Posts by Joy Thomas

service animals

Service Animals: A ‘Chosen’ Career Path or a Life of Servitude?

Many people see the relationship between service dog and handler as a beautiful, symbiotic bond, but some animal rights activists view it as harmful. Are service animals ‘happy’ working? We asked the experts. Amanda Bagwell-Chase, a self-proclaimed animal rights activist, proudly wears a T-shirt displaying a lion’s paw print next to a human handprint, referring to Cecil the Lion and symbolizing unity between animals and humans. But on several occasions Bagwell-Chase has been the target        …read more

outdoor games

5 Outdoor Games the Whole Neighborhood Used to Play

Get your family unplugged this summer with these favorite old-school outdoor games. Summer evenings growing up in the Midwest were as magical and fleeting as the fireflies we chased. Late bedtime. Chirping cicadas. Bright, deep-blue moonlit skies. Scents of fresh-cut grass and bug repellant. Sweaty, sticky fingers sandwiching sweet, smoky marshmallows and Hershey squares between honey grahams. All in the backdrop of the joyful screams signaling the main event: outdoor games. We played a hundred        …read more

the ’80s

The Purple Flag and Other Stuff Parents Didn't Worry about in the '80s

Has the world become more dangerous since the ’80s, or have parents become more paranoid? Sometimes I long for the carefree days growing up in the ’80s, sitting around in my Umbros eating SpaghettiOs and Ho Hos with my 5th grade best friend discussing the latest Babysitters Club book as the toddlers we were babysitting sat watching Mister Rogers and drinking Tang. As a parent of young children today, I sometimes find myself feeling envious        …read more

savant

Acquired Savant Syndrome: Meet an Accidental Genius

An accident unlocked Jason Padgett’s mathematical and artistic potential, making him one of only 40 people in the world with Acquired Savant Syndrome. Jason Padgett, who has acquired savant syndrome, says he wouldn’t change any of the pain he underwent after being beaten, as he now sees the world in an overlay of geometric fractals that he believes hold answers to some of life’s biggest questions. With the popularity of shows like The OA, The        …read more

A Dog's Purpose

A Guide Dog and Her Handler Review 'A Dog's Purpose'

My guide dog Roja and I watched a screening of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ before that controversial video was released. Here’s what we thought of the movie. The message of the recently released film A Dog’s Purpose is clear: there is an unquestionable, magical bond between humans and animals. Unfortunately, the handling of the animals in the film has been in question. In case you’ve been on a media hiatus for a few weeks, here’s the        …read more

6 Adventurous Valentine’s Date Ideas

Spice up your Valentine’s date this year with an evening that’s a little out of the ordinary. Candlelit Italian dinners, clinking Cabernets, chocolate-covered strawberries, long walks on the beach.... You get the picture. These are all lovely, romantic Valentine’s dates, albeit a bit clichéd. But here’s the thing: sometimes romance is a tad overrated and innovation is slightly underrated. If you and your Valentine want to try something different and more spontaneous this year, consider taking a hiatus        …read more

funny podcasts

7 Funny Podcasts That’ll Make You Pee Your Pants

Ready for a post-holiday pick-me-up? Listen to these top 7 funny podcasts! I have a problem. It involves my phone, the gym, laundry, dishes and earbuds. Basically, in order to exercise or perform household chores, I must be listening to a podcast at all times. If my phone dies, I automatically leave the gym. If my podcast app crashes, I ditch the dishes immediately. I’ve turned into an audio info junkie, which would be useful        …read more

gratitude

6 Daily Gratitude Practices That Can Change Your Life

Gratitude can make you healthier and happier. It’s science. Does the simple act of saying “thanks” affect our well-being? Researchers say yes. Studies show that people who report higher levels of gratitude in their daily lives are more hopeful and physically healthy overall, feel fewer aches and pains, sleep better and have higher levels of self-esteem. Some may wonder if the people in these studies simply have happier, better lives to begin with and are        …read more

Thanksgiving holiday

In Defense of Our Middle Child, Thanksgiving Holiday

Dear, it’s time to tell Halloween and Christmas to stop stealing the limelight from our precious Thanksgiving Holiday. Hey, honey, Sorry for the long email while you’re at work, but I have something urgent to discuss and want to give you a heads-up. I’m calling an emergency family meeting tonight about the safety and well-being of one of our kids. It’s about our middle child: Thanksgiving Holiday. I know this may come as a surprise since it’s        …read more

9 Myths about Blindness Dispelled (By Someone Who Knows Firsthand)

Let’s clear up some assumptions about blindness. When people see me with my white cane or guide dog, the average bystander operates under a certain set of assumptions to interact with me. While I’m not offended by these assumptions, I do feel a responsibility as a member of the blind community to debunk a few myths about blindness. Myth #1: We can’t see. Joy Thomas. Photo by Morry Angell, Guide Dogs for the Blind. People are often puzzled when        …read more