For a better life, Inspiration

Happiness Hack #3

Do what you love to do.

Even if you feel like you have no time or money, find a way to include what you enjoy into your days.

Sometimes you may have seasons of more busyness. And sometimes your season will include more margin. Regardless, find a way– even some tiny thing– to do something you love every day.

What you love to do is often what you were meant to do. What is better than spending your time doing what you were meant to do?

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After blogging every day for a month, I went on hiatus for a week. It wasn’t on purpose, but I was out of town, visiting and helping a friend with some projects. We had friend time, we got a lot accomplished and we worked from morning until night. I thought I would have time to blog, but I didn’t. But I loved it. I loved being of service and I loved visiting with my friend. It fueled my soul so I can keep going with the big goals I have.

I encourage you to do the same. Life is so much better doing what you love.

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For a better life, Inspiration

I’m fired up!

You guys. Last Saturday I was able to teach a class through my stake (local church congregation) on many of the concepts that I’ve been writing about here. I was extremely happy with the outcome. I am so fired up about this stuff and want to keep teaching it!

I talked about how our brains work, and how we all have infinite value just for being alive. We discussed friendship, belonging and confidence. We ran some models so the class could get a feel for how the model works.

I know it is difficult to understand these concepts just from the written word, but if you keep trying, I know it will make a vast difference in your life!

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They let me take this beautiful bouquet home!

I’ve been trying to write about one little idea at a time and I have so much more material in store; we haven’t even scratched the surface so far. I hope you have benefitted and I you will continue to come back. Please follow, comment or email me if you have questions or points of discussion. I also see that I have readers from all over the world. Tell me where you are from. Do these ideas resonate with the culture in your part of the world? What inspired you to click to read my post? I would love to know more about you so I can address your specific concerns and questions. Blog commenting is not dead– help me prove it!

Anyway. I really am just so excited to share with the world and help other people to be inspired to make their lives what they want it. Are YOU in?

Baby-making years, Background, Germany, Homeschooling years

In Retrospect

My husband says I am never happy. Of course that’s not entirely true, but what he really means is that I am never content. I am always looking to the next thing. After we were married and still newlyweds, I really wanted a baby. Even though we were young and both finishing college, it seemed like the thing that would make my life perfect. Later, when our beautiful little girl came along, the transition to full-time motherhood was really hard. I had spent my entire life getting good grades and proving myself to others through academic performance and all of a sudden there was no one giving me that A+. That combined with my ingrained desire to be The Best was the perfect storm for a huge hit to my self-esteem. Looking back, I think that was the beginning of me feeling really lost in my life.

Of course raising a baby keeps you pretty busy, so I didn’t really think about it all that much. It’s only now in retrospect that I can see what was happening. And I do think I was a pretty good mom, but one with really low self-esteem. The things of life took over: we bought and sold a house, we moved states, bought another house, had another baby, and then a third right on the heels of the second. Those years are still a blur in my mind. My second and third children are only 21 months apart and there are days (or weeks?) that I just don’t remember at all. The status of BUSY kept me from figuring out why I didn’t ever feel content.

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When that third baby came along, my oldest was starting kindergarten and there is a huge learning curve in that whole rigamarole. When she went to first grade, it all just felt wrong. I loved the preschool years, but sending my kid off to school for 7 hours a day only for her to return home hungry, tired and grumpy left a bad taste in my mouth. So, for that reason and many others, I started down the path of homeschooling my kids.

This seemed to be an almost-thriving part of my life. I had always pretended to be a teacher as a kid, and it just came naturally to me. It was still really difficult, especially with a preschooler and a baby underfoot as well as a second grader. But I liked it! It gave me a sense of doing good and spending my time well the way nothing else since becoming a mom had.

Five years of that went by and suddenly our family was faced with an opportunity to move to Germany temporarily. What homeschooling family doesn’t take advantage of that? “It’ll be a grand adventure! We can learn another language! What a great bonding time!” we said. The pickle was that homeschooling is illegal in Germany. We are not a military family so if we took that plunge, it would shift our lifestyle tremendously. “But it is only temporary, two years max.”

And here we are, seven months into our stint in Germany. The kids, especially the oldest who was more than ready to dive back into public school already, are doing well and love their school. It keeps them busy.

But me? Well, not so much.  I get up with the kids and get them off to school, making them breakfast and lunches before they stampede out the door at 7:15 am. While my husband goes off to work all day supporting teams both here in Germany and in the U.S. eight time zones away, I am home.

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Because I am not accountable to anyone for how I spend my time, I have gotten really lazy. This makes me feel very guilty. I have a hard time not being productive with every minute of my time. And since the dust has settled on our international move, the silence of my days has been very loud. I am not busy. I don’t have friends or extended family vying for my time. We rent a house so we are not responsible for home improvement projects. I am involved in some church responsibilities, but it doesn’t take much of my time. I don’t work because I don’t speak the language. I actually thought I would spend this time getting some years-in-the-making projects done, but I don’t work on them.

Why not? I am living someone else’s dream life– seems like I should be able to write a novel or something. But instead I sleep a lot and pretty much just figure out what is for dinner and make sure all the dishes and laundry are getting done. I don’t even watch TV or movies; they make me feel like I am wasting my time- oh the irony! And I just feel…. lost. It’s like all the silence has made me realize that my soul hungers for something more. I am missing the passion and purpose in my life.

I have wondered if I am suffering from depression. It is a thought that has come up in my mind regularly over the years. I have lost my ability to feel happy for more than a fleeting moment. I am often angry. I remind myself of my mother and in many ways that scares me. I have no doubt that she was depressed.

I don’t want mental health issues to be a part of my story, but sometimes we don’t get a say in how the story of our lives unfold. And sometimes the protagonist in the story only has their own demons to overcome. I am certain there will be a time when this chapter is  behind me. Today I am trying to make it so.