Monday, November 09, 2009

Blending Two Projects

For the last 10 days my good friend Sandi has been taking part in the Month of Giving Thanks challenge. She’s found something to be grateful for every day and it has kept her writing. I find this a happy circumstance because I love reading her blog.

For the past few months I’ve been following The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin on my Google reader. That blog is the interesting result of Gretchen taking a year and trying out every “make yourself happier” method she could discover and it has attracted many readers and generated a book. It’s provided me with some tiny mood enhancers which might seem small and insignificant but if anything helps you feel better then I say, “Way to go!”

I considered joining Sandi in her Thanksgiving project. I have a lot to be grateful for. And reading her daily posts has helped me remember that. But being grateful has doesn't always bring me joy. And reflecting on that, plus this evening’s conversation with my counselor, has generated this post

Being grateful, especially when you are enjoying what you are grateful for, is wonderful! But sometimes it can serve to emphasize a need you have. When that happens no matter how grateful you are for the help you got, whether from friends or any other source, you hear this inner voice saying, “You’re needy!” Boom there goes your happiness and sometimes the relief for having had your needs met. That’s a horrid way to feel about yourself. And it’s silly! There’s nothing wrong with having needs! Everyone does. We need air. We need food. We need shelter. We need friends and moments in our lives when everything feels like it is going right. And sometimes, when things in your life go horribly wrong you need lots of other kinds of help. That doesn’t make you a horrid person or a weak one. But I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that fighting those internal messages is more than difficult. It’s a monumental task and takes strength, insight, and perseverance. Not to mention a lot of self retraining.

So this evening when talking to my counselor, I declared that I didn’t like certain things in my life and I wanted to feel happier. I’d like to make sweeping changes in my life and have everything be back on track the way it was before certain catastrophic events occurred in my life. However, that’s not very realistic of me. I’m not a sweeping change person. I’m a one step at a time girl who doesn’t multitask well. So for the next few posts and maybe many posts to come I’m going to be talking about things that make me grateful and things that make me happy.

I believe the Thanksgiving was initiated nicely in my first paragraph. I’m so grateful that I have a wonderful friend like Sandi. She plays scrabble with me almost everyday and shares her life with me. We keep tabs on what we’re watching on TV (in my case on the internet) and what our plans are for the week. We pray for one another and show due concern when needful. And we are so much alike that Sandi has declared me a sister. If I could move the entire state of South Carolina and fit inside of Texas, right next to San Antonio, I’d gladly do so because that would mean that I could visit Sandi as easily as I drive to church. Someday, Sandi and I are going to meet face to face. When that happens it’s going to be one of the most wonderful trips I’ve ever taken!

Now for happiness. The things I’ve been gathering from The Happiness Project that help brighten my mood are 1) make your bed and 2) put on your shoes. That sounds silly doesn’t it? But doing those two things actually helps me feel prepared to face other things. If there is anything I can take from that it’s the understanding that happiness isn’t superficial, or momentary. It’s an entire many layers deep feeling that is affected by your lifestyle and the choices you make which lead to feeling ready to face anything that might come your way. I can find changes caused by those two tiny actions when I look over the past week. When I grumbled about not having work when I’d expected to, my blogging friend Jinsky told me that I should use the time to enjoy something nice, like a really good book. I’d like to confess that it wasn’t a book that I enjoyed. It was cooking.

When I was younger I was a decent cook. After those life changing events it felt like I’d forgotten how to cook. That’s almost impossible if you learned, as I did, from a loving grandmother. But somehow things became difficult and appeared insurmountable. That really bothered me. Not this week, though! I found myself making breakfast again. Not cereal but scrambled eggs which meant there were pans to clean afterwards. The next thing was breaking out the broiler. I’ve been buying my major groceries through Angel Foods for 2 months now and I’ve got way too much stuff in my freezer. So the other night I decided it was time to use some of the steaks. I got the broiling pan, cleaned it, and reorganized the oven drawer in the process. Then I thawed 3 steaks and broiled them after I found the cookbook that reminded me for how long. They were delicious thanks to Kevin (old navy friend) who taught me to use a hint of garlic powder and celery seasoning when cooking beef. Yum!

About the work thing, I’m still hired but they called on Friday morning and said, Come on Monday,” and then called Friday afternoon and said, “Oops! We’re sorry but everyone has to wait another week.” That’s week 2 of a job with no work. So I’m praying that it doesn’t happen again. At least I’ve got time to do some other things, like play scrabble with Sandi. I’m sure I’ll find other things to do to fill the time but right now I’ve no idea what. But it will be interesting to find out.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!


Sandi McBride said...

I think that my Grandmother had the key to it Lee...she always told us it took fewer muscles to smile than to frown...and a smile can change your entire perspective of any situation. I smile, therefore I know I love you and will always try to boost you when you're down. So, smile...your life's ahead!
"sister" Sandi

Lee said...

Yes I do, Sandi! Back at'cha! And you're right, a smile is a good and encouraging thing. The lesson today from The Happiness Project was to act the way you want to feel. That sounds a lot like smiling instead of frowning.

"sister" Lee

Buffy said...

How do you play Scrabble with someone else on the internet? Is there a site to go to that lets you do that? I've tried to find something like that several times, but couldn't.

Bummer about the job situation. I can remember many years ago that happening to me with a great education and experience to back me up, but no, not true in times like these.

Lee said...

Hi Buffy, glad you dropped in.

Scrabble is played through or on Facebook if you are a member there. I prefer Pogo because I can play anytime I want w/o waiting for a friend but the Facebook application looks good too.


Susan Carpenter Sims said...

I haven't checked out The Happiness Project yet, but I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately, and it seems to keep coming up in posts that I'm reading.

Along the line of making beds and donning shoes, one of my basic happiness-starters is washing the dishes. I don't ever want a dishwasher.

Lee said...

Hi Pollinatrix, Glad to see you. My sister used to get a lot of happiness out of getting her house in order. She said it was one thing she could do quickly and that her husband had started helping to make her happy. I like getting my kitchen cleaned up too. To me that means running the dishwasher and putting everything away, wiping down the counters and sinks, and making sure the cats have fresh water.


Buffy said...

I tried Thanks for the info. again. Had fun. Of course, I was beat three times. If you'd like to know why, go to my blog. I even mentioned your site. Thanks again.