Let’s get back to happy!

A few weeks ago, during the dark time, I had a sudden out-of-the-blue memory that I’d signed up for The Happy Book Mail-around. The thought that followed was “Oh dear God –  don’t let it arrive on my doorstep right now! If it does, I may not be able to stop myself from tearing it into shreds and burying the pieces soaked with my bitter tears in the back yard.”

Yeah, you could say I was having a hard time being happy. The world looked pretty dark and despite my efforts to be cheerful and stable for the sake of my husband and kids, I wasn’t doing much to push the clouds back from my own mind. I spent many hours crying in my van or in bed at night. I wanted to be happy, but I just couldn’t see the point.

Thankfully, the book did not arrive during that time. I’m also very relieved to say that “happy” seems so much more possible these days. Marcel is doing much better, and we’re all learning some valuable life lessons in all of this.

Today, in my efforts to reclaim happy, I give you this gratitude list:

  • Spring! How can I not be at least a little bit happy with all this cheery green surrounding me?
  • A refreshing visit to my brother and sister-in-love’s home in Calgary last weekend. They offered just the kind of uncomplicated love we all needed.
  • Soccer. I know at least one person who thinks I’m crazy, but I actually LIKE sitting on the sidelines watching my daughters play soccer.
  • Amazing employees. I had one-on-one meetings with my in-house staff yesterday and was reminded of what incredible, capable, and gifted people they all are.
  • Suppers that appear on the table without my effort. Marcel is home and he’s been cooking and hey – what’s not to like about that?!
  • My little studio/sanctuary in the basement. I’ve been finding little snippets of time to hide in it this week and OH how refreshing that is!
  • Friendship. It’s true, when things get rough, true friends show up, and WOW can I just say – I have some incredible friends! Both in-person and online!
  • One specific friend who offered to throw me a birthday/bra-burning party in a couple of weeks. How sweet is that?! (Yes, it’s my birthday on May 20! I’m giving you lots of advance warning in case you want to lavish me with gifts. Teehee.)
  • Books. I’ve read some great ones lately and they lend me so much comfort, sanctuary, wisdom, and strength.
  • Yoga. I’ve managed to drag myself out of bed and do yoga almost every morning this week!
  • My daughters. They have been demonstrating such incredible strength and resilience lately and I am so proud of them. Plus they’re funny to boot.
  • My husband. After all that he’s been through, he’s starting to worry about me and he sends me out of the house for bookstore dates with myself or to my studio for dates with my paintbrush. And OH MY GOSH he gives good hugs.
  • Bengal spice tea. Mmmm.
  • Some funky red shoes I bought at Value Village for $7!

  • Oh… and one more late-breaking addition to my list. As I was going through my expense account for my Chicago trip, I discovered that I’d been in Walgreens, getting served by JESUS and I didn’t even know it!

Well, that was definitely a good exercise, because I’m feeling happier already! You? What’s on your gratitude list?


Today feels so much more hopeful than the last few weeks have felt. Partly it’s due to a huge release in pressure since the board meetings are over and I no longer need to stress out about the big proposal I was presenting.

With the return of hope, I thought a gratitude list was in order. Here’s what I’m feeling grateful for this morning:
– the delicious burritos my daughter cooked for supper last night
– my husband has been picking up the slack a lot around the home front while I’ve been busy having meltdowns and disappearing when I needed to for visits to the labyrinth and the grave
– the fun and crazy orange and green room Julie and I created – just in time for her 12th birthday (eventually I’ll get some pictures posted)
– the free carpet I just got for my new creative sanctuary in the basement
– the lovely voice mail from the lovely Michele, “just so that there was a pleasant voice on my answering machine not asking for ANYTHING”
– the equally lovely emails from Linda and Cynthia for essentially the same reason
– all of the friendly, supportive comments on this blog – you really lifted me up when I was feeling pretty low
– the fact that our board of directors put enough trust in me to approve my full proposal (even though they had to drag it through the mud a bit before they could approve it). (But… can I just say… YIKES! I have a lot of work to do!)
– some really kind and supportive things said to me by several board members (some of whom felt really badly for the “dragging through the mud” I had to live through)
– I get to hire 2 new staff to take some of my workload (and launch lots of new and exciting ideas)
– I have some renewed energy and a few new creative ideas for my day job and don’t feel quite as desperate to leave it as I did a few weeks ago
– a fun day on Monday when I got to take a Zimbabwean visitor out to a field to ride a tractor and play farmer for awhile (by the way, according to him, things are looking up in Zimbabwe!)
– the wonderful email exchanges I’m having with my soulsister-whom-I’ve-never-met Vicki (not much point in linking to her blog since she NEVER UPDATES IT! hint, hint.)
– a great book
– speaking of books, I sold a photo (from my Flickr set) for $50 and get to buy some new books, guilt-free! Can’t wait ’til they arrive in the mail! (Some of them are recommendations from you, my lovely blog readers. Thanks!)
– great biking weather the last few days
– it’s Friday! It’s the weekend!

What are you grateful for today?

Today I am thankful for…

– the colour green

rowboats on the river

my lovely Trek bicycle, and the way it rode so smoothly this morning with the freshly pumped-up tires

Maddie’s tag-along bike, and the way she bounces happily along behind me when we ride to soccer games together

a shower in the basement of my office building for when I sweat my way to work on warm mornings like this one

that my children are not as whiny or disrespectful as some of the children on the soccer field (yeah, I know I sound catty, but I’m still thankful)

the flowering trees along my morning bike path

that I don’t always have a rash on my chin, and that it doesn’t look as bad as it feels

a few minutes to watch my beautiful niece play last night

that this morning’s conference call went better than most

creative ideas


that Maddie hasn’t woken up during the night the last few nights and that her breathing is nearly back to normal


my new second-hand linen skirt that swooshes around my legs when I walk

that I’ll get to relax in another lovely bed and breakfast next week

the tulips someone planted amidst the wild grass along the river pathway

the anticipation of a picnic

a little break from soccer tonight

jolly rancher candies

a good book to read (Honeymoon in Purdah – I highly recommend it)

a cup of tea


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