Smile. You’re alive.

[whilst paddling the Methow River last night:  it was rapture]

I was stressing about something a few weeks ago, I can’t remember what exactly…oh, it was probably the broken water pipe at our Idaho house.  The broken water pipe that had been broken for a month and a half (and wasn’t noticed by our friends who are living in our house), the broken pipe that sprayed approximately 120 000 cubic gallons of water into the foundation of our home (amazingly, there’s no damage to the house), the broken pipe that created a $650 water bill in the month of July.  Yeah.  That’s what I was stressing.  Fret not, Robert was miraculously boosting the Pocatello satellite smokejumper base at the time and was able to deal with the issue in person!  How’s that for providence?  I was so thankful I didn’t have to deal with the situation.  So thankful.

I was telling one of our best friends about the broken pipe and some other life stuff and at the end of a long dialogue he gifted me with these three, tiny words:

Smile.  We’re alive.

Thank you, Sam.

After receiving that text, I shut off my phone and walked into the Pasayten Wilderness of Northern Washington and I did smile and I was alive and I am alive and it is beautiful…and everything else I could generally say about life that is good and true and honest and courageous at any given moment welled up out of my heart onto the tip of my tongue.  Things like: God is always good, my heart is beating cosmic music that joins me with the rest of the planet and the galaxy and the universe, I am alone but I am not lonesome, I am tiny and important, these raspberries are delicious, the trout are leaping for joy and I’m going to catch them one by one…and so on and so forth…I said all those true things, spoke the words into thin air until I was filled up and surrounded once again with light instead of shadow.  Once you let a simple truth resonate in your spirit, play you like a horse hair bow plays a violin, the seeds of joy and gratitude grow like wildfire.

Lately, I’ve been saying those easy, steady words to my friends when I think they need to be reminded of the simplest truth…they are alive and life is beautiful.

I’m saying to you, today, right now:

Smile.  You’re alive.  And it’s beautiful.  Even I can see that from way over here.  Put on your high beams and shine your light.



  1. Providence indeed. I needed these words so much today, thank you, dearest Plume! I miss our missives, will write in person soon. xoxxoxoxooxx Cat

  2. Simone Turner says:

    Dear Jillian, these words at this moment. Thank you…Simone

  3. Been following your blog for quite a while… you are awesome and such an inspiration!

  4. Jillian, this pic really makes me smile a lot!!! 😀 you´re a bit clown!! hihi but seriously, this is a beautiful post… that´s the attitude!!


  5. Wonderful words!! It’s so easy to lose perspective. I had words spoken to me about 20 years ago that completely changed my perspective and still resonate with me today: “Where there is fear there is no faith, and where there is faith there is no fear.”
    I latched onto that sentence like a lifeline, and indeed it was one to me at the time.
    🙂 Peace to you! xx

  6. That is the only thought that has carried me through all summer…that + I am walking, I can drink coffee, I can actually feel tired because I have worked so much, I can actually be busy beyond …how real are those states of being. Anyhow, we too count on providence and a lot of help from above…for example, I had purchase the PIG mats before the refrigerator compressor blew, which blew a few other essentials in my lab…


  7. Jillian, love all of this. I’m turning my phone off and heading into the Wasatch range this evening.

  8. There are moments when I wish I could just press a “like” button on comments above. Plume, you are an inspiration, as well as the visitors posted before me. Thank you everyone.

    If I still lived in Pokey I would have loved to have helped out with your home & friends. Broken pipes are no fun-but you and your wise friend are right, smile, you’re alive.

  9. The power of words….They’re unraveling the knots and pangs of today. Thank you, dearest Jillian! x o

  10. It’s so easy to be caught up in the day to day hardships and BS, isn’t it? And isn’t it funny that in a blink of the eye you can turn your day straight around.

    Sam sounds like a wonderfully level headed friend. A real keeper.

  11. Thank you, for having the words and sharing them, just when I need them. Always, thank you.

  12. I woke up today praying for the strength and what do I see, but those 3 little words. Just what I needed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this.

  13. Ahhh, thank you. I, too, needed these words today. This week.
    It’s always a delight to shine a light on the shadows and watch them scatter. Every time I do it, I marvel at how long it’s taken me to do so.

  14. the reminders: bless you.
    and thank the heavens: i’m alive.


    [p.s. i think i just found the light….]

  15. wow, what an incredible post! I needed to read that. Thank you so much. 🙂

  16. I’m gonna do that.
    Smille just because I’m alive.
    Thanks 🙂

  17. I LOVE YOU!

  18. beautiful & well said friend.

  19. Thank you, I needed that 🙂

  20. Absolutely!! Amazing words and such a shiny happy picture!! xoxo

  21. amen, sister!!

  22. I often visit your blog for a clean perspective. This post begs me to ask “did you have a basement that filled with water?” 2years ago we had basement water & again this spring. Both were life disruptions, the 2nd worse since I knew how much work had to be done. Hundreds & hundreds of trips up & down the stairs while I silently chanted “one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, slow & steady wins the race”….& now it’s nearly back to normal. Incredible that all that water didn’t cause damage. Ironic that this happened with your husband a firefighter, where that water could extinguish fires had it been in the right place.
    Rain storms nearly cause me panic now.

    • No!
      But only because we don’t have a basement! Our house is set up on a 108 year old stone foundation — super old school. There’s a root cellar (where our water heater and furnace are located) with an outdoor entry beneath our house, and there are two crawl spaces on either side of the root cellar. The broken pipe was located UNDER our kitchen floor, on the inner side of the house foundation (under the house) in the crawlspace. Miraculously, all 120 000 cubic gallons of water shot straight into the ground under our house. Thankfully, the soil is very stony (old river bed) and the water just filtered down, straight into the river behind our house. We’re real lucky duckies.

  23. Leap sister, LEAP! Yours isn’t a blog, it’s a breath of fresh air, a puff of healing breeze, a homage to the Beautiful Outdoors. thank~you

  24. I love it! Life recently has thrown me for loop after loop. I figure it’s because I’m supposed to learn something that I’m just not picking up on.
    I have a funny joke for you:
    Why did the cowgirl get a dachshund?

    Because she wanted to get a long little doggie…

  25. jillian– these words!! i never dreamed the importance that they would carry for me until this past week!! i always find your messages timely in some way, but this message could not have been important for me to receive. i’m smiling– i’m alive!!

  26. Thanks for all these lovely missives!

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