I Want You to Be Happy.

While we’re busy living and doing all this stuff, let’s not forget our own souls. We are the caretakers of our communities and we have to be strong ourselves in order to keep on giving and loving and nurturing all those in our care.  I write daily to share my journey and continually changing pursuit of happiness so that just maybe we’ll connect and share ideas and inspire one another. Maybe one post or idea will make you laugh or smile or feel happy and that’s good enough for me.

I was inspired today by this blog post from Glennon over at Momastery.  Click here to read: Glennon’s blog link.

Even though it has a Christian spin on it, it still relates to all souls.  We need to find our joy and dance, just because we can and our joy fills our kids with joy.  They want us to be happy more than anything else.  And sometimes we forget that while we’re trying to do it all.

Carve out time for you, even if you have to hide in the bathroom for five minutes or sneak away to a fun store when you’re “supposed” to be grocery shopping.

Today I found joy by walking with Elizabeth and her baby before the rain came. The dishes and laundry waited. And we got 2000+ more steps in and quality girl time to chat and catch up.

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Look at this pretty plant we found on our walk. I’ve never seen anything like it. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I found joy by saying yes to lunch with Kelly, as we have been trying to get together and to be spontaneous and today was the day. My girlfriends make life sweeter.

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The papers and piles waited too, and they didn’t make me grumpy.

I smiled and felt joy watching Charlie at his drum lesson today and was so thankful the teacher was patient and kind and good at his job. His first lesson was: Be respectful. The second lesson was: Play bold. Make big mistakes. And the rest of the lesson just flowed too. I only wished I had sticks in my hand too.

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I laughed with Juliana at the table before we headed out for our 5th round trip today, running to and from here and there. We laughed so hard, just being silly in between making dinner and finally getting the house back in order.

The laundry got done. The dishes got done. And joy was discovered despite it all. Ha!

How did you get up and dance today? What did you eat? Did you share a meal with someone? Be. Happy.

Live it up. Laugh out loud. Love yourself.

xo

 

Sabbath

Do you ever rest? Just take a day off with no plans and just rest and do whatever you feel like doing without any obligations?

Today was like that and I have to say I actually liked it more than I thought I would.  I don’t actually sit still, but not having a scheduled day to me is like rest.

In our fast paced society, I think it’s important that we’re mindful to slow down. And the funny thing is that as I slowed down this weekend, the longer the weekend actually felt.  Because we weren’t in a rush, there was time. Imagine that. Time for walks. Time for conversations. Time for a slow dinner shared with friends.

I sat on the couch and drank my first cup of coffee alone with the newspaper and enjoyed the quiet morning. Soon Jeff came to join me and Juliana followed.  She asked for us to go to church and how could I say no, even though I really wanted to stay planted on the couch. We got the boys up, ate breakfast and were out the door 45 minutes later. Going to church for me is sometimes like getting going to exercise. I don’t always want to do it, but never regret it once I’m there. I think we’re supposed to keep moving forward and doing what’s right, not what’s easy and there we find happiness. Do you agree? Going to church for me is a dedicated hour to sit still and hold hands with my husband and to admire my children and to be thankful. I like this feeling.

After church we went to ran errands and Charlie had baseball practice.  Jeff and I escaped for a walk downtown and to visit the local bookstore. I’m so glad we still have a local bookstore, as most of the shops have gone away. I love touching books and browsing the different categories, being curious about what’s new and interesting.  I had read about a labyrinth near the train station and we walked over to check it out. I walked/ran a bit of it and would like to go back another day to actually walk the entire thing, as I’ve never done that before and hear that it can be quite peaceful.
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We had to get back in time to pick up Charlie from the field. While we were waiting, Jeff and I read from his new book he discovered at the bookstore:  Amsterdam, A History of  the World’s Most Liberal City.  The first few pages were enticing to me as I’m curious about the art of story telling and what makes a story compelling and interesting and keeps the reader engaged.  I want to learn more about this craft and to become a better writer.  I’m still learning.

Do you remember the fitbit I told you about? Well, the thing is still motivating me to keep on moving forward, a central theme in life I think. I was still only at 7,000 steps after our walk around downtown, so when we got home again, instead of cleaning, I went for a 3+ mile walk around the neighborhood. On my walk, I noticed that all the trees now have leaves again.  Winter is officially over and spring is definitely here. I love watching the seasons change and the seeing the new growth.

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I’m happy to report that now at the end of the day, I walked 12,000+ steps, which is the equivalent of 5+ miles.  I think exercise plays an important part in the pursuit of happiness too… don’t you?  I definitely felt happy (ever) after.  😉

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When I got back, I tagged along with Jeff and Charlie as they were running out to the store and I had to pick up a couple things for dinner. While at the store, I came across this magazine:  live happy.

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I can’t believe there is actually a magazine on my favorite topic. Who knew?

We ended the day with dinner with friends and enjoyed conversation and great food.  Life is good.  I hope you had a good day and are rested and ready for the new week.

live well. rest. be happy.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing Down Saturday

The rain came today and baseball was cancelled. This made me so happy. I like not being busy just as much as I love running around.

Instead of watching Charlie’s game, all five of us gathered on the couch  to watch Saving Mr. Banks. I loved this movie and I loved being all snuggled together eating popcorn and snacks and just relaxing on the couch with the shutters closed during the middle of the day. It felt like we were being sneaky and that we should be busy doing something else. But I’m trying to slow down and to not be so busy and I must say I love it, despite the initial anxiety I feel.  The movie ended and we had 30 minutes to get ready before our friends arrived for dinner. Everything worked out well and dinner and our company was fabulous.

I made crepes this morning with the kids and played tennis with Juliana before the rain came. This made me happy. Afterwards we went shopping for gluten free items as we’re trying this new way of eating to help Juliana with her joint issues and to help me be supportive of her and hopefully lose a few pounds. I had fun shopping with her, having her share with me everything she found interesting. It took me a few minutes to be patient with this, as I was busy exploring new items too, but once I relaxed and gave in to the interruptions, I felt thankful and grateful that she wanted to be with me.  She is amazing and I’m so lucky to have time to spend with her.

Jeff smoked a beef brisket on the smoker for 8 hours today. He made his own BBQ sauce too. The entire house and neighborhood smelled mouthwatering delicious.  I love that he loves to cook with me.

Life is good. Today was great and I am thankful.  How was your day? What did you do that was fun and enjoyable? Hopefully you had some time to relax and just enjoy all that is good. 

xoxo

Friday Night Fun

What do you like to do on a Friday night?

My family likes to stay home. The boys especially look forward to playing video games as they’re not allowed to play during the week, so as soon as the weekend comes, they want to be hanging out with friends and playing Minecraft. I don’t understand the addiction to this game with Atari like graphics.  I like that it’s at least creative and collaborative and has some design components to it.

I think the weeks are so busy with homework and sports and events, that what they really want to do is just relax. I don’t blame them. I am starting to adapt to this idea of resting and just being home, even though my natural tendency and desire is to think and plan where we are going out to eat and who we are going to see and what we’re going to do.

So instead, this morning I asked Jeff for an idea about what to make for dinner instead of going out. He suggested shish kabobs and then I had a plan and something to look forward to.  I gathered the ingredients this morning after tennis and marinated chicken chunks in a yogurt, lemon, feta, oregano, and rosemary marinade for several hours.  I cut up peppers and onions and threaded the pieces on the skewers and Jeff grilled for us when he got home. I found a rice recipe that included butter, turmeric, cumin, garlic, onions, apricots, and almonds. It was so delicious and something new.  I actually had fun trying new recipes and just being home without rushing out again, even though I had plans to do so after dinner.  Dinner was awesome, but I sure wish we didn’t have to do the cleanup part. 

CJ needed some help with some school work and Juliana was out at an event, and by the time we were done helping and settling everyone, I was done and exhausted from a busy week.  I am happy to be sitting on the couch and watching a movie, listening to Juliana talk on the phone with her friends and knowing the boys are safe and sound in their rooms, probably playing Minecraft again. 

I am appreciating these little moments and I’m enjoying this process of slowing down and not feeling like I have to do everything. I think I’m going to like this rooted feeling and am considering leaving the wanderlust for another year, if I can. 

How do you like spending a Friday night?  Hope you’re having fun and enjoy a slower pace too.  TGIF

 

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Still life.

Love This Life

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This is what is waiting for me as I’ve been busy living it up this week. I decided not to worry about the piles of laundry and emails and papers so that I could enjoy the present moments with the kids and with my friends and Jeff. Now I’m procrastinating, but I swear I’ll catch up by tomorrow before Michele shows up! 🙂

Life is good despite the piles of stuff. Live it up, friends and don’t worry, be happy.

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Volunteering

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How many of you volunteer?  

How do you like to volunteer?

I’ve been volunteering for many years now and as I go, I’m learning what I like and don’t like. 

I love being an individual contributor more than I like managing teams of volunteers. For example, I liked being the head coach of a team and working with one assistant coach. I also like helping someone else who is in charge and being part of a team. I prefer the support role vs. the leader role, even though I can do both.  

Today I volunteered to be a chaperone on Charlie’s field trip and I loved it. I loved having 4 kids to watch over and guide and I loved supporting Charlie’s class and sharing the morning with him.

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This is an ideal way of volunteering.

Yesterday I volunteered at our thrift store, helping to sort the clothing donations and I loved this too. I loved having a specific task to do, and talking with the manager as we worked side by side. I like greeting the people making donations and I liked being part of our philanthropic organization.

Tonight I volunteered at our church, hosting a dinner banquet for 160 people.

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This was a bit more challenging for me and out of my comfort zone.

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Every time I work outside of my comfort zone though, I learn and grow and always realize things typically turn out great, even when your fearful of failing. I learned how to work in an industrial kitchen. I learned to let go and trust others. I learned to be flexible and I learned to have fun while making new friends. And I had fun creating something new that others enjoyed.

Volunteering gives us an opportunity to work side by side with others, creating good for society. I do enjoy many aspects of volunteering and am discovering my strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s good to give and I hope to give more in the areas I’m good at. How about you?  

Go out and serve others. It’s good for them and it’s good for you!

Namaste. 

 

Does Your Mind Ever Get in the Way?

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Isn’t this a good question? Made you think, huh?  

My mind never shuts off, but I try to ignore it (sometimes) when I can.  My favorite times are when I get lost in laughter and am not thinking about how to solve problems or to coordinate schedules. Some of the ways I turn my mind off are playing cards and mindless games, where you don’t have to really think and the games start and end quickly. Tennis isn’t a mindless game, so that doesn’t really count, and I must admit my mind does wander on the tennis court when I’m supposed to be strategizing and planning and being focused.  Maybe I could mix some yoga into my tennis – like the breathing part to stay focused. Do you think that would work?

Speaking of yoga, yoga is the other place I can turn my mind off after a few minutes of practice. I love vinyasa/ flow yoga that keeps my body moving and my breathe flowing with my movements. When I’m in the groove, and I focus on my breathing, I can turn my mind off and find inner peace too.  Does this work for you?  I never leave a practice wishing I wasn’t there or wishing I was someplace else and I leave feeling good.  

Today in yoga class I was able to hold an arm balance move that I’ve been trying to nail for weeks. I was so excited because I’ve been so close and not able to do until today. It’s the little things that bring joy. I wouldn’t say I’m good at it yet, but I did balance on my hands and held the position for a few seconds, longer than I have before and it made me really happy and wanting to try it again.

The third place that I love is the beach. I love the vastness of the ocean, the crashing and ebbing and flowing of the waves, the sunshine, and water and just being there. I haven’t taken my paddle board out since I’ve returned to California, but this is another way I like to turn my mind off.

Yesterday I was feeling stressed and my mind wouldn’t shut off. Typically I am happy, but some days my mind tends to stay in that negative space longer than I would like or feel is reasonable and it agitates me.  I want to have an arsenal of ideas and strategies to use when I start to feel down and I so I’m creating a list. Yesterday, I decided to hop on the StairMaster and sweat it out. That worked!  I was much happier and cleared my mind by focusing on climbing 4 miles!

I have a running To DO list on my phone, and at the top of my list I’ve listed seven reminders and thoughts that are important to me to consider before I start actually doing anything. I’m hoping this list helps me to prioritize my thoughts and keep my mind focused on my personal priorities. But first, I have to remember to even look at it! That would help.  I’ll let you know if it works. What would be on your list? 

That’s enough to think about for one night. It’s time to rest.  And as I was writing this, an alert popped up wishing me a happy 2nd anniversary. I’ve been blogging daily for 2 years today! Thanks for sharing the journey – I’m glad you’re here with me.  😉