Arizona Landscape (Photo by B. Goodjoin)

In October, my family and I traveled to Tucson, AZ for a few days of vacation and visiting friends. We enjoyed the flights to get there and had a chance to explore the area (above and below ground). Arizona is a place with a fascinating history from the Buffalo Soldiers, to Wyatt Earp and the Trail of tears. It’s of place of mountains and desert land, Indian reservations, cities and dreams. A place of riches and poverty.

Exploring Underground Cavern
(Photo by L. Weymouth)

I never imagined I would be going caving, but due to “peer pressure from my wonderful children, that’s exactly what I ended up doing. Climbing and crawling through tight areas served to remind me that I really need lose a few pounds and exercise more. It was quite an adventure. As I looked up towards the ceiling of the cave, I hoped that the hundreds of thousands of pounds of rock would continue to stay in place. “Please God, no earthquakes right now!” I prayed and my children laughed…nervously and told me to “shut up.” I was spoiling the fun. Yes, I did take a big breath of air when we made our way to the surface. Would I do that again? Yes. It was exhilarating!

Giraffes at the Pheonix Zoo

My grandson’s favorite part of our stay was the zoo. I think it is his goal to visit every zoo in the United States–maybe even the world. I have to admit that compared to the zoo in the city where we live, most places we have traveled to have more expansive areas for their animal inhabitants to roam and live. Tucson has the Reid Park Zoo, but these photos were taken at the zoo in Pheonix, AZ.

According to what I read, the Pheonix Zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the US. It was founded by the Maytag family.

No matter where I go, I always travel with a camera and a notebook. Writing and photography are my passions, and I enjoy the inspiration that comes from new sights and meeting new people along this journey of life. My favorite times of day–early mornings and the evening sunsets…with a cup of hot tea or coffee–stirred–not shaken 😉

On the evening this photo was taken, I was introduced to a poisonous caterpillar and told to look out for rattlers, so I picked a place sit where I had a clear view of the area around me. My son, Jay, kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t try to bring any new pets home. Usually I am the one to rescue turtles, frogs and lizards, but creepy crawlers that are poisonous are a little out of my league!

My poem Arizona Sunsets was born here…Thank you to my daughter (L. W.) for the photo of me at work.

The kids are ready to hop another plane or train for another escapade, and I encourage them not to be afraid, just to go for it. Wherever you go, take time to learn some of the history of the place and enjoy doing new things. Whether you travel by car, plane, helicopter, train or hot air balloon, it’s always nice to have friends or family to travel with, but if you don’t, join a travel group or “go it alone”. The world is bigger than the hometown or state in which we were born, so expand your horizons…

Flying higher than the clouds, yet I still look up to pray–B. Goodjoin


This poem is a tribute to just a few of the poets and writers who have inspired me over the years . . . Most, if not all, are known world-wide for their talents and activism. Two of the poets mentioned are from here in Greenville, SC, (Moody (Black) and Glenis (Redmond). Both are traveling poets and have their own unique style. They teach and they also inspire me to learn and improve my craft of writing and speaking the words that are in my heart.


Young bucks and does in a herd of mule deer on a beautiful late spring afternoon.
(Photo from iStock (royalty free)

The angels melt into existence from the dark of the trees, quietly grazing on grass and leaves.
They move (wingless) on silent feet, as light as feathers in the gloom of eve.
The angels of the wood look at me with the darkest of eyes. Spiritually prancing in the light of the moon . . .from a star-filled endless sky…
One crowned with antlers, standing a head above all, whispers a blessing to me . . .
With raised hands, I thank the blessed Holy Trinity!
In awe of the angels power–I behold their amazing grace.
They melt back into the wood, leaving silence in their place,
Following a trail only they can see, again, I thank the heavens for the peace they leave with me . . .


A Poem of Origin. A Poem of Praise

Black swan in pond (photo by B. Goodjoin)

I am the dark coffee that brews early in the morning

Before the break of day.

5 feet 2 inches of time ticking, ticking, ticking that

Loud tick-tock of the clock as the

Alarm readies to sound the

Changing of seasons from summer to fall.

Like a chameleon of form, I can soar to heights

Far above the clouds and

Lick the snow-capped mountain peaks.

I morph into the lowest depths of earth and tend the

Flow of Nature ( Photo by B. Goodjoin)

Jewels that glitter and grow in the depths of my soul.

…And still I rise as a stream flowing into a running creek

that merges into an endless ocean of blue . . .

 an ocean that gives birth to hurricanes with the

Ever-watching eye of peace that leaves

Calamity in its wake.

 I am amazing.

Sun-Kissed Soles (Photo by B. Goodjoin)


If you are present, please make your presence known:
Patience, Tolerance, Hope, Forgiveness, Trust, Charity, Sharing. . .

If you are present, please make your presence known:
Giving, Listening, Tenderness, Loving Touch, Sincerity. . .

If you are present, please make your presence known:
Joy, Consolation, Sympathy, Empathy. . .

If you are present, please make your presence known:
Caring, Uplifting, Faith, Goodness, Kindness. . .

If you are present, please make your presence known:
Selflessness, Generosity, Welcoming, Cheerfulness. . .

If you are present, please make your presence known:
Praise, Encouragement, Comfort, Helpfulness. . .

L O V E. . .
--B. Goodjoin



He is a child–a 10 year old boy-child who wants to be treated like an adult, yet he still plays in the sand, building castles, then destroying them with his “wrecking ball” hand that swings through the air taller than any building and with the force of 1000 superhero’s!

He is almost as tall as I am, anxious to experience the thrill of making his own decisions…then looks to me to make things right when he does not achieve the desired results. This child-man or man-child knows that he has love and support from the adults around him.

He wants to choose his own meals (even tries to scramble and egg and fry sausage–supervised of course) but will not do the dishes until he is compelled to do so. Lesson learned-you cook, you clean.

He is not yet at the point of falling for a girl (thankfully), but, it’s okay if they want to be in his club of magical friends–if they have a super-power, or, if they are really, really smart. I laugh…with joy!

He is a child who wants to grow up way too fast, not realizing that the world is full of dangers that counter the good. He is only just beginning to recognize the “favoritism” that is shown to some people depending on who they are or the color of their skin. Asking why people are just plain stupid and not fair to everybody….I sadly, try to explain, but find words to sometimes be inadequate as I shake my head in understanding…He listens, then it’s back to cartoons and world of pretense where he can fly and out maneuver the evils that are faced…if only (I think to myself with an air of pessimism).

I wish that he could stay a child and be protected from the realities of life, yet, I know that he must one day chart his own path. Childhood is just a training field to learn how to manage and hopefully succeed in this world…So, for now, enjoy every moment. Listen and learn from the “grown-ups” who truly care about you. Be adventurous-we will catch you if you fall. Be joyful-we will laugh with you. When you cry-we will dry your tears. When you are hurt-we will care for you. We strive to be role models of leadership, parent-ship and relationships, that you can count on and build upon. Appreciate and learn from us now, for tomorrow, you will have to face the world on your own.



September 2018–It is written in the bible and often said, ” a woman’s hair is her crowning glory…”  For the past few years, I have been in a struggle to keep my hair–the hair that actually grows from my head.  Do to issues I have encountered in life, my hair is ultra thin in some areas an nearly gone in others.  Women in particular, suffer hair lose for numerous reasons,  hormonal, stress, alopecia, illness, medicinal side effects, etc.

When I first noticed my hair loss, I was getting ready to go to work one morning, doing my hair as usual.  I used a hand mirror to check the back and discovered to my horror a gaping bald spot.  I screamed and my husband came running to see what was wrong.  I showed him and asked if he had noticed it.  To my dismay he said yes, but he didn’t tell me because he knew I would be upset.  I WAS terribly upset and LIVID with anger that he had not told me.  It meant that I had probably been going to work and other places with an obvious BALD spot in my head for who knows how long!

I quickly changed my hairstyle to cover the area and went to work.  I was stressed all day and made an appointment with my doctor. Though  medication has helped, my hair is still thin in some areas. I have also been using natural products and have seen some progress!

Mind you, throughout the years, I have known women who struggled with hair loss due to chemotherapy and alopecia, and have even helped them deal with the emotional turmoil of baldness.  I have been wig shopping with my mom and friends and scarf and hat shopping to find things that go with different outfits and moods, but when it actually happened to me I not only sympathized with them, I felt the deepest empathy!  The distress I felt was akin to the death of a best friend.

As the years have passed, I still struggle with thin hair and how to style it to make it look more voluminous.  I resist the temptation to wear wigs because they are just so darn uncomfortable, itchy and hot!  More so, I haven’t found anything that looks like “me”.

Coming to terms with hair loss was difficult, but over the years, it’s become easier.  As women, we sometimes base our worth on what the “outside” looks like, rather than what’s “inside” our heads. Whether or not my hair is long, short, or shaved low, I am still me–witty, charming, and  strong.


Today (June 10, 2019) After months of struggle, I finally made the decision yesterday (Sunday) to let go of my “crowning glory”.  I told my husband this is the day and got his clippers from the bathroom.  He didn’t believe I was actually going to shave my head completely free of hair.  I went into by bathroom and about 30 minutes later came out looking pretty cute, but without my hair.   The look on his face was priceless and then he smiled and said, I was still the most beautiful woman in the world.  Oh, what a wonderful man!

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I have spent the last 6 weeks or so watching the struggle of life as it pushes against death. A friend (NF) was discovered to be in the last stages of cancer after an appointment with his doctor. I don’t use the term “doctor visit” because when you visit someone the company is usually desired and welcomed.

After the testing and consultations with experts in the field, a course of action was decided upon. Radiation, chemotherapy, medications, and a special diet. The course of action gave us all hope for more time. He passed on Mother’s Day in the wee hours of morning. He died in the hospital. Wife and children, and grands by his side. We funeralized him yesterday.

Unlike his immediate family, I had the opportunity to come home and enjoy a peaceful house. They had company until late evening. I listened to some of his favorite songs and reflected upon the first time my husband and I met NF and his wife.

One Sunday morning, another couple in our small church brought friends along. Everyone was introduced and we settled into our service beginning with Sunday School, devotional singing, and then the sermon. They were amazed and delighted that I played the bass guitar during devotion. My husband delivered the sermon with his usual way of invigorating the verses and involving the audience by asking questions with them supplying reasons and answers. The sermon was followed by the alter call and then, benediction. After the service, our guests stayed to let us know how much they enjoyed the service. That was almost 10 years ago. After that they were regulars at church, singing, reading scripture, teaching Sunday School, and proclaiming God’s glory!

In our 10 years of friendship (familyship) we shared many lunches, dinners, and visits. Getting to know each others family members and habits. Knowing how much love and devotion N and G had with each other, my heart breaks to know that she will have to adjust to living alone. She and her husband did almost everything together. You rarely saw one without the other.

Things about Nathaniel:

Favorite Verse: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Favorite Songs: Lord, If I Got My Ticket, Can I Ride and I Surrender All along with many others . . .

Favorite Food: All of it

Favorite Saying: Anything worth having is worth asking for.

Nathaniel lived with determination and spirit. His zest for life was apparent in his words and in his walk. He was loving and giving, and his love of God was more than just lip-service.

Nathaniel collected and sold metal and other things for a living. He called himself (laughingly) a “junkman” but in reality he was a treasure hunter. Oh, the stories he could tell about his adventures with his wife backing up every story as the truth. We would laugh in joy and amazement at his adventures.

Our short dinners would usually go well past 2 hours as we ate and shared stories. Visits were more like sit-ins because nobody wanted to be the first to leave. Even at church, when the service was over, most of us would stand around talking every Sunday for another while.

Nathaniel was loved and will be missed.

His Glory

Every morning of my life I awaken to the sounds and sight of God’s glory, the first thing being the song of birds outside my window (rain or shine).

After I am up, the window coverings are opened, allowing in the starlight, or moonlight . . . then the rising sun. If clouds are overhead, there is still the soft light of day.

The greenery outside, either stands still and upright welcoming greatness, or does a praise dance accompanied by the winds. A dance that includes the waving of branches (hands), the swaying of stems or trunks (bodies); the whisper of air through branches (voice) extolling the hallelujahs that are due.

Every living creature that is blessed to do so, moves, by the power of the holy spirit. Whether one is a believer or an atheist the scriptures proclaim, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'”

The mountains of Ashville, NC (photo credit: B. Goodjoin)

A Simple Kindness

There was nothing unusual about the start of the day. I awakened before the alarm rang out the hour–nothing unusual for me. The shower was a comfortable temperature, and after I dried and dressed for the day, my tea was hot and ready to be poured. I opened the cabinet to get my cup and enjoyed my moments of quietness.

After the tea, I strummed my guitar and listened as my favorite neighbors (the birds) sang their morning song. As I prepared to leave for work, it began to rain…slowly at first and then, a heavier rainfall that drummed against the rooftop, and ran in rivulets across the driveway and beyond. As I grabbed the umbrella and keys, my husband came into the den saying, “Honey, I will take you to work and drop you off at the door so that you don’t have to cross the puddles.” Yes, I was thrilled that even after all the years of marriage, that he cared enough to leave the warmth of our home to brave the weather for my benefit. A simple kindness, yes, but the thought and action worth more than a rose or a diamond for Valentine’s day.