Share Your World – December 4, 2017 – SYW

Day 56 – #100HappyDay Challenge

Cees Share Your World

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Maybe I’m an odd duck. But there really isn’t a household chore that I “hate”. I actually enjoy puttering around my house nesting. I suppose if I have to pick the one item I typically dread is “deep cleaning” the stove. And I suppose the fridge… but the fridge is much easier than the stove.

Am I the only one that makes a huge mess on the stove top? I love to bake…and I’m neater with the oven. But the stove top? Lord save me from my bubbling jams, pots of beans boiling over and the splatter of oil coating me and, well, everything.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Discovering my passion is a work in progress….something I’ve been consciously thinking about lately. It’s interesting that after months of not playing along, the first time I jump in I’m presented with the same question I’ve been asking myself. Is it travel? Blogging? Family? Discovering New things? New Places? Baking? Photography? All of the above?

Maybe it’s turning 50 a few months ago, maybe it’s the sudden empty nest, the move across the states, the new job, I could go on. Life is a journey. It’s surprises us. It moves us unexpectedly. Passion ebbs and flows. I know this isn’t really an answer. But the good news is I’m getting closer.

How many times have you moved in the last ten years?

I left Alaska after 25 years and moved to Houston six months ago. Whew. BIG move! To be honest, I never felt like I quite fit in up there in the far north. The cold, icy weather and the long, so very long, dark winters wore on me. Moving to Houston seemed like a godsend. I was ready for warmer weather.

It’s a good move. But between you, me and the fence post, it’s been a little harder than I thought it would be. Living in a city this large is a little challenging. Add hurricanes, tornados and a smattering of snow and frost to the mix and its been interesting to say the least. But I’m getting there. Slowly.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This one is easy… FaceTiming with my granddaughter. I love technology! Oh my goodness, seven is the best age. But I imagine I’ll say that with every one of her birthdays. Seeing her smile, hearing her voice, sharing all the little things she treasures lifted my spirit more than words can express. Let’s just say Miss R makes me happy. Very happy.

Sending you happiness.

Love, April

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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

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

💕

Kids Say The Cutest Things

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

Day 45 – #100HappyDay Challenge

Coming home I stepped out front to check on the herbs and one lone tomato plant. I planted the half a dozen plants just for fun and to prove to myself I could. And low and behold a tomato emerged! I’m so excited. This would have never have happened to me in Alaska.

While admiring God’s handiwork the kids across the street came running through my front yard chasing after their puppy, its leash trailing behind her. I greeted them happily.

The older girl, around 12 or so, let me pet the puppy. As I admired the little mixed auburn pup, her little brother and sister began to ask me questions. I love kid’s curiosity.

“Do you have a dog,” the little boy asked me. I said no. “Why not? Are you going to get a dog?” I could tell the way he looked at me he couldn’t imagine NOT having a dog.

I explained that I lived on my own and that I was away from home too much to have a dog and there wasn’t someone home to help take care of a dog. He nodded his head solemnly, “Are you going to get a husband?” I suppose that would solve being alone and then I could have a dog.

Oh, my goodness, I just laughed and laughed. His older sister, embarrassed, cheeks flushing, hustled them away. How cute are they!?!

I never really considered that as a reason to find a husband, but maybe I should have. Then I might have a husband and a dog. The kid might be onto something. Mmmmm.

Three Little Things

“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.” – Matt Bevin

Day 44 – #100HappyDays Challenge

Happy Cyber Monday💕

Are you still shopping? I had to give my budget a break so figured I’d focus on a few of the little things that brings pleasure with little to no cost. But trust me, I’m thinking about shopping for shoes… so many pretty shoes that never let me down. But that’s not for today’s post. Focus. Focus, April.

ok. Where was I? Oh yeah – little things.

Do you have small things that make you light up? You know, like that singular moment when you wake up ready to jump out of bed to face the work day, and then realize you don’t have to go to work? Your body melts back into your warm, cozy bed and all is right in the world again.

Here are a few of my little, happy things that cost nothing but bring me high value emotional returns:

  1. Pajama days! There is nothing better in my world than spending a lazy day at home with nothing scheduled. PJ days are there to recharge from the hectic pace we typically set for ourselves. Especially during the holidays. For all of you Type A personalities go ahead and calendar a Pajama Day. Set aside your coziest PJs, stock up on yummy treats, movies, books, magazines, bubble bath in your favorite scent. The sky’s the limit. This works even with a family at home. It’s a fantastic time to reconnect. Some of my favorite memories with my kids happened on Pajama Days. But plan nothing. Just let the day unfold. Bonus points if you disconnect from technology!
  2. Sharing a hug, a kiss, with your favorite person. Treasure these little moments. Because someday they will disappear. The older I get the more I treasure these microseconds of connection. It means more and more to me as I move through life’s stages. Kids grow up. People leave, either willingly or due to passing on. This is life. Embrace those hugs while you can.
  3. An unexpected card or letter in the mail, a text message just because, a phone call or a comment in my posts, always lifts my spirits and makes me smile. I think life is about connection. And connecting makes me happy.

I’ve shared three small things that bring me joy at little cost, now it’s your turn. What three little things nourishes you? What brings you joy?

Cheers!

❤️