Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reflecting on Our Words

Discipline can sound like such a harsh word. It often conjures up thoughts of detention, grounding, the principal's office when actually it should be just the opposite. A person who lives a life of discipline is living a directed and goal oriented life - setting their sites on the prize and making sure everything that she does will lead toward that end.

When I chose Discipline as my word for the year, it was because I saw my life spinning out of control. I was completely living in the moment which is not always a bad thing. However, I was letting circumstances dictate my actions instead of the other way around. It was a life full of excuses and shortcuts. For example fast food instead of cooking because I had too many things to do.

A Disciplined life does not come over night. It is long journey, but it is one I am glad to make with my supportive bloggy friends. Continue reading to hear how these wonderful women are coming along on their personal journeys.


The way I see it, I’ve lived a life of fortune: A college degree, a close immediate and extended family, and a quality group of close friends. These are the aspects of life that I had considered when I thought of abundance.

Still, I had the thought that I would “seek” abundance. I would “strive” for it. Since choosing the word I have intentionally lived my days with a certain assurance that my abundance was evolving. I put feet to it. I began new routines: yoga, more reading, more contact with friends and scheduling play dates with family and friends.

I can say now that I HAVE a life of abundance. I now have a habit of abundant living that carries me through even some stressed days. It is not that my life is perfect, I don’t live in perfection but I do celebrate each moment that I smile when I could frown, say a good word when I could speak ill, listen to music, read and meditate when I could fill my hours with slothful acts.

I love that no matter my financial or relational state my life of fortune continues. I will grow and evolve in many other ways on the journey but I do so abundantly.

Joy seems like such a simple three-letter word, but it is really so much more than that to me. It's not about being happy. It's not about everything being right in my world. It's just an internal sense of well-being that, despite what happens throughout the day, remains a part of me. I just have to be aware of it and look above, below, and through the din of daily life to see it sometimes.

When I chose my two words for the year, "faith" and "joy," I barely thought of the connection between the two, but as the year progresses, I am more aware of how faith and joy go hand-in-hand. To have faith means I can worry less. To worry less opens a window between my soul and the joy that surrounds me. I won’t say that I am now leading a worry-free life. No. I still worry. But I do know that needless worrying is using up more of my energy and crowding out the joy of life. So choosing to walk in faith and embrace the joy that is given to me is something I am learning to do… one step at a time.

Leading a Balanced Life I have discovered IS in my control!

Very bold statement.....but when all is said and done it is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Let me explain how it works for me.

I begin each task with a purpose and give my attention fully to that task.
Some tasks are easier than others to focus on, so I have learnt to slow down, whether it be driving, talking, entertaining, working, exercising......
I recognise when I am off balance and this is when I stop and reflect and often ask for help.

For example my love of blogging sometimes interrupts my other interests/chores/work and when I feel it is taking over I discuss the problem with a friend who helps clarify what I want to achieve and gives me other options to ponder upon.

I would not achieve
BALANCE in my life without DISCIPLINE....thankyou Annemarie for choosing that word and explaining how important your word is in all aspects of life.
Keeping the
FAITH that balance is achievable and not to give up when the going get tough...and JOY that it brings when successful....bless you Roban for those words.
Of course an
ABUNDANT life is then grateful to you Coach for leading the way. And then EXCELLENCE in all aspects of a balanced life becomes possible.....Julie more than anyone I know shines through with this word.

Finally the easiest way to lose our balance is to cling to fixed beliefs or notions of how things should be. The only constant in this world is change, so the more things we cling to, the more we will be thrown off balance when they disappear. It is like trying to ride a bike while balancing an enormous weight on your shoulders. It is much easier to maintain our balance if we lighten our load.

When I chose 'Excellence' as my word for 2009, I had a broad sense of how that directive could be applied in the upcoming year. I knew I wanted to bring a bit more care and finesse to some smaller areas of my life, such as housekeeping and chores. I knew I wanted to instill in the kids a deeper level of respect for working on their lessons with better attention paid to their penmanship, smaller assignments and the like.

I hoped to apply seeds of excellence to those more hidden areas of our lives. And I believe those seeds sown will bring a fuller harvest.

So often in pursuing excellence I have found myself focused on the big items, committing time and effort and high standard to those things that are most obvious, most seen, most noticed. But I've come to see that excellence requires a pervasive attitude that must wash though all aspects all of life, that the excellence I want to find in the grander projects must first be practiced on the smaller stage—a smaller stage in which I act for the benefit of the One who created me.

Because, really, that's what true excellence is, the commitment to doing one's best, even when no one is watching. When excellence is practiced at the smallest level, it becomes a true aspect of character. Anyone can act, on occasion, with great skill and adeptness, but true excellence should be found consistently, a thread of character binding all the pieces and patchwork of one's life.

And so our pursuit of excellence in 2009 continues.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How Can You Not Love This Boy?

My son is quite the character. I can only imagine the fun and games that await me as he gets older. As it stands, he definitely has a future in physical comedy. He is so full of energy and is constantly making us laugh with the things he says and does. For a kid who only started talking at 3 1/2, he is sure making up for lost time.

He never just smiles at the camera - There is always a pose!

He has his own sense of style.

Oh, to be that young and carefree!

Without my boy, this world would definitely be a duller place.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One Person's Trash

Since today is Earth Day, and we are supposed to be looking for more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, I thought it was only appropriate to share this great find.

Yesterday, I was driving home from a meeting, chatting on the phone with my mom. (I know - Shut up and drive.) As I pulled onto my block, I saw this prize in my neighbor's brush pile. I quickly pulled into my driveway, ran across the street and asked if she was actually throwing it away, and if she was, could I take it. She said yes. She was only using it to hold the pruned branches of her rose bushes. Yea me!
I have never been afraid to ask people for their unwanted things. I have a trestle table and bench, a ladder back chair, a dining table with two upholstered chairs, lawn furniture for my mother's front yard....The list is endless. Unfortunately, that leaves me with a very full garage, so I will have to find something productive to do with this soon before my husband adds another item to his ever growing list of reason to leave me.

I think it will be great for holding pots of annuals. Now I have to go buy flowers.

I have lots more fun pictures that I have taken this month. I just have to get my thoughts together for the post that will go with it.

PS - What is the best thing you have ever found and brought home?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Wednesday Night Drive Home


Song at Sunset


Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
Inflating my throat, you divine average,
You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing.

Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness,
Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space, sphere of unnumber'd spirits,
Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect,
Illustrious the attribute of speech, the senses, the body,
Illustrious the passing light--illustrious the pale reflection on
the new moon in the western sky,
Illustrious whatever I see or hear or touch, to the last.

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of death.

Wonderful to depart!
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak--to walk--to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed, to look on my rose-color'd flesh!
To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large!
To be this incredible God I am!
To have gone forth among other Gods, these men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up, with strong trunks, with branches
and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the trees, some living soul.)

O amazement of things--even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical flowing through ages and continents, now reaching
me and America!
I take your strong chords, intersperse them, and cheerfully pass
them forward.

I too carol the sun, usher'd or at noon, or as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the
growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I steam'd down the Mississippi,
As I wander'd over the prairies,
As I have lived, as I have look'd through my windows my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning, as I beheld the light breaking in the east,
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach
of the Western Sea,
As I roam'd the streets of inland Chicago, whatever streets I have roam'd,
Or cities or silent woods, or even amid the sights of war,
Wherever I have been I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things,
I say Nature continues, glory continues,
I praise with electric voice,
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Not the Normal Easter

This Easter was a little strange. I am not sure where it all went awry, but there were no eggs, no bunnies. The rabbits (toy) I bought are still sitting in my trunk.

Not to say we didn't have a nice weekend, but it was not the usual egg dying, egg hunting, chocolate induced coma we are used to having.

Good Friday was a school holiday and I had intended to take the kids to the zoo, but it was overcast and cold and I remembered that I had a doctor's appointment at 2 p.m. which would have cut into the zoo trip, so we stayed home until the appointment. James went to grammas and Caitlin went with me so we could shop for a couple of dresses and a pair of shoes for her. We finished the evening with dinner out for me and the kids.Dandelions - Treasures from your children - Nightmares in your yard

Saturday morning was another cold laid back, and I checked the schedule of the local planetarium and the IMax theater. Monsters vs. Aliens was playing in Austin, so Gary and I packed up the kiddos and we drove to Austin, enjoyed a great 3D movie in IMax format and then went to eat at our favorite restaurant - Cheesecake Factory.Look mom! I am Spiderman! (Insert swooshing sound effects.)

The view from the balcony at the
Bob Bullock Museum after the IMax movie!

The boys are down there somewhere.

This morning was an early one. We awoke to heavy rains which meant no outdoor egg hunt and our house is not conducive to running around finding eggs. Church was 8 a.m. and children had to be dressed and coiffed by 7:45. Off we went for a lovely service of mostly church regulars as the other two services are set aside for those who only come to church once a year. This is my mother's regularly scheduled service anyway, so it was not a huge deal. I did remember however to pull out the camera for a couple of shots.The Victory Men on the way to Sunday service.

An obliging pose after church to show off the
dress she will probably wear twice!

Mom talking to her good friend after church.

Church was followed by our normal visit to the local diner for breakfast and then home for a long lazy afternoon - something I have not had in a VERY long time. I enjoyed every minute of it including the carrot cheesecake I brought from the restaurant the night before.

Oh yeah...TAXES are due THIS WEEK!!!! I let the time come and go and I lost my husband's W-2, so I had to file for an extension just in case some other tragedy befalls me before the 15th - something I have NEVER had to do. I will have to finish the rest of the filing tomorrow when he emails me his W-2 from work. The rest is all entered and waiting to hit send.

Not my most exciting post, but I figure you gotta take the good with the bad and forgetting my taxes is probably among the worst things I have ever done, so all in all, not too bad.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What I Like About You

For those you haven't had the pleasure, I'd like you to meet my daughter. (By the way, if you haven't met her, where have you been??!!)What you should know about this girl:

She marches to the beat of a different drummer.
She doesn't care what you think about it.
One moment she'll be admiring one classmate's new lip gloss, and in the next moment she is setting up a "playdate" with boys to trade Pokemon character trading cards at the local McDonald's. (She is always surprised when her parents say she can't go.)
She doesn't find it strange that boys like to hang around her and love to talk to her at lunch.
She can't remember where she put her homework, but she can name every character in a movie and every song on her iPod playlist, nor will she forget that you told her on April 10th you would take her to see a movie.
If the name on a board game says Family 7 Mancala, that is what she will call it EVERY TIME - much to her parents' chagrin and annoyance
If it involves dance or art, she's all about it.
You won't ever find her worried about the length of her pants or if she is wearing whatever the rest of girls are wearing.
She does, however, long for a friend to giggle with, paint nails with, dance with, sing with, spend time with.
Academics comes easy, but school is hard.
She has to keep a PDA in her pocket to remember all of her assignments and a white board in her locker to remember what books to take home everyday and what day of the week it is or her mother will find herself waiting outside for a child who is never coming out because she accidentally got on the bus on the wrong day.

You have just met a preteen girl with Asperger's Syndrome.

The light of my life.
The one whom I wouldn't know what do without.
The reason I get up to go to work everyday
- for without my excellent health insurance there would be no therapy
- without my extra pay there would be no dance lessons
The reason I drive frantically around town and out of town
- without those dance lessons and competitions she would not have become the well-rounded child brimming with self confidence that you see above today.

Yes, she still drives me crazy with the incessant talking, but she comes by it honestly as I am not far removed from that gooberific girl chatting inanely about nothing. Together we drive her father blotto.

Friends meet my girl. Maybe she'll drop by and tell you a little more about herself.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's Okay to Toot...

Your own horn that is. :-)

This morning I gave my students the assignment to journal about the 10 Best Things About themselves. This a hard thing for a 10 year old to do, but equally hard for adults to do who have been told bragging is not nice. However, I did tell my kids that if they did theirs, I would do one about myself, so here goes.

  1. I love to talk. This can be seen in many lights, but for sure I am never lacking in something to keep the conversation going. One time I talked nonstop from my home to El Paso nine hours away. It sure made the time pass quickly.
  2. I am creative. Sometimes this creativity comes in the form of writing, drawing, scrapping, designing, songwriting...The list is endless. That being said, I am continually admiring other people's creativity and desiring what they have instead of what I am capable of doing. I will stop doing that!
  3. I am musical. I sing and play the flute. I want to do more of this, but for now my audience shall have to remain my steering wheel and my students who are regaled with many renditions of tunes I learned in elementary and high school - usually rewritten to fit whatever lesson we are learning at the time. (NOTE: To those all looking for my White Buick LeSabre weaving down the road, I do pull over before whipping out my flute for a little riff of Jethro Tull.)
  4. I can dance. When I was 4, my mother put me in dance class. When I was 5, I was no longer in dance class. Years later I asked her why and she said, "Because you never practiced." My response to her was, "I WAS FOUR!" Since then, I enrolled in an adult dance class that this past weekend earned a Platinum medal. We rocked the house for sure.
  5. I am pretty. At least that is what I hear, but saying it out loud seems wrong somehow.
  6. I am smart. This I won't deny. The only problem with being smart is knowing how to use it for good and not for EVIL. (jk). Academic things come pretty easily for me. I guess that is why school was boring when I was a kid and why I work with kids like myself who need constant stimulation to keep from going out of their gourd.
  7. I am sensitive. This is a double-edged sword. It helps me see how others are feeling, but it keeps me from hiding how I am feeling when being a little more reserved would be a little more socially appropriate. Regardless, I wouldn't change a thing about my level of sensitivity. Even though this sensitivity left me standing in the middle of Macy's at age 3, crying, telling my mother who can't figure what my problem is, "This song is so sad."
  8. I am generous. If I have it and you need it, I probably won't have it long. Even as a kid I was always giving away things I had - I'm sure much to the chagrin of my mother who would graciously replace whatever I gave away. (Really, I learned all about generosity from my parents who were very much the same.)
  9. I am technologically savvy. If there is a way to do something using technology, I will find it and use it. I may not be on the cutting edge as I have a life and cannot live on the computer. Although my husband may beg to differ.
  10. I love meeting new people. Some people collect spoons from around the world. I collect friends. My students and family always ask me how many people do you know? Or In how many countries do you have friends? It becomes a great lesson in geography for my class. These are not necessarily people who will become my bosom buddies, for those the are far and few between, but it is always nice to be able to drop a line to someone in Japan or England and say hi and get a response back.
So my kids each challenged their readers at the end of their list of 10 Bests - What are the 10 best things about you??? They would love to hear a few.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


One of the girls my daughter dances with lives way out of town. We have been going out there frequently in preparation for their upcoming competition.

Everyday as we leave the "neighborhood," I admire the ranches, fences, live oaks and various other elements of the area that the developers left untouched. When we wind through roads that have trees popping up in the middle of them and pass over bridges built over gullies I tell myself, "Today you should really stop and take some pictures."

Well, Tuesday, we finally stopped. Unfortunately, there must be cows nearby or someone walks their dog there everyday because it smelled so badly that these were the only pictures we could stand long enough to take.
Which reminds me of something Henry David Thoreau said, There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted

The beauty of the landscape couldn't overcome the overwhelming odor of who or what had been there before us.

Here are some more quotes that caught my eye:
No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Beauty and folly are generally companions. " ~Baltasar Gracian

LOL - This one of the reasons my blog is titled:
So I Was Just Thinking
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