The Blog

You are Magnificent

you magnificent being you hello happiness pep talk graphic

Friend,

I hope you know how truly magnificent you are. Because you are.

And life might tell you otherwise, but you don't have to believe them. I've learned that part of life that tells you you're anything other than extraordinary is a bunch of lies. You don't have to believe the lies. You're free to love yourself and believe the good things about you are what makes you YOU. If you're waiting for someone to give you permission to listen to the good stuff, i.e. truth, consider this your permission slip. You are loved and lovable.

Life is really pretty simple once you realize love is the key. You always have the power to let someone know how much they mean to you. And with this power choosing kind words + encouragement will change the future. You are a magician like that. No one can ever take that power away from you, and people will try.

You are a part of this wonderful love-filled story, and no one else can play your part but you.

I believe in you.

With love,
Josh

 

Josh Solar
Read more

The Best Teachers in Life

I am a joy seeker

There I was, 10 am, sitting on the runway in the very back row waiting for my plane to Atlanta to take off. The engine roars and we speed up. You know the drill. Soon enough we'll be in the air and a few hours later I'll be far away from home. 

But sitting right in front of me was 2 of the greatest teachers life will ever throw my way. A couple of kids, probably 4 and 5 years old. Neither one of them have ever flown on a plane before. New situation. I imagine butterflies in their bellies. It's a bit scary to be so little and used to being on the ground and then thrown into the air. Pure excitement and a mix of dread.

The engine roar and takeoff to me was just another flight. To them, though...it was pure joy! The second that engine screamed and we sped up, the kids were screaming so loud with delight. And it just kept going and going and going. Belly laughs (the best kind of laugh)...and squeals of bliss. 

And I couldn't help but smile and laugh along with them. My face was hurting and my sides were a bit sore from all the laughter. It was basically full on happiness for the entire ascent...

Kids are the best teachers, right? They live life with no expectations. They look at things differently than adults do. I see a spoon and it's something I use to get ice cream in my mouth. Kids see a spoon and they see not only a way to eat ice cream, but they see a way to throw peas at each other. They lick it and stick it on their noses. They try and bend it to see how strong they are. They whack each other with it. So many possibilities with a simple spoon.

Those kids on this airplane ride were a reminder to live my life more like a child. How many things like air travel do I take for granted? I mean, I'm 35,000 ft in the air, in a big metal machine, reading a book on my iPad. I went from Kansas City to Atlanta in 2 hours...through the air. It would have taken me 12 hours by car. How could I ever take this amazing experience for granted?

And I've been thinking ever since about all the other amazing things I take for granted. Just looking around me right now I'm sitting outside at the Land of a Thousand Hills coffee shop in Atlanta where I'm typing up this blog post for you to read. I can feel some amazing wind blowing in my face that reminds me life is always moving. I can smell some amazing coffee as well as some wonderful spring flowers that only a few months ago were hibernating in the winter. I'm listening to an amazing album called Blood Moon by a band called The Many Rivers Ensemble. They recorded this somewhere and I can stream it via Spotify anywhere I want. Think about all the things that work together in our bodies just to take a breath...my mind is blown just thinking about this. Then add to the fact that we're on a ball that's floating in space and orbiting around another ball that's super hot and keeps us from freezing to death. There are really an infinite number of things that we take for granted every single day.

But not kids. Kids are passionately curious. They seek joy and happiness and pleasure at all costs. They ask so many questions because they just want to know things. They squeeze anything they can from life. They're surprised and quick to wonder at the world around us. My 8 year old delights at the sight of a butterfly and I overlook them so often. My 6 year old is constantly dancing and twirling and moving in free ways while I rush from one place to the next.

Life constantly throws itself in my path...and how much have I missed staring at my phone? How much life have I missed because I didn't feel like leaving the house? How much have I missed out on because I look at life through the same lenses, and never seek to find new perspectives? 

This post is to serve as a reminder to be more childlike. To seek new perspectives. To find ways to marvel at the world around me. Explore and play with life. My most favorite memories all involve times when I've said yes to something new and stepped outside of my bubble. The times where I went in completely open and ready for whatever life wanted to bring my way. Basically, when I lived like a child. Kids are joy seekers and I want to be a joy seeker, too.

Care to join me?

Josh Solar
Read more

You are ________ enough

Say it with me, "I AM WHOLE."

Repeat it a few more times for me, please. 

"I AM WHOLE."
"I AM WHOLE."
"I AM WHOLE."

There's a certain power that comes from saying "I AM WHOLE" to ourselves. And I'm a big believer that the things we tell ourselves on a daily basis become the things we believe most about ourselves. 

I'm no stranger to saying "I am not ________ enough." Take your pick of words to fill in that blank. Good, smart, strong, brave, courageous. I've filled that not ________ enough space with so many adjectives that are flat out lies. I've also come to know I'm not the only one.

A while ago I decided to remove the "not" from the sentence. Every time I find myself telling myself I'm not _______ enough, I catch myself and now say, "I am _______ enough."

"I AM GOOD ENOUGH."
"I AM BRAVE ENOUGH."
"I AM STRONG ENOUGH."
"I AM ENOUGH."

It's done wonders on my whole attitude. Repeating truths are a whole lot better than telling myself lies. And if there's one thing I've learned in this life...one thing I know to be true deep down in the core of my being it's this. Everything stems from either love or fear. I have Marianne Williamson to thank for that. And love feels a whole lot better than fear.

So, today, I'm asking you to join me. Let today be the day when you drop the not and realize you are enough. Always enough. Nothing is missing from your life. Maybe you wish some things would be different, and I'm right there with you. But you have everything you need to live. I would be willing to bet you've got some folks in your life who care about you. You've got air in your lungs. You're alive and reading these words right now. You matter to someone. You have a voice to be heard. You are important and needed, even if you don't always recognize it. I recently read these words from Hannah Brencher, 'You are whole. Stop looking for reasons not to be.' You are whole, my friend. Let's celebrate that fact and be thankful we get the chance to be alive. 

Josh Solar
Read more

10:1 Altruism

"Stop worrying about whether you are happy or not and instead turn your attention to the question of whether you are helping someone else. The greatest buffer against depression is altruism." - Shawn Achor

Altruism, as defined by dictionary.com, means "the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others.

Keep that in mind as you read through this post as I'm going to circle back to altruism, and how we can make the world a better place with my little math equation above. In the book, Before Happiness, Shawn Achor writes about a 3:1 P/N ratio and how it can predict how well a business or team is functioning. Where the 3:1 ratio (3 is positive interactions and 1 is negative interactions) is present in a team environment at work, you'll see higher profitability, more engaged employees and lower turnover.

The reason I found this so interesting is because when someone is working in an environment with at least a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions, it translated to being more optimistic, happier and more fulfilled in their home life. A positive interaction is something as simple as a compliment. 

Think about that for a second. We get bombarded with bad news all the time, and our brains naturally tend to get stuck on the bad news. Think about the last time you got a negative comment on anything. Chances are, you also received some positive comments as well, but you focused on the one person that was unhappy or upset with whatever you did. Our brains are crazy like that. To counteract, every time you have a negative interaction, something upsets you, etc. try and balance it out with at least 3 pieces of good things.

Step out of the business world for a while and come with me into the land of marriage and relationships. Psychologist and relationship guru, John Gottman, says there should be a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences to keep a solid relationship, and if your relationship is lower than 5:1 you have a higher chance of divorce. That means every time I hurt Jenny's feelings, doing the dishes or laundry once isn't enough to make up for my negative action. I have to consciously give her 5 positive interactions to fully atone for my mistake. 

That's all fascinating stuff, right? But I want to take it a step further. I don't ever want to be the kind of person that's counting positive and negative interactions. That seems rather silly, and let's be honest here....we're all going to do or say something that hurts another at some point. We all forget from time to time that we're all unique people, and we all have differing beliefs, values and opinions. And when we do hurt someone's feelings, we will feel bad and want to make up for that hurtful action. 

So what if we strived for a 10:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences? Or a 100:1? What if we made habits out of living an altruistic life? I told you I'd circle back. What if we just did nice things for others because it's a good thing to do? If you like someone's shoes, tell them so. If you notice they got a haircut, let them know you noticed. At home, do some extra chores or something you normally don't do. Make it a point to cook dinner if your spouse normally cooks. Smile more. Some of my personal favorites involve cranking up some good tunes and creating impromptu dance parties. Leave encouraging notes around your town. Give more hi-fives! Say thank you more often.

Let's go out and make altruism our goal. Let's live so selflessly we don't have to worry about any ratios because we're so far ahead on the positives that the negatives will never catch up. How awesome would our world be if we recruited as many folks as possible to join us? I'm giddy just thinking about all the good we can do.

I could go on forever with all sorts of ways we can brighten another's day, but I'd like to open it up to all of you and hear in the comments section what you can do to create more positive experiences in your life.

Josh Solar
Read more

Dare to Live

I've been thinking a lot lately about how Jenny & I spend our time together, how we support our family and what we do for work. About how it all fits together and ties in with the values we want to embody. We've been striving to create a life that allows us as much time to take our kids on adventures as possible. We want to see the world together. And we want to make sure the things we choose to pursue make the world a better place in some way, whether it's telling stories with our cameras or blogging about intentional parenting or making encouragement cards for folks to tell others they love them. 

These last few years have been HARD for us. Some of our businesses haven't worked out like we'd planned. And Life has thrown us a few curve balls, with 2 of our 3 kids being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis within the past 5 months. Life hasn't been the kindest to the Solars. It's been hard on our marriage. Hard on our stress levels. Hard on our bank account. Hard on our patience levels around the house. It's been hard on me dealing with the fact that right now we were supposed to be in Ireland, and we're in Kansas City. We had to postpone our 5 month family trip to Europe due to the kids' illnesses, and it's been tough. Life is hard and messy, but there's beauty and joy to be found amongst all the chaos.

Right now, in this moment, I'm happier than I've ever been. We've moved through the messiness and found grace + love. Jenny + I are closer than ever. Our marriage is healthier and stronger than ever (and we've been together for over 18 years now!). Life is settling down a bit and dealing with the kids CF treatments has forced us to slow down and enjoy our time together a lot more. Max is healthier than we've seen him in two years and he has that youthful exuberance back again. He's put on 20 pounds and is laughing again. More importantly, he's healthy enough to pester his mom and sisters. Our house is filled with so much joy for the first time in a long time. Nightly tickle fights and wrestling matches and our weekends are filled with Fun Fests (Fun Fest = make a list of all the fun things you can do in a day and then do them).

And for the first time, in a long time, the path I've been on is lighting me up. My time is filled with projects that make me happy. And that was missing for a long time. Amongst all the chaos, I've found happiness and contentment. I've chosen to move through my frustrations and anger at what was going on in my life and I've got to a place of acceptance and love. I want to live from that place for the rest of my days. Surrendering to whatever comes my way and responding with LOVE.

Friends, the point of this post is this...you never know what life is going to throw your way. Oftentimes what shows up in life is not what you want or ever want to deal with, but that's not how life works. I know you all have dreams for yourselves. You all have an idea of how you want to spend your time. I'm urging you to start right now and take tiny steps towards those dreams. Just wake up every day, start with some gratitude and love and live the rest of the day from that mental space.

I'm living proof that if you never ever give up, and put LOVE at the forefront of your life, that you'll get to where you want to be. It hasn't been easy, and I have a long way to go. But if life was always easy, would you ever be able to fully appreciate the journey? The struggles have made me stronger, a better husband, a better father, and a better human.

I know you're going through something... we all have that something. But I want you to never give up. Ever. You deserve to live the life of your dreams. We all do. And it's not an easy path to get there. Just keep going and let a wide open love guide you, you'll always be on the path to the life you envision. You can find happiness amidst life's ups and downs. Don't let life keep you from living.

Josh Solar
Read more

You Are Enough

I recently read Donald Miller's new book, Scary Close. In it, he talks a lot about showing your true self to the world. The very first sentence of the book, found in the Author's Note states, "Somebody once told me we will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we're willing to show our true selves to the people around us."

How true is that statement? How many times have you found yourself hiding your amazing true self from the world? How many times have you let fear keep you from showing up in your life...scared that if you showed these real pieces of you that people would go running...or judge you...or laugh at you...or just not understand you? I've been there. Most of my life has been lived from that scared space.

I shared on our Instagram account Tuesday these words..."My deepest connections were forged through vulnerability; in the times when I wasn't afraid to show my true self...messiness and all." I know this is easy to say and hard to put into practice, but I can tell you this. Once I let my inner wild man out, my marriage got better. I became a better dad. I connected on deeper levels with my friends. I embraced all my imperfections. I apologized when I made mistakes, and I have said I love you more than I ever have in the past and it feels different now. 

I say this because I know what it's like to hide and live scared. And I know how much better I feel not living that way. I know what it's like to hold tears inside because I have to show strength because I'm a man, and men don't cry. I know what it's like to feel like I can't support my wife, and as a man, I'm supposed to be able to take care of her. I know what it's like to fail, and feel shame in that. Yet, I know, now, that even in my failures and the times when I've shed tears and the times I've opened up that I am always enough. I've always been enough. When I felt shame, I was enough. When I have failed, I was enough. When I've yelled at Jenny and the kids, I was enough then, too. I know this now, and I want you to know this, also.

My point is this...

We are all beautiful souls. We are always enough. And this world needs us fully open and alive...messiness and all.

When you can get to this space of enoughness, you'll never want to go back to your old ways. You deserve to know you're lovable, enough and that you matter. You do. And really, it's the only thing in this life we deserve...to know we're loved. You are loved, my friends. All of you. My hope for you this week is you start small and show up in a moment where you feel like you want to hide. See what happens. I'm willing to be you'll be pleasantly surprised and see that, yes, you are enough and you're still alive. - Josh

If you decide to open up, I'd love it if you shared with me. Leave a comment below or click on contact up in the top and send me an email. I believe in you.  

Josh Solar
Read more

Be a Lover

Be a Lover Hello Happiness Card Company graphic

Hello! Welcome to our first blog post. We'll be sharing once a week all sorts of stuff. Stories. Encouraging words. Sales. Found love letters. Thoughts on life and dreaming big. Expect to get to know Jenny + I a bit more. We're so thrilled to even have this little space of the internet and to constantly hear stories of how our cards and words and images have touched others. This world needs more encouragement and love...heck, we all need more love in our life, right? 

So, welcome! We're glad you're here. Drop by next Thursday morning (and every Thursday after) for a new post. I'm grateful you're here.

Josh Solar
Read more
103 results
Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart