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!

Pursuing joy

At some point this past year I decided I wanted my life to be about pursuit of joy rather than reduction of suffering. And to paraphrase Frost, it has made all the difference.

For me it looks like embracing my inner artist. I was born an artist but along the way morphed, conformed, forgot. It’s all good. The journey back to myself has been so sweet! I’m leaping into fear, taking an undergrad art class with students who are literally half my age. Fear and joy! Fear and joy! Even the smell of art supplies makes my heart sing.

Are there any small ways you can increase joy? Share you victories below!! I’m so happy to give virtual high fives to you brave souls.

My postcards are here!

Yes, that’s right, I’ve begun penning my note to Marco Rubio. I’ve got lots to say.

What’s this all about you ask?

I make art and I decided I wanted to give it away AND help shine light on the horrific child separation policy. Here is my plan: I’ll send you five free cards in the mail in return that you use them to advocate to end the child separation policy. Send a note to an elected official, the media, friends, whomever. We will nudge each other to raise our voices and send disillusionment to the curb. AND if you are still on the fence about doing this–when you sign up you will be entered to win a tote bag or a print too!!! Because why not spread even more love?

It’s that easy!

Here’s the tote. Oooo! Ahhhh!

Here is the full print (pardon the shadowy picture, better picture to come soon):

You can sign up for your free postcards here. Whaddya say. Let’s shine some light into the darkness.

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!

 

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.

Shonda Rhimes can keep her Year of YES. 2017 was my year of NO!

This past year was like the cleanup after a hurricane. (Which incidentally I also lived through.) If 2016 was the hurricane, 2017 the now what? after the hurricane.

After the real hurricane–Irma–I was surrounded by so many blessings. I saw them everywhere I looked. My house was still standing! The flood waters stopped short of entering my front door! (Barely.) The palm tree went down, sure, but it missed hitting our roof! And electricity, blessed electricity I so-take-for-granted–it eventually came back on!

That’s the thing about living through a hurricane. If you survive it mostly intact, it has a way of distilling what matters. For instance, living in a home with more than one room becomes a wonderful gift. (My daughter still to this day wants to play “hotel” because nothing was as amazing as having her mom and dad with her 24 HOURS A DAY, EVERY DAY, DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY, IN THE SHARED SPACE OF ONE HOTEL ROOM. She’s most definitely not an introvert like her mother, who to this day does not know how she survived the experience without totally losing her ish.)

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The year 2016: when I finally got tired of my own bullshit.

If 2017 was cleaning up after a hurricane, the year 2016  was the hurricane. I could say it was a year of deep surrender, unveiling of truths, healing wounds and rediscovering joy.  But really it was the year I owned my bullshit. (See Elizabeth Gilbert quote.) After that epic year of owning my shit, in 2017 it became very clear to me that experiencing joy was not compatible with duties that sucked the joy from my life. Shonda Rhimes may have had her year of yes, but 2017 was my year of no.

Yes, this past year was all about Does it bring me joy? No? GOODBYE FELICIA. Does it take time away from my ability to experience joy? SO LONG, WON’T CATCH YA LATER. Are my choices leading to burnout and fatigue, therefore limiting my energy to create art and experience joy? DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT.

This of course was more complicated than I’m making it sound. In one stretch of weeks this past fall I remember collapsing while sick (likely due to lack of sleep) and crying in a puddle of tears. I CAN’T DO IT ALL, WOE IS MEEEEEEE! Well of course you can’t do it all, foolish woman! I had the startling realization that there was still a LOT more no to be said. I faced some major Catholic guilt…”but i promised these people I would volunteer with this project! I can’t possibly quit!” Yes you did, and now you must pay the piper and admit you over-committed. Suck it up buttercup! Time to say no!

I said no. . .and I survived. It felt good actually. I nurtured my yin — the feminine energy fueled by rest, introspection, creativity, and deep glorious sleep. I asked for a sleep mask for Christmas and I wear it with glee. I go to bed early, really early. I even (GASP) went off coffee for a long while so I could rid myself of the addiction to caffeine. It wasn’t needed now that I wasn’t trying to do more in a day than was humanly possible! Such joy and freedom in saying NO. For calling bullshit on the inner dialog that said “this is how it is, I work fulltime and have a child and blah blah blah here are alllll my excuses for why I should be permanently frazzled and fatigued.” Facing the truth–that my time is precious indeed, so how can I use it to fuel joy?–was LIBERATING and EMPOWERING.

Where does this leave me as I say goodbye to 2017? The trash has been taken out. The roles and responsibilities have been winnowed down to essentials only. Now I need to step into my truth. No more excuses. No more distractions. 2018 is where it becomes manifest. Ultimately it will mean living my truth. Time to take the plunge, baby. 

Are you ready? I am. Well, mostly. I’m sipping a coffee as I write this (some habits are hard to break) BUT I did sleep soundly for eight hours with my beloved sleep mask. No more excuses, no more hiding. Let’s do this.

Florida-girl sees snow for the first time. (Age 5.)

“I bet the lake is frozen and the alligators are all at the bottom wrapped in blankets!”

There aren’t any alligators in Michigan. It’s too cold!

“I bet the alligators all got on a plane and said, let’s go to Florida!”

Indeed!

“Are there penguins in Michigan?”

No. It’s cold but not that cold.

Upon seeing snow outside the airport, before grabbing a handful to make a snowball: “Are there any snakes in the snow?”

Thank goodness no! [YOU MIGHT HAVE GROWN UP IN FLORIDA IF YOU CHECK FOR SNAKES BEFORE PLUNGING YOUR HAND IN WATERY SUBSTANCES.]

****

p.s. My website was down recently because it is December and my mind is all about making cookies and buying gifts before I have to upgrade to expedited shipping.  Oops. We are now back up at www.mourningdovemotherhood.com 😀 Thanks for your patience!