Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

A New Year brings such promise! A new beginning! A chance to start over! Resolutions to be made! As a child, when I learned about making resolutions, I would make mine for the New Year and be so excited about doing something which seemed so grown-up. But just like most grown-ups, I didn’t keep them for long and then they were forgotten until the next New Year’s Eve rolled around and the process started over. During my young adult years I continued the process, with of course more serious resolutions, like losing weight, working out more, and promising myself to stop eating chocolate, but just as I had done as a child, I soon forgot my resolutions and was back to my old habits. I eventually decided resolutions were pointless and quit all together. However, around the time of my divorce, I decided that instead of making resolutions, I would set my goals for the year and what a difference this change of mind made for me. Setting goals became something real and concrete, unlike resolutions that were just unkept promises to myself.

After divorce, life can become so chaotic and feel so unsure that making resolutions just seems like another chore to accomplish and the last thing you want to think about, but now is not the time to languish in self pity. If you, like me, have found resolutions a waste of time, then think about setting goals for yourself and begin to decide what you want your life to look like now. I believe one reason we don’t allow ourselves to do this after divorce is there is a part of us that cannot believe it’s over, no matter how bad it was, and that to make plans brings a finality we might not want to acknowledge. However, the marriage is over. Wasting time is not going to change that fact. Are you going to languish or are you going to live?

Take some time over this long weekend to either make resolutions if those work for you, or to set some goals for the coming year. Maybe you want to find a new job, then set your goal on doing so and write out each step required to attain that new job. Or maybe getting the house in order is your goal. Whatever your major goals are for the year, map out the small step by step goals to help yourself achieve the overall pinnacle. Happiness comes from living your life with purpose. Make this year your best ever! Choose the happiness you deserve and go for it! Or maybe I should say GOAL for it! Happy New Year! (Tip: If goal setting is difficult for you, check out Brian Tracy’s Goals! How to Get Everything You Want-Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. This is one of my highly recommended reads.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"I'll be home for Christmas!"

About twenty years ago, sitting by myself in an almost empty movie theatre, Christmas music played over the speakers. This was long before commercials blasted away preceding a movie. As I waited for the lights to dim and the previews to start, I could hear the conversation of two elderly ladies seated several rows behind me. I wasn't paying much attention until "I'll be home for Christmas" began playing and one of them said, "oh, this takes me back" and the other replied, "yes, yes! Me too!" Their conversation then went on about how they had been waiting for their brothers, and one for her husband during World War II when this song was written and played at Christmas time. My eyes filled with tears listening to their remembrances and to this day this song brings tears to my eyes.

Being "home" for Christmas is so important to each of us in a different way. Growing up in an Air Force family, "home" to my parents meant Missouri. We would often travel "home" for Christmas to spend time with my grandparents, spending part of the holiday with my mom's family and part with my dad's. In 1967 my father was stationed in Los Alamos, NM. It had already snowed twelve inches by the time we left Los Alamos after school that day and we made it only to Tucumcari, NM that night after hours of treacherous roads, the plan having been to go to Oklahoma City, we were disappointed to make it only this far, but we saw so many vehicles off the road, we felt lucky. The most striking sight I saw on that trip was a semi-truck turned over and all it's oranges spilled onto the side of the road in the snow. It was magical to me as a child of eight to see all that orange scattered across the snow. What should have been a two day trip turned into three, but we made it unscathed and my parents were relieved to be home, and my sisters and I were just excited for Christmas and cousins.

When the economy turned bad last year, Steve and I moved our belongings from our occasional apartment in Salem, OR which his company leased for us while there on business, but had to let go, back to our home in Memphis. We left there in four inches of snow and crept just in front of the worst of the storm across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri and into Memphis. We so looked forward to being home for Christmas and arrived two days before our annual Christmas party, relieved to be safe. How grateful we were then to be able to celebrate with our friends and family and enjoy our time with them.

When our church worship leader did a special tribute for families this past Sunday and sang "I'll be home for Christmas," I started down this memory lane that I've shared with you and started thinking about "home" and all the different connotations it has for me. When you spend your childhood moving every few years, you soon realize home is where the heart is, where family abides, where those you love most in the world live. I do not have a childhood home, but I do not see this as a disadvantage. It has made my life better to know that relationships matter more than any material goods, that a house is just a house until you make it a home, and that regardless of the miles that separate us from those we love, our hearts are bound in love and thankfulness for the times we have spent together. My "home" now is where I abide with my husband in love.

I remember well the first Christmas after divorce when "home" felt so scattered, so undefinable, and well, depressing, but there was solace in knowing that regardless of the loss of this one relationship, I still had the love of my children, my family and friends and this is how I pulled myself through the holidays. I encourage you if this is your first Christmas divorced to cling to the other relationships in your life and look to all the love there and make peace with the love that is lost. "Home" is where love resides and if your heart can be filled with love for others, regardless of your divorce, then you will be home for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!
Choose Happiness!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas again?

When I was a little girl, I remember my mom saying almost every year as Christmas drew near, "I can't believe Christmas is already here again!" And I would roll my eyes and counter that it seemed like at least three years since it had been Christmas and how could she say such a thing! Funny, now I feel the same way. Time flies by so fast! And this has me thinking about what I do with my time.

I am reading The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan, the memoir of a woman, 37 years old, diagnosed with cancer. Time becomes everything when you are faced with possible death. The mother of two very young girls, she finds herself highly aware of the time she spends with them. The "what if this is it?" time that most of us are never made to face.

So my thoughts have really been concentrated on time, especially since I had that 50th birthday! I have been reminding myself to enjoy every day, find the little things to be thankful for each day, accomplish something worthwhile each day, and avoid wasting time. This doesn't mean filling our days with activity, but to make sure, whatever we are doing is meaningful and worthwhile. Reading, thinking, talking to family and friends, spending time together, and making my work time meaningful too.

Divorce can get the best of you though, and if you are not taking the time each day to make your day meaningful and choosing to be happy, days, months, or years can slip by and you will look back and realize "I have wasted so much precious time." Don't let this happen to you.

Take some time to write in your journal how you might make your time more meaningful. Are you spending time in front of the television or spending time with your kids, other family or friends? Are you angry and bitter at the world, or each day choosing happiness and grateful for just being alive!

Seek out those you love and spend some time together over this holiday season! Love your life! Choose happiness!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tis the season!

Ah, Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year! At least it can be, but for those just going through a divorce or in the aftermath of divorce, this can be the toughest time of the year. There is no way to sugarcoat the feelings you may be experiencing so you will have to find a way to deal with what may seem a very dark time. If you have children, then it becomes even that much more imperative. Their lives have been turned upside down, so helping them adjust and still find the Christmas spirit is important.

The temptation to not decorate may be great, but if you have always decorated for the holiday, then you must do it for yourself and for the children. One year, not long after my divorce, I was going to be out of town for much of the holiday season, but decided I still had to do something to give my home that Christmas feeling, so I decorated the hall tree with lights and stockings and greenery! It was beautiful and kept my spirits up until I could leave to be with friends and family.

Following a divorce, there may certainly be financial constraints. Turning this into a tirade about the other parent and how divorce has affected the finances is not healthy for anyone, so think of ways to put a positive spin on the situation. Maybe this year everyone has to make something for each other; or maybe you give gifts of service to each other. We all at times can get too caught up in the material world of Christmas, but finding creative ways to deal with the situation can make this the best time and give everyone the most fun they have experienced. In my book I talk about creating new rituals around the holiday. Everything has changed, and pretending that it hasn't won't make the changes go away, so come up with some new rituals to incorporate around the old rituals that may have become difficult to undertake or complete with your new situation.

If this is the first Christmas since the divorce, you will more than likely be splitting time with your children. This can be the toughest aspect, but preparing ahead by making plans on how to spend your time while the children are with their other parent is important. If you have other friends in your situation, make plans together. Maybe dinner in someone's home, or maybe a movie day. If you would rather be alone, that's fine too, as long as you have a plan for how to spend the day. It is too easy to get weepy and feel sorry for yourself if you are home alone with nothing to do but watch television, so clean out the attic, or your closet, maybe the garage, or read, bake for someone, work on a project you have been putting off, but no sad movies! Volunteering at a shelter or giving back to others is always a great way to lift your spirits and those of others.

Choosing happiness during the holidays may be tough, but with some creative planning and positive attitude, you may find this to be one of your happiest Christmas's ever!

Spend time in your journal this week planning and preparing for the holidays. What can you do to keep your spirits up? Which friends and family will help support and lift you up? Write about the feelings you have and then remember all you have to be grateful for this time of year and all year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I celebrated my 50th birthday on November 17, one of those landmark birthdays. I have never been bothered by my age, but I have found myself contemplating my life a little more thoroughly and taking stock of all I have accomplished and what I still want to do with my life. I have been reading Marianne Williamson's The Age of Miracles,  and really enjoying her thoughts on midlife. We all have some regrets and we all have dreams, but this is no time to get stuck and wallow, but a time to start living each and every day to the fullest if you haven't been doing so yet this far. I believe I have been doing pretty well, but sometimes get stuck on a regret or a sorrow and have to pull myself back to living the moment! I also realize some really great opportunities are fleeting like a three year old granddaughter saying, "Granmma, will you hold me?" while I'm unloading the dishwasher and that instant of saying, "I will be through in a minute," and then realizing this is one of those moments you don't put off, you just grab it and enjoy because someone else will finish unloading or I can come back to it in awhile. As you might guess, this did happen on Thanksgiving day, and I laughed at myself as I quickly ran after her and grabbed her up in my arms.

We have so much to be thankful for everyday no matter our circumstances, no matter our past, our future, our regrets, our happiness, our sorrows. Finding just one simple pleasure in each day can make the difference in whether or not you choose happiness for yourself. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, and let us all remember to be thankful all year and not just during the holidays! Spend some time this week writing about the little things that bring you happiness! (Like scooping up that little one in your arms!) Choose happiness!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Choosing Happiness After Divorce to air on KENW-TV

Quick update on program I filmed at KENW-TV a public television station located on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University campus in Portales, New Mexico. The show, Choosing Happiness After Divorce, will air Monday, November 30 at 10:30 a.m. on 3-1 (HD), Tuesday, December 1 at 8:30 p.m. on regular cable 3 and 3-2 and again on Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. again on regular cable. They are hoping to go national with this program during the March pledge drive. Ask your local public television station to carry this program.

I discuss seven keys to happiness and how following the information in my book can help you to choose happiness each day in your life. We had a live audience and a great response to the program. I hope you will watch if you are in the Portales area and if not, call or email your local station and ask them to carry this program!

I have been slow on updating my blog lately. I have been on the road so much and have become a bit discouraged about whether I'm reaching others, but I have decided that maybe I have been looking at this wrong and that if I want followers I will need to just write and they will come! Right?

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I have been enjoying the thanksgiving of a new grandson in our lives, as well as my other three grandchildren and my sons and their wives. Life is incredibly good, and being able to spend this holiday with them has been wonderful!

So watch for my new more frequent postings and I hope you will let me know what brings happiness to your life!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome to the World Payton!

Last night at 10:22 p.m. Payton Matthew arrived in this world! He weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces, the first baby of my son Matthew and my daughter-in-law, Sara. What a joyful occassion for our entire family! Living too far away to be there for the birth, I am anxiously awaiting my flight on the 21st to be there with them and to celebrate Thanksgiving together! Talk about happy! My favorite holiday combined with the bonus of a new grandbaby, I can hardly contain my joy! As I write though, I know there are those living in the pain of divorce, finding it difficult to choose happiness on even the most joyful occassions, but this is what I know, choice is the key word here. You have the choice each and every moment of every day to choose happiness, to find the joy in the moment, to celebrate all life has to offer.

I am the gramma who does not live near by, who doesn't get to revel in the daily pleasures of being close to children and grandchildren and all they have to offer. I also live with the knowledge that my ex lives in the same town and remarried this summer, and I know that they will play an active part in little baby Payton's life. I could choose to be jealous, or bitter, or sad, or any number of emotions, but instead I choose to look at it this way: I have a new grandson who is and will be loved by all the grandparents and we will each form our bonds with him in our own ways and enjoy the happiness he brings. All the new relationships that arise after divorce can be tough, but when we as adults act in a mature, loving, kind manner, the children can survive and thrive, and overcome the mistakes of their parents and hopefully choose happiness for themselves!

If you are struggling with the other relationships your children or grandchildren are forming with the new additions to their lives, spend some time writing about your feelings. List all the positives new relationships can bring to our lives and consider this, to be loved by many is far greater than to live closed off and bitter towards step-parents or step-grandparents. Be the example and model love and kindness. You will make a difference and be loved far greater for your efforts!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finding balance, order, rhythm and harmony in your life

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony."
-Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton is one of my favorite authors. His work takes real study and heavy thinking and I enjoy greatly the challenge his writings offer. I came across this quote and wanted to share with you because I think we sometimes look for happiness to be an intensity and if we do not feel it intensely, we think somehow, we are missing out on the happiness, but while we certainly may have those moments of intense happiness, most of the time, it will be revealed in a matter of balance, order, rhythm and harmony in our lives. While going through divorce, or any upheaval in life, all of these may seem elusive, but this is where we have to begin to CHOOSE the happiness, to look for it in the small things in life and seek to bring balance back to a world that has gone out of your control, to enjoy the rhythm of the day to day routines, to find order and harmony in your new life and stop looking for things to be the same as they were before. When life offers you a change, unwanted or not, it's time to stop looking at the past and to decide how to move forward. Only you can decide how to do this.

Think about how you can find balance when you may feel like you have too much on your plate. Do you need to cut some activities out? Find a new job? Work less or more hours? To make order out of what may seem like chaos, do you need to work on a to do list? Keep a calendar with every-one's activities listed? Move to a smaller home? Throw out stuff? To find rhythm do you need to set up new routines and rituals for you and the kids? And for harmony, will doing all of the above help everyone feel better and respond to what has to be accomplished in a more cheerful manner? Spend some time writing about how you can bring these four elements into your life to help you in choosing happiness everyday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Forgiving your ex

I have been thinking about forgiveness all week. Forgiveness may be the hardest thing to accomplish after divorce, but so necessary for your peace of mind. If you don't forgive your ex, yourself, or anyone who wrongs you, you will find yourself looking back over your shoulder and stumbling into an unclear future, but when you forgive, you put the past behind you and can then move forward in a positive manner, choosing happiness for yourself.

In Colossians 3:13 we read: "Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues."

When we forgive as God has forgiven us, we experience a freedom we cannot imagine. Letting go allows us to move forward, allows us to release what we cannot control, and put it aside. If you have not forgiven someone who has wronged you, try looking at the situation from God's perspective and know there is nothing he will not forgive us. There is no wrong he will not disregard if we only ask. Take the time to forgive and though you may never forget, by forgiving the pain will ease and the control that person has had over you will be gone.

Take time this week to write about someone whom you are struggling to forgive. Think about the freedom you will experience if you do not allow the person to control you any longer, as that is exactly what occurs when you do not forgive. Write how you might come to forgiveness through prayer or meditation.

Have a great week! Choose Happiness!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More about New Mexico happenings!

In the last  post I let you know about the filming of Choosing Happiness After Divorce, with KENW-TV at Eastern New Mexico University, in Portales, NM. It was truly a great experience and I believe I have a show that can be of help to not only women who are divorced, but to anyone seeking happiness. The book signing following the show allowed me to meet new people and see some old friends. I had such a great week, not only with the show, but being with two of my sons and their families. My grandkids are always such fun!
This is Tre, nine years old, third grade.

Emma, who is turning five next week!

And Katie, just turned three!
As I spoke to the different groups and filmed the various shows, I talked about finding your joy in life; for me, the relationships with my children, my grandchildren and all my family, mean so much to me! I celebrate each and every moment I am able to spend with them!

While I was in NM, I also filmed two other programs. Sheryl Borden of Creative Living, seen in 100 different public television markets, invited me to film four different segments with her, regarding the book and the recipes. These will air over the next year. I also appeared on You Should Know, with Don Criss for a short interview. While pregnant with my twins, many, many years ago, he followed my pregnancy on his show through ultra sound, so it was a great pleasure to see him again and during the years I operated a catering business, I had filmed a cooking show with Sheryl Borden, so what a great pleasure to reconnect with them and to have the opportunity now to share my book.

As you think about choosing happiness this week, concentrate on all that brings you joy. Write in your journal about the relationships that mean the most to you. Martin Seligman, in his book Authentic Happiness, suggests you write gratitude letters to the people who mean the most to you! What a great idea and gift to those we love.

Have a great weekend! Choose Happiness!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And here it is!

I have been out of town over the last two weekends, visiting New Mexico where my children and grandchildren reside. A few things have occured over the last couple of weeks! First, my book is now available through and will soon be available through, the publisher. Additionally, while in New Mexico I filmed, Choosing Happiness After Divorce, with KENW at ENMU, Portales, NM. The hour long show will air on KENW during the December pledge drive, but the station is also seeking to see this show aired on all NM public television and in as many other locales as possible! I had a great time with the filming because an audience was in attendance and this made delivery of the message so much easier and the evening went great! But that had not been the case earlier in the day! I had been invited to speak at the local Altrusa meeting at noon that day and when I began speaking within just a few sentences I literally froze and could not think of one single word to say! I took a deep breath and told the ladies how nervous I was about the upcoming show that evening and told them I would start over. And I did and went on to deliver my message with no problem, but what a moment! I have spoken before many groups in my life and I have never drawn a blank like I did that day. It was an humbling moment to say the least! I am thrilled to say, no one threw tomatoes or laughed! They were very kind and understanding. I was so afraid I would have the same problem that evening for filming that I went to my son's house and rehearsed the opening over and over again to hopefully prevent another freeze up and I guess it helped because I made it through with no problems!

If you would like to see the show, request that your public television station contact KENW and find out how they can air the show in their market as well. I will post a clip on my site as soon as I receive the DVD.

This is a very happy moment for me! I'll share the rest of the week with you in the next post!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This is the proof! Looks great on my bookshelf! I cannot begin to explain the joy in seeing my book as I ripped the package open yesterday morning. As I said in my post Proof! this has been a goal of mine since the fourth grade, to write a book and see it published. Though I have published a poetry chap book, a cookbook from my former catering business and a book of short stories, poetry, and photography, they were small publications and for a small audience. So this is a really great moment for me! And of course great moments in our lives usually generate great happiness, but I am reminded too of the little things that bring happiness to my life and that have been a part of the entire process of writing, such as the encouraging words from my husband, friends and family, or the little hurdles surmounted along the way. So while the big moments are incredible, it is the small things in life that bring us the most lasting happiness if we will take the time to recognize them and celebrate them each day.

Spend some time in your journal writing about the little things which bring you happiness. Take time to celebrate the small things that bring you happiness and have a happier outlook at all times!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Choosing Happiness through accepting, trusting, giving

I have learned a few things over the last few years that have made my life easier and I would like to share with you today. First, I have learned to ACCEPT what I can't change. Sometimes we bang our head against a brick wall in trying to change things that we can have no affect upon. In Philippians 4:11-13 we read: "I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens...I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength." This is hard, because we so often want things to go the way WE want instead of letting go and accepting, but when we accept, there is profound peace. Second, I have learned to TRUST God, even when I do not understand his plan. In Philippians 4:6-7 we read: Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience Gods peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand." My husband and I have had some really tough financial issues to deal with this year, as so many others have, but when we finally said we don't understand God's plan for us, but trust that all will be well, we have been able to let go of the worry and fear. And last, I have learned to GIVE IT UP to God! I cannot understand what the future holds, but I can give it up to him and find peace. In Romans 15:13 it says: "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." I love the words "confident hope" because this makes me realize hope is not passive, it is active and requires us to place our hope in the confidence of God. When I address groups about choosing happiness I like to quote a passage from West With The Night in which the father tells his daughter, "when you find something worth pursuing, work and hope, but never hope more than you work." I think confident hope is what this means as we can place our hope in God, but if we do not live our lives for him, our hope is pointless. So this is the question then I continuously ask myself, "Who's going to be in charge of my life?" And I know when I accept, trust and give it up, the answer is always, God.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Choosing Happiness After Divorce: A Woman's 52 Week Guide to Living a Positive Life I am happy to say has gone to the printer and I'm just waiting for the proof to be sure all looks well and then the book will be available from the publisher, or on Amazon.Writing this book has been a tremendous experience, one I've had as a goal almost my entire life. While in the fourth grade, in Los Alamos, NM, Mrs. Skahan published our class poetry and from that day forward I knew I would write a book someday! I still have that poetry book, made with punched holes with brads to hold it together and a construction paper cover which we each decorated for our own personal copy. I dug it out of my memento box recently and read again the poem I wrote about Linus, my Siamese cat. Writing a book was just a bit different, but writing that poem as a fourth grader seemed quite a big task at the time as well.

As I wrote Choosing Happiness, I shored up my own thoughts and experiences in how choosing happiness has worked for me, but I've also grown daily in my choice, as I've studied the inspiring works of others, and made happiness a more concentrated practice in my life. Practicing the choice every moment of every day really does make a difference. Struggling with what could be the most traumatic experience of your life makes the choice tough, but one worth the effort. If you are having a difficult time choosing happiness, try writing in your journal some activities that make you happy and then spend some time this weekend engaging in one of them. Taking your mind off your difficulties and redirecting to a positive, fun activity may be just what you need. We only have right now, right this moment to be happy, so go for it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An unwelcome gift

My niece remarked recently about being hurt by someone in her life. She felt quite sad from the experience. I have felt that way myself in the past, and though I can still be hurt momentarily by someones meanness, thoughtlessness, or unkindness, what I have learned is that I have the choice to not accept their "gift" of hurtfulness and to choose to not let it affect me. While we may acknowledge what the person has said or done, we do not have to take it on. This is a problem for them, not for you. If you are acting out of kindness and love in all things, then let that person keep their "gift." If you have done something to them to incur their being upset, take responsibility and apologize, but then move on. We cannot control another person's actions, thoughts, or words, but we can control how we react to them. You can only choose happiness for yourself, and by making that choice, and practicing daily, you will soon find that it becomes easier and easier to live your life forward, to be happy, and to not allow someone else to control your thoughts or actions. If dealing with an angry ex, this may be difficult at times, but the marriage is over and the best thing you can do for yourself is to live your life and not allow this person to affect you any longer. Let your ex keep the "gift." Choose happiness for you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Today's Harvest!

I wanted to share with you the harvest from my garden today! I have enjoyed having a garden this year after many years of one not being feasible. This is one of the simple things in life that brings me great happiness.
Steve and I started out the day running the Chick-fil-a 5k! This was my first race in over a year, having injured my neck in June of 08 and being advised by my physical therapist not to run. He started me on posture exercises though, and with continued yoga practice and power walking I have slowly built myself up for the run. It has taken practice and patience to get to this point again, but the best thing is, the posture building exercises, such as planks and wall stances have built my core and given me more strength than I had in the past. I thought I might not ever take up running again, but perseverance has paid off. I now run every other day, then walk thirty minutes and yoga on the days off from running. Choosing happiness is kind of like this when you've been through a traumatic, life changing experience. It will take patience and practice to build yourself back up, but the pay off can be, if you choose, to be happier than you have ever been in the past. You can come back with more strength than you thought possible. I encourage you to find an activity which brings you happiness. Make it a ritual each day to engage in this activity and find your joy! I'm not, nor have I ever been a great runner. I'm slower than the majority of other runners, but I do it because it makes me happy when I finish! And the endorphines sure keep my happiness going all the time! Spend some time in your journal listing as many activities as you can think of you might or do enjoy! Make time this week and go for at least one of them. Choose happiness!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fill me with life!

Our pastor spoke today about the "Fuel" we need in life to fill us up. Ephesians 3:19 says, "That you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God." John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." And Galations 5: 22-23 says, "God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways."

In thinking about these versus and how they apply to happiness, I realize that when God says he gives us life and not only life, but abundant life, he is not speaking to our living and breathing, he is speaking to our well being, our thoughts our hopes our dreams OUR HAPPINESS!!!  Because embracing the gift God has given us in life itself is where happiness lies! When we live our lives with the attributes listed in Galations we can know happiness. While going through divorce and the months, years, that follow, if we stay centered in the negative there will be no happiness. It is only when we begin to live in a manner which embraces patience, kindness, love, self-control, will we truly find happiness. Each of these attributes require practice. They are simple concepts, but difficult at times to employ. Spend some time in your journal exploring how you can work on these in your life. Happiness is a choice you can make each moment of your life, but practicing the attributes that will bring you happiness will make the choice much easier to make. Have a happy day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


“Look to this day for it is life. In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence, the joy of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty…Today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day…”

                                      -Ancient Sanskrit Proverb

What a great reminder - all we have is right now, this day, this moment and we should live it well! Though I struggle at times with this concept, as the years pass, I realize how true this is. Life is short and it is going by fast and I don’t want to waste a moment of it in anger, bitterness or despair! This morning, as I picked my first Heirloom tomato from the vine, I could not get over the beautiful pink undertone to the red! These tomatoes are “the splendor of beauty!” And they seem especially so since the squirrels ate the first harvest earlier this summer! I cut up that tomato, salted, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, sprinkled on some goat cheese and fresh basil from my garden and enjoyed it for lunch. Magnificent! This seemingly simple act though, like so many we do each day, connects us to life, to memories, to who we are and to happiness. Because these very acts are the reality of the day and what we choose to do with them will determine our happiness. So no matter what actions you must take today, take a moment to find the joy or the beauty. This day is your life!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book update

I am in the process of finishing my book, Choosing Happiness After Divorce: A Woman’s 52 Week Guide to Living a Positive Life. I am completing the final edit and working with my book designer on the cover and the design of the book itself. I have been surprised about what all goes into seeing a book move from conception to seeing it printed and holding the book in my hands. But what a great experience this has been! I have had a great time thinking, reading and writing, and though a lonely occupation at times, I have loved every minute! I look for it to be in print by October, though hoping for an earlier print date. This has been an amazing process from start to almost finished and so gratifying to see a goal I have had for most of my life finally coming to fruition. My life has changed drastically since my own divorce almost ten years ago. I have grown in a thousand different ways and all because I chose to be happy. I attribute this entire project to understanding somewhere deep inside myself that I could not, would not, stop living and from this, I want to share my journey and what I have learned with other women struggling to move forward. Take some time to write in your journal about where you are right now in the process of choosing happiness. Assessing your life now and then is a great way to see if you are diverting from the path to happiness and heading down the dark road to negativity. Happiness is a choice!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Laughing Clubs!

I am as of late reading A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Daniel H Pink. This is an interesting read regarding the creative mind and how our future depends on the people who can lead in creative directions. Now that many jobs are outsourced to other countries, we will need to develop other means of maintaining jobs here and the creative mind is going to be where that happens! I want to share with you one particular aspect he discusses in his book and that is about laughing clubs. I had heard these existed, but had never really learned anything about them; however, after reading about this, I thought how great a club would be for healing the hurt heart following divorce. Laughter truly is incredible medicine. Can’t picture yourself at a laughing club meeting? These are based on Yoga actually and were designed by a Yoga master, the wife of the man who started these clubs in India. Don’t totally disregard the idea until you check it out. I googled “laughing clubs” to see if I could find one close to home, but couldn’t find one. If there is one near you, give it a try and let me know what you think!!! If a laughing club doesn’t suit you, try renting some funny movies. Having a good belly laugh releases stress and according to a study at the University of Maryland, laughing helps reduce your chances of heart disease. Check out their website: Laughter is good for the heart and good for the soul! Find someone to laugh with and laugh your way back to happiness.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Living the Questions

I am reading Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun, for the third time. I rarely read a book more than once, but I love her descriptions of life in Tuscany, the people, the countryside, the house she restores with her partner and the food, ah the food! When I started harvesting from my garden this year I wanted to go back and be inspired once again by the gardens of Bramasole and the recipes Mayes shares. On this subsequent reading, a passage strongly resonated with me. Mayes talks about how after her divorce she felt the need to change her life, to not let her life “narrow.” I felt much the same way after my divorce, and knew I had to take steps to change my life for me. Mayes goes on to quote Rainer Maria Rilke, one of my favorite writers/poets: “You must change your life.” And I will quote him even further: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves…Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I spent a lot of time anxious about the future and worrying about what would happen next until I realized, it didn’t matter! All that mattered was that I live each day positively and confidently. You will survive divorce and if you live each and every day, and I mean LIVE them to their fullest, even though you do not know the answers, you will live into those answers and they will be what you want to hear if you are living with determination and in a positive manner. This week, choose a book to inspire you! Spend time writing your “questions” and how you will live them!!! Choose Happiness! NOTE: The movie of the same title Under the Tuscan Sun, though a lovely story, was only inspired by the book; it is nothing like the true story held within the pages and cannot touch the abundance of life Mayes describes. Pick up the book if you want to be transported to Italy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A little activity is good for the brain!

Imagine my happiness when I ran across this little factoid, “a daily tipple and gardening boost longevity.” Being I enjoy my glass of wine and putter around in my garden most every day, not necessarily at the same time though, I figure I’m putting up a defense against dementia and increasing my lifespan exponentially. What a great bit of research. And this did have me thinking about choosing happiness and the importance of finding activities that you enjoy and at the same time are healthy. I couldn’t wait for spring this year, to plant my first garden in five years. After having spent three years on a mountain that could not sustain much other than pine trees and a Rosemary bush, and then spent two summers traveling extensively, when I realized I could finally support a garden again I dug out my gloves and headed to the garden store. It has been a great source of fun for me this summer, even though I have had to share with too many squirrels, but I have herbs galore and nine different varieties of tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, jalapenos and chili plants too. When I go to the garden and pull weeds or pick my harvest, I find such peace in my head and in my soul. There is something so gratifying about seeing your hard work bear fruit and likewise, when you choose to work at being happy, and the results of your hard work start showing up in your day to day life, there will be great satisfaction. I encourage you this week to think about healthy activities you might enjoy. Choose something that will get you up and moving, out of the house, taking advantage of the longer hours of sunshine available in the summer. Even sitting outside in the shade of a tree reading or thinking is good for the soul. Take some time this week and write in your journal a list of activities you might like to try. Find a friend or go it alone, but choose to be active and keep that brain working and that body moving! Choose to actively be happy! (the above mentioned article can be found at:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When the ex remarries

I have been on hiatus to New Mexico and Colorado for three weeks and then entertained family and friends for two straight weeks in my home, making this a whirlwind of a summer so far! I am excited to be back in my office writing and finishing up my book! Today I thought I would share with you choosing happiness when your ex remarries. The feelings can be overwhelming when an ex becomes involved with a new person. If this happens soon after a divorce or possibly even during the midst of the divorce it can be devastating, churning up anger, bitterness or even hate, but what I want to encourage you to do is to work hard on putting these feelings behind you as they will only hurt you and your children. There is no ideal time for a person to start a relationship after divorce, as there will be tough emotions no matter when it occurs, but the fact is, the majority of divorced people will seek a new partner at some time or another, and more than likely one or both of you will remarry and statistically the male in a relationship is most likely to remarry within a short period of time after divorce. Mothers play such a crucial role in their children’s lives and your acceptance of an ex’s girlfriend or spouse will make a tremendous difference in the long term for your children. All of us need love in our lives. The more people who love us and we love, the healthier we tend to be. Allowing your children to love their father and his girlfriend or wife is important for their future relationships. You are demonstrating for them that though life doesn’t always turn out perfect, we can learn to adapt and make the best of our lives no matter the circumstances. Allowing them to accept a new female in their lives, not to replace you, but to be another adult who cares for them gives them the ability to be with their father without anxiety and fear, and demonstrates your love and kindness. Children need their fathers. They need to have a relationship based on their own judgments and feelings for him, not yours. If you are forming their opinions for them, they will have difficulty trusting their own opinions of others and this is not healthy for their future relationships. This does not mean that you tell your kids to love and respect their father and then add a “but he is a lousy person” or any other “but” as they need you to assure them that it is okay to love him in their own manner. So your ex really is a lousy person? Then eventually your kids will see it for themselves and have the best relationship they can with him, but this needs to be their relationship, not yours, and it needs to be on their terms, not yours. Too many children are traversing this world without a male figure in their lives. And psychologists see the fallout of this everyday. Having a father, even a not so perfect one, is better for them than none at all. Allow your children to love and be loved. They will be happier and healthier adults for your having done so. My ex remarried this summer and I will tell you, the first time I saw a picture of his new wife and one of my grandkids my heart fluttered a little, but this is what I know, my kids like her, my grandkids like her and she in turns cares for all of them, and what more can I ask for in their lives? How wonderful for them all to have another person to love and be loved by! Stepmoms get a bad rap far too often. One last note in closing: I realize that if true abuse is involved, you will need to seek help from a psychologist and possibly legal help. Do not hesitate if this is the case.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I am late this week and do apologize. I attended a speakers conference in Gatlinberg, TN with my husband and learned a great deal about the direction I want to take Choosing Happiness After Divorce. Though not everything we had hoped it would be, I did come away with some great ideas. First and foremost though, I was reminded that all I can be is up to me! I am the one who must put forth the effort. I am the one who makes things happen in my own life. I am the one who must choose everyday what I want my day to be! I like to hear other people tell me what I say so much myself! It is gratifying! Additionally, when the conference finished, we drove to Ashville, NC so we could tour the Biltmore Estate. Steve has been several times in years past and kept telling me how inspirational it was to him. He wanted me to have the experience. I had seen the Biltmore many years ago on the television show, America's Castles and thought it incredible, and couldn't believe I was getting the opportunity to see it in person. I cannot begin to describe what a truly inspiring experience this turned out to be! George Vanderbilt built a home on such a scale and with such grandeur, my words cannot describe it adequately. He was a highly educated, philanthropic man, devoted to family and friends, education, travel and beauty and brought all elements into play in his home. The library was my favorite room; imagine having thousands of books from around the world at your finger tips right in your own home! (I know, I know, we actually have that with online book ordering now, but I would prefer a library down the hall from my bedroom!) We took the behind the scenes tour along with the regular house tour and saw how the house was heated and cooled, how the organ worked, ice was made, refrigeration in the prep room for the kitchen, and so much more! I decided to share this personal experience because I think we all get so bogged down in our day to day lives that we often forget to look for inspiration! And you don't have to go to the Biltmore to be inspired! Look around you! Choose a place in your home town, or state! Or read a book about a person who has contributed to our world! Volunteer to help others! Cook a beautiful meal! Inspire those around you! Inspire yourself! This week write in your journal about what inspires you! And if it has been a long time since you have felt inspired, decide what you need to feel this way again! Have a great week! Here's to inspiration and choosing happiness!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Control and letting go!

“You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and the best you have to give.” –Eleanor Roosevelt There are things in our life we sometimes cannot control and these uncontrollable elements in our day to day life often cause interference in our happiness. However, when you begin to understand the difference between things you can control and things you can’t, you can let them go and not let them steal your joy. There is a Lucinda Williams song where she sings “you took my joy and I want it back…” and she goes to different places to find her joy, and I love that song, but the thing is, no one can steal your joy unless you allow it. I sometimes feel my happiness dwindling when faced with difficult circumstances, but I have learned to think long and hard about what I can do to fix the situation and when I finally realize this is something I cannot control, I let it go. Yes, it is hard, but if there is nothing I can do to make it better, being upset, sad or angry will not make the situation better. On the other hand, if I look at a situation and realize I CAN do something to fix this, then setting forth a plan of action is imperative. I wanted to share the Eleanor Roosevelt quote with you this week in regards to the control in your lives because once you understand the difference in your ability to control or the need to let go, no matter which it is, meeting anything that occurs in your life with courage and always giving your best will help you on your path to happiness. This week, spend some time writing about the issues in your life that upset you, and then gauge whether you have any control over the issue. If there is nothing you can do, let it go. Think also about issues you can control and keep in mind, often times the things you can control but choose to put off or ignore, weigh on you heavier than the issues that are out of your control. If this is the case with you, go back and read the entries on goal setting and get some of those issues off your plate! We all want certainty in our life, and controlling everything sometimes makes us feel more secure, but unfortunately sets you up for disappointment and possibly anger when the non-controllable comes along. I encourage you to let go! Choose Happiness!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Goals II

"There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it." -Napoleon Hill Moving forward in your life will require that you set goals for what you would like to see happen in your future. In last weeks blog I talked about the importance of setting goals and decided I should expand that discussion this week into some concrete methods of goal setting. First, I believe you must decide what you see as your purpose in life. Your goals then are built around how you envision yourself fulfilling that purpose. I have spent most of my working life in the field of education and believe my greatest purpose in life is to assist others in learning and growing! My goals tend to center always on this purpose. Even though I am no longer formally teaching in a classroom, I still see my purpose as the same, but I am expanding into other fields of fulfilling my purpose and my goals correspond to this change. What is your purpose in life? Are your goals centered on what you believe is your purpose? If you are unclear on your purpose, take some time to investigate your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate where you feel you have been successful in life and how you might build on your success. Also, think about what you enjoy most in life. All of these elements will give you some insight as to where your purpose lies. Once you have defined your purpose you will discover that setting goals is much easier and more fulfilling as they are driven by what you see as important! Each day set a goal which leads towards your longer term goals. When I began blogging again, I wanted to assure myself and my readers that I would be diligent in scheduling time for the blog. I set my goal to write my blogs on Friday so I could reread over the weekend and post on Monday mornings. My daily goal then is to seek the subject for the week and write notes on the topic so that come Friday, I am ready to write! I have barely scratched the surface in the how and why of goal setting, but I hopefully have inspired you to consider the importance and the necessity of writing down your goals. I encourage you to read more on this subject and seriously begin to take stock of your purpose and how you can achieve all you desire. Again, I suggest Brian Tracy’s book, Goals! How to Get Everything You Want-Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. Take time this week in your journal to begin exploring your purpose in life. Define this for yourself and write your goals! Another step which will lead you to Choose Happiness!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goal Setting

You can’t just muck around in your life;
you better take off the waders, put on the diving gear and get going! I have been working diligently on writing down my goals, not just long term goals, but daily as well. My first goal is to choose happiness today. I write this in my journal to impact my brain with the importance of the message. I have discovered too, writing goals increases my happiness in all areas of my life because I feel focused and I have a vision, not only just for today, but for everyday. However, writing daily goals is not about writing a to do list, though one goal might be to accomplish so many tasks today from your to do list. Writing daily goals is about the tasks or activities which will bring you happiness. What does goal setting have to do with happiness? Plenty! People who set goals for themselves express a higher degree of satisfaction and obtain a greater level of success in life, and those who actually write down there goals do even better because the action of writing them down and having your goal set concretely in front of you will help you visualize the goal and make it real. A study conducted with Harvard students over a ten year period showed that the 3% of the graduating class that had not only defined their goals but written them down, ten years later were earning ten times more than their fellow classmates. If you want to be happy each and every day of your life, then it only makes sense that having goals and striving towards them will help you in choosing happiness everyday. How then do you set goals? You have to take time to really consider what you feel is important, what you want to achieve in life and how you are going to achieve it. Then you have to step by step work towards each goal. I have known most of my life I wanted to be a writer, but had never set any goals towards this dream. I have written sporadically over the years, but did not set a specific goal until I conceived of the idea for Choosing Happiness after Divorce. When I first began writing, however, I didn’t realize how important goal setting could be to me. I had days when I would write for awhile and days when I wouldn’t. I only made progress when I finally set a goal of 1000 words per day and required myself to sit at the computer until I achieved this goal. At this point, I began to make progress and I loved the feeling of accomplishment at the end of my writing session. Since then, I have been writing goals and daily working to achieve them and now I am achieving my dream of being a published author. I continue to learn more and more about goal setting. Brian Tracy’s book, Goals! How to Get Everything You Want-Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, is a great source for learning how to set goals. If you are not setting goals, I encourage you to begin this discipline. Thinking about what you want from you life and then taking the time to write the goals necessary to achieve what you want is worth all the effort required. Take time in your journal this week to seriously think about your goals and get going! Choose Happiness!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I will be blogging again on a regular basis. Please look for the next blog every Monday morning! Hope you had the chance to read this week's blog on Tolerance! Have a great week! See you Monday! Choose Happiness!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without necessarily accepting it.” -Aristotle Aristotle understood an educated mind cannot be closed off to new ideas, new people or a new way of doing something. Tolerance prevents our becoming stagnant in our thinking, brings innovation to our world and allows us to all appreciate others for their differences even if we do not have the same belief systems. Tolerance towards the ex may seem impossible, but is necessary for the emotional health of your children. No matter how you feel about him or her, choosing to show your children your ability to tolerate each other’s differences is important. Consider this: if you cannot tolerate the other single most important person in your child’s life, how then can your child learn to accept others and eventually form their own relationships with a partner or spouse? No one is perfect and if the other parent is ridiculed and shown disrespect by you in front of the children, this behavior will become the model of partnership your child will more than likely eventually have with his or her spouse. Yes, you are divorced and your children know this, but they will still conceptualize relationships based on those modeled for them. Intolerance results in your children making enemies of others in their life as they see this as okay. It limits their intelligence by closing them off to all the possibilities that exist for them in life and discourages the search for knowledge. Intolerance discourages creativity, as creativity requires exploration of new and different ideas. Intolerance limits the ability to self discipline because your child will see others as being the only ones at fault, keeping her from accepting responsibility for her own actions. And in going back to the Aristotle quote, intolerance prohibits the ability to think for oneself with accuracy and reasoning because when intolerant, you cannot entertain a new thought, things are as they always have been and always will be, so do not question, do not think and certainly do not show respect for others. All of this holds true for you as well. I encourage you to teach your children tolerance starting with their other parent if this has been a problem for you. Likewise, I hope you will teach them tolerance in all areas of their life, giving them the means to think for themselves, but likewise to speak up for themselves and others. Tolerance is a means of showing respect for others opinions, beliefs or actions and a means of eliminating hate from our world. Choose to be tolerant of others; choose happiness!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


As you may have noticed, I have not posted in quite awhile. I am in the last stages of editing the book and hope to have it ready for publication soon! I will resume the blog in the near future! Stay tuned.....