Keys to Joy: #1

Wellness Wednesday Blog

After a nervous breakdown at age forty-three, I was left to reconstruct life as I had created it. As a working journalist, I chose a one-month joy project—a project that mercifully morphed into two life-altering years.

After two years, FIVE KEYS TO JOY emerged for me. Here is #1 (from the book Journey to Joy):

Key #1: Know (just one thing)

I know there is always a first step—the single one right before me. Not the twenty thousand that follow, or the decisions surrounding each, but this one single step in front of me.

I have learned to stop. I have learned to take the time—the time to know which direction I should go. It’s not based on where I want to end up. It’s based on my gut, my knowing self, my knowing insides that were created for the very purpose of leading me and herding me where I was always meant to go.

Just under the surface of what we think will come is what was always going to be.

It’s hard to detect, impossible at times. But, always, it is there. It’s in the genes that tell the cells to position themselves in such a way that the colour of eyes appear, that buds blossom and that hearts fit perfectly into the cozy caverns created for them.

I can only hear the whisper of what is to be when I stop to listen. And I ask the simple question, What do I want to do now?

Always there is an answer.


Buy the book

Hope …

Wellness Wednesday Blog

When I suffered my nervous breakdown eight years ago, I got a little note from a friend while in the hospital.

It wasn’t a long note, or an expensive note. It was a simple note. It said:

“You’re going to make it through this.”

I really, seriously didn’t believe this to be true at the time.

After a three-week stay in the hospital, I was home and still struggling.

(Excerpt from Journey to Joy, page 112) When I got home from the hospital … my husband asked what I needed. There were lots of perfectly good answers to this perfectly reasonable question: I needed sleep, support, counselling, and an entirely new and fearless way of viewing the world. But more than any of that, I needed reassurance.

“Just tell me it’s going to be okay,” I answered spontaneously.

He put his hand on the small of my back and whispered lovingly and gently, “It’s going to be okay.”

I took a cleansing breath, as if the whole world was falling profoundly into place, and stood there for a long time, knowing he had my back.

In the end…I’ve concluded that sometimes you just need a little hope. When you’re in the middle of depression, hope is what you don’t have, so look to those around you!

No words…


Last week, my blog post was about Adam Herold, the 16-year-old hockey player from my hometown who lost his life in the Humboldt bus crash on April 6. I received this message in reply.

“Thank you for this message. We lost our son Troy, daughter-in-law Carissa and our grandchildren Kael, Shea and Maks in a horrific car accident on June 29th. As difficult as it has been we try to be grateful for something each day and we cherish the time we had with our precious family. ❤️”                                       – Kelly Gasper

There are no words…not even I, a writer by profession, have words.

All I have is sympathy, and prayers, and the power to pass this message along so we can all witness the resilience of the human spirit.

I give thanks today for those who so openly share their sorrow, and their human-ness, yet retain their ability to be grateful.

Thank you Kelly—I will hug my family tighter today. I will not worry about homework being done, or the dishes being washed. I will simply be grateful.


Give thanks: What I learned from Russell Herold and J.J. Hunter


It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well.

But what about when they’re not?

A few weeks ago I had a conversation that changed the way I view gratitude.

I had been spending some time with Raelene and Russell Herold, who lost their 16-year-old son Adam in the Humboldt bus crash six months ago. It’s pretty hard to be grateful when these things happen. Adam’s parents are broken, his Grade 12 classmates are devastated and our community is still grieving deeply.

As I rode the combine with Russell, and talked about all the things that would not be and could not be, my heart sank. So many things that would never come to pass for Adam—the start of a school year, the start of a hockey season in the WHL and the beginning of a new season of life for a teenaged boy on his way to manhood.

Russell and I hashed over the unfairness and all of the pain.

But somewhere in the middle of that combine ride on that sunset-backed fall evening as the abundant wheat crop swayed in front of us, our conversation took a turn.

Russell talked about his recent conversation with JJ Hunter, a Shaunavon, Sask. grain farmer and a member of the Hunter Brothers country band. The crops in some parts of southwest Saskatchewan were not as good as those in our area so JJ and Russell had talked about what that would mean.

Just when I thought Russell would tell me how difficult and hard it would be for JJ and his family, he said this profound sentence that has changed my definition of ‘gratitude’:

‘We’re just thankful for what we DO HAVE,’ JJ told Russell.

What JJ still had was ‘some grain’ to put in the bin. Maybe it wasn’t a bumper crop, or maybe it wasn’t even enough to cover costs, but it was enough.

Because when you’re truly grateful, you see things as they are, not as they could be.

And while ‘as they are’ is not always perfect, or even good or even fair, there is always something to be grateful for—food on the table, freedom outside our doors, communities to offer support and friends to lift us up.

To buy Christalee Froese’s uplifting book, Journey to Joy, click on the square at the top of this page and go to ‘Buy Book’!


Russell Herold combining with passengers Christalee & Journey Froese


J.J. Hunter

Help! What if it’s a bad day?


I used to live my life in fear of a bad day.

Sometimes bad days were the result of major blows like the loss of a family pet, the stress of a bad day at work or the news of a catastrophic world crisis. Sometimes they were triggered by slightly troublesome events like a sick kid, a low bank account or a lost set of car keys.

The painful thing was … I used to ruin the perfectly good days worrying about the impending arrival of a single bad day.

After living 40-some years using this terrible coping strategy of doing everything in my power to avoid a bad day, I’ve learned to like bad days. Well, not so much ‘like’ them as ‘recognize their importance.’ This article in Mindfulmagazine perfectly captures what bad days have come to represent for me:

“It’s natural to long for a worry-free life, where you win the lottery, spend all your days with people you love, eat good food, and never want for anything. But if you were happy all the time, would you ever grow as a person?

“Sometimes, actually, negative experiences, negative emotions, produce some of the best outcomes,” says Benjamin Hardy, bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. “And so, avoiding negative, challenging, difficult emotions is probably one of the worst things a person can do.”

Hardy explains that people’s reluctance (to experiencing a bad day) is usually due to negative anticipation—we imagine something will be more painful or strenuous than it really is.

Whenever I get fearful of a bad day, I also go back and read one of my favourite books in the whole world. This book is about 100 words long and is written by Dr. Seuss. The book is called, My Many Coloured Days, and some of it goes like this:


Some days are yellow.

Some are blue.

On different days I’m different too. 


On Bright Red Days how good it feels

to be a horse and kick my heels!


Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.

Then I feel slow and low, low down.


Gray Day….Everything is gray.

I watch. But nothing moves today.


But it all turns out all right, you see.

And I go back to being…me.”

I used to live my life in fear of a bad day. But now I just see it as brown or gray and I have the best darned bad day I can have. I know the bright red days will reappear, and I’ll have learned important lessons from those bad days.





Tough-as-nails men break too

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday!

Starting today, I’ll Blog every Wednesday about a mental-health topic, from anxiety to depression to joy. Today it’s depression and men.

Tough-as-nails men break too!


Photo by Nathan Cowley on

I’m not too surprised when women my age can relate to my book Journey to Joy.

After all, the book deals with perfectionism, anxiety and self-criticism—things I think come easily to women. But I am surprised when grown men are in tears at my presentations, and when they tell me their own stories of emotional struggle.

The first of these large, strong men messaged me one day and told me of the hard time his son was having. I sent him my book. Turns out, both he and his son could relate as they are both survivors of tough times, extreme sadness and depression.

This tough-as-nails guy messaged back:

“We all go through it but are scared to talk about it. You have brought me out of my bubble. I’m not the big tough guy everyone thinks I am.”

The second man who struck me with his vulnerability is a six-foot-three RCMP officer. He was a complete stranger to me, having attended a book reading in B.C. this summer. Sitting in front of me with his broad shoulders, and his confident grin, I could not have anticipated what was to occur after the reading.

The imposing and muscular gentleman walked over to me and asked if he could buy a book and have it signed. I shooed him away, telling him that his wife had already purchased the book, so there was no need for him to get one. He looked me in the eye with a look that was so sincere it almost broke my heart and he said, ‘No, I’d like a book just for me. I know where you’ve been, because I’ve been there too.’

I looked him squarely in the eye, and I did something I’m not proud of … I giggled. I smacked him on the side of the arm (because I couldn’t reach his shoulder) and I giggled and said, ‘No you haven’t. You’re a big tough cop.”

He looked back, this time with glassy eyes, and I knew he and I understood each other. We had indeed both ‘been there’ — there at the point of such despair that the world didn’t seem welcoming any more.

And so, I sold him the book and I signed it for him. In return, he promised that one day he’d share what he’d been through with me.

The third lovely fellow sent his wife over to fetch me during a book event. His wife asked if I could come to their car in the parking lot because her husband wanted to talk to me. I don’t usually go with strangers to cars in parking lots, but this time I did.

The elderly man was waiting there by the back of an open van. I looked inside and I saw hundreds of hand-carved boxes he had made. He told me to pick one. I protested and said I couldn’t and asked what I could pay him. He looked me in the eye, with those glassy eyes, and he said, ‘I want you to have it for the gift you’ve given me. I suffer too and now I know I’m not alone.’

So, I continue to get out there and sell my book. Not because I want to make money, or because I’m after recognition, but simply because those women and those men—the ones with the glassy eyes—help me to know I’m not alone, and I never have been.

To order Journey to Joy ($24.99), click on ‘Shop’.

Photo by Nathan Cowley on

More JOY please …

It’s time for more joy … I know I could use a bit more in my life now that regular routines have kicked in and warm summer nights are fading away.

These events will focus on heart-and-soul issues to help you find your JOY! Email for tickets & info.

On Friday, September 28, Sisters’ Bistro will host an Evening of Joy complete with a Journey to Joy book reading, a three-course gourmet meal and a joy workshop. These evenings have proven to be ‘magical’ with lots of love, laughter … and chef Alli Flaman’s awesome desserts and cocktails! Tickets just $55 (appetizer trio, main course and dessert) if purchased by Sept. 15.

Indian Head Library Book Reading on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. FREE

The Urban Farmhouse in Saskatoon will play host to two Joy Workshops – one on Friday, Oct. 27 and a second on Saturday, Oct. 28. You’ve got to come out to see this incredible farm house, and to share some food, wine and joy! Tickets just $30.

Carlyle will host the first ‘SHOP FOR JOY’ event. Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 8 when King’s Department Store opens its doors for a Journey to Joy reading and INCREDIBLE draws for FREE stuff. All you have to do is choose an item in the store that brings you joy, from Manitoba Mukluks to Silver Jeans, and two lucky winners will get $100 off their joy item, while four others will get 50% off. This FREE event will feature wine, appetizers and retail therapy! FREE

Join me for … more JOY!

sunset beach people sunrise

Photo by Pixabay on

Journey to Joy sells out!

Christalee6Thank you everyone for making Journey to Joy a sellout in just three weeks.

The book is officially the fastest selling book in my publisher’s 20-year history.

“Christalee Froese’s Journey to Joy: The Transformation of a Life…21 Days at a Time is Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing’s fastest-selling title in the company’s 20-year history—the first print run of over 1,000 copies sold out within three weeks of its launch!                                                           — Heather Nickel, publisher, YNWP

The second shipment of books has arrived, so may the sharing begin again.

Thank you to all who have given the book such great reviews:

 “Thank you! 

I’ve had this book for one hour and have already gone back for all the copies in our local Cole’s bookstore. It speaks to all the joy and pain of existence. Thank you Christalee.”

—Indigo Reader

“I could not put this book down! 

This book is a must read for anyone who has experienced a lack of emotional balance in their life, from mild discontent right through to severe depression. The author paints a vivid picture of her own personal journey using honesty and humour. By the end of the book I felt empowered and, yes, even joyous. I do not often read a book more than once but I find myself going back to Journey to Joy to re-read parts of it that spoke to me!”

—Indigo Reader

I held the book!

IMG_3387Today I held a draft of my first book in my hands—a moment that was six years in the making. It’s off to Saskatoon for printing, but in three weeks, Journey to Joy will be here for all to hold.

Thank you to my amazing publisher Heather Nickel of Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing for her talent, commitment and confident support.

Thank you to Creative Saskatchewan for generously supporting books which they believe will have a market outside of the province. I am honoured and humbled to be a recipient of a Creative Industries Production grant ( Saskatchewan logoIMG_3392