notes from the 14th floor of Mayo Clinic

February 5, 2016 | 7 comments

Yesterday, we were back at Mayo again.

Dad continues to work through some major health problems. These are tough times right now.

But remarkably, these days are also filled with unspeakable joy. Have you ever experienced joy like that, when it sneaks up on you at an unexpected time?

One of the things I have learned from my Dad is how to find the happy in the hard. That’s what I was thinking, as I looked outside the window, from the 14th floor of the Mayo Building.


Dad is facing some big obstacles, and sometimes, it seems like the worst possible news … is the very news he gets. It would be easy for him to give up. But Dad has demonstrated his trademark optimism throughout the whole ordeal.

He shows us what it means to hunt hard for happiness. He shows us what it looks like to fight back against all the negativity. He finds the humor inside a hospital. He cracks jokes with the doctors. He hugs us and tells us how much he loves us.

But you know what else? He isn’t afraid to cry. He isn’t scared of the sadness. He isn’t frightened of his own wide-swinging emotions, or ours. That’s part of what makes Dad’s happiness real and durable — his willingness to embrace the breadth of emotions that swirl within each of us.

This week, we launched #TheHappinessDare and so many of you have joined us to chronicle your daily moments. For some of you, it has been hard, because how do you find silver-lined clouds on your worst days? How can you smile, when all you want to do is cry? Yet, you went looking anyway. You went searching for what made you happy, and you found it!

Together we are learning that the looking is what will save us.

Thanks, Dad, for showing me how it’s done — even in the midst of your valley. You live #TheHappinessDare.

A few photos from #TheHappinessDare stream this week on Instagram:

@deidrariggs | @juleswalter | @passagethroughgrace

@kristenstrong | @brucebarone | @justcallmegrammy

Jennmpeterson | @michellederusha | @shellymiller



This year,  we are daring our hearts to be happy. We are taking The Happiness Dare. I do hope you’ll join us! Mark your moments with #TheHappinessDare on Instagram (Facebook and Twitter, too). I can’t wait to see what emerges next week in #TheHappinessDare stream! Let’s do this.

Click here to print out the list of 30 ways to make the dare a reality in your everyday life. Or pick your own creative ways to find happiness in your everyday lives.


by | February 5, 2016 | 7 comments


  1. Stephanie Rische

    What a beautiful reminder that we can find happy in the sadness. Blessings to you and your dad.

  2. Megan Willome

    Praying for y’all

  3. Cindy Young

    I am praying for your Dad! Gods will be done! I so admire your strength to keep going and the love you show for everyone who comes to you via your blogs and postings. How your words help so many of us to keep going. You did this for me! I know from what I read, you do for many others.
    My happiness is bittersweet this week. Yes, I do start work February 15th. As I said bittersweet because I have been caregiving for a Lady for almost a year and I will no longer be able to do this for her. I will visit her but, it will not be Monday through Friday as I have been. And I am praying that in another 6+ months I might be able to move back in my home. But, again bittersweet. For 8 years my sweet little man dog Joshie and I lived there. He will not be with me when my new life begins or when I finally make it back to our home. I smile from happiness and I cry from happiness. Yet, there is sadness within me, too!
    I hope your Dad’s recovery is quick and that none of his situation is in the least bit bittersweet! Hugs and kisses my Friend!

  4. Trudy Den Hoed

    Your dad sounds pretty special, Jennifer. Such a testimony of God’s grace. I pray God will continue to give him and your family strength and peace in such a trying time. Thank you for the reminder to seek hard for the happiness in every situation. I’m still in and have been trying. 🙂

  5. Brenda

    Prayers for your dad and family.

  6. Leah Adams

    It is so difficult to watch your parents suffer. I’ve walked that road twice, and I do not envy the journey you are on. May God hold you all closely and give you His peace and His happiness.

  7. Maria Baer

    Prayers for you and your family. He is in the best place he can be to receive treatment and that is a blessing. By the way, if you need a coffee break while at Mayo, I only live 15 mins from there. Sometimes a cup of coffee can soothe the soul.




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