Category Archives: Happiness

11 things I can’t live without

So I thought I’d have a little fun with lists again. It’s been a while. I could go with the obvious things that I truly could not exist without, like air, water, a beating, healthy heart-but where’s the fun in that?

Instead I’m going to focus on those things, excluding people, because people are not technically things. Duh.

Without any further ado…..here are the things I can’t live without I need to function in order to be the best version of myself.

#1: Coffee. Those 2 cups of strong black coffee with a generous splash of half and half,  a teaspoon (give or take) of Truvia, with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top is the fuel in my my personal gas tank.

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Me, upon waking each morning.

#2.Our personal computer. This blog wouldn’t exist without it.

#3. My DVR service. One of the best inventions in the last century, IMHO. I can tape whatever show or movie I fancy and watch it at my leisure. Fast forwarding through those pesky commercials is an added bonus.

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A portion of what I have saved on my DVR. Need to watch these asap!

#4. Zoloft. Anxiety, be gone!

#5. My heating pad. I have bursitis, primarily in my right hip. God only knows why. I turn on that puppy when I’m cozied up with Hubs watching t.v. at night. It relaxes and loosens my hip muscle and allows me to sleep comfortably in my preferred position, which is of course on my right side.

#6. Books. Since my “gap year” began, in July of 2016, I have had the blessing of time to read truly great ones. They have taught me lessons (about omens in Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist”). They have entertained me, like Amy Schumer’s “Girl with the Back Tattoo”. They have delighted me, like Amy Krause Rosenthal’s “Textbook Amy Krause Rosenthal”. Even once paid employment is part of my life again, I fully intend to continue reading.

#7. My crockpot. One can make some seriously delicious meals in these with minimal effort. And the way the house smells when I’ve got honey garlic chicken (like today) in that wonderful vessel is intoxicating.

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#8. Since I’m talking about smells, I must include my love of candles. All kinds of them. Like the apple basil ones I recently got. Or the “home and heart” soy square candles that pop into pretty night-light thingamabobs (see above). Or the honeysuckle scented candle I got at World Market several months ago. I have candles lit every night whilst sitting on my heating pad.

#9. Post it notes and colorful pens. I am a writer, after all. Writing ideas randomly pop into my head when I’m not feeling motivated to haul my butt upstairs to our office to type them into a draft. And picking a fun colored pen makes me happy, like when I was in kindergarten and opened up a big box of crayons, delighting in the variety of colors I had to choose from.

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#10. My yoga mat. Ok, let me be clear-I am not (at least not yet) a yoga gal. I like using it when I’m doing my morning stretches and other floor exercises because our house has almost zero carpet and my old-ish body appreciates that little extra padding.

#11. Music. Best therapy ever. ‘Nuff said.

1 Mantra, 7 ways

Call me crazy, but I believe in the power of a good mantra. When you have one (or two or 16) that you connect with, not just in your mind, but in your heart and soul, you have an ability to focus on what’s most important to you.

KISS.

This is my most used and helpful mantra. What I think is especially fabulous about it is just how ridiculously adaptable it is.

Many of you already are aware of the  translation of this acronym as “Keep It Simple Stupid”. That was how I glommed onto it initially. You see,  I have a fantastic ability to overthink everything in my life-from what I should have said to so and so, to what I should wear to church on Sunday, to what kind of part time job I should seek. Geez, if only overthinking was a skill I could get paid for. I wonder how much I could get an hour for that? Perhaps it’d be a salaried position? Maybe I could get paid extra for not taking health insurance as I can stay on Hubs plan? Okay, there I go again. That was not useful. Deep breath….ahhhh…KISS…..

Okay, I’m good.

Other ways I use the mantra KISS:

Note: I have determined that I will refer to the last “S” in KISS as “stupid” very sparingly. Because I think it’s important to be kind to oneself.

Keep it silly, sister. Because I firmly adhere to the notion that in order to have a successful, meaningful, and happy life, one should not take anything too seriously. Or anyone, for that matter.

Keep it specific, sister. This one came to me while I was using my wicked crafting skills  creative energy to put together my very first vision board. I firmly believe that having a physical picture of what you want in your life increases the chances of it becoming reality. For instance, instead of affixing a picture of, say, a wine bottle or grapes to my vision board,  I affixed a picture of Napa Valley because that is a place I very much wish to visit with Hubs, asap. Seeing it every day will keep it fresh in my mind, which is good because, I am 50.

Keep it sincere, sister. Bottom line-I’m just going to be me. I will continue to write (and live) with my heart in the right place. Which happens to be on my sleeve.

Keep it succinct, stupid. Yes, I know this sounds super boring. But not nearly as boring as it would be for you, dear patient readers (or anyone I am conversing with in real life),for me to ramble on, stream-of-consciousness style, taking my sweet, pokey time in getting to the damn point. It’s the opposite of verbose. An adjective that has been used to describe me (and sometimes, unfortunately, my writing) which I truly abhore.

Keep it smart, sister. This is possibly the most challenging use of this acronym for me. Because all my life I’ve struggled with feeling that I’m just not that smart. Thankfully, the successes I’ve had in this life along with the people I love who love me back, have helped me to no longer be hyper-focused on it. Keeping it smart, sister, is important to my writing.  I believe that if I’m going to put my opinion out there for the world to see, especially if it’s about current events, I need to know what I’m talking about. That’s why I spend time doing some research if I’m not fully confident that the opinion I’m preparing to put out there is based on facts.

Keep it sassy, sister. Because. THIS.

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So, fellow mantra users, which ones work for you?

Jar of Happiness

I got the idea of the “happiness jar” from the author Elizabeth Gilbert. I honestly can’t recall if I read about it in “Eat Pray Love” or if it was in a magazine article. Either way, thank you, Elizabeth.

When Hubs and I moved to Colorado, I was determined to utilize my free time, which I hadn’t had much of in my previous life as a social worker in Wisconsin, to improve myself. I have always been a big reader with a curious mind so in combination with reading various self help books (Bad Ass by Jen Sincero is the best one), I decided I would create my own “happiness jar”. Here it is:

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With the happiness jar,  each day, you write down the thing that made you happy that day. Then you pop it into a vessel of your choosing. The idea is that you will open up your jar on 12/31 and read your blurbs about what made you happy each day throughout the past year. It’s a way to reflect and take stock of all the good things that happened, both tiny and gigantic, many of which you may have long forgotten about.

The most beautiful thing to me about this practice of mine is that it forces me, each and every day, to remain as mindful as I can be, so at the end of the day, I am able to record at least one thing that truly brought me happiness. On some days, I find myself writing down 2 or even 3 things. Those are the best days!

Instead of waiting till 12/31, and because I’m going on about this in this post, I’m going to share a couple of random happiness notes from my jar. I promise I won’t choose them selectively. I will be super random. So here we go….

2/16: Got one follower on my blog and wrote a new post today 🙂 Made quesadillas and listened to Santana too.

Sounds like a decent day to me! You can’t beat quesadillas and Santana! And getting a new follower!

6/8: Enjoyed helping people at FISH today. The time flew!

FISH is the food bank I volunteer at once a week. And I get so much more than I give when I’m there, it’s kind of ridiculous. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m coming home with free food. It’s the feels. The appreciation. 

5/19: I made the house smell like chocolate chip cookies today.

Say what?! How on earth did I do that? Must have been that new aromatherapy oil I had just bought. Nevertheless, the scent of chocolate chip cookies would make me happy any day of the week. 

6/21: Spent the day interacting w/nature and great FCC peeps. Good for my spirit. That was this day:

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Hubs and I met up with folks from our former church in Wisconsin at Rocky Mountain National Park , to volunteer. We spent the day pulling invasive weeds out of the ground. It was so beautiful that day. I felt honored to be able to spend a whole day visiting with old friends, while doing something helpful for the environment, amidst this awe inspiring scenery.

After plucking these 4 little notes from my happiness jar, I’ve just reinforced my decision to continue the practice of jotting down what makes me happy as I go through my days this year.

What’s in your happiness jar? I’d love to hear about it.