I can do hard things.


Last night the kids had their first swim meet–first of the season, first ever. 

I wasn’t worried about the boys.

They’ve grown up around water and we’ve spent every summer since they were born, around and in water.

But Amalia–I had my concerns. She loves swimming, but she’s only five.

Since last summer she has insisted on swimming without help, without a flotation device. As adorable as her determination is, it doesn’t make up for the fact that when she swims it’s a quasi-doggy paddle. It looks like she’s about to sink and never come up again.

As a mother, it’s one of those, “Oh my goodness, she is going to drown,” moments, while at the same time thinking, “Look how happy & proud of herself she is!”kids-swim-meet

So last night, before Amalia’s first heat, my heart was racing.

Sure, she’d been attending swim practice for a few weeks, but she’s always had one on one help from one of the assistant coaches. I told the volunteer who was helping get Amalia ready for her heat (in hushed tones), “I’m not sure she can make it. She can barely swim.”

I was worried that she’d get halfway down the lane and just stop and sink.

Another mom who was there said: “Don’t worry, she’ll make it. She’ll be fine.”

So I took a deep breath and reassured myself that surely no child would be allowed to drown amongst hundreds of onlooking adults.


I got myself in position across the pool. Amalia was poised at the edge of the pool, crouched on the starting block.

The whistle blew.

Amalia leapt off her starting block. Looking something like an airman jumping from a plane, she plopped into the water, her legs & arms kicking furiously as soon as her body made contact.

And off she went.

She was fast.

She didn’t stop, she didn’t pause, she didn’t slow down. She just kept kicking and moving her little arms until she reached the other end.

She pulled herself out the pool, face beaming.


Lately I’ve been thinking about why we do hard things. 

And about how I know I can do hard things.

And about how I know my kids can do hard things.

And about how I know that hard things are a part of the good life.

Is getting out of debt hard? Yes.

Is losing weight hard? Yes.

Is being a kind & attentive parent hard? A lot of times, yes.


Is choosing to live a purpose-driven, productive, and compassionate life hard? Well…it’s not always easy.

But like my little Mali-may, who flew off the starting block, arms & legs spread like a flying squirrel plopping into the water with no trepidation, with confidence that she’d make it across that long, long pool–we can do hard things. 

We can do things that scare us, things that we’re not sure if we’re quite up to the task. Things that push us out of our comfort zones & cause us to stretch & grow in ways that we would otherwise not choose to experience.

you are capable // bring-joy.com #debtfree #goodlife

We can do hard things.

You can do hard things.

I can do hard things. 


  1. Alysa
    on June 13, 2014 at 10:44 pm said:

    Thank you for this.

  2. Lauren | Breathe & Nourish
    on June 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm said:

    Beautiful post. I love how willing she was to just go for it and that she succeeded! Rather than being scared and giving up before she even tried… Which is what I end up doing far too often. Thanks for the encouraging words as well! We can!

  3. Nancy
    on June 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm said:

    very very sweet and so inspiring for us all thank you xoxox

  4. Nancy
    on June 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm said:

    very very sweet and also inspiring xoxo

  5. MJ
    on June 11, 2014 at 10:40 am said:

    Love this. I had a similar parent moment this week. High fives to Amalia…she’s a great role model! xo, MJ

  6. Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness
    on June 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm said:

    This is so fantastic! Congrats to your daughter as well! 🙂

  7. lfwfv
    on June 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm said:

    Aw, love this. Such a sweet post 🙂

  8. Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent
    on June 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm said:

    Janae, you always know when to write the posts I need. We’re currently trying to sell our house and downsize to a smaller home; unfortunately, getting it ready is taking a lot of work (and money). When the pool guy calls asking for another $100 to fix the heater or the landscaper needs an extra day (and paycheck) to weed the flower beds, I will remind myself: Hard things are a part of the good life. I can do hard things. Thank you for your inspiration!

  9. Emma
    on June 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

    Beautiful post Janae! Children can definitely teach us an awful lot.
    Congrats to your little girl. I can’t believe she’s racing at only 5!

  10. Ellie
    on June 10, 2014 at 10:51 am said:

    I love this so much! This is my mantra in life. I sharpie the words “you can do hard things” on my wrists before long runs, half marathons, or big races and just glancing down keeps my legs moving.
    Knowing it’s hard, and that it takes effort and perseverance and some willpower, is what makes it so worthwhile. I love nothing more than that exhausted, happy “I did it” feeling after completing a race.

  11. Keri
    on June 10, 2014 at 9:31 am said:

    Oh my gosh. Yes. Hard things are a part of the good life! Oh to have confidence in the face of them like your Amalia. I’m usually okay with hard things, but approach them with boldness? Maybe one day–with lots of prayer to fuel me & with lots of lessons from children like her 🙂

    Beautiful post.