Link love

New Year, New Link Love (Vol. IV)

January 26, 2024

Tank on left enjoying his first day home

First off, I’m happy to say that Tank is doing well at home, and I’m much relieved that he seems to be continuing to recover (and he’s enjoying the extra feed as we try to put some of the weight he lost back on him).

This is 2024’s addition to my tradition of “New Year, New Link Love,” even though it’s almost the end of the month. January has gotten away from me in a number of ways, but hey, here we are. Grab a cup of something warm to drink and enjoy these links:

In “How to Cheer Yourself Up on a Hard Day,” Ingrid Fetell Lee shows us how we can create and embrace small moments of joy even in the midst of frustration and struggle.  (Check out the “Joy Break Generator” at the bottom of the post.)

I’m not the only one who was happy to leave 2023 behind. But it’s not enough just to leave the year itself behind if we continue to carry things that weigh us down into 2024. In “7 Heavy Things to Leave Behind In 2023,” Courtney Carver gently urges us to leave those heavy things in the past and walk forward feeling lighter, and with room in our lives to allow in more good things. 

In “Can little actions bring big joy? Researchers find ‘micro-acts’can boost well-being,” NPR reported that scientists behind the BIG JOY Project found that those who commit daily “micro acts” of joy—such as making a gratitude list or doing something nice for someone else—“experience about a 25% increase in emotional well-being over the course of a week.” These acts “led to increased feelings of hope, optimism, as well as moments of fun or silliness.” These findings don’t surprise me, but it’s always nice to be reminded that in a world where so much is beyond our control, small positive acts can make a difference.

How good are you at loving yourself? If you could be better, here are “99 Ways to Love Yourself A Little Better.” 

Click here to see a baby wolf learning to howl! 

I found this discussion of “How to Think About Politics Without Going Insane,” interesting. I really do think most issues are more nuanced than we realize. David writes: “If you can achieve a multi-viewpoint understanding of the debates over gun ownership, law enforcement, socialism, capitalism, transgenderism, housing policy — even if you still adamantly favor one position afterward — the conflict no longer needs to be attributed to malice or stupidity on the part of half the population. There’s a better explanation, which is that contentious issues tend to be multi-faceted and morally complex, and people fixate on the first facet of an issue that makes them feel something. To make it worse, our culture incentivizes the denial of moral complexity. Simply put, it’s easy to motivate people with simple moral stories (those guys are bad) and hard to motivate them otherwise.” 

I enjoyed Maira Kalman’s TED talk, “How to find humor in life’s absurdity.”  (I am down for her “murder and mint chip portion of the day”!)

This weekend we will host out-of-town family as well as continue to monitor Tank’s progress and give him his medication and extra calories. How about you? Any fun plans for the weekend and beyond? How is 2024 going for you so far?

Link love

November Link Love—A Hodge Podge

November 10, 2023

Me, lately. Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

I’ve been feeling a bit scattered and all over the place lately, and this Link Love entry is going to reflect that. Funny flight attendant? Check. Thoughtful article about how money and happiness are connected? Also check. Here’s a hodge podge of some of the interesting things I’ve found online recently. (Also, “hodge podge” is a fun term to repeat to yourself…)

I’ve been enjoying this new-ish blog which focuses on looking for “Wow Moments.” (Wow Moments are definitely first cousins to my simple pleasures and everyday adventures.) This post details ways to improve your ability to notice Wow Moments when they happen. 

In “What if Money Does Buy Happiness After All?” Ingrid Fetell Lee reports on a recent study showing just that. She shares several specific areas that having more money definitely improves happiness levels, including safety and security, time, health and wellness, and the ability to live out your values. It’s a classic case of both/and (as I wrote about in a October’s Happy Little Thoughts Newsletter): of course there are some things that don’t require money, like our personal relationships, and many that do benefit from having more money. She concludes her post by talking about why it matters that we’re honest about the role money plays in our happiness. 

I happened to be listening to the radio in the car when, to my surprise, I heard a new Beatles’ song! I came home and looked online to learn more about it. According to this article, “The track was originally shelved due to the poor audio quality, but revived when AI helped better enhance Lennon’s performance.” You can listen to “Now and Then” here. 

I’m already thinking about next year, so I bookmarked this announcement from photographer Georgianna Lane. If you’re looking for a beautiful calendar for 2024, look no further than these (no affiliation). There’s even a FREE printable Paris-themed calendar if you subscribe to her mailing list. (I’m already a subscriber, and she does not bombard your inbox with emails.) 

While “3 Things to Do When You Wake Up in the Middle of the Night” was written for a younger audience than me, I have found the tips here helpful when I find my eyes popping open at 2 a.m. 

In “Somatic Therapy: 12 Easy Ways To Shift Your Mood With Your Body,” guest poster Rachel Shanken details ways to recognize where in our bodies we’re feeling stressed, and ways to break the stress cycle. 

I want to be on a flight with this guy. 

This is so cool:




Happy Friday, and hope you have a beautiful weekend.

July

Joyful July Link Love

July 28, 2023

Photo by Ann on Unsplash

Even when we feel sorrow, we can still feel joy—sometimes in the same moment! And thank goodness for that. So while it’s boiling hot outside (at least in most of the Northern Hemisphere), let’s relax in the cool indoors and check out these links related to aspects of joy and happiness.

First up, “You Don’t Have to Be Happy to Feel Joy,” according to author Ingrid Fetell Lee. She writes, “Little moments of joy happen to us all the time, whether or not we consider ourselves happy people or not. They happen in good times and also right in the middle of stressful or miserable ones. And we all have the capacity to notice them, savor them, and make more of them.” 

Sometimes joy results from letting go of something, as Courtney Carver says in “7 Things to Let Go of for a Happier Life.” Choose the one that makes you feel the worst to let go of first. For me, that’s probably number 4. 

What Gretchen Rubin calls everyday luxuries in “Why Everyday Luxuries Help Make Us Happier,” I call simple pleasures. Potato, potahto. Some of my everyday luxuries/simple pleasures include drinking bottled iced tea rather than making it myself, fresh flowers on the kitchen table, and flavored coffee. What are some of yours? 

Your joy matters. Love what you love. 

I love the suggestions from “7 Things You Need to Do If You Want to Enjoy Life More.” Numbers 4 and 5 are on the agenda this summer.

I love ice cream—and good ice cream is definitely an everyday luxury. Check out Thrillist’s list of the best ice cream shops in the U.S. I haven’t been to a single one of these, but I’m keeping this article for reference. Is there one near you? Check it out and let me know if it lives up to its reputation. 

I’m a fan of The Minimal Mom’s approach to decluttering, and whenever I need a boost in motivation for decluttering my house I head over to YouTube to watch one of her videos. There’s something about her cheerful, matter-of-fact manner that boosts my mood. Here’s one of my recent favorites:

 



Comfort

Links to Comfort and Inspire

May 19, 2023


Even though there is So Much to Do, I’m taking it slow, allowing for extra rest and quiet time, easing back into “normal” life (whatever that is). Since the end of January, I’ve been pushing myself well beyond my comfort zone and digging deeper into and draining my emotional reserves. Over the past few months, I’ve found some solace and distraction in wise words and entertaining videos on the Internet. Here are some of the things I’ve been turning to for comfort and encouragement.

Courtney Carver’s words often resonate with me. Since I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed, this post was comforting. I’m especially taking to heart number 4.

Microjoys, glimmers, simple pleasures…whatever you call them, these little bursts of joy keep me going in tough times. There is always joy to be found.

And speaking of microjoys, some thoughts on happiness from an 80-year-old.

Rather than mindlessly scroll, try one of the suggestions from “7 Productive Distractions to Effectively Reduce Stress” when you’re feeling frazzled.

This is so great—I’d love to open a bookstore with a friend.

Since going through my own hard times, I’m learning how better to support others who are grieving or otherwise suffering. “How to offer help when you don’t know what to say” offers some helpful suggestions.

Rediscovering the joy of play—I’ll have more to say about the power of fun in a future blog post.

I’ve been watching The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning on Peacock and (no surprise) it’s hitting me in all the feels…in a good way. Each episode so far has offered me at least one tiny insight into the process of grief, decluttering, or living life to the fullest. 

One of my favorite Broadway touring shows of all time was the first show we saw during the 2022-2023 season: Six. To round off today’s post, here’s a link to the first number of the show:  


What have you found online that has boosted your mood lately?

Link love

New Year, New Link Love Volume III

January 27, 2023

Me after watching one too many animal videos online. Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

This edition of Link Love is kind of a mixed bag, including a little bit of inspiration, a piece to make you think, an article about a well-known figure who died recently. This is one of the strengths of the internet—something for everyone. Hope you enjoy this list of links I’ve loved recently (click on the lighter colored text to visit the link).

Here’s a round up of good news that took place in 2022.

It’s not too late to start: “52 Acts of Kindness: How to Spread Joy in Every Week of 2023.”

When I was a painfully shy teenager, I read Barbara Walters’ book How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything. It helped. Since then, I’ve always admired her, and I enjoyed reading this remembrance after her recent death. 

After reading “We need boredom to lead better lives. But social media is destroying it,” I’m picking up my phone less frequently, and I’m planning at least one “internet fast” in 2023. (Click here for “15 Tips to Help You Spend Less Time on Your Phone.”) 

Yet another secret to happiness: a reverse bucket list—similar to my post, “Just (Don’t) Do It.”

I love Stephanie Hayes’ newsletter, and this opinion column in my local paper made me smile.

I want to drive the dog bus!



(Jake looks a lot like my dog, Luna!)

Have a very happy weekend!


Link love

Post-Thanksgiving Link Love

November 25, 2022

In the U.S., yesterday was Thanksgiving, a day not known for its moderation. So if you’ve indulged in a little too much “festivity,” (and even if you haven’t) here are some happy, peaceful links to check out while you’re (hopefully) enjoying a day off from the normal routine.

Check out “25 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During theHolidays” for ways to stay healthy and sane this year. Most of these fit in really well with my word of the year, simpler

Just when I think that people are the worst, I read a story like this.

“5 Anxiety-busting Activities to Try This Weekend.” I’ve been trying to make joy a priority recently.

The sweet joy on these faces is pure magic.

“18 Easy Things to Do Today to Make Yourself Happier.” Number 9 is my favorite.

The holiday season can be difficult for highly sensitive people—it’s so full of stimulation. This article has good information on how to care for yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially if you’re highly sensitive—and how to help if someone you love is.

And here’s your laugh for the day. Welcome to the Squirrelympics!


Happy weekend!



Link love

Link Love, the Cleanup Edition

October 07, 2022

Our walking trail buried under debris last week.

We’re still cleaning up after Hurricane Ian: raking, bagging, putting away emergency supplies, etc., but we’re still so grateful to be spared. Not so our neighbors to the south in Ft. Myers, Sanibel, and surrounding communities. Cleanup will go on there for a long, long time. We have been enjoying some cooler, drier weather as a result of the storm, which makes things so much easier, too.

Since this week has been about cleaning up and catching up, today instead of a post I’ll share some links I’ve enjoyed over the past month or so that I hope you enjoy, too.

Speaking of cleanup, cleaning is starting on Notre Dame’s smoke-blackened stained glass windows.

I’m still loving my Merlin app, and found this Bird Migration Explorer, from Audubon, of interest. 

How tired are you? And how are you tired? Take this quiz to find out, and read more about the different kinds of rest in “The Seven Types of Rest: I spent a week trying them all. Could they help end my exhaustion?” I wasn’t surprised to find my most pressing need was Creative rest.

Speaking of Hurricane Ian, this list of ways to help is updated regularly.

These rice fields blew my mind! 

Iceland is already on my travel wish list, and this cracked me up

If you ever wonder what difference one person can make, check out this video of a man who planted a forest.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Comfort

A Cup of Comfort Link Love

July 29, 2022

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

As I gathered the links for this post, I found a definite theme emerging: comfort. Whether it’s looking at (or listening to) lovely things or pondering ways to protect our mental health, these links offer both an escape and ways to protect ourselves from an onslaught of terrible news. (Plus, I think they’re fun!) Hope you enjoy them, too.

There are some excellent suggestions in Happiful’s “10 Things to Do Instead of Doomscrolling.”   

Click here for The Guardian’s 50 Cheeriest Social Media Accounts.

And speaking of Doomscrolling, click here for a summary of “33 Problems with Media in One Chart.”

For those of you who want to do a jigsaw puzzle without the cat knocking the pieces onto the floor, give one of these a shot.

Look—baby tigers!

For anyone who has always wanted a card catalogue of their own: “It’s All in the Cards: How Organizing My Library Is Helping My Brain.” Not everyone would enjoy this, but I think it would be extremely satisfying.

These are exquisite.

I will always have a place in my heart for Paris, so I loved seeing Georgianna Lane’s “Early Summer Moments in Paris.” 

How to make the most of a mental health day.

Guilty as charged: “Why Women (and Men!) Love the Hallmark Channel.”

Just wow:


Have a happy weekend!

P.S. To round out today’s links, for anyone who hasn’t already heard, here’s a piece I wrote for the 2022 Tampa Bay Official Destination Guide.



 

Cheer up

Link Love—Cheer Up Edition

February 11, 2022

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

The Internet can be a mixed blessing. It can entertain us, teach us, and keep us connected with our friends and family—and it can deal our self-esteem some crushing blows and contribute to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Today let’s concentrate on how it can brighten up our lives! Since many of us have been struggling either with winter blahs or various other challenges related to staying positive, I thought I’d devote a Link Love post to some links I’ve found uplifting and encouraging lately. Be sure to share any of your discoveries in the comments below!

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s annual “10 Things Saving My Life Right Now” post is always a comfort. Be sure to read the comments, too.

I’ve listened to this piece several times since I read this story. It’s so beautiful and calming, and what an amazing accomplishment.

100 Ways to Improve Your Life Without Really Trying. The simpler the better! I do #20 several times a week, working on #57, and #78 is genius!

“The One Habit to Break to Find More Joy.” Ingrid Fetell Lee always has something thought-provoking to say.

Stories like this one help me remember that there are kind people in the world, and that small gestures can make big differences.

The “How Not to Be Grumpy” episode of the Soul + Wit podcast came at the perfect time. I picked up some suggestions to help me cope with the days that I feel less than *happy*. 

More music. Stunning cover of Stairway to Heaven performed by Heart:


Have a happy weekend!

Destress

How to Calm Down and Destress Link Love

November 19, 2021

Photo by Hanna Balan on Unsplash

I’ve been more stressed and anxious than usual the last month or so, and with the holiday season approaching… All the yoga, barn time, and bubble baths will not be equal to the task. Even though the Internet can be a source of stress, it can also be a source of helpful and healing ideas. Here are a few links I’ve loved recently:

During this busy time of year, who couldn’t use “5 Resilience Tips for the Frazzled”?

Read Ingrid Fetell Lee’s “A Guide to Joyful Gift-Giving” before you choose your holiday gifts. I love finding presents that seem “perfect” for people, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on myself, and there’s no guarantee the receiver will love the gift the way I hope they will. So I’m scaling back my expectations, and remembering that “the real reason we give a gift is to show we care about someone.” 

I’ll be trying some of Courtney Carver’s “25 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself Over the Holidays,” especially #2 and (of course) #15.

Loved the pretty pictures in Tammy Strobel’s (Rowdy Kittens) Delight Diary. I just finished reading Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights and am pondering how I can do something similar. 

Even though this is a year old, “51 Ways to Destress, Calm Down, and Feel Less Lonely Right Now” still has TONS of great ideas.

I’m a fan of hygge, even in sultry Florida. Check out these “Simple Ways to Add Hygge to Your Winter Routine.” 

And if you’re just looking for something far removed from social media and the craziness of the world we live in, check out The Public Domain Review. I just discovered it and haven’t yet had the chance to explore it much. It looks interesting, even if some of the topics go straight over my head. 

Let’s finish this off with a video featuring relaxing nature sounds:




Happy Friday, and happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Happiness museum

Octoberly Link Love

October 01, 2021


Octoberly isn’t a word, but I think it should be. Doesn’t it sound sort of fall-ish? As October creeps in, I’m enjoying the way the light falls through the trees, the adorable little pumpkins at the grocery store, and the ubiquitous presence of pumpkin spice. Here are a few more things I’ve enjoyed recently:

Check out the Action for Happiness Optimistic October calendar here. Today’s task is to “Write down three things you can look forward to this month.” 

I love doing jigsaw puzzles, and I was thrilled to read “Jigsaw Puzzles Can Improve Your Life More Than You Realize.” I’ve got a new puzzle sitting on my dining room table right now waiting for me to start it. 

Ingrid Fetell Lee’s posts at The Aesthetics of Joy have especially resonated with me lately. I found “Are You Talking Yourself Out of Joy? Here’s How to Stop” and “6 Ways to Find Joy During Times of Change” especially good reading.

I loved this story, and especially the message the dad wanted to share: “Some people can make any situation worse, and some people can make any situation better… always be that second person….”

If visiting Denmark (consistently ranked one of the happiest countries in the world) is on your travel wish list, here’s one more reason to go. In July of 2020, the Happiness Research Institute opened the world’s first happiness museum in Copenhagen. 

Stephanie Hayes’ newspaper columns often make me laugh, and “Christmas is canceled, Tampa Bay. Instead, choose one of these holidays” was one of my recent favorites. (You don’t need to live in Tampa Bay to appreciate the humor.) Subscribe to her free newsletter if you’d like to read more of her writing.

How fun is this?


Happy Friday—and may October be full of simple pleasures and everyday adventures!

What Octoberly pleasures are you looking forward to?

Happiness

It’s Almost August Link Love

July 30, 2021


And you know what that means. Cue the complaints about the weather. Though actually, even though it is currently disgusting outside, I can’t complain much. We had such a nice fall, winter, and spring that I’m just going to put up with summer and keep my mouth shut. (Mostly.)

However, I am spending as much time in the air conditioning as I can—as you will see from the links I’ve collected below:

Have you been practicing your happiness lately? According to “Happiness Requires Practice,” “…achieving happiness is not an actual place or trait—it’s a daily practice that leads you to experience positive feelings about yourself and the world around you. Emerging data suggest that ‘being happy’ is actually much harder than it sounds.” It goes on to say that it’s better to strive to be fulfilled and satisfied with your life than to try to feel “happy,” and that there are skills you can practice daily to help you see your life in a more positive way. Click here to read the whole article, and see what those skills are.

When Joyful author Ingrid Fetell Lee recently asked in her Instagram stories how people were feeling, a full 64 percent of them said “Blah,” despite the loosening of pandemic restrictions and the beginnings of a return to “normal” life. In “What to Do When Everyone Seems Happy Except for You,” Lee describes some things we can do to support our emotional well being without slapping a smile on our faces when we don’t feel happy.

And speaking of normal, the Experience Life article “Another New Normal” addresses ways we can remain adaptable as we continue to figure out how to navigate life during a pandemic.

How’s your summer reading going? If you’re looking for something fun and quick, check out Modern Mrs. Darcy’s “12 Feel-good Fiction Books You Can Read in an Afternoon.” I can personally vouch for What Alice Forgot and The Garden of Small Beginnings.

There may only be two more days left in July, but we can still try the ideas found in “How Are We Already Halfway Through the Year?! Here are 23 Ways to Make the Most of July” during August and beyond. 

Incredibly smart dog, and what a bond she and her person have!

I thought this was amazing:


I hope you go out there and practice some happiness this weekend—and stay healthy! 

Link love

Link Love--May 2021 Edition

May 14, 2021

What a lovely spring we’ve had here in Florida—walks and barn visits are so much more pleasant when I’m not dripping sweat immediately after setting foot outside (TMI?). All good things must end, however, and it’s starting to get hot and humid, so I’m spending more time in the air conditioning—and more time at my computer—than I have for the past few months. Here are a few fun links I’ve discovered recently that you might enjoy. 

I love these “10 Ways to Start the Day on a Joyful Note.” Right now, I’m especially enjoying fresh flowers. I have some in my breakfast nook as well as in my bedroom.

Three words: Funny pet photos.

Since I can’t go to Paris any time soon, I’m bringing Paris to me, via “How to Pretend You’re in Paris at Home.” Starting with eating a Trader Joe’s chocolate croissant for breakfast…

My friend Kerri told me about the free Smile newsletter from inspiremore.com, and I’ve really enjoyed having happy news pop up in my in box. Subscribe here (no affiliation).

Many of the ideas in “25 Small Ways to Improve Your Life” resonate with me.

Advice I need: “How to Do Things You Keep Avoiding.” 

More help for doing things rather than putting them off: “7 Habits That Are Scientifically Proven to Help You Beat Procrastination and Tackle Your To-Do List.”  Anyone sense a trend here?

Thirty of country music’s most famous singers released one song together in honor of the 50th anniversary of the annual CMA (Country Music Association) Awards. Read about it here, and watch the music video here.

Watch and be amazed by this high school dance team’s homecoming assembly:


Have a very happy Friday and beyond! What discoveries, online or otherwise, have you made lately?

Feeling overwhelmed

January 2021 Link Love

January 15, 2021

Things continue to be slow around here. As expected, not much has changed since we turned the calendar from 2020 to 2021. In case you need a little encouragement or food for thought during these strange days, here are a few links I’ve found interesting lately:

The Year That Must Not Be Named was hard on everyone. Still, nothing is all bad. Here are “35 Good News Stories From 2020 You Might Have Missed.”

It’s not too late to make your “21 for 2021 List.”

I LOVED this short and simple story about the nature of happiness.

Sometimes it’s hard to feel like our creative efforts and personal needs and desires matter in the face of frightening and unsettling world events. Jennifer Louden addresses this in “How Do You Balance the World’s Horror With Your Calling?” (Don’t be put off by the word “calling”.) This point especially resonated with me: “Sharing our voices, our ideas, our wisdom is actively building the world we want.”

I love the backpack analogy in this post about coping with overwhelm. Use these tips to unload some of your burdens.

Some habits to drop, some to pick up for 2021 (and beyond).

I wrote this back in 2018, but the advice still stands. 

I love this song, and this was such a fun video:



Happy Friday, and may we all dance into the weekend!

Link love

Mood-Boosting Link Love

October 23, 2020

In the spirit of last week’s post, I thought I’d focus today’s Link Love on mood-boosting topics. Here are a few links I’ve found encouraging, funny, or helpful recently. 

I’ve read some of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s “8 Quick Things You Can Do Right Now to Boost Your Mood” before (“Get outside”), but others were new to me (“Look up”). As she writes, “They’re not going to change the course of your life, but they might change the course of your day.”

The Happiness Break at Borgo Egnazia sounds so amazing. I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of money lying around, but maybe I could cobble together a sort of do-it-myself happiness break?  

Apparently even God can’t please everyone: “One-Star YelpReviews of Heaven.” This made me laugh because haven’t we all met people like this

“What to Do When You Feel Hopeless”—sadly, I think we can all use the tips here, because, you know, 2020. 

I follow Tank’s Good News on Instagram, but there’s also a website. Visit whenever you need to be reminded that there are wonderful people in the world. 

Even in tough times, there is always something to savor. This is important, because savoring the good things that happen is one of THE most important keys to being happy, according to Time’s “The Simple Thing That Makes the Happiest People in the World So Happy.” Too often we’re too busy and distracted to notice.

Supposedly, this video has the ability to reduce anxiety by 65 percent. I don’t know about that, but it is kind of mesmerizing.


Have you come across any mood-boosting links lately? Do share in the comments below!

 

 

Link love

It’s a New Month—How About Some Positive Links to Love?

October 02, 2020


Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash


Well, we made it through September. Fall is sort of here. This weekend I expect to be sweeping off our lanai and helping my husband in the yard. I’m doing my best to feel optimistic (see below) in October, and as I mentioned in September’s Happy Little Thoughts newsletter, I’ll also be looking for the small positive actions that can boost my mood and energy. (Didn’t get the newsletter? Click here to subscribe.)

If you have some extra time and feel like reading something inspiring, here are a few links I’ve found interesting and encouraging recently:

Access the (free and printable) Action for Happiness “Optimistic October” calendar here. Today’s action is: “Look for reasons to be hopeful even in difficult times.”

The Positive Lexicography Project combines two things I love: happiness and words. Read more about it in “The Glossary of Happiness.”

I miss traveling a lot—I haven’t felt it was safe or appropriate even to visit my mom(s) in California, or take a road trip with my friend Kerri. In “How to Take a Vacation Without Leaving Home,” Ingrid Fetell Lee offers a few suggestions for adding a little adventure to your staycation.

After 10 years of writing a health and well-being column for The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman has learned a few things about happiness. In “Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilledlife,” he shares some of them. For example: “There will always be too much to do—and this realisation is liberating. Today more than ever, there’s just no reason to assume any fit between the demands on your time—a l the things you would like to do, or feel you ought to do—and the amount of time available. Thanks to capitalism, technology and human ambition, these demands keep increasing, while your capacities remain largely fixed. It follows that the attempt to “get on top of everything” is doomed. (Indeed, it’s worse than that – the more tasks you get done, the more you’ll generate.)”

There’s nothing notably new in the advice found in “10 Waysto Find Stillness in Turbulent Times,”—just good, solid advice for quieting an anxious mind.

And speaking of an anxious mind, according to researchers, elevated stress and worry can actually change brain chemistry. “Coronavirus:the pandemic is changing our brains—here are the remedies” offers some suggestions for coping.

That’s all for now. I’m off to take the dog for a walk before it gets too hot (it’s cooler, but not cool). Have a great weekend!


Acadia

A Handful of Happy Things (Link Love)

July 24, 2020

I’ve spent more time than usual with my computer over the past months, and I have a handful of happy things to share today. So here goes:

I so much want to travel somewhere, but until I can I’m finding ways to visit places virtually. I’ve watched Will Greene’s time lapse video of Acadia National Park twice already—and I only discovered it yesterday!

A St. Petersburg, Florida couple is turning old newspaper boxes into little free libraries. Especially helpful when libraries are closed or offering limited services.



Scroll to the bottom of this post by Jen Louden for an explanation of why so many of us feel angry, and an exercise to “Prevent the Blast” when you feel like you’re about to snap.

You NEED to see this Squirrel Ninja Obstacle Course.

I feel like what David of raptitude.com writes in “Most Accomplishments Are Invisible” is even truer in July than it was in December when this post went live:

“So if you feel inadequate whenever some form of the ‘achievement Olympics’ comes up, don’t. We live in a society that assesses people by what their lives produce, not what it takes to live them. Inner work is ignored unless it explains some outer work.
“That says a lot about society, and nothing about you. Rest assured that many millions of us know the immense value of changing your inner world, or even just surviving it, because we’re doing it quietly alongside you. Most of what the human world accomplishes on any given day is very hard to see.
I wrote this piece for a local county’s visitor’s guide. Click here to see the entire downloadable guide. 
There’s a new baby giraffe at Busch Gardens in Tampa. I love giraffes!



Hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

anti-racism

Time to Listen Link Love

June 05, 2020


It feels inappropriate, to say the least, to write about the things I was planning to write about this week—simple pleasures, everyday adventures, my summer fun list and summer reading list. The protests taking place all over the United States, and the world, have filled my mind and heart to bursting, made me appropriately uncomfortable, forcing me to think about concepts and experiences of which I’ve been largely oblivious.

It shouldn’t have taken multiple publicized deaths and nationwide protests to wake me up to what life is like for people of color in this country. It’s time to examine my own biases and beliefs and how they’ve been influenced by the culture I’ve grown up in, as well as educate myself about underlying structural racism.

Since I’m still at the beginning of my learning—where I should be listening rather than speaking—I thought I’d share a few links to material written by people who have eloquently and usefully examined this topic, as well as links to a few anti-racism resources I’m exploring. I hope they prove helpful to you. (And please share in the comments any resources you’ve found helpful.)

“For those of you who are tired of reading about racism, I’m tired of black and brown bodies being killed by it. I’m tired of watching some white people be more upset by those who are protesting racism as opposed to the racism itself. Being numb is characterizing what happened to Floyd, Cooper, Ahmaud Arbery (who was hunted, shot and killed by two white men while jogging), as unfortunate, disconnected anomalies. Feeling is understanding they are not disconnected at all but, rather, the reason why James Baldwin once said ‘to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.’”

With Liberty and Justice for All. In this thoughtful piece, Gretchen Rubin shares part of a speech John F. Kennedy gave on June 11, 1963 after the Alabama National Guard had to enforce a court order requiring the desegregation of the University of Alabama. Here’s a part of the quoted speech:

“I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened….

“The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark…cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content...[to] stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay? …

“Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise.”

I ask myself, as Rubin does at the end of her post, “How can I, in my own life, live up to my country's highest ideals?”
 
Jen Louden suggests in “White People, Please Don’t Give In to Despair,” that we “Start from wonder and love and steady effort. ‘I wonder how I can learn today? I wonder who I can help today?’ Don’t make it about what you haven’t done cause that’s making it about you. ​Make it about now.” She continues, ‘Stop believing the Hollywood version of change you see in movies. That’s not how real change has ever happened or ever will. Real change happens because of millions of small acts by millions of people. What you do matters! Start today.’”






Link love

New Year, New Link Love Volume II

January 10, 2020

Photo by Vika Fleisher on Unsplash

Is it too far into the year to tell you Happy New Year? It feels like 2020 has gotten off to a sleepy start for me, personally. I had one writing assignment to wrap up from the end of 2019, and now that it’s done, I can catch my breath and do some reflecting and planning. I went through my calendar/planner from 2019 and jotted down notable events and thought about the accompanying emotions. It was a full year.

I’d still like to set some new goals, and do some additional fun visualizing stuff—and hopefully, I’ll get to that soon. I’ve been jotting down possibilities, and will fill out my “20 for 2020” list to hang on my bulletin board. (Make your own, or download a free printable, like this one—no affiliation.)

If you’re still in a contemplative mood, here are a few recent Internet discoveries I’ve found thought-provoking or otherwise worthwhile:

While the New Year is already here, you can always decide to get rid of one (or more) of these “8 Things to Get Rid of Before the New Year."

One very simple way to review the old year and approach the new year, from Sandra Pawula’s (Always Well Within) Wild Arisings newsletter:

“I began the 2019 review process informally a few weeks ago by jotting down a heading in my journal called ‘Good Things 2019.’  I placed things on the list as they came to me day-by-day day. I also put in a second heading around the same time called ‘Let Go Of 2019,’ which I approached in a similar fashion.”

I love this quote, from Rainbow Rowell

When you make your list of things to do in the new week/month/year, do you plan for joy, not just work or accomplishment? According to, Ingrid Fetell Lee, author of Joyful, we should! In “Planfor Joy, Not Just Goals,” she writes,

“When we’re children, joy seems effortless because someone has planned it for us. As we get older, we can either believe that life has gotten less joyful, or we can take charge of planning it for ourselves.”

She continues later in the post,
Scheduling in joy is making a promise to yourself that it will actually happen. Productivity experts suggest putting everything that matters to you on your calendar. If you schedule business meetings and exercise, you are calling these out as important. So why not also give your joy this same weight by putting game nights or reading before bed into your calendar too?” 

I’ve already started participating in the Unread Shelf Project. Things have Gotten Out of Hand in the purchased-but-not-yet-read yet book department. 

It wouldn’t be Link Love without a post from Raptitude. Check out “How to Go Deeper in 2020.” Deeper was my word of the year in 2017 and I’m tempted to revisit it.  

Just discovered the delightful NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. I hadn’t heard of 99 percent of the musicians represented here, but I’ve enjoyed every tiny concert I’ve listened to.

What are some of your plans for 2020? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Autumn

It Must Be Autumn Somewhere Link Love

October 25, 2019

Oh to be in New Hampshire...

Rumor has it that it’s fall. Tell that to Florida’s weather. I’m sure those of you shoveling snow already want to shoot me, but I’m still wearing shorts.

It’s not pretty.

Thank goodness for air conditioning and the Internet. Here are some fun and interesting things I’ve discovered recently. Hope you enjoy! Have a pumpkin spice latte for me.

Check out my most recent article, “A Heart Full of Horses,” in America’s Horse here.

There is good in the world. I loved this sweet story.

Laure Ferlita shared this article, “Enoughness: A Gift From France” with me a couple of weeks ago. This thought stayed with me: When you have enough, why hustle for more? As the author asks, “But here’s the big question: do we have more of what matters? More joy? More rest? More connection?”
Speaking of France, if you’re looking for an opportunity to explore the countryside, connect with likeminded souls, and discover how creativity can add depth to your life, join Laure Ferlita at the enchanting Le Vieux Couvent in 2020. Registration is now open. (This is the same art retreat/workshop I attended in 2018 and it was fabulous!)
Forget my house, I want to declutter my mind. Here are some tips from Happiful magazine. I’m working on number one and number five in particular.

As my work has gotten busier, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I use my time. In “How to Declare Time Independence,” Laura Vanderkam writes, “Time passes whether or not we think about how we’re spending it, so it’s easy to spend time mindlessly. Days go by and years go by, always filled with something. The question is whether these things that fill our time are necessary, meaningful, or enjoyable.”


This little guy made me smile. I just wanted to hug him. (Not a good idea.)

This cracked me up:



Happy Friday!