Lots of happy moments over the past few weeks and my birthday amongst it all. My birthday was celebrated surrounded by family and close friends, lots of laughs and great company.
One of my major moments of happiness during this time has also been the sense of relaxation and comfort I have finally felt in our new home. I have now settled in and our new house feels like home.
When we moved life was a bit of a rush, not only did we buy a new house and move, but we also sold our former house at the same time with a very quick settlement period. The first few weeks of living in our new house were a mixture of work, school, and busy weekends whilst we were clearing out the old house, ready for takeover as well as unpacking and setting up our new home. I think because we were so busy, I took awhile to relax into our new home and I didn't really feel settled.
Within the last week, our old house was taken over by the new owners and I had some time on the weekend where myself and my family were able to sit and relax in our new home and not rush about like we have been lately.
There's nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with your children, having a yummy lazy Sunday morning breakfast or a soak in the tub to help you settle in and enjoy your new home.
The last 2 weeks for me have been not just busy, but crazy busy. I find that during times like this I don't always post blogs, use the internet or go on facebook and I'm ok with that. Truth be told I actually find the lack of contact with technology quite relaxing in itself.
Being more than half way through the 100 Happy Days Challenge I can see that it has helped cement behaviours into my normal every day life that I wanted. The ability and sense to stop and take a moment to realise happiness in what ever form it may appear has become a normal habit and is now second nature.
So although the last two weeks have been crazy, I know that I have taken the time and enjoyed happy moments and I have found that I feel more thankful for them, I guess I appreciate them more now that my awareness has been switched on.
I am finding that at the end of each day, regardless of how stressful the day may have been, when I lay down in bed and start preparing my body for sleep, my last moments of reflection are a replay of what I felt was the happy moment for the day.
Whether it be remembering the sweet smell of a flower, the love and warmth in my child's smile, or laughter shared with another, falling asleep wrapped up in happiness (and a warm doona), beats stress each and every time.
Today's happiness comes in the form of a two hour yoga session, an early birthday present from my closest friend.
I am a huge fan of yoga and believe strongly in its wonderful benefits for your mind, body and soul. To date the yoga I have practiced has always been of the more gentle and relaxing nature known as Hatha and these sessions usually last for about an hour.
I have always wanted to try the more vigorous forms of yoga such as Bikram or Vinyasa and tonight I was lucky enough to do so. The session was also complimented with a live musician who created some wonderful energy and vibrations allowing participants to really "get lost" in their poses and feel everything they needed to feel.
I have to admit I was a little concerned as to whether or not I could last two hours, but I did. In fact when we finished, both my friend and I couldn't actually believe that it had been two hours.
I finished the session feeling relaxed, exhausted (the good kind), well and truly stretched and totally reconnected with my "sun salutation".
A neighbours pretty garden. I went for a quick walk today after work. We have recently moved and I was walking down a street I had not been in before. I came across a pretty garden full of colourful flowers and sweet smelling roses, it was a lovely way to finish off my walk.
A crisp morning. This morning it was really fresh, however, the sky was blue. I particularly love these types of mornings. The crispness in the air fills your lungs and lets you know you are alive and that beautiful blue sky lets you know its going to be fantastic day.
A bbq for tea. Today the weather was beautiful and sunny. Tonight for tea we decided to have a bbq. The food was great and the atmosphere was relaxed. Bliss!
"Good morning" cuddles. I love them and they are a perfect way to greet the day.
Lunch with work friends, outside in the fresh air.
This week I ended my busy working week with a quick run with my closest friend. It was a beautiful, calm and sunny end to the day. Running along our foreshore, taking in the magnificent views of the ocean and spending quality time with my friend truly is happiness.
Watching the breeze move through our trees. Today there was a bit of wind around, I love watching it weave its magic as it makes it way through our trees. If you've read my other posts, then you will know that I am a huge tree lover. I find it very relaxing to take a few minutes, be calm and watch as the breeze pushes branches and leaves to and from as well as to listen to the rustle and whisper that the breeze makes when doing this. In life it's the small things that count. Stop, relax and take time to notice and enjoy your environment.
Today I am happy because it's Day 50 and I'm half way through the challenge. When I first started the 100 Happy Days Challenge I remembered thinking to myself that 100 days was a lot and I doubted whether or not I would stick to the challenge and make it through the whole 100 days. Although 50 days is still a distance from the finish line, I am happy that I have made it this far and still going strong.
A wonderful compliment made my day. I have been on the good old "weight loss" journey. I'm in no hurry and am taking my time, losing bit by bit, nice and steady. Losing weight is hard and sometimes you can get stuck in a rut and get a little slack. I have just come off one of those times and have kick started myself back into gear. Today I received a compliment on how good I was looking. This compliment was totally unexpected, absolutely lovely and helpful in keeping me positive and focused on my goal.
Sharing in a friends good news. Happiness shared is happiness doubled.
A walk in the sunshine and a play at the park with my children. After a busy day at work, nothing beats fun and happiness with your kids.
Tonight whilst standing in my backyard a beautiful parrot flew past. I actually heard it's loud chirping as it whirred past my head and looked up to see bright red outstretched wings and a blue body swoosh past me. I love birds, I love their sense of freedom as they soar high up in the sky. Tonight I stopped and took notice of the parrot and it made me instantly feel relaxed and happy.
Walking along on my way to work this morning I stumbled across a lovely little patch of strawberry clover in bloom. The grass was glistening in the morning sun, covered with a light smattering of morning dew and the strawberry clover looked soft and pretty. How easy is it to walk on by, rushing to get to work and not take notice of a sweet little spot of nature. Today I am happy that I took the time to notice.
Oh Sunday how I love you. The second day of the weekend - happiness!
A caring and thoughtful mother-in-law (Nan). Today was day one of moving into our new home. My wonderful mother-in-law, knowing that I would be busy with the move made plans to cook tea for us tomorrow night and also cooked tea for us tonight.
Our first meal in our new home, made by Nan and shared around our new dining table.
Organising the new house. It's so much fun getting things in place, decorating and making your new house feel like a home.
A huge good morning hug from a work colleague was a fantastic way to start my day. As I was walking along the corridor to my office, my work colleague Julie was making her way along, she looked up and smiled at me, opened her arms wide and said "come here and start your day with a hug". It was fantastic! We stopped and chatted for a few moments and then finished off with another hug.....I love hugs, so two in the morning before I'd even started work for the day was bliss, it was also nice to share a peaceful and caring moment with someone I like. I think sometimes we forget to do this.
I have to confess that today was a bit of a challenge in the 100 Happy Days. Today was flat out with lots to get done, always racing the clock and worrying that it might not be achieved. Happiness today was the moment when I lay in bed, stretch, relaxed and let out a sigh of relief. The day was finishing and yes I had got it all done.
A quick afternoon Tea with some work colleagues. Work has been crazy lately so it was nice to take time out and relax with other staff members as well as have a few laughs.
Visiting our new house for final inspection. It's nearly moving time.
A Saturday morning sleep-in!
Our house has been on the market for nearly 2 months. Open houses have been early Saturday mornings and boy have I missed one of my most favourite things.....a sleep in. This morning I woke up early, remembered I had the morning off and rolled over, snuggled my doona and fell back to sleep.....ah bliss!!
A 5km Fun Run for charity. I haven't run much this year due to a niggling injury, so I was quite nervous leading up to this run. I used to run longer distances than this, but for the past few months have felt very out of practice.
So what better way to dust off the cobwebs than a run for charity. The Leila Rose Foundation provides assistance to families affected by rare childhood cancers. The community spirit was soaring high this morning and it felt wonderful to take part in something so special as well as stretch out the old body.
This morning I woke to the sound of rain. We have had really horrible weather lately, lots of cold icy wind and so much rain. Normally after a lot of bad weather, waking to the sound of rain can be a little depressing, thoughts of "oh not another terrible day" can run through your head.
This morning as I lay in bed listening to the rain, my thoughts weren't negative. I lay there, I breathed and I relaxed. It was lovely and peaceful laying there listening to the rain and taking a few moments to just be calm.
Thanks to my friend for sharing a link on anxiety where I read the following:
Mindfulness is both a set of practices and a way of thinking about life that is based on Buddhist traditions that are 3,000 years old. Being mindful means having a gentle, open and accepting attitude toward your own experiences and surroundings, whatever those may be. As Eckhart Tolle, a writer and spiritual teacher, once stated: “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” Meditating, focusing on your breath, or taking a nature walk and focusing on the sights, smells, and sounds are good ways to learn how to be mindful. Mindfulness creates a spaciousness of mind that allows emotions to be there without clinging to them.
As working parents you can be guilty of failing to find the time to be alone together. Daily life is filled with the fun and excitable chatter of children, the rush to get ready for school and work, the end of day routine, making tea, reading school readers etc etc.
Today I was lucky enough to have some time alone with my husband and it was nice.
Mr Willy Wag Tail. We have a lovely little Willy Wag Tail that lives in our front garden. He's adorable and flits around from tree to tree, sits on our front fence and happily wags his little tail to and fro. I love to sit in the lounge and look out our big front window and watch him fly about.
19 load and excitable little children having a blast at a birthday party. Busy and crazy, but so much fun.
Day 14 - The pleasure and warmth of a fantastic heater on such a cold day.
Day 15 - A room with a view. Today I attended a workshop on the second level of our building. This is a room that I don't visit quite to often and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with its interesting view. Early morning with the sun still rising, gentle rays of light spreading across roof tops was a calm and peaceful way to start my workshop.
Day 16 - A catered lunch and it was delicious. Sometimes we forget how nice it is to enjoy the simple pleasures of nice food.
Day 17 - Snowflakes. Do you remember as a child, folding paper over and over again and then cutting shapes out with scissors to make snowflakes. My young daughter has just learnt this little treasure and it is so much fun watching her make these. Childhood innocence and happiness is such a joy to share.
I have been quite time poor lately and haven't seen some of my friends as much as I would like. Today I had some spare time and was fortunate enough to find that one of my close friends also had some time up her sleeve. So a quick visit was had. A delicious coffee, a bite to eat and a wonderful catch up, had me leaving my friends house feeling extremely happy and also very lucky to count her as one of my close friends.
My dear friend Miss S accepts me exactly as I am, she never judges and even though we may not have seen each other for quite awhile, our relationship is one that simply falls into place immediately. It's relaxing, uncomplicated and supportive, so I am very lucky because it's true friendship indeed.
Day 8 - The Running Lady.....everyday a lady goes past our house on her daily run. It's become a little ritual in our family, who ever sees her first comments "there goes the running lady" and the rest of us all tend to stop what we are doing and watch her run by. A simple little ritual that we all enjoy and one of that reminds us to not be self absorbed and wrapped up in our own world. Take notice of what is happening around you, reflect and be happy.
Day 9 - The most freezing day ever!.....Parking the car and walking to work the air was freezing. It is very easy to just feel miserable in this weather, but I like to try and turn this around. The air although cold, had a nice crisp freshness to it. Breath it in, enjoy and remind yourself you're alive!
Day 10 - A loving kiss good night and a big bed time hug from my children.
Day 11 - A girls night in......great cheese, delicious wine and fun company. Lots of giggles and laughter with friends.
Today was lunch with a view, oceanside overlooking our beautiful beach and harbour. Crisp, salty, fresh breeze. Seagulls calling out and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. All this plus some great laughs with friends.
A lazy old Sunday today, a time to relax and recharge the batteries.
This week has been crazy, rushed and busy. Today's happiness comes in the form of having the luxury of not having one single thing to do. No big checklist and work priorities to complete. Today was my choice, and I chose slow and relaxed.
An afternoon well spent with my two children and some friends at the swimming pool, a lazy Sunday night tea and then a snuggle together on the couch watching one of our favourite shows, I think is a fantastic way to finish of the week.
I recently bought a couch, only to find that the material I had chosen was on back order and would cause a delay with the arrival time.
For me not too much of a big deal, what will be will be, but still a bit of double handling on my behalf. We are moving into a new house and I am trying to co-ordinate the delivery of new furniture as well as the donation and delivery of old furniture. A delay with my new couch would have meant a slight inconvenience, the old couch would need to be moved to the new house, then removed and delivered elsewhere once the new one arrived, not a huge problem really in the scale of things.
Imagine my surprise when the store called and said that everything had worked out and my couch will be ready on time, happy days!
Today was the sort of day where one can easily forget happiness.
Today was the sort of day where one can easily become overburdened by the stress of it all.
Today was the sort of day where one can easily let their worries get the better of them.
Today is the sort of day that makes the 100 Happy Days Challenge important.
Today's happy moment came in the form of a surprise morning tea for a colleague who is leaving. It was lovely to stop for a moment, take time out and help make someone else feel happy, special and cared for.
The choice is there. You can either finish your day letting grumpiness, stress and worries be your main memory of how your day was, or you can finish on a high note and let the happy moment be the winner.
The 100 Happy Days Challenge has worked a treat today and I feel better already!
There is nothing sweeter than childhood innocence and the wonder and awe that goes with it.
Today my young daughter received an early birthday card in the mail. When she opened the envelope we could see that it was a nicely decorated, homemade card covered with lots of stickers. I could see that this card had been made by a child and assumed that one of my daughters friends had made the card for her. We eagerly read the card to see who had sent it to her. Written inside in sprawling childlike handwriting was the following:
Have a very happy birthday
I hope you get lots of nice presents
Love The Fairy xxx
My daughter, like most young girls adores fairies and was so very excited to receive her own special card from the fairies. She kept saying to me "I can't believe the fairies sent me a card" with the biggest smile plastered across her face.
A wonderful, thoughtful card made by one of her kind friends, or who knows maybe it really was the fairies, either way today it made us all happy.
Curiosity got the better of me, I visited the site and saw the following written:
"The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being."
and this was enough of a nudge to entice me to do my own 100 Happy Days Challenge here on my blog. I haven't written too many posts so far, so the thought of completing 1 a day for 100 Days feels a tad daunting, but strangely at the same time quite exciting. Unlike the above web page, I won't be posting a photo everyday (due to a not so technical phone).....but my mission is simple: 100 days where I post my happy moment(s) for the day.
Now lets get the show on the road.
On our way back from Portland today, as we were driving past Tower Hill, just as the sun was setting we saw the beautiful sight of over 30 kangaroos grazing in a paddock in front of a house. The three of us were so excited to see them and my young son exclaimed, "oh wow I would love to live in that house, imagine being able to watch those kangaroos every night, how lucky would you be!".
Not only did the sight of the kangaroos make me happy, but most of all it was my son's uncomplicated, unmaterialistic view of life as well as he and his sister's enjoyment of a simple pleasure that also brought true happiness today.
This week I did something, that to most is probably not such a big deal or that out of the ordinary, I attended a childrens festival with my children and survived!
During my life I have lived with anxiety and whilst I can say that usually I am on top of it, there have unfortunately been times where anxiety has gotten the better of me, it has taken over and become my worst enemy.
Anxiety raises it's head in many forms, sometimes it's a quickening of the heart beat, a shortening of ones breath, sweaty palms, a feeling of nervousness, right up to full blown heart palpitations, a feeling of desperation and confusion, thumping headaches and suffering from nausea.
Not long after my second child was born, I fell into the anxiety hole and at it's worst I ended up using avoidance to help me cope, I would simply try my best to avoid situations and events that could trigger an anxiety attack. At first this was a wonderful tactic in helping me gain my inner strength to win the battle, but it was not always practical and left me feeling that in it's own way anxiety was still ruling the situation. With the help of a great counsellor, wonderful family and friends as well as a very dedicated and supportive husband coping strategies and techniques were learnt and put into place. Today that old "anxiety hole" is more like a shallow dip in the ground.
Armed with a new and stronger sense of inner strength, peace and harmony it was time I stopped avoiding a situation that I have long been holding on to: Fun For Kids!
This is a childrens festival held in my local town and truth be told the whole event has filled me with dread from the day it first came into existence. Lots of screaming noisy kids in one huge enclosed space, a sensory overload, lots of noise, heaps of background chatter (an anxiety sufferer's worst nightmare) and all too much for me.
But not this year.....
My two children and I went along for the day, it was loud, it was noisy and there were heaps of kids (not all screaming) and apart from having sweaty palms at the entrance gate, all went well, I survived and most importantly my children had a wonderful time with a calm and relaxed mummy.
Partaking in an ordinary event that to me had seemed anything but ordinary and to walk out of it having felt no forms of anxiety at all....is just well, plain ordinary, unassuming and simple which is all an anxiety sufferer ever wants.
A few weeks ago a friend reminded me of my very first post and I had to admit that I couldn't remember what I had written about, so this week I re-read it and it got me thinking. I took time to reflect on my past 12 months, on how much I had taken on and on how I felt I had grown as a person.
At the time I wrote my first post I had just taken higher responsibilities at work, my youngest had started school, I had just injured my leg and was on crutches and I was busy trying to balance all that I had going on in life. I thought at the time I was flat out, I compare it to how much I have going on now and immediately a mental picture comes to mind: Back then I was a juggler competently juggling three balls, with a new ball hovering and about to enter my calm, rotating circle. There's a few beads of sweat appearing on my brow and a look of eagerness and determination is spread across my face as I look towards that new ball. I think forward to me today and "juggling me" now has about 6 orbiting balls, the circle is not always calm, sometimes balls are nearly dropped, but are always recovered just in time. A new ball appears to be lingering in the background and yet despite all this I still seem to have that same determined and eager look to my face.
I think my mental picture of me is probably true of most people as they grow and develop. Life is a juggling act, we juggle what we can and once mastered and running smooth, we add more. Life bumps around and gets mixed up, but we grow and learn to handle it. What we felt at first was difficult or too hard, becomes balanced and easier. We learn to juggle it, almost to the point where we can juggle with our eyes closed. With age comes inner knowledge, inner belief, and a sense of at peace with one's self. That sense of calm and harmony, if listened to will always allow you to be a masterful juggler, just stop................listen.............breathe.............and be calm xxx
Well it was that time of the year again where we ooohhhd and aaaahhd over the Oscars and as I sat there excitedly watching, I realised that I am hopelessly attracted to the glitz and glamour of award shows and have been for the longest time.
One of my most favourite nights on TV is our very own Logie Awards Night, smaller on scale compared to the Oscars, but it's ours, it's Aussie and it's just as exciting.
What is it about an Awards night that makes me excited, well it's everything really. I love the gowns, the make up, the red carpet walk and the wonderful actors so full of anticipation. I love finding out each nominee and then pick my winner, waiting to see if I'm right. I love to hear the acceptance speeches and hopelessly cry along if the actors also start to cry (hopeless I know!!!).
I love a good story, whether it be by book where my mind can paint the picture itself or in the case of a fantastic movie my mind takes it all in. I love to notice the detail of scenery, costumes and make up artistry and I love the intrigue as a story twists and turns and unfolds. Murder, mystery, comedy, romance, I'm not fussy, I enjoy them all.
A good story, a good movie allows you to escape and be carried away for a few hours. Stories and movies allow you to forget your worries, relax and take time out for you.
I'm a story lover, so to see this culminated in a wonderful, glitzy and glam awards night is like the butter to my popcorn and the choc to my top.
I have a friend in my life who has become very special to me, his name is Michael. Michael is a young man in his early 20's, living with an intellectual impairment, he also has hearing complications and wears hearing aids. At times his speech can be a little hard to understand, but this doesn't stop us from having some wonderful conversations. Michael is a student at my place of work and he attends two days a week - Thursdays and Fridays. He visits me each of these days, always before lunch and if I'm lucky sometimes again in the afternoon. Michael has the most warmest and kindest heart, he always checks on me, asks me how I'm doing and always makes sure I am going to have lunch.
Over the past few years of our friendship, we have exchanged gifts. I love to watch the look on his face as he opens the one I have given him and I love the surprise of finding out what his creative mind has come up with as a gift for me. Sometimes its chocolates, or cakes that he has baked on the weekend with his mum and sometimes most interesting of all are the post cards or flyers that he collects from his adventures on the weekends, he loves to tell me all about what he got up to as he hands them over.
Some people I'm sure must look at the two of us and wonder what on earth I am doing, or perhaps they may think that I pity Michael, but to those that may think that, well they're the ones I pity. Michael always makes me smile. He has the funniest sense of humour and I am always laughing in his company, he makes me happy.
People can be too materialistic and don't recognise gifts in their varying forms. Where others possibly see a fault, I see Michaels child-like, innocent outlook on life as a wonderful, caring gift he has to share with others.
Recently while watching a TV show an actor exclaimed "I love trees, I love how they reach for the beautiful blue sky, I love how they sway in the wind, trees are special". These lines struck at my core, they made me stop, relax and think.....I too love trees.
I love all trees, I love to run my fingers along their bark and feel the varying textures. I love the sound the wind makes as it gently caresses their branches and leaves. I love the change of colours that come with the turn of seasons. I love all trees but most of all I love tall, old, wise trees. As I thought of the words the actor had just mentioned I knew that I too love the sight of a tall tree, stretching high into the sky with all of its magnificence, stretching, reaching and spreading its long branches and glorious leaves for all to see, share and enjoy.
I have loved trees since I was a kid, as a young girl one of my favourite things to do was to climb trees. During the time I lived with my aunty in Portland, Fawthrop Lagoon was right at the end of our street. All the neighbourhood kids could be found in this wonderful portal for escapism on a daily basis. Tree houses and fortifications were built and many hours were spent in our wonderful imaginary world, cossetted by beautiful, tall, safe trees, their long branches entwined with the soft whispery breeze cutting us off from the outside world.
At the entrance to Fawthrop Lagoon stood the tall, heavily foliaged and aptly nick-named Sentry Tree, this was our lookout tree. It didn't take me long to find out that if you climbed really high up into this tree, its thick foliage acted like a camouflage, hiding you from everyone. The trees glossy waxy leaves were perfect for cupping between your hands, puckering your lips together and letting rip with long high piercing whistles, that never failed to raise hysterical giggles as we tested them out on unsuspecting passers by. High up in the sentry tree was also the perfect place to spy on the intruders (adults) and let out the alarm whistle if one dared to enter our world of make believe. Quite often it was more a loud shout from the sentry tree that it was time to go home for tea as informed by whomevers mum or dad and come to the base of our world with the instructions.
A few years on from this I remember a time where once again I could be found climbing a tree. This time I had a partner in crime, my younger brother. We had recently moved to a new farm and true to form I spotted THE most magnificent tree that I could not wait to meet. One calm beautiful spring day I decided it was time to climb. This tree was a huge, sky reaching pine tree and I couldn't wait to get to the top. My brother went first and then I in behind to help encourage him onwards and upwards. Once in the middle close to the trunk (and in my mind back then the safest place to climb such a large tree) we commenced. The tree was prickly and had lots of small scratchy branches, the higher we climbed into the centre of the tree the darker it became. Finally the two of us broke through the darkness to the most amazing view. At the top of the tree the branches had naturally flattened into a canopy, the soft pine branches had come together to create one of natures most spectacular sunbeds. My brother and I spent ages up there, lazing in the sun, enjoying the gentle sway of this tall giant, surrounded by the blissful sweet sent of pine, relaxing and enjoying each others company. The climb down resulted in twice as many scratches, we came down to earth exhausted, hot and dusty, both smiling at each other, sharing a secret smile both knowing that time spent at the top of this special, tall giant had been spectacular.
As an adult I haven't climbed a tree in years, but smile and feel such a strong kindred spirit with my own two children every time they climb trees. I love sitting in my lounge room and looking out our front window as they climb the tree on our front nature strip. I sit and often wonder what secret world they have both entered as they sit up there in its branches talking away and enjoying each others company. I particularly love the happy little smiles that are always plastered on their faces when they both climb down, come inside and tell me what fun they have both have just had.