Paradise Found

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For as long as I can remember, my mind has been captive to negative thoughts.

I wasn’t necessarily aware of it, but I was definitely not a “glass half full” person if you were to ask me. I knew that I longed for joy – but I really believed my circumstances just weren’t allowing for it. Whether it was cranky kids, sheer exhaustion, or a season of sickness, I always felt the odds were stacked against me in my search for happiness.

I so badly wanted to find this ‘paradise’ in my life – that time and place where everything would finally go my way. I was so caught up in the “if/then” game: “If only the kids were a little bit older, then things would be easier.” Or: “If I could just get a solid night of sleep, then I wouldn’t be so irritable all the time.”

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Shower

There are certain things promised to us as human beings and also, as Americans.  But once you become a parent, I believe you give up many of those rights, whether you realize it at first or not.  One being a long, hot shower.  Not that any of us should be taking long showers, especially in drought-ridden California…but maybe just a shower a day?  Or…a shower every couple days?  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so.  And the days I do manage to get one usually involve a screaming toddler on the other side of the shower door, so I have to finish in lightning speed.  Real relaxing.

Continue reading “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Shower”

If Mom isn’t happy…

I saw this quote recently and decided to take the challenge, since it’s something I really struggle with.

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After a successful 24 hours, I then went all WEEK LONG without one complaint – a pretty big feat for me!  And I have to say, it felt pretty good.  The three of us had the best week we have had in a long time.  Yes, there were still challenging moments when they both needed me or fell apart at the same time.  This is something that definitely frazzles me.  I feel helpless when I have to pick between the two of them and whose need to meet first.  So this past week I didn’t let the internal struggle happen and instead I just met one need and then met the other’s, quickly putting out fires one by one.

Not complaining also meant resisting the oh-so-satisfying eye-roll or sigh when the kids needed me while I was in the middle of something.  You know – daunting details of my day like attempting to work out, pay bills, make a phone call (impossible!) and the never-easy task of cooking dinner.  I am so used to thinking (or guilty of sometimes even saying aloud), ‘I will never get this done!’  This week I tried just stopping what I was doing, quickly intervening if necessary or getting whatever it was one of them needed and then went back to what I was working on.  Matter of fact, no negative emotion involved.

If my mind started to turn pessimistic on me, I stopped the thought process in its tracks.

I never realized controlling my thoughts could truly change my circumstances.  I’m so used to letting my circumstances dictate my emotions, not the other way around.

As if reading my mind, a friend sent me this article that describes just how powerful the brain is in practicing and determining happiness.  It’s pretty exciting knowing you can rewire your brain and train your mind to be optimistic, leading to a more fulfilling life.  The article recommends keeping a journal of all you are grateful for.  I had started one of these a couple years back when the book 1,000 Gifts was big, so I got it back out to keep up the practice.

I thought this would be a good time to play The Happy Game with my 3-year-old daughter last week to try instilling happiness and being thankful in a simple way.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me:  What makes you happy?

Her:  When we paint together.  {which we were doing at the time}

Me:  Something that makes me happy is going to the beach with you.  What else makes you happy?

Her:  Playing with you and swimming in the big pool together and when we play legos together.

Me:  It makes me happy when I make a big, yummy meal and everyone eats it and likes it.  What else makes you happy?

Her:  It makes me happy when you’re happy, Mommy.

And I was floored.  Not at all what I expected.  Every single answer was about me.  And then the kicker was that she cared so much about my happiness.  Incredible.

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Goodness, I feel like I could/should have been doing this for years.  I’ve always wondered how my husband does it at work.  In sales, he is rejected day after day, yet he’s built a successful practice somehow.  He always has the best attitude even at the end of a  day that didn’t go his way.  I actually asked him a few weeks ago while I was in an exhausted mental state what he would do in a situation that kept recurring in my days.  He answered matter of factly, “I would figure out how to work around that and stay happy despite those circumstances if that’s where you’re at right now.”  My mind just does not think that way.

I guess it may be starting to now.