Friday, July 31, 2009

Fighting against the known

I just finished Gregory Berns's book Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment. He argues that novelty and challenge are key components of satisfaction. Other studies confirm that people who do new things—travel to new place, learn a new game—have a greater sense of well-being than people who stick to the familiar. Gretchen Rubin

Since I have not read the book she sites here I am taking what she has said here as my guide. I must say that I have been fighting against something that I know to be true - for years. Routine will make a happier home. At first that may seem to contradict what Gretchen has stated above, but in order to do something out of the ordinary first you must have an ordinary.

I have never done well keeping a schedule, or a routine. This weekend I have some time with which I can do whatever I want, I don't have to work around anyone's schedule or worry about what anyone would "like me to be doing". I'm going to spend the weekend looking through old systems that I have tried in the past and work up a simple routine that I can build on. My intention is to get a start, take baby steps, and think about what parts of those systems will make it easier for me to achieve my number one goal before school starts.

Goal #1: Make this house a welcoming home.

In the past that would have meant just cleaning. But I really would like to feel relief when I walk in the door of my home not more chaos. I want to walk in and know that I am in a comfortable place. I am tired of walking in my home and being struck with all that needs to be done. I want to walk into my home and FEEL cushioned from the rest of the world.

Once I get a routine down, then "new" and "challenging" and "novelty" won't be the norm but truly welcome differences.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beginning My Happiness Project

I began here:

I'm not sure I'm doing this "right" but since she does not have her book completed yet, I'm beginning where my brain tells me I should - the beginning of her blog... I'm just going to go through it adding bits as I go along. So far I sent for her monthly newsletter... then started reading her blog.

What I have decided that it really does not matter where I start, the goal is to become happy. My goal is to be genuinely happy more often than not. No more asking myself at the end of the day "what am I doing here" because in reality I know what I'm doing here, but I have a hard time being content with that.

So the first project I found to put on myself is to write my commandments. She has a list on her blog. Of course that gave me ideas on where to start mine. And really her first commandment (be gretchen) is a wonderful place to start.

1. Be Maxine.

Not to try to fit into the image of what others want me to be, think I am, or think I should be. I want first and foremost to be true to myself. How can I teach my children to be true to themselves if I can't do it for myself?

2. Be Content.

Be ok with all that I have and all that I don't have. This does not mean that I never strive or wish or work for something more. What it means is that I am content with what I have right now and even when I have the "wants" they don't have to be the focus of my thinking.

3. Laugh.

Be silly with the kids, laugh with my husband. Laugh out loud. Laugh.

4. Be a gentle giant.

Gentle giants do not have to yell to be heard or stretch uncomfortably to listen. I want to be a voice of reason, not the voice of a banshee. And I want to HEAR with others are telling me.

5. Be faith-FULL

Be so full of faith in God, in family and in myself that I am no longer afraid of every day.

6. Be generous.

Generous with my time, my money, my patience, my talents. BE generous.

There is the beginning of my list.
That is the beginning. It may change, it may grow, we will see. :)

Peace Be With You

Today's world is so hurried and busy that it is easy (at least for me) to forget that we have a guide to go by each step of the way. I have been smothered in worry and anxiety recently and I knew I had to find a way out or find myself on meds...

Here are a few things that I found that are helping me put things into perspective, I hope they can help you as well.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; in all your ways be mindful of Him and He will make straight your paths." Prov. 3:5-6 (NAB)

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7-8 (NAB)

"(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."" John 20:21 (NAB)

Prayer for Peace
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you," regard not my sins but the faith of Your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your Will: Who live and reign, God, world without end. Amen.

Book of John - Chapter 14
27 Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Book of Luke - Chapter 1
79 to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Book of 2 Peter - Chapter 1
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of our Lord.

Book of Psalms - Chapter 34
14 Turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.

Book of John - Chapter 16
33 I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have hardship, but be courageous: I have conquered the world.

Notice that some of these promise peace and others tell us to SEEK or FIND peace. It is good to remember this, because far too often we expect God to GIVE without us seeking... one will not come without the other.

Peace be with you in your days. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We all need...

reminding sometimes that we are not the center of the universe, and so we get knocked down by our own pride and arrogance... at that moment it is imperative that we heed the warning and KNOW that we are loved...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

St. Mary Magdalene

Today is the Feast day for St. Mary Magdalene. She is also my patron saint.

I am a convert, I was baptized, confirmed, and took my first communion in 1997. I took forever to pick a patron saint, but in the end what made me choose Mary Magdalene was that she was a notable sinner, not just an average sinner - she had seven demons that needed to be cast from her. Well, I had a list at the time of what I thought were my "worst offenses" it was something I had done throughout my RCIA process. I'm not talking the normal little things, of those there were many. :) But this was a list of things like taking birth control, and turning my back on Jesus and the Church for a time, even after I knew the truth - you get the idea. The list was seven long.

Then there is her story, she was such a sinner that she was "highlighted" in the bible but her sins were not really the worst of the worst, yet she was put there on the pages to be held as an example. She was there, asking for forgiveness - and getting it, she was there at Jesus feet as he drew his last breath, she was there to help take care of his body and get him ready for the tomb and then she was given a tremendous gift (at least in my view).

She was the FIRST one to see Jesus after he rose. Of all the people who had followed Him, and believed in Him, and obeyed Him it was Mary Magdalene He showed Himself to. It gave me such comfort. That was the story that made me understand that we are ALL welcome to receive all that God had to offer us. That no matter how low we had let ourselves sink, He could pick us up and make us clean, and THROUGH HIM, we can become the light that can lead others to Him.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stress, stress go away...

Stress, stress go away

don't come back another day.

I've had about all I can take

another decision I can not make.

Kids are screaming and I have to say

I'll be screaming for three more days.

Baby says up, more, up

My arm says wrap, hot, wrap.

Messes and dirt all over the floor

holy cow I can't take any more.

He hit me, she pinched me, a pull of the hair

oh me, oh my, can I find a new lair?

One grumpy stressed hubby and five grumpy kids

I think we have finally all flipped our lids.

The night has just begun, busy we will be

a change in the schedule, I must hit my knees.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, do you hear?

I need your help and to feel you near.

Lord, you plans for me I can not see,

how do I become the person you want me to be?

I feel like a failure to this family you've given,

don't keep the path you have for me hidden.

Open my heart, ears and eyes,

don't let Satin mislead me with lies.

I pray to you with a tired soul,

help pick me up and make me whole.

Thank you Lord


Pumpkin Stew: Beautiful for fall ... thinking ahead.

This was so easy, and wonderful for a cold snowy day. I would love to make this for a pot luck sometime. Even though the stew looks kind of soupy in the second pic there, as soon as I put a spoon in it was a really thick and hearty stew.

I will definately do this again!!!

Pumpkin Stew

2 lb. Beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 T. veg. Oil, divided

1 c. cold water

3 Large potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 carrots, sliced

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

2 t. salt

½ t. ground black pepper

1 can tomatoes, I used diced the recipe said whole

2 T. beef bouillon granules

1 sugar pumpkin

1. Heat 2 T oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Place beef in the saucepan and cook until evenly brown.
2. Mix in the water, potatoes, carrots, green bell pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer approx. 2 hours (I only did for 1 hour).
3. Dissolve the bouillon into the beef mixture. Stir in the tomatoes.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
5. Cut top off the pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp. Place the pumpkin in a heavy baking pan. Fill the pumpkin with the beef mixture. Place top back on pumpkin wrapping the stem with aluminum foil. Brush outside of the pumpkin with remaining oil.
6. Bake in the preheated oven 2 hours or until tender (I cooked mine for 1.5 hours). Serve the stew from the pumpkin, scraping out some of the pumpkin meat with each serving.


An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'


1. Pray to Mary and the Saints

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus.'

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, do not take yourself seriously.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33 Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.


'If God is for us, who can be against us?'

(Romans 8:31)

It's all in the job...

Originally posted to my myspace March 28, 2008.

Waking up feeling old and pathetic because you’ve been squished between two babies all night.

Getting gooey chocolaty kisses because the baby snuck into the Easter candy.

Telling the same kid no 100 times only to be told they are tired of hearing that word, in your head your thinking then stop asking the same question.

Getting tackled with hugs from the same kid later in the day.

Contemplating the 18th birthday of your first born.

Contemplating the 18th birthday of your first born.

Hearing your children fighting and saying horrible things to each other first thing in the morning.

Watching them play soon after like nothing ever happened.

Cleaning up a counter you could have sworn you had just cleaned a few minutes before, realizing the kids were eating AGAIN!

Having one kid lead the other ones into a cleaning spree without being asked.

Being so frustrated with the things going on around you that you ask "where’s the baby?" and hearing the three people in the room with you say "in your lap".

Being able to laugh at yourself when you do something so ridiculous as to loose track of the baby sitting on your lap.

Someone once said if we were to see the job of mom listed and described in the newspaper no one would ever apply.

Too bad though because along with all the frustrations, worries, tears, fears, fights and hurts the job comes with benefits beyond measure.

It’s all in the job of being a mom... I wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world.

Rules of the "Wild West"

Just for laughs...

Rules of Colorado , Wyoming , Montana , Utah , Idaho , and the rest of the Wild West are as follows:

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked.

3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road.' I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4 They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They
eat and crap; smells like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-80 & I-90 go east and west, I-25 & I-15 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have
$250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese, pheasants, ducks, doves are comin' in during the hunts, we WILL shoot it outa your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar?! It's available at the corner bait shop.

9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup! Oh, yeah . . We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat . . IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!!

13. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump crap ain't music, anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers! Refer back to 1!

A true Westerner will send this to at least 10 others and a few new friends that probably won't get it, but we're friendly so we share in hopes you can begin to understand what a real life is all about!!!

25 Tips For A Better Life

I am posting this on my desk today. And on my mirror. And in a note on my phone. And placing it in my purse... :) Enjoy!

25 Tips for a better life

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals almost everything. . . and He can heal everything if its in His plan. We just need to trust His bigger picture.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Finding inspiration everywhere

Being Catholic Today

So in finding my happy place I have discovered many new ways to find my faith. Well, not so much find my faith as to find what my Church teaches and then finding a way to submit to those teachings. :)

The above article was very inspirational to me. I hope you like it too. :)