I listened to Jamie Ivey's Happy Half Hour with Jamie Golden today.

Sidenote: if you don't listen to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, you're missing out on some quality girl talk. Go be a fly on the wall of her conversations and laugh and cry with her and her guests. I started listening to her a year ago, and I'm almost to her 100th episode. Stop judging me. You'll do it, too.

Jamie Ivey always asks her Half-Hour guests what makes them successful. Since she's typically interviewing women who are really successful in their line of work, or they're just killing it as a supermom, I love hearing this section of the podcast. Typically, women tell about an app that keeps them on track or a habit they've implemented.

Jamie Golden's response, however, totally surprised me. She talked about how her friends previously. referred to her as "Event Jamie" when she was putting on big events, and that was a scary side of Jamie. Basically, she was a witch when she was "Event Jamie."

But, she decided she didn't want to be that anymore, so she started reading through Philippians and surrounded herself with positive people.

So, the secret to success for Jamie Golden is, essentially, her optimism.

I immediately thought of my little sister Alyssa

Click her name and go to her instagram page to see what a happy, loving, wonderful creature my baby sister is. Do it right now and then come back.

Alyssa moved in with Aaron and me last September, wanting to be an intern under Aaron's leadership, and she's been living here, in our 2 bedroom, one bathroom house, ever since.

Alyssa's really an easy roommate, but, personally, it's been a really hard year.

This month, August, will be the first month Aaron and I have not flown somewhere. Some of those trips have been planned, anticipated, and celebrated, but some of those trips have been filled with pain, hurt, and confusion. Aaron and I have lost two great friends in just this year, and our lives, our ministry, our day-to-days have been overshadowed by that loss. 

But Alyssa has been the bright, shining light Aaron and I needed.

Aaron and I are realists, and we can very easily get down in our cynicism, but Alyssa, whose middle name is literally Joy--props to mom and dad on that one--has flooded our house with laughter and positivity and hope, which has caused us to see life in a totally different way.

The crazy thing is that Alyssa has endured some of the same tragedy we've dealt with in addition to trying to figure out what her life looks like, and striving for the best future God has for her. All those things are very heavy, but she still has so much joy.  

Alyssa and I weren't friends when we were younger, probably because I was selfish and wanted to hang out with the older kids, and we were always in very different phases of life. We are six years apart, and we have a sister in between us, so I always just stuck Alyssa with my sister Erin.

However, when I went to college, I talked about and introduced Alyssa to my friends by telling them I wanted to grow up to be just like her. And it's still true.

Here I am, 10 years later, watching my little sister live out the life she's always wanted, pursuing her dreams, even though they're scary and big and heavy, and she has the most joy that I could ever imagine. 

And I still want to be just like her when I grow up.

Who in your life brings optimism to the table for you? Who doesn't allow you to stay down in your hurt when life gets tough?

We all need that person. And if you don't have an Alyssa Joy in your life, you need to ask God to send one to you or befriend that person who walks in the room shining light from head to toe. 

I promise you won't regret it. 

Jessica LittleComment