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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Finding Happiness

I've been reading lately- not that this is new.  In my busy schedule I try to get some reading in here and there.  Usually it is in the final minutes of the day, in my bed, by the light of a flashlight (as to not disturb my sleeping husband) - and it's usually only for mere minutes due to the fact that I'm on zero energy and one foot in my nightly coma.  The latest book I've found interest in is called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I am not necessarily recommending this book- yet.  I haven't finished it.  I can't totally speak for it.  But, I have found it interesting thus far. 

This writer set out to find happiness in where she was in her life- not that she was unhappy, she just wanted to take time to really enjoy the stage of life she was in at the time of her writing.  I found this intriguing, because I'm the type of person who will find myself in a stage of life and wonder when it will end- kids not sleeping through the night stage, kids telling lies stage, kids being picky eaters stage, kids being picky about what they wear stage.  Okay, so my life is revolving around my kids mostly- tends to happen to many homeschooling mothers, I'm sure.  Like Grethen Rubin though, I've often thought, "When I get through this stage, then things will be better- I'll be happier"- etc  And one day I wake up and realize that I have already passed  through the dreaded stage (in fact, I've usually long passed it) and not only did I not find the happiness pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I am in knee deep in another stage and again, not happy.  Through many of these trips I went from having one child - at 2 years of age to having 8 children- and that 2 year old is going on 17.  Where does time go? 

So, the idea of enjoying happiness in the stage of exactly where I am sounded perfect. 

The book is divided into 12 months, with suggestions that Gretchen found in her research that would bring her happiness.  Yes, HER happiness.  She is very forward in saying that each person's happiness is going to be different and this is HER journey.  Her insight is very interesting though, and I'm enjoying her perspectives. 

Some of the suggestions she has include everything from hugging more to starting a blog.  While I haven't seen any mention of faith in her journey- yet- I have found interest in her knowledge of happiness comes to one if they stop trying to find it in another person (for her, it was her spouse).  She came to the understanding that if you are to find happiness, you have to look at yourself to see why you are not happy. 

This isn't a new idea.  We can't expect others to make us happy.  Such a burden that becomes for that other person.  Hmmmm. . . wasn't I looking at my children to bring me happiness by completing stages?  Yikes!

Of course true happiness is only found in God.  There is that place in us- that "God shaped hole" that only He can fill, no matter how hard we try to fill it with worldly things. 

Once we have that understanding, life will be more joyful- more happy. 

In the meantime, I am having fun finding the humor in the little quirks in life.  Which, by the way, the latest humor in The Clown's life is seeing and laughing at a picture of Mike Myers- I'm not sure why.  It's not even a pictue of him in make-up or costume: 

OKAY- so maybe looking at Mike Myers is a bit uplifting!  I'm at least signing off with a smile. 

Surviving myself with happiness and smiles in tow,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sorrow and Stubble

     This past week has held some life lessons- one very hard and one fun. 

The pig stands alone:
     Unfortunately, one of our guinea pigs died this last week.  I must say that despite the supposed 4 to 8 years, we hold a constant record of about 1 year.  I'm not exactly sure why this is so- I would categorize our pet care as acceptable- cleaned cage each week, fresh food and water twice a day, regular baths and nail clipping - overall I couldn't complain about how the little pigs live.  Okay, there is an occasional "drop and scamper"- but VERY rare- only once, I promise!  We've learned that pigs cannot fly - no matter how high their tossed.  And, we've witnessed that though not overly fond of dressing up, piggies will tolerate a doll outfit or two.  Again, this is VERY rare treatment.  Mostly our pigs are happy and safe in their cage, whistling and "popcorning" to their heart extent. 

     Our previous pig- Roxanne- was a pet from years ago.  Sadly, one day I went to check that she'd been fed and found her stiff.  There was no explanation for this death.  Our best guess was that she chocked on food. . . at least it sounded good to the kids.

     Our next pig, Mr. Knightly, passed away this last Sunday.  RIP.   When my husband came down to start the coffee before Mass, he noticed a "wheezing" coming from the pig cage.  He came up to inform me of this and after checking on the pig- I knew that he was not long for this world.  Now, personally, I am not a pet person, not really.  But, I hate to have my children experience the death/loss of a pet- especially The Jane Austen Wanna Be and The Cute one who gets everything free at garage sales- they are both tender-hearted.  And, beings that these were the two who took care of the pigs the most, their loss would be harder.  I sent for The Cute one who gets everything free at garage sales to come and be with her pig, explaining that he was going to pass away soon, but she was very blessed to be able to spend his last moments holding him and talking to him.  Though this wasn't a great consolation, I though it would be better to offer this.  I even told her we would go to a later Mass so that she could stay with him. 

     Tears and sobs followed, along with more tears and sobs.  This, of course brought the pregnant, hormone enraged mother to virtual breakdown.  Which brought in The Diva, who promptly joined in, making a three part harmony of cries. 

     Okay, I wasn't really going to miss his THAT much.  I mean, he was just one of the pigs- which meant he was one of the sources to my constant "Have you fed the pigs yet?"  And after the newness wore off- the ritual gather of the pigs from the cage to love on- my involvement was more of a drill sergeant than a loving pet owner.  But, I am a mess when it comes to my kids crying.  Never mind that The Jane Austen Wanna Be had decided that she was having NOTHING to do with the tear fest- she'd remember Mr. Knightly the way he was. 

So viva la Mr. Darcy.  (by the way, these pigs were named after 2 of Jane Austen's famous characters -Mr. Knightley from Emma and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  The favorite amongst the girls- both in character and pig- was Mr. Knightly. We probably bragged a bit to much on Mr. Knightley's superior qualities- the character, not the pig- thus bringing the untimely demise of the pig, not the character.)

     Moving past the sorrow- on to the stubble.
     The Baby Boy had his 3rd birthday this last week.  He is growing so fast!  He, out of all my kids, has had a fascination with all things health and beauty-  make-up, lotion, perfume, (hmmm. mostly girl things) and watching daddy shave.  The perfect gift for him thus was the play shaving razor/cream.  I thought this was going to go over well! 

     Who would have thought that the squirting sound of shaving gel coming out of an aerosol can could be so scary?! Needless to say- the shaving gift scored a zero with the Baby Boy. However, the Boy loves it, now along with my various morning greetings from the Boy, "I need a shave."
      An idea just struck The Bookworm and me- her gift was a bearded hat that she made (similar to picture below.) Perhaps if we sneak it onto him during the night, he'll echo The Boy's cries of "I need a shave!" in the morning. Unfortunately a bearded hat is as scary as squirting noises of shaving cream coming out of an aerosol can. It's yet to grace his head.

     I love toys that teach life lessons- you the toy vacuum, toy broom, toy lawn mower, etc. Anything that makes play out of life chores is great!
     Did I mention The Baby Boy got a toy chain saw?  Maybe he'll figure out a way to get rid of the pesky cottonwood tree that causes so much allergy problems for us. One can always hope. Unfortunately the talk of chopping down has involved more of things like my chairs, my sofa, my doors. Of course I guess I have to give him leeway on his sawing outside; it is only 20 some degrees lately and Mom is a meanie when it comes to playing in the cold. 

Surviving myself through tears and laughter,