Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. (Note: Amazon affiliate link!)  I actually don't think of myself as a particularly unhappy person, although I'm sure I have some habits that fall into the slightly-disliked category. For instance, I snap at people when I'm tired or hungry. I tend to use sarcasm a little too often. Um...I'm sure there's more. But, let's just stick with the short list for now.

Ms. Rubin creates a year-long project in hopes of making herself happier. Each month is devoted to a certain set of goals, which she tracks daily on a chart. I think the overall method is a little too much for me, but I loved the idea of it and am considering a miniature version. I need to think through what that would look like, though. Do I just work on my attitude when tired or stressed? Do I include my marriage (as she did hers)? Maybe I should think about my work habits?

I spent a good part of the new year working through our finances, so I actually started my own Happiness Project without realizing it. Part of the book talks about money, albeit differently than the budget I'm referring to. Being in control of one finances, though, definitely helps to bring a general happiness (or at least less stress).

Cleaning products have been in the back of my mind for a long time. Not only do we spend a lot of money on chemicals, I feel my family is also leaving quite a mark on the planet with our cleaning habits. So, a few weeks ago, my friend and I made our own laundry detergent and multi-purpose cleaner. The detergent is a winner at my house, but I think the cleaner just isn't what I hoped. I'm not sure that things are as clean as I'd like. Does anyone have a good disinfectant that isn't in the form of non-reusable wipes?

Since I've tackled a couple of things that were on my mind, I think I may look to others to see what I can do to make myself happier. My overall 2015 list (as of now) looks like this:
1. Deal with medical issues (1 appointment made; still need to schedule dentist and eye doctor)
2. Kitchen walls and ceiling
3. Bathroom walls and floor
4. Overhaul bedroom closets
5. Create office space (figure out if it's possible?)
6. Clean front closet
7. Update blog at least weekly
8. Get back to regularly exercising

I guess a lot of the things on my list center around my house. I shouldn't be so surprised, though, since that kind of work is what I typically put off. Putting off work is something that has a tendency to make me unhappy.

While I try to think of some ways to make my list happen, why don't you tell me some things on your list?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baby, it's FRIGID outside

My family makes fun of my about my love of a good snow storm. But, as long as everyone is safe, I really do enjoy being stuck inside! Watching the white snow fall is nice; it always looks so pretty! And, growing up in Western New York, I've certainly seen my share of storms.

This is the time of year, though, that even the most winter-loving person gets tired of it. Almost everyone I know is sick of the winter and sick of the snow and, most of all, sick of the cold. Earlier today was a low of -31 degrees Fahrenheit windchill. That's kind of crazy and even I'll admit to wishing it were a little warmer.

You know what, though? I'm still happy. I still love being snuggled inside, under a blanket, drinking something warm. After church today we came home and everyone just enjoyed doing something on their own...but we were all together, you know? We're all inside, chatting and listening and reading and resting. I believe there may have been some naps, some hot chocolate, some computer games, some TV shows and lots of laughter. (There was also lots of quiet, which is so good for the soul.)

This cold winter is a great reminder of the need for togetherness and clam before the growth-period of spring. We'll all be outside soon enough. We'll feel the warmth of the sun and open all of our windows. We'll clean up our houses in preparation of longer days, filled with outdoor activities because it's too nice to stay inside. (For me, I'll feel too hot to clean much in the summer, so I really need to do a deep clean beforehand!)

I plan to enjoy wonderful family dinner tonight at my in-law's house. I'm sure there will be candles and warmth. We'll be eating out on their patio soon enough, so tonight I'll take advantage of the kids wanting to sit a bit closer and celebrate another winter Sunday.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said...

I definitely struggle with patience. And listening. Want someone to start listening and then excitedly talk over you because I can't wait? I'm your girl! This makes it hard when I'm trying to listen when I'm praying. Did you know that part of praying is also supposed to be silent? Like you would be if you participate in normal conversations? (Unlike myself. Please, don't follow my lead on this one.)

It seems like it has been months and months that I've been trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. And then, because I don't think He could possibly be listening, I try to do whatever I think I'm supposed to be doing...without asking and then listening. I guess you could say I'm more of a leader than a follower in this case.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why I think I'm supposed to be doing something else/additional. I have a decent job. We're (kind of/sort of) able to pay our bills. We're sponsoring a child. I'm going to Haiti on another mission trip (NEXT MONTH). But, I know it's there. I know that somewhere in my half-listening, it's there. My problem is that once I listen, I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be patient. Oh dear, that's almost impossible!

One slight nudge I'm getting is about writing. I need to write. Here? In a journal? I'm not sure, so I'm doing both. It feels good! (These are really both journals - and probably both private!) I need to come up with some sort of schedule. Something that makes sense and won't make me want to run and cry. We're in our last couple of months before baseball/softball season and it's likely that free time will quickly dwindle.

So, all of this to say that I'm really hoping to be here. Writing through, while I keep trying to listen...and wait. I hope you'll wait with me!

Do any of you have trouble listening? How do you handle it?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here we are

It's already February, which is quite a long ways from October when I stopped in last. I guess I'm not as good at staying on track with writing as I'd hoped I'd be.  We've had holidays and storms and goodness knows what else since then. But, there's no sense in wallowing. Let's pick up and move on, shall we?

I'm going to Haiti next month. (Next month??? That's soon.) I'm starting to prepare, mentally and by making lists and going to meetings and gathering supplies. There are definitely prayers to be said over the whole thing, and also hopes for relationships and just general excitement.

While the Haiti-prep is happening, the kids and the husband are still moving on with their activities and lives. (I suppose I am, too.) Meetings, practices, plays, school, intermurals…it's all needing our attention. At some point we're adding in some family time and rest, too.

Rest is often the hardest part. We had our annual Super Bowl party, which is always quite the event. I'm still trying to clean up after that, along with doing all of the normal life things, too. Add to that a child with a hurt leg, a father having a medical procedure and some rough days at work and you've got someone who just needs to take it easy. And you know what? I'm actually going to. Sweat pants are on. Nook is charged. Laptop is, well…on my lap. I have a nice glass of Chardonnay next to me and a dog resting on my legs. One child is doing homework, one child is listening to music (both in the room with me) and the other child is at a game with the husband.

Dishes? What dishes?

[I was totally planning to post a picture of the dishes sitting on my counter. BUT, Frick is on my legs and Frack is on my son's legs and the girl is doing homework. It seems ridiculous to ask her to stop studying so the one or two of you can see my housework.]