I’m grateful for you!

First an announcement — I had issues posting my blog post yesterday and want to make sure you see that I’m giving away some art and stationary to my readers! You can enter by clicking here and entering your email (just so I can contact you if you win – I won’t keep it!) and you can get an entry by commenting on my post or viewing my facebook page. That’s it! I hope you win!!

Wishing you all a beautiful day of thanksgiving. As I type I have a sick kid playing with intagram filters on my phone, two old beagles barking at a little old man with his dog outside, and a cold coffee with no milk because we ran out. I’m thankful for all if this beautiful mess of life!

May your day be filled with a bounty of pie and streaming netflix. So much love to you all and thank you for reading, subscribing, liking and commenting and sharing!

PIE!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

Receiving and giving, it’s really the same. (Plus, a giveaway to kick-off the giving-receiving season!)

Image from Magdalas.comfollow her Facebook page for all sorts of lovely insights!

When I read the above quote it kind of blew my mind in that things started to click for me in a new way around flow, abundance, and giving and receiving.

I viewed flow state as sort of its own thing. Separate from a giving-receiving thing. I saw it as a one-way street. I think many of us do! I wasn’t seeing how this act was part of a whole. I did that “3d separation” thing.

Just a week or two ago I was in this lovely flow state of giving and creating. And what do you know, while I was in that lovely energy I started receiving so much. The receiving came in all forms–some of it was monetary, some of it was the sharing of my words with a larger audience, but all of it a beautiful gift that was part of a huge loop! A giving-receiving that was connected. Yes! I see it now!

I want to open my arms to the receiving because to do otherwise creates a block. Does that create resistance in you, thinking about the receiving end? So many of us, especially women, are taught to give it ALL without daring to receiving. That is not what the great mother wants for us! What might be holding you back from receiving–is it about worth? Is it about scarcity? Can you let it go and heal those parts that feel unworthy? Open your arms to not only give but receive?

To help get us in the spirit of giving AND receiving I’m giving away some of my art from my Etsy shop–one set of notes and two art prints including matting! Three winners will be chosen and each wins one item. Starts now and ends 11/30 at 12am.

To enter, click this link (sorry I couldn’t’ figure out how to embed this due to javascript!) – – you just enter your email and either comment on this post or on my facebook post and get a point for one or both! (Any questions or issues entering, email me at hello@justfollowthejoy.com,) Thanks and GOOD LUCK! I hope you win! Happy giving and receiving this holiday season. ❤

Enter to win…

Cardinal art print
What if I fly art print

To recap: To enter the giveaway just enter your email on this raffle widget I setup. You can either comment on this post or comment on If you don’t want to use the widget or have any problems you can also email me at hello@justfollowthejoy. That’s it!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

Doot doot doot doot, positivity

I woke up determined to be in a bad mood but life conspired against me. 

The mourning doves were cooing and even surrounded me when I sat on the back porch (well, technically a lanai to us Florida-folk). My husband brought me an iced coffee! (Even splurged for cold brew at Dunkin’ Donuts. Talk about fan-cy!) All the while, one of my daughter’s favorite GoNoodle songs was going through my head. (Positivity, positivity, do-do-do-do-posivity!)

AND THEN, it dawned on me. It is finally MAY! April is history, at long last.

May life conspire in your favor today, too. Happy May 1st. Put on your fanny pack and do a little dance, for life is good. 

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Yes, he’s wearing a fanny pack for real. (Image: Koo Koo Kanga Roo.) (Tip of the hat to my friend Rachel for introducing them to us!) (Jen W.C.D., keep avoiding them–for real.)

p.s. The original post had a typo in the title (OOPS) and I DON’T EVEN CARE BECAUSE… MAY!

 

Where the rubber meets the road

Can we talk about how hard April has been? Really hard. You would think I’d be prepared, knowing it’s the cruellest month and all. But nope.

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There has been an endless onslaught of bad news for people I care about. Tragedy, loss, injustice. One after another. (I need to close my FB feed for real.) It’s all knocked me down more than I expected. I’ve been feeling old grief wounds surface. I’ve been emotional-eating chocolate. And if I’m totally honest, I have to admit I’ve been wallowing in it a bit.

It is ok, we all need to wallow sometimes. But I decided this morning that I was done wallowing. I am not powerless (though I often feel powerless). I am not a victim of life. (Though I sometimes want to pout and believe I am.)  I am a co-creator of life. I am a participant and I don’t believe bad things happen because we are bad. I believe that nature has its rhythms and cycles and we are not immune to them. The baby tree that is knocked over in a hurricane doesn’t take it personally. The exploding ant that blows itself up to save its village doesn’t take it personally. (Um, maybe he should though??)

This is not to minimize the grief and despair we go through with major losses, pain or hurt. But the difference is that for me this past month, I wasn’t the actual victim of all the horrible stuff that went down. That doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy. (Oh Lord I do.) BUT pointing to the parade of tragedies as proof that life is awful and I’m doomed probably isn’t helpful either.

On this blog I like to talk a lot about how surrender, grace, gratitude and art/writing has helped me to release and transmute pain. Now the rubber is meeting the road, so to speak. I need to walk my walk and not just talk my talk.

For me it means I had to get outside into nature. (It always, always heals me.) I took a long walk, like many of the walks I took when I was deep in grief, and I started talking out loud to the oaks (and my beagles), asking for help to release and also recounting all I’m grateful for. Wouldn’t you know it but about a minute into this a mourning dove flew and landed about ten feet away. And then a mockingbird (another bird of meaning for me) landed on a branch and stared deeply into my eyes. Well, then I lost it, crying/laughing because yes. Ask and you will receive. Ask for help and you will be met with love. I walked for a while longer and felt so much better. I also started hearing the words I had to write today — a sure sign that I needed to sit down and write as well.

So here I am. The crazy-lady-who-talks-to-trees-and-birds-and-writes-about-it. And feels infinitely better. I’m going to keep showing up when it is hard and doing what I need to do. I’m going to be the best beacon of light I can when others are having hard times, (but I know that requires me to take care of my own baggage when needed). I’m going to go gentle with myself. I’m going to go gentle with others.

(And I’m also going to remind myself that April is thankfully over in EIGHT SHORT DAYS!)

 

 

I’d like to thank all the Sarahs . . .

I think it’s time to forgive all the Sarahs. Heck, not just forgive them — thank them!

They were doing the best they could. They had lessons to learn! I couldn’t be who I am today without them. Wait, this is sounding like an acceptance speech . . .

“I’d like to thank the academy, my husband, my agent, and I’d especially like to thank all the Sarahs who helped me get to where I am today:

“Law-school-Sarah, thank you for showing me what is possible when all my focus is channeled to one task. You showed me that if I stand squarely in my masculine I can achieve pretty much anything I set my mind to. (Never mind if most of it is a pointless exercise in competition, winner-take-all gamesmanship, and distorted-masculinity. But I digress.) You also showed me that there is a cost to be paid when it means shutting down my feminine energy that is the source of vitality, joy and creativity. Law school Sarah, I look at photos of you and I think, damn, that girl just needs a break. Your hair is dry, your face is puffy and you don’t really exude happiness do you? You showed me the costs of polarity within myself. Thanks for that very big lesson, girl. Now go get a facial!

“I’d also like to thank grieving, collapsed on the sofa new-mom-Sarah for showing me the gifts of surrender. Girl, you had a tough time of it too. Your mom died, your cat died, and you could have probably used a facial as well. But wow you learned that there are times to surrender and throw your arms up. To proclaim to the universe, I don’t have any answers so some help here would be appreciated. You learned to be still and receive. You gave so much of yourself that you were due for a long period of rest and renewal. You found your way back to your heart and lit the spark of the divine feminine within. You transmuted pain with your writing and art. That is kind of a big deal! I’m so thankful for you for showing the way back to the things that make my heart sing. What a gift!

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“And lastly–this is the hardest one because it is so raw–I’d like to thank infertility Sarah. I didn’t want to see your gifts because not fair! But alas, you had them too. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have demanded my own vitality. Imagine that. It took a representative of the patriarchy–a male in a white lab coat, discussing my body like it was a machine to be fixed and tweaked–for me to realize that this was not okay. It was not okay that my body was dried up, spent, and lacking in feminine life force itself! It was a confirmation of something I knew and had ignored: that I had given too much and my cup was empty, that there had to be a better way of living than depending on another cup of coffee. You showed me, dear heartbroken Sarah, that you matter.  You matter beyond comprehension. You matter more than your ability  to create new life. Imagine if you had waited to learn this lesson from staring at a different clinical diagnosis? What a gift that you were shaken awake.

“What’s that? You cut to commercial five minutes ago? But there are so many other Sarahs to thank! Fine, but I won’t leave this stage without a fight. Oprah for president! Impeach Trump! You will not silence me!!” [Mic cut.]

For real though, there are other Sarahs to thank. But for today this will do.

What past selves do you think you might be able to forgive? It’s okay if it doesn’t come easily or quickly. This post is the end product of more sad, self-indulgent journal entries than I care to admit!

I hereby surrender

I hereby surrender:

To the unknown (and to knowing I never had control to begin with);

To acknowledging that some things our heart desires cannot be forced or cajoled

that everything I’ve received and will receive is a gift.

I hereby turn over my worries, fears, anxieties, disappointments and “what ifs” to the divine mother to hold.

I hereby surrender and accept my current reality as it stands–in its messy glory, its ecstatic uncertainty.

Recognizing full well I may not get the outcome I desire–for I may get something wiser.

 

How about them (meditation) apples!

According to my meditation app, in 2017 I meditated an average of 16 minutes a day with a total of 37 hours of meditation! That doesn’t include my walking meditations, which I try to take every day.

2017 was the first year where meditation became a habit. I noticed if I didn’t meditate. (Or to put it another way, my family usually noticed because when I didn’t I was an irritable cranky-butt.)

I don’t need more convincing on the benefits of meditation, but if I did, this story might seal the deal. A few weeks ago I saw our family doctor for a well check and I had my my blood pressure/pulse taken. My blood pressure was really good but that didn’t surprise me because I’ve shed some weight.. What I was not expecting was my resting pulse to be so low. My entire life I’ve had a fast pulse. Weight loss and exercise never really impacted it much–even at my lowest weight and highest amount of exercise, my heart rate stayed stubbornly high.

This new rate was by far the lowest it had ever been. In fact, it was so good that I had a hunch it might be getting close to my husband’s heart rate range. The dude runs three miles a day and has the healthiest heart rate of pretty much anyone I know.

Well, well, well. Guess whose resting heart rate is now LOWER her husband’s? This gal’s. 

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Totally. Amazing.

Have you seen unexpected results from your meditation routine? Feel free to share!


Want to brag about your heart rate too? Share and follow posts on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Rules for a sisters-only getaway

1. Stay up late ranking the names of Kim Kardashian’s children, from least awful to most awful. (In case you are curious: North (but go by Nori, obv), Saint, and poor lil’ Chicago is last.)

2. Sleep in late and eat kettle corn and coffee for breakfast. (Doubles as a colon cleanse?! Lol)

3. Chuckle to yourself every time your spouse calls to say how much he appreciates you.

4. Buy four kinds of chocolate candy and share amongst yourselves.

5. Wear your new silk pajama pants you got on clearance from Target.com and slide around the bed laughing so hard you nearly pee yourself while your sister jokes about your Bangkok-inspired sleepwear choices. (They were a steal at TEN DOLLARS and worth every silky penny!)

This is definitely the first annual sister-getaway of many many more to come. So gimme the scoop ladies—any fun sister getaway traditions you can share?

. . .Oh, and we MIGHT go parasailing. We’ll see.

Look for the helpers. (They are in the yellow shirts!)

Palm tree, meet Baptist.  Baptist, meet fallen palm tree.

(The Baptists wouldn’t let me take a photo of them. “We aren’t here for the photos! We are just here to help!” they told me.)

Who are the Baptists? A bunch of gray-haired sixty-something men in bright yellow shirts from a Pennsylvania Baptist church who came to Florida to chop up my tree with their chainsaw. (To be fair, they came to chop up lots of trees that happened to include mine.)

They just showed up yesterday and chainsawed the palm tree that was on our tree service guy’s very, very long wait list. Boom, done. For free. Because BAPTISTS.

He and my neighbor swapped heart attack stories (as sixty-something men do) and the Baptist (not John as far as I am aware) said his doctor found a 95% blockage two years ago. Saved his life. Told him he was one lucky fella.

“I told him, not luck. FAITH! I prayed for my heart and for my doctor to fix it and he did.” And two years later here he is volunteering all the way from Pennsylvania.

Look for the helpers my friends.