Day 317 – Joyful Living Project


Mother’s Day Surprise

If you’ve ever spent the holidays away from family or friends, you know it can be lonely and even depressing for some.
Today was Mother’s Day and my Mom is on the other end of the country. Yes, I did call her, but it’s not quite the same as taking her out to lunch and spending quality time in person.

Little did I know that less than 24 hours ago, I would meet a lovely couple, fellow Texans, who would invite me to their home to share Mother’s Day lunch with their family and friends.

This was such an unexpected gift of joy simply connecting with them at Goat Yoga and sharing a brief conversation about my #JoyfulLivingProject.

Thank you so much Becca Caney and Michael Caney for your kindness and generosity in sharing this day, your family, and community with me. My heart was filled with joy this afternoon getting to know each person, hearing their stories and sharing a wonderful meal together.
It is such a gift to see how Becca and Michael bring people together and build community!

For a traveler and #JoyAmbassador who was planning to spend this holiday by myself. They made this day such a joyful and memorable day

You guys... this was such a wonderful experience!!! We met Yasmin Nguyen at our goat yoga class Saturday. He is traveling the country for 18 mos and experiencing ‘Joy’ with others while documenting it in a project called The Joyful Living Project. Michael Caney & I loved his story and his project so we invited him to Mothers Day lunch at our house. It was so beautiful to see people from different paths come together and share a meal and their hearts. Until next time, Yasmin... so grateful to be part of your journey!

My Mom

This is a woman who proudly raised 3 children with her husband 45 years together. One of their children is now a doctor, one is a pharmacist, and one an entrepreneur. She now enjoys her retirement with 5 playful grandchildren.

However, it wasn’t always this way. 39 years ago, this brave young woman snuck into the jungle at midnight with her three young children ages 5, 3, and 1. In 1978, the communist had taken over Vietnam. She knew that as a French teacher, she could have been abducted coming home from work, leaving her children to become orphans.

With her husband, they planned an escape from Vietnam. She did not know that she would be making this journey alone with her young children and aging mother-in-law. When she arrived at the meeting point, her husband was no where to be found. She had no idea that he was captured on his way and taken to jail. Overwhelmed with fear and sadness, she pulled herself up, wiped her tears and stepped into a role that would lead her family and many others to safety.

Hiding in the hull of the fishing boat with 40 others, the heat and stench from sweat and feces was unbearable. Fearing for their lives if they were detected by the patrol boats the children were drugged with sleeping medicine.

Suddenly, the boat began to take in water and everyone was frantic. She was the only one who could speak French and negotiated with French oil tanker nearby to rescue them. Through her diplomacy, the captain and crew took them to South Korea and then to France.

In France, she reconnect with her husband, detained in a refugee camp in Malaysia. He instructed her to go to America.
She sewed clothes to make money while awaiting to be reunited with her long lost husband a year later.

Almost 40 years later, my siblings and I celebrate this incredibly strong, generous, loving woman we call our mother. She risked everything to provide a life for her children. Her heart, drive, commitment, and courage inspires me to be the best son I can be.

Her gift to the world was the ripple effect of love, kindness, generosity, and care that she modeled that her children and grandchildren would now carry on in the world.


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