The “Good Morning” Mission

walk 3

On clear days when I walk westward I get a view of the skyline of Philadelphia.

I love walking in the morning. My town has a marvelous, 2 mile “bike trail” running right through the center of it. It was built to cover the old railroad tracks no longer in use, so it truly does – run right through the center of town.

walk 1

No matter what the weather or which direction I’m walking, I do enjoy my little path.

Since writing my post, Everyone is Friendlier than People from New JerseyI’ve been more determined to greet passersby as I walk on the path or am out and about. In a sense, it has become My Mission.

Everyday as I walk the path I make an effort to say, “Good Morning” to the people I pass. This is a lot more awkward than you’d think it would be.

I once passed an old gentleman from behind and as I was lapping him I greeted him with a warm, “Good Morning.” I walked to the end of the path, swiveled around and started heading back East. A few minutes later the old gentleman and I passed again, this time we were walking toward each other. When he saw me his face brightened and he said an enthusiastic, “Gut Morningh” with a heavy accent and a smile.

I don’t think he recognized me from the front, and although this could have been a somewhat awkward situation, my heart was gladdened to think that my initial “Good Morning” to him a few minutes earlier had created a positive chain reaction. 

I said it to him and then he said it to me. And I’m OK with that.

I take My Mission seriously but the following is a list of people that I Do Not say “Good Morning” to:

  • Dog walkers whose dogs are in the middle of a poop. (This happens more often than you can imagine.) I figure these people must be humiliated enough watching their dogs take a dump and probably are wishing for invisibility. I sure would be. Therefore, out of consideration for their remaining shreds of dignity, I walk right by without a greeting and pretend to see nothing.
  • People with ear-buds in. This is a struggle. I want to say “Good Morning” but I know they can’t hear me. I try to make eye contact and smile instead.
  • People I’ve already passed once and already greeted. Awkward. I don’t make eye contact
    weird me

    mini half-mouth smile

    until I am a few feet from them and then I look over for just the teensiest instant and flash them a mini half-mouth smile. I have this down to an art form. It means, I acknowledge you. We passed and greeted each other 9 minutes ago. In fact, we pass and greet each other this way every day. I’m on A Mission, you see.

  • Groups of people walking together in conversation. What is the etiquette here? Do I interrupt? I’m 50/50 on this one.

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It’s Like a Jungle Up Here

If you visit Clothed with Joy regularly you may know that I am from New Jersey. I realize that NJ is not “up” to a large portion of the world and for that I’m very sorry. It’s just how we talk, plus most jungles tend to be located geographically south of the North East, USA. FYI.


Fact: Squirrels like the sound of my screams.

This morning I startled a squirrel. Squirrels in New Jersey are aggressive. I still have memories of being chased around the block by a squirrel as a child. I am not kidding. Around the whole block. It happened.

squirrel hole

Squirrel hole.

If you visit just about any outside trashcan lid in South Jersey you will find that a hole has been chewed into it. A squirrel hole. I once came home to find a squirrel on my lawn holding a piece of pizza by the crust and chowing down. Not kidding. It happened.

This morning I startled a squirrel. Apparently, I startled the squirrel enough that he leaped out of the adjoining trashcan and onto my thigh. This is the honest to goodness truth. This stuff happens to me. Neighbors four blocks over heard the screams.

A few months ago I was at the Philadelphia Zoo with my girls. It was winter and a little snowy so we ate our lunch at one of the many picnic tables near the carousel.

Picnic tables + zoo = Squirrel Hunting Grounds.

As we were eating lunch a squirrel came over and sniffed around our table. G, who is terrified of animals (zoo animals don’t affect her) started to get a little panicked. The squirrel continued to get more and more aggressive and moved from under the table by our feet up on to the table with us. G was in a full scale freak out by this point. I shooed the squirrel and spoke calmly to the children, who were now all sitting on the same side of the table opposite to me and somewhat freaked out as well (I don’t blame them).

The squirrel had moved on, so I instructed the children in my most momly voice to ignore the squirrel and it would go away.



The squirrel leaped off the table behind me and clung onto my back spread eagle for a good half second. If only someone had been videotaping, we would be millionaires.

It’s like a jungle up here, and the squirrels like the sound of my screams.


I once had a squirrel in my dining room, remember this post with the squirrel trap? That’s nothing compared to the monkey in my kitchen, but that’s another story.

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Not Much is Gonna Happen if You Just Stay Home

I really just wanted to lie down on Saturday afternoon.

Yet, I had an open window from 2PM, when I dropped off two children at a birthday party, until 5PM when I needed to pick them up.

Drive into the City and meet Culture Monk/Kenneth Justice  who was visiting Philadelphia on his Drinking in the Culture Tour or not? That was the question.

It’s weird, isn’t it? To walk into a coffee house with a 10 and 5 year old at your side to meet a person that you only know through reading his blog? In fact, I wasn’t even sure what he looked like, between the coffee cup and the baseball cap all I could decipher from his profile picture were bright blue eyes. I should just stay home and rest, I thought, meeting this random person has got to be weird.

Thankfully, Weird and me are old buddies. Weird said, if you don’t meet him while you have this chance, you’ll regret it. Weird was right. I would have.

I don’t know what was more intimidating, meeting a person I’ve never met or walking into a coffee house. For non-coffee drinkers like me, I assume the coffee employees are going to spot me right away. “COFFEE HATER!” they’ll point and yell before sliding me out the door.

The good news is, the place was Super busy and I apparently slipped in unnoticed by the Coffee Drinker United police. My girls and I stood by the entrance- not in line, but next to it and I said to C, “I think that might be him.” Deep breath. “Are you Kenneth Justice?” I managed to get out.

And he was.

Shake hands. Introduce myself. Bolt for the door. That was the plan.

But Kenneth immediately pulled up chairs and engaged us in conversation. Warmest person in the world.

In more crazy news, Kenneth chose to shared the story of our meeting on his blog The Culture Monk today. Find it here. It’s strange to be the one written about and not the one writing.

Kenneth is a story-teller of other people’s stories. He’s a conversation initiator and obviously a lover of humanity. What a great job you have Kenneth. You are blessed.

I’m so glad I didn’t stay home and nap.

Oh, and FYI – I know the answer to the question Kenneth posed in his article:

Whatever is attributed as good, or noble or admirable in me is always and ONLY the work of Christ in my life.



The sweet girls eating their promised frozen yogurt and watching a street juggler. Glad we didn’t stay home.

Bubble Tea, I Love You.

bubble tea 1

Not long ago I was introduced to Bubble Tea, (Aka- Boba Milk Tea, Pearl Milk Tea, etc…) If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t feel sad, I only discovered it six months ago.  It’s a combination of tea, milk, sugar, and giant black tapioca balls. Wowzers! They come in a variety of fruit and other flavors. According to the Internet, Bubble Teas originated in Taiwan. In general they are found in Asian restaurants and tea shops.

There you go, now everyone knows what I’m talking about.

Back to my story, I’ve been craving Bubble Tea for months but when I Yelp it the majority of the shops that serve it are in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. As the crow flies, that is closest to my location. But I am not a crow.


Even George Washington crossed the Delaware you say?

He didn’t have to search (and pay) for parking. I want Bubble Tea in South Jersey.

So, after sifting through the list of restaurants on Yelp, I found a Vietnamese place about 15 minutes from me that serves it.

Guess what I did today…

Bubble tea 2

I love the fat straw.

I love the slightly weird taste.

I love, most of all, biting into and chewing up – the bobas.

bubble tea 3

A boba in my hand. Weirdsmobile. I know.

What is the point of this post? It has no point, other than my love and constant search for Bubble Tea.

boba me

Me drinking my first ever Bubble Tea. That was a good night.

The End.