Choose to Be Happy

Smiley face pancakes with blueberry eyes and strawberry lips for Marley and Jackson

Smiley face pancakes with blueberry eyes and strawberry lips for Marley and Jackson

Life is about choices.  From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night, we are faced with hundreds of thousands of choices.  What to wear, what to eat, coffee or tea, and that’s just the first few.  How about choosing how to feel?

Have you ever considered that choosing how you feel could be something you have complete control of?  This is a concept we are working with our children on.  We choose to be happy.  Nothing is strong enough to keep us down.  There may be bumps and bruises that cause us to cry from the initial pain, but in order to move on we choose to get back up again with a smile, laugh, and learn what could have prevented those tears.

Last weekend, I chose to commit myself to myself.  That was not a typo.  I registered and made the first move in fully committing to creating a better me.  Come January 15th I will begin this journey through an intensive self discovery and leadership program that focuses on emotional intelligence.  Hundreds of people travel from all over the country, and the world, to participate in this program.  I fortunately only need to travel about 20 minutes from my front door.  I’ve observed the break through and changes my husband has gone through, and am both nervous and excited to experience my own.

I teased him the other day that he was using words from the program on me.  Our Friday afternoon was a hectic one.  The morning had flown by.  It was noon and we had an hour to get out the door.  That didn’t happen of course.  After scrambling to finish my blog for Halloween, him scrambling to finish commitments he’d started on that morning, we were finally ready to leave.  ?The kids were strapped in the car.  We went over our check list of must haves before driving away and realized we didn’t have Marley’s cane.  The next half hour was spent searching every closet, corner, in and under every bed and couch, combed every inch of the backyard, and couldn’t find it anywhere.  Marley couldn’t remember where she’d put it, and I let my frustrations of me overcommitting to too many events in too short of time come out in this one predicament.  Hubby caught me snapping at Marley, and said, “Back off of Marley.  This is our breakdown.  We shouldn’t take it out on her.”

He was right.

I sulked, sighed, and chose to change my mood.  We got back in the car, and we headed off to our first event for the day.  Even though Marley didn’t have her cane with her.  It was still a successful play date.  We met little Dillon and his parents, all three of whom are blind.  Dillon’s mom and I had arranged the play date so that Marley could show Dillon her cane.  He had recently been given his first cane and doesn’t want to use it.  We met them at their house, and all walked to the park together.  Marley and Jackson showed Dillon’s mom their Halloween costumes by what we call, “Seeing with our hands.”  Jackson was excited to see Dillon’s dad had a cane too since his Daddy doesn’t have one.  Fun was had by all as the kids ran, swung, climbed, hid, and slid, and us grown ups bounced ideas around and made plans for future outings together.

Like I tell my children when they are upset, let’s make a choice on how we will feel for the rest of the day.  Let’s choose to feel happy.

Now, go out and make it a Happy day!

Need a little help on getting started?  Go to www.24hoursofhappy.com for an instant boost.

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“The Childfree Life”

The Childfree Life

On a recent Time Magazine cover, there is a controversial photo of a happy couple laying on the beach. Above them it says, “The Childfree Life, when having it all means not having children.”

My husband and I had a lengthy discussion about this yesterday on the way to hang out on the Las Vegas Strip with some friends, who happen to be a child free couple.

At the hotel pool as we happily splashed with our kids, there were plenty of child free couples laying on the loungers reading or sipping cocktails. It made me wonder, who really is the happier couple?

While I’d rather not be woken up in the middle of the night by my daughter’s screams caused by her night terrors, and this morning while both kids emptied everything from my DoTerra lavender oil, band aids, Neosporin, and all the rest of the contents of my first aid bag onto themselves because they were playing doctor. I still wouldn’t trade this life for a million trillion dollars.

What are some of your thoughts on this photo?

October Reflections

As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning while I was brushing my teeth, it really hit me how much my life has changed.  I was slightly hung over from the margaritas I had at the concert the night before.  I had dark circles around my eyes, thanks to the lack of sleep that accompanies motherhood.  My husband was stretching on the bedroom floor, son babbling in his room down the hall, and daughter snoring in my bed.  I couldn’t help but smile and thank my lucky stars for such a wonderful way to start a day.

My first time in Las Vegas was in October of 2005.  My then boyfriend, now husband of five years, was moving here for work and I decided to keep him company on his drive out.  I was still in college, doing the clubbing, shopping, cramming, and sleeping in until noon on weekends lifestyle.  As he decided to leave Sacramento, I too decided that I was ready for a change.  I had just attended my first NFB of California State Convention and realized that my, “Fake it till you make it,” philosophy was not working as well as I wanted it too.  I decided that I was going to put the rest of college on hold and learn Braille, and did so by becoming a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind just a few months later.

In October of 2006, I left LCB and my safe bubble of friends who lived just a few doors away with positive blindness philosophy oozing out of my pores, and stepped off the plane into the next three years which would be filled with depression, denial, and distancing.

If you know me at all, then you know that I am a social butterfly.  I thrive with the company of others.  I am always smiling and love to share it with just about anyone.  But, I had know idea what moving to Las Vegas was going to be like.  I didn’t know anyone besides my husband and his twenty year old sister, who had her own social life that I had rather not tag along on.  All of the confidence that I’d gained in Louisiana seemed to disappear after a month or so.  I started to sink more and more into depression the more and more I allowed myself to stay isolated.  This is probably why I volunteered so much time and energy with the NFB.  So much time and energy that it started to take a real strain on my marriage.  I was gone all of the time.  I jumped at any chance to hop on a plane taking me to events all over the country.  I even left for a summer internship in Baltimore right after we got back from our honeymoon.

Then in October of 2009, I was just weeks from having a baby, house hunting, putting together a state convention, and feeling like I was the ball in the pinball machine getting tossed all over the place.  I didn’t realize how much having a baby would change my life, she was the anchor to steady me and keep me grounded,

On October 8, 2011 the last piece of the puzzle was put into place when my son was born.  Yes, exactly one year ago, I was holding my brand new baby boy wishing that time would stand still.

But of course it didn’t, and it is now October 2012.  My son has just turned one and tonight his big sister helped him blow out his candle on a mini cheesecake.  He is now walking, actually running all over the house chasing his sister and our dog, sometimes going so fast he forgets how to slow down or stop and runs into walls.  I have made so many incredible friends whom I love and consider like family.  And we will all be celebrating Jackson’s first birthday this Saturday in the form of a pirate party complete with bounce house and all.

I might not have a killer body, six digit pay check, drive a fancy car, or wear designer clothes, but this is the  life.  I could never possibly ask for anything more.  And I am so thankful for everything and everyone that I have in my life.