This Week on Earth

This week on Earth: there were more school shootings, more aggressive political TV advertisements, more nuclear threats, more inflation, more severe drought conditions, more Kanye West, and one of my children failed a science test on “cellular respiration” which forced me to have one of those uncomfortable, “you need to get your act together” talks even though I have no idea what cellular respiration is and highly doubt I will ever have a lively conversation, maybe over coffee and scones, about cellular respiration.

Also, between the dour earthly headlines of the week, gravity won again and I fell hard in my living room on my right shoulder. And I fear my right shoulder may be permanently damaged like my left shoulder, from a fall two years ago in the same living room.

And so, given all the recent news and feeling the latest ache, it’s easy to feel a twinge of angst and uncertainty about humanity and its shoulders.

Cellular respiration provides cells with energy they need to function. Apparently, in all living things, cellular respiration is critical. If a cell does not respire it will die.

And since humanity is simply a cluster of cells with belly buttons and nipples, our ability to create energy is, like the headlines suggest, apocalyptic.

Once we eat a banana or a turkey leg or a bowl of Frosted Flakes and cellular respiration occurs, we are left with a partly scientific, partly philosophical--scienceosophical–question: How are we going to use our energy?

If the point of life is to create energy, we must decide if we’re going to create positive or negative energy. I understand how easy it is to create negative energy. To read the headlines, rub your throbbing shoulder, and frown at the world. To see the world, and everything in it, as doomed is not just easy, but almost expected.

Yet as I write this letter to you, I’m reminded of the Morgan Harper Nicolas poem, When you start to feel like things should have been, I once read on a poster tacked on a cinderblock wall outside a school guidance office:

“When you start to feel

like things should have been better this year,

remember the mountains and valleys that got you here.

They are not accidents,

and those moments weren’t in vain.

You are not the same.

You have grown and you are growing.

You are breathing. You are living.

You are wrapped in




And things will get better.

There is more to you than yesterday.”

Yet somehow, in the face of the horror we wrangle week after week and despite the eternal pain welled deep in our complex, cellular bodies we know our collective survival depends on our choice to make positive energy.

Somehow we write poems that get laminated and hung on school walls, and laugh, and fall in love, and cradle babies, and empathize, and hit game-winning home runs, and discover cures for incurable diseases, and share meals with family, and forgive ourselves, and forgive others, and convert solar power into electricity, and marshal courage, and hold hands, and hold doors, and admire October leaves, and sacrifice ourselves for others, and despite the headlines, despite the negative energy that mills the world, we somehow continue to convert our pain into positive energy.

Somehow you and I keep getting up.

And somehow, rather amazingly, the human spirit shoulders the headlines to not only survive, but continues to thrive in a world printed with bad news.

Be well,


October Book Promos:

Are you searching for a better version of yourself?

This month I joined literary forces for some best-selling authors to promote our books in the, “Become Inspired. Become You.” book promotion. Check out these awesome titles!

Memoirs, Biographies, Self-help books…oh my!

This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors t promote our books in the “Non-fiction Super Sale” book promotion. Checkout these awesome titles!

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…

A few months ago, with low expectations, I took a shot and entered “Bedtime Stories for the Living” in the highly regarded, highly competitive international book contest presented by Readers’ Favorite. Readers’ Favorite is an established force in the publishing industry. They have worked withPenguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

Anyway, just before I was about to take a midday nap, I was informed that this suburban dad had won…

First Prize, the Gold Medal, in the Non-Fiction/Parenting genre!

The award ceremony is in November and is at Hilton Blue Lagoon in Miami, Florida.

It was totally unexpected. I’m totally honored. And I totally can’t wait for my kids to question my parenting skills so that I can gently remind them I wrote a Gold Medal winning parenting book.


Quote of the Week:


If you would like to share something with others (a photo, a poem, a song, a quote, etc.) that tosses some positive vibes into the world, please send your suggestions to me at Thanks!


Are you a reader? Looking for your next good book to read or listen to? Check out my new page “Jay’s Book Shelf” for some book recommendations.

Here’s what I’m currently reading: Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

If you like this post, you may also like:

The Big Reveal


How to Climb Today’s Mountain


Your Voice is the Most Powerful Thing You Own


A Letter to My Son (mostly about) Baseball


Jay Armstrong is a writer, speaker, former high school English teacher, and an award-winning authorDespite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:

1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)

Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time. 

You can also visit Jay at




Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.