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Finding Joy – Part 2

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Welcome back to Part 2 of Joy’s Journey “Finding Joy” as she continues her “story” through her childhood.  If you missed Part 1, please catch up at  (This is a weekly 8 part series.)

Our childhood was filled with dad working for Southern Bell as an outside plant manager, and mom was a stay at home mom, once she’d given birth to my brother.  She tended to everyone’s wants and needs, always putting herself last.  She was a wonderful homemaker, wife and mother, daughter, sister and friend.  Just don’t mention that to her because she’d blush and then quickly change the subject.  She wanted NO attention or praise – ever – for anything she did!  Females who knew her, wanted to be like her.  Males who knew her, wanted their wives to emulate her.  She had NEVER tried a cigarette, alcohol or drugs and heaven forbid you weren’t going to hear a curse word cross those lips. She was kind to a fault. 

She got up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to cook my father breakfast, lay out his suit for work and send him off with a kiss.  She’d wake, feed us, and off to school we’d go.  During the day she’d help others, run errands, or tend to her homemaker duties.  She’d pick us up from school and make sure a delicious dinner was on the table when Dad got home from work where we’d all sit and share the days’ events. We ate dinner as a family until each of us left home to live on our own.  Even then, we’d come back for Sunday dinners on occasion, and to this day, we live within 15 minutes of our parents and talk to them several times a week and see them at least once per week. 


My dad was a little harder nut to crack.  I was daddy’s little girl and my nickname was “Dink”.  I was the apple of his eye and his little companion once he was home from work.  Mom taught me, not knowingly, to be a people pleaser just like her.  He never had to raise a hand to me but instead just look at me disapprovingly, and I would immediately straighten up.  I wanted nothing but to please him.  Mom didn’t have to spank me either, but I gave her a run for her money as an early teen because she was more of a pushover. 

My brother, on the other hand, would push and push and push, so he was spanked and later occasionally got the dreaded belt (only on the butt).  Dad mostly just hollered at him because he was so darned stubborn.  I can remember my grandmother, Dad’s mom, asking him “How can you spank that precious boy?”  My dad’s reply, “If I don’t, he’ll never learn to respect me or any other adult”.  Dad was right because my brother turned out just fine, and he’s never had any run-ins with the law.  Looking back now, I see how that whole “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” saying is true where the four of us are concerned.  I also see now how even simple childhood family dynamics were already laying the groundwork for my future issues with food.

Part 2

Thank you for stopping in for Part II of Joy’s Journey. See you back here next Monday for more of Joy’s inspirational and amazing story of how she achieved health and wellness!



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Brittany says:

    It’s incredible how much our childhood creates a foundation of either hurt or health for the rest of our life.

    • Clare says:

      Yes it does…. so many memories and they are oftentimes carried with us throughout our life! (good and bad)! Stay tuned for Part 3 next Monday!

  • Your mom looks a lot like mine and sounds like her too, but our family had its issues that led to my food issues as well as already having a bad metabolism genetically. I’ve had to learn that God is my master, and all I can do today is try to serve Him with my choices. Somedays less than healthy wins because it is better than stressing out my family, but being a loving Christian wife wins most of all. But it is a learning as I go process for sure! It is funny to think about my parents being younger than I am now as they were parenting me. Somehow I thought they had all the answers and held them so responsible for their failings. I realize now, they were doing their best each day, just like I am. Thank goodness for Grace!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, most parents are just doing the best they can for sure! I am glad you can relate to Joy’s story and health and eating choices is definitely a “process”! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

  • Paola says:

    That is so beautiful. Such a sweet and great idea.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Paola – Joy’s story is in 8 parts (one each Monday) so please stay tuned for Part 3 – next Monday! 🙂

  • Sounds like you had great parents. I wish I had that fabulous life that was had back in the day.

    • Clare says:

      Joy does sound like she had loving and wonderful parents. I hope you’ll follow along with her story – in the upcoming weeks we learn of her health and wellness challenges and the decisions she makes.

  • Your mother sounds so amazing! She reminds me of my Grandma Mercie – the perfect homemaker in every way. My own lovely mother is absolutely fantastic, she really is, but in different ways from yours. She is a business woman with a strong personality. As we are speaking about food here, our family had very few home-cooked meals made by my mother due to time restraints. However, we enjoyed many, many fantastically delicious meals my Grandma Mercie lovingly prepared for us when we were at her house or when she came over to our house to cook. Otherwise a good majority of our meals were eaten at restaurants (not cheap fast food). And the whole family was happy with this arrangement as it was quick, easy and everyone could eat exactly what they wanted, and there was no clean-up. The meals my Mom did prepare were not tasty, did not look good, and were usually burnt. My sister, my cousins and I were just laughing about this very subject last weekend. To this day I cannot eat meatloaf, stew, tuna casserole, cream of mushroom canned soup, and many American “home-cooked” staples simply because they remind me of my Mom’s cooking. When I see a restaurant mention “home-style cooking” I am completely turned off and in a flash I’m heading in the opposite direction! I like to prepare delicious recipes that look like the restaurant meals I grew up with. If something I prepare is slightly burnt it hits the trash. I know that sounds terrible, and my daughters don’t understand it (they will say “Mom, it’s okay! Don’t throw it away, we’ll eat it.”), but I just can’t help it! To this day when people ask my Mom her if her daughters learned their cooking techniques and recipes from her she will laugh and say “absolutely not!” When my sister and I were in our late teens we began to teach ourselves to cook by experimenting with cookbook recipes. My sister is an excellent cook all the way around, and I enjoy cooking lovely-looking entrees and yummy baked goods. Reading your story brings to light how the subject of food, and the ways in which we interact with it, really impacts our lives from childhood to adulthood.

    • Clare says:

      Such an interesting childhood experience – and really as we all know – not everyone is a cook! I remember my Italian-American grandmother would make such special eggplant and pasta dishes – like none other!!! And my other grandmother on my mom’s side was Hungarian straight off the boat from Czechoslovakia! She made the best goulash! I wished I learned cook when I was young! Thanks for sharing your fun and funny memories with us!

  • Lola says:

    So interesting to read about a childhood very different than mine!

    • Clare says:

      I guess everyone’s childhoods are all very wide-ranging and different – it’s always interesting to read and hear of other people’s childhoods. Stay tuned for Part 3 of Joy’s Journey next Monday!

  • Farrah says:

    I can definitely relate to this at least on a number of levels–I grew up to be a people pleaser too, but I like to think that in more recent years, I’ve gotten better about listening to myself too!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Farrah. Lots of people go through this and glad you are listening to yourself now, too! Stop back in for Part 3 next Monday!

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