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What are Prompts for Joy?


In a writing class or workshop, a prompt offers a starting point. Prompted to write about a tree or forest in your childhood, you might describe the old maple in your front yard, or a penchant for climbing trees. The prompt may trigger memory of the treehouse club you belonged to, or a treeless street in an urban setting. Prompts are creative nudges: they provide kindling that can ignite an expressive fire.


Some people sit down and write beautiful poems or stories without external prompts. A voice, feeling, reaction, memory or idea emerges from within, and this can get the writing started. Others rely on external prompts to get their pens moving across a page that might have remained blank without that creative nudge.


Likewise, some people tap into joy without external assistance. Others need a prompt or reminder. Prompts for Joy are tools that might turn your perspective around.

I share one or two Prompts for Joy in each issue of my blog, Out on a Limb. Over the years, I have curated this collection of links to videos that have brought joy to my life. Please click the links below; I hope they help you access more joy, too. 

Prompts for Joy: 2023


Free it Up: Click here to lighten your load.

Avian BeautyClick here to witness the elegance of birds.

Prompts for Joy: 2022


Consider Kindness: Click here for profound words about a crucial quality.

Repeat Often: Click here for instructional words of wisdom.

Rinse, Repeat: Click here for a sentence that warrants loads of repetition.

Naughty Joy: Click here because cussing can be a joy-maker.

Detachment Defined: Click here for a little more about detachment.

Wisdom Words: Click here for three words of Lennon/McCartney advice.

Introvert Intelligence: Click here to bust some myths about a third of the population.

Joni Joy: Click here for a classic from a resilient icon.

Plausible Proposal: Click here for a solution offered by Keb’ Mo’.


Fabulous Freedom: Click here to dance with the one and only Jon Batiste.

Musical Reminder: Click here for wise words from George Harrison.

Pucker Up: Click here for an illustration of authenticity.

Plants Prescription: Click here to see what can bloom if we tend to it.

Triple Cuteness: Click here for canine head-turners.

Fan Foes: Click here for an amusing “dialogue” between sports fans.

Oppositional Silliness: Click here for a potentially offensive but nonetheless hilarious spoof of 60 Minutes’ “Point/Counterpoint.”

Diminishing DoubtClick here because antidotes to doubt are important tools.


​Persistent PaysClick here for encouragement to keep on keeping on.

Everyday Hopes: Click here because “we got to live together.”

​RIP Betty: Click here for a classic Betty White clip (as Sue Ann).

Prompts for Joy: 2021

Nasal Nuttiness: Click here for ten seconds of guaranteed laughter.

​Dip Disaster: Click here for a raucous holiday recipe failure.

Madcap Acceptance: Click here for Tim Conway and Harvey Corman hilarity.

​Hand Percussion: Click here for music with unique accompaniment.

Yes, Yes: Click here for a simple, life-affirming, chi-stirring word.

​Robotic Moves: Click here for an old song with new moves.

Somewhere Song: Click here for a soothing choral performance by an assembly of women with a purpose.

​Happy Dance: Click here to join a variety of folks in gleeful movement.

Start Your Motors: Click here to get revved up by Mike Jagger.

​Flash On This: Click here for a good rock, late 1960’s style.

Crazy Busy Dizzy: Click here to laugh at life in the 2020’s thanks to our devices.

Lost in Translation: Click here for menus that’ll make you giggle.

All About the Hat: Click here for a glimpse into a centenarian’s priorities.

​Art of Imitation: Click here to recognize the role of imitation in making art.


Climbing Hills: Click here to be inspired by America’s youngest poet laureate.

In Praise of Kindness: Click here for a spoken performance of universal words about kindness.

Floral Feast: Click here to discover the brilliant photography of Harold Feinstein.

​Collective Memory: Click here for a moving, important song by performers from around the world.

Quarantine Chorus: Click here to share the challenges with others.

Quarantine Creativity: Click here for art inspired by the COVID pandemic.


Anthem Song: Click here to join a chorus of hopeful voices.

Van GreatClick here to immerse yourself in the work of one of the greatest artists of all times.

Prompts for Joy: 2020

Buxom Boo-Boo: Click here to see how a thoughtful gift brought noisy and costly results.


Menu Limitations: Click here for a hilarious take on food restrictions at holiday time.

Insistent Felines: Click here to see a couple of cats who know how to get what they want.

Symphonic Joy: Click here for a zoomed overture bound to lift your spirits.

Auto Moves: Click here to see how a car’s stereo can inspire.

Contagious Warmth: Click here for an old classic by a newer delight.

Giving Joy: Click here to see how kindness begets kindness.

French Foolery: Click here for some silliness in another language.

Hidden JoyClick here to learn about designs that cultivate joy.

Cat Fancy?: Click here to laugh at what a dog appreciates about cats.

Pink Elephants: Click here to giggle like you used to do when you watched Candid Camera on TV.


Education Matters: Click here for a brief reminder of what we really need to teach children.

Suitable Song: Click here to empathize with a music teacher’s plight.

Misplaced AdClick here to see what hilarity unfolds when something is in the wrong place.

Leaning Trio: Click here for a performance to lean on in troubled times.

Wild Soul: Click here for a bit of healing from nature.

Major Meltdown: Click here to see a kid with very specific food preferences.

COVID Laughs: Click here to keep your sense of humor in trying times.

Hamilton Happiness: Click here to share a girl’s surprise.

Celebrate Difference: Click here to appreciate a loved one’s unique gifts.

Bossanova Beauty: Click here for a youngster’s rendition of a Frank Sinatra classic.

Dynamic Duo: Click here to see twins perform on twin pianos.

Paper News: Click here to get a contact high from Carol Burnett’s role-playing.

Typing Duet: Click here for a glimpse at the monotony of office work in a bygone era.

Ironic Duo: Click here to laugh with James Corden and Alanis Morissette.


Happy Host: Click here to celebrate with Alicia Keys as she prepares to host the 2019 Grammy’s.

Prompts for Joy: 2019


Double-Take Voices: Click here to see a quartet with voices that will surprise and amuse you.


The Artist Type: Click here for an artist whose method will inspire you.

Creative Motherhood: Click here to see a cat’s curious “offspring!”

Salty Special: Click here for a family’s encouragement of a budding baker.

Hell Yeah!: Click here and good luck not giggling once the song reaches the chorus.

Waltzing Ducks: Click here to do a familiar dance with some ducks . . . er, so to speak.

Breakfast Chitty Ditty:  Click here for an impromptu a cappella performance by a beloved leading man.

Calling All Mr. Jensens:  Click here to see how one teacher changed a struggling student’s life.

Amazing Gift:  Click here to see what a demonstration of understanding can do.

Listen Here: Click here for a parent’s effort to understand a kid who has misbehaved.

Going Up:  Click here for an elevator ride that elevated its passengers.

She’ll Make You Think: Click here for an Aretha Franklin classic.

Joy Jar:  Click here to see how a jar might bring you joy.

A Memorable Commute: Click here to hum along with this train ride.

The Hug of Kindness: Click here to see how much love an animal can express.

Gifts to AppreciateClick here to realize that you have gifts to leave behind.


A Spring Surprise: Click here for a close-up view of a hummingbird’s nest.

A Spring Surprise, Part II: Click here to find out what happened to Helen the Hummingbird’s babies.


Inventive Kids: Click here to see what nature’s classroom brings forth in young children.

Hullo, Siri?: Click here for an amusing interaction by a 5-year-old with Siri.

Icy Eavesdropping:  Click here to join a four-year-old on the ice.

Why Not Write?: Click here for inspiration to express your creativity.


You Bettah Work: Click here for inspiration from RuPaul, drag queen extraordinaire.

Score a Victory: Click here to see a most satisfying, and humorous take-down of a royal jerk.  

Prompts for Joy: 2018


Humorous Hanukkah: Click here for a classic holiday song bound to make you laugh.

Dog Meets Tennis Ball: Click here for a puppy’s first encounter with a new toy.

A Grateful Day: Click here to hear Brother David Steindl-Rast’s inspiring message for cultivating in-the-moment gratitude.


A Spring Surprise (repeat): Click here for a close-up view of a hummingbird’s nest.

Aretha Aria: Click here to see the Queen of Soul sing an operatic classic.

Natural Woman: Click here for one of Aretha Franklin’s finest live performances.

Mix It Up!: Click here to see a beloved tv character reap the payoff of doing something differently.

Flexi Fingers: Click here for footloose fingers.


You Go Girl: Click here to be inspired by a young girl’s determination.

Conflict Brings Love?: Click here for a cute version of kiss-and-makeup.


Saltwater Special: Click here to see nature’s beauty just below the surface of the ocean.

Surprising Duo: Click here for a glimpse of joy while swimming.


For Grads and All: Click here for some terrific suggestions about how to live a meaningful life.

Swim With a Surprise: Click here to discover some unusual swimmers.


Infectious Laughter: Click here for a surprising weather report.

Text Talk: Click here to remember to check your spell check.

Hang Time:  Click here to hear a hang drum that will help you relax.

Looks Deceive: Click here for a colorful chameleon … or is it?


Rhapsodic Ride: Click here to watch a family’s entertaining ride to school together.

Comic Piano: Click here for a humorous performance by a beloved comedian.


A Heckling Hoot: Click here to laugh out loud at a humorous heckler.


Grief is a Muse: Click here for a gallery of stunning heart art made by a woman in deep grief.

Recycled Joy: Click here to see how one man derives joy from re-purposing.


Big Wave: Click here for a wave of feelin’ good.

Prompts for Joy: 2017


Go Un-Gilly: Click here to see havoc wreaked by insincere apologies.

Darlene's Love: Click here to lift your holiday spirits.

Disaster Relief: Click here for musical inspiration that arose from disaster.


Kindness: Click here to hear a poet’s take on kindness.


Against All Odds: Click here to be inspired by resilience.


Color the World: Click here to share in a technicolor moment.


Dip Into Your DNA: Click here to ponder your origins and bust through your biases.


Dancing Stoplight: Click here for some pedestrian fun.


Help Out: Click here to appreciate helping hands.


Healing Horses: Click here to see equine assistance up close.


Puffer Mandala: Click here to see art made underwater by an unlikely creature.


Snappable: Click here if you just need to dance into that feelin’ good place.


Angelic Duo: Click here to hear two young and inspiring voices.


Love Your Mom: Click here to celebrate the sacrifices your Mom made for you.


Bear-y Boogie: Click here to be inspired by bears to boogie.


Happy Dance: Click here for a guaranteed uplift.


Hummingbird Wisdom: Click here for an antidote to feeling insignificant.


New Year’s Wishes: Click here to hear a beautiful wish for all in the new year.


Hope in 40 Seconds: Click here to see a hopeless woman transformed.

Loving Nature:  Click here for a sweet love story about a dog and a deer.


Deep Dive: Click here to enter the deep sea and escape into its beauty.


Instrumental Music: Click here for a glimpse into recycling at its best.


Mindful Stopping: Click here to be convinced of the merits of mindfulness.

Prompts for Joy: 2016


Joyful Trust: Click here to see a young man’s brave willingness.

Bounce: Click here to witness unbridled joy at holiday time, or really, any time.

Grateful Serenade: Click here for an invitation to gratefulness.

An Unusual Pair: Click here to see love bloom from the side of a boat.

Lunchtime Serenade: Click here to see some school kids get an operatic surprise.

Funky Mashup: Click here for a great medley of old dance clips with rousing music.

Gifts Given and Received: Click here to watch bitterness transform into delight.

Love Prevails: Click here to hear a beautiful response to the June 2016 tragedy in Orlando, FL.

Stork Delivery Forthcoming: Click here for a young boy’s delight in hearing he will become a big brother.

Creative Grief: Click here to share a brother’s talented expression of grief.

Doves Cry into Joy: Click here to hear a chorus of grief that brings joy.

Masked Mom: Click here to catch a contact high from a joy-filled mother.

Kitty Drama: Click here to laugh at a kitten’s unfounded fear.

Pretty Polar: Click here to savor phenomenal natural beauty.

Take That, Simon: Click here to see a talented young man change Simon Cowell’s mind.

Bach Boomwhackers: Click here to hear a delightful rendition of Bach’s Prelude No 1 in C Major.

Respect the Dash: Click here to see what this phrase means.

Sculpted Love: Click here for a 3 minute love story that you must might have to watch again.

Natural Gratitude: Click here for a combination of natural beauty and a great message. 

Mixed Music: Click here to hear a delightful wedding of two pieces of music. 

Take a Dive: Click here for a whimsical journey with giraffe.

Wounda’s Release: Click here for moving moments as a gorilla returns to the wild.  

Prompts for Joy: 2015

The Wednesday Dance: Click here to see The Addams Family’s Wednesday give Lurch a dance lesson.

Who’s Parenting Whom: Click here to hear a daughter’s amazing advice for her Mom.

Where He Draws the Line: Click here to see a man with a humorous problem.

Rain Ritual: Click here to experience summer rain through a child’s eyes.

Croatian Joy: Click here for a joyful trip to Croatia.

Doggy Desires: Click here to see a dog whose happiness seems to depend upon a new relationship.

Celebratory Song: Click here for a unique recitation of vows.

Our Brainy Differences: Click here to laugh at the differences between men and women.

Special Delivery: Click here for a reminder that you, too, are special.

Afternoon Delight: Click here to appreciate a simple water sprinkler

Mud Bath: Click here for a baby elephant’s sheer joy.

Lanyard Love: Click here to celebrate a Mom’s irreplaceable gifts.

Re-Define Success: Click here for a new measure of success.

Otter Joy: Click here for the perfect slide.

Panda-Monium: Click here to see some precious, playful pandas.

Take a Stance: Click here for a humorous look at batters at the plate.

Canine Manners: Click here to see some well-mannered dogs at mealtime.

In the Hunt: Click here for the thrill of pursuit, with a funny twist.

Rap This: Click here for a joyful music lesson.

Pet Loss Primer: Click here for imagined messages from deceased pets to their owners.


Prompts for Joy: 2014

Sportsmen Siblings: Click here for an inspiring story of a brother’s devotion.

Pixel Painter: Click here to learn about an amazing artist still at it in his 90’s.

What, No Pictures?: Click here for a glimpse into a children’s book with no pictures that is both fun and funny!

Arigato Says Japan: Click here to be moved by heartfelt expressions of gratitude.

Bedhead People: Click here for a goofy moment with some bedheads.

A Child’s Enthusiasm: Click here for a quick lesson on gratitude, and a kid who loves, among other things, her home!

Birthday Greeting: Click here for a birthday song inspired by social networking.

Open Hearted Invitation: Click here to remember what others feel.

Stop It: Click here to see Bob Newhart at his best.

A Kinder Anthem: Click here to be reminded of what it takes to treat yourself well.

Juggling Virtuoso: Click here to be awestruck. I guarantee it.

Here for Some Reason: Click here to hear an explanation of why you are still here.

Commencement Message: Click here for Dr. Seuss’s best words for the graduate.

Dramatic Sand: Click here to see a dramatic story unfold in the sand.

Awesome Conduct: Click here to see a beautiful gift being expressed.

Name Change: Click here to see a beautiful interaction between a woman and a black leopard.

Adorable Duo: Click here to see a father/daughter duo make beautiful music.

Over This Rainbow: Click here to see and hear sweet rainbows.

Single Cats on Valentine’s Day: Click here to see how kitties cope with being alone.

Is This Love?: Click here to see some agile elders answer the question.

Two Men and a Cello: Click here to see a beautiful interpretation of Saint-Saen’s The Swan.

Harmonica Man: Click here to see a prescription in the form of a harmonica.


Prompts for Joy: 2013

Speed History: Click here to see how a 17 year old responded to an assignment for a two minute history.

Electronic Nativity: Click here to see the Nativity story as told in the electronic age.

Piano Fun: Click here to see an awesome performance by 12 players and just one piano!

Name That Feeling: Click here to see Dave Matthews and Sesame Street’s Grover name their feelings.

Flying High: Click here to see an operatic performance by one man and a few kites.

Grateful Expression: Click here for an invitation to cultivate happiness via gratitude.

Pinwheel: Click here to see some Scottie dogs dance!

Ernestine is Dialed-In: Click here for a nostalgic time-travel back to the days of Laugh-In on TV.

Quadruple the Laughs: Click here if you want to “catch” some infectious laughter. It’s contagious!

Scaredy-Cat: Click here to be reminded that sometimes our fear is funny.

Awesome Focus: Click here to see an amazing feat requiring immense concentration.

Prodigal Shooter: Click here to watch a 2 ½ year old who is ready for the NBA Draft.

Common Ground: Click here to see common ground found in an unusual location.

Stairway to Adulthood: Click here to watch a puppy learning to navigate a staircase.

On the 9th Day: Click here to celebrate what happened on the 9th day.

Happy Baby, Happy Mom: Click here to experience the joy of a child’s first word.

Afternoon Dip: Click here to see a young elephant who loves to swim.

A Great Lift: Click here to be reminded of your unique beauty.

Noah’s Slam: Click here to see a young man perform poetry that pops.

The Beat Goes On: Click here to see a cat who loves music, apparently.

It’s Complimentary: Click here to see what a difference compliments can make.

O Fortuna Huh?: Click here to see a serious song made silly.


Prompts for Joy: 2012

Giant Permission: Click here to get permission to live your life, courtesy of an SF Giants’ vibe.

Don’t Give Up: Click here for be inspired by someone who did not give up.

Music Appreciation: Click here to see how music affects us at a very young age.

Togetherness: Click here for a peek at the fondness between a toddler and his dog.

Surfin’ USA: Click here to see a unique surfer.

A Flash of Joy: Click here to see an open-air celebration of Beethoven’s Joy.

Put on the Ritz: Click here for an uplifting dance on a wintery day in Russia.

Father-Daughter Bridal Dance: Click here for a dance with a twist.

Talking Twins: Click here to hear a universal language.

185 Voices: Click here for a unique choral performance.

Ooh-La-La: Click here to travel to Paris without buying a plane ticket.

Out is Through: Click here for a joy-inducing anthem.

Wonderful (Spoken) World: Click here for an all-too-short celebration of our wonderful world.

Swoon for Swan: Click here to drop your jaw over this astounding balletic performance.

Raining Cat and Dog Love: Click here to be convinced that small does not equal weak.

Bold Bunny: Click here to be reminded that bigger doesn’t always mean mightier.

Equine Love: Click here for an extraordinary love story.

Hugs That Say Yes!: Click here for a video that will give you a hug.

Can She Dance?: Click here to see excerpts of a favorite Seinfeld episode.

Prompts for Joy: 2011

Joy in Bloom: Click here for time-lapse floral beauty.

Murmuration: Click here to find out what this word means!

Conductor of Joy: Click here to see a 3-year old who knows his music.

A Capella Awesome: Click here to hear a fabulous medley of voices.

Hungry Dog: Click here to see a dog’s reaction to FOOD.

Travelin’ Fish: Click here to see some fish out of water.

Getting Unstuck: Click here to watch the agony and ecstasy of a whale’s predicament.

Searching Bee: Click here to giggle at a lamb looking for someone

Praise Rubber Cement!: Click here to appreciate an absolute gem for necessary repairs. 

To Life!: Click here for a new bride’s surprise from her husband. 

Untimely Laughter?: Click here for Mary Tyler Moore at her best.

Glue and Dust: Click here for an amazing piece of art created with glue and dust.

Word Selection: Click here for a short reflection on word selection. (Grab a tissue.)

A Spring Surprise, Part II: Click here to find out what happened to Helen the Hummingbird’s babies.

William Tell Mother: Click here for a day in the life of a Mom, summarized in just 3 minutes. 

A Spring Surprise: Click here for a close-up view of a hummingbird’s nest.

Music in Nature: Click here for an awe-inspiring piece of music performed in a beautiful forest.

Better Together: Click here for amazing footage of a rescued hummingbird.

Remember This: Click here for an amusing look at what it is like to be memory-challenged. 

G-rated Pole Dance: Click here for a G-rated Pole Dance that is bound to get an awwwww out of you! 

Know Your States: Click here for a geography lesson that will make you want to dance. 

Why Numbing Blocks Joy: Click here for a brilliant explanation by researcher Brene Brown.

Creative Sticky Notes: Click here to fuel your creativity.

Prompts for Joy: 2010

Do Sharks Laugh?: Click here for 21 seconds of contagious laughter.

Inventive Percussion: Click here to see Lulu and the Lampshades, or is that paper cups?

Surprise Performance: Click here to view an unexpected hit on Britain’s Got Talent.

Lyrical Changes: Click here for a unique rendition of "Waking Up is Hard to Do" by The Laryngospasms.

Inventive Brilliance: Click here for an unforgettable performance of “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go.

Gifted 6-Year Old: Click here to witness composer and pianist, Emily Bear, in her first appearance on the Ellen show.

Wake-Up Call: Click here for an amusing and accurate portrayal of a cat who is hungry.

Unexpected Love: Click here to see an unexpected friendship between an orangutan and a hound.

Start Your Day with This: Click here for a quick lesson on gratitude, and a kid who loves, among other things, her home!

California Coast: Click here for a 9 ½ minute meditation featuring the beautiful California Coast.

A Dog and His Breakfast: Click here to see a very expressive pooch.

Step Right Up: Click here for a musical set of stairs.

Prompts for Joy: 2009

What a Wonderful World: Click here — animal lovers will especially like this short one. (~ 2 minutes)

Bodhisattva in Metro: Click here — this one’s a little bit longer. Just try not to laugh. (~6 ½ minutes)

Prompts for Joy: 2008

Click here for my top pick of the year. This tale of Christian the Lion never fails to elicit tears of joy.

You’ll Get Chills Up Your Spine: 


Click here for a 9-minute clip about Negro Spirituals and Wintley Phipps’ rendition of Amazing Grace.

You’ll Think About These Long After You’ve Listened: 


Click here for The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.

Click here for Jill Bolte Taylor’s now-famous talk on her Stroke of Insight. It’s almost 19 minutes long, but totally worth it.

You’ll Wonder What’s So Funny Until … 


Click here for Part I and then Click here for Part II of Cat Talk.

Click here to view Gizmo’s fascination with the toilet bowl.

You Just Might Laugh Out Loud: 


Click here for a horse whose name has a hilarious pronunciation!

Click here just in case you didn’t get enough of the Real Diamonds.

You’ll See Why They Say Happiness is Contagious: 


Click here for an invitation to dance.



Prompts for Joy: 2007

Something Moving and Inspiring: 


Click here for Paul Potts’ rendition of Nessun Dorma on the TV show, “Britain’s Got Talent.”

Something That’s Creative and Clever: 


Click here for a music video by OK Go that you won’t forget.

Something That Evokes Great Memories: 


Click here for a brief clip from a recent trip to Portugal. This video was shot with a digital camera, while riding a bicycle, by my husband, Bill. The song of the sheep bells, alone, is a magnificent prompt.

For Red Sox Fans, Only: 


Click here for Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox’s no-nonsense closer, celebrating sweet victory with a Riverdance.



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