No News is Happy News

RainbowA couple of weeks ago, I posted about the “Rainy Brain/Sunny Brain” attitude shifting game, and I’m dutifully clicking away at it every other day or so. In a few weeks, I’ll report my results (I’m also doing the mindfulness meditations).

I got to thinking about the extent to which negativity is thrown at us, even without our intending to focus on it: When was the last time you watched network news, and had a sense that the world is becoming a better place?

TigerI know why negative news gets top billing: If you want to survive, you need to know where the wars, disasters, crime waves, new diseases and other threats are coming from. This information is what our old pal Malcolm Gladwell would call “sticky.” The brain is wired to notice it and hang on to it.

I’m not living in the jungles of darkest prehistory, though, and the only saber-toothed tigers in my neighborhood look about six weeks old. Divergent (out of the box) thinking, creativity, joy, and spontaneity all require a certain confidence in life and THAT’S where I want to focus my fire.

orange kittenDid you know that in most major U.S. cities, violent crime has been dropping for decades? We are much, MUCH safer now than we were in the early 1990s, though theories explaining this happy development vary. Did you know that in the U.S, teen birth, pregnancy and abortion rates are at an all time low?

highland cowDivorce rates have been dropping since 1990 as well (scroll down to the Divorce Rates by State chart). The gender wage gap, or amount women are underpaid for doing the same jobs as men, has been steadily shrinking since 1980, and for young women, is down to $.07 cents per male dollar. When I entered the work force as a law school graduate with two undergraduate degrees, the disparity was $.36.

needs_450We have many reasons to rejoice, to be proud of ourselves as a society, to be hopeful about our future, and yet, I’m guessing most of the foregoing wasn’t common knowledge among my readers. For shame on those who think fear and anger sells, and that profit justifies a negative bias at the expense of truth.

Maybe this is why romance novel sales didn’t suffer in the recent recession. Romance novels, if well written, are about people who find the courage to change, who learn how to love and be loved, who create a happily ever after happy despite the odds. That’s a story well worth telling, and one many of us are living every day.

End of rant. What have you rejoiced about lately? I’m tickled pink because captive_295w-274x450Scotland can choose to regain its status as an independent nation this September by simple action of a civil referendum–no armies, no battles, no fatalities. THAT is how a nation should be reborn!

To one commenter, I’ll send a signed beach reading package of the Fab 5 of Romance releases, which will include, of course, The Captive.

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59 comments on “No News is Happy News

  1. 1
    Christina G. says:

    I get to rejoice double-time this summer.

    I get to go to New York and celebrate Fave Nephie’s first birthday with him! That sweet, happy boy is the highlight of my life. I get to introduce him to all sorts of fun stuff like finger paints and sidewalk chalk and mud.

    Then, a mere week after I leave New York, Dearest Sister is expecting Baby #2 (still a surprise, so until the grand reveal in the hospital, he/she can only be referred to as Baby #2.) I keep calling my Sister and telling Baby #2 that it would be appreciated if he/she could come early so we can meet before I leave.

    It is proving to be a great summer and it starts in 9 days!

    • 1.1

      Oh, that will be exciting!!! And when children come close together, it’s especially important that the older, displaced sibling have some reassurance and doting.
      I know just the auntie for that job!

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    If I give it a little thought, I can usually find plenty to celebrate!:

    –Having TWO of my “nephews” help me at the farmers’ market yesterday — they are getting so much more responsible and mature (for being 10 and almost 13!).
    –Seeing said 10-year-old “nephew” and his Little League team go to the city championship!
    –Picking an abundance of sugar snap peas and various greens from the garden.
    –Discovering a day (a whole day!) when I can set work aside this coming week.
    –Having Trenton, Worth, and Hadrian all show up on my doorstep yesterday afternoon — a girl’s dream come true, three dashing Lonely Lords!

    And hey, I will celebrate Scotland and the promise of independence, too — that is WONDERFUL news! Thanks for passing it along, Grace!

    • 2.1

      The vote will be close, but every time they take a new poll, the YES campaign gains ground. Scotland actually pays in more in taxes than they get back in services, and that has to rankle with even the people who resist change.

      Enjoy the snap peas–I love ’em.

  3. 3
    Susan Gorman says:

    Am happy to report that I packed the car with my grooming bag, table, towels and dog and went to a dog show this week. Haven’t had a dog to show for a few years. Felt a bit rusty but got through it. Gregory (my corgi) showed outside in the grass for the first time and he seemed to enjoy it. We did well on Friday as we were best of breed and went into the group ring with all of the other beautiful herding dogs. Yesterday, my nerves and heat got the best of me and I did not show the dog as well as I could.
    Overall, I enjoyed getting back to showing and will take more lessons to show Gregory.

    Thank you for the post about the Lonely Lords….Hadrian, Trenton and Douglas have completed my collection.

    • 3.1

      BEST OF BREED!!! That’s a huge deal your first time back in the ring. I was utterly bumfuzzled showing horses when I’d finish off a season without major mishap, and even a few ribbons (most of them green), then expect to go trotting forth the next season pretty much picking up where we left off.

      Um, nope. My confidence would always take a while to rebound, and the horse relies on the rider for its confidence, so those first shows were always a little wobbly.

      Hats off to you and Gregory for your courage and success, and many happy returns of the day.

  4. 4
    Mary T says:

    You are so right about romance novels and happy endings. I first started reading romance about 35 years ago when I was going through a very dark period in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t end well.

    Eventually I got too busy to read much, but when I retired I took it up again. Because of physical limitations, I can’t be as active as I once was. TV sucks big time…especially daytime TV. And the commercials … OMG! They sure know who their audience is. And the commercials – talk about negativity. Between the pharmacy products, dry vaginas, explosive diarrhea, automatic wheel chairs and stair climbers, diabetes products, medicare providers, and life insurance (FOR YOUR FINAL EXPENSES) it’s enough to drive you to drink.

    Instead of the bottle, I reach for my latest romance novel. And your are among the best.

    • 4.1

      Thanks, Mary!

      I was getting AARP magazine for a while (don’t recall signing up for it), and the message was the same: You’d better clutch every spare dime you have NOW (or spend it on AARP insurance policies), because you’re going die a miserable, lingering expensive, undignified death VERY SOON, and nobody will care about you (if you don’t have an AARP life insurance policy), and all those dimes you’ve clutched will be swindled away from you, while your children turn their backs and Congress (who ain’t getting any younger, by the way) destroys Medicare.

      A cheery little read, that. Fear and loathing between cruise ship, security system (and AARP insurance, don’t forget your AARP insurance!!!) ads.

      In reality, we’re living longer and healthier in this country almost across the board.

  5. 5
    Sarah R. says:

    There always seems to be something to rejoice in around here. Lately we have been rejoicing in the progress of Seth’s communication. For just over a month now he has been able to communicate a few more wants and desires to us. “Get up, Mommy” “Luke, play.” “Daddy ‘side” which means come outside and play with me Daddy. We laughed over him saying “Be quiet, Luke” on our trip when Luke would try to sing along to Seth’s favorite songs. He is saying bye to people using their name instead of his and most of the time he doesn’t even need a prompt to say it. Sure it’s not complete sentences and most one year old kids speak like this and he is four and a half. But considering he just started calling me Mommy last year we are definitely rejoicing in this.
    We also have been rejoicing in the twins starting to try new foods. They surprised us many nights on our vacation by ordering things I was sure they wouldn’t eat and then they at least ate some of it.
    We rejoiced in Luke doing things out of his comfort zone on vacation. He made friends with a dog, something I never thought I would see.
    This week I am rejoicing in the fact that I finally started writing a story that’s been on my mind for a couple of months now and that in just three days of writing I have over 5,000 words written. Which I don’t think is too shabby considering I have four boys running around needing me.

    • 5.1

      Wow! The entire family seems to be barreling forward. Sometimes a change of scene gives us energy, and sometimes, you just have to stare down the long winters.

      For my part, your love for those boys is what sends them forward and gives them the courage to acquire new skills… and as for those 5000 words, oh, how I envy you!

  6. 6
    Sheryl says:

    Seeing the joy in my son’s face as he helped my dad hang a ceiling fan yesterday was priceless, he felt like he was a big boy. It’s the little things that make us happy, such as having a husband help me clean house yesterday and cleaning up after dinner. I don’t have any complaints, all is good in my world right now. I am so happy that Scotland gets to choose to become it’s own nation without bloodshed, the clans of the past would be pleased. Happy summer to everyone!!

    • 6.1

      Sheryl, I think you’re 100 percent right. Sitting at our elbows are all kinds of reasons to rejoice–look at Sarah’s comment, for example. Sitting across the ocean, more reason to think we’ve made progress.

      Somebody told me the British empire has been losing a country on average every two years since India gained independence in the 1940s, and none of those shifts have been violent. Considering that most of those nations were annexed to the empire by force of arms, that’s amazing.

  7. 7
    Gretchen H says:

    You are right, there is still a lot of good in the world. It is important to keep your eyes open to see it. It also helps to be the good once in a while. I love to read HEAs, especially when my own life gets hectic and difficult. And I love to take time out to sit and enjoy beauty and peace. And it’s always good to laugh!

    • 7.1

      Gretchen, when I’m having a bad writing day, or the mean review thugs are out in force (I distinguish between a mean review, and a thoughtfully critical review), or nothing’s selling… the quickest way to cheer myself up is to encourage somebody else.

      I don’t review other author’s books, but I can leave atta girls on FB, tweet something happy, or otherwise light a candle. Works every time.

  8. 8
    Mary Doherty says:

    I am rejoicing about going to BOOK BASH yesterday with my niece! We had the best time too! Do I seem overly excited???? That would be because I am! Lol! We got to meet some of our favorite authors and others that we loved too. I have most of their signatures on the cover of my Tablet, so that I can see them every time I used it. That makes me smile. I wish I could post some of my picture here, so you could just how much fun my niece and I had. Now we just need to find a way to see all of our favorite historical authors! We live in Florida and Book Bash is in Orlando, FL, that was a very easy trip for us. 🙂

    • 8.1

      Mary John, did you know that Novelist, Inc, is having their conference in Orlando in October? Wanna do lunch? It’s not a signing sort of conference (not romance specific either), but as far as I know (Aged Ps cooperating), I’ll be there.

  9. 9

    Our family just received the gift of triplet grandsons born on June 17, 2014. They are all healthy and gaining weight steadily.
    What joy!

    • 9.1

      Happy, busy times! I know a family who adopted twins, and then Mama got pregnant with triplets.

      But it’s amazing what heroism we’re capable of when a little person (or three) is depending on us. Take a LOT of pictures, though. Three sets of families will want to see when mom or dad was a baby.

  10. 10

    Our family just received the gift of triplet grandsons born on June 17, 2014. They are all healthy and gaining weight steadily.
    What joy!
    Sue L

  11. 11

    Kids are happy, healthy, and employed for the summer.

  12. 12
    Jackie Hawkins says:

    I really love reading your books. I spent the first five months of 2014 on Oahu caring for my two year old granddaughter, Macy, and her sister, Lillie, who arrived March 31st. Came home to a massive remodeling project that was supposed to be finished in six weeks “tops”. I’m looking forward to some relaxing me time in the month of July. And, yes, Macy was potty trained when I left.

  13. 13
    bn100 says:

    helpful strangers

    • 13.1

      Interesting comment, bn, and certainly true in my life. I recall once in college, I’d broken up with the love of my life (hah! says me now), and I was a wreck. I’d gone out walking the middle of the night, got lost, had no money… strangers looked after me, when something so much worse could have befallen me.

      I’ve never forgotten them, either.

  14. 14
    Catherine says:

    Most of my friends are sick of hearing about it – or maybe I just think they are! – but my biggest cause for rejoicing is my furry bff Gracie. We’ve been together for four months now, and no matter how bad a day I’m having, I laugh at something she does, my heart clenches with how much I love her and she magically makes me think it will get better. Never in a bazillion years would I have thought I would have a pet – let alone a cat – but she is in the top five in terms of good decisions I’ve made in life.

    Thank you for the reminder that all is not doom and gloom, and thank you for all you do to bring HEAs into the world!

    • 14.1

      On my bucket list is moving to Scotland. Now, this is nearly impossible given current immigration laws, but I’m the determined sort, and if Scotland votes for independence, the immigration laws for the gainfully employed will likely ease up.

      I’m not going ANYWHERE without my kitties. Period. They write my books with me, watch the seasons change with me, recall my daughter with me, and otherwise provide a silent comfort no other creatures can replace.

      And they’ll look quite fetching in plaid.

      • 14.1.1
        Catherine says:

        Haha! Plaid kittites – precious! Interesting that the Duke of Mercia feels so strongly AGAINST cats, hmmm?

  15. 15
    Barbara Elness says:

    I rejoice every day that I have a wonderful job that I love. I feel like I won the lottery three and a half years ago when I was hired and I’ve felt lucky ever since to get to work there. I just wish I’d been so lucky many years sooner, but I guess you have to live through the unpleasant to really appreciate when you get to the awesome. 😀

    • 15.1

      A job you love is truly a great blessing. I have at least one of those… Like you, I came to it late, but I intend to have it for a long, long time yet to come.

  16. 16
    catslady says:

    I watch and read entirely too much news for my own good. There’s not a lot I can do about most of it anyway. The fact that everyone in my family is healthy is definitely a wonderful thing. And I’m reading a wonderful story. Looking forward to reading every day is a most wonderful thing 🙂

  17. 17
    Kassia says:

    HI Grace,

    A patient made my day today!!!!
    Funny how things can change in a blink of an eye. I was not happy having to do an admission today. Its far from my house and honestly I just was not feeling so great but I totally decided to change my attitude and just go. When I got to the house to my surprise it was a street that years ago I had a client (I used to work for a human service agency helping people with disabilities to get a state loan to make their homes handicap accessible. Oh my heart just broke because the lady I helped on that street became my patient when she was dying at the hospital I was working at that time a year after she got the loan for a new bathroom. Marilyn was one of the nicest people I ever met. We drank tea together many times – she introduced me to Mighty Tea African Nectar – we had the best conversations and when she stopped dialysis I was right there with her (my boss at that time let me take her as a patient for that week at the hospital) so she told me about her best friend that she was going to miss. We talked about heaven and what she was expecting … the most down to earth conversation I even had. She was totally at peace… I will never forget her. She told her husband to bring all the remaing boxes of tea she had at home for me. So 3 days before she died I inherited the boxes of tea… I still have it and every time I take it I think of her.
    So today I did not recognized the her house so I went into this new admission and I told the wonderful woman that opened the door ” oh I can’t believe I am back in this street from all places! I met one of the most amazing woman in this street – I can’t see her house but I know its here. She passed away a few years ago. The woman looked at me and said – the most wonderful person in this street was my best friend and did passed a few years ago. Would that be Marilyn???” OMG. I could not believe. I just looked at her and asked “Are you the friend that introduced her to Might Tea African Nectar? and of course she was… we hugged and cried and reminisced about this wonderful friend we shared… it was a long visit… my patient was actually the daughter!!!! but anyway, what I constantly rejoice over is the friends I have. The people that makes my life rich and worth living. Yes, there is so much bad in the world, its depressing, but so many good things also.

    I am so cheering and hoping that Scotland does become independent. I so totally agree with you Grace!!!! That is how it should be… no war, no death, no bloodshed~ oh I am praying for them!
    After all the hundreds of historical romances I have read and after Braveheart (its my favorite movie of all historic movies I have seen!!!!) I think it it pass when I hear the news I will scream like Wallace “FREEEEEEDOMMMMMM””””

  18. 18
    Pat M says:

    If only everyone thought like you Grace the world would be a far safer and happier place. This is a stunning and enlightening read.
    After all the bloodshed and treachery metered out to my ancestors in Scotland, it would be good to see them once again, managing their own part of the world.

    It is a cold, wet winters day here, so what else is a girl to do? Snuggle down in her warm bed with a good book!

    • 18.1
      Kassia says:

      Oh Pat, where are you??? It’s 90 today in Framingham MA, I just saw a Eastern Painted Turtle lay eggs in my brand new law!!!!

    • 18.2

      A girl’s to do the very same thing on a hot, muggy, summer day, Pat! It’s interesting that we’re on opposite sides of the earth, and we both descend from Scottish stock. I haven’t read as much as I need to about the Scottish diasporo, but it’s on my list.

  19. 19
    Amanda V says:

    I rejoice in the health of my parents and the rest of my family. My best friend from high school recently lost her father. He had struggled with pancreatic cancer for the last year. I grew up with him almost like a second father and the loss of him is almost as if my own father had passed.

    It just reminds me how precious life is and how grateful I am to be surrounding by such wonderful family and friends.

    • 19.1

      Death is no fun, but he gives us a hard poke in the take-it-for-granted that most of us need. Nobody’s here forever, nobody’s health is bullet-proof. Only love abides (says me).

  20. 20
    Sharlene Wegner says:

    I am rejoicing that my daughter just got accepted into a special 2 county band for next year. She plays the clarinet & practiced really hard!

  21. 21
    Glenda says:

    Hi Grace! Isn’t it a shame that new organizations do not feel the need to publish those statistics you mentioned? While not perfect, there are many things better in the world today than even 20 years ago. 🙂

    This summer I am particularly grateful that my daughter has graduated from high school, was accepted to all the colleges and universities she applied to, and has chosen to attend her dad’s alma mater just 2 hours away. The fact that her brother attends the same school as do some of her other close friends also attend this university is just bonus!

    I am also grateful that my son was able to find a summer job that will give him insight into being a veterinarian while he also gets almost full time work for pay — not an unpaid internship.

    • 21.1
      jilly204 says:

      You are so right Glenda! There is a great book called The Good Old Days–They Were Terrible, by Otto Bettmann, founder of the Bettmann Archive (a repository of images).

      Personal reasons to rejoice? I finally tracked as “earworm” that has bee bothering me since 2011. It is a truly beautiful earworm:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDvuD7XnGWM

      Cheers

    • 21.2

      You’re in high cotton, lady! I tell the foster kids, very sincerely, that a high school diploma is the hardest academic degree to get. You have the least control over what you study, it takes THIRTEEN YEARS, you can’t cherry pick and easy professor or optimal time of day for the courses that challenge you, you can’t take a couple years off and then come back when you’re more in the mood… that high school diploma is a tremendous accomplishment–for the kid and for the kid’s family.

      Congratulations!

  22. 22
    Janie McGaugh says:

    I have rejoiced that my mother and my husband’s parents (all in their 80’s) are still alive and reasonably healthy.

  23. 23
    Anne Egger says:

    Reasons to rejoice… hmm it may seem like a simple thing, but I’m going with my cats. My husband and I had a cat named Bubba who died July 5, 2013. I was out of town. My husband was devastated, we don’t have children. On July 7, 2013 we acquired Beatrice and Chester from the local pound. They have given us great joy, on a daily basis.

    • 23.1

      Condolences on your loss, Anne. When my daughter moved out almost ten years ago, we went to the pound and chose the two cats who had been there the longest for her apartment kitties. I have one of them with me now, and Chloe is a dear, dear link to my daughter–also a really cool cat.

  24. 24
    jilly204 says:

    I take comfort in the idea that good things are NOT news. Acts of generosity, courage and decency are so common that they aren’t treated as something worthy of being reported. It would be hard to bear if the world were so bad that kindness was newsworthy!

    • 24.1

      Interesting perspective, Jilly, but I can’t quite come down in the same place. When fewer teenagers are in trouble than we’ve ever seen before–despite how wickedly the world is often portrayed–somebody ought to crowing about that, and figuring out what we–and the kids–are doing right.

      Children born to teen mothers have so many strikes against them, that a reduction in the teen birth rate will ripple for decades in a positive sense. The moms and the kids both benefit by putting off starting a family, that means society benefits too.

      • 24.1.1
        jilly204 says:

        Your comments about the teen birth rate are well taken, but I watch your news quite closely, and I anticipate a rise in the teen birth rate shortly, as a result of the truly anti-woman policies embraced by some in your government.

        This is, of course, an argument on your side. Unless we know what works, we cannot defend it or extend it.

        Cheers

  25. 25
    LSUReader says:

    I’ve just had surgery and my rehabilitation is going well. I’m thankful for all the support and prayers from family and friends; and especially hubby, for being my own private nursemaid. So I’m going to be a bit selfish and rejoice that all is going well over here.

    Grace, I just finished The Captive. Such a lovely, evocative story of lost souls finding their way–I loved it. I’m looking forward to the others in this trilogy. Thanks.

    • 25.1

      LSU, glad the surgery went well, and the putting-it-behind you is also going well. Also glad you have some reading to tide you over, and–now that you’ve read The Captive–I’m hearing wonderful things about Mary Balogh’s newest, “The Escape.”

  26. 26
    Victoria Thomas says:

    I can rejoice in the fact that my fiancé and I have finally been able to keep our heads above water. We have both been blessed this past year and can finally say that after all the struggling we’ve done over the year, in every area, we have come through it and feel so much better about ourselves and what a relief it is.

    My daughter just had her 12th birthday a few weeks and what a feeling it was to just go and buy her what she actually asked for and not flinch at the price. Even better, was the look of surprise and happiness on her face! LOVE IT!

    • 26.1

      As a single mom, I hear ya! I was able to get my daughter a little old Arabian horse for her ninth birthday (she’d been begging for more than three years). I never again spent so little on a horse, and I NEVER have gotten so much, at any price. Pasha was a handsome prince, a seasoned campaigner, a buddy, and a Wish Come True. Best money I EVER spent, and one of my best days as a mom.

  27. 27
    tracy comer says:

    Are we going to hear about Avie’s sister Alex and her story? Would love to hear more…

    • 27.1
      LSUReader says:

      Check Lost Lords book #3, Ethan, for Alex’s story.

    • 27.2

      As LSU says: Alexandra’s story is in Ethan’s book; Benjamin got his HEA in Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal; and Vim was first sibling past the post with Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish.

      Now I have to think up a story for Fenwick… Some fool went and made him an earl, as I recall. Wonder how THAT happened.