Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Happiness.............

I've been thinking about sharing happiness and how it has the potential to gain momentum once we start sharing it with others!

While waiting in a long check out line a couple of days before Thanksgiving, I started chatting with an elderly women in front of me. She was telling me how she had to stop shopping before getting everything she needed, because she was exhausted. I asked if I could run and get anything else for her, but she declined?

Poor dear was wearing an oxygen mask and looked so fatigued.  When we got to the conveyor belt I asked her if it would be ok if I unloaded her cart for her. She grinned and said "oh dear that would make me so happy". I couldn't imagine her lifting the turkey out of the carriage...and I just loved being called "dear".  So she rested a moment while I unloaded her items. I told her "that's what we do, we all take care of each other and it works out".

While she was paying, she gave the cashier the sale flyer to ensure she would get the turkey for 48 cents a lb. Such a deal I chimed in "do you need the flyer to get that sale price"? In unison they replied "yes". I then grinned at my new friend and she said "take my flyer I'm done with it...... and now I'm helping you out"!

When it was my turn I started chatting with the cashier and asked if it was hard dealing with this Thanksgiving craze? She said "when customers are pleasant it makes all the difference". The gentlemen behind me then joined in and told a funny story that had us all chuckling.

The momentum of happiness indeed kicks in and can turn things around...... it's something I like being a part of it.

I walked out of the market thinking......full circle moment of happiness right there...our lives were touched!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Personal S.O.S.

When my boys were much younger and I was a "stay at home Mom" I was big into lists to organize my days. OK truth be told, to keep me sane. Each night before I went to bed I listed my intinerary for the next day...laundry, vacuum, errands etc. The most beneficial item I put on those lists were S.O.S !

Something Of Substance = Time for me, doing something that nurtures my soul !

It was tough to get myself to take the time without feeling guilty. I then began to realize that by my taking that time for Me, I was a happier Mom! And as the saying goes "Happy Mom... Happy House" !  (or wait did I make that up)??

Back then my Me time was very limited and my S.O.S. consisted of briefly enjoying a cup of tea and flipping through a magazine, while the boys napped. I cherished it ! As they got older, nap time started to wean and I needed a plan "B".  "B" as in Barney!  I would pop in a video and tell the boys "Mom needs her Black and Decker" time. They understood this concept....I told them I needed to recharge just like the dust buster, so I had energy to keep going!

Even now as they are 14 and 18,  I still make S.O.S time happen. It is redefined and consists of larger blocks of time that still nurture my soul. Actually this blog project is part of my Something Of Substance as well as attending meditation classes and reading books that inspire me. (the one I am reading now will most likely be included in my next post...good stuff)

The whole concept of S.O.S started so many years ago as a fleeting thought, but has made a positive difference in our family. Who knew?  It was so cute, I remember one morning many years ago, when I was reading my daily To Do list, my so very thoughtful husband had highlighted the S.O.S. !

Now when things are hectic in the house and I need to "recharge"  I give a "I'm heading upstairs for a bit" shout out. Sweetest thing was a few months ago after I said that one of my sons said. "Going to your haven Mom"?  I like that....nice progression from the Black and Decker era.

Never too late to start your own S.O.S time. It has amazing results...honest!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

'tis the season..............

December can be such a hectic month! For me the stress is toned down when I plan ahead and leave myself enough time to get things done. I truly want the month to be about heartfelt moments and traditions.

This weekend is about decorating and creating that "Christmasy" feel, to quote my 14 year old son. The same dear child who called to my attention today that "we all seem to get along better when the house is decorated for Christmas...see Mom you and I haven't argued once since the boxes started coming out"!

One tradition that has been a staple since the boys were very young begins the first day of December, "preparing Baby Jesus' bed with straw". (A tradition modified a bit from my own childhood)

We each do random acts of kindness through out our day (hold a door for some one, let a classmate have a turn on the swing, let someone get in front of us at the checkout line etc.) and then we join together at night and share what we did.

For many years we would pick a name of a family member in the home and have to secretly do kind acts for them. Turn down their bed, close the shades for the person who's job that was, take out the recycle bins for another family member etc.  For each kind act we do, we each place a piece of straw in the manger. Our mission is that all our good deeds provide a soft place for Baby Jesus on Christmas eve, when we have a procession and place him in his bed.

It's something that has remained a constant through out the Christmas seasons for us. We are tossing around ideas for this year...thinking of mixing it up a bit.

Whatever we end up doing this year, just knowing we are all working towards the same greater goal of wanting to touch the lives of others warms my heart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Little Thanks...................

Today while out on errands I made a mental note of things I am Thankful for....... this list is above and beyond my many blessings of family, friends, shelter and good health, those of which I give thanks for daily. These are the smaller things, that make me happy and I am grateful for as well ~

The wonderful smell of vanilla sugar soap, peppermint body lotion and cloves
The feel of the fleece blanket around me while I type this
Giggles of a toddler in the store this morning
The design frost makes on my windshield
Buying a little something for a friend,because when I saw it I thought of her
A text that makes me smile when I read it
The sound of my son in the attic as he cleans and organizes...YAY!
Literally chuckling out loud when I think about dinner conversation last night
Fitting time into each day to do even just a little something for me
Soup and crackers on this chilly day 
The feeling of contentment as I sit at a red light and take three deep breaths
"Blog Time"
Warm towels ready to be folded and the memory of when the boys were little, they would come running, so I could put the warmth on their smiling faces

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Grateful I am...................

"Feeling grateful towards someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things you appreciate and value into your life" Christaine Northrup

As we get closer to Thanksgiving my thoughts continue to focus on being grateful. The realization has occurred to me that perhaps we are not "given" more to be grateful for once we begin acknowledging, but rather, we become more aware and attune to all that we already have. Kind of like when you get a new car, you start noticing more of the same kind of car on the road.

We can't take for granted what we have or we will not see all that is right in front of us!

Now don't get me wrong....some days, or parts of them anyway are not so rosy and it's hard to feel grateful. When feeling frustrated or overwhelmed and struggling I've been known to go for the "well I'm grateful that my two feet are on the ground and I'm upright". Goodness knows that's a pretty darn important one right there!

Then when feeling less grumbly it becomes clear once again the blessings I have before me each and every day and that undoubtedly would be my loving family.....Think I'll hug them just a little bit longer tonight.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Centering My Chi....................

                                                          Zachery Holme

This photo is the image I use when I'm trying to recenter myself. 
Shoulders back and take a deep breath! By envisioning the precisely stacked rocks, I see myself straightening things out in my mind and creating the balance necessary to carry on at any given moment.

So I thought, with the Holidays quickly approaching and a great deal of potentially stressful moments ahead, I would share this image in the hopes that it can help someone else center their Chi.

Commit the image to memory and when you find yourself overwhelmed, picture the rocks and that my wish for you is to center yourself and live in the moment !

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Choose Happiness........

People have often asked me "are you always so happy"?  "Um no".... but I can say that more often than not, when interacting with folks I am on the pleasant "chipper" side. I like people!

I recently phoned a dear friend and when her daughter answered I asked "is your Mom there please"? My friend came on the phone and chuckled. She said when she asked her daughter who it was, her daughter replied "I don't know, but it's someone pretty happy". That in turn made me chuckle and I was reminded how easy it is to spread happiness! Now I could be totally wrong and maybe she was rolling her eyes, in that.... grown ups are so goofy kind of way....but I don't think so, she's a sweetie and apparently a very good judge of character too!

So just putting it out there.........who wants to join me in making a conscious effort towards spreading a little more happiness?

Thinking over this past week and a couple of the happy moments I encountered. Walking into the post office an elderly gentlemen held open the door and let me pass in front of him. I commented  "thank you, you are a dying breed" he broke out into the biggest grin and thanked me.

Dashing into the market to grab just a couple of things, and in my own world,  I passed an elderly women struggling to reach something on the top shelf. (I see an older person theme developing here)  I extended above her and grabbed what I needed and seriously I said "let me get that for you". She smiled such an appreciative smile that it warmed my heart and I smiled too. I mean c'mon who was I to deny her Nutella?

It's truly the simple things in our day to day encounters that we can add a dash of happiness to without much effort.

So who's with me??

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thank You Padre..................

"Be content to progress in slow steps until you have legs to run and wings in which to fly"....Padre Pio

Really wish I had read this quote earlier in the day. Driving home from errands this morning I was exhausted. Having recently had a cold that felt like my nose had been replaced with a brick...I had things I needed to do. The empty fridge was a good clue that marketing was a must for today. I was discouraged on my ride back because I wanted to feel "peppy" and keep going with things on my "to do" list.

So now I sit and ponder this thought of being content with my tired, sluggish body. I look for the good and realize.... why am I putting a deadline on how quickly I should feel strong and back to 100% ?? ......Think I feel myself perking up already!

We need to do away with this self imposed pressure/expectations, that have no redeeming qualities. In fact I think this pressure causes more harm than good and tilts the balance of life.

Quite honestly the "good" is the realization that life is ever changing and the easier I roll with it, the sweeter the ride will be! So now I curl up with a book and a cup of tea and take care of me....knowing there is food in the fridge.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giving Thanks......

November = Thanks, to me. Ok depending how you read that it may appear that I am thanking myself. Not my intent, but c'mon as Moms it does feel good to get that "thank you" shout out from our family, am I right? I am blessed that my kids and husband do say "Thanks for making dinner". I tend to think that is because I don't really "cook" and they ARE very grateful when there is a meal ready for them and more importantly they want to ensure another meal is on it's way tomorrow.

Now to the point of my post....Giving thanks comes in so many forms and it's something that doesn't take a great deal to partake in. To me the core of giving thanks is acknowledging whatever I consider to be a gift in my life. That may come in the form of prayer, meditation or directly to someone in my life.

        Each morning I recite this qoute that I have on my dresser mirror:
"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. You will have set in motion the ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more you will be given"! by Sarah Ban Breathnach..Simple Abundance

 It allows me time to take pause and recognize all I truly have. And my inventory of blessings at no time involves materialistic extras. Ok I am very grateful for my electric blanket, but I keep it all in perspective. 

The gratefullness in my heart creates kindness in my world, and that is something I want to share with others in the hopes that they will join me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Simply Smile......

 Contemplating this post I played around with a few ideas.....which translated means....started a few and quickly scrapped them. Nothing seemed just right. I then decided to read my emails and found today's quote from

" The source of a true smile is an awakened mind. Smiling helps you approach the day with gentleness and understanding". by Thich Nhat Hanh

 That's it I thought, I so believe in what this quote means. I'll write a brief post about the power of smiling....and then like some kind of divine verification out of my computer speakers came Nat King Cole's voice singing his rendition of Smile.

 Granted I was listening to Pandora Radio, it's not like the song appeared out of no where. But still that moment of fate was not lost on me. Once I begin to be aware of my surroundings and hear the whispers, so much opens up to me.

 OK so back to the power of smiling. Simply put I believe in it! Give this a time you are sitting at a red light waiting for it to turn green...simply smile! Notice there is this quick split second of feeling happy, which yes just as quickly can turn to.... what the heck am I doing? Doesn't bother me though, I'm always up for silly fun that has the potential of spreading a little joy. The real thrill comes when you receive a smile back. That's extra points actually. How many points will you get today??