Honoring My Place in the World

Michelle Joy

Recently, there was a game on Facebook that I chose to play. The idea was to look up the number-one song from the week you were born and then find it on YouTube and post the video as your status update. I couldn’t wait to find out what my song was! I figured it would be a super cool song – either by the Beatles or some other classic artist that stirred my soul.

But it wasn’t. The number-one song on February 2, 1969 was “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells. Not that it’s a bad song. But I never really cared for it. In fact, through the years, if I heard it on the radio I almost always changed the station.

So I posted it on Facebook and unenthusiastically claimed it as my song. Then I figured I might as well listen to it, in full, since I was putting it out there and sharing it with my peeps.

The shift

When I hit the “play” button, something inside of me shifted. For the first time ever, I closed my eyes and fully let this tune in.

I took a deep and purposeful breath and envisioned my 18 and 19 year-old parents, kids themselves, holding me for the first time.

I imagined feeling what it might have been like to be them in the late 60’s. An independent Jewish girl who marched to the beat of her own drum. And a quiet Lutheran athlete ready to try out college. Both barely out of high school in an unconventional relationship.

As the song played on, I let myself get lost in the melody. I felt such love and respect for those kids who became my parents, and for the first time, it seems that I fully “saw” them. I started loving the song, too. I turned up the volume and let it take me away. I had goosebumps.

And then I started to sob.

Accepting what is

In a matter of moments and with this song as the catalyst, I went from fighting “what is” to accepting and honoring who I am and my place in the world.

It was just another reminder of how challenging it is to go against the flow of life. I initially wanted a different song that I thought was “cool.” But the reality was that this was the song that was number-one when I was born. Plain and simple. I couldn’t skew the facts or alter the Billboard charts. Letting this song in, in its entirety, represented me loving and embracing what is – all the way back to the very beginning. Pretty cool experience.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with a client about living a life that is more ‘congruent’ with who she is. I explained the importance of not only striving for something better…but of also holding the truth of ‘what is.’ We are all free to create any type of life we want for ourselves but not until we accept what is, first. The path to joy is clear, only when you appreciate where you’ve been and fully allow yourself to be all of who you are.

Celebrating life

Today is my birthday! I’m proud to say that Tommy James and the Shondells topped the charts the week Michelle Joy came into the world. I’m smiling thinking of my dear parents who chose to have ME as their very own.

My day today will start out with an individual call to each of them (if they don’t beat me to it!) with a message of appreciation and gratitude.

Lucky me to have the beautiful and blessed life that I do. I’ve always said that I’d never change a thing, because each step along the way has shaped me into the adult woman, rich with purpose, that I am today.

I keep this quote by Sarah Pound close to my heart, and it especially speaks to me on this important day:

“When you were born, God said ‘YES!’”

Amen. Now it’s time for me to go out and celebrate!

Please enjoy the song below that was a part of the soundtrack to my mom and dad’s life the week I was born. It really is a great song.

As you’re listening, you’ll get to take a peek at the life of a young Minneapolis family establishing their place in the world in 1969. Cheers! :)

Mom & Dad_Car

Mom & Dad_Car

Mom & Dad_Garden


Gale-Larson Family

Gale-Larson Family_Backyard


Mom Dad Me_Steps


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32 Responses to “Honoring My Place in the World”

  • Jodi Fidler says:

    I LOVE this and I LOVE you!!! The photos are fabulous! Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!

  • Jess Morrow says:

    Came across you via the “BBTL” page on facebook & I love this post. The photos … so classic, just gorgeous, what a wonderful post & wonderful, wonderful story.

  • Zane Madsen says:

    I’m deeply touched, again, by your writing. Blessings to you today and always! I LOVE the photos and your message.

  • Deb Keeler (Granheim) says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday my Dear Friend Michelle,

    Your outlook on life is simply amazing. We (everyone you touch) are so fortunate to have you in our life.

    I thank you for sharing your life with me.

    Now go celebrate and make it count.

    All my love,

    Deb Keeler

  • Kay says:

    I woke up to your wonderful email this morning…..Happy Birthday and THANKS for putting the smile on my face! Love, k.

  • Connie says:

    Happy Birthday, Michelle! Thank you for sharing your story and pictures today. It was authentic and loving, just like you ♥

  • Anita says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Michelle! What a beautiful post to end your blogging break. You clearly came from a good place, full of love.

    You are so right about accepting where we are and “what is” before we can begin the journey to someplace new. I have found that true joy is impossible without total acceptance of who I am and where I’ve been. Once we are willing to own who we are, the skies the limit!

    Have a wonderful day!

    xo, Anita

  • Tammy Berg says:

    As always, you have made me smile! I love your stories, your photos, and the way you perceive life! I am honored to know you!

  • Michael says:

    OMG, I can really see the resemblance, especially to your mom in the last pic of her, sitting on the steps!
    Thanks for sharing, it is very touching and heart felt.

  • Matt says:

    Michelle, as I’ve told you many times before, the world needs more people like you. Have a happy birthday. Thank you for making me think more, appreciate more and for being such a good friend.

  • Pati says:

    What a delight of pure love and joy!
    Continue modeling your divine-self and showing the world how to BE “with what is.”

    The photos and song are a perfect match.

    Thanks for sharing your life and your birthday.

    Happy Birthday Sweet Love!!!

  • Karen says:

    What a celebration of life and love! I’m so happy I chose your blog to start with this morning. Happy Birthday!

  • Happy Birthday! love the post, especially about accepting what is and where we are right now.

  • Desiree says:

    Happy Birthday Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing this! And for the ensuing teary-eyed smiles!

  • rochelle says:

    Happy birthday! We are blessed each and every day to have you in my life. Thank you for your love…Ours has been a special relationship. More than just an aunt, uncle, and a niece. It has, for us, brought fulfillment, and satisfaction, beyond words! You are one-in a million, Michelle. And, we are so proud of the woman you have become. Your written revelation was once again a stellar moment! We know “your day” will be an awesome one…Love always, R & M

  • Nylce says:

    What a beautiful story about 3 beautiful lives! You’re a lucky girl, Michelle :-)

    May today be extra-blessed with joy and usher in another amazing year for you.

    Happy, happy birthday!

  • Mom Stimpson says:

    Happy Birthday Michelle, What a beautiful article – tears and sobs too as I read it. Your story is such a blessing to everyone who read it. You live such a grateful life. I’ll have to listen to the song, I remember the melody well. We usually played current music on the car radio. Thanks for such a beautiful story. Thank you for being a part of our family. Love, Mom Stimpson

  • Linda Saveland says:

    Oh my dear Michelle! You’re right…….your blog today is remarkable. Of course! You’re a very talented writer and I am inspired every day by your joie de vivre! Your resemblance to your mom is clear………but I see mostly your dad in your sweet face! I remember from way back then…….probably not long after you were born because I remember you as a baby. Mostly, I remember how much your dad loved you…….and how proud he has always been of you. I’ve had many glimpses of you along the way………and your shining light gets stronger and more beautiful each time. You Michelle Joy……….are a joy to behold!

  • Laney says:

    I came over from BBTL. This is such a lovely post! I especially liked what you said about accepting and appreciating what is. Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Tracy says:

    Oh, I just love this, Michelle. Thank you for sharing.

    I am sure it wasn’t just God that shouted “YES” the day you were born. The whole world is a better place with you in it.

    Much love and many blessings to you on this glorious day!


  • Sandy Forseth says:


    “God danced the day you were born” and he is still dancing!
    Way to create the joy-full life. I am heart felt touched by
    your written words . . . again.


  • Barb Laporte says:

    Joyful birthday to you, Michelle!

    You model the art of self-reflection, and inspire the rest of us in the process. Thank you for sharing!

    And may I confess? I LOVED that song! :-)


  • Char says:

    Just love your story! Love seeing the pictures of you and your parents! What a beautiful young family! You are an amazing woman!
    I agree “When you were born, God said “YES”!! Have an amazing birthday!

  • Kirsten says:

    This is wonderful! What a great celebration of you… and that moment of total acceptance, filling up with wonder, tears in your eyes… those are absolutely priceless. The pictures at the end… what an incredible ‘collage’ of your early years! Awesome!

  • Michele Dettloff says:

    How cool to see you post about the Facebook game that also had an impact on me but in a different way. It’s amazing that you were able to change your mind about the song. Nothing like music to move you! ;-) Love the quote, too. I’ve never heard it before, so I’m glad you shared it–and the photos of you and your parents. You look a lot like your mom to me! I say “YES!!” to you and your blog! Happy birthday Michelle!

  • Joan says:

    Beautiful, Michelle! Thank your for giving us all such a wonderful gift on YOUR birthday!!
    I wish you the best year yet!

    Peace and love,

  • Love this post and the fact that you are back. I missed that thread on Facebook. I just looked up my song and it’s Cherish by The Association. I’m going to have to listen to it now and see what comes up for me :)

  • Jane says:

    What a beautiful testimony to your folks Michelle…an unfolding of your heart and love in that gift-of-JOY form! I was 14 when you were born and in 7th heaven! Thanks be to God for your life! He loves you with an unimaginable, unfailing love! I love you so!!!

  • Jeff says:

    Astounding, Michelle! Your writing continues to combine accuracy, honest directness, and a passion for living that makes me feel lighter every time I read it! Thank you.

  • Absolutely. Speechless. I have read each one of your comments and taken time to let them each sink in. Every one of you has touched my heart and filled my birthday – and my soul – with joy. Thank you for taking the time to read this personal story and for cheering me on and supporting me! It can feel a bit ‘risky’ at times to share a part of oneself like this…but you’ve all made it feel pretty good. Thanks, you guys – I am beyond blessed. Much love to you!!!

  • Andrea says:

    Happy Birthday Michelle! I enjoyed seeing the photos of your parents from back in the day. Thanks for sharing them & also for sharing you. I feel blessed to have you as my friend. You are such a sweetie & you have such a wonderful soul. You are an inspiration!

  • Michelle, I loved how you shared your most personal memories. You shared great content and also shared about you and your family. Loved it!

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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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