Simple Dutch Oven

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Dutch Oven:

Definition 1: Farting under the blanket then lifting it up trapping your significant other under the covers.

HOW TO: Lying on your back in bed on a cold winter morning (or hot summer evening), fill the covers with your own hot gasses. Arrange the sheets in such a way as to create a flue or exhaust channel toward your significant other. Simultaneously lift both arms straight up slowly to draw in more air. Finally, let the covers fall rapidly to expel a rush of hot gasses up the flue toward your unsuspecting loved one.

Used in a sentence: Joy vomited on the sheets and all over her husband after he gave her a dutch oven.

Used in another sentence: Dutch ovens can create UNFORGETTABLE LAUGHTER and sometimes cause one partner to end up on the couch. OR lead to one really long pillow talk with tear flowing JOY.

Why do we make it so difficult sometimes? (A LOT of the time actually) We get caught up in the complex and trying to solve the BIG equation and we miss the simple flipping addition sign. You know, the one that really seems to work all the time.

After near 23 years of knowing someone and 17 years of marriage, all of the life experiences and the day in and day out routines and the constant change keeps adding these extra factors and denominators (Ok, now I’m starting to sound like an accountant – oh great!)

For me, I’ve learned to generally skip the long drawn out conversation or “nagging”. Honestly, it’s more fun to stick a quote or word on a board, go silent and watch him squirm trying to figure it out!

HA. Let’s face it, I know there is AT LEAST ONE person with me here… You know what you want or you need (whether it be from your partner, a friend, your child, your boss, etc.) BUT…BUT GOD FORBID you TELL THEM. Because if you tell them, then it doesn’t yield the same meaning or the same emotion. You want them to READ YOUR MIND and figure it out. Am I right? Because “I want you to WANT to do it not do it because I told you or gave you a hint to do it.” Cue the frustration. Read it again.

OR…. YOU don’t even know what the hell you want or need but that other person better know and deliver it dipped in chocolate with a bow on top on a Sunday morning when it’s sprinkling outside…

And then it all builds. And builds. And builds. And the equation has just gotten to be near a page. And what accountant can solve THAT equation?

Regardless of the relationship (your child, parent, friend) sometimes we need to take a step back and leave the complex and enter the simple.

This quote spoke to me… “All she ever wanted was unpredictable kisses and unforgettable laughter”

Is it really THAT simple… somedays, YES…. ABSOFLIPPINGLUTELY YES… it is THAT simple.

UNPREDICTABLE KISSES – The unroutine, non “hello, goodbye, goodnight” typical kiss. You know, the unexpected, unpredictable kiss on the forehead while cooking dinner, cleaning dishes or brushing teeth. The out of the blue pull my head close at a stoplight in the car until the car behind is honking. The push me against the wall and lay one on me like you mean it. The gentle peck on the shoulder, I’ve got you no matter what.

Not that the “routine” kisses don’t have meaning BUT the unpredictable ones just touch the soul a little deeper, you know?!

UNFORGETTABLE LAUGHTER – We’ve all felt this, right? It ranges from the laughed so hard my stomach hurts or until I cried, or laughed until I peed my pants… or I don’t even know what I am laughing at right now but I can’t stop. Because when you are laughing like this, you are NOWHERE else but in the moment and all else has disappeared. And since when doesn’t the simplicity of a good laugh take your soul away?

OK, I get it. I just made those two very “simple things”, complex.

Really, it’s just the simple stuff (like the unpredictable kisses and unforgettable laughter) that we are deeply yearning for. At work, it’s the simple stuff that gets caught in the grind – have you stopped and just chatted with your co-worker or given some simple form of gratitude or validation (without hidden agenda)

So… guys, girls, parents, friends, spouses, children…. Count backwards. Start with the simple.

I changed my quote board at the beginning of the week and not a word had been mentioned about it until…. the amazing dutch oven incident. I could NOT STOP LAUGHING. My response through tears…. “unforgettable laughter right there…” to which my husband replied “hashtag, try me!”

(Side Note: I did also receive some unpredictable kisses to go along with that dutch oven laughter.)

If you do not have a quote board, I encourage you to use this. (I challenge you) Send it to someone or your significant other. Or give simple a try yourself.

However, you may need to prepare yourself for a dutch oven!

Do not forget what simple can do for the soul. Try on simple for a day.

Factory Shut Down

I had heard of factory “shut downs” because of my husbands’ job and company schedule. I never really thought about why they had shut-downs; perhaps just an employee perk for more time off, I assumed.

It wasn’t until I was in the HR Manager role for a global security manufacturer that shut down days took on a new meaning. The days and week off were utilized to their full potential. Not all shut-downs in all companies may appear this way; but what we were able to accomplish in this time led to growth in the form of more efficient and increased productivity, ultimately making the company more successful and profitable. Most Desirable? Yes – of course!

But, lets rewind about 25-30 years… no, this isn’t my life story!

From the time I was in Elementary school, I always enjoyed, ok THRIVED, on remaining busy, in action, involved in anything and everything I possibly could be. Sign me up, whatever it was, sign me up. I loved the social aspect and, wait for it… meeting new people (shocker). I loved trying new things and having an organized calendar of events lined up for me. Dance lessons, Basketball games, cheerleading practice, choir, student council; sure why not! Was there anything I didn’t like? I don’t know that I can say there is anything I recall NOT liking. I’m sure my Mom has different recollections that aren’t in my memory bank, but I think I even enjoyed homework. WHAT? I just liked my time to be filled. My brain was best when it was busy. (At least that is what I thought)

And here I am…38, still planning out my time on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

What is that quote or meme about having an average of “30 internet tabs” open in their life browser at all times. It honestly does feel like that at times. (society as a whole has made this a norm) If I could just shut 28 or 29 of them until I’m finished with one…


I think in today’s world, that sometimes being busy becomes a certificate of honor; this badge that we give ourselves when we check all of the boxes. You know, like girl scout or boy scout badges. We’re working late to meet some deadline or to please a boss. We’re driving kids to EVERY possible activity they can be involved in because.... well because that is what we are “supposed to do.” Planning out menus to please the family AND be well balanced, check some “great job” box. A large portion of our mental space begins to fill with “THIS”. We begin to fill our mind, our thoughts, full of this notion that WHAT we do and how busy we are is what defines us and our happiness. I am in no way indicating that some of these tasks don’t in fact add to our joy and happiness. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a homecooked healthy meal after witnessing the joy of your son hitting a grand slam? Those PeakJoy moments do equal happiness in my book. But, how about we add “ be lazy” to our checklist every once in a while? Dust is accumulating on “THAT” portion of our brain.

GUILTY I have been (and still am at times). “Get over it Joy. Nobody is making you feel guilty about doing any of it, except YOURSELF! THERE. IS. NO. BADGE. OF. HONOR.” In this past year I have taken this to heart. You better believe being lazy and doing what makes me feel good has been added to my checklists.

I often refer to advice and words given from my Dad, but this one, which has become just as integral as any to PeakJoy life comes from my Mom. She would say something along the lines of “you know, it’s ok to just be”. Who cares if the dishes don’t get done tonight. Who cares if the laundry sits for another day or two. It’s ok to miss one game or not volunteer for everything. Slow down. It will all be ok. Just sit and be, it’s ok. It is ok to just be. (Cue the Beatles; Let it Be… Mother Mary (Ann) comes to me… speaking words of wisdom, let it be!) Skip ahead to 5 min 30 seconds in this video clip! It’s awesome! I love Carpool Karaoke.

I (we) shouldn’t need the permission from anyone, however, it feels better if someone gives it to us, am I right?( It’s sort of like when you are shopping, it’s SO much easier to make a purchase when your friend or the sales clerk tells you ”Oh, you should so buy that! That looks adorable on you.”) So, in case you are having a difficult time giving it to yourself, I am giving you the permission. Just like the voice from my Mom will often give it to me.

Shut down days at the factory helped with employee burn out. They also allowed for scheduled maintenance on equipment. It freed time and space for a high level overview and analysis without the stress of output and number requirements being the main goal. And shut down yielded outcomes and results that ONLY a true shut down could provide.

I ask you then, “when is the last time you took a Shut down day? And actually, SHUT DOWN!” If you look at the results of what shut down can do for a factory/company; just think what it could do for you, your life, your family.

My next PeakJoy challenge is this – Part 1: Take a SHUT DOWN DAY friends. (Even a shut down half day would do) Take a flipping day off Moms, Dads, everyone. Even kids need it. A day where you don’t have to cross anything off that list. You don’t HAVE to work toward that goal. You don’t HAVE to get your exercise in. You don’t HAVE to meet a deadline or please your boss. You don’t HAVE to be social. Your laundry sits in the basket. The dishes sit on the counter. Really, it’s ok. Be the L word, yep LAZY! Sit your booty down. Or hop in the car and go roam Target aimlessly without some list you have to adhere to. Go get a massage, a pedicure. Watch “How to lose a guy in 10 days” while eating a can of Pringles and a pint, no GALLON of rocky road while sitting in a hot bubble bath. Click out of EVERY SINGLE OPEN TAB. ALL OF THEM. Or better yet, shut down your gosh darn computer all together. Part 2: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!

Have you ever sat down or thought about what recharges you – gives you more energy? When is it that you feel like you can conquer the world? Whatever that is, THAT is what you do on shut-down day!

Schedule maintenance for yourself. Prevent the burn-out BEFORE it happens. Grab the pledge and wipe the dust off that portion of your mind!

I have found that it is sometimes in those moments that we allow ourselves to JUST BE, when our mind feels free of it all, that we gain some strength, energy, power, purpose that moves us MORE forward than anything else possibly could. So, in all seriousness, if time doesn’t allow an entire shut down day, at least make time for shut down moments, free of guilt.

Shut down. Recharge. Then… go get em’! AND if you would feel better getting a badge to indicate you have completed this challenge – here you go! I will wear mine with pride and honor! Cheers


Suck it UP, Buttercup (Gone Viral)

My neighbor across the street spent the ENTIRE day working on his yard. Yesterday was one of those amazing first “perfect weather”, I’m going to skip work and conquer the world kind of days! (I know this because I received at LEAST 15 sub calls in the morning) Lets just say that the Tuesday list I originally had set for consisted of EVERYTHING indoors. My husband even left me in the morning with a hug, kiss, slap on the butt and “enjoy your day Cinderella!” BLAH!

There are generally two things a person can say that will REALLY get me moving. Tell me “ I CAN’T” do something (challenge me) OR build me up with a compliment that refuels the embers. “Why do you build me up, buttercup baby…”!

When I stepped foot on the deck with my coffee to let the dogs outside in the morning, the sun was beaming and something about the air said “come and get me.” It was a “start the morning with a LONG RUN” kind of day. I was closing the garage door behind me to set out & there it was; my new sparkling Golden Eagle, begging me.

Half of that 7 mile run I repeated to myself “you don’t buy a jeep and not take the top off on a day like today” And then other half of the run that voice on the other shoulder said “ you crazy, foolish, stupid woman; do you not recall how difficult the process of putting it up and taking it down was with TWO people?” Flashback of cuss words. frustration and anger filled my joints. I recalled my husband telling me “well, you’re never going to be able to take that off when you want unless the weather looks good for a month.”

You know what, “&*^%&) THAT!” I returned from my 7 mile run, opened the garage door, blasted the music and took that top off – BY MYSELF! (And a good portion of the time thinking “oh crap, what am I doing. Oh crap, getting this back on is going to be torture”) And then I sent the hubs the obligatory victory “look what I did” picture, knowing damn well the response I likely would get. He didn’t disappoint;

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WHY do we let fear be such an action/fun sucker?

I had to run one last errand while he and the older son were at baseball practice – and the top was still off so why not crank the tunes and take the younger for a little drive?! I really was trying to enjoy “take me down to the paradise city” except that there were a few dark clouds. I MAY have pulled over in a parking lot to check the radar. “If it rains, we are doomed… AND SOAKING WET!”

My husband was planning to return from baseball practice with a project (help crazy, foolish, stupid wife put soft top back on jeep because it is going to rain ALL DAY tomorrow) But I had this vision. It was glorious actually! Picture it… he pulls into the driveway to find me sitting with a beer in hand, leaning on my jeep WITH THE TOP ON! Oh, it’s happening.

CUE THE LAUGHING. And I am talking rolling, tears flowing laughter my friends.

My neighbor was STILL outside doing yardwork. You know what he SHOULD have been doing…? It would probably have “gone viral” on you tube had he recorded my version of “How to put your soft top on your jeep – ALONE! By crazy, foolish, stupid woman neighbor”

There were lots of jolly “on-lookers” taking evening Spring strolls. One guy politely asked if I needed a hand; “NO THANKS BUDDY! I AM DOING THIS BY MYSELF!” I opened doors and shut doors and climbed in the back and on the fender. I had it up and then took it back down (a couple times). I pulled up a You Tube video “How to put soft top on Jeep Wrangler with ONE PERSON”. Don’t listen to THAT dude! “What is this for? Why can’t I find that strap he is talking about? There should be a tool for this. That piece doesn’t fit right… UGH – AHH.. Help me Tom Cruise!”

I had to keep cuss words out of the process since the neighbor kids were playing basketball in the driveway. The neighbor girl was busting up as I pulled down repeatedly on the back fabric chanting “WORK WITH ME!” At one point I was dancing in my driveway and doing yoga poses. My hands were flipping sore. My fingers going numb. I don’t care about my nails, but if I did, they were GONE – damn zippers. My younger son tried bringing me a beer (Oh buddy, nice thought but Mommy cannot have that beer until this top is secured)

It is 2019, right? Why isn’t there just some button you press on this thing and WALLA! Better yet, isn’t there an app for that? “Buy a Jeep” they say. “It will be FUN, they say!” I check the time. My VISION is still vivid. “ I got time, I got time…” Ok, I’ll cut to the chase.

HELL YES I had a beer in my hand when he pulled in that driveway. HELL YES I got that soft top back on BY MYSELF! VIC-TOR-Y! SUCCESS.

So… the 10 Golden Eagle lessons: (that have NOTHING to do with putting the top on a jeep)

  1. Create the VISION. The goal, the objective, the dream; whatever it is – you must vision it and visualize with PASSION & purpose. You aren’t going to go after something that you aren’t able to visualize. So what is it that you want? Today, this week, month, year?


  3. “SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP” (as my Dad used to say) DON’T GIVE UP! Parts may be difficult, tiring, frustrating, painful, involved, stressful, blah, blah, blah. STOP complaining. STOP making excuses. STOP placing limits on what you are capable of. Get busy. Keep Going. You had the vision, pull it up again.

I could add another 7 bullet points to make a good “10 lessons” but honestly, just start with those three. And do you want to know the difference between those who succeed and those who do not – Number # 3 THREE.

Want to know what my next vision is? Creating an actual, helpful, REAL, it works “How to put your soft top cover on your jeep solo, in UNDER 10 minutes!” YouTube tutorial; By crazy, foolish, stupid wife.” It may not happen tomorrow BUT….

— #PeakJoy

What is it Cardi B sings… “ I see it, I like it, I want it, I GOT it!” Yeah, it’s like that!

National PeakJoy Day

Social media goes crazy on certain “National” Days! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy seeing people across the world come together for National Puppy Day?! (I’m not poking fun here, I really do love it!) But I would like to know how in the world National “Hug your plumber day” gets missed? For the record, it’s on April 25th in case anyone would like to participate.

I will periodically check the national day calendar for fun, because to be quite honest some of these national days are really quite humorous. Also, it’s an added excuse to grab a donut on National Donut Day, Drink Beer on National Beer Day or celebrate the most amazing siblings on National Sibling Day!

When I opened up the calendar this past Saturday to give a quick browse (I can’t lie, I was hoping it would be some fun national day to give me good reason to over indulge in chocolate, rock my karaoke, take a nap or something) I was caught off-guard to find National “I am in Control Day”. Aren’t we in control EVERY day? A discussion was just had during our family meeting; the fact that every day we own our choices and are in control of so many aspects.

Quick insight. The National Day Calendar writes:

“With the President being rushed to surgery on a rainy afternoon, a bullet lodged in his lung; a statement was made. “As of now, I am in control here in the White House.” Those are the words of Secretary of State Alexander Haig on March 30, 1981, after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

He was taken to task for those words by the media. Haig later explained that he only meant that he was in charge until Vice President George Bush could be sworn in. Bush was en route at the time.

Sources believe that this was the beginning of National I am in Control Day. This day has evolved and taken on a different context. It is a day to get things under control in your life on a day to day basis.”

What is out of control in your life? What do you wish you had control over? When you digest the reality, there truly are few things that are completely OUT of our control; when and who we are born to, who our guardians through childhood are, our genetics, others’ words and actions, death. And we come to realize also, with age some additional control is handed over to us. At least we begin to realize the truth is that we are in control of more than we realized.

There are also many events in which we overestimate our ability to control. Similar to elevator buttons. When you quickly and repeatedly push the “close door” button on an elevator (God forbid you wait another 5 seconds that may allow someone to accompany you on your ride), are YOU actually controlling when that door closes? Perhaps the world is full of these “buttons” that in actuality don’t really do anything. It’s this concept or effect, “Illusion of Control” named by psychologist Ellen Langer. As a parent, I am so very aware of this common mindset I have. Sure, I can control what I make for dinner, but Lord knows I don’t control whether or not my picky boys will put the food in their mouths’ and eat it (without complaining). #thestruggleisreal

I honestly believe when we can lose that Illusion of Control, we gain this freedom and this energy which allow us to start climbing and elevating ourselves to higher altitudes.

From PeakJoy perspective, I am in LOVE with this idea and this day. What do you feel is out of control in your life? Chances are that whatever first came to mind when answering that question, you ARE in control of.

What can you gain control of today, this week, this month…? What is that “something” that if you felt you were in control of it, you would feel like you could seize the moment, day, week, life? Think all aspects; career, work, personal, relationships, home, kids, visions, goals, dreams…

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The first piece of advice I am offering is to mark your calendar for April 7th: National No Housework Day. Go ahead and put your feet up and take that extra time to focus on yourself. Have a beer while you are at it because it is also National Beer Day. Actually, mark your calendar whatever the hell day you want to. Because guess what, YOU control what you do every single day. TODAY, I am going to make PeakJoy day! (Stay tuned for secrets to what that day looks like)

While you’re reflecting on this topic of “Control” in your own life be sure to let Janet Jackson play in the background, inspiring you with her words….. & you are very welcome for the flashback and visual of me attempting to dance just like her.

So let me take you by the hand,
and lead you on this dance (Control)
Is what I've got, because I do with chance
I don't wanna rule the world,
just wanna run my life (ooh
So make your life a little easier ...
When you get the chance just take control

Control - Now I've got a lot, ooh
Control - To get what I want, oww!
Control - I'm never gonna stop
Control - Now I'm all grown up, ohh!

In all seriousness, take the first step today. You don’t have to wait until March 30th of 2020. If you’re struggling to do that independently, reach out to someone close or shoot me an e-mail. Let’s create PeakJoy moments, days, weeks, months, years, & LIFE for YOU! Create your legacy and live it!

PeakJoy Challenge #1


For me, it seems to be this cycle.

I am a list maker. My siblings and I have given my Mom grief for years about her numerous lists, BUT… here it is… I am just like her! Writing out the list gives some sort of fascination, satisfaction and energy. I write it all down and sing that opera note AHHHH…. “Here it is, way to go. Go Joy. Check out that amazing list! Lets do this.”

Here is the thing. It feels wonderful to make the list, YES? But, there are always those one or two or three or four items that DON’T get crossed off. They are the SAME things OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I put them off. But why? They seem the most daunting tasks? I think they are going to eat up time? Clearly I haven’t made them priority and then they sit there time after time.

Once I’ve put it off for so long, it’s ok to keep putting it off again, because I’ve done it oh, likely 20 times already. And honestly, sometimes I don’t write it on a list because I know I’m NOT going to actually cross it off. My friends, I like to cross shtuff off!

Self-Sabotage people, that is what it is. Getting into my own head.

BUT… once you get started on that ONE thing; you cross of that one item on the list that has been nagging at you, you begin what my husband and I call the “give a mouse a cookie” phenomenon. It really is a phenomenon. You break the cycle and feel SO amazing after crossing one thing off, that it gives you inspiration and energy to do more.

• At work, it’s avoiding responding to that month or older e-mail or setting up a meeting. You dread organizing your e-mail or cleaning out folders or there might just be a project that was never given a deadline, but you fear someone coming to you asking where you are at on it. (You haven’t even started) EEKS!

• At home, it’s the kids papers you kept from LAST YEAR that need to be sorted through – or the game closet that is a disaster or your CLOSET needs a complete revamp, or the refrigerator may have food from a year ago sitting WAY in the back, or the garage or maybe even the baskets of laundry you’ve been living out of for a few weeks after getting behind. Something surely needs fixed?! You need to organize the calendar or do some vacation research (that one ALWAYS gets crossed off first for me!)

• You haven’t talked to that friend or your Grandma or Mom in FOREVER and think of him/her while driving to work or dropping the kids off and just need to catch up. You’re avoiding a difficult conversation with a neighbor or coach?! (I said conversation, not text, got it?)

• Back in January perhaps you made some New Year Resolutions (and its almost April) – eat better, read more, get some exercise, family game night, doing something nice or special for your spouse or significant other.

And the list goes on and on and on. (Anyone else singing that Dynamite song with me right now? “And it goes on and on and on”) You may not be a list maker like my Mom or like me, but surely there is something – SOMETHING – that if you did it today, you would lay your head on that pillow tonight and feel so damn good you did it!

SO… JUST DO IT! You begin when you begin. Lets begin now – PeakJoy challenge #1. I’d love to hear what item starts your “Give a mouse a cookie” phenomenon! I have a rather long list, but today, TODAY I will be painting trim that has been waiting for me for almost 7 years. Peace
out friends - I’ve got some painting to do.”