Today I will not let fear win

Today I will not let fear win.  Today I will not let emotions rise. Today I will trust that God is still in control.
So today as I face a new reality, rather than focus on what I cannot do, I will choose what I can do.
 Because today I will not let fear win.
As I adjust to this new reality I am making a list of things that I will accomplish today! Some of them will be activities that benefit me, and some will be directed toward helping others. But I will continue to do and be and live. 
Even coronavirus and social distancing can’t take my spirit away…

So today I will

Give my dog a really long belly rub.

Teach my mom to use FaceTime and bring her something yummy to eat!

Give my neighbor some old toys I’ve been meaning to sell

Workout… hard

Pray… harder

Listen to my college freshman’s stories

Make a cake with my 12 year old

Tell my family  I love them

So today what will you do?
I want to encourage you to make a list. One that will inspire you to choose Joy today and to spread Joy to others.
Post your lists below!

Mountains around my Neck


In my 20s I wore a necklace with a little pennant of mountains that resembled the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I wore the necklace for years. I received many compliments and questions regarding the necklace. “I love your necklace” people would say “is that the mountains?” I would reply “yes, it is the Grand Tetons”. And then the conversation usually went something like this, oh I’ve been there or it’s beautiful there or have you been there did you like it?
Typically I would answer in the simplest way possible telling them I spent my college summers in Jackson.  This often led to conversations about the town of Jackson Hole, hiking in the mountains, going to Yellowstone which is nearby, and many other things that either I, or the other person, had experienced. What I didn’t tell them, was that the pennant of the mountains meant so much more. 

My freshman year in college was difficult for me. Really difficult. I experienced some personal change and loss which rocked me to the very core. By the end of my freshman year I was unsure of who I was, and I was definitely unsure of who I wanted to be. I felt hollow and empty inside. My friend and mentor suggested I go to Jackson Hole for the summer and work and a small campground nestled in the mountains. I knew no one, had already spent a year away from home, and was pretty unsure what I was doing, but being that I was in a state of life change, I knew I needed time and space to grow, so I decided to head west. For those three months I spent every day either hiking outside, biking through the mountains or just gazing at the view of the Tetons. I learned to trust in myself as I tried new physical challenges. I gained self-confidence as I made new friends. I even had time to challenge my internal need for other people’s approval. I also learned to identify what makes my heart sing. And as my sadness began to fade away, joy settled into my heart. I guess that summer I truly found myself, and probably for the first time, my true self.

So what do the mountains around my neck mean? If you ask, I will tell you that I love Jackson Hole, and we will talk about what a great place it is. But truly it means so much more. The pennant around my neck signifies a time of personal growth, personal challenge and personal amazement at finding who I really am. The mountains mean beauty, independence, adventure, challenge, and inner strength.  The mountains also point to God, who carried me through the whole situation.
So yes, those are mountains around my neck!

The mountains around my neck remind me of all the challenges and growth that took place during that season of my life.
What are symbols or places that remind you of your own growth journey? How can you keep those pictures in your mind, your pocket, and your heart each day?

Going Back

Today I’m going back. Going back to a hard place. A place that represents loss, fear, shock and unknown. I go with a few tears and some anxiety, but I’m going… 

A little over a year ago I was on vacation with my family in Colorado. We had been in town for one glorious sunny Mountain filled day. We hiked through Garden of the Gods and toured the lovely Broadmoor Hotel. We ate ice cream and enjoyed being together, off our phones, in such a beautiful setting. The day was perfect. After a long day outside we went to bed easily and dreamed of what adventures tomorrow might bring. 

Early the next morning I woke to my phone ringing. Still half asleep I reached for the phone and answered it. “Brooks”, my sister said, “dad had a heart attack and died in his sleep”  

At that moment I collapsed in disbelief. My head swirled with all sorts of thoughts. “What? This couldn’t be? I’m not home? I didn’t get to see him? I don’t know what to do next.”

Luckily my husband was a few steps away and caught me and held me tight. The next several hours were a blur as we woke the children and told them grandpa had passed. I felt numb as we changed our plans and bought a ticket for me to fly home immediately. 

I don’t remember much else until I arrived at the airport. I checked in, alone, and began to really feel what was happening. As I sat and waited to board the plane I was overcome with emotion. Who are all these people and where are they going? Do they know I am going home to bury my dad? I wanted to scream, cry,and tell everyone around me. But I didn’t. I couldn’t tell anyone. So I sat, for two hours. I waited, I watched, I openly cried, I listened to the conversations around me. In those two hour I think I was the most present I have ever been. There was a song by Cory Asbury that kept rolling through my head.. the chorus goes like this, The overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God. Oh it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine”

All day that song rang in my head. I couldn’t get it out. Overwhelming, never ending, reckless love. It was as if God was pursuing me in that dark moment. As my world came to a halt there were the words, strong and confident. God was pursuing me, constantly, recklessly, intentionally pursuing me. I felt so many things that day. What I remember most is pain, loss, and love all wrapped up and tangled together. 

So I’m going back. Back to the airport, back to the mountains, back to the memory. It hurts a bit. It brings up some pain. But it also brings up a time of feeling crazy cared about by God. A time of being loved, held, carried. Despite the circumstances somehow I knew God had me, and despite your circumstances, He’s got you too. 

What places can you look back on and  see that God was carrying you?

What experiences can you now see Gods hand in? Can you remember not just the pain but the feeling of being held as well?

“There’s no shadow you won’t light up

Mountain you won’t climb up

Coming after me.

There’s no wall you won’t kick down

Lie you won’t  tear down

Coming after me.

He. Pursues. You. Relentlessly.

I have a case of the Januaries


I have a case of the Januaries. It’s true. I was hopeful this year I would not get it, but I did.

Those of you who live in the north know what I’m talking about, it comes from a  lack of sunlight, gray overcast days, cold, windy, icy conditions.
So, I have come down with a case of the Januaries. I can tell you my symptoms, they are easy to spot. My mood is low, my patience is short, I feel tired all the time and my creativity is zapped! I’m short with my loved ones, I lack motivation and I long for summer! Yep, it’s the Januaries alright…

The other frustrating thing about having the Januaries is that the only person that can solve them for myself, is ME. Each year heading into winter and the post-holiday season I know that January in Minnesota, and many other places, can be mentally difficult. Many of the things that naturally lift my mood are harder to engage in during winter months. So, I have to find another prescription, One that works with the season I am in.


When my go to mood lifters are not available how do I dig a little deeper  to cure myself? What other resources do I have that might possibly help me through the Januaries?


It is this situation that causes me to do things such as exercise, take Vitamin D, and sit under a light box. These are great ways to help lessen the effect the Januaries can have on me. But as I push myself even further, I am struck by the thought that the Januaries are really just a feeling of being stuck. Stuck indoors, stuck in traffic, stuck in short days and long nights, just plain stuck. The next break seems too far away.


So today, in an effort to be cured, I am going to pick one area where I am able to make movement. I cannot make the sun come out or the snow go away, but I can make movements in my own self. I can push myself to create something new like a friendship, a goal, a hobby. I can push myself to invest in someone else rather than get lost in my own stuff. I can push myself to not let the Januaries grow. Movement is an energy that grows. Movement, even small, creates momentum. Momentum creates more movement. This will eventually lead to hope, which is really what the Januaries are all about – losing sight of hope. Once I find a glimmer of hope, even if that hope is that soon it will be February, the Januaries begin to fade away…

Do you have a case of the Januaries? What symptoms are you experiencing? Do you feel stuck? Where is one area of your life you could create movement, which leads to hope?

Other do-able suggestions for coping with the Januaries:

  1. Exercise. You’ll be amazed how how good even a simple walk around a mall can make you feel. Even better if you do it with a friend. 
  2. Take Vitamin D which can help regulate your mood. 
  3. Invest in a light box or “happy lamp”.

Take it back

This year I’m taking things back:
I’m taking back my mind, from anxiety that steals my joy….
I’m taking back my time, from all the idle watching and checking I think I’m supposed to do..
I’m taking back my thoughts, from the clutter that causes distraction and isolation…
I’m taking back my body, from the lies that tell me to be somebody I’m not…
I’m taking back my faith, that teaches me who I belong to ….
I’m taking back my courage, and chasing my dreams 
We spend too much of our lives giving ourselves away to things that are not true or good or healthy or Holy. So This year I’m taking things back, and choosing Joy, 
What will you take back?

This week identify one area of your life you have listened to negative voices. Next, write down how you will begin to take yourself back!

examples:

I am smart enough to pass this test

I am worthy of friends who treat me well

I deserve to feel feel Joy

I am capable of starting a business

I am exactly the parent my children need

I have goals worth I am excited about

the pursuit of positivity

Hello friends! Thank you so much for stopping by! This blog has been created to encourage, inspire, share, dream and be all things positive. As a Youth worker of 25 years, life coach, and mother, I am in constant pursuit of creating positivity. Our current society has challenged our sense of emotional security. Anxiety and depression seem to be contagious. Over the past decade I have become an avid pursuer of positivity. I believe in the power of the mind and empowering the individual to use it!

So together we will seek joy, happiness, positivity and all things of that sort! Why? Because I need it and you need it. Our kids kids need, our teachers and coaches need it. The world needs it. We all need a daily dose of joy. As we find our own happiness and engage with positivity, we are able to spread it to those around us.

So thanks again for stopping by, please come back. My hope is to empower you to choose joy, to fully pursue it each day and to let it bubble inside you until it overflows to those around you!

Thought for today: Your mind is a powerful tool, are you in control of it or is it in control of you?

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.