Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happier At Home...Part 4

Quick recap for folks just jumping in: I recently discovered author Gretchen Rubin and one of her books titled "Happier At Home"A few weeks ago I embarked on my own discovery using her book as my guide and blogging about it along the way.  Seeing what works for me and sharing it with you.....just in case it creates an aha! moment for you too.

In my last post I chatted about possessions in my Life & the role they play. I continue to be aware of them so they don't weigh me down & in fact look for the lightness & happy moments they create in my home. 

Next piece to my Happier At Home puzzle:

FAMILY: I consider us to be a pretty happy family of four. I believe we are "family strong", kind, loving & supportive of each other to the core.
That is truly a Blessing, which I give thanks for daily....but as a little additional piece, I look to make the day to day interactions just a bit more jovial. We all get caught up in the stresses of work, school, chores, house repairs etc. Life can make us a tad cranky and a bit less than pleasant to be around from time to time. It's not just my house is it?? 

Reading Happier At Home I was reminded of how a slight change of mindset can have a positive and happy effect in my home! My take away from the recent portion of my reading includes:

~ Share more positive acknowledgements for what I see that is done "right" (and by "right" I mean my there any other??)

~ Refrain from negative dialogue that just perpetuates negative energy

~ Stop and listen

~ Pick my battles

~ Keep in mind that what is a priority to me is not necessarily to the others  

~  Make efforts to create family time

~ Be mindful of what is going on in the lives of my loved ones...feel their pain and victories

Since I have been mindful of these tips, I do have to say there has been a bit of levity in my home. Now I can't be certain of the exact cause and effect...but I can say "I like the feeling" and the response I see it having on my fellow family members. So yes, I am delighted to share that, with creating an awareness and taking the initiative, things are feeling Happier At Home!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Part 3...Happier At Home

Quick recap: Recently I discovered author Gretchen Rubin. It was like finding a new friend who understood the thoughts in my head and has the amazing talent to sort them out and make sense of it all and then put them into words. A treasure to find!
I am setting out on my own discovery using her second project "Happier At Home" as my guide and blogging about it along the way.

*** The first area I am choosing to create more happiness within my home will be: 

POSSESSIONS: I am of the partial belief that "money can't buy happiness." Materialistic energy and the driving force it creates to "keep up with the Jones'" holds no value for me as far as living genuinely and authentically. 

Now that being said, I do believe that money can ease financial burdens and as a result ease stress and for me that = times of happiness!

I decided to tackle the possession portion of my Happier At Home journey, by going through, eliminating and passing along STUFF. My check list for what to hold or toss consists of asking myself: does it add value to my Life? Hold sentimental meaning? Do I have something else similar, so this is extra? Have I used it in a year? Can I live without it? Does it give me a good feeling when I see it?

Going through closets, cupboards and drawers as part of the purging portion of my possessions is going well and I must say there are happy moments associated with it already.

The part that is bringing me an abundance of joy is seeing the possessions I
Beautiful scroll work on wooden box
choose to have.....that give me THAT feeling. The ones that each time I see them make me smile, they feel good, add a special value in my Life. I truly believe these types of things are different for every person. For me it's a variety of things including a frame, a wooden box with a design that really appeals to me and a journal book that I have yet to start writing in, but love just the same.  

Other possession aspects that make me Happier At Home would have to include the recent changes to "summerize" our know "to make more summery", Now with white sheers in the windows, light aqua and blue bedding with sheets having a thread count that feels amazing, I get THAT feeling.... I kid you not each time I go into my room I love how it makes me feel! Simple changes big reward.

So my vote would have to be...if  you are looking to simplify the STUFF in your  home, add value to your Life through possessions that really matter...consider assessing your own belongings and see how they personally make you feel and be certain they provide a useful connection in your Life in order to have them around.

By reading Happier At Home  I am inspired to be more mindful of my possessions, evaluate them to be certain they hold the proper value in my Life, and be aware of what I purchase...all in my quest to be Happier At Home!

Wednesday post will include the next step of my Happier At Home journey: FAMILY

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happier At Home.... Part 2....


Quick recap: Recently I discovered author Gretchen Rubin. It was like finding a new friend who understood the thoughts in my head and has the amazing talent to sort them out and make sense of it all and then put them into words. A treasure to find!

I am setting out on my own discovery using her second project "Happier At Home" as my guide and blogging about it along the way.

"Happier At Home" welcomed me with sharing insight and ground work from her first project "The Happiness Project" that seems to pave the way for this leg of the journey. I'll back track and take on "The Happiness Project" sometime in the near future for sure.

With notebook and sticky notes in hand I began reading, in the hopes of discovering points of interest that I would put into practice and share here with my Dear Readers. Well, I was not disappointed. 

A point that I found interesting, that was included in the book..research and statistics indicate, that roughly  30 - 50% of happiness is genetically determined. Well, now that explains a lot, given the number of less then cheerful people I encounter on any give day. I will look at those folks differently now, knowing they need a little extra encouragement.

From the start, I realized the importance and direction of the book.It was important that I understood the value of identifying what "suits me"! It ( by "it" I mean "me") doesn't have to make sense to others, there is no need for me to feel I have to justify my happiness, where it takes me or the "why" of it all. 

I really like the way the author Gretchen Rubin states that idea with the simple words "SUITS ME". I like it! I will use it for myself  and also keep it's meaning in mind when recognizing it in others. When I'm not understanding the WHY of them, I will remember "it is what SUITS THEM." 

I know for me, I frequently feel that my happy personality is misinterpreted. I then read the next few pages and discovered something that felt like a high five coming out of the book towards me. It reads: "In general, happiness doesn't make people want to drink daiquiris on the beach: it makes them want to help rural villagers gain better access to clean water!"  YES......that makes so much sense to me!!!

As I completed the first chapter I was reminded of  the importance of staying true to ME and what I feel is best for my family. It is the foundation needed as I make my list of which areas within my home and personal Life I want to be happier in!

In my next post I will share my list and where it is taking me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happier At Home.....

One of the perks of working at a library is the numerous titles and materials that pass through my fingertips on any given shift. I must say however, sometimes the titles and topics go unnoticed after a while, which serves well for folks taking out Fifty Shades of Grey and feeling a tad embarrassed. Quick side story: one day an elderly gentlemen came in, I'm figuring 85 years plus and wanted help locating the second book in the 50 Shades series. He was not embarrassed at ALL. Said his wife was "hooked on the first one and he wanted to surprise her with the second"...I'm thinking HE may be in for a few surprises himself...too cute)

Back to the purpose of today's post...This week at work, I was checking back in a non fiction book titled "Happier At Home" by Gretchen Rubin. Not being familiar with it, my split second thought (without reading the whole cover) was perhaps it was pertaining to agoraphobia - staying home, fear of being in crowds. The playful cover sparked an interest in me so I took a closer look. I was wrong.

The book in fact is about a woman's 9 month quest to "make her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort and love!" Yes...I love that! Naturally I checked it out and got to thinking. How about I report back in upcoming blog posts, how my own quest goes with this book as my guide?

I feel the benefits I glean from this book, have potential to be great and I want to share that with you, in my efforts to help others "Connect With Your Life."

Imagine my excitement when I found out this author's first book was "The Happiness Project!". What? have I been under a rock? These two books are so ME, it's what I blog about! I am delighted to have discovered them.....and eager to share!

So here goes.....I'm opening the "Happier At Home" book and starting a new chapter in my own book of Life and sharing a piece of it with you!


Sharing My Experience of reading: "Happier At Home" Part 1

From the onset, this book provided an identifying feeling that drew me in. The author speaks of  "aiming to find happiness within her daily routine." For me, this daily routine piece is similar, whether it be because the frequency and opportunity to share happiness in my daily routine provides or the fact that, to me, what feels like larger than Life activities and travels overwhelms me and I keep those to a minimum. For now working on greater simplicity, love and happiness in my home feels ideal!

Author Gretchen Rubin shares these components that she learned during research for her Happiness Project  that benefit in this project as well:

"Accept myself, and expect more of myself.
Give myself limits to give myself freedom.
Make people happier by acknowledging that they're not feeling happy.
Plan ahead to be spontaneous: only with careful preparation do I feel carefree.
Accomplish more by working less.
Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.
It's very hard to make things easier.
My material desires have a spiritual aspect."

This list inspired me to be mindful of the various aspects that come into play with happiness. I must admit a couple of them don't make sense to me ....yet...but I am eager to read more and learn!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Cha' Bringin'.....

"Some people go through Life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late it's what they bring to the world that really counts."   
~ Anne of Green Gables

Yes! I will repeat this quote daily until it's practice becomes routine and I bring to my little part of the world the changes I want to see.

       More kindness ~ patience ~ compassion ~ tolerance ~ harmony

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom Handbook..........

Though it has been over 20 years since I first became a Mom, I remember those mixed feelings of excitement, apprehension and questioning like it was yesterday. Like many new Moms I had wished I was handed a "How to" handbook upon taking my newborn home from the hospital. On this Mother's Day afternoon, I got to thinking of the one piece of advice I would share in a handbook. Something that has held up to the test of ever bumpy the road has been.

Believe in yourself and parent from your heart!  With a baby, many people (family and strangers included) will provide (unsolicited) how to ways of doing things. Sure it's great to share with others and gather ideas and support, but with it, for me came pressure. However, it is helpful to think of it as a buffet table. Pick and choose what is best for you and your baby. Nurse or bottle feed??? Let a crying baby cry it out??? Let baby sleep in our bed???? Confidence builds as we follow our heart  It is not a time for you to be concerned with whether or not you are doing it right, according to others, or if judgement is being passed. It is time for your energy to go into you and your baby and doing so by believing in you.

As the children have grown and I am now the Mom of a teenager and a young adult, the same principle holds true. I may be the only Mom that doesn't allow certain things, (can't imagine it, but my 16 year old frequently reminds me I am) but listening to my heart still holds true today. Parenting by heart is certainly not always the easiest answer or the quickest resolving one, but it is following the path I have taken, for being the kind of Mom I want to be. Loving my boys deeply...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Choices and Paths.....

While looking for inspiration to write today's post,  I walked the yard and snapped pictures along the way. This one here seems to be representative of  Life to me.

I love having choices and paths in front of me, from which I can choose. The destination of each can be unknown,  filled with excitement and trepidation, that's for sure.  However,  it is truly the journey I am living for.  Life for me is made up of many components!   It is about the journey, all that I learn along the way, and certainly the moments that take my breath away.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cleaning House.....

A girl can dream, can't she?....

..and by house I think I ultimately mean my thoughts. I have found myself feverishly organizing, cleaning and passing along accumulated "stuff", almost in a nesting before I give birth kind of way. makes me wonder, because there is no baby THAT'S for sure. Perhaps I am about to give birth metaphorically speaking. Birth to a new creative idea/venture...a feed my soul kind of time..... Yes! I like it!!!

I'm intrigued and curious to the possibilities that clearing my thoughts will allow. It's Spring, things are new and certainly blooming. I have benefited in the past with simplifying things around me as a means of clearing my mind. I think it is time again. Time to listen and see what my messy closets are telling me.....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Pictures......Random Thoughts.....

Have been enjoying putting the yard back together after a very long winter. Finding this tin back on the arbor gate, brightens my day! I'm a quote girl. When I see words that make me think or sums up how I feel......I feel validated.

This hydrangea reminds me of an afternoon last summer when I was dashing around on errands and getting caught up in the rush. I took the time to take this picture, because it reminded me of the importance of "taking a breath" and enjoying the beauty around me. There is so much to see!

Some father and son bonding time to celebrate an awesome Dad turning 50. Here my three guys take I say a silent prayer from the ground. Highly recommend this very special treat from Balloon Fantasie of Rehoboth 

It's getting to be that Bohemian time of year for me. Long cotton skirts, earthy bracelets, Bob Marley tunes and let's not forget a henna tattoo....I'm due!

Love the beach...but not like in my teenage years. Now I prefer early morning or late day visits. Gone are the days of basking in the sun for hours and going back for more the next day. Older and wise I like to say.

19 years ago we purchased this 300 year old, run down farmhouse. Out back in one of the neglected gardens we found a few Siberian Iris' growing under an old Dogwood tree. We transplanted them to a sunny spot, in the hope of their multiplying. Well, multiply they did! All these years later, they now line our stone walls, white fence, gardens and shovelfuls have gone to family and friends. I love that one small action would have beautiful results for years to come!