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LEAN INTO JOY!

In a world where recent laws and regulations have targeted and persecuted the LGBTQIA+ community, finding joy may seem like an insurmountable task. However, it is precisely during such times of adversity that we must hold onto joy, nurture it, and let it shine brighter than ever before.

The Wanderoo Lodge & Gravel Bar (formerly The Joy Motel)

Each June, all across the globe, the spirit of Pride is celebrated. Yep, even here in lil'ol'Eureka Springs, Arkansas, our thriving community of about 2500 (year round) residents, we celebrate the power of our diversity and how being as diverse as we are contributes to our thriving community!


In addition to fun things happening in and around town in the month of June, each April, August and October, we organize events, shows and activities specifically around the theme of Diversity Weekend. Please take a moment to learn more about these three celebration weekends here in Eureka Springs at https://www.facebook.com/outineurekasprings/


All through this blog, you will see various posts about joy, www.iloveureka.com is my personal place to influence joy-spotting and to bring more awareness to the joy that is already all around us every day.

Our beautiful home, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is brimming with what I like to call "aesthetics of joy."
John-Michael & Jeff

In a society that seeks to suppress our voices and diminish our worth with so much anti-LGBTQIA+ vitriol, embracing joy becomes something else unexpectedly - an act of resistance.


By simply celebrating who we are, cultivating happiness, and radiating positivity, we challenge the oppressive narratives that surround us in our daily life experiences.


When we lean into joy, we tap into our inner strength, enabling us to persevere through difficult times.


Joy empowers us to face adversity head-on, reminding us of the resilience within ourselves, with those we love and in our community of neighbors and friends. Let's explore some exceptional ways we can lean into joy, celebrate our identities and fostering a sense of unity, love, and resilience.


1. Create Safe Spaces: One exceptional way to lean into joy during Pride Month is by establishing safe spaces where LGBTQIA+ individuals can freely express themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Ethan and David

While Eureka Springs, in and of itself, is a safe space that has been created by the townspeople of this diverse community, all over town, there is much to see, do and experience. From the community center to events, these spaces nurture joy and allow for authentic connections to flourish. David and Ethan, at the Wanderoo Lodge and Gravel Bar came to Eureka Springs from Dallas, TX with a clear vision and started a non-profit called safetobe.org - and it is fitting that the site of their lodge and bar was formerly known as The Joy Motel.


2. Artistic Expression: Art is synonymous to Eureka Springs and has always been a powerful means of communication and celebration. Engaging in various art forms such as painting, writing, music, or theater can provide solace, catharsis, and joy. Organizing art exhibitions, poetry readings, or theatrical performances can become exceptional platforms for self-expression during Pride Month.

Adventure Art

Check out Adventure Art. One of our newest, coolest art studios in town.


3. Community Support and Activism: Coming together as a community to support and uplift one another is an exceptional way to lean into joy. By organizing fundraisers, volunteering at local charities, or participating in advocacy campaigns, we can channel our energy into creating positive change while experiencing the joy that comes from solidarity.


Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation is sponsoring JAMBOREEKA! All welcome.


4. Self-Care and Wellness: Taking care of ourselves and fostering personal joy, both physically and emotionally, is crucial. Engaging in self-care practices such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and spending time in nature can rejuvenate our spirits and strengthen our capacity for more joy. One of the five core values of www.iloveureka.com is LIVING WELL. From the landing page, simply use the drop down bar to pull all posts in this core category.

Jeff, John-Michael, Sophia and Annalea

5. Build Strong Connections: Forming meaningful connections with friends, chosen families, and allies can provide a sense of belonging and amplify our joy. Pride Month offers opportunities to engage in social events, support groups, and discussions that foster understanding, empathy, and love.


6. Celebrate Queer History and Achievements: By learning about the struggles and accomplishments of marginalized communities throughout history, we gain a deeper appreciation for our shared heritage. Celebrating the achievements of individuals and highlighting their contributions to society can inspire joy and pride in our identities.

Life is amazing! Yet, 2023 feels like an environment of persecution, especially when we hear of the news breaking in places like Uganda, Florida, Tennessee, and beyond...


In times like these, leaning into joy becomes vital. Leaning into joy and celebrating who you are and who you love is an act of rebellion and resilience. Pride Month serves as a reminder of the progress we have made and the work that still lies ahead. By embracing joy, fostering unity, and celebrating our authentic selves, we can overcome adversity and cultivate a world where love and acceptance thrive. As we embark on this journey during Pride Month and onward, please remember that joy has the power to heal, uplift, and transform both ourselves and the world around us. ❤️

My partner Jeff and I live a joyful life in Eureka Springs!

With joy in my heart,

John-Michael Scurio

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