It’s the Blog’s Birthday!

Michelle Stimpson_writing first blog post

The Following Your Joy blog is officially a year old! Woohoo! So much gratitude goes out to my visitors and readers who have consistently cheered me on and waved the flag for me to keep on going. That support has literally fueled me throughout the year!

The birth of this blog began last spring when I tagged along with Bill on a business trip to Southern California. I had one end in mind while he was at the office during the day: Hang out by myself in the trendy, comfy hotel room and make sense out of all the papers I brought with me in a folder titled “Life.”

Inside the folder were random quotes that inspired me, business ideas that jazzed me, and personal goals that challenged me.

Most importantly, though, there were pages of journal entries that needed to be shared somehow. How did I know they needed to be shared? Because every time I recounted one of my amazing stories to friends, they would routinely say: “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” or “I can’t believe that happened to you!” So I knew I was on to something.

They were joyful stories that included winning tickets to the Caribbean, getting front row seats to concerts over and over and over, attracting and manifesting exactly what I envisioned (see Exhibits A, B, & C), amazing synchronicities, and even having my hero, Neil Diamond, pull me out of the front row and sing to me (!). It seemed that the more I recounted these stories with others, the more I—and they—believed that anything is possible.

So I knew I needed a format to get the word out…about the importance of embracing joy, understanding synchronicity, setting intention, and honoring the Law of Attraction.

Yearning to share my heart and inspire others

At the same time, I knew that I also needed a place to share what was on my heart personally, and hopefully inspire a few people along the way.

In my coaching business, I help my clients grow into being “more of who they are.” So whether they initially hire me to help them map out a career direction, navigate through transition, get a handle on work-life balance, or build self-confidence…our coaching always leads to them becoming “more” of their wonderful selves. It’s so powerful to witness! Getting my ideas and experiences in writing—and sharing them with others—seemed to be the perfect outlet for me to be more of my self.

My first morning in Southern Cal, Bill left for the office, and I had the gift of a full day all to myself. No computer, no distractions, no obligations. Just me in my ‘Life is Good’ uniform sitting on a luxurious bed that was so tall from the fluffy comforter, that I almost needed a stepstool to climb up on top of it.

After my morning exercises, I opened the window to invite the cool morning breeze and early rays of sunshine to seep in through the sheer curtains.

I had a feeling this was going to be a great day, and I wanted to capture its beautiful start. So from my cell phone I took a picture of my position in the room and sent it to Bill (not necessarily the nicest thing to do since he was stuck in a windowless conference room for the duration); that photo is up at the top.

How the blog got its wings

Sitting next to me on the bed, I had my “Life” folder and notebook. I started to arrange my stack of papers, organize the ideas in my head, and scribble my thoughts. The focus of those thoughts began to migrate toward the concept of joy. I thought about how the more I allowed myself to embrace the things in life that made me come alive (or, the things that brought me joy), the magic would unfold all around me—ten-fold. I yearned for others to know about the power in this simple concept.

Then I reflected on various milestones in my life, and I kept thinking back to a concert I had been to several years prior. It was a Fleetwood Mac concert and we had front row seats. The feeling of being up in the front row for me was absolutely magical. I felt as though I was a part of the show, not merely a ‘spectator’ watching from the sidelines. The overwhelming feeling I experienced was so powerful that I realized this was actually a metaphor for my life; something about it impacted me so deeply.

I felt alive. I was fully living life. I was embracing my joy!

So I wrote about it. That felt good.

My writing naturally morphed into the idea of starting a blog—something I didn’t know anything about, but I knew I could figure it all out once I got home and had a computer in front of me!

My first post

My very first blog post ended up being the write-up of that experience in the front row at the Fleetwood Mac show. Check it out!

In my “Life” folder, I came across a quote scribbled on a sticky note by Anais Nin: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Yep, that’s exactly what was happening. I was taking the risk to blossom; to share my self, to share my joy. And if you saw the last post, you’ll know what a big deal this was for me!

Two things happened after I crafted this first blog post. The first one was later that day just after I sketched out the story in my notebook while sitting on the bed in my hotel room. I got up to stretch and look out the window.

And surprisingly, this was the view I had from directly across the street:

Fleetwood Mac_Anaheim

No lie! How’s that for an affirmation?! Fleetwood Mac band members giving me the “How you doin’?” nod and cheering me on! Apparently, they had an upcoming show at the arena across the street. Who knew?!

Then at home a few days later—after I built the foundation for my “Following Your Joy” blog—I published it, shared the first post with a few friends, and then cracked open (no, not a bottle of champagne) a small box of raisins for a snack. Sun-Maid raisins now come with a quote on the inside flap. Mine that day was: “Your name is your parents’ gift to you; live up to it.”

I was dumfounded. I hadn’t even thought of it, but my middle name happens to be Joy! Just another affirmation that I was on the right track.

A couple weekends ago we had some friends over for dinner. They didn’t know it was the one-year anniversary of my blog, and I didn’t even think to tell them because we were having so much fun getting caught up in each others’ lives and telling stories and laughing. In addition to the wine they brought, they also handed me a little gift bag with a beautiful framed photo and quote: “Joy is the flower that blooms when you do.”

How perfect.

Grateful for affirmations and thrilled to celebrate!

I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate. I hope you’ll join me! You read about my front-row experience and why it was important to me and what it represented for me. Now it’s your turn!

Leave a comment here telling about a moment of joy in your life and how it represented something big for you. One name/comment will be chosen at random and the winner will receive $50 to share with their favorite charity. Deadline is Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Central Time. You in?

Share the joy and pay it forward! I can’t wait to see what you have to say.

Post Note: Our winner is Liv Lane. Congratulations, Liv! Check out her cool story at Choosing Beauty–you’ll love it!

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12 Responses to “It’s the Blog’s Birthday!”

  • Angela says:

    I clearly remember climbing on the seat of the van with the top up top – and marveling at the wonders of an early morning safari. I remember thinking, this is happiness. This is wonder.

  • Lisa Saline says:

    I remember holding my grandfathers hand (the size of a baseball mitt) and wondering how a person of such stature could be so gentle. Grandpa was a lumberjack and machine worker but always spoke softly and had a jolly laugh. Great memories that bring joy to me every time I think of him.

  • Wow, Michelle – congratulations!! I had no idea this was your anniversary. And what a year it’s been. You have been an inspiration to me, diving head first into making your blog the best it can possibly be and helping others make life the best it can possibly be. I hope you’re celebrating with champagne, not raisins.

    As for a joy moment that stands out to me, I think you saw the other night how I’m able to let go and live in the moment at a Bon Jovi concert. Really, any concert takes me out of my head and into the present. I still beam telling about various concerts I’ve been to – and you made the latest one a true favorite.

  • Anna Bjerken says:

    Congrats Michelle! This is so exciting! I’m proud of you for stepping out to write your blog.

    One moment of Joy for me this past year was when we found out that Dad was ‘out of the woods’ so many weeks after his surgery! Also the joy we all experienced in growing closer during this time!

    Here’s to another year!

    Love to you! Anna

  • @ Angela: I can totally see it! Such peace and stillness. Fun to have a new reader–thanks for being here!

    @ Lisa: What a precious moment. The love between a granddaughter and grandfather is unequalled.

    @ Liv: Thanks so much and I appreciate your kind words. You know I totally “get” the joy of concerts; our evening at Bon Jovi was magical, and I am still on a high!

    @ Anna: Thank you! You always make me feel like I’m doing a good job. :) Yes, that joy from this year was all-encompassing; what an amazing thing to share together.

  • Pat Noren Enderson says:

    Congrats Michelle! You always inspire me and frequently make me cry with your wonderful insights. I just ordered a book to help me begin journaling and I hope to get back to my blog again. I’m excited for our session in May.

  • Becky Henry says:

    Thank you Michelle for your perfectly timed reminder that we need to live our joy and then all we need will come to us. I have been engaged in embracing this belief – practicing taking time daily from running my business to simply BE. What a challenge it is at times when the “To Do” list is longer than I can believe. Speaking of believing, your anecdotes and stories of what has manifested for you helps me to continue to believe: Simply being gives me all I need.

    Congrats on the great one year old blog!

  • Andrea says:

    Mazel Tov on your 1st year as a blogger! I’ve enjoyed reading every blog entry & look so forward to whatever else unfolds. You are an inspiration!!! Keep it up :)

  • @ Pat: Thank you and I’m glad that my stories touch you. I can’t wait for your blog to get going again; you’re a great writer and have so much to offer. Kudos to you for taking the time to journal and prepare to share yourself. Excited for you!

    @ Becky: I agree that it can certainly be a challenge to balance that “to do” list with simply “being.” It’s an ongoing learning process, isn’t it? I’m SO delighted that the stories I’ve shared have helped you continue to believe. That makes me feel like I’m accomplishing what I’ve set out to do! :)

    @ Andrea: Thank you! I’m always so touched when people say they read every post. Wow! Excited to share more with you, especially knowing that I have an eager audience. Lucky me!

  • Michele says:

    I was amazed by the raisin box quote in this post. How perfect for you that day!

    It seems I’ve been looking forward to and reading your blog posts for much longer than a year, they’re so much a part of my life! I really do look forward to reading them-they are always inspirational or contain some nugget I really need to hear. Congratulations Michelle! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences with so many via this blog. I look forward to more!

    One of the things that brings me joy is sharing special activities with my daughter Sara-seeing the world through her eyes.

  • All the names listed here went into a hat. I closed my eyes and drew the name of…Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty! Liv is the winner of $50 to go toward the charity or cause of her choice. Congratulations, Liv!

  • Hi Michelle,
    I can’t believe a year has passed already! Congratulations!

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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