5.17.18 Pack Your Own Sunshine

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This week I was inspired by my friend, author Bibi Belford. This past year she published another children’s book called, Crossing the Line. It is a fantastic novel about race relations in Chicago post World War I, and the courage it takes to “cross the line” between what is right, and what is easy. And while I encourage you all to read it for its fabulous themes, rich historical context, and the ethical challenges it sparks – this was not why I was inspired by Bibi. 

Next week she is traveling to my school to do a speech for my students, because this week … tonight in fact … she will be receiving the 2018 Christopher Award in literature. This amazing award is founded upon the ambition to, “Make a positive difference in the world by the use of their God given talent.”  The ceremony is in New York, only I just found out, Bibi will now, not be able to attend. This morning, due to inclement weather and a litany of flight cancellations and no potential standbys … she cannot get there in time. My heart literally broke for her. Here is the opportunity of a lifetime, and because of something as mundane as weather, she cannot be a part of her moment. 

After receiving her email, I replied immediately, and this is what she said, “ … It’s alright. Never know what disaster we’ve been blessed to miss …” I was shocked. Awed. Impressed. Humbled. Honored to know her. Honored to call her my friend. So often, the smallest of inconveniences can seem to sway my day, and in an instant I’m whirling like a tropical storm. Here, in the midst of a true storm, in the face of utter chaos, Bibi chose to see what she had, instead of what she was missing. It is no wonder this amazing woman won an award dedicated to morality and strength of character. If you care about education, inspiration, positive social change, or a dose of positivism, I challenge you to follow her on Instagram @authorbibibelford or Twitter @BarbaraBelford or even Facebook as Bibi Belford. She is worth associating yourself with, I promise!

Bibi reminded me that in the trip of life, we need to pack our own sunshine. So this is my little digital suitcase … a list of instant “happiness” I can always count on to brighten my situation. 

Elle’s Insta-Mood Lifters

  • Nutella (just a spoon … no cracker or bread necessary or desired)
  • Romantic Comedies (I may or may not rewind the cutest kissing scenes like a thousand times … I love the fluttery feeling of love)
  • Peanut Butter (again … just a spoon … why tamper with perfection)
  • Calling My Sister, Mother, Cousin, Girl Best Friend, Guy Best Friend, Mother-In-Law, Sisters-In-Law, Kindred Spirits (there is nothing these individuals wouldn’t do for me, and don’t already just by existing; I love you all so much)
  • Books (old books, new books, haphazard stacks of books, books in rows, books on shelves, books for kids, books of art, books, books, books – did I say books?)
  • Rereading Old Letters (yep … I kept all the good ones, I don’t believe in burning a memory, even if it didn’t last)
  • Baby Pictures of My Babies (there is nothing like the remembrance of knowing the bubbly froth of giggles you inspired once upon a time)
  • Pizza (because yeah … enough said) 
  • Daydreaming About My and My Husband’s First Kiss (it was epic … best kiss of my life, so good I had to marry him) 

There are about a hundred more go-to’s, but these are my first string for a dose of sunshine. I pray that you are always able to pack your own light. Find the joy in every day, even if you need to use a flashlight between the cracks and fissures of chaos. I pray, that like Bibi, you’re able to hold on to your perspective, even when the world tries to warp it. 

Tell me how you keep your mood alight. What is your number one strategy to insta-boost your mood. 

All my love,
Elle 

9 thoughts on “5.17.18 Pack Your Own Sunshine

  1. Thank you for sharing this story, Elle. I’m off to check out Bibi on social media. I was just diagnosed with coeliac / celiac disease, so Nutella and PB (together, at the same time) sans bread sounds perfect to me right now. 😉 I love your list and many of your sunshine items — including reminiscing about my and my husband’s first kiss — also appear on my own list.

    • Oh sweet Katia! I’m so sorry to hear that. I was diagnosed nearly nine years ago and am now totally fine! Give yourself Six months to adjust to the change, I know it sounds like a long time but it will go by quickly and your body will start to heal itself.

  2. Oh my word. What a total surprise. I’m so humbled. And awed. What a blessing you are. And I can’t wait to see you again at your school!

  3. Thank you for this story, Elle. Your friend Bibi sounds like quite a lady! A wonderful example of making the best out of a bad situation. Through your words and her example, hopefully I will pause before my own “tropical storm winds” begin to blow over plans gone awry!
    I too, make it a practice to look for joy in each day. I loved your admonition to find it “even if we have to use a flashlight to look between the cracks and fissures of chaos.” 😘
    I love your list of insta-mood boosts and you have inspired me to make my own list to keep in my planner!
    A few of mine are:
    Listening to Blues Music!
    Talking to a Friend
    Books, Books, and More Books
    Lunch Date with Hubby
    Window Shopping
    Planting Flowers
    Washing Off the Driveway – Yes, I’m weird! lol!
    Blessings, sweet friend!

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