The Need to Succeed

What drives a person to achieve a goal? Is it the need to attain some item of value, or is it an intrinsic need to please oneself? Psychology says it may be both. What drives one person to succeed may not drive the next person, or may only drive the next person to a certain length before they give up. What makes a person keep pushing beyond their limits to achieve a goal? What gives a person that drive?

I would like to harness and bottle that drive. I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wish to do, and I am an early bird, and a night owl; I read somewhere that these people are called hummingbirds – I like it. I love hummingbirds, always flying around at break neck speed; little wings moving so fast they can hardly be seen. Early birds are the productive birds getting the best worms (so they say), and night owls are the creative ones; hummingbirds must be creatively productive, with a side of procrastination.

Society gives high school students a hard time if they do not know exactly where they want to go in life. Are you going to college?  What will your major be? What are your career plans after college? Etc. We’ve all heard these questions. I’m old enough to have raised a child, and am only now figuring out what I want to do, and where I want to go with my life. It took me many years to figure that out. I now know, I want to travel the world with Tim (and our kids, as long as they are minors and want to travel with us), and write about it. I want to study other cultures. I want to assist in humanitarian efforts. I want to write, and take photographs of the places we go, and the amazing people we meet.

So, what makes this goal different than the other goals that I have not attained in my life? The explanation for that is simple, and yet not simple at all.

I have grown, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and I know myself better now than I did when I was younger. Many people change their minds about what they want to do many times before they make a final decision; how can you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, while you are still discovering who you are? You can’t. So go with the flow and don’t’ worry about it so much. Life experience has taught me that things generally work out. (Unless of course you have a drug problem or some other type of problem, in which case, please seek help from the nearest professional.)

McClelland (a psychologist), says, that the need to achieve can be driven by two factors: the desire to achieve success or the fear of failure. Both of those factors can be driven by either internal or external forces; so we can desire to achieve success because our internal drive pushes us toward that goal and will not allow anything less, or we can be so scared of failure, for personal reasons, that we cannot allow ourselves to fail; we have placed intrinsic value upon the goal either way. If we are driven by external factors then we have a need to achieve the goal for reasons that relate to family or career achievement, or maybe a promotion or raise. One could argue that intrinsic value is more beneficial, but one could argue that everyone works for external value, such as a paycheck, so I have to say, it just depends on the goal and the person.

I feel like I am driven by an intrinsic need to achieve this goal, and have this life that Tim and I want together. This goal is different because everything in my life is different. I know who and what I want. When I picture my life, that goal, is what I picture, and I picture achieving it with Tim, and only Tim. We talk about it all the time.

Many people from Buddha to Dale Carnegie have said that thoughts create the world. That what you think you achieve. Tim and I talk about and plan this life every day. While daydreams are nice, one needs a plan of action, and the drive to succeed. We have a goal, a plan, and a need to succeed.

What drives you to succeed?



I love early morning.

I love the quiet of the morning.

I love that the sun is rising over the horizon, and that, that looks like magic every morning.

Nature has a way of showing off, putting on a show for us early risers.

I love the sound of the birds singing to the world.

“Wake up!” they say, “It’s a brand new day!”

I love the sound of the wind blowing through the trees.

I love how they wave at me.

It’s a beautiful day!


Be free!

The Story of the Treasure Chest

Tim and I have19883666_10211252328478811_1378476776_n.jpg always been adventurous. We can often be found hiking off trail, exploring our surroundings, and we have been known to spend more time in the woods than actually hiking the trails. Our first day hiking the trail at Horse Thief Lake in the Black Hills National Forest, we found a treasure that made me even more glad that we have always been adventurous.

Shortly after entering the trail head, we found a small stream, across the stream, heading into the woods was an animal trail, we followed it. At the top of the trail was a small cave with, what looked like a pile of leaves with a log under them. I was happy that we found this cool cave, but Tim says, “There’s something under those leaves!” I said, “Yeah, it looks like a log.” He says, “No, it’s a chest!” He leans down and scatters the leaves on top of the “log,” and low and behold…there’s a TREASURE CHEST hidden under the leaves!19883450_10211252329558838_1359794171_n

At this point, Tim and I are very excited and surprised. We open the chest to find a bunch of notes, and fool’s gold. There are also some business cards, and a pen. We read all the notes, finding the original wasn’t hard, it read, “Take some gold, but leave the chest, or we’ll find you.”


The earliest dated note was from 2015. The chest had been there for over two years! We left our own note, written, as so many others were, on the fallen bark of an aspen tree. It read, “Happy trails, my friends. Love, Tim & Harmony J.  It was the most awesome thing we have ever found in the woods, not for the chest itself, but for the significance of the chest, and what it represents.

This chest was buried in that cave two years before we found it. Multiple hikers had found it before us, but not as many as one would think, and, it was still there! It still had fool’s gold in it, it still had a pen, and it carried within it the well wishes of everyone who had come before us.19964967_10211252328558813_1091796090_n

Do you think the original owners of the chest came and restocked it? I don’t know, maybe. But, imagine for a minute that they hadn’t. Imagine that everyone who came upon that chest, only left a note and took a single piece of gold. Imagine a world filled with people who thought of others who would come after them. Imagine a world filled with unselfish people.19883472_10211252331638890_1565534857_n.jpg

In the words of our newly found friend, Jim, “Doesn’t that give you hope for humanity yet?” Yes, indeed it does Jim. Indeed, it does.


I’m tired. The soul kind of tired. The trip to the Black Hills was supposed to help my soul and it did, but of course, that didn’t last very long. Because I had to come back here, and deal with the same old people, and their same old drama.

I have spent my entire life trying to cultivate an attitude of peace and love. My name literally means agreement or accord, and has synonyms such as peace, friendship, fellowship, cooperation, peacefulness, understanding, sympathy, like-mindedness, and the list goes on. Ever since I was little I have taken the meaning of my name very seriously, and I have never allowed any one to shorten it. I have never had a nickname. I am, as I have been called numerous times, a hippie.

However, over the years, I have developed a little bit of a “go ***k yourself” attitude along with my peace and love, because I have grown up with a family that doesn’t understand what family is. Instead they think it is funny to spread rumors and lies about people, trying to sabotage their lives.

Everyone expects to lose contact with friends as they grow older and move away. It’s a natural part of life. No one should have to lose family though, and I’ve basically had to cut all of mine out of my life because of the trouble they cause.

Family carries a certain element of foreverness. We never expect to have to dolefully cut family out of our lives.  We grow up believing that blood is thicker than water, and that your siblings are your first friends and will be your last. What happens to a person when that expectation isn’t achieved? I’ll tell you. It shatters their perception of family, and wrecks their ability to trust in people.

I will forever think people hate me because of what my family has done to me. I will forever worry that I am not good enough. I will forever wonder what I could do differently. I will forever be my own worst critic. Thank you family.

Romantic Getaway??

I am so excited!

I was born in South Dakota, and spent about three minutes here before my parents moved to another state, and then another, and then another… I think you get the point. As a result, I have what my mother calls “itchy feet.” I have to move or I become restless and irritable. Call it a curse if you want, but I call it a blessing. Because of my itchy feet, I have explored more than half of the continental United States. I will see more of this world before I die – watch. My boyfriend, Tim, and I try to go someplace new at least once a week, but normally we stay within two hours of home. I absolutely love that Tim hasn’t been everywhere yet (hardly anywhere, if we’re being honest), because I get to go with him, and I love doing things with him, especially exploring new places! However, this weekend, we are not going someplace new, for either of us.

Have you ever noticed that when you watch a beloved movie from your childhood with a child, that movie becomes this new movie, that for some reason, you’ve never seen before? That was always one of my favorite things about watching Disney movies with my kids, it was like experiencing it for the first time, four times; pretty neat. But, I digress…. I think it’s the same when you go someplace with someone for the first time, rather it’s your first time or theirs or just your first time going together, it’s like experiencing that place for the first time. I love it, and today I get to experience a place I’ve been to tens of times, with someone I love, with all my heart, but have never been there with him. Although, he’s been there a lot as well.

Today, Tim, and I, are heading out on a romantic getaway to the Black Hills, South Dakota! Maybe romantic is the wrong word, considering that it will be spent hiking through the woods and sleeping in a truck, but I’m using romantic because the kids are staying with grandma!

Tim, after thinking for the last week that he wasn’t getting any time off for the fourth of July, found out yesterday that he is getting a four-day weekend, so we are taking advantage of that. I am almost ready. Luckily, we do not need much to be ready to hike through the woods, as hiking is one of our favorites things to do, but we usually come straight home at the end of the day. This is a little more complicated, as we will be gone until Tuesday morning, but I cannot wait. I hope to get some really nice pictures of the night sky; I will be sure to share them with you when I get back.

I doubt that I will have excellent service in the hills, but I promise to keep a diary and tell you all about it when I get home. I am looking forward to early morning yoga and meditation overlooking the mountains. I believe the mountains and forest are my true home, because my soul has been yearning for a visit. Do you every feel like you have to go someplace, rather that place is the beach, or a park, or even a coffee shop, where you feel like your soul is at peace? Hiking in the mountains does that for me, and it’s been years since we have gone anyplace near a mountain. (Virginia was close, but we didn’t do any hiking due to the massive amount of sight-seeing we were doing.) Tim always takes every opportunity to point out that the Black Hills are hills and not mountains, but I will take what I can get.

If it was up to me, we would buy an RV, and travel forever.



I’ve always been a writer. Ever since I was a tween in middle school, attempting to write my own stories that rambled on FOREVER, into my teens, discovering poetry, and how extremely moving it can be. I stopped trying to write a fictional story long ago, but I still write poetry.

Poetry was my first love. I remember, when I was younger, I thought poetry was something that had to be ethereal or whimsical, but poetry can be plain or raw as well. It can describe the mundane or the magical. It can describe feelings of happiness, sadness, love and grief. I use poetry now to describe everything. I have decided to share some of that with you today. I hope you like it.


I am more than this skin

Dark clouds and rainy days within

I am more than these eyes

Wet and glistening with unshed battle cries

I am more than these thoughts

Screaming inside my mind

Whole worlds hidden behind what I am not

I am more than this galaxy

Spinning and flying free

I am unraveling


Last night, as the storm clouds gathered, my husband and I were discussing rather or not I should mow the lawn. I said, “I should do it now, before it rains.” He said, “Nah, wait until tomorrow; it’s going to rain.” I don’t think anyone needs much convincing to put off mowing the lawn, so I decided to wait. Little did I know, a storm was gathering in our home as well.

Let’s talk about parenting for just a minute. I love my kids. They are everything to me, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I think they are some of the best people I know. That being said, sometimes I hate being a parent. I hate having to fight with my children.

I, like all parents, am charged with a very specific job, – raise my children to grow into responsible, functional, compassionate, grateful, emotionally intelligent human beings, who contribute to society in a meaningful way, while obeying its laws. I take this responsibility seriously, sometimes, maybe, too seriously. I always try to make my decisions based on scientific research, and, what I feel, is best for my kids. When I make a decision, I am not going to change my mind. I have made that decisions for very sound reasons.

But children like to push buttons, and see how much they can get away with, even as they get older. One area where children especially like to push buttons is in the “time for bed” area. Do your children go straight to bed when you tell them too? If so, good for you! Please share your secret in the comments below… If not, join me while I have a little pity party for myself.

Our normal bedtime routine was interrupted last night by a twenty-minute begging session, that, I am ashamed to say, ended with me being a “crazy mom” and leaving the house to cool off. When I returned, my son was in bed, and I had an example to make. I went into his room, and asked for his forgiveness for yelling at him, and I told him how I was wrong for losing my temper, and that I shouldn’t have yelled. Most of the time, being the parent, is being the bigger person.

But, as the rain and then the hail begin to batter against my son’s window, and his tears of sadness turned into hugs of unconditional love, I realized that being a parent isn’t so bad, – most of the time. I could have ignored him, I could have explained to him why I was right and he was wrong. I could have pretended like it never happened. But, we all have to choose how we parent our kids, and I want my children to know that it’s alright to make mistakes, and even lose your temper, but it’s how you handle yourself after that truly speaks to your character.

This morning as I mowed the lawn, I reflected about last night’s storms. We all have storms to face in our lives, some figurative and some literal, but we can choose how we contend with them, and that makes all the difference.  As I watch the first rays of sun reflect against the dew on my freshly cut grass, I’m glad that I waited until it was sunny.