Friday, March 29, 2013

Happiness Fridays- What are Your Happy Thoughts?

This week I am in Dallas at my oldest son's family's home.  They had their fourth baby on Monday and my husband and I flew here from meeting our 10th grandchild in California.  It's a little more difficult for me to blog being away from home and finding the time; I don't like taking my attention away from family since I'm not around them more than a few times a year.  Being a long distance grandparent has its challenges.

Still, even while I'm not in the most perfect writing condiditons, I continually think about the subject of happiness and my Friday blog post that I have committed to.  I know that not everyone of you who read this are waiting for it on pins and needles, but it is good for me to practice being consistent.

This week, still being without Dennis Prager's book, I have been wondering what aspect of happiness to cover in today's post.  I have thought about the definition of happiness; since in the book Happiness is a Serious Problem, it is not covered.  Dennis Prager chooses to not define happiness.  I actually looked it up in the dictionary this morning and the definition is intermingled with the definition of joy.

Today, maybe we could explore things that add to our happiness?  I know that being happy does not always come easily; sometimes we have days that we need to control our thoughts to maintain our happy feelings, but there are some days and some moments that add to our happy thoughts.

So, what are experiences or people that contribute to your happy thoughts?  I'll list a few of mine and maybe this is a subject you might want to explore, especially on days that we need to search for happy thoughts.

Yesterday my husband and I took 2 of our grandsons (6 and 8 years old) bowling.  I love our grandbabies but it's a whole new experience as they grow older and are able to participate in more adult activities.  That's a happy experience for me.  Holding a new grandchild is a happy experience, being in the city is a happy experience for me (there is something about the hustle and bustle and then  at nighttime, there are so many lights!), being at the beach, having meaningful conversations, being outside just before the sun is going down, thinking about doing fun things with my children as they were growing up, and traveling are some things that make up my happy thoughts.  Aren't happy thoughts what helped Peter Pan to fly?

So, what are some of your happy thoughts that help you to fly on days that your wings just cannot seem to catch the wind?  It is good to remember them, write them down and store them up for a rainy day, but today the sun is shining and the moments that are contributing to my happy thoughts are flooding in.

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Happiness Fridays: Living in the Middle?

This Friday, I am out of town visiting my son,his wife, their 3 year old and their 3 week old baby girl!  I love Southern California; everything you'd ever want is here!  But while I am out of town, I am still wanting to blog, even if I am only able to post on Fridays.

A few weeks ago I heard Dennis Prager talking during his "Happiness Hour"; he mentioned that if you think in the middle, you live in the middle; I've been pondering about that since I heard it. 
What does living in the middle mean to you?  For me, I think I've been living in the middle and at times, have lived in the bottom, but I also believe that I've been thinking middle and sometimes bottom thoughts. At the time I was at the bottom, I wasn't aware how thoughts determined my feelings.

I've been listening to a podcast by David Wood called, "The Kick-A** Life".  I am not a fan of the "A" word, but the title describes the kind of life that David Wood is talking about.  We all have to determine what living a life like that entails.  His life is full of adventure, travel, speaking engagements and meeting all kinds of amazing people on a grand scale. (He interviews people with different interests and occupations as well as just speaks on different subjects that are near and dear to him and his life). 

The other evening as he was closing one of his podcasts he was talking about saying "yes".  I love that idea because at times in my life I believe I've said "no" out of habit.  As I have been open to saying yes I've done a few things that I normally wouldn't do.  The other day we went to the Orange County Zoo;a cute little zoo with a cute little price of admission, petting zoo included.  The peacocks were out in mass that day and we saw a few with their tail feathers open; not something I commonly see.  As we were leaving my 3 year old grandson wanted to touch a peacock; there was one out next to the parking lot.  I would have normally said, "let's just go" but instead this time I said, "let's go!" and we ran toward the peacock trying to let Hunter touch it.  They look alot slower from a distance than when you're up close and personal!  We didn't have success in touching it but it was fun!  Then yesterday, I was fortunate enough to say yes to going to the Reagan Library; what an experience that was for me! 

Maybe my life looks "kick-a**" as I say yes to more things and enjoy living more?

As for Dennis Prager's observation of middle thinking producing middle living, I say live where you're comfortable and if you're not loving your life then maybe it's time to change your thoughts and maybe say yes to more opportunities! 

Happy Friday everyone! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Visit to the Reagan Library

I was very fortunate to be able to visit the Reagan Library yesterday along with my daughter-in-law, Cyndi (along with Alice, her new baby) and Cyndi's Mom, Claudia.  Claudia has a friend at the library who was able to give us free passes.  We went because the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives is on display.  (Cyndi is a huge Disney fan).  The Disney display was amazing and so much fun to see, but I absolutely loved the Ronald Reagan museum!

I've heard what a great President, Ronald Reagan was, but I didn't really pay that much attention to his Presidency while he was in office.  I was a young mother of 4 children at the time and my time was spent taking care of my family.  I have in the past several years started to pay more attention to our Government and am not so happy about what's happening.  (That's a subject for another blog post)

Looking at Ronald Reagan's life, his character and the kind of President he was, amazed me!  He definitely lived a life of integrity, valuing the human life and our great Country.  He took his job seriously, but didn't take himself so seriously; he certainly had a sense of humor (even when he was shot he had a sense of humor). 

 I took lots of pictures but wish I had gotten one of a book that he kept quotes in.  It had a display of its own filled with handwritten index cards and notes of paper with quotes that influenced his life. 

If you ever get a chance to tour the Reagan Library I highly recommend it!  It takes more time than you think it will; we thought we'd be there for a few hours; we arrived around 12:30 and left around 5:30, and we didn't stop and look closely at some of the displays!  Oh, and Air Force One is there as well!  I wasn't allowed to take photos inside and I wasn't brave enough to snap a photo illegally; there were so many docents around that I just knew as soon as I put my camera to my eye that one would pop around the corner! 

I wish I had more photos, I do not know what I was thinking by not taking more!  I did also take some on my iphone which I wasn't able to download to my husband's laptop this morning so I'll have to do without those for this blog post. 

Cyndi at her inauguration!

Reagan had a sense of humor even as someone tried to take his life.

A reproduction of the Oval Office

There were jelly beans everywhere!

A Beautiful painting of Nancy Reagan

Air Force One

I can fly!

Reagan's Limo

The photo of George W. Bush speaking at Ronald Reagan's Funeral.

a piece of the Berlin wall

 A Beautiful view from the Library.
"I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life".  Ronald Reagan
Cyndi and her mom, Claudia

Friday, March 15, 2013

Unhappiness is Easy---Happiness Takes Work

In week two of Happiness Fridays, out of the book, Happiness is a Serious Problem,
Dennis Prager writes, "I was raised never to take the easy way out.  The easy way is very often the wrong way.......One day the thought occurred to me that being unhappy was easy---in fact, the easy way out--and that it took no courage, effort, or greatness to be unhappy.  Anyone could be unhappy.  True achievement, I realized at an early age, lay in struggling to be happy."

I've experienced the easiness of being unhappy as opposed to the work it takes to be happy.   I've had days that I've let my emotions be ruled by circumstances, people or events, and the fact is that living that way did not make me happy and even now when I let myself be ruled by outer circumstances I feel more uncertain than happy.  

From the book, "The notion that happiness must be constantly worked at comes as news--disconcerting news--to many people.  They assume happiness is a feeling and that this feeling comes as a result of good things that happen to them.  We therefore have little control over how happy we are, the thinking goes, because we can control neither how we feel nor what happens to us."  "  For some reason, that's what I picked up in my growing up years, although I don't think my parents lived their lives that way; I just think I didn't pay that much attention.  I don't think I'd really given it much thought until I went through Rapid Eye Certification classes and began to read and expand my mind.

And lastly, "This book is predicated on the opposite premise:  Happiness is largely, though certainly not entirely, determined by us--through hard work (most particularly by controlling our nature (and through attaining wisdom (i.e., developing attitudes that enable us not to despair)."

 In the coming week let's remember as we have challenges that being happy takes work.  It's almost more enticing to me to take it on as a challenge rather than as something hard.  Whatever works in your mind is what works for you.

"Everything worthwhile in life is attained through hard work.  Happiness is not an exception."      --- Dennis Prager

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And This is Why We Practice

Today I am packing supposed to be packing for our trip to California to meet our newest baby granddaughter, Alice!  We leave early in the morning, but what I'd really love to do is to relax and write and read; you get the picture.  (are there professional packers who could just whip it all in a suitcase for me including carry-on?)

Yesterday I went back to my hair stylist for a fix to put more light golden blondes in my hair since the original appointment wasn't a big success on Monday.  Needless to say, my hair has more golds in it but it's not very light (did I say insane?).  I allowed that disappointment along with the disappointment in myself for the horrible eating I've done lately and then my husband did something that irritated me and then someone dropped by for an appointment that I wasn't expecting until tonight which I was going to cancel and by that time  I was so irritated!  I saw it all coming when I started feeling irritated after my appointment and I could have changed my thoughts to stop it, but I didn't.  (Sometimes I think I like to have that feeling; the payoff is me not having to do anything but relax all by myself)

I noticed, as I was having these feelings, that I haven't felt this way in a while or at least not nearly as often as I have had in the past.  That's a good thing.

This morning in my junk folder was another one of Danielle LaPorte's articles:  
You will be called on to expand.  And this is why we practice.
It's a great article, and I'd like to share just a small part of it.

"You don't need to forgive until you need to forgive.   You don't need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel.   You don't need to call on your reserves of compassion , or fortitude, or faith until you've used up everything else."  This is why we practice.  This why, that even when life is ambling along nicely and there's food in our spiritual cupboard, we still make sure that we get to yoga, or the reading group, or Sunday services.  When we're healthy and happy we make sure to dance, we hit the court, we pick up the phone to check in, we drop by with something in hand......Because the day will most certainly come, as it does whether you are a whole-hearted lover or in denial of grace, that you will be struck down or ground down by life.  It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighbourhood.  It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime.  And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart's escrow."

As I have thought about how I have improved lately (not perfect but better) I think I've been practicing.  Practicing my thoughts, focusing on tasks at hand and focusing on being happy.  I have not had anything horrible happen in order for me to really show what I've been practicing, and I am grateful for that.  My small irritants are hopefully helping me practice for larger events that hopefully will never come, but this is life and none of us escape unscathed. I will keep in mind my failed practice yesterday and hopefully be better at staying in charge of my thoughts and feelings as I have experiences that could throw me off course.

So today, let's all practice thinking good thoughts and being present in our day along with feeling some gratitude for whatever our circumstances are.

You will be interrupted.
You will be called on to expand.
You will be asked who you are and why you are here.

This is why we practice.

Will we be ready?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Okay to "Go for It"

I need to post this quick thought before I need to go to sleep or my mind will certainly not turn off!

Tonight while watching The Carrie Diaries (I know, it's more of a teenage show, but it's entertaining and something light that I enjoy watching) I resonated with something I heard.  At the end of the show, Carrie's Dad told her to "go for your dreams". 

That phrase really hit me.  What if someone close to me said that to me?  What if my husband said to me, "Sharon, go for your dreams"?  Words are powerful. 

Why would those words not have the same effect if I said them to myself while looking in the mirror?  Maybe hearing those words coming from someone else gives me validation and permission? 

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that I shouldn't need validation and approval from anyone; giving myself permission should be enough, right? 

I saw a quote last week that went something like, "When you speak your dreams to those around you, you'll get support from them".  That's probably true.  When we say our intentions out loud and our friends and those close to us know what we're thinking they'll most likely be supportive. 

I think I need to tell you and me that it's okay to go for our dreams. My dream life (outside of my family) would be to help people using some kind of energy healing modality like EFT (tapping) or biofeedback as well as to pursue a photography business.  (There, I've put it out into the universe for support)

 If there are obstacles stopping us, can't we find a way to remove those?  So, if you're kind of floundering in knowing that you should go for something whether it's a great job or a different career or even to start a business or learn a new skill, I say to you (and me), "Go for it"! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Definition of Insanity

Today I was so happy to have a hair appointment; my hair was in extreme need of new color to cover the gray coming out of the roots as well to add some more blonde highlights.  I really like my hair stylist; she does a great cut and her prices are really good, but I haven't had great luck with her as far as color goes. 

Almost a year ago I had to find a new hairstylist (the one I'm using now).  My dear friend who was also my hair stylist moved away.  Do you know how difficult it is to find a hair stylist?  It's about as difficult, if not more, than finding a new doctor!  Hair is important!

I have tried about four times with this new girl to get a great color with not alot of success....yet.
After the last time ending up with darker, ashy tones  in my hair that  I washed out using bleach powder and shampoo, I swore I'd never go back, but once again I went.

I really do like her; she's really nice and I love the way she cuts my hair and who am I going to switch to?  I've already tried another hair stylist before switching to the one I'm using now! 

What's the definition of insanity?  It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I see this definition in other areas of my life as well, but today I'm not thrilled that my hair doesn't look like I want it to; good news is that my hair stylist noticed it this time and told me to come back if I'd like more highlights added in! 

Thank you!  I called this afternoon and am waiting a call back to tell me when to show up.  Maybe the sixth time is a charm?

I think I'll be taking a good look at the other insane things I do expecting to get better results.

Do you have insanity happening in your life? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happiness Fridays - Happiness is a Moral Obligation

So, this is week two of my new Happiness Fridays.  It's nice to have a constant in my life; something to look forward to and think about all week.  I know last Friday I named this day, Happy Fridays, but after looking at my past blog posts I noticed that I had a post titled Happy Friday so I'm changing it to Happiness Fridays.

I actually checked the book, Happiness is a Serious Problem written by Dennis Prager, out of my local public library.  I have decided that I'm going to purchase it; it's that good and I want to keep it around and mark it up and make notes in the margins.  If you like reading books with short chapters (and I do) you'll love this book!  The chapters are short and to the point. 

The first chapter is titled, Happiness is a Moral Obligation which I mentioned last week in my first post on this subject; I was going to skip this subject since I already mentioned it, but something at the end of the short chapter caught my eye and has been on my mind since I read it almost a week ago. 

Beside the point that it's our responsibility to be happy to add happiness to the world instead of sorrow and pessimism (and who wants to have an unhappy spouse, parent, sibling, or friend), Dennis Prager points out that our happiness or unhappiness also reflects on our religious affiliation and beliefs.

"I once asked a deeply religious man if he considered himself a truly pious (good, devout, faithful) person.  He responded that while he aspired to be one, he felt that he fell short in two areas.  One of those areas, he said, was his not being a happy enough person to be considered truly pious."
 " His point was that unhappy religious people reflect poorly on their religion and on their Creator.  He was right; in fact, unhappy religious people pose a real challenge ot faith.  If their faith is so impressive, why aren't these devoted adherents happy?  There are only two possible reasons: either they are not practicing their faith correctly, or they are practicing their faith correctly and the religion itself is not conducive to happiness......Unhappy religious people should therefore think about how important being happy is--if not for themselves, then for the sake of their religion."

I have been reflecting this week on my own happiness and how it matches up with my beliefs.   I have thought about my past struggles with depression and unhappiness mixed with lots of happiness and about my present, in thinking grateful thoughts and focusing on positive and happy things.   I don't dwell on the past so much anymore; I look at it as a huge lesson and have learned from that.  I focus more on the present and hope for a bright future.  I want my actions and happiness to match up with my thoughts and beliefs.

This week a friend of mine showed that her beliefs and actions align.  We have a young friend who's just gone through a divorce; it became final on Wednesday and we all knew that because our small, local newspaper posted it (weird, right?).  My friend saw the post in the paper and instead of thinking about it or just praying for our young friend, she took her some flowers and ice cream!   It made such an impact on this young woman that she posted it on facebook to publicly thank her.

I have a favorite quote from one of the past Prophets of my Church, Ezra Taft Benson which says,
"If our thoughts (and might I add beliefs as well) make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think (and may I add, act on?) Christlike thoughts."  My purpose in my life is to live a life so as to reflect my love and belief of my Savior.  Do I show that daily?  I know I'm not perfect, but am I striving even in times when I don't feel like it? 

No matter your beliefs or religion, do your thoughts and actions match your beliefs? 

I believe that when my thoughts and beliefs match up with my actions, I am a happier person.

Until next Friday,
 "Be cheerful in all that you do.  Live joyfully.  Live happily.  Live enthusiastically knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love."-----Ezra Taft Benson


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I can't help you. Not really.

The other day I had this e-mail in my junk folder (for some reason I haven't figured out how to make some e-mails "safe") and the title really caught my attention:

"I can't help you. Not really."  This e-mail came from Danielle LaPorte; I get one daily and they all go to my junk folder so I've just gotten used to checking my junk mail!

That title isn't very inspiring or encouraging, but it is an attention-grabber!  I'll share a little of it with you so you get the gest:

"I'm committed to doing what I can this lifetime to alleviate suffering.  I'm here to be helpful.  I pray to be useful.  And...I don't believe that I can really help anyone.  Not really.  ....this is an anthem of clarity and empowerment.  No matter how much insight or sweat I give, the effects of my giving are not my call to make.  I have nothing to do with someone receiving my love--it's the choice of the loved.  If someone runs with my idea, or is moved, or takes my suggestion and turns it all around--that's because of their readiness and wisdom, not mine.

There are two ways to look at her statement.  The first is that her knowledge that she can't make anyone learn the lessons she's putting forward or learn new ideas she has to offer, gives her freedom to give freely without expectations.

Last week I was happily able to help a friend.  She's been having neck pain and has not wanted to undergo lots of medical treatment except maybe accupuncture.  I had been listening to podcasts about emotional freedom technique (  and applying it to different situations, physically and emotionally.  I offered my friend this information and she accepted it and then asked if I could help her.  I remember being so nervous; it reminded me of how I felt each time I had a rapid eye client.  I remember preparing so carefully with the information and spiritually, for guidance.  So with this friend, I felt myself taking on the whole responsibility of eft working with her; what a burden!  It then occurred to me that it wasn't my responsibility to make her pain go away; I could not do that.  I could offer her an avenue for alleviating her pain and it was up to her; I understand how Danielle LaPorte feels freer and more empowered having this knowledge. 

The second way and the way I apply the "I can't help you" statement to my life is that I am the master of my ship, my destiny.  (isn't there a poem about that?)  I can listen to all the self-help pod casts, read all the self-help books I can get my hands on, and be trained in different healing modalities but if I'm not open to changing, to accepting what is offered then it's my responsibility.  I'm not saying that learning as much as I can is a waste, it will still be in the back of my mind and when I'm ready to make the move then at least I'll have the knowledge, and sometimes I think it takes a while for it to click.  I also have to be ready, spiritually, for the changes to happen; at least that's my belief.

I know that I am grateful for new knowledge ( I was just listening to David Woods last night, an inspirational speaker, and having a few aha moments and loving it). 

Danielle LaPorte goes on to say, "It's not for me to say if the people I advise are winning or losing.  I don't know the inner machinations of their Soul.  I cannot say if their choices are dharmic or karmic, wisdom or sabotoge.  What looks like a mistake to me could be the rightest action of their Soul's unfolding.  What looks like suffering could be a lifetime of enlightenment.  What looks like quitting today could lead to their greatest victory tomorrow." 

"I can't help you.  Not really.  I can only show up with a bright heart and hope that I get you at the right micro-moment with the perfect dose of lightthat helps you see what you already know."

Which then leads to the suggestion I received in my junk folder this morning: "Be teachable".

And how do I become teachable?  I strive, first for wisdom through prayer and reading and then try to stay open to new ideas and new possibilities and remember that I don't know it all.

How do you stay open and teachable?  What are some of your favorite lessons?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Truthful Tuesday

I recently read a blog post by Betty at "A Bench With a View" (  that was about being truthful, but I think hers was titled something like "Truthful Thursdays".  I haven't been able to stop thinking about it so I thought maybe I'd write a few things. Thank you, Betty for inspiring me to delve a little deeper for my truths.

Truth is an interesting thing and it's not always a black and white issue.  Of course, I like to always tell the truth unless it's going to hurt someone's feelings, that is.  I will not tell a friend if I don't like what she's wearing (that doesn't happen very often; I have fairly well-dressed friends), and maybe I'm talking more about not wanting to tell critical truths here.  When I was in high school I had a friend who never hesitated to tell me if I didn't look good or if my clothes weren't very flattering.  I remember making a dress (not something I did very often) and she pointed out to me that it didn't look good.  Looking back at photos of me in that dress, it was clear that I didn't look great in it.  I used to say that my friend just had no tact;  I think there's a fine line when it comes to truth.

Also, in listing truths, how far does one go?  How much do I want everyone to know about me?  This is something I've struggled with just a little in writing a blog; how much of myself do I want to expose to people I don't know?  I'm really not a private or shy person, but honestly, how much of myself do people want to know about?

So here goes:

Truth is...I wish I was a more productive person; I have a procrastination problem and a lack of  
                                                                                       motivation problem that I'm working on.

Truth is...I have some amazing friends, most have moved away which makes me sad, but I'm happy  
                                               that I have a few left hanging around.  They are my sanity at times.

Truth is...I'm really concerned about the direction of our country.

Truth is...I love reality shows (well, most of them.  I do draw the line at the crazy-over-the-top shows)

Truth is...I still worry about my grown children.

Truth is...I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Truth is...I love helping people.

Truth is...I love to look at the positive side of things but every once in a while can't help but see the
                                                                                                                              glass as half empty.
Truth is...I love to drive fast!

Truth is...I love to be busy; it gives me a sense of purpose.

Truth is...I, unfortunately, compare myself to others at times.

Truth is...I know that I'm a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, who loves me.

Truth is...I love to dance....and sing which I do very well in my car and house!

Truth is...I love to read and learn new things but I don't do it very often.

Truth is...I'm happy to know that I can change my feelings by changing my thoughts; it's a work in

Truth is...I love to blog and hope that someone out there learns something or can just relate.

Truth is...I love road trips and seeing new places and things as well as re-visiting my favorite places.

Okay, so those are a few of my truths for today; I wasn't sure how many to list since there are so many!    I think some of my truths may change as I work on areas of my life while others will always stay the same.   What are some of your truths?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Fridays

I think I"d like to start blogging each Friday on Happiness; what better day of the week to talk about ways to be happy?  The week is over, the weekend is coming and we all could use a little rejuvenation!  And, Dennis Prager hosts the Happiness Hour each Friday morning with lots of good subjects and ideas.

This morning he began his talk radio program with the thought, When you act happy, you feel happy.   At first thought, it's sometimes difficult to think you can act happy when you're not feeling it, but it really is the other way around.  Our thoughts and words are powerful.

In my part-time job of merchandising Hallmark cards at the Safeways in town (soon to be over with, with the "real" merchandiser taking her stores back after recovering from hand surgery) there's a guy, probably in his 30's, who is the ICC Clerk.  I've never seen him not smiling, and when I ask him, 'how are you?", his answer is, "perfect".  I'll bet he feels perfect!

On the other hand, I have a dear friend who swims everyday and encounters people who are overweight and talks to her about it.  Their words, which obviously begin with their thoughts, are, "we'll never be able to lose weight", "it's too hard".  If they're thinking that and saying that, they're right.  What's the quote by Henry Ford?  It goes something like, "If you think you can or think you can't, you're right."

I have to admit that even knowing this information and knowing it for quite a few years now, some days feel more difficult than others to act happy.  On those days, I can check my thoughts (because I know my thoughts and words determine how I act).

I am sure that I've blogged about this subject before, but it's an important one to know how our thoughts and words affect us as well as those around us.  "It is our moral obligation to be happy (and act happy)"---Dennis Prager.

So on this happy Friday, I am  at my son's home babysitting our twin granddaughters.  What better way to spend my time, right?

Oh, and to report on my "Waiting" blog post: we now have a beautiful new, baby granddaughter, Alice Claren who was born yesterday morning at 6:00am weighing 8 lbs. 9oz. and 20 1/2 inches long.

Happy Friday, everyone!