Last week was full of celebrations.
Turning another year older, learning that our baby is growing strong and healthy (and finally learning the gender), and enrolling a handful of new and talented clients, among other blessings!
One of my favorite birthday memories was a surprise from my husband, Joel, that wasn’t your typical present. You see, Joel likes to create unique and memorable experiences that are far more meaningful than receiving a physical gift.
It all started on Saturday night with a stack of neon cards and a late-night trip to Target…
As part of my birthday surprise adventure the next day, Joel had asked all our family and friends who were with us at dinner to choose one object and one action, then write them down on two different cards.
Later that night at Target, he handed me the cards and $40 and simply said, “go buy the supplies you’ll need for tomorrow.” That was it. Confused, but intrigued, I set off to fill my cart with everything from bubbles to sidewalk chalk, a crazy hat, and even a Skip-It, still not entirely sure what we were doing.
The next morning as we walked back from brunch, Joel finally revealed his master plan: “We’re going to turn McKinley Park into an interactive board game.”
This isn’t your typical Sunday afternoon activity. But the challenge excited me. So we set off with our supplies in hand!
Starting in one corner of our neighborhood park’s mile-long perimeter, we drew a giant START sign on the sidewalk and then created our first challenge – count your steps to the next marker and do that many jumping jacks wearing the crazy hat! And then for the next few hours, we came up with creative actions and thought-provoking questions that the average park-walked might not typically encounter.
Beyond this being an epic way to spend a day, I’m sharing this with you because one particular activity we included turned out to have a deeper significance and made the whole adventure worthwhile.
One of the objects I had purchased was a small kids journal from the movie Frozen that had Queen Elsa on the front (if you have not seen or heard of Frozen, then you likely don’t have kids or small nieces or have somehow managed to escape the Disney madness!).
On the sidewalk leading up to the journal, I had shared the following:
We all have some pretty bad days…
And some pretty hard times…
Then next to the journal, I simply wrote, “Write your fear here and then let it go!” (Again, if you don’t get the Frozen reference, click here for some insight).
While Joel and I were finishing chalking up the park and meeting many friendly strangers, this one-dollar journal started filling up fast! By the time we had finished creating the game and went back around the park’s perimeter, we were surprised and humbled to find the journal now filled with some very honest and vulnerable fears.
These responses reinforced something profound: People need to be genuinely heard.
We need – and crave – space to share what’s inside that’s scary, frustrating, and unknown. Much like Queen Elsa in Frozen, we strive to keep it together on the outside, only to explode if we don’t have a place we can be real, vulnerable, and authentic.
Take a moment to think back to the last time you were really honest about something hard or scary. Maybe even something you felt shame or blame around. We typically don’t share these things with others (or even acknowledge them consciously ourselves) because we don’t want them to define us. Yet keeping all of this inside has consequences.
This journal was symbolic of this safe and neutral space to share, acknowledge, and release.
On the walk back home, one man stopped us and asked us if we were the ones who had made the park so “fun.” Smiling, we nodded yes and he shared how much he appreciated stumbling across it that afternoon, especially finding the journal.
He said this with so much joy and power. He had embraced the true meaning of what we aimed to create, and then made it his own.
Isn’t this what life is all about?
Striving to leave the world a better place in any way you can.
Sharing small gestures and words that bring greater joy and fulfillment to yourself and others.
To make time for conversations with strangers whose lives have been touched.
To create space for others to be heard, loved, and valued.
For me, this was the most important birthday gift I’ve ever received.
To capture the essence of this birthday adventure and pass it on, I decided to dedicate the month of March to sharing and spreading JOY in my local community (#31DaysOfJoy).
I’ve been taking photos of things that bring joy to my life and writing more inspirational and thought-provoking quotes in chalk all around Sacramento to see what others have to say. You can check them out on Pinterest or Instagram and post your own with this awesome hashtag: #31DaysOfJoy to spread the love throughout March and beyond!
While this isn’t a global movement (yet…), I believe that when we extend our creativity into our community, it makes all the difference. I’ll be sharing more about what I learned from this month-experiment in a few weeks so stay tuned. And in the meantime…get creative and spread some JOY this month!
Need a writing boost? There’s still time to register for PROMPT CLUB 2015! This new 8-week journaling course runs March 29th – May 23rd, and registration is open through March 20. Learn more about the course and sign up here!
And for an opportunity to win a FREE pass for PROMPT CLUB, visit promptclub.com and leave a comment about what journaling means to you or share a personal journaling story. I hope you can join us! To participate in this was a true honor.
It’s A… Baby BosserMAN!
We are excited to share that we will be having a baby BOY this July! While Joel’s X-Ray vision is pretty good, the doctor did a second ultrasound to check on a few things and this time, the gender was obvious! Thanks for celebrating with us and we’ll keep you posted on Baby BosserMAN updates!
Be the Revolution,