Reviving a passion

The other day, it hit me. I am craving a great fiction novel.

I grew up an avid reader. My passion and interest in writing is borne of years of devouring books — often more than one in a day. But over the last 10 years, that interest as fallen off due to things like work, the internet, and other things that fill my time and focus. What reading I do is for review programs, most of which are usually¬† non-fiction and motivational in nature.

Don’t get me wrong! Those are great!

But I wanted fiction. Like I told my husband, I want a chick flick in a book.

I told my parents about my urge to read, and Mom mentioned that my brother recently visited a Half Priced Books store where my sister-in-law picked up armloads of books to read — most of which cost her about a dollar each!

So, I googled, “half price books nashville tn” and I was directed to McKays Books a bit west of town. So, my parents, my husband and I made the trip out to see what we could find.

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I was in heaven. Absolutely in heaven. Books, music, movies… I wanted to bring in a cot and just sleep there for a few days… weeks… ok maybe a few months.

It didn’t take long for everyone to split up. I started in fiction, then eventually ended up pouring over photography books. I discovered Dad over in the financial section. Mom was in the motivational books section. And my husband indeed up in CDs picking out some to buy. We ended up, collectively, leaving with 11 books, 2 DVDs and 6 CDs. We spent about $46 total. For everything. Including tax.

My husband and I agreed we’d be going back regularly. I can already feel my passion for reading being revived with this trip to McKay’s. And I love it. So good to be reunited with a part of yourself that has been left dormant for much too long. I am most definitely happy!!

Life Well Lived: Resources for increasing and sustaining happiness

Its time for another Life Well Lived Getting Happy panel!

Happy This week’s question is: What are your favorite resources for increasing and sustaining happiness?

For once, the LWL question made me stumble a bit.

My knee-jerk answer is to list the things that never fail to make me happy. Faith. Family. Friends. A great conversation. Photography. Writing. Music. My cats. Eating. A good cup of coffee. Reading. Sleeping. Great fitting blue jeans. Anything Texas A&M University. Sunshine. Rain. Etc.

I could list off things that make me happy for hours on end. I’m a naturally happy person in general, and its so often the little things that make me happy. But that is where this trips me up… these things make me happy, sure. But these things can also sometimes frustrate me.¬† Then it hit me…

My favorite resource for happiness is myself.

A story to illustrate my point: Just last weekend, when I went to pick my husband up from the bus, I walked out the door making a conscious decision to be in a good mood when I got there.

I almost always end up picking him up after only getting 3 hours of sleep, and 9 times out of 10 I deal with a fellow driver that leaves my blood boiling. (And of course, due to lack of sleep, my already short fuse with drivers who don’t drive defensively is a lot a shorter than normal.) My husband is just used to me picking him up in a terrible mood. It’s almost a running joke that he wonders how ticked off I’ll be when I pick him up. But that day I went, “I am happy he is home. He needs to see THAT, not a ticked off wife mad at the world.”

You know what happened? I picked my husband up with a smile that was genuine and I caught him off guard. I made the conscious decision to be happy. I can’t help the fact that I don’t get enough sleep before I pick him up. I can’t help that other drivers just don’t pay attention to what is going on around them. But I CAN help how I respond. THAT is one thing I CAN control.

It’s not about having a cup of coffee. It’s not about if the sun is shining or not. It’s about my approach to life — to any given situation or moment in time. I am my own favorite resource for happiness.

What about you? What is your favorite resource for creating and increasing happiness?

Join me here and and in the comments over at the Main Post on BlogHer.com.

Clean house for company

I have a clean house right now. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a dirty house. I clean the bathroom regularly, and the dishes are done daily. But it can get cluttered, and I certainly don’t mop as often as I am sure I should.

However, when I know I am going to have company, my house ends up super clean! The days in advance center around whatever room or task I am tackling as I prepare for my guests. The last few hours before they arrive are spent making sure everything is in place. Candles are lit. Everything is in its place.

Every time I do this, the house feels lighter. I actually even sleep better, knowing all is in its place.

And then I wonder… why on earth don’t I do this for myself… just for me!? Why does it take house guests for me to make my home the best it can be? I’m worth it! I deserve to come into my home and see it tidy. I deserve to enjoy it by myself. But no, it takes house guests to motivate me to do the job. Another motivator is my husband coming home after an extra long run on the road. I like the house being perfect for his return home.

Next big house clean will be just for me. It’ll be for my own peace. And I can end the day with a hot shower and a glass of cold wine. Yeahhh… I like that idea.

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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