Creating Positive: Day 21 of 21

When I was six years old, my parents gave me a copy of Holly Hobbie’s Cookbook for Christmas, and I knew I was destined to be the greatest chef in the world. I probably missed my calling by not attending culinary school, but this cookbook maintains a place of honor on my shelf, and there are two beloved recipes my entire family still uses from this well-worn, kitchen-stained resource. Tonight, as I pulled down the book to follow the cornbread recipe, it occurred to me that some things just get better with time, the more we practice them. Even though we have a recipe, or formula (whether it’s for cornbread or happiness), it still takes time to get our measurements just right. And what works for one person, may need a bit of tweaking for the next. I guarantee that the cornbread you eat at my house won’t taste anything like the cornbread my mother makes, even though, technically, we use the same recipe.

With respect to the Dopamine Challenge we’ve shared here together for the past 21 days, keep tweaking the formula. We all started by watching the same TED Talk by Shawn Achor, and we were given the same information and the same formula, but now it’s up to you to make it your own. Refine your methods and habits over time, and your definition of happiness will be exactly what you need for it to be. I can’t wait to hear your stories.

The Other Three

  1. Exercise – nope
  2. Meditate – done
  3. Kindness – done


  1. Conviction
  2. Guiding principles
  3. Early signs of spring
  4. Claire & the Reverence Butterfly
  5. Skyping with family
  6. Vince’s 100 million thousand saved kisses
  7. Poetry reading on a Sunday afternoon
  8. Holly Hobbie’s Cookbook – 1979 Christmas gift
  9. Giggles between my daughter & her best friend

Positive Experience

Claire is three, and sitting still is always a challenge, but to have succeeded is a personal victory to be celebrated. Please remember that as you read the following story.

At the conclusion of primary (children’s dedicated program and classes at church), all the children between the ages of three and eleven were gathered together with their class teachers, everyone sitting in their assigned rows, anxiously awaiting the closing song and prayer that would dismiss them to find their parents and returning home.


Uncharacteristically quiet, Claire sat on the front row with her hands folded in her lap. Bobbijean, in her role as the primary president, took a minute to publicly praise one particular primary member, who was sitting so reverently and quietly, that all the children should observe her piety. To show her appreciation for this young primary participant, Bobbijean gifted to Claire a butterfly made out of tissue paper.

Instantaneously, Claire leaped from her front row seat with screams of delight, clutching the butterfly by its attached string, and streaking around the primary room squealed with joy and amusement, to the sheer entertainment of the entire room, and the immediate dispersion of any reverence that may have been hovering prior to Bobbijean’s announcement. Claire ran from the primary room in search of a longer runway for her yet-to-be-airborne butterfly, and it took no fewer than three adults to corral her back to her class, although they were unsuccessful in their attempts. Claire and her Reverence Butterfly were free at last.