Allyn Giddens, Editor-in-Chief of J.L.T.
Allyn Giddens has been an educator for 25 years. She is passionate about animals, writing, reading, and learning. She enjoys studying about intuition, animal communication, spirituality, and healing. Allyn studied Reiki, a form of energy healing, and became a Reiki Master. She volunteers with social therapy dogs and assists others who wish to work with their dogs. She also designs crystal and gemstone jewelry.
Online Technical & Marketing Strategist for J.L.T
Meg Getchel, daughter of Allyn Giddens, organizes, creates, and maintains the online technologies that power the Joyful Life Tools community. She is the chief strategist at Limelight Local. At Limelight Local she helps small businesses and authors utilize digital media and marketing to stay connected with their audience. Meg has been in the online marketing field for over 10 years and enjoys keeping up-to-date on the most effective digital marketing platforms including social media, search engine placement, email newsletters, website technology, mobile follow-up, and video marketing.
The journey that inspired the creation of J.L.T.
Most of us agree that life is a journey. What we often disagree about is whether the journey is a joyful one. Too often we put off what gives us joy for a later time, such as going on our next vacation, finding the perfect job or the perfect partner, or retiring. We shut off the whispers of our inner voice that nudge us along the way to want more for ourselves now, not later. These whispers nudge gently and if we ignore them, they prod us more strongly. These stronger prods often come in the form of wake-up calls which range from small ones to gigantic good, swift kicks in the rear. These times of illness, loss, and tragedy are the times that test us the most and when we find ourselves asking the question, “What is life all about?” If we don’t have our life tools in place, we must quickly find them because we can’t run away from these tough times even though we’d like to. We have to face them and go on.
In my early thirties I had two small children and was going through a divorce. I view this time as my first great wake-up call. It was not fun, but after the dust settled, I was so grateful for what the process had taught me. I was forced to develop survival skills and thankfully found enough strength in myself and those who loved me to continue on. I returned to school, got my teaching credential, and later met and married a remarkable man. I look back now and don’t know how I did it, but I do know that there were unexplainable events along the way. Just the right people and just the right situations came into my life exactly when I needed them. I remember at the time thinking how odd that was. Now, of course, I know that wasn’t odd at all.
Over the next twenty years, my family and I had our share of wake-up calls and responded and learned from each one. Life was good, but I was hearing those inner whispers. I think they began somewhere in my forties, but I didn’t know exactly how to answer them. I knew that voice inside me was trying to tell me something was missing in my life. I knew that I needed to add something to my life that fed my spirit and gave my life more meaning. It wasn’t until my early fifties, however, that I followed one of my lifelong passions of working with animals and began volunteering with one of my dogs doing social therapy work. That helped and I loved it, but I still found myself wanting more of something, but always saying “when I retire.” Everything became about “when I retire,” and then just days after my 54th birthday, I got my next life lesson.
In 2005 my husband died, and my world fell apart. I wondered how I would ever rebuild my life. For the first two months, I was too numb to hear the whispers of the past decade roaring in my ears, but when I awakened to the roar, it was deafening. While we’ve all had times when we’ve questioned what is life and what is death, for me it was now imperative that I find those answers. I didn’t know how I would get them, but I knew I had to have them. I set an intention to do just that.
What I didn’t understand then was that by setting the intention and taking the first steps, the universe would help me just as it had twenty years before when I’d had to rebuild my life. Once again the people, events, and books I needed came into my life with perfect timing. I was propelled into an unexpected journey of discovery. I just had to trust and be open to the opportunities. I found myself on the most wondrous journey of my lifetime, discovering a world I never knew existed, a world of intuition, energy, healing, and spirituality.
In the seven years since losing my husband, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to meet the most wonderful people, to read the most inspiring books, to write a book myself, and to learn to live a joyful life. This does not mean that I’m happy every moment of every day because life still has its bumps, both big and small. What it does mean is that I have a bag of tools I can pull from when I need help keeping my life in balance and finding joy in each day. Learning to use these life tools is a process. I am still and always will be learning how to use them in a way that works best for me, and I am always discovering new ones. It’s all part of the journey.