Monday, July 16, 2012

Creating Our Own Happiness

Happiness was a lot of things this morning.  Journaling with my son was one them.  


We were supposed to be taking off early this morning with friends for a mini-road trip/summer getaway.  The kids were so excited.  I had the oh-so-stylish minivan (you know you want one) cleaned out and ready to host 8 passengers. Things were packed up and ready to go.  I had bags of books, writing materials and snacks all ready for the five kids that would be riding along.  We were all set. But then I realized after a day and night of my younger daughter having ear pain that this was likely an ear infection that wasn't going away.  Instead of heading out for an early road trip/water park adventure as planned, I was up most of the night and we were heading to the doctor.  How exciting!  But being a mother trumps everything else in my life.  Kids come first. Even though my other two kids were pretty bummed about it, my daughter needed meds and extra love.  


Despite this bummer change in plans, I'm not about to let it ruin our day. I am intent on making this week magical and fun for my kiddos.  Creating memories is the name of the game this week.  Right now we have the tunes on, blanket and towels sprawled out on the deck, and the sunshine smiling down on us.  Snacks, hose, trampoline, journals, books and a big backyard.  We are making our own happiness.  Instead of slumping around in the house and pouting from being up half the night, I just used my free coffee certificate to get some extra espresso shots and now this already hyper mom is rip roarin' and ready to go!  Kids are so content (for another 10 minutes) that I even find myself with a few moments to type. Granted, they are not completely non-interrupted minutes so this post will likely stop and start many times before you read it.  But it is still time to write so I'll take it!   


Okay, I admit.  Halfway through this post, I did allow for a little designated "screen time".  Kids quietly watched a movie at my feet after some trampoline water play.  

Just one nice interruption from my brief writing time...cuddles and snacks in the sun.  




As I was driving home from the doctor's office with my daughter's antibiotics and a determination to make this day a fun one despite the circumstances, I realized again just how powerful we can be in creating happiness for ourselves. Living intentionally and making our life what we want is truly open to each and every single one of us....no matter what our life is made up of.  We have choices.  We hold the power to make changes in our life.  Whether this means making the most of canceled plans, changing the way we eat and the activities we are involved in so we can live a healthy life, learning something new, using our gifts to make a dream come true, or even something as simple as changing our furniture around and cleaning our windows to let some light in... we hold the power to create happiness for ourselves.  It starts with intention and motivation. And creating happiness for our lives doesn't have to be HUGE...it doesn't have to cost money....it doesn't have to be a daunting task that leaves us defeated before we even start...it can be something small. 


Some examples of small intentional acts you can start with that can lead to BIG changes in the long run (not necessarily relating to me):

  • Today I will eat healthy food and drink ____ glasses of water.
  • I will start today in making my goals of _________ a reality. 
  • I will jog/walk for 20 minutes as a start in losing the weight.  
  • I will listen to my coach, run slow and be patient so that my body can be in prime condition for some fall PRs even though I feel like hitting up the track for an intense speed workout.  ;)  
  • I don't need to feel guilty for not doing A, B and C with my kids.  Instead, today I will _______________ (go to the library, read books together, get a 39 cent box of fresh new crayons and draw a picture together in the park, run through a hose together, make mini pizzas for lunch, paint some rocks, stop everything and make eye contact and have a real conversation for a longer stretch of uninterrupted time (this goes a loooong way), or just share a snack together. I could go on and on and on and on with this one.  So many simple, inexpensive, meaningful ways to connect to our kids.  
or...
  • Gosh, I'm feeling frumpy.  Today I will pluck my eyebrows, pamper myself with a face mask, and paint my toe nails.  Okay, seriously, no joke...it amazes me just how big of a difference it makes when we pamper ourselves sometimes.  Something as simple as doing our hair and make up and putting on something we FEEL good in even though we aren't going anywhere...this can change the way we live our day.  When we radiate confident energy, we attract more of what we want in life!  Not to mention, our family benefits too...my husband loves coming home to see me in a dress and looking/feeling good.  He loves me in sweat pants and greasy hair too but when I look good, I feel good and all is just a little bit ...well..."GOOD".  
  • Today I will communicate my feelings to __________. 
  • I don't like the way this friend makes me feel and my feelings have been hurt too many times.  I'm going to either share my feelings and move forward or just choose to move on and not have toxic people in my life.  Not everyone is meant to be close friends.  We can move on from friendships without cutting ties completely. Relationships change as we change.  Its okay to not have people in our lives that were once close friends.  This is part of respecting what is best for us.  
  • I'm going to write down some short term and long term goals with my running, career, motherhood, etc.  So much power in putting our goals out there.  So much power.  And even more power in sharing our goals with others.  

I had a friend tell me the other day that she wants to change some things about her life but it all seems overwhelming when she thinks of where to start.  I don't think she's alone in her feelings.  I say START SMALL.  Make some small changes in the every day habits you have for living.  I wrote about this in my post Habits of Happiness and Fulfillment.  If you try to do too much at once, you will surely find yourself feeling like giving up.  See the changes you want for your life and take a first step.  Make it small one.  Maybe it it is just to practice lists of gratitude every day for a week.  Then move on to cutting something out of your life that is toxic.  Then the next week try something else.  And share your goals with a friend or someone you feel safe with.  This can just add that accountability element that can really help us stay motivated.  Find someone that "GETS" it and loves you!  


There's no time like the present.  I'm thinking this unexpected ear infection/cancellation in plans has turned out to be blessing for me.  It forced me to do some reflection and make the most of the day despite a crummy circumstance.  And it made me realize just how many things there are to be thankful for and how powerful our thoughts and actions are in making our life what we want it to be.  


Start small, keep it simple, find happiness in the ordinary that really is extraordinary...


Amanda
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42 comments:

  1. You are such a good, kind and thoughtful mom and person!

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  2. Amanda... I needed this post today. I have been feeling crummy all day and you've inspired me to change my damn attitude. My daughter is (FINALLY) down for a nap so I think I'll put a bit of makeup on and do my hair. Who am I kidding... let me start by just BRUSHING it first! That's enough to make me feel better!

    Glad you had such a fun day outside. And thanks again for being an inspiration. XOX.

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    1. Briana! I've missed you. Oh, I love checking in on you and reading about your new adventure in motherhood. You seem like such a wonderful mommy! Thanks for the comment...so good to hear from you even though I've been such a bad bad blogger. :)

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  3. Fantastic post Amanda, it really is the attitude you bring to your day that can make it or break it. Every experience, good or bad brings something to take from it, sometimes you just need to take a step back to see it.

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    1. Thanks Becky. Yes, taking those steps back and changing our lenses is a necessary part in making life the way we want it to be. :) Good to hear from you.

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    2. I do read every post... just don't always have time to comment. You always bring a ray of inspiration to my day, I suppose I should let you know more often!

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  4. When this summer started, my goal was to have a fun, intentional summer. So far it's working - but because I work on the smaller things. Waking up excited for another day with the boys not in school, making sure I take care of myself (including bucking up to pay for kids kare at the gym for the other two for the summer - so I can still fit runs in) so I have the energy to keep up with them and engage them. Making sure that with all the "kid time" I'm still taking small moments to breath - summer can be overwhelming if you don't.

    Great post, as usual.

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    1. Ah yes! Sounds like you have the perfect plan for the summer. So important to take care of us so we have time to give to our kids too! And so true that summer can be overwhelming if we don't take advantage of the small moments. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. You are such a thoughtful and present mother. I am always amazed at how wonderful you are with your kids. I sometimes want to take notes for the day (far away) when I possibly adopt children.

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    1. Aww, t hanks Kate. YOu'll make a great mother someday! Appreciate your words here. xoxo

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  6. Great Post Amanda!! I'm glad that you are having a good day. I was able to take the girls for some one on one mommy time to the rec center...get a massage for my sore back from the car accident and am now heading out to the pool with the girls and some friends. I guess both our days turned out okay! we'll try again for Kahnetta in a week or two. hugs to you love. xx

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    1. Glad you got some time with the girls at the rec center. xo

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  7. Loved this post. Thanks for this!

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  8. Those journals you do with your kids are beautiful! Someday they will treasure them! I'm glad you turned your day around.

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    1. Thanks Terzah. I hope they treasure them. If not, I WILL> ;)

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  9. Hey chica:) Made my way into blogland just to read this:) So glad your day still turned out to be good even under the circumstances!!

    Love the healthy snacks your kids are eating:)

    I'm all about simple inexpensive ways to connect with my kids. Volleyball in the yard, movies,catch, family games, bonfires. My kids would pick ANY of these over cash or toys. Max would pick a day in the woods with his dad over a new toy any day!

    Totally agree with the pampering ourselves! Hmmm-perhaps I will feel better if I do that! Also radiating confident energy-so true!

    Great post my friend:)

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    1. Sent you an e-mail. ;) xo Excited to see you soon! We can pamper ourselves with wine, girl talk and whatever we feel like. xo

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  10. This post is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thank you for being so wonderful and such a great writer. I always love to read your posts because I always get something out of them. I need to remember that any change, small or big, is great and leads to even bigger and better changes down the road. Thank you! XXXX

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    1. Thanks Tasha. Someone else e-mailed me and told me it was what they needed today too. And I needed to hear it too...I usually write what I need to know. Big things are yet to come for you!

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  11. What a great mom. Your kids will remember this forever! It will always be the week that their mom invented adventures for them. Those minutes you spend in alone time with them will last forever - and what's great about it is that you use the time to literally create memories with them as they journal. Whenever they look back at those journals it will recreate their summer days with you.
    And of course, such a good lesson. I often repeat things like this to myself as I drive to work. Sometimes I just assume work will suck, but it magically doesn't suck anymore when I decide to be happy. Good post and a good reminder for me.

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    1. What a wonderful comment Gracie. Thank you so much. This made me smile. And so true...just changing the way we think about something can make all the difference. Deciding to be happy....

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  12. Such an inspiring post, Amanda. You're right - we're totally in control of our own happiness and a lot of it starts with attitude.

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  13. Wonderful post! Start small is the best advice, thank you for the reminder!

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  14. GREAT post!!! Sorry to hear you had to cancel the trip, but I'm amazed how well you handle the situation. You are a wonderful mom!!

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  15. Great post! It amazes me how such little things can create such joy in a child's life. Over the weekend, my little one wanted to paint. So off we go to get paint and large sheets of paper. Magically, our home has turned into an art exhibit of her imagination (and my awful attempts at painting). These have been some of the best days we have shared together this summer.

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    1. Ahh, your art of a summer sounds so awesome!!

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  16. Such a great post! Me and my sister were just talking about this topic yesterday. Happiness is not a destination, an amount of money, or a materialistic good. Happiness is a choice and as a mother your choice impacts the entire family. It looks like you already have that figured out thought. :) Have a great day.

    Thinking back to my favorite childhood memories most of them do not include expensive family vacations or gifts. Most of them are the simple things like making smores & tin foil dinners with my family, playing cards with my cousins, and playing hide and go seek in the backyard. These are the things that life is all about.

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    1. You always speak such truth RAchelle! I love your comments. They often inspire me to just want to keep being my BEST self. Thanks.

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  17. Yup, true believer here that we create our own happiness, no matter the circumstances. Good lesson for the kids:) Hope your little one is feeling better already. Looking forward to create some happiness with you and Jenn SOON:)

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  18. I loved this post. I've really spent the better part of 6 months trying to focus on the extraordinary in the ordinary. In doing so I have found, my kids' laughs or something as simple as a a piece of chocolate (okay well that one's always worked) can melt away the stress more than anything before. Surprisingly, that perspective is not natural to a lot of us, but an acquired skill.

    PS - Aren't little kid leg snuggles the best?

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    1. Love your outlook on life! Yes...extraordinary in the ordinary!

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  19. Love the new header!
    So sorry the trip didn't happen... you're a great mom, making an extra special week for them.
    Isn't it amazing how kids can be playing independently, but the minute you sit at the computer it's over?!

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    1. Thanks so much Laura. Yeah, honestly, I'm probably trying to sit down at the computer more than I should so I suppose I don't mind them calling me out on it. Ha!

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  20. Amanda - I've just pressed the rest button in my life. I wasn't concentrating on anything long enough to focus. Flitting past your posts - not even taking the time to comment - I was reading your message but not ready to hear it. But it went in and it came out. You are definitely part of my solution and I just need to keep reading. THIS is my thought for the day:

    Living intentionally and making our life what we want is truly open to each and every single one of us....no matter what our life is made up of. We have choices. We hold the power to make changes in our life. Whether this means making the most of canceled plans, changing the way we eat and the activities we are involved in so we can live a healthy life, learning something new, using our gifts to make a dream come true, or even something as simple as changing our furniture around and cleaning our windows to let some light in... we hold the power to create happiness for ourselves. It starts with intention and motivation. And creating happiness for our lives doesn't have to be HUGE...it doesn't have to cost money....it doesn't have to be a daunting task that leaves us defeated before we even start...it can be something small.

    Thank you SO much for sharing. X

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    1. Thank you so much Petra. You're such a beautiful soul. xo

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  21. Ugh. I read about your little one's ear and just now can comment. I am so sorry about that. NO fun. Sorry you missed your trip too.

    Thanks for the list of ideas for making your own happiness :) I will start plucking today :))

    Love you!

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  22. hello Amanda,

    great post! thank you!

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  23. Great post! I had a stressful and crummy week, but posted everything I am thankful about. I didn't write about all of the stresses in my life right now. instead focused on all of the blessings this week!

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