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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Rainbows and Sunshine

My dear family and my dear friends will tell you that I am all Rainbows and Sunshine. And if I am being honest, they are right. It is not that I do not see the hard moments in life. Or that I am an internal optimist. When sad things happen, I see them for what they are. I just choose to alter my perspective to keep from being pulled down by the challenge. I try to rise to the occasion.

There are tough blows that come in life. There are nasty people that try to tear others down. There are small annoyances that we all must deal with. I have come face to face with my share of these things. But I figured out at an early age that I did not want the bad situations to define me. I wanted to be defined by my response to the tough situations.


One of the most frustrating days to day things for my dear husband is the pattern at which the lights in our nearby city turn red. He finds himself sitting unnecessary at lights or having gotten through one light only be suddenly stopped at the next. The lack of efficiency, wasted time, and wasted money on setting the lights can really get his him going. This does not bother me.

The fact that it does not bother me, does not help him. It is like looking at someone and saying, “calm down.” This never helps anyone. When I drive through the city, I do not even notice how many red lights I hit. I am grateful to be able to get to where I need to go. I enjoy the time in my car to have my mini-karaoke session. I am appreciative of the longer chat with my dear children as I know the time with them is going fast. I deliberately change my focus from the negative to the positive.


My dear daughter had her first Book Bee, and it did not go well. Her and her classmates read a collection of Golden Sower books. Their strategy was to have each person read just a couple of books and be the expert on that book. The day of the Book Bee when asked questions the team struggled for answers. My dear daughter was crushed as they were eliminated in the first round. As her little body was coiled up in my front seat sobbing, I decided it was time to teach her about wallowing.

It is okay when life is hard or unfair to have a small pity party. I asked her if she knew what wallowing was and she shook her head, no. I told her I was going to teach her. We were going to the store to get her favorite snack. We were going to home and get her favorite blankets and pillows. We were going to turn on her favorite show. When we got home, I set her all up on the couch and told her she had one episode of her show to feel all the awful feelings. But, after the show we would talk about those feelings and the good parts of her day.

When she was done with the episode we sat and talked. She told me all the reasons she was mad and sad. She told me about how hard she had worked, and still did not remember the answers. She was not upset with the teammates she was just upset. Then we talked about the rest of her day. And we talked about how that was only a part of it. We talked about her week and how that Book Bee was only one event of many. We talked about her month and how the Book Bee was only a moment in it. I then asked her to tell me what she did remember and loved about the stories.

Being Rainbows and Sunshine is not about glossing over or avoiding the hard moments. It is about seeing them for what they are. It is about not letting the tough times rule the bigger picture of our life. Set boundaries on the pity party with a plan to work through the situation.


It is common for me to be the venting post for people at home, social groups, or even at work. It is healthy to vent out your frustrations with a situation. Should you find yourself in the same situation listening to another person unload their thoughts, do not use what you hear as gossip fodder. This is a time where someone is dealing with their raw, unfiltered, and extreme thoughts can come out.

One day I noticed a lady, in the department I was working in, had taken a very tough call from a client. She had gone to a co-worker’s desk and rehashed the entire discussion. She was adding commentary as she unloaded. After about twenty minutes she moved to another co-worker’s desk and started all over. This time with a little less steam but still venting all the same. After another fifteen to twenty minutes, she came to my desk and asked, “Did you hear that call I just took?”

I explained I had. I told her we could talk about it, but I had a couple of rules.

  1. You can only vent your story to three people

  2. After you vent you must put the situation into a list of just the facts

  3. You had to look at just the facts and plan for what to do next

She was a bit surprised but agreed and sat down. She vented for just a little bit but then started to challenge rule two. She asked, “How you would state just the facts.” As she vented, I wrote facts on a piece of paper and showed her. It was a small list and she quickly saw how none of the rest of it really mattered.

We then talked about what she could do next to resolve the situation. Some of the suggestions were silly and made us laugh. Some of them were extreme. But we produced three options she could go back to her desk with.

It is okay to vent when you have a situation come along that seems bigger than you. Gaining support, sharing a bit of the burden, finding empathy in others - these are all healthy coping methods. But in the world of Rainbows and Sunshine you cannot let that situation take you under. You must find a way to rise above it.

There are tough lessons to learn in this life. Some of those lessons will shake your core. Some of those lessons will hurt down to your soul. It is important to see the annoyances, wallow, and vent. It is equally as important to consider your perspective, set boundaries, and create a plan forward.

So, my world is Rainbows and Sunshine. I am Rainbows and Sunshine. Not because of a veneer finish glossing over the problems. Because I choose to let my response to a situation define me. I rise.

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