Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tech Break!

I'm taking a bit of a break from technology.

I want some time away from the computer.

I'm actually going to let the battery on my laptop die and refuse to recharge it for the next several days.

See you when I'm ready to come out of my shell.

(All is well, I just want a break from the noise for a few days.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Memory of a Good Ol' Dad

I'm participating in the Happiness Project today, but in all honesty I don't feel very happy. I know it will get better so I keep on keepin' on. Tomorrow will be three years to the day since my father passed away due to complications from cancer. I miss him terribly, but thankfully I have a lot of wonderful memories of my "good ol' Dad" to help me cope with the loss. (When Dad was dying, he told us he'd be happy if when we remembered him we would say, "He was a good ol' dad." And he was, so I say that almost every time I speak of him. I think he'd get a kick out of that.)

The picture I'm sharing today is very special to me. Back in 2008, my mom and dad both worked at a call center providing customer service for a cell phone company (Mom still works there because she's a trooper). Some of the most memorable moments of the visitation we held after his death were the stories his co-workers told me. They gave me a glimpse of my father that I'd never seen. There was laughter and there were a lot of smiles from the people who spent break time and lunch time with him most often. I appreciated his co-workers so much that day. About a year after my father passed, a young man who worked at the call center with my parents emailed this picture to my mother:

Photo by Nick Savage

It's one of my favorite pictures of Dad because I know my dad, and I can tell that's a real smile.

To see him in a part of his world that I wasn't privy to. To see how devoted he was to doing the best job he could do (note all the Post-its with policy and procedure written all over them). To know someone outside of my world gave a hoot enough about him to say, "Hey, Ed! Let me take your picture!" To know that he was able to sport a real smile during mundane moments in his life... that makes me feel very happy.

What's making you feel happy today?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Gratitude Attitude

My family and I were without water service for a bit. There was a hillside slip not far from our home and the repair took almost three days. As easy at it would be for me to sit and whine about all these dishes I have to catch up on, I'm not gonna do it. I'd much rather crank some tunes and wash some dishes than moan and groan and complain over something that - in my book - is just not worth complaining about.

I'm just gonna be grateful that we had enough food to eat to get these things all scuzzied up.

I mean, the guys and gals at the water department just worked day and night for almost three days to restore our service, and we once again have access to clean water (according to a report from Unicef and the World Health Organization, some 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies*)... so if anything, I just came out of this situation with a greater appreciation for my reality.

As annoying as it may be to the people who don't get it, living with an attitude of gratitude is something I find a lot of joy in! I guess there's been some research done to prove that being grateful makes people feel happy. Check this out (it's only 37 seconds long):

Don't get me wrong... I complain sometimes. I think (unless you live in Perfect World - please tell me that's a real place and take me there!) refusing to vent occasionally is akin to living in total denial. I don't do denial. I just do my best to choose what's worth the grumbling. Today I choose to suck it up and sing and dance my way through this chore. How bad can it really be when I've got yellow Joy dishwashing liquid and K-LOVE Radio? (Remember the "Yellow Joy - It's Not Just for Dishes Anymore" blog post? I really did end up making the switch to Joy dishwashing liquid. Ha!)

Do you try to have an attitude of gratitude? Have you resisted the urge to complain about something lately? Were you glad you did? How do you decide what's really worth a grumble?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

*Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, Unicef, WHO (2008)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Don't Do Egg Nog

My husband loves egg nog. He buys egg nog in the extreme heat of summer and chugs it like it's going out of style. Egg nog makes him happy. It brings a smile to his face and gives him that little spark of joy that we all wanna find at every opportunity. See that egg nog in the pic up there? He bought it today. That carton is already almost empty.

I hate egg nog. I hate the smell of egg nog. I avoid egg nog like the plague. I do not buy egg nog unless it's Christmastime and/or I'm feeling particularly generous and want to sucker my husband into doing things like dishes or laundry or handling other domestic duties that I'm trying to shirk. Egg nog does not bring me joy. Egg nog makes me want to hurl and I'm not afraid to say it.

Why all this talk of egg nog? What's the point?

Different people have different tastes - not only in food and beverages but also in their personal approach to healing. 

If you try egg nog and hate it, should you stop consuming liquids altogether? HECK no! You can't live without some form of hydration. You reach for something else. You drink what you like. You satisfy your thirst in another way.

So... if you try something like guided imagery meditation or addressing the inner child concept and these things don't work for you, should you give up your healing journey altogether? HECK no! You can't make progress if you refuse to move. You keep seeking and you reach for something else. You address your issues in a way that works for you. Don't be afraid to say that something isn't working and admit that you need to try a new approach to get past your pain.

Be proud of who you are and your individual healing style.  
Do your own thing. 
Don't try to be something you're not. Don't try to fit into someone else's mold. Don't keep doing the same things over and over again if they're not working for you. Branch out. Try something new. Keep trying until you find something that jells.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

P.S. Get that egg nog away from me and pass me the Coke!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Reading Night

(Current reads. From the top: 
the six-year-old's, 
the nine-year-old's, 
and the husband's.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's Play!

I hated them when I was a kid.
I love them now. 

My kids and I enjoy board games, card games, DVD games, etc.
We played together today, which brought us much happiness!
We keep our games organized
- front and center in the living room -
so fun is always at our fingertips!

Are you finding happiness today?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Do You Find Joy?

 "You have to sniff out joy. 
Keep your nose to the joy trail." 
-Buffy Sainte-Marie

The other day someone asked me how I still find joy after the trauma. I think that's a wonderful question - and one that would be answered differently by just about every person you asked.

There have certainly been times in my life when I've felt like I would never make it out of the darkness. I still have days when I just want to sulk and cry because of the things I've been through - and that's okay! I have MANY valid reasons to mourn the loss of what was taken from me so many years ago. But if I'm honest with myself I also have many valid reasons to celebrate my life. So one way I find joy is by choosing to focus on the things in my life that are worth celebrating. For example:

Taking a hot bath and getting lost in a good book are two things that make me so happy I could squeal. Combining those two things - reading a book while taking a hot bath - is enough to make me feel like I've hit the jackpot. Being able to lock the door and shut out the world is sometimes PRICELESS!

My nine-year-old son still thinks I'm cool. So cool, in fact, that he has been begging me to start a channel on YouTube dedicated to my (in his opinion) gut-bustingly hilarious parodies of popular songs. Truly, these parodies are full of almost nothing but jokes about flatulence and rhymes about how crazy I am (his favorite is "Electric Toots" based on the 80's hit "Electric Youth" by Debbie Gibson), but he thinks my ability to break into song at any given moment is just one of the many things that make me awesome. 

I can wrestle this less-than-spectacular body into one of those infamous muumuu-looking "mom" bathing suits and my six-year-old will seriously stop dead in his tracks to tell me how pretty I look - and he means it with every fiber of his little being! AND he will still hold my hand while we climb the stairs to the top of the water slide at the local pool as he giggles like a maniac because his mom is the only mom there who's brave enough to get soaked. (Please note: If I -EVER- get too uppity or concerned about my "image" to go down a water slide, someone PLEASE just put me out of my misery!)

My husband takes me by the arm and walks me around our property to show off his handiwork almost every time he mows the lawn. Surveying our little kingdom arm-in-arm with my handsome Prince Charming always brings a smile to my face. There are extra smiles (and sometimes a little blushing) when he bows, refers to me as "Lady Megan" and kisses the back of my hand. Very silly, but sweet and fun and a nice little throwback to all that childhood playtime I spent daydreaming about becoming a princess.

Those are just a few things that come to mind when I think of how I find joy. What brings you joy? How do you find your way out of the dark days? Leave a comment. Your coping techniques and/or ideas just might help someone else make it through another day.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nature Nurtures

It's Wordless Wednesday!
(Welcome to the surroundings of my humble abode.
This is why I love living in a holler - that's a hollow
to all you city folk out there.)


Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from turntables, from Sylvania and white record sleeves. From album art covered in dust that when blown about glistened and danced in sunlight streaming through dining room windows.

I am from the pale yellow house on Second Avenue, from the porch piled high with stacks of old newspapers. From the big concrete steps with their pits and pockmarks and cracks that filled with water when the rains came.

I am from the Gravel Pit with its green trees, grey rocks and brown water. From hidden trails and secret coves and the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the breeze. From fishing with Daddy and bluegill and bait and tackle and bobbers and bamboo poles and pet worms and crawdads.

I am from road trips and Blevins hips, from Henry Edsel and Dawn Elaine. From a telephone technician and a seamstress. From tinkerers and talkers, mail clerks and military men, secretaries and songbirds.

I am from the keeping of secrets and the struggle to survive. From walls that couldn't talk but could tell you stories most people wouldn't want to hear.

From "but you have such a pretty face" and "hold your horses" and "get home when the street lights come on".

I am from the school of John 3:16. From prayer and thanksgiving and parables, and grace and mercy... and masks I am still learning how to remove.

I'm from Appalachia and Wales, from hills and hollers and preachers and poets. I am from bourbon balls in Aunt Bonnie's refrigerator and pot roast from Mom's old clickety-clackety pressure cooker, from wedding cakes and Nilla Wafers and saltines and 7-Up.

From the grandmother who made perfect potato candy and baked the softest peanut butter cookies, the paper beads and the button box she always always kept at the ready, and the grandfather in the big brown chair, silent and stoic and loved and adored more than he could ever imagine.

I am from the ashes of the pictures and the journals and the bridges I have burned, from the passionate soul songs no one will ever hear. I am from the snapshots saved and the inked up pages of ratty old notebooks, from the special sounds of the music I share with the world.


If you decide to try this and share it, you can link it up here: Schmutzie

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Three Things (Giveaway!)

I have this nice Vera Bradley* mini hipster (6" x 8" x ½" - 59¼" strap) in the "Viva la Vera" pattern. (It's very gently used - VERY gently - meaning it looks like new because it was barely touched and there are no tags on it. That's it in the picture up there.) I received it as a gift yesterday from someone who asked me to pass it along if I wasn't able to use it. Well, my youngest son has asthma and I pretty much always have to carry with us his rescue inhaler and chamber (which is huge) so it's just not practical for me to hang on to this gorgeous little bag... so I was showing it to my sister today and asking her if she would be able to use it and she said, "You should use it to do a giveaway on your blog!" So guess what? I'm doing a giveaway on my blog! FUN!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post telling me three things you ALWAYS carry in your purse. If you're a fella or you just carry a wallet, leave a comment with three things you always have in your wallet. If you don't carry a purse or a wallet, just leave a comment with three reasons you want to win this giveaway. Limit one entry per person. Duplicate comments will not be counted as valid entries. The winner will be chosen using the True Random Number Generator at This giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and over. The giveaway will close at 6:00pm Eastern Standard Time on July 15th, 2011. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email with their shipping address. If your email address is not accessible through your blogger profile or I do not know you personally, you must leave your email address in your comment for your entry to be valid. Thank you for participating!

The three things I always carry in my purse are:

My Vera Bradley checkbook cover and change purse. They're very YELLOW, and I insist that every purse I carry coordinate with them in some way. You all know about me and my yellow joy. I can't leave the house without it!

My Burt's Bees lip balm (with the label removed - I know that's kinda strange, but it's so much more YELLOW that way).

A list that my wonderful friend Joanne passed on to me - 10 forms of twisted thinking. It helps me remember how to stay grounded and not get caught up in worry or fear! I transfer it from wallet to wallet and I read it on average once a week (anytime my thoughts start spiraling I reach for it).

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

*Vera Bradley is NOT sponsoring this post. I am not affiliated with Vera Bradley in any way. (But I do love me some Vera Bradley!)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Husband!

(It's also my husband's birthday. He won a cake and flowers 
from a local radio station and we had a blast celebrating!)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Self Care Makes Me Happy!

Today I'm jumping in on Leigh vs. Laundry's Happiness Project.
(Better late than never, eh?)

Wearing my favorite PJs and 
curling up with a good 
magazine makes me happy. 

Doing my own nails 
relaxes me and makes me happy. 

Listening to my MP3 player, 
be it music 
or relaxing self-care 
visualizations, makes me happy.

I'd like to thank my friend Tracie 
(From Tracie is her fabulous blog) 
for sharing the Happiness Project with me.

(The Happiness Project 
is a lot like
the Yellow Joy Machine,
which also makes me happy!)

What makes you happy?  

Please share in the comments 
section - or join the Happiness Project 
and blog about it. 
If you do, please leave a link to your blog 
in the comments here.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!
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