Categories
Happiness

A Bit of R&R

I had the house to myself during my day off yesterday. I woke up early, knocked out my daily tasks, and then curled up with my current book.

It was so pleasant to simply exist. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to do anything. I could simply be…

…Until the messages and the phone calls started, that is.

I did what any woman who needs some time to herself should do. I muted the notifications.

The world carried on just fine without me. No major disasters happened because Annie decided to tune out for a day. This girl got to enjoy some serious “me” time uncomplicated by the drama of others.

It felt good.

Have you ever decided to just take a break from Life for a day? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness Personal

I Don’t NEED Anything

Yesterday.

Walking to work.

I was crossing the street after checking the free stack at the local library.

That was when it hit me:

I don’t NEED anything!

I really, really don’t.

I have a roof over my head that I can easily afford even if Katie moved out tomorrow.

I have clothes on my back. A surplus, actually, that I will use up before I actively acquire more.

I have money in the bank.

I have a job that pays my bills.

I have a way to indulge my passion for writing, a way that allows me to potentially help others in some small way.

I have a quiet, peaceful life.

I am okay.

I am really, truly okay.

It feels good to know that I don’t need anything. Oh sure, I have things that I want.

But there is nothing that I really, truly need.

I am so thankful for this blessing.

What are you thankful for today? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Business Happiness

Employee Motivation

Once upon a time I worked in a restaurant. On this particular day, the owner was leaning against the wall as the store crew navigated the lunch rush.

I was manning the front counter that day, taking orders as fast as I could for the crowd when one of my regulars stepped forward.

“Hey, Mrs. R!” I called out happily. “You want your usual? How’s work?”

The woman smiled, nodding as she shared a slice of her day while I punched in her order.

“Annie, come here,” the owner called out when I finished. Expecting trouble, the manager motioned for one of the other workers to replace me while I obeyed the request.

“Was that lady a friend of yours?” the owner asked.

“No, sir,” I replied cautiously.

“But you not only knew her name, you entered her order without her even telling you what she wanted,” he persisted.

I brightened. “Yes, sir! Mrs. R comes in every weekday for lunch. She always orders the exact same thing so I’ve got it memorized.”

The owner of the store frowned. “But how do you know her name?” he persisted.

I blinked. “She wears a nametag. I always call people by name when I can work out what it is. Nametags make it easy,” I replied.

He asked a few more questions about the practice. I explained the tips and tricks about using names to cultivate rapport in response.

Then I stood there for several long moments as he gave me a long look. Did I do something wrong? I wondered at the unusual examination.

The man motioned for the general manager to approach.

“GM, give Annie here a five-cent raise on her next paycheck,” he informed the woman. “Annie, let me know if it’s not there. I want to show you that I appreciate the effort you go to in order to make the customers happy. Thank you.”

Five cents isn’t much for a part-time employee. It translated to a mere dollar a week, less than that after taxes. That wasn’t the important part, however. The important part was that he’d noticed me and had rewarded my efforts in some small way.

I worked even harder after that.

Employers, Take Note

It doesn’t take much effort to say that you appreciate the efforts of an employee. It doesn’t take but a moment to pat someone on the back and say “well done.” It barely affects the bottom line when you toss someone an incremental raise.

Yet those tiny things mean so much to us workers.

It encourages us. It shows us that we are noticed. It demonstrates that we are appreciated.

And it benefits your bottom line because it motivates us to work even harder.

You think about that. Happy workers translates into loyal workers. Loyal workers are the ones that will bust their ass for you when you need it. They are the ones that will come in when you call on their day off. They are the ones who will look out for you and prevent shrinkage when they catch it. They are the ones who will show up, each and every shift, determined to do the best they can to make your business grow.

Remember that the next time you catch one of your workers doing something awesome.

***

Readers, share this post with your friends. Share this post in a place where your boss can see it because I suspect that many small employers don’t realize just how important the little things are to us, and how tiny little efforts can motivate us to work even harder and increase employee retention.

It will benefit all of us to increase awareness.

Categories
Business Happiness Success

Paid Vacation

Yesterday I received a treat that I’ve not had for many years:

My vacation slip.

In my years of focusing upon my children, I would stay at home during summer vacations, taking so much time off from jobs that I rarely ever saw one of these.

In fact, I do believe I worked through the last paid vacation I earned. I needed the extra income in order to survive.

I squeed when I held that paper in my hands. It’s such a little thing to many but it represents something I’ve not experienced for far too long:

Freedom.

I am free from the burdens of child care, of worrying about anyone else but me. I am free from financial struggles and fears for the first time in longer than I care to remember. I may not be rich, but I’m doing rather well on my tiny little income.

This might be the very first paid vacation in my entire life where I’ve not had to worry about money.

I am going to enjoy every single minute of it.

I requested off the week of my 49th birthday. I didn’t even ask for specific dates; just asked for any time during that week, a small stretch of time in a row. That week I intend to totally, completely, take some time off from my life.

I am going to rest. I am going to read. I will hang out in the local coffee shop, visit the library, and explore the new businesses popping up in my little town.

I am going to spend that entire week giving thanks for the incredible life I’ve been given. While I’m sure I’ll end up piddling around the house and writing a bit, my primary goal is going to be the simple act of appreciation.I intend to give myself one physical birthday present to mark this year, to show that I’ve survived and triumphed. To celebrate the fact that it will be the first anniversary of becoming an investor I intend to acquire another small piece of precious metal for my collection. It may be a piece of jewelry. It may be some bullion. It may simply be a jewel. I don’t know what it will be yet; something will call to me around that time and I will buy it. I want something else to hold in my hand, wear on my person, or carry in my pocket for continued inspiration as I move forward.

What do you have to look forward to with the coming year? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness self-improvement

Breathe

I had a small panic attack this morning.

It happened as I sat down to plan my day. My mind wandered to all of the things I want to accomplish this year when it suddenly became difficult to breathe. Every inch of my body tensed up as I tried to force air into my lungs.

I stopped, set my pencil aside, and forced myself to take a slow, deep breath.

In

Bit by bit I focused on the air entering my lungs. Focused on my diaphragm expanding, my chest growing.

Out…

I began to count mentally as I felt the air glide through my nostrils. Concentrated on emptying my body.

All is well. Just breathe.

When my thoughts wandered, I brought them back to my breath. Time wasn’t important. Goals weren’t important. The only thing that mattered was the life-giving oxygen coursing through my lungs.

My body slowly relaxed.

As I felt the tension slip away I reminded myself that all is well. I am safe. I am healthy. I have more than enough to meet my needs, so much more that I am even able to save and work towards a better future.

Life is truly good.

We all have moments when Life seems overwhelming. Moments when we panic, when we feel that we are incapable of handling the tasks we’ve set for ourselves. Slices of time when our chest gets tight and we quail in terror at our now and our future.

That’s okay.

It’s perfectly normal to feel fear. Fear is what tells us that we’re alive. It’s how we handle our fear that defines us.

Every day above ground is a good day. Regardless of what we currently face, we can rest secure in the knowledge that we are still here. We are still alive. As long as we have life, we have hope.

All we have to do is breathe.

Categories
Finances Frugality Happiness

The Diderot Effect

The Diderot Effect has been used as a lesson against mindless consumerism since the minimalist movement began. The moral of the lesson is always the same: buying something nice will lead to us buying other nice things until we’re broke and miserable.

I was right on board with that thought from the beginning. Why should we strive to buy better things when we’re all poor in the first place? I reasoned. Wouldn’t it be better if we used what we had instead?

It would definitely be cheaper, I thought.

So that’s what I did for years. I scrounged around for free or cheap stuff and made do in order to save money. I kept it clean, used it till it died, and scrounged replacements as time went on.

Diderot’s complaint was that a gift of a fancy robe caused him to upgrade his entire home to match. He spent far more than he felt was appropriate and regretted his decision. His rant has been used as an argument against consumerism ever since.

Let’s poke at him with a stick. If we strip away the consumerism aspect his theory is simple: if we allow ourselves to upgrade one aspect of our lives, in time we will upgrade other areas to match.

Does this work in both directions? Let’s use my life as an example. Here are some pictures of my home before I became extremely frugal:




 


 

 

This is my bedroom now:


new bed

Note that every single item in all of those photos was paid for in cash. I purchased the furniture in the first photos secondhand. I didn’t break the bank to achieve the first look; I used what I had and accentuated it when time and money allowed.

And if I allow myself to be honest with myself, the first set of images suits who I am inside much better than the photo of what I’ve become.

In short, I am a living example of the Diderot effect. By focusing solely on what I could scrounge and exploring how low I could go financially, my external environment deteriorated as well.

What Can We Learn From the Diderot Effect?

We can see from my example that the Diderot effect works in both directions. In the first set of images, I started out by purchasing a bedroom set from a friend and accentuated accordingly. In the second…

…I’m not so sure how to explain the last photo.

While there is a risk of allowing ourselves to buy more than we can afford, if we curb the temptation to overspend, I believe that we can harness the Diderot Effect to improve our living circumstances over time.

An upgraded wardrobe, purchased used (or new when money allows), would provide improved job opportunities.

An upgraded home would improve our quality of life and allow us to attract, not only a different set of friends but a completely different lifestyle than the one we currently have.

So repeat after me:

There is Nothing Wrong With Improving Your Life

There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your financial circumstances.

There is nothing wrong with affordable luxury.

We need money in order to live. That is a fact of life that, try as we may, we cannot escape in our modern society. There is no sin in improving your wardrobe bit by bit to gain a better paying job, and there is no sin in upgrading your home as you can afford it.

I’m preaching to myself as well here. Until I started this post, I’d no idea how far I’d fallen.

Oddly enough, my income hasn’t even changed much between the two photos. I had changed, and I hadn’t even realized it.

Harnessing the Diderot Effect

I’ve decided that it is time that I went back to the woman I was when I snapped those photos. She wasn’t ashamed of owning nice things; she bought what she could afford when she could afford them and savored those luxuries in her life.

She didn’t tolerate useless clutter but she allowed herself occasional treats. She enjoyed scented candles, incense, and a monthly box of inexpensive bath salts that she split with her kid.

She didn’t feel guilty when she went out to eat. She didn’t feel guilty when she bought a pretty dress at Goodwill. She carefully budgeted her money but allowed herself the little splurges when money allowed.

She wasn’t perfect; she allowed herself to be persuaded to live above her means around the time those photos were taken. She took out some credit cards and financed a washer and dryer that caused her to struggle. I suspect that attempt to move too far and too fast is what started her on the journey to where I stand today.

But if I learn from that experience, if I harness the Diderot Effect in a responsible manner, I should be able to improve my life dramatically.

I can go back to who I was again.

Confession and Challenge

This post ended far differently than how I originally envisioned it. I imagined that I would rant against consumerism like I have so many times in the past as I sat down at my keyboard. I worked myself up to a white-hot rage against my previous self…

…until I looked at the date on the original photos.

I wasn’t a mindless consumer back then. I had started down the path of minimalism, true, but I had used the philosophy to curate my life for the better. I had stumbled upon minimalism before it was a thing and I used it to better my life before I got swept up in the pissing contest of less is more.

I don’t like what I see that I’ve become. I’ve allowed myself to settle for less and less until I lost sight of who I truly am. I was so driven to live on less that I forgot that there is value in moderation.

Maybe Katie was right. Maybe I did deprive her in my desire to live cheap. I did it with the best of intentions but I can’t argue with the truth I see in those photos.

Seeing these photos made me realize a truth I’ve avoided facing for far too long. This post is the reason I decided to press the pause button on my blog and my life in order to rethink things.

I can’t change the past but I can learn from it so I’ve set myself a challenge. I am going to identify one item that I’ve denied myself for ages; an item that I could never justify purchasing under my previous mindset. An item that cheapskate me would never buy because it was far too expensive and served no practical purpose other than to provide me pleasure. I am going to buy it, just because, in order to prove to myself that I am worthy of owning beautiful things once more.

After that, I will begin to use the Diderot Effect to reclaim my life.


Have you noticed the Diderot Effect in your life? Has it been a positive or a negative change? Are you happy with the results of the effect? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness

Grumpy Gus

“Watch out,” my trainer whispered into my ear during my first day on the job. “The guy who just got in line is really mean. He’s made cashiers cry before.”

I glanced up to see an older man with graying hair and a decidedly sour disposition, tapping his foot impatiently as he waited his turn. He loudly remarked that if I couldn’t do my job properly that they should fire me and get someone in who could.

“You’re new,” he snorted when he approached my register. “I can tell. You’re slow.”

“It’s her first day,” my trainer defended me before I could respond. “She’s doing really good.”

“Hmph!”

I was out of training when I saw him again. A customer turned the bag carousel too fast and caused a two-liter to fall. Sensing their embarrassment I claimed full responsibility for the mishap. “It’s my fault; I should have handed it to you directly,” I apologized.

Just then, Grumpy Gus walked past my register. He glanced at me as he huffed. “Is she new?” he called to the manager on duty.

“She’s been here for a couple of weeks and she does really well,” my manager responded. He snorted skeptically as he began to shop.

A few minutes later he brought his purchases to my register. “So you’re the new girl.” He eyed me up and down like he’d just found me molding in his refrigerator.

“Yes, sir!” I responded cheerfully as I began scanning his order.

“And you’re the one who drops bottles for the customers,” he tried again.

“Yes sir, I sure am,” I looked up at him calmly, refusing to be intimidated.

His eyes widened. “Hmph!” He paid for his order and left.

Two more weeks went by, during which the man pointedly refused to come through my line. I watched him wait for service at the other registers while my line stood empty and he glared at me balefully.

I decided to up my game. Every time I saw him enter the store I waved and greeted him cheerfully. He was taken aback at first but then started responding with his trademark snorty huff.

“How are you doing today?” I asked when he was finally forced to go through my line again.

“Obviously not as good as you,” he grumped. He proceeded to complain about missing a sale. I apologized for his inconvenience and confessed that I’d missed it too. “They just don’t last long enough, do they? I didn’t get paid in time to take advantage of it either.”

“As much money as you’re sittin’ on I don’t see why you couldn’t,” he replied.

“Bills,” I told him with a shrug.

He nodded, paid for his order, and left. In the next few weeks he seemed determined to throw me off my game. I fielded him every time.

Just because he’s unhappy doesn’t mean that he has the right to right to disturb me. I allow every single insult and complaint to roll off my back because I know it isn’t personal.

He just likes to have something to complain about.

Inevitably the time came when he caught me on a bad day. I punched the numbers into the register so fast that the machine failed to acknowledge one of them. I called out my mistake and begged him to cancel the transaction on his side so that I could fix it before he ran his card.

I apologized profusely. Of all the customers, it just had to be him.

To my surprise he comforted me. “We all have bad days,” he announced. “At least you caught it before my card went through.”

I had to catch my jaw before it bounced on the floor. “Yes sir, we do. I’m so sorry it happened to you, though. I know you’re too busy to deal with my carelessness.”

He snorted. “I’ve got time,” he replied.

We came to an odd sort of truce that day. While he still likes to complain, his attitude has shifted somewhat. He now glances toward my regular register when he walks in and nods in response to my greeting.

He even fusses at me now when he sees me out after work. “I just can’t get away from you,” he grumped one evening when we encountered one another at a nearby gas station.

“I’m stalking you,” I gave him a mock evil look. He actually laughed at that one!

I love my Grumpy Gus.

Categories
Decluttering Happiness Minimalism

Minimizing Relationship Stress

It’s painful to watch friends self-destruct, to watch them slide down the slippery slope of insanity. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You’re unable to turn away. You reach out your hand, only to have it slapped away time and again. Either they realize they are slipping and don’t care, or they’re enjoying the ride. Regardless, you try to help.

Eventually you realize that this person is causing you misery. You dread your encounters. Instead of offering them another hand up, give them your foot–to shove them out the door of your life.

There is no shame in this. It is not beneficial to keep people in your life simply because they are friends or family when all they do is give you pain. Loyalty is stupid when the person in question bites the hands that feed them.

Minimalism is about so much more than stuff. It is about curating all aspects of your life to bring peace and tranquility. While you cannot eliminate all of life’s storms, you can reduce the day-to-day strain on your emotions.

Today I urge you to look at your relationships. Determine that one person you would be better off without.

Then let them go.

Categories
Happiness Uncategorized

Notes to your Future Self

Katie and I started a little tradition when we defrosted our refrigerator for the first time several years ago. We didn’t know how long it had been since we had defrosted it so sensing an opportunity we each wrote little notes to our future selves (Katie even left herself a gift) and stuck them in the back of the freezer for the next round.

My last note was dated April 16, 2016. In laborious chicken scratch, I told myself that “life sucks but it will get better.”

It definitely has!

So now the time as come to write myself another note. I think I’ll write more in this next one. In the meantime I have a nice, clean, defrosted refrigerator to enjoy.

 

Have you ever written a note for your future self to discover later? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness Simplicity

The Magic of Decision

I’ve lived in this little house for close to seven years. In that time I’ve never gotten around to making the little touches that turn a house into a home. I didn’t see the point since I didn’t know how long I was going to live here. Was I going to upgrade to another house, move into an RV, or thin down to almost nothing and travel once the kid was gone?

I honestly didn’t know. Something deep inside of me was restless so rather than waste time, money, and effort getting comfortable here I just made do in several areas. I would probably relocate after the kid left for college anyway, I reasoned.

I spent the first few days in shock after the kid turned 18. The knowledge that I was legally free of the responsibilities of parenthood and could do what I wanted did not compute. What would I do? While I still had a year before she left for college, I needed to get cracking!

But then I realized something: I am happy here. I like the house, I like the area, I even like the simple job that allows me to pay my bills while pursuing my simple passions.

I didn’t have to move. I didn’t have to travel. I didn’t have to go out in search of answers or happiness or even adventure.

I had enough right here, right now. I could settle down and stay right here.

As a result of finally making a decision I’ve finally started to settle in. I purchased a set of curtains to begin the adventure of making this little house a home. Once I accomplish the goal of getting my window treatments sorted I’ll move on to another.

Many people fail to realize how liberating it can be to make a decision. It frees you from considering other possibilities and allows you to focus on a single path instead of worrying about all of the other paths you could or should be taking.

For me personally, making the decision to remain here even after the kid moves out eliminated a stress that I didn’t even know I was carrying. It allowed me to admit that I didn’t need to travel. I didn’t need to move, change my circumstances, chase some dream or fulfil some magical bucket list.

I am happy right where I’m at.

What decisions have you held off making? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness

A Word on Coping

There was a study done about drug addiction a few years back. Scientists took two rats. One was placed in a basic cage with no mental stimulation, while the other was placed in “rat heaven,” a cage filled with mazes and other things that the rat could use to keep occupied. Each rat had two water bottles. One bottle contained plain water while the other bottle contained water laced with a common street drug.

Both rats sampled the two water bottles but the scientists noticed a distinct difference between the two. While the rat that was in the basic cage used the drug-laced water bottle semi-constantly, the other rat, the one that had other things to occupy it, preferred the bottle that contained plain water.

This difference helped the scientists to conclude that one of the reasons that drug addiction is so prevalent is because people either don’t have enough to keep them occupied or they lack hope for a better life.

When life is a constant struggle, when we see people on television or in certain neighborhoods, or even in our own extended families who have so much more than we do, it is easy to get frustrated and give up. Instead of fighting to improve our lives we focus on methods of escape, be they drugs, alcohol, or fantasies. We get to the point of “well, my life isn’t going to get any better so why bother? This helps me cope so I’m going to use it.”

After a while we become so attached to our coping mechanisms that we fail to even try to improve our lives any more. Once that happens we have a reason to use our escape mechanism even more in a vicious cycle that never really ends.

I’ve dealt with this vicious cycle many times in my life. As a child, I didn’t think that I would ever manage to escape the drama of my alcoholic parents where in reality all I had to do was wait until I was a legal adult and move out. As an adult trapped in an abusive marriage, I became addicted to fantasy since my reality was so miserable that there were times when I didn’t work to escape my marriage and pursue a better life.

And now, in this current challenge, there are times I want to sit on my butt, whine, cry, and say that “I can’t” continue to fight this damn disease in my head and continue to function as a normal adult. I want to escape into a fantasyland where I am hale and hearty. I want to forget the fact that I can’t do everything I want to do.

But you know what? I’m not going to allow myself to do any of that. I know from experience, from watching my parents before me, that if I allow myself to start down that path that I won’t have a chance in hell of beating this. Even worse, I will have to give up the hope that some way, somehow, my struggles will inspire others to keep fighting.

It doesn’t matter what you are facing. It could be something physical like an illness or an injury. It could be financial like a job loss. It could be something personal like an abusive relationship, a divorce, or your kids growing up and leaving the nest. Whatever it is, if you lose hope, if you allow yourself to give up, if you choose to try to escape your current reality and instead pursue something that makes you feel better, you won’t ever be able to overcome whatever it is that you need to overcome.

In other words, no matter what your current challenge may be, you need to get off your ass and do something about it. If you need to earn money, figure out a way to earn money. If you suffer from a disability, figure out workarounds for that disability. If you are in an abusive relationship, figure out how to get away or end the abuse somehow. Do not allow your challenges to define you. Rise above them and keep fighting until you kick them to the curb.

You can do this. It won’t be easy. Some days you might want to hide beneath the covers and cry. You might try and fail, then try and fail again, but as long as you are trying you are making progress, if only figuring out the things that won’t work. It took Edison hundreds of tries to figure out how to design the light bulb. When asked about his numerous failures he said that he hadn’t failed, he had just figured out XXX amount of ways that wouldn’t work.

We need to apply that to our own lives.

So no matter how many times you have tried and failed, remember that if you keep trying a solution will eventually appear. Keep that hope in your sights and never allow yourself to forget what you are fighting for. Remember, every sacrifice you make in order to achieve your goals is for a reason.

And never, ever give up.

What keeps you going? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness Success

Fighting the Good Fight

Life, no matter how you arrange it, is far from perfect. We all have things that we need to deal with. In my personal journey, I am dealing with a brain disease as a result of an injury I suffered some time ago.

I have a choice: I can sit on my ass, whining and crying, or I can plow forward and keep fighting. On the days that I glitch, when I transpose numbers at work , my hand refuses to work, I stumble over thin air, or the words that come out of my mouth sound like gibberish and the pain makes it hard to think it is easy to sit down and give up. I am terrified that my boss will figure out that something is wrong with me and fire me as a result.

But you know what I do? I keep trying. Every day I use the tricks that I’ve invented to keep moving forward. I get friends and family help me to remember things. I use notes and Outlook to keep track of stuff I’ve done and stuff I need to do. When my hand doesn’t work right, I switch to doing things one-handed until the glitch irons out. When my words turn into gibberish I play it off as I’m just dingy.

And when I hurt, I take whatever is available to dull the worst of the pain and I keep moving forward.

It would be so easy to give up and to say that “I can’t.” But you know what? Can’t never could do anything. Can’t never managed to get a damn thing accomplished. The only true failure is to stop trying and it will be a cold day in hell before I do that. I am going to fight, and keep fighting until I either beat this shit or I am dead in my grave.

And I want you to learn from that.

I want you to understand that, no matter how bad things are, no matter how bad things get, that the only way out of them is to keep fighting. You may make a lot of mistakes. You may hit a lot of brick walls, but if you allow these things to defeat you then you will never be able to achieve your dreams.

So please, whatever you do, keep fighting. Don’t let the darkness win.

What challenges are you facing that make you want to give up? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Happiness

Gratitude List

One thing that has really helped during my current challenges is keeping a gratitude list. Sometimes it is a mental list, other times it is a written list, and frequently it is a combination of the two.

Here are a few things I am thankful for:

  • We have a roof over our head with electric, water, and Internet. I have no idea how I’ve managed this on my current income but I am extremely happy that I’ve accomplished it.
  • My book royalties are going in the proper direction. That feels so nice!
  • My Katie is doing well in school. She is a straight-A student and I am so proud of her.
  • I am able to read and write again. Sure, it’s not as easy as it was before I got hurt, but who cares? I can do it, and that is all that matters!
  • It was a beautiful day today. The sun was shining and life was just…good.
  • I’ve got money in my pocket. It has to go for bills but hey, it’s money. I haven’t had cash in my pocket for so long that this is a treat!
  • My belly is full. We ate a nice Spaghetti meal earlier and I am still stuffed.
  • Katie washed dishes tonight. That is always a treat!
  • We are slowly coming to terms with the loss of Emery.
  • I have a dedicated writing computer! I managed to piece together another laptop so that I no longer have to switch over whenever I want to go online. Yay!
  • The fact that my tech skills are coming back so that I can actually manage to piece together another computer! That feels heavenly!
  • Anytime I’m bored all I have to do is read the news. The current political climate makes for some interesting reading as you try to sift through the propaganda to find the truth behind it.
  • I am thankful for my ancient, aging tech even more as I read the news. My writing laptop is Windows XP and never goes online. My other laptop is now running Ubuntu Linux, so I am safer than the average bear when it comes to online spying, malware, and the like. I don’t have a television, so no worries of being spied on there. My internet connection is so slow that I would instantly know if something was using any bandwidth so I would know to check things out.
  • I have more friends than I ever imagined. Even Katie’s friends have taken to adding me on Facebook and shooting me messages to ask how we are doing. Folks I haven’t heard from in ages have been reaching out to me. That means so much.
  • Soon I will be starting a new adventure. Katie will be off to college and I will be moving on. I have no idea where I will end up but the fact that I’m so close feels amazing! For a time I never dreamed that this time would be so close.

I could go on but I don’t want to bore you. Once I get started thinking of all of the awesome things I have to be grateful for it is hard to stop.

What do you have to be grateful for? Please share in the comments below so that we can be thankful together!

Categories
Happiness Housing Personal

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

At first I was nervous when the water started rising. “What will I do if the house floods?” I worried. I don’t exactly have the resources to move and this is the cheapest place around. The fact that it was happening 20 years to the day that I was flooded out in 1997 made me nervous as well. Would it happen again?

But then it hit me. What’s the worst that would happen?

First, I would have plenty of warning. There is a huge field that has to fill up before it gets to my place. We would be able to gather up our essential items, pack a few clothes, crate the dogs, and bug out.

Then if the house washed away we would be homeless. If the water got up that high this whole town would be considered a disaster area. There would be help available.

So you know what? We would be okay. Yeah, we would lose some stuff but who cares? Other than the critters, everything we consider essential can easily be stuffed in a couple of duffel bags apiece. For me, that means I would have a bag filled with my ancient, aging tech and important papers while the other would be filled with clothes. As for Katie, who knows what she would stuff in hers?

But the important thing is that we’re not attached to this house. We’re not even that attached to most of the stuff that’s in it. We have a small list of things that we consider essential but as for the rest? It is all replaceable.

After realizing that I relaxed. Even if the worst happened, we would be okay.

Of course, once I calmed down the water started receding. Ain’t it always the way?

Categories
Happiness

Happiness and Attitude

Welcome to yet another Throwback Thursday post, courtesy of John Grebe, the awesome person who managed to save these posts. He recently published a thoughtful critique of the 100 Things Challenge that I highly recommend.

This post was originally published on March 18, 2010.

~#~

“The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything.” ~ Anonymous.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

It’s easy to look at our failure to accomplish our dreams and lie to ourselves concerning the real reasons they don’t materialize.  Have you used any of the following?

  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m not talented enough
  • I don’t have enough time
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too young
  • I’m broke
  • I’m afraid
  • I can’t

“The reality is that much of what has been accomplished in our world was achieved by men and women who shouldn’t have succeeded. Many people and obstacles were against them, but they succeeded because they refused to believe the lies we tell ourselves.” ~ Stephen Seaford

Your attitude will determine what your experience is. Decide to be happy, and your world will eventually change to give you more things to be happy about.

Decide to be sad or broke—you can guess what you will get more of.

Have you ever said some of those statements listed in the previous quote?

As lovingly as I can put it—stop.  Stop thinking these negative thoughts about yourself and your circumstances.

We didn’t make it to the moon, invent such wonders as computers and cell phones by saying we couldn’t, we were too dumb or that we were broke.

So the house is a mess and you don’t have enough money to pay all of the bills?  Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN.

Be happy that you paid X amount on this bill.  Grateful that you had enough money for dinner tonight.

Thankful and delighted that the table is cleaned off now, or the dishes washed!

Focus on the good in your life NOW, and more good will come. This happens because you are changing your vibration to the positive, which cannot help but attract more positive vibrations to your life.

Try it.  What do you have to lose?

Categories
Happiness Law of Attraction

Gratitude List

When you wake up every morning and sit down with your daily cup of coffee or tea, relax and start the day with a gratitude list.

Use a pen and paper to write down every single thing you are happy and grateful for. Don’t leave anything out—write everything down that comes to mind.

This may seem hard at first or even foolish, but don’t give up. Make this a part of your daily routine.

What this exercise does is change your point of attraction for the day. Instead of focusing on waking up to go to work and dreading that commute you will be focusing on the good things you are thankful for. This will change your focus—and thus what you attract.

A typical Gratitude List may look like this:

  • I am so happy and grateful for the sun shining so pretty today.
  • I am so happy and grateful that it is payday today.
  • I am so happy and grateful that the kids are getting ready for school so quickly this morning.
  • I am so happy and grateful to know that I am loved.

Yours will be different depending upon your individual situation. The trick is to list everything that you are grateful for that morning regardless of how minute the item may seem.

Start out your days with a Gratitude List and watch your life start changing for the better!

Categories
Happiness

Good Day

Every Day is a Good Day. 

You’re alive, aren’t you?  Still breathing?  Be grateful for that!

Thank the Universe for giving you another day–a beautiful day. 

How did that cup of coffee taste?  Be thankful it hit the spot!

Everything we can find to be grateful for changes our point of attraction.  Be thankful for the little things, and prepare for the big ones.

Go out and have a wonderful day!

Categories
Happiness

Good Days

I have made a decision.

Every day that takes place where nothing negative occurs is a GOOD day.  If something positive, however small occurs, the day is upgraded to a GREAT day.

I have become tired of having OKAY days, or just DAYS.  These just seem to make the bad things worse.

So today has been a good day, though others may deem it otherwise.

For the simplicity I desire I need to work on the inside as well as the outside, so this is my start..

How was YOUR day today?

Categories
Happiness Life

Living Large at a Traffic Light

Last night I found myself headed to the store when a rockin‘ song from the 1980’s came on the radio. “I Can’t Hold Back” by none other than Survivor.

Such a rocking song! I found myself jamming to the beat, drumming on the dashboard, singing along and “banging my head” just having a blast while I cranked that poor stereo on the van!

Katie, of course wasn’t too happy that her mom was absorbed in a jam session so she started to look around in boredom at her mother’s way of dealing with being stuck at a stop light with her favorite tune on the radio.

That was when she noticed them.

The neighboring car had seen my enthusiastic appreciation of the Survivor tune and were laughing their butts off at my antics. They even had their cellphone out.. and they weren’t talking on it!

I smiled and waved, and kept on jamming as the light finally turned green. They laughed in amusement and waved back. We were going different directions, so I may never see them again, but the knowledge that I made someone laugh was just too enjoyable NOT to share!

Life is too short to take it seriously. When you hear a favorite song – enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about what others think – you may unknowing give someone a laugh they desperately needed!

Peace!

Categories
Happiness

Friendship

One of the best and simplest things we can cultivate is friendship. I’m not talking about the user and losers who use you and lose you – I’m talking about the ones who celebrate with you and pick you up when you fall down.

These blogs, like a lot of things online are about friendship. We enter into each other’s lives in a way heretofore unknown in our world and have a choice as to whether or not we can benefit from each other.

One way to help each other is called quid pro quo. By viewing each other’s blogs and sharing them with others we not only distribute the wealth and knowledge around, but we help the blogger by helping them maybe earn a penny or two for the time they invest in this online medium.

Another way is to reward the blogger with a simple comment letting them you that you’ve been there and either agreed or disagreed with their statements. A simple smiley can go a long way for a discouraged blogger!

It has taken me a while to realize this simple truth. I would read blog upon blog without a thought of the love being poured into them and quickly move on to the next one.

As I also write for Associated Content, and soon for Demand Studios, it dawned on my how much it meant to me personally when someone made a simple comment on one of my pieces, or on this blog. I have started making a point of promoting the work of other online writers as a “thank you” for generously reading my stuff, and intend to continue that here.

Please, if you read some one’s blog you like, if you read an article or a poem – good or bad – please consider leaving a small mark so that the author knows that you have been there. If you really like it, share it with some of your friends and ask them to comment if it pleases.

We may all be online – we may never meet each other – but that doesn’t mean that we have to pretend that the other does not exist while visiting places online. Can we share the simple wealth of friendship by leaving an occasional comment?

Here in the future I want to promote that friendship by highlighting blogs and pages that you may be interested in. I hope that you will do the same by sharing things you enjoy with those around you as well.