs in school cafeterias.  Wow. Such gumption.
Age 15: I take my first journalism class, which propels me into a career as a reporter for the high school newspaper. (You may recall my column titled Joybells Tells.)
Age 18: I enter college with intentions of pursuing a degree in journalism, but change majors after watching an episode of Oprah dedicated to teachers.   I sit on my couch crying, weeping, sobbing uncontrollably as Oprah highlights teachers who changed the lives of their students. (Should I be embarrassed right now?)   After the show I call my mom to tell her I am switching majors, to which she responds, “Yeah, I knew this was coming.  You’re meant to be a teacher.”
Age 22:  I stand in front of my first class of fourth graders, counting down the minutes until our first writing workshop together.   With a giddy smile, I release them to open new notebooks and write anything they want.  They stare at me, then at their blank pages and back at me.  “What are we supposed to write about?” one boy asks.  “Anything you want!”  30 minutes later and there are still just blank pages.  Wait.  I have to actually teach these children to write?
Age 25: Official adulthood settles in and takes its toll.  Teaching is overwhelming, my beloved writing workshop continues to be a major flop, and I’m too tired at night to do anything but watch all ten seasons of Friends. True story. 
Age 28: I discover blogs and spend an ungodly amount of time scrolling through the writings of strangers whom I soon begin referring to as friends.  I consider starting my own blog.
 Age 28 plus a few months: I talk myself out of the blog.
Age 29: I consider starting my own blog.
Age 29 plus a few months: I talk myself out of the blog.
(You get the idea. Lather, rinse, repeat.)
Age 30 Something:  Another literacy coach tells me I need a space to write and to stop making excuses and start a blog already.  She warns me that hardest part is coming up with the name.  She is right.  Poor Stephen (the hubby) is trapped in a 5-hour brainstorming session of potential blog names during our road trip to Pennsylvania.
And this brings me to today. 
There will always be a world out there pulling me away from writing.  There will be lunches to pack and a snooze button screaming to be hit one more time. But I need to start writing again, and I hope you will consider doing the same.
Thanks for stopping by. Let’s do this.  


  1. You're so lovely! And this made me smile. Looking forward to reading all that you have to say (especially the food part) :-)

  2. I love this! I'm also coming to the conclusion that writing needs to be part of my life and it's worth setting aside time to do it. You're so inspiring!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I'd love to talk writing with you!

  3. I agree with Laura, you are inspiring! I hope you can feel free to write and be bold and be you on here. I know I'll enjoy your gift of writing. Blessings on the blog!

  4. Oh friend, this just makes me smile so big! I love it!

    1. Oh goodie! A Megan smile is the best smile!

  5. I know that no matter what I say on here it'll be disregarded as, "that's just Lindsay," because apparently I only speak love and don't speak truth. But, let me assure you, there is solid truth in what I say, most of the time ;) but especially what I'm about to say... You are a gift. I can already tell that this isn't just going to be a journey for you. This is about to be a joy-ride (excuse my unintended pun... that turned into me keeping it because it's just too ironic) for all of us. Thanks for including us in this adventure.

    Friend, you are beyond good with words. I've aways known that you're well spoken because of the sweet birthday cards and "just-because" cards that you've written for me, but when I heard your MOH speech, it was just proof to the world (at least, my world) that God has gifted you with a way with words, and in turn, YOUR WORDS are a gift to so many people.

    Not to make this mushy, though I think I've already crossed that line, I adore you. You are so brave. Brave for risking failure, exposure, disappointment, and frustration... but also, risking public success, encouragement, light and glory! To my mothering-wifeing-friending-teaching-writing-loving-cooking-baking-Zumbaing-Jesusfollowing-beautifulling (okay, that word was a stretch, but TRUE) best friend... can't wait to continue on this journey with you. Thanks for saving a seat for me. <3


    1. I'd never accuse you of love and no truth, darling. Thanks for cheering me on! Love you!

  6. After reading this post I have come to realize two things. First, you are not only a passionate writer, but you are a true inspiration to your colleagues and now the world! Second, that your blog will be a massive, amazing, spectacular hit because I am going to promote the heck out of it on Pinterest and Instagram.

    My admiration for you grew x10 after traveling through this magnificent little world you have created. I am so glad that 6 year old Joy now gets to shine and show the world all of the wonderful workings of her brain! Also, thank you for being my literacy and life Yoda!

    -Christina (Joy-in-training)