Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unicorns and rainbows. #joy #sparkle

I've seen the posts on Facebook. The ones where people say they are tired of people who just post happy stuff. That it's fake.
No one's life can possibly be all unicorns and rainbows.

Are they talking about me?  Sometimes I think so. I don't lead a perfect life, far from it, but I do try to post positively on social media.
Sunsets. Clouds. Cute kids. Books and people I love. Quotes. Things that inspire me. Kittens.

I get it.

I understand that people might think I'm not real, that my life is all sparkle and sunshine.
It's not. I struggle. I am afraid.
Life can be exhausting and frustrating. I need to exercise more.
We need a new roof.

But there is a reason I post happy thoughts and positivity from the land of unicorns and rainbows.

Do you remember Hanz and Franz?

I'm kind of old, so I do! And every day I'm looking for joy- positive things in life that pump me up emotionally and power me throughout the day. Finding things to be grateful for. That remind me to be happy even when I'm not feeling that way.

This is where the sparkle came from- a tough year I didn't think would ever end, years ago. That year, I started wearing sparkly things as a reminder to myself to stay positive, to smile, and that eventually, hopefully, I would feel better.

The whole fake it 'til you make it thing.

This is why my closet is filled with sparkly things. A little secret about me... if you see giant sparkly jewels on me, first they are FAKE. Second, I might need a hug. Third, I'm not at all fancy but I believe in sparkle power- a glittering necklace or bling-y ring can remind me that joy might be just around the corner!

So the next time you see me post, know that I'm just a regular girl with hopes, dreams, and my own problems.

Personally, I think unicorns and rainbows are pretty awesome.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My word found me #joy #oneword2017

In 2014, my word was more. In 2015, it was less. Last year I didn't write a post, but I always  think about words in January--I love thinking of one word to inspire me all year. This year I didn't have to think at all-- my word found me. 

Joy. It was everywhere. And especially in books that I read. And it didn't matter if the book was a professional or personal read. The message of finding happiness and joy kept repeating like a favorite soundtrack. I saw it on shirts, on bracelets, and in quotes. Even on a Christmas card!

Here's my top 10 list of joy inspired ideas for this year-- mostly from the books at the end of this post!

1. Look for tiny pleasures and find joy in unexpected places. Sunsets, a beautiful double rainbow, a beautiful song on my commute are some I've noticed lately!
2. Do something kind for someone each day. 
3. Worry less. Worrying is the enemy of joy and it rarely makes a difference. 
4. Exercise. Being healthy makes us feel happy, especially when we can get out in nature. I need more of this!
5. Live simply. Love people, not things. And I'm inspired to simplify at home-- a clean and simple place filled with things I love makes me feel calm and happy. I'm hoping that buying less stuff will help us save and also have enough money for fun experiences and emergencies.
6. Make a list of things I enjoy and do them with people I love. Spending time with my family is something I love and don't do enough of.
7. Prioritize my time. A paraphrase from "You Can Buy Happiness..." is "time is the only real wealth." I need to realize that I can't do everything and I need to CHOOSE what is important whether it's at work or in my personal life. I'll strive to work hard at work and be more present at home.
8. Lead with joy! Focus on finding happiness and joy in my work. Be joy! Share joy! Appreciate others. Celebrate and dance every day.
9. Use my Panda Planner for prioritizing, planning, reflecting, and gratitude. 
10. Choose joy every day. I bought this sign for my office- although it is a purchase of a "thing" I love inspiration and making it visible helps me keep it front and center in my life.

How will you find joy this year?

Joyful Reads
I love to read books! 
The books below are filled with the message of joy-- leading and living with joy. 
I highly recommend all of them! 
Lead with joy.

Confessions from an aspiring minimalist

This winter break was a short one for me- out on December 21st and back to work on January 3rd. I couldn't wait for the break and really had nothing on the calendar. I was so excited. My to-do list included reading and sleeping in-- no alarm clock days the whole break.

My break featured napping.  I thought about trying to read 5 books before January arrived so I could meet my Goodreads 40 book challenge.  Checked in on Facebook. And on December 28th Carly Rohrbacker posted this:

Minimalism. White houses with nothing in them? That's what I thought of. And yet the clutter around my house was really stressing me out. I needed some inspiration and I decided to watch.

It was amazing, and not at all what I thought. Here is the trailer.

And I realized that at the heart of minimalism, it wasn't about having stark empty houses at all, although less stuff is definitely part of it. It's about simplifying. It's about loving LIFE, and not things. 

Does what you have bring you joy?

The book The More of Less defines minimalism in this way:
This idea and the movie inspired me to act- and by the end of break I had donated 23 bags of clothes, thrown away things that we no longer need, or use, and cleaned and organized my two bedrooms, two bathrooms, my kitchen, and MY CLOSET. My closet has space left in it now.

In my organizing, I found some things I had forgotten about. This cute wallet, and the shirt with a message I LOVE made the cut.

 And I did buy a new shower curtain, on sale, which I really needed. This one is filled with quotes. My favorite? "Find joy in the journey." It makes me happy every time I see it!

The documentary was filled with other resources for learning more about this living simply mindset. I heard from the author of this book (who I discovered was living in Davis and Sacramento at the time she wrote the book), and her journey to having less. She now lives in a tiny 128 square foot home-- which I'm not ready for- but still am inspired by! I highly recommend this book, and it may be one of my favorites from this year. It also is not about having a tiny house, but about finding happiness. Tammy Strobel also blogs at http://www.rowdykittens.com/ .

The guys in the documentary also threw out a challenge which I decided to try... traveling with only a backpack the next time you fly. I usually pack way too many outfits, even when I don't check bags. Challenge complete! I did take my purse, and my backpack carried outfits for two days, my walking shoes and some exercise clothes, my hair straightener, makeup, and everything I needed for presenting at a two day conference. I didn't have to decide what to wear since I only had two outfits- so easy! And I learned I could have brought less. I will be doing this again!

So, while I am not a minimalist YET, I am inspired to simplify even more. As you look around your house, or office, does what you see bring you joy? If not, consider donating it, or tossing it. I'm so excited to continue finding joy in this journey!
From the book "The More of Less"