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The First Suitcase ...

Sometimes a dream can be birthed with the click of an Amazon shopping cart button!

My finger hovered over the mouse as thoughts swirled. Who are you to do this? What if the whole thing flops? It's too much money. You can't really make a difference. It's been done before and better. No one will help.

A few weeks earlier, I had finally navigated the phone directory at the county foster agency and reached a human. Through unexpected nerves, I tried to explain what I wanted to do ... "Could you use suitcases packed with supplies? I was thinking we would pack them for teenagers ...." I could tell she wasn't sure if I was for real, but we hung up with an agreement to deliver six suitcases. Three for girls. Three for boys.

Now the six suitcases sat in my Amazon shopping cart - an assortment of colors carefully chosen - a tender start to a long-held dream.

I can't tell you exactly when the idea for Rising Joy first came. Somewhere along the way of my own long slow battle with grief and pain, I began to realize that JOY matters. Not the woman-dancing-in-a-field-of-flowers kind of joy depicted in stock photos. No ... the joy that saved my life is the kind that crawls down in the dark place with you. It holds your hand while you cry and says, "I see you. You matter. This thing that's happening to you is not the whole story."

As I slowly healed, I heard a growing whisper in my heart - the call to create something that would bring simple moments of joy to others. I wrote down ideas. I researched. I thought about it during sleepless nights. I didn't know how or when ... until this moment ...

It felt like a weird place to start, but I took a deep breath did it. I clicked "Complete Order" and watched as the little circle spun into a confirmation. I had begun!

Every meaningful moment (and every mighty movement) begins with the decision to listen to the whispers in your heart.

When the shipment arrived, I pulled the first suitcase out of the box - a tangible beginning to the dream I had to bring more joy into the world. In a few weeks, a teen would receive this suitcase on one of the worst days of her life. I hoped that somehow she would feel a little less alone. Perhaps as she wrapped up in the blanket, pulled on the fuzzy socks, or read the inspirational notecards, she would even smile. As she doodled in the sketchpad, I wondered if she would dream her own far off dream.

Rising Joy Project

You are here near the beginning, my friend. I hope you'll come with me on this journey to create joyful connections. I plan to share not only what we are doing here at Rising Joy, but also ideas that you can implement in your own life and community.

We often admire huge organizations and never stop to think that they began as an idea. A sleepless night. A few notes jotted on a scrap paper. A conversation. A click of a button that says "I am listening. I will do this thing."

What is whispering to you? How can you begin to pursue it today? No matter how small or silly your idea may seem, it matters. The world needs the simple joy you've found so go ahead ... find your beginning.


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