The Pursuit

Happinessmoon

I get the impression that my students think happiness is a divine right. That if they are not happy, it’s someone else’s fault . It sure seems like happiness is a right, seeing how it’s listed in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; ..

Although happiness in the form of the American Dream isn’t attainable for all, it’s important to believe that true happiness extends past our possession, our reputation, our talents and our looks. For me, happiness extends past anything I can actually do.

My earliest memory of feeling ‘happy’ involves a parachute. During playtime in daycare, we’d have this activity. It was a simple game of throwing the parachute in the air and running underneath while it fell to the earth. All the silky, bright colors floating towards me, wind getting caught in my sun-dress and friends racing around, left me elated. The level of fun almost too overwhelming for a four-year-old, I’d laugh until my stomach hurt.

Nowadays, people ask me all the time why I smile, especially since I’ve seen a lot of death and hardship. Sometimes I’m just nervous and smiling calms me. However, we know real happiness is much deeper than smiling. There’s much more to it, indeed!

deandanceDo a happy-dance I’m about to reveal the secrets to being….HAPPY!

Be happy for others: Celebrating with others is a sure way to feel better about life. A new baby, engagements, dreams coming true—sharing these events with others will recharge you.

Embrace vulnerability: We feel a lot—not just women—men too. Honesty about those feelings with the right people releases bad stuff that we store in our hearts. A few days ago I had to tell a friend that something they did hurt me. Sure, I could have vented to my husband about my issues, but it was much better discussing the matter with the person.

Focus on “I can”: The talent and competition these days is high. Feeling inadequate becomes a state of being if we allow it to control our thoughts. Everything around us is a constant reminder of what we don’t have, what we need, what we can’t do—it is discouraging.

A friend of mine said, “There will always be someone more talented, prettier, and smarter than me. And I will always be more talented, prettier, and smarter than someone else. That’s ok, because we’re both just as valuable.” When I started believing this it was extremely freeing. Now I focus on what I can do and don’t allow myself to feel insecure or threatened by others more talented.

Find a Reason to laugh: Even in the saddest situations, laughing strengthens the heart. I’ve attended funerals in which laughter seeps into a conversation. My husband had a brain tumor and on the way to appointments and such, we found reasons to laugh. Laughter is healing. We all should do more. Oh and by the way my husband is fine. Don’t want to freak anyone out with a cliffhanger.

Meet a need: I volunteer at an elementary school. My reward always feels greater than the service I offer. Helping people helps our spirit. It gets us to leave our world for a while to engage in someone else’s. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to solve our own problems when the answer is found as we help others.

Make sure to be awkward you: I took one of the silly quizzes to see which character I’d be in the movie Frozen. I got Olaf and couldn’t be prouder. I’m a complete goof at heart and make sure to have those Napoleon Dynamite moments often. If I’m shopping in the store and a groovy song comes on, I have no problem dancing in public. Or when I auditioned for drum major in high school, I practiced my conducting moves as I walked home. Sure, my neighbors probably thought I crazy, but I felt happy being awkward me.

Surround yourself with good energy: Everything has energy. You know that feeling when that co-worker comes around, and the energy drains out of you the closer they get or the more they talk. That’s real–it’s not a delusion. There are people who are true, seasoned energy-zappers. Take them in small doses but surround yourself around others that fill your tank. I have a friend that anytime I’m around her, I feel like I can win an Olympic event.

Let it go: Forgiveness is more for you than the other person. Carrying around hurt and resentment or hate, will kill any inkling of happiness.

Love without expectation: Ok, this is hard, but give to others without expecting anything in return. I’m not saying we should be doormats or sounding boards for those who want to hurt us, but I’m saying extending  kindness to those  around us, even those who don’t deserve it. Because the truth is, I receive wonderful things and opportunities all the time but I can’t say I deserved them. I use to get really upset with a family member of mine, thinking they should do X, Y, Z for me, you know, I wanted them to act like someone else. Once I let go of my ridiculous expectations I was able to just love and accept them.

Live for something greater than your happiness: Purpose. As you start living out your purpose, happiness will come. This is the greatest pursuit and the search takes patience.

Choose ‘Happy’: I may not always have the power to change my circumstances or control my life, but I can choose how I will respond. Many days, despite my momentary troubles, I choose happiness.

Good food: Eating quality foods will change your mental state. There are certain foods that can put you in a better mood too–one being blueberries. Who knew? Anyway, eating foods that are healthy for the body helps the mind.

So, there we have it! And don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around on a mountain top each day singing how happy I am. Like any thing that’s worth our time, pursing happiness takes work. But true happiness is there for us all!

Enchanted happyclap

And yes, my friend, this is the best news EVER!

 

Gif credit: puppetlabs.comgiphy.com

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Guilty–WIPpet

This month I’ve started editing the sequel to my debut novel, The Hall Speaks #fallsemester. It hasn’t been horrible, but I wish I could say that I’ve been working on it everyday and making great progress. Last week was full of student chaos–all fun, but nonetheless exhausting.  So, spending time with my characters got put hold a few days. I have one more major event that I’m planning and after that, I’m hoping the semester will slow down to a manageable pace.  🙂

Onto my WIPpet for today, March 19, 2014. My brain is loaded so I’m doing easy math, just adding it all together.

3+19+2=24 sentences or so, and 2+1+4= blog post 7

I thought it would be helpful to share exactly I write about since my premise is fairly unusual.  In short, my books are about Residence Life culture, specifically resident assistants (RAs).  They have this unique experience of living at their job with co-workers (other RAs), customers (residents), and the boss (Hall Director). As you can image, this set-up makes everything interesting. Especially on the relationship front. Boundaries are crossed, lines are blurred to a nonexistent level.  But who can blame them? It’s hard living with anyone without things getting personal at some point.

And this topic brings us to RAs Carly and Ethan that share a past, but still  must work together. And I’d like to add my choice of actors to play these rolls this week.  I usually don’t imagine the face of actors when I write, but what the heck! I wanted to add something fun to this weeks WIP excerpt. 🙂

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320_33569890389_571855389_1622798_4884_n_large.jpgEthan

In this scene they are in winter RA training. Carly is looking to finally get some answers from Ethan.

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#Carly

Carly watched as Janine walked towards them, wearing a colorful mess of clothes, smiling.

Janine held her arms out to the group as if waiting for a hug. “And to most of your residents that’s exactly what your transfer students will be like–strangers. Not starting the year with ya’ll is a real set-back socially, so it’s your job to Do It Like Grandma Does!”

The corner of Carly’s lip lifted, irritated. Ok I can totally zone out now… She peeked at Ethan next to her. Better idea.

She reached in her bag and grabbed a notebook; she figured it would look less suspicious, like they were taking notes on the presentation. She scribbled on the paper. Her handwriting hadn‘t been great since the accident but it was legible. She pushed the note under his elbow.

Ethan looked down, reading it.

Why didn’t you visit me? I know we didn’t end on the best terms – we had our ups and downs but I thought we were still friends. We’re cool, right? 

He sat there for a minute shifting uncomfortably in his seat, then picked up the pen and wrote:

I was working, sorry. And yeah, we’re cool.

Carly looked at Ethan as his eyes stayed on Janine. He was hiding something. She could smell guilt better than police dogs sniffing for street drugs. Having cheated on her boyfriend with Ethan last semester, she suffered from the guilt-disease for weeks. Whatever was going on with Ethan overflowed from his eyes, apparently affecting his vision. Since they’d gotten back from break, he hadn’t look at her–not really. None of it made sense.

Then her chest tightened as she gripped the sides of her new transportation. She groaned inwardly, hoping Ethan wasn’t getting all weird because she was in a wheelchair now. But that couldn’t be it, Carly decided. Ethan was lame sometimes, but not petty.

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Always, thanks for reading! If you’d like to take part in WIPpet just go here.  Be sure to check out other WIPpets, I’ll be doing my rounds tomorrow. And thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! Happy reading and let’s all keep writing!

Photo credit: http://data.whicdn.com/images, http://doctorwho.fm/wp-content/blogs

Top 3 Stories for Love Day

Love Day can be a little awkward. Some people love it, while others hate all the gooey love stuff. And this goes for single people and those you think have significant others. Because we all know that being in a relationship doesn’t mean it’s a happy/healthy one. So, I’m never quite sure whether to wish someone a Happy Valentines Day or just act like it’s any other day. I try to be sensitive because I remember wanting to sleep through VD all together.

High school was the worst. Nothing is wrong with being single. Most days I really liked the freedom. However, what’s hard about being alone on Valentines Day–in high school–is others knowing and them feeling sorry for you. And they look at you like something is wrong–terrible wrong. It was just awkward.

Even though I didn’t have much success in school finding a sweetheart for Valentines, I’ve always been a little in love with…well, Love. Two people coming together and falling in love fascinates me. The books I enjoy almost always have a romantic element. But I must admit, the most romantic stories I know weren’t found in books. Here’s the top three that make me smile.

(To save my friends from embarrassment, I’m changing their names for this post.)

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1. The Beach and Tiki Torches--My friend Kelly had dated Rick for several months. One day after work she found a note saying there was something waiting for her on the beach. All the directions were on a little map and off she went to find her treasure. When she got there during sunset, her boyfriend was waiting for her near the ocean front. He was wearing slacks and a collared shirt, surrounded by tiki torches. Of course, she cried as she walked toward him. And as they both stood in the middle of all these torches, he proposed.

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2.  The Scrapbook –Okay, this was too sweet. My friend, Rose, had been seeing her boyfriend for five month or so. One day, he gave her a scrapbook. He’d been collecting all the pictures from their time together and other special occasions. The heading for each page titled by an important date and photo to go along with it.  Now, the scrapbook wasn’t full, but by the time she reached the middle the page read, ‘The first time I told you I loved you.’ There wasn’t a picture so she looked at him all curious but smiling. Then he said, ‘I love you.’ They took a picture that moment and it went in the scrapbook. And I went to their wedding this summer. 🙂

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3. Under The Bridge– Not too long ago my girlfriend Nikki got engaged. The pictures were all over Facebook before we spoke in person. When she finally stole a minute away from her new fiancé, she called. And once we got through all the cheers and giddiness, I just wanted to know how he asked. As she started to tell the story I knew it was going to get elaborate. He stated their date with a message in a bottle with a yellow rose blooming out–it’s her favorite flower. Each place they went that night these messages in a bottle kept popping up, all with yellow roses. He’d driven around town beforehand putting these bottles everywhere. Then as they walked down the river walk, this bridge you see in the picture, he placed a special red rose underneath. This time, they read the message together. It was a note about their love and all that sappy goodness. And then he asked her to be his wife. At this point during her storytelling, I’m totally cheesing and wondering is this guy real. Like, what the heck, right? Anyway,this wasn’t even the best part. Above them on the bridge are all of her closets friends and family. He’d arranged for all of them to arrive in town to watch the proposal and celebrate at the engagement party that night. I guess he knew she’d say yes. Boy, I’m I glad she said yes, or this would be a very different story. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!! 

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org , http://www.vacationidea.comwww.thealamotrolley.com

Grateful

I’m grateful to have sight, to see the colors of the sky,

the blues, pinks, purples, oranges and even the shades of grey

I’m grateful for the smiles and hugs from my kids and husband

they are warm, forgiving, and full of love

I’m grateful for friends, to exist at the same time,

crossing paths and finding laughter in each other

I’m grateful for music, the way it penetrates deep and changes my mood

I’m grateful for sadness, without it I wouldn’t know happiness

I’m grateful for those who hurt me; it keeps me humble

and somehow more compassionate toward others

I’m grateful for the privilege of choice; I’ve made thousands of them

I’m grateful for books, that a journey is uncovered in the words

I’m grateful for today–I lived

And lastly, I’m grateful you listened

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             As things go wrong sometimes  I just want to focus on what’s right.

If you’re ever having a down day check out this video. 🙂