Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

May 11, 2014



Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.

As you might know, my mother’s no longer with us. She died in 2003. That was 11 years ago? Wow. It doesn’t seem possible that she’s been gone so long.

Maybe that’s because I always carry her with me, courtesy of all the lessons she taught me over the years.


At their engagement party. My brother thinks Dad has a bit of a Conan O’Brien look going on.

Before I was born, my mom taught English and math—to high school students. I can’t imagine. Seems like they’d be the worst age to handle, with all the raging hormones, overwrought teen drama and bad attitude. But she seemed to have liked it—and her students seemed to have fond memories of her, too. (I went to school with a lot of the kids of the kids she taught.)

Among her lessons:

1. Reading is fun.

I can’t count the number of times I saw my mom with a book. She was always reading, everything from classic Updike to Danielle Steel. It was the influence of her and my dad, another voracious reader, that got me reading at age 4. My parents read all the time and I wanted to be like them, so they taught me to sound it out.


Naked butter cookies.

2. Butter cookies rule.

There are two types of people in the world: Sugar cooke folks and butter cookie fans. Our family falls into the latter category. Mom’s butter cookie recipe, which she got from her mom (who apparently shared it with Kelly Ripa), is flaky, crisp and just sweet enough.

About Kelly Ripa: I’ll never forget Mom calling me, excited because Kelly made her family’s favorite Christmas cookies on her show—and it was mom’s recipe that she shared. I guess Grandma got it off a box of butter or something?

Every year, after Mom baked the cookies (which I now know is a pain in the butt, rolling out the dough and cutting the shapes), she’d frost them while my brother and I decorated with sprinkles, colored sugar and other fun toppings. (My fave was the tiny candies shaped like flowers.)

3. Live life—and attack problems—with humor.

This is probably the biggie. My mother had a great sense of humor. She was the mom who sat in the back of the band bus and told jokes, or sat around the Girl Scout campfire telling funny stories.

She laughed a lot, and was first to deflect sadness with a joke or smile. Er, actually my whole family is like that. I remember when Dad died, my brother, cousins and I broke from the funeral home for pizza, and laughed jokes and funny stories until our sides ached.

Laugh through the tears, I guess.

Wikipedia tells me it was Ella Wheeler Wilcox, a Wisconsinite, who wrote “laugh and the world laughs with you.”


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth

But has trouble enough of its own.

— From “The Way of the World,” a poem (1883)

That may well be—but my mother lived it.

I, for one, am glad, because I got my sense of humor from her. I’m quick to laugh and I crack jokes at what some people might call inappropriate times.

Every time a line in one of my books makes a reader laugh out loud, I hope she hears it and knows that she had a hand in making the world a happier place.

September 3, 2013



The power of love is a curious thing.

Make a one man weep, make another man sing …

— Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”

Like my man Huey, I believe in the power of love. That particular song was in the movie “Back to the Future,” but I remember being in the sixth grade and listening to Sports on cassette tape … on an endless loop. “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock N Roll,” “If This Is It,” “Walking on a Thin Line,” “Bad is Bad” … They all bring back memories.

Thanks to YouTube, I just spent a good 15 minutes strolling down memory lane. Huey sure was good-looking, in that overconfident ’80s rock star kinda way.

Ahem. You might say I learned a lot about love from that album. Or not. I wouldn’t have a chance to put any of that knowledge into practice for years.

The power of love is strong. But the power of laughter is just as important. It lifts your mood, helps relieve stress and might even help you heal. Some experts say “laughter is the best medicine.”

Put love and laughter together and you have a combo that will win every time.

BizCardBackBorgeIt’s why I write stories with characters who don’t take themselves — or life — all that seriously. Sharing a laugh can bring couples closer together, help them smooth over differences, diffuse tension and put things in perspective. (I’m not the only one who feels that way: This article I’ve bookmarked for future reference talks at length about fixing relationship problems with humor.)

Many famous folks have said great things about laughter. I borrowed these from a list of laughter quotes compiled on Goodreads. They spoke to me — so much that I hope to put them on the backs of my next business cards.

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

— Maya Angelou

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

Mark Twain

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”

Billy Joel

“Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine.”

George Gordon, Lord Byron

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

Victor Borge

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”

Michael Pritchard

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Charlie Chaplin

I just need to decide which look I should go with:

BizCardBackAngelouBizCardBackJoel BizCardBackByronBizCardBackChaplinDo you like the colored background or white? If I use the colored one, should I go with the top-bottom gradient (like in the turquoise card) or the left-right (like in the blue)?

I’m leaning toward the white background. It’s clean, simple and matches the logo.

I think I like the embossed look of the top two, though, with the words that appear to be jumping off the page.

Like I said on Facebook, I know just enough about Photoshop to be dangerous. I can do basic designs, but anything elaborate like a book cover or web design is better left to experts like Rogenna and Larissa.

So hard to make up my mind. Do you have a preference? Weigh in in the comments, please.

May 13, 2012


1 comment

My four-legged fur children have no clue what day it is and my Mom died nearly a decade ago, so Mother’s Day is just another Sunday for me.

But this year, as I was looking for a card for the Boyfriend’s mother, I saw one that made me think of Mom and laugh.



I’d like to thank the makers of this card, because they get it. They know that not all mothers need sappy sentiment. My Mom would have assumed I was ill had I given her one of those “wishing you all the happiness in the world” cards.

In my family, laughter truly is the best medicine. We even told stories and laughed during visiting hours before my parents’ funerals.

Whether you laugh until it hurts or laugh to keep from crying, it’s good to throw back your head and have a good chortle every so often.

After all, you have to have a sense of humor to get through this joke we call life, right?