Happy Shopping List

Day 54 – #100HappyDay Challenge

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Pop over to visit Camellia’s charming blog, Camellia’s Cottage, to read her recent post “Cheerful Cherries” which is an artfully crafted and informative post about one of my all time favorite ingredients – cherries. Here you will discover a little history about Maraschino Cherries and a grownup recipe that will make you want to run down to the local grocer to pick up the ingredients to make your very own cheerful cherries! I’ve already made my shopping list.

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Speaking of another happy discovery that is on my shopping list  (which I mentioned before but it’s worth repeating) is a box of  Trader Joe’s croissants. Bake a few up to enjoy with your favorite cup of tea.  You can find three varieties in the freezer section; plain, chocolate and almond. I think my favorite is the almond. And, yes, I’ve indulged in all three. I know, I know, but it is the holiday season and I figure a little indulgence is good for the soul.

If baking up a whole box is a bit much at a single time, then take out as many as you like, store the others in a friendly freezer bag and toss them back in the freezer for another time. Honestly, my freezer is a godsend as a single person. Now these do have to raise overnight so remember to pull them out the night before, place them on a cookie sheet uncovered overnight and bake when you’re ready

Voila, croissants for one lovely breakfast.

Sending you happiness.

💕

April

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Deck the Halls – Writing Prompt

Day 53 – #100HappyDay Challenge

Today I’m playing along with a writing prompt – Deck the halls.

Christmas, for the most part, makes me happy. How about you? Do you enjoy decorating for the Holidays?

I typically decorate for the Holidays the day after Christmas and tend to put everything away the day after Christmas. I know. I’ve done this for years.

But not this year. This year things have changed a bit. I’ve moved. It’s a new house and It’s the first time I was traveling over Thanksgiving so decking the halls had to wait a bit. But most importantly, my granddaughter wouldn’t be here until the week before Christmas to decorate the tree with me.

What to do?

The Compromise…2 trees!

I decided to go ahead and decorate the tree downstairs and would wait to decorate the game room tree until she got here. I tucked a few of her “friends”, which I borrowed from her room, beneath the tree just for some cuteness. I am a little behind on gift wrapping. I’ll have to work on that.

I took the opportunity this year to go with pink glam for downstairs since It’s just the girls this year. And we like pink!

But Snowmen and the traditional holiday colors will reign upstairs. I’ve began to get the game room in order but I’ve made sure to keep the majority of the “decking” limited. It’ll have to wait for Miss R’s magical touch to finish the rest of the Christmas decking.

Hope you are having as much fun as I have in decking the halls.

Ho Ho Ho!

April

Perfect Day?

Day 52 – #100HappyDay Challenge

What does your perfect day look like? Imagine you could wake up each and every morning and create your perfect day, what you choose to do?

Wake up to a kiss and sunshine.

Steaming coffee with cream paired with fresh pastries, butter and jam.

Another kiss, hands touch, a lazy morning.

A casual road trip, intimate conversation.

Roadside stops along the way, fresh flowers, jars of honey and preserves.

Sunset flight of wine with dinner, music plays.

Dance beneath the stars.

Night lingers, laughter follows.

What’s your perfect day?

Here’s to The Back Half of Happy or Let’s Get Real, This Isn’t Easy

Day 51 – #100HappyDay Challenge

I’m beginning the back half of this 100 day happiness challenge. Between you and me I’ve been faithful to the challenge. I’ve posted. I’ve tried to pay attention to those still small moments. Here’s the thing. It’s tougher than I thought it would be.

Seriously.

Life. My life is filled with ups and downs, lots of downs, and if I can just get to a steady state I consider it a win. Is that happy? Can I check the box? Is that what I’m really after? It doesn’t feel like it. But maybe it is?

But my gut tells me that it’s more like finding this bright shining microsecond flash inside of the daily grind. Because life happens. And it’s not always fun. Often time it’s sloshing knee deep in muck. And if you are always chasing that big ticket item that “makes you happy” what happens when you catch it? Or it never happens? Will you never be happy? Or will the happy bubble purse burst minutes after you achieve the win and it’s off to races pursuing something else? Whew. It’s exhausting to even think about.

I’m more in Deepak’s camp, read a snippet of what he wrote on happiness.

Not every sky will be blue and not every day is springtime. So on the spiritual path a person learns to find this kind of happiness without needing nice things to happen on the outside. Rather, you find happiness by being who you really are. This isn’t mystical. Young children are happy being who they are. The trick is to regain such a state when you are grown and have seen the light and dark sides of life.

Deepak Chopra

The big question for me is how do I get back to that childlike state of being and stay there as often as possible? It’s the daily balancing act of practical acceptance. Knowing that I’m a work in progress…and for now that’s ok.

By the way,

Mercury goes retrograde December 3rd

If you want to go deeper into the subject I’d suggest popping over to Facebook to check out Robert Ohotto’s video from yesterday. I shared it on my Facebook page or find checkout his website.

“Get zen,” Robert recommends, so we are receptive to this retrograde message.

There’s a lot of superstition around mercury retrograde that I personally ignore. Maybe I’m the odd duck, but I like the opportunity to take some time for reflection.

“Energy never lies…energy always tells the truth. What is your capacity to read the truth?” Just a few snippets from his feed to contemplate.

Sending you happiness!

Love, April

A Life Well Lived or WTF?

Day 50 – #100HappyDay Challenge

Read this article in the New York Times by Oliver Sacks titled Sabbath. Im going to give the end away…

And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.

Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, was also a prolific and award winning writer. After listening to RadioLab’s podcast, Oliver Sacks A Journey from Where to Where I was moved to look up the article they referenced that he wrote mere weeks before his death. Here was a man facing his death reflecting on living a life well lived. In the podcast you get a creative glimpse of his last year with audio clips of recordings trying to capture his genius. As I listened to him and his partner’s banter, care and love mingled in a pen scratching frantically, my thoughts kept flying about from the people I have loved and lost to the desire to live a good life, and then to the Sabbath, the day of rest, and what it means.

As the podcast ended, I arrived to the store in search of Kleenex for this cold of mine. I glanced at my phone and saw a message from my older brother’s wife. My heart fell. I called my younger brother, no answer. I left a message. But what do you say to someone who just lost his wife of almost thirty years? Lives just changed.

My thoughts go back to the podcast and the article. Maybe that’s all we can hope is to live a good life. Love while we can. Capture memories. Leave the world a little better or at least none the worst. And then to come into rest on the Sabbath. I don’t know the answer. Maybe you do.

Sending you happiness.

Love, April

Sparkle Even When Mistakes Happen

Day 48? #100HappinessDay Challenge

 

Did you notice my mistake yesterday?

I could have just went in and edited the post and no one would have been the wiser. But I made a mistake 😳 and figured it’s a good time to admit I’m not perfect – nor have I ever been. Quite the opposite! And I may need an editor, which my son has pointed out to me several times over the last year of writing this blog.

Shit happens
I make mistakes all the time. I don’t mean to. I don’t set out to make a mess of things (if you’re seeking Ms. Perfection you won’t meet her here). Some mistakes are small. Some are mammoth-life-altering doozies. But guess what? Mistakes are typically the way we learn – they are just life lessons in disguise. Don’t let making a mistake dull your sparkle.

Own it
You messed up. Recognize it. Embrace the issue. It’s your creation, your very own pink elephant, to tame.

Don’t make excuses
Yeah, there are always the “if only” or the “but if I___” and down the rabbit hole you go chasing the “what could have been” while making excuses. That doesn’t erase the mistake and sometimes it slips into a downhill spiral, leading into a very dark depressing space.

Don’t beat yourself up
We are brilliant, sparkling human beings. We are love. We are God’s creation. As such, would you berate a small child for spilling milk? No. Remember that the next time you are beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Let your glorious self sparkle even when you may be covered in grime.

Clean it up – if you can
Some mistakes, like my typo from yesterday, is easily fixed. Take action if it’s fixable. With some mistakes there’s no going back. There may not be a way to fix it. Or change it. It is what it is. That’s a life lesson, a memory in the making that’s not pleasant. But may be something we can learn from

Forgivenesses 
Be kind to yourself and others by practicing forgiveness. If you make a mistake, causing harm or hurt feelings, humble yourself. Ask for forgiveness. Maybe the hurt is too deep or fresh and the one wounded don’t have it in their heart to forgive – do it anyways. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. See above. Don’t fall into that dark place. Embrace the light. Let God’s healing balm soothe the hurt.

Learn from it
In my own life, some of life’s greatest lessons have emerged from mistakes. My mistakes and other’s. What I’ve found is to really look at the experience trying to distill the lesson, absorbing it so that I don’t repeat it. (Except typos. Typos seem to haunt me and I’m sure to repeat them. Please forgive me in advance.) Life has a funny way of presenting situations over and over again until you learn the lesson you’re there to learn. Learn those skills. It’ll save your sanity down the line.

On that note, I’m signing off.

Wishing you all love and happiness.

Love, April

Tips to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

Day 49 – #100HappyDay Challenge

Hello December!

Are you ready? I mean really ready for the bustling chaos that’s about to burst wide open in a confetti of mixed emotions?

Yeah, I hear you. This can be a tough time for some of us especially when our lives aren’t the picture perfect hallmark card we strive to present to the world.

It’s ok to feel what you feel.

Give yourself permission to embrace each moment as they come. Some days can be really shitty. Things happen. Life gets hard. That’s when it’s important to take care of yourself. Even if it’s carving out 5 minutes of tears, shut away in the bathroom, water running to hide from your kid.

The sun will come out.

When you are feeling like the Grinch get outside. Breathe in the December air. Breathe out. Walk. Move your feet, focusing on your breath. When grinchy thoughts percolate return your focus to your breath. Just a few minutes of this walking meditation will clear your mind and those calories you just burned are an extra bonus!

Don’t isolate yourself.

Too much alone time is not good for the soul. We humans need other humans. It’s all good to curl up with your device, connecting in the virtual world as long as you don’t forget about the real world. Get out. Meet a friend for coffee. Volunteer. Connect. When you connect with others you’re experiencing the present moment. And in the present moment is where sweet spot of existence is.

Forget about buying a bunch of crap.

The pressure to buy, buy, buy is everywhere I turn. I don’t think it ever stops. Have you ever surfed the web and have an advertisement follow you from site to site for something you looked up? I think a pair of really cute boots followed me around for months, their shiny new leather always floating to the right side of whatever site I was on. They even haunted my email! But it’s ok to ignore the pressure to buy. It’s ok not to buy a bunch of crap that’s just going to be forgotten about before Christmas dinner is even over. Save your wallet. Save your sanity.

Just say no.

That brings me to the last sanity saving Holiday tip. Just say no. No thank you is a perfectly good answer if your gut is telling you to skip an activity or a last minute request. Don’t have time to bake those cookies for work? Just say no. Or offer to pick a pack of Oreos up on the way. You don’t have to be super-mom-wife-coworker-daughter-aunt or any other hat that is forced upon you. Do what you can. Do what feels right.

Hope the few sanity saving tips help. Just remember that this month will pass quickly into a memory. Let’s make some good ones!

As always, reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.

Love, April

💕