Love Changes Everything

This morning, when the house was quiet and I was doing some research online, my husband switched on the white-noised vacuum. It interrupted my thoughts. As he approached our computer area, he asked me to move. I pulled my chair away, and the vacuum sucked up the dirt, dust, and crumbs under the computer desk. In an instant, he kissed my forehead as I scooted my chair back into its home…and I beamed. (I think I am still smiling.)

A young boy, a little hesitant, entered a classroom with walls plastered in bright colors. He didn’t know what he would find inside the doors. A teacher greeted him with outstretched arms and a welcoming smile, an opposite experience from his past year. Happiness followed.

A little girl looked up at her mother with uneasy eyes. She knew she had made another mistake to add to her already-too-long-to-enumerate list of mistakes. Instead of a forming a frown, her mother swept the girl into her long arms, encompassing a little body filled with worry and a little heart filled with sorrow. Her mother whispered into her ear, “I love everything about you.” The little girl’s furrowed brow released its hold as if her brain and heart were releasing fear, worry, and regret. Vector-Valentine-Heart-of-Hearts-10-by-DragonArt

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Love changes everything.

Power of Positivity

If I ever become a super hero, I want my super power to be positivity! 🙂

I have been working on changing my mindset lately to focus on what is happy, upbeat, and awesome. It’s not my default, by any means. In fact, negativity has been my theme song for many years. I had the non-talent for being in a beautiful situation with amazing people–and I could still find something about which to complain.

WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!

I have asked myself that question for many years…but without much resolve to change it.

Well, I have a new theme song–and it goes more like this:

Here are a few practices that have helped me lately that I would love to share with you:

1. Exercise. Daily. Seriously. Exercise boosts endorphins (happy chemicals). Even a twenty-minute walk has shown to increase brain activity, too…and nothing beats the uplifting feeling of accomplishment that follows a good work-out (and a delicious protein shake). 🙂

2. Smile. It relaxes facial muscles (that I wrinkle when I worry or am negative). It also boosts endorphins. 🙂 And, smiling people look better, nicer, and more approachable!

3. Check in with happy thoughts on an app called “happier.” IT. IS. A. SERIOUSLY. HAPPY. PLACE. 🙂 I have loved reading about the happy moments of others–and reading positive messages helps me reset my brain from a negative station to a positive one. I also feel happier and encouraged when I post my own happy moments!

4. Balance/stimulate chakras. Chakras are energy centers in the body according to ancient traditions. I have been using yoga to work on mine, and I have felt happier and more positive. 🙂

Well, that’s all I have for now, other than to let you know that I have been blogging less now because I have been writing more. My characters on my latest novel are taking shape–and I couldn’t be happier.

See? I am becoming more positive!

Thank You, Andy Grammer

I haven’t had the best week…but I’m trying to hang in there–because the weekend is here and life really is good!

After some particularly stressful moments over the past several days, I was driving this morning–and who came on the radio but the dear, positive, smooth Andy Grammer? 🙂 He reminded me to keep my head up…and I was able to sing along, renew some positive energy, and keep going.

Love. This. Song.

Hope your week has been better than mine and that you are feeling some positivity as we head into the weekend! Sending much love!!! 🙂

Struggling, Writers?

Well, yes, I have been struggling as a writer lately. I have this manuscript I’ve been writing and editing since November 2012–and this manuscript (though it has great potential) has needed some work–such as a new beginning. Not really a big deal, right?

Wrong.

And I have been struggling. And thinking. And pondering. And writing. And editing. And thinking some more.

I could have chosen at any moment to let it all go, to quit, to give in to the voices that tell me the process is too difficult, that I don’t have whatever-it-is that is needed to publish, that I really can’t be successful in a sea of so many voices.

But I did not. And I do not.

Actually, working through these moments, I have realized how much writing means to me.

Yesterday, I was in the midst of supporting a lovely community I found recently on twitter. As I was reading posts to retweet and favorite on #MondayBlogs, I connected with a fellow wordpress blogger who posted this lovely piece of amazingness. As I read about her journey, I was able to envision another moment in my first chapter–another beginning–one which I know is a step in the right direction (even if it might not be the final beginning). And the energy and life-giving writing is beginning to flow once more.

And I am grateful–grateful for community among writers, for support, and for the shutting down the negativity inside myself and feeding the positive!

Sending much love to all of you this year! xoxoxox

An adventure was going to happen…

I used to have a Classic Winnie the Pooh stamp that had the phrase on it, “An adventure was going to happen…” (which I often read and puzzled over in my youthful mind). The drawing under the words captured a moment with Christopher Robin holding the hand of Winnie the Pooh as they headed off into some unknown direction, facing new sights, smells, sounds, (and most likely some honey at some point for Pooh Bear’s rumbly tummy).

On the other side of over a decade of marriage, several children, heart leaps and heartaches, I have found that to be my experience almost every day of every year (minus the honey, of course).

I used to (and still work hare at overcoming this tendency…especially on tired days) be quite negative. I used to be more like Eeyore, noticing the little black rain cloud that stood just over my head (but no one else’s). I claimed that cloud in the name of realism and carefully placed my personal flag within the grey puffs of condensation and brewing storms, like Neil Armstrong posting red, white, and blue stars and stripes on craters of a heavenly sphere in 1969. While I was under my little cloud, I could find all the sad, despairing circumstances in which I lived each day.


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But I wasn’t happy.

And I wanted desperately to be happy.

So I changed.

I changed from Eeyore to Winnie the Pooh…a little less steeped in “reality” and a little more optimistic. I’m trying to look at each day as an adventure. I’m learning that blessings come in small and large packages, and one of the most amazing blessings of all is the gift of friendship. I’m finding quiet and loud moments of joy.

And I am happy.
🙂


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Cold, Cold, Go Away!

I have a nasty cold.  I don’t know how I could get a cold, with all the sunshine and warmth around me, but I have a cold.  I didn’t ask for it, I promise.  In fact, I didn’t kiss my handsome husband for over a week in pursuit of NOT getting a cold.  What a loss.  😦

Anyway, one of the blessings that comes with having a cold is the need (but not always the ability) to rest while recouping.  Well, I haven’t had that luxury too much over the past few weeks, but one day not too long ago I did take a few minutes to catch up on some cuddling with my (gasp–almost school-age) little guy while watching some Pride and Prejudice (2005).  I was struck this go-round with the scene when Elizabeth is pleading with her father for permission to marry Mr. Darcy.  She talks about how she was wrong and how she really does love him (touching, right?).  What I loved about this moment was not her tribute to his character or her admission of her own pride but the fact that nothing went as Lizzie planned, yet she still got all she wanted–marriage to a man she loved while maintaining her own identity–with even “more fine carriages than Jane [would have marrying Mr. Bingley].”

Pride & Prejudice
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I think that’s where I am.

In my life, with all the plans I could make (though I do continue to set goals and achieve them at times), I’m not prepared for all the twists and turns that have come my way.  Still, I am happy.  I have more than enough and to spare for myself and my family (& I can say that even while suffering through this heinous cold that woke me up before 5 a.m. in search of cold medicine and VapoRub more than once last week).  So, hooray for a crazy cold!  Hooray for being able to think for ourselves and choose what we want out of life!  Hooray for counting blessings and maintaining positive attitudes!  Hooray for being me, today, in a place I could’ve never imagined, but where I have all I need and most everything I could want.

Hooray!

🙂

On the Road Again…

I used to run regularly–like to the point of training and “running” a half-marathon with my husband and a dear friend about two years ago.  I ran/walked pretty consistently until sometime last year.  Though I could never really say that I loved running, I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that I could go the distance, the wind rushing through my hair, and the nice lines of muscle forming on my legs.

The other day, I hit the pavement again for the first time in quite a long time.


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I was thinking as I ran that running is really so much like life.  Here are a few insights:

  • you just have to keep going
  • slowing down to catch your breath sometimes is okay
  • other times you just need to push through the rough spots
  • after the uphill, a downhill is coming
  • it’s all good
  • you really CAN do it
  • sometimes the air is thin and you think you don’t have anything left…but YOU DO!!!!!!
  • people/music/self-talk that is positive and upbeat make all the difference
  • we need oxygen to function
  • keep your shoulders back and stand a little taller
  • BREATHE!!!!!

What are some lessons you have learned through running or exercising?  Do you find life lessons in all you do?

Hugs till next time! 🙂

Thank…Whom?

A while ago, I was speaking to a woman of great influence in my life.  During the brief conversation, she asked me if I would be willing to write a letter of gratitude.

Sure, I thought.  How hard could that be?  I am blessed by many people who perform kind and generous acts toward my family and toward me personally.  I could just pick one individual and write the letter.  Actually, the most difficult part might be to find some stationary…(and don’t get me started on the lost art of writing letters…that post will have to wait for another day).

Then, she finished her thought (yes, I do sometimes interrupt conversation with my own thoughts) by saying, “to yourself.”

UGH.

A letter of gratitude…to myself?  Really?  What could I possibly thank myself for doing?  Keeping my cool when my kiddo punched me unintentionally the other day?  Cooking dinner?  Nah.  That’s just stuff that goes along with life, right?

Well, I let the thought sit in my brain for a while (haunt my brain, infect my mind, are you getting the picture?).  I didn’t know what I would write–and I had no stationary to speak of, anyway–but while I was writing in my journal a few days later, I decided that maybe I could do some “pre-writing” exercises for this letter…like, I could probably manage a few things I was thankful to myself for…maybe in bulleted form.  Sure.  I could start there.  At first, the bullets came slowly…but as I continued to think of positive aspects of my personality, talents I have worked to develop, and acts of kindness I perform, my list began to flow.

🙂

Along with a few other changes I’ve been making in my life related to positivity, exercise, outlook, and cultivating hope, I will say that writing a “letter” (list) of thanks to myself has allowed me a shift in perspective.  I am excited for the opportunity to look with gratitude toward the activities I accomplish and the work I am doing…and to recognize these aspects of my existence with thanks.

So, will you write a letter of gratitude to yourself? Will the task be an easy or challenging one for you? As I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I might extend this invitation to my family and see how they react to the assignment.

And, because you may find yourself in need of some musical inspiration, here’s Natalie Merchant with a couple of amazing songs this fine Friday! (Two versions of her “Kind and Generous” and one “These Are Days” with 10,000 Maniacs–enjoy!) 🙂

The Me You See

You’ll have to forgive the cheesy rhyming nature of the lines below (I beg of you, please). This topic is one I have given a great deal of thought, and after yesterday’s post, I had to get it down in word form (April is National Poetry Month, after all). Pardon me, also, for making the topic a little lighter with the rhyming nature…I guess I’m not exactly ready to deal with it seriously yet. Here you go!

Please acquaint me with the me you see.
I have such trouble sensing my own beauty.
Could it just be modesty?
Or denying myself the pure ecstasy
Of knowing who I could really be?

Let’s have a chat, just you and me
I’ll buy the scones, you bring the tea,
And we’ll sit on a balcony
And I’ll introduce you as you introduce me
To the joy of each other’s me we see.

I wonder if you could take the time this week (or during the rest of this blessed month of April) to help someone see themselves the way you see them, without his or her own self-criticism seeping through every thought. Could you write a letter? Send an email? FB message? Tweet? Or blog post? I will do the same. Decide today…before an upcoming (maybe tomorrow?) post when I have another invitation to offer! If you will join me, please share in the comments (or at least like this post) and follow-up after you have completed your intention. I’d love to hear what you decided to do and how it went!
🙂

Choices

As I approach the dashboard of my blog to write this Monday morning, my heart is (honestly) a little heavy.  I know I can sit here and recount the conversations of the weekend and how we are all really no less safe than we were four days ago…but we may feel like we are.  I know I can ignore what I am feeling, as well, and get lost in some editing or fiction writing or a book or movie.  I also know that I can take my advice from Friday (which I posted before the news hit) and count my blessings.  I think I will choose the last.

(I would be dishonest to say that I didn’t hug my little ones a little tighter before they left my door this morning, though.)

I am so very blessed in my life.  Currently, I live in a more-than-ample house with a kitchen I adore using.  I have beautiful, insightful children who impart wisdom to me daily.  I have a handsome husband who loves me in spite of my multitude of flaws, shortcomings, and occasional sadness over situations I cannot control.  I was raised by good parents.  I have amazing friends and family members.  I can rock heels.  (And, last week, I even found brown boots…but that is another story!)

Somehow choosing to focus on the vast blessings before me helps my heart feel a little lighter.  I will try to choose happiness instead of feeding the negative feelings bouncing around my head of fear and uncertainty.  I will count a few more blessings along my path today…and among them will be you, my dear readers.  🙂

Thanks for listening…and reading.  I appreciate you more than you know.