Sunday, August 23, 2009

I am in awe today!

I am in awe at the beauty God has put around us.

Today I am thankful to God for:
Putting a man in my life that cherishes me.
My children.
My family.
A beautiful sunrise.
The grass.
The beauty of words well spoken.
Music in all forms.
The smell of fresh chicken noodle soup.
And chocolate cake.
For marriage and childbirth.
And for guiding me in love so that I may see all I have to be thankful for.

Thank you Father! I am a child of God, and I know that I am loved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few truths...

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be” Marcel Pagnol

I like to write, different styles of writing, doesn't matter I can be journaling, blogging, working on a story I may never finish, jotting down a list... it does not matter what I'm writing it makes me happy to write. It would be gratifying if someday I could make some money on this, and I have recently gotten discouraged because I simply don't know how to make that happen, but after reading a few of the blogs on the happiness project the thought crossed my mind - why do I write? Did I begin writing to make a buck? No, I write because I love it. I might not even be good at it, so I have to get back to the core reason I write and leave the rest of it behind. You see, by getting bogged down in the "new reason" to write i.e. to figure out if I can make some money, I have opened up a door of frustration which was then linked to my writing. I was not enjoying it as much.

Being creative makes me happy. I love pictures, and photography. I love working with my hands, drawing, beading, cooking. But all of these things can become tedious, and I need to use my creativity to come up with a solution.

For instance - I love working with photos, but for me to work with scrapbooking makes it frustrating, because my house and children are not organized in such a way that I can leave it out and come back to it later. Each time I have to pack it away and then bring it back out. Solution: digital scrapbooking. There are any number of free sites on the net that allow you to use digital photos and elements to come up with beautiful, stunning, funny, or exciting scrapbook pages. Most of the sites will even print them out in book form for you - for a fee of course.

Another example would be cooking. I really do love to cook, but when it comes to cooking dinner I usually revert to old standbys and am in a hurry. My solution: a friend recently reminded me about once a month cooking. So I'm thinking that if I set a day aside, gather everything I need and start with a clean, organized kitchen cooking could be fun again. Now to some people cooking for an entire day would be a nightmare, but what makes this a good solution is that I set aside the time, so it isn't like I'm just fitting it in because I have to.

I hate cleaning. Not because I don't like a clean house, but because with 6 or 7 people in the house I always felt like I would get one room done and go to the next only to find the first room a mess when I came back in. Solution: We've started a chore book. Each kid, including the 2 year old, have chores to do on a daily basis. They do not do them perfectly, however, I find that if they are doing their chores while I do mine it keeps them busy cleaning instead of messing. My house is still not perfect, we have clutter (which I now have a little more time to try and deal with) but things are going a little more smoothly.

Another bit of happiness making that I have run into lately is this. Things do not change overnight. I have done chore charts before and they have failed. Why? Because before I expected things to change immediately, because of course I had given the kids a set of tools. This time however, I had been listening to a friend who had done the same thing, and I learned that not only was she giving her kids the tools, but she was being patient while they learned how to use them. Imagine that... they needed time to change their ways... hmm. I have found that if I acknowledge that things are not perfect just as long as it takes to tweak things a bit, but mostly focus on the progress we are making it gives me a good feeling.

So that was a lot of information for one blog, but these solutions have been coming a little at a time over a long period of time but I was sparked by some of Gretchen Rubin's blogs on her happiness project that kind of brought it all together for me. I'm 42 years old, a mom of 5 (with a baby on the way), and about to celebrate my 23rd wedding anniversary (tomorrow). For all this to come in to place now is awesome. Why, well because I have a lot of years ahead of me to put it all into action and I can see that the next part of my life is going to be, in a lot of ways, so much better than before. The time before wasn't all that bad, so the prospect of better yet - THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!

For a look at Gretchen Rubin's happiness project please see her blog HERE.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happiness begins with straightening out an attitude or two or six.

So today it began with fighting and fussing and the usual "I don't want to" or "Get me some" and as I listened to my children it became very clear to me that we all needed an attitude adjustment.
For my part I need to realize that with 6 people in the house (remember the oldest just went to school) and a dog, that things will sometimes seem chaotic even if they aren't really. Get three kids playing - in the house - and it can sound like a full blown battle raging. :)

Turning my attention to my four little ones however it seems they need an attitude adjustment as well. You see they have fallen into the same pit that I believe is also getting out country in some trouble. It's called the 'pit of entitlement'.

You see, I've had to explain to my children that although they are "entitled" to nourishment so that they may grow, they are NOT entitled to go in and out of the refrigerator as they please. That would be a privilege, and if abused, it can be revoked. Along the same lines, they are entitled to clothes to keep them warm and healthy but not to brand names just because. They are indeed entitled to have a safe and warm place to sleep at night but no one ever said that would have to include all the frilly stuff hanging over the beds, or blankets that are purple instead of rust colored. They are entitled to have a place to wash up, but not an hours worth of hot water in the shower. And in this large family you are entitled to a certain amount of privacy, but you are defiantly not entitled to a single room to yourself for an extended amount of time. You are entitled to let you feelings be known but not to scream it at the top of your lungs. You see where I'm going with this. :)

We have allowed our children to live in a certain amount of luxury, not as much as some but more than others, and they have come to expect that as the minimum. And frankly I've done a lot of things to make sure they have the things they now deem essential. So attitude adjustment all the way around. I'm going to stick to a standard, regardless of how many compromises that might mean and we are all going to learn to live with it.

Mind you the expectation is that things will get worse before they get better. I fully expect that there will be whining, and fit throwing. But in the end I think we will all learn a valuable lesson and also we will all learn to be happier with what we are provided. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Clutter ... shhh in my house that's a four letter word.

Clutter is a four letter word because if we have clutter that's a sign that things must leave, in boxes, by force, and usually with one or more of us screaming and kicking that "it's our favorite".

This happiness project comes with goals. The main goal is to make "happy" the focus of my house and my life, because frankly right now even though we are blessed beyond measure, we live in chaos. I see this process like a huge beautiful tree.

There are so many branches to the tree, and each main branch is a goal. Each main branch has smaller branches which is how I will treat the goals, with different sub goals to tackle. Of course we also have leaves - those are my ideas for each branch.

I can have several goals, and I can work on different branches each day so that when it is all said and done the tree is still balanced and full, and beautiful which will in turn give us strong roots.

Now I have tried to destroy clutter before but because I saw only one branch at a time it didn't make the tree very happy.

I made a friend long ago, but because I was stuck in chaos my friend got stuck in the closet. Her name is Flylady and she has a system.

My problem the first go round? Well, I saw the Flylady as a solution, not a tool. And her system used a lot of emails, and as I fell farther and farther behind, my friend the flylady seemed more like a pest.

So what's different this time? Well, I know that it will never be "perfect", my house will never be without some kind of clutter, BUT I have an attitude of gratitude I know that we are blessed, but we LIVE in our home. So Flylady here I come again, keeping in mind that you are a tool to use and shape and mold into my own working system.

Clutter will always be a four letter word in our house, but from here on out, maybe clutter and I can compromise and it will lend to less chaos.

BTW this lends itself very well for my "symbol" for my Project. A tree! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy news...


Once again we've been blessed. We are expecting our 6th baby! The news did not come as a complete surprise, but it did send me for a loop - for some reason I just wasn't thinking that it was time.

God's timing very rarely works with our own, but we are excited, and feel blessed. It has been quite a year for us. Our oldest getting off to the prep academy for West Point, and the news of a new baby on the way.

Sickness and stretching and joints that creak. But the joy and awe at having a little one growing inside you is just overwhelming.

And what a time as I go through the happiness project.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Bread of Life

Reading 1
1 Kgs 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

This was today's 1st reading, and then our deacon gave a homily that touched me. :) He was reminding us that when we take the Eucharist we are taking in the bread of life and like that hearth bread, it will give us much more strength than would make sense in our earthly minds.

I will admit that I have more or less "punished" myself by not taking the Eucharist because I did this or that and did not feel I deserved it... Here is the problem with that. God has given us different sacraments to help us along the way on our journey to Him. One of them is the sacrament of Reconciliation which is the one I should have employed EVERY time I felt unworthy to receive the Eucharist, and then of course the other I would tie in here is Communion.

I am not proud of the fact that I behaved in this manner, it is not at all in the teachings of the Catholic church, but sometimes when we feel so overwhelmed with our own sins we do not think to clearly. I have to say that since I have learned to just give in to the sacraments as they should be used I am a happier person for it. The sacrament of Reconciliation is so healing. To get the sins OUT instead of letting them haunt us and then to HEAR the words "you are absolved", well that truly is a little bit of heaven here on earth. Then to acknowledge just before communion that we are not worthy, and then receiving the Eucharist and after as I kneel I do try and meditate on the fact that I am asking God to strengthen me against committing those sins again. That is also healing, and it does help me immensely to know that I have taken that step to improve myself and live better for God, to please Him.

It gives me much peace to go trough these sacraments, even though it is difficult and stressful I always feel better.

Today's reading is a very good reminder of WHY we take the Eucharist.
Have a blessed Sunday! :)