Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happiness Is...

After I finished The Happiness Project last month, I decided to compile a list of my own happiness resolutions for the upcoming year and the rest of my life. In her book, Gretchen Rubin outlined how resolutions differ from goals, because we make and keep resolutions rather than the way we meet and discontinue goals. I really like the idea of a continual project, and so I'm planning to start my new happiness experiment on January 1, and keep it in effect for the rest of my life (I hope). Since the list is currently hanging on my wall in Logan, UT, and I'm lying on my bed in South Jordan, UT, I'll try to remember some of the things on there, as well as including some of the ones that need to be added.

Here are Emily's Happiness Resolutions:


Keep an active mind by reading at least one news article per day and one book per month.

Give three sincere compliments per day.

Look for the good in others. Don't gossip.


Love who I once was, who I am now, and who I'm becoming. Accept the past and shape the future. Most importantly, though: live in the present.


Try to see others' points of view.

Tune in to spirituality; understand what allows me to feel the spirit most strongly.

Keep an organized mind, heart, and home.


Act the way I want to feel.

And most importantly, be Emily. (These last two I stole from Gretchen. Yeah, we're on a first-name basis.)

I'm sure I'll think of more things to add in the coming months, and I hope that my outline will follow some of the same methods that I found in the book. I really like the monthly outlines that Gretchen uses, and I think I'll post a bit each month about my specific resolutions and projects for that particular month. Beginning in January, I plan to de-clutter my bedroom(s) and my mind, freeing up extra space and time for more fruitful projects. We'll see how it all pans out; I'm excited to start focusing on such a simple and profound concept, my happiness, and I hope that I can make a few other people happy in the process.

Wish me luck. It's all smiles from here on out. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Tis the Season

Amidst the merriment and the yuletide carols being sung by a choir, I'm stuck in a place where there's not a whole lot of decked halls or roasting chestnuts.

That's it, folks. I'm in a Christmas slump.

I started listening to the music so early that it'd frighten even me to admit the actual date. I wrapped all my packages in brown paper, and then I tied them with strings; we all know that the two are necessary for inclusion into the "favorite things" category. I baked and tied, strung lights and cried during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Heck, I even drove in newly-fallen snow in order to see the lights strung up and down Main Street of Hyrum, UT, but something was missing.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it relates to my last post. Santa's reindeer haven't flown outside my window in many many years, and I think I need to take a ride on the Polar Express in order to regain some of my Christmas momentum. More than something missing from my Christmas, I think that a little someone would surely help me to feel the anticipation and excitement that I currently lack. I'm excited for nieces and nephews, my friend's kids, and children of my own to remind me that this is the greatest time of year.

Until then, I'll be the big kid who can't quite make the silver bells ring like they should.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Little People

I am fully aware of the effect that things have on my life. I have a lot of stuff, and while I'm not a hoarder, I'll admit that my need to acquire can be a bit daunting at times. As I look at my Christmas list and my perfectly decorated apartment, though, I realize that it's not things that really matter at all. That quilt will look cute on the back of a couch, but it's really meant for blanket forts. The vacuum cleaner doesn't really serve a purpose if it isn't sucking up spilled cheerios or sandbox mud. These are the reasons I collect: I'm preparing my home for memories yet unmade. I'm prepping my life for great adventures and love that has been eternities in the making.

I love the littles. I spend 20 hours per week with children, and while that's nothing compared to full-time motherhood, those 20 hours are some of the best of my entire week. I love catching the rare smile of a boy with autism (yes, the same one who pulled my hair out and ripped my cardigan this morning). I love the magic that arrives the week (or month) before Christmas, in a classroom where 22 first graders can't contain their excitement for the real Santa Claus. It gets me every time, and I'm eager to meet their enthusiasm with a healthy dose of my own belief in Christmas magic. I feed off of their untainted views of life, and I leave the elementary school knowing that anything is possible.

They're the reason I do it. I get up in the morning so ready to face another day of screaming and crying, because in the middle of those difficult moments are the ones that shine like gold. The glances from littles looking for approval and love. The shy grins of people who didn't think they could do it until I told them that I believe. I wouldn't trade these priceless memories for all the things in the world, because without them, none of my stuff would have any meaning at all.