I was watching Joel Osteen the other night with my wonderful friend Mary and he was talking about our lives being like a movie with several twists and turns that we are not expecting or ever ready for. He spoke about how our final scene is already written by God and that no matter where we are in our movie as long as we are here, thriving or struggling, the movie is still playing. It was very comforting to think of the fact that our final scene is greater than we could ever imagine. You would think that should be enough to give me HOPE for the struggles in my life and even in the lives of my children, husband and all those I love. The amazing positive and Godly things I have been celebrating in my life in the past few months are getting me through this tough stuff, but sometimes it can feel like it just keeps on coming. When will these dark and dramatic scenes in my life change to rainbows and blue skies for a while. Just a little reprieve? I know it will come just not on my timeline. The amount of post traumatic growth following all of this is huge and I do want to be a lifelong learner. I want to stay open. I am working on my group books and the other day did a group on change. We talked about the stigma attached to mental health and how most people do not want to talk about painful topics like depression, anxiety and bipolar. I HOPE for mental health to be as recognizable as cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s and any number of other illnesses that our country does recognize, empathize with and promote awareness of. I am always amazed at how many people have never even heard of NAMI or the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I have talked about unity and not creating more division though things that divide us but many people may be surprised to know that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness in this world. If people could accept the mental health crisis as easily as they accept the daily exposure of fear, terrorism, pain and suffering when subjecting themselves to the news, it could bring us together. Our world is suffering in so many ways but that collective struggle, if embraced, could actually help us become stronger. I think Alanis Morrisette said it best, “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think” Yes Alanis, I really do think. I am grateful for this soapbox post. I am grateful for the freedom to choose to spread mental health awareness. I am grateful for people in this world working to be the change they want to see. I would like to, once again, praise Ghandi for his words of encouragement and wisdom. I sang Ludacris in the shower today. I did more than 15 minutes of cardio in my tabata class today. I practiced a random act of kindness and 5 minutes of mediation. For todays’ happiness challenge activity I plan to give each of my family members an honest positive compliment. You may have been noticing that each of the challenges continue for the remainder of the 30 days once you start doing them. So, by the end of the 30 days I will be doing a lot of positive things in a day, at least 30. I credit this challenge to helping me get through some of the more negative scenes in my life lately.