It’s the Little Things


We are in our new home, and working hard to get ourselves settled.  We have worked so hard that Hubby is on bedrest for at least a week!  I am also easing back.  My sweet daughter commented that here we are less than an hour away, and we are useless as babysitters.   In a couple weeks, for her and her husband’s anniversary, we should be ready for duty.  It makes me smile.  I am happy we are close enough to see and interact with the grandkids, before they are completely grown.

Then there are our children, whose help with moving in kept the move affordable, as well as getting our furniture into the house!   Okay, I’ll admit there have been a couple of bounced checks, but that is why we have overdraft protection.   Scheduling  payments electronically is not a skill I have mastered, and with all the disruption of the move there were a few too many dinners out.  I’m glad it was my bank account that took the hit rather than my waistline.  I have my priorities.

The house isn’t pretty, but it is liveable.  The garage is full of boxes waiting for attention.   Taking care of everyday tasks is a relief.   I love my new stove and refrigerator, and I’m happy just cooking at home.  Doing laundry, even at the laundromat, brings normalcy back to my life.

While waiting on the laundry, I was reading the Special Time Edition of The Science of Happiness:  New Discoveries For a More Joyful Life.  One new thing I learned is how to think positively.   Thinking positively isn’t just appreciating the band as the Titanic sinks.   Thinking positively is thinking about happy memories,reliving them in your mind.  It is like a mini vacation, refreshing.

Soon we will have a house warming, and I’ll share pictures of the new house.  Until then, build many happy moments into your daily life.

Happy memories.

For Those Days You’re Draggin

WARNING –  This is not a post about thinking yourself to health and wellness.  Why?  Because I have a lot of trouble with the entire concept of “being as happy as I decide to be,” of “telling the universe what I desire” and attracting it to myself.

I have coped with mood disorders, and meditation did not cure me, nor posting messages on my mirror and refrigerator to encourage positive thinking.  Telling people how much I wanted to be close to family, did not make the job opportunities appear to keep us close to home.  Planning, preparing, and doing the right things did not prevent layoffs, unwanted relocation, illness, and conflict from happening.

No, It was the support of the medical community and wise counselors that pulled me from the clutches of depression.  For months, not days, my miserable slog through life never seemed to end,  as much as I wanted an ending.

Thankfully, I did learn how to reach for happiness.  It wasn’t even a matter of deciding what I want and going for it.  It was so much simpler.  I had to quit trying to figure out what went wrong, and just accept things as they are, and just deal with it, or avoid it, which is often more appropriate with things I can’t change.  Even if I could figure out why things happened as they have, it doesn’t change the current situation.  I just stopped working the puzzles of why and how.  I needed to learn what makes me happy.

Productivity makes me happy. 

So how do I stop working on these puzzles?  First, I write it down, leaving my concerns on the page.  Then, I keep myself busy.  I have found that being productive, in any way, is preferable to ruminating on problems with no solution in sight.  So I clean, cook, organize, walk the dogs, sew, crochet, or write.  The activity doesn’t matter, as long as there is a result that I have done something productive.

Having friends makes me happy.

My social network has broadened, with friends from church, exercise, and work.  I can stave off the blues by having social interactions that I look forward to.  Rather than climbing down into a hole when bad things happen in the world, I can be with others who share my concerns.

Music makes me happy.

When I lost my voice for two months, due to a horrible cough, I realized how much I value music.  Listening to music, yes, but more particularly making music, as in singing.  I have not been in a choir for five years, but it wasn’t until I lost my voice, and thought I might never again sing, that I realized how important singing is to me.  Posted in our old choir room was a quotation, “We don’t sing because we are happy.  We are happy because we sing.”  I have never left a choir practice or performance without a smile on my face.

Moving my body makes me happy.

My exercise class makes me smile.  My water aerobics class got me moving even with bad knees.  Walking and hiking lets me get close up with the natural world around me.  Bicycle riding gives me a rush of speed and brings back the freedom and joy of childhood.  Dancing (and singing) in the shower makes me feel uninhibited and joyful.

Collecting memories makes me happy. 

I have read that travel is the key to happiness, and I believe it.  New places and new experiences offer a break from the routine, and a sense of adventure.  Collecting brochures and planning the trails I want to walk, what I want to see, and what I want to do give me joy in the planning as well as in the doing.  The memories last a lifetime.  Even when things don’t go well, there is still a story to share.

Perhaps you have other ideas to share for how to reach for happiness.  For now, being with Hubby will make me happy.

Home is…

After many, many moves, from one end of the country to the other I have asked myself where my home is.

I am not the only one who has asked me this question. My sister asked me where I thought of as home. For her the question is easy. She has lived in two homes in her adult life. She raised her children primarily in one house. There were no changes in schools, neighborhoods, friends, or routines except those dictated by the needs and requirements of their growing family. She is minutes away from our parents, and brother. I have owned many houses, in five states, and have lived for short periods in other places.

The hardest move was Lancaster Pennsylvania where the red dirt made me nauseous. I have traveled the country so I knew dirt could be a wide range of colors from red, brown to black. But seeing the red dirt everyday was disturbing, when the dirt of my world was brown, red just looked wrong. As wrong as an orange sky. Being five hours from family in Ohio, we took every opportunity to “go home,” rather than make our life in Pennsylvania.

The easiest move was to Seattle Washington. Luckily my daughter’s husband was stationed at Bremerton Naval Base, so I got to see her frequently. I got to be there for the birth of my granddaughter, Kylie. My in-laws were also there. Ohio was far enough away, that I had to make my life in Washington. I loved the mountains, and had always wanted to live in them from the time of childhood trips to the Rocky Mountains. Frequent flier miles kept me in touch with the rest of the family in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The best climate was Oceanside, California. Relentlessly excellent weather, six miles from the beach, and ocean breezes allowed us to leave our windows open without being plagued by bugs. Butterflies would come and go from the living room. I could have lived there forever, except that family was to far away.

I planned on living in each of our homes for a lifetime. I selected my homes based upon projected needs of myself and my family. A down stairs bath and bedroom was a requirement just in case a parent would have to move in with us. Enough bedrooms for visiting family, and space our grandchildren would love. We poured our time and money into these places. Things purchased for one home didn’t always fit well in subsequent places.

I never chose to live far away from family. It was the consequence of choosing to stay with the man I married, which was encouraged as right and good by Mom and Dad. We have had a good life, and lived in interesting places, but I cried leaving the comfort of my extended family, and continually tried to arraign my life to bring me back to them. Now choosing a place to live close to family is a little more difficult, with our children and grandchildren living in different areas.

I am in another new house, having fun decorating my doll house. But where do I feel at home? I feel at home when I’m talking to, or with my family and friends. I’m home with my parents, with my children, with my grandchildren, with my brother or sister, either in person, on line, or on the phone. That is when I feel at home, when I am with those who have my heart.

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