Rays of sunshine, giggles, snowball fights and exercise. I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. Our daily visit to the farm gave us protection from the crisp wind and allowed us to play outside for a good hour or more. I sat in the snow bank watching my little man load daddy’s skid-steer up with snowballs, over and over again because daddy kept dumping them back over his head. As I listened to their giggles, I thought about how much I have to be grateful for and how life couldn’t possibly get much better than this. If it’s so easy for me to fill my heart with such positive emotions, why have I been in a “funk” for the last couple of weeks. There have been so many beautiful moments which normally would cause me to have pages full of stories and inspiration to share with others. Sunday drives through the sparkling crystal countryside after a snowfall, warmth of the rising sunshine as I catch a glimpse of the full moon before it disappears for the day or the magic in the eyes of my beautiful son. I’ve been able to recognize all these precious moments, but have not quite felt them reach into my soul, let alone motivate me to put pen to paper.

I recently read a passage in a book about ideologues. Norman Dioge refers to Jordan B Pearson’s definition; “Ideologues are people who pretend the

y know how to ‘make the world a better place’ before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within.” (12 Rules for Life). This really hit home for me. As a psychology major one of my main goals in life is to help others in whatever way I can. The COVID-19 pandemic has given me the opportunity to reach out to others through my writing. Journaling has always been a form of therapy for me but I have never believed my writing to be good enough to share with others. But sometimes feedback like “I had a tear in my eye when I read your last article” from a person you never would have expected to read your writing, is enough to encourage inspiration again.

I have received so much positive feed back from family, friends and community members. Encouragement which I cherish greatly, however after reading this definition I think perhaps maybe I am a type of ideologue. I’m okay with that though. I’ve also been a preacher of the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”. A few long busy work days in the barn threw off our daily routine, tired us out and made it hard to be motivated to get back into our daily swing of things. To most that doesn’t sound unreasonable, it’s okay to take a few days to rest and recoup, but for me, sluggish days often lead to being hard on myself, feeling guilty for not getting my house chores done or not playing as much with my monkey. It takes time for me to pull myself out of a funk and to chase away the negative thoughts which threaten to break through my barriers.

Have I taken care of the chaos within? Definitely not, but since the pandemic started, I certainly take more time to recognize moments which do help settle the chaos. Reading back on my own writing often helps encourage me to stay positive and to chase away any darkness which may be starting to creep in again. I’m human and have many demons I must face. I share with others how I choose to cope with hope of inspiring both myself and them!