Four Things I’ve Been Thinking About Lately

December 10, 2018

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I’ve been having trouble getting back into the habit of writing for Catching Happiness—maybe you’ve noticed? My life has been…full…lately, and I’m playing catch-up in more than one area. So to ease back into post writing, here are four things I’ve been pondering lately:

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
Being around people who have lost loved ones has reminded me that so many of the little things I fret and obsess over (which dog food to switch Luna to now that she’s a year old, for example) are just that: little things. They barely matter now, and won’t matter at all in 10 years. That’s becoming my new rule of thumb: will this matter in 10 years? I’m just worn out with all of the obsessing.

I have no idea how long it takes to do anything.
I just read Dan Charnas’ book Work Clean: The Life-changing Power of Mise en Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind, and took away some helpful ideas. Charnas takes principles he’s learned from interviewing dozens of culinary professionals and executives and tweaks them to apply to work and life outside the kitchen. One thing I’ve discovered while doing one of the exercises from the book is that many of my projects take longer than I think they do. I also forget to factor in the time it takes to transition between activities, make and eat breakfast and lunch, take care of our pets, and shower and change clothes after a workout! All those little things add up to a big chunk of day that I’ve not accounted for, and so I wind up scheduling too many things in a day, leaving me feeling unproductive and defeated.

It’s OK to feel sad.
After my dad died, one of my close friends lost her mother, and a friend from my old boarding barn became dizzy and fell while getting out of a car, and passed away from her injuries. Even though my life is unutterably blessed, I feel sad—sad for my friends, sad that I won’t have these people in my life, sad that we have to say good-bye permanently before we’re ready to do so.

But it’s OK to feel happy, too.
Friday as I was pouring my cup of Barnie’s Creamy Buttery Caramel coffee (no affiliation) and getting ready to sit down and write this post, I felt a little lift of my spirits that I haven’t felt in probably at least a month. Do I dare to feel happy? Yes, I think so. Sad doesn’t last forever, 24/7, just the way happy doesn’t. And that’s OK, too.

These are just a few of the ideas that have been floating around in my head as I try to get back to “normal,” whatever that is going to look like. I’d like to thank all of you for your kind comments and for sticking with Catching Happiness when there wasn’t much happiness to be caught!

What have you been thinking about lately?


In the Flow

December 07, 2018

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

“Water teaches us things, with the most valuable lesson probably being: flow! Go through life with ease and elegance, follow the path of least resistance, bobbing and swaying in the flow. Accept everything that life brings you. Always be prepared to move along without fear or reservations. ‘Water reaches its goal by flowing uninterruptedly,’ Richard Wilhelm wrote in his translation of the I Ching, the Chinese book of change. ‘It fills every depth before it flows on. It does not recoil from anything—no dangerous spot, no fall into the abyss—and nothing makes it lose its essential nature. It remains true to itself under all circumstances…as all noble folk should.’”
—Happinez magazine, issue 9

30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge

Wrapping Up the 2018 Gratitude Challenge

November 30, 2018

Every year since 2014, I’ve participated in Positively Present’s 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge. I love using Dani’s prompts to think about how much I have to be grateful for. This year was a bit of a challenge, since for 10 days I was in California dealing with the loss of my father. I managed to post most days anyway, though this year I opted only to post on Instagram, rather than both Facebook and Instagram, for simplicity’s sake. Here are a few photos and captions from this year’s challenge…because there’s always something to be grateful for.

Day 1: Home

“…I just returned from a three-and-a-half week trip to France…and promptly got sick. I’m sooo glad to be in my own bed with these four-legged “nurses.” There’s just nothing like home when you’re feeling under the weather.”

Day 5: Happiness

“Happiness…is seeing your horse drinking from a water trough. It might seem unremarkable, but when he’s just moved to a new boarding barn and is still settling in, it’s one more indication that he’s beginning to relax. And that lets me start to relax, too.”

Day 9: Laughter

“Day 9’s…prompt, laughter, made me think of my dad, who loved to tease and joke. He recently passed away, and I’m going to miss his humor and spirit. This is the last picture I took of him, and he was getting ready to play penny ante poker with the family—believe me, there was a lot of laughter involved!”

Day 12: Wisdom

“I love pithy sayings that sum up meaningful ideas in a few words. I’m grateful for the wisdom distilled in the sayings that then become mantras for me. I heard a new one from Corinne, the lovely and wise owner of Le Vieux Couvent in Frayssinet, France: ‘You are who you take the time to become.’ Something to ponder when the couch and TV remote control beckon, or junk food whispers my name…”

Day 27: Luxury

“As a middle class American, my life is filled with luxuries and I try not to take them for granted. (One reason why I like taking part in this Gratitude Photo Challenge every year!) Today I’m sharing a pic of one of my favorite luxuries, a personal library. This is just one t-i-n-y fraction of all the books in my house, but I see these shelves every day when I’m at work in my home office (another luxury I’m grateful for).”

And with that, the 2018 Gratitude Photo Challenge is a wrap.

What are you grateful for today?


Homeward Bound (Again) and Catching Happiness Housekeeping

November 26, 2018

Today I’m on my way home from California where I attended my father’s memorial service and spent Thanksgiving with my stepmom. We’re all doing as well as can be expected.

For the past two months, life has been anything but normal and I’m sorry it has affected my posting schedule. The November edition of the Happy Little Thoughts newsletter will be delayed, but will hit your inboxes sometime this week. (If you’re not already a subscriber and you want to be, click here.)

Thanks for your patience and support! Posting should go back to normal soon. 


Drop Your Burdens

November 23, 2018

“After all, a vacation is not a matter of place or time. We can take a wonderful vacation in spirit, even though we are obliged to stay at home, if we will only drop our burdens from our minds for a while. But no amount of travel will give us rest and recreation if we carry our work and worries with us.”
—Laura Ingalls Wilder

Look for my travel writing here