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Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Sometimes the most amazing, wonderful experiences come your way when you least expect them.

Back in September, Captain Cavedweller and I were in Pendleton for the Pendleton Round-Up. He decided to make one more pass through the hundreds of vendor booths so I claimed a spot on the bench surrounding the big bronze statue right outside the Round-Up grounds and checked my emails.

One in particular jumped out at me. It was from Debbie Macomber’s executive assistant (as in the Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times Bestselling author who has more than 200 million copies of her books in print) asking if I was going to be attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference.  If so, Debbie extended an invitation to join her for coffee or lunch.

I almost dropped my phone.

Hands shaking with excitement, I looked up the conference details and quickly checked to see if I could still register to attend, since until that moment had not planned at all to attend.  Even if registration was closed, I figured I could catch a flight to Nashville the following week and still meet Debbie.

Since I live less than six hours away from Debbie, though, I replied that I would happily book a flight to Nashville if I could get one, but if Debbie was open to the idea, I could also drive to her hometown and meet her there at her convenience.

Thankfully, an appointment was set up to have lunch with her in Port Orchard. Even better, the scheduled date to meet her fell at a time when Captain Cavedweller had the time off and could go with me.

With jangled nerves, I went to her office and met her incredible staff (that includes her beautiful daughter, Adele, who is the CEO of Debbie Macomber, Inc.) .

They were all so friendly, welcoming, and gracious.

Then I met Debbie.

Debbie Macomber and me.jpg

(Please ignore the fact I look like a drugged whackadoodle! We all know how much I enjoy having my photo taken – but this was Debbie! I had to have a photo!)

She’s even more fantastic in person than I imagined she’d be.

Debbie is absolutely lovely. And so kind. And warm and generous and sweet. Perfectly wonderful.

Adele and Ashley, the brand’s marketing manager, (and both are just fabulous women) joined us and we had a delicious lunch where they answered any question I asked and shared a wealth of helpful information.

My heart was filled to overflowing with the joy and graciousness and willingness to lift others up that I experienced with these amazing individuals.

I’m so, so glad I brashly asked if I could meet Debbie in Port Orchard (the inspiration for her Cedar Cove series) and so grateful Debbie and her staff made it happen.  Not only is Port Orchard a delightful town, it will forever be etched in my memory as the place I met Debbie Macomber.

 

 

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We were visiting my mom and dad a few weeks ago and apparently this time of year was making them both nostalgic for their school days.

They had out a pile of yearbooks and photos from class reunions.

Which is doubly fun for us because not only did my mom and dad graduate in the same class in 1949, Captain Cavedweller’s grandmother, his great-aunt, and my cousin’s father-in-law were among their classmates.

CC and I were sitting at the kitchen table with Mom, looking through yearbooks when Dad dropped this photo I’d never before seen in front of me.

Mom and Dad senior sneak

Gosh, my parents look so young and carefree. This photo was taken on their senior sneak day in the spring of 1949. I just love it and the expressions on their faces.

My mother’s family had moved to the area when she was in grade school. But my dad’s family bought a farm and moved right before school began their senior year.

So Dad, who was the “new boy all the girls were goofy about” (according to Mom), quickly made friends and made a place for himself among his new classmates. He joined the band and FFA, and I think he played basketball (I know he had a letterman’s jacket). In fact, Dad fit in so well, he and his group of friends played a few memorable pranks.

He and the guys had been out hunting and happened upon a pig roaming around. Of course, they decided the best place to take the pig was the study hall at school. So they snuck in and turned the pig loose.

Dad said the teacher who found the pig thanked them for providing him with a nice fat pig to butcher, but they didn’t get in trouble.

Riding the success of that prank, the boys took on an even loftier endeavor. There was an establishment in town called the Multnomah Hotel that was not a hotel. Instead, it provided a venue for women of questionable repute to engage the services of men looking for a good time.

I don’t even want to know how dad and his friends knew what the “hotel” really was. They were walking around downtown (where the hotel was located), and watched men come and go from the hotel. Then they thought it would be funny to hide and jump out at the next fellow who came out of the hotel.

So they did.

Dad laughed and said the man started running, he was so startled that he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.

Although he didn’t say which one of them (I think there were five hooligans in his gang of practical jokers), came up with the idea, but they thought it would be hilarious to take the hotel sign and hang it on the front of the school.

So two of them stood on the shoulders of the others and worked the sign free. (Dad said it had metal hooks that hung from rings). They promptly took it to the high school and climbed up to where they could hang it in front of the building where it couldn’t be missed.

Somehow, they didn’t get in trouble from that adventure either, although the principal called them to his office and gave them a warning to knock off the pranks.

While Dad told more stories, I continued looking through their yearbooks. Mom had written a message to dad addressed to “Buzzard Bait” and lamented losing her shoe.

When I asked how and where the shoe was lost, neither could remember if it was on their senior sneak day or another day they’d gone off with friends.

Dad autographed Mom’s yearbook by calling her “Stinker,” and saying how much he’d miss her. (Sweet!)

I asked them when they had their first date. They agreed it was probably sometime in March or April (although they couldn’t recall exactly when) and they both said they’d gone to the movies with friends. But the movie they went to see appeared as lost as Mom’s shoe.

Then Mom looked up and said, “Dancing in the Dark.”

dancing in the dark

Apparently, the movie they went to see was Dancing in the Dark.  You can bank on me seeing it soon, since I’ve not yet watched the old comedy.

When your parents are gaining ground on turning ninety, you treasure each detail from the past they’re willing to share or magically trickles into their memories.

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imageThis week’s happiness list challenge is the list the things you want to say no to.

Boy, do I have a list…

I want to say no to:

Fear

Doubts

Guilt

Anger

Negativity

Anxiety

Worry

Stress

I also want to say no to the people who:

Gossip

Drain emotions

Cause trouble

Lie

Cheat

Steal

Bring others down

Are selfish and cruel

So, this week, the challenge is to follow your instincts and say no to the things you don’t have the time, energy or desire to do without feeling the guilt that you said no.

I’m gonna give it a whirl. I hope you will, too!

 

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happiness by choice

Today’s homework from the happiness list challenge is to list the things (past and present) that feel like blockades in the way of happiness.

Here’s where I’m going to struggle with this one: the only thing that blockades our happiness is our own thoughts. Happiness is a choice we can make anytime, any place – regardless of everything around us.

Honestly, I don’t feel like I have blockades. Maybe bumps in the road, detours, but not blockades. I think that’s because deep in my heart I know it’s up to me to find my happiness and I can do that anytime I intentionally choose to do so.

I can say in the past, I struggled with many things that felt like blockades (brick walls) to finding happiness. Self doubt, that nasty little voice that gets into our heads, anxiety, fear, and a whole slew of what ifs make it hard to focus on happiness. But one thing I’ve learned is when your hands, head, and heart are full of those negative things, you don’t have any room to embrace the positive, good things – the happy things.

So I like to picture those negative things as balloons on a string. With purpose, let each string go and watch it float away. See – now you have oodles of room for happiness and all those good, positive, wonderful things!

If you feel like you are facing blockades ahead, take a look at what is causing them then go over, go under, go around, go through, but keep on going – and let the negatives go.

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books and barnwood

This week’s list challenge:

List the things that get you out of your head.

We all have those days when we just can’t seem to get our focus headed in a positive direction. We second guess are decisions. We worry about our choices. We fret over outcomes. We can’t get that nagging, nasty voice in our head to shut up.

So here’s a list of things that help me get out of my head and move me into a place of happiness and / or peace.

  • Captain Cavedweller – The man makes me laugh. So much. It’s hard to be tied in knots when you are laughing so hard your eyes are watering. He’s also fabulous at pep talks. Sometimes all we need is to hear someone we love or trust telling us “You’ve got this!”
  • Reading – Sometimes, just escaping into a great story can change my perspective. Even thirty minutes of reading a book I love can completely turn things around.
  • Get Crafty  – I enjoy doing craft projects, but rarely make time for them. If I’m struggling to get my Negative Nelly voice to be quiet, I find working on a craft project relaxing.
  • Get Cleaning – Sometimes even the most mundane activity, like dusting or folding laundry can help put things in perspective and draw me into a better frame of mind.
  • Go Outside – There’s something about fresh air – deep, big lungfuls of it – that helps clear the mind.
  • Get Moving – Go for a walk or spend 20 minutes exercising. Physical activity forces my brain to shift gears.

At the bottom of the list it says to plan an hour this week to do one or a few things that put your mind at peace.  I think I can handle that.

How about you? Are there things that help you get out of your head and find peace?

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list 3 -18

This week’s assignment is to list things I’m good at.

Which is hard.

Because no matter what I write down, it makes me feel like I’m bragging, and that’s just not cool. I think it’s human nature to be able to rattle off our weaknesses with much greater ease than list our strengths. But we are all good at something.  So here, in no particular order, is my list of things I think I’m good at:

  1. Writing
  2. Listening to others
  3. Being supportive to others
  4. Staying positive
  5. Party planning
  6. Cooking
  7. Baking
  8. Home decorating
  9. Crafts that involve hot glue guns
  10. Thinking creatively
  11. Problem solving
  12. Packing
  13. Graphic design
  14. Organization
  15. Being detail-oriented
  16. Self-Motivation
  17. Dreaming
  18. Being kind to others
  19. Meeting deadlines
  20. Loving Captain Cavedweller

    What tops the list of things you are good at?

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Composite of Clock and Calendar

This week’s happiness list is about sharing the routines in your personal life and work.

Mine tend to intersect since I work from home, but here’s a list of my typical routines.

  • Get up and exercise. If I make it a point to exercise first thing in the morning, it makes me feel more energized and I can cross something off my to-do list that I don’t enjoy doing. Honestly, I’m not an exercise fan, but I know it is necessary. And I am a fan of how much better exercising makes me feel.
  • Shower and get dressed for the day. Since I left my “day job” and began working from home to write full-time, I can’t tell you the times I’ve had someone ask me if I sit around in my pajamas all day. No. No I do not. Would you wear pajamas to work? Would you sit in a board room with your boss and peers with your hair uncombed and fuzzy slippers on your feet? I’m guessing you probably would not. I treat my writing as not just my job, but my career. So I get up, dress up, and show up for work every day. It makes me feel better to be dressed and ready for whatever the day brings. I’ve never been one to lounge around in my pjs. Ever.
  • Breakfast and Bible study. Before I eat breakfast, I like to sit down and do a little Bible study. It helps me find direction, gives me peace, and lightens my heart. Those few moments help me feel prepared for the day ahead.
  • Social Media. I generally spend about an hour or so each morning on social media, sharing posts, responding to comments, answering messages, etc.
  • Work time. Once I get the social media taken care of for the day, it’s writing time (or editing time or cover designing time). I generally work until noon-ish, take a half hour break, then work again until it’s time to start dinner.
  • The dinner hour. One of the highlights of my day is spending an hour with Captain Cavedweller as we eat dinner and chat about the day, share any funny things that happened, and just hang out with each other.
  • Evening work. After the dishes are stowed in the dishwasher and leftovers set in the fridge, I head back into my office for a few more hours of writing before bedtime.
  • Reading. Years ago, a life coach told me the best way to unwind at the end of the day is to spend 30 minutes doing something I love. So I do. I try to spend 30 minutes right before I fall asleep reading. I absolutely love to read and this is the perfect way to end my day.

The instructions say to circle the routines that bring joy. I’d have to circle just about all of these! Even though I hate exercising, I get pleasure from the sense of accomplishment of having done it (and then there is that whole feeling better and stronger thing, too!).

What does your daily routine look like? What brings you joy from those routines?

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