Joy: The Best Habit

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”

Holding in the things that bother us and keeping big problems to ourselves can be detrimental to our health and relationships. A constant spewing of our issues can also cause others to be desensitized to our downfalls. On the other hand, shedding light on what makes us shine brightens the world around us. Tooting our own horns is a healthy way to say “Woohoo!” when we do something great, but can make us come across as cocky. We have to find a balance between what makes us rant and what makes us rave.

As we enter a holiday season unlike any we’ve experienced, let’s take stock of all that is good and worthy of appreciation. Celebrate the talents and skills that make us successful and unique. Set our weaknesses and shortcomings aside. (You are probably the only one who notices these anyway.) Quit throwing pity parties and start throwing “I’m a Bad Ass” bashes.

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Forget Seek. I Just Want to Hide.

Forget seek. I just want to hide. I really, really just want to hide. No need to seek me out. I will be okay. I just need to disappear for a bit.

Have you ever sat in your car after turning it off and not gotten out? Did you let the quiet sound of car cooling and silence envelop you? It’s sort of magical, until your family realizes you are out there and bum-rushes the vehicle forcing you to begrudgingly get out.

As we navigate the noise of working from home and distance learning with our kiddos, the drone of electronic devices is deafening, the chaos all-consuming, and the need for privacy imperative. Sometimes I take out the trash, just to take in a minute of peace. (Of course the dog always joins me, but at least he’s usually glad to see me and never asks anything but for a belly rub.)

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The Glass is Refillable – Wise Words Wednesday

Refillable, as in the ability to be replenished, has to be one of the most optimistic words I can think of.

When the coffee has all been chugged, the ice cream has all be inhaled, or the treats have all been taken, it may be a downer. You may feel depleted, but that doesn’t mean you are defeated. It means you have an opportunity to scavenge for something sweeter, saltier, or just a bit more savory.

Let me give an example of how easy it is to tap into some positive purpose when your energy cup is empty.

My 7 year-old son has started reading chapter books and it is ROUGH. He struggles with phonetics and may have a hole in his attention span reservoir. He loves the book we are reading (Ready Freddy!: Shark Tooth Tale By: Abby Klien), but EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. we struggle, cry, throw fits, and read in a slow, robotic cadence through the chapters. Last night was no exception. The enthusiasm was not flowing for my boy, but once he read the next chapter title things turned around.

Chapter 4 – “If You Have Lemons, Make Lemonade” was all about Freddy finding ways to make money to buy a fossilized megalodon tooth (My son is obsessed with megalodons and lemonade stands.) Freddy’s elderly neighbor Mrs. Golden had broken her ankle but still had a friendly dog that needed walking. Her situation was a bummer, but my son started understanding that even sad situations can lead to happy opportunities. Freddy was able to help Mrs. Golden care for her dog AND earn money towards the purchase of that precious megalodon tooth.

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November Positivity Challenge

We have arrived at the time of the year when giving thanks is officially the cool thing to do. There’s an entire holiday dedicated to the act of gratefulness. With the Thanksgiving spirit in mind, the Intentergy Positivity Challenge for November is to challenge yourself to 30 days of intentional thanksgiving.

My personal 30 Day Challenge is to write and send or deliver a thank you letter to someone each day in November. Keeping up with my tradition of card-making and lifting spirits with homemade greetings is something that brings great joy to my life and, hopefully, those that receive my cards.

If card-making isn’t your thing, consider sending Thank You texts or emails. You can also support local shops by purchasing cards to send to those for whom you are thankful.

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How Friendship Happens in Adulthood

Relationships are hard. Friendships should be easy, but as an adult making friends and having healthy friendships is way too stinking hard.

Even if you have lifelong besties, finding time to get together is more challenging than giving the heads of Mount Rushmore a facial. There’s too much ground to cover, too many variables, and the critics condemning your efforts can be relentless.

Here is what I have discovered.

  1. Hell and high water are going to come. Keep your plans anyway.
  2. When hell and high water get there, be willing to support your friends; keep dates with those still available; reschedule with those who need it; go with the flow.
  3. Friendship in adulthood is tough but necessary.
  4. When camaraderie happens, it must be celebrated.
  5. Great friends can be found in weird and unexpected places. Accept healthy friendships when they present themselves.
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Can’t Find It? Make it.

Resourcefulness is a trait I really admire in people.

Being able to say, “I made it myself,” is something that brings most of us tremendous joy.

When I was younger my mom sewed most of my clothes, and to this day I still get a kick out of telling admirers of something sewn just for me, “My mom made it.”

When shopping for back-to-school supplies, my daughter struggled to find folders that represented her interests or that were in a price range we could afford. I suggested that she could decorate her own, and that’s just what she did.

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Quarantine Your Judgements

We are all familiar with the “If you can’t say something nice…” adage, but how often to we put effort into leaving our lousy thoughts out of what we say?

Last week I was angry. Angry at someone I care a great deal about. Angry at the choices they had been making. Those choices felt unfairly selfish to me. When I voiced my anger to my friend Emily, she helped put things into perspective. Emily reminded me that the person I was mad at wasn’t necessarily being selfish; they were being human. Each decision they made was done so because they thought it was the appropriate choice for them.

Of course, Emily was right and I needed to quit being so judgmental.

This week, as I was taking a drive with my friend Chelsea, she was lamenting the overly critical nature of one of her family members. The nature of their hypercritical haptics was exhausting her. We came up with the brilliant idea that people should quarantine their fault finding fascination. The quarantine of unfair judgment and social criticism would be a great way to cure the world with kindness and understanding.

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Everything Hasn’t Stopped

2020, a year that has stopped hearts, businesses, and social gatherings, has failed to prevent the world from turning, plants from blooming, kids from growing, and changes from coming.

I haven’t liked the anxiety and animosity that have grown the past 10 months, but I have found comfort in the predictability of continuing to raise a family and run our farm. Even the “I hate homework” meltdowns are something to relish because it means my child started learning something at school, and I only have to assist with the reinforcement lessons. I’m not the homeschool headmistress.

Watching our fall calves frolic in the fields brings added joy to our lives because it means we are still growing and producing. That’s what farms are supposed to do. Everything hasn’t stopped.

The dirty laundry continues to drive me crazy. Dishes continue to not wash themselves. The empty milk just constantly finds its way back into my refrigerator (apparently NO ONE in my family EVER takes the last drink). Everything hasn’t stopped.

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An Emotional House Plant – Wise Words Wednesday

Remember.

You need water.

You need sunlight.

You’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.

We do! We need water. We need sunlight. We are definitely emotional!

While we all have our basic needs, fulfilling those needs is often impacted by our ability or inability to take-in the required air, water, sun, exercise, and nutrition. Similarly, if we do not allow for positive encounters in our day or uplifting words in our speech, it’s really hard to squeeze them in later. After the sun goes down, you can’t exactly be like, “Hey, sun, could you come out and shine for just a bit? I missed you earlier.”

It doesn’t work that way.

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Think, Talk, Feel

Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.

This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.

She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.

As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.

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