When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.

I am very fortunate.  I do not have the shopping gene most women seem to be born with.  I prefer to avoid malls and going shoe shopping is a violation of my Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.  That doesn’t mean, though, that I never use retail therapy.

I drive through Starbucks for an iced chai tea latte because I’ve had a hard day.  I buy a book I want to read instead of waiting for the library (or at least paperback) because I want to divert myself from emotions I’d rather not deal with.  Someone hurts my feelings and I go out for a hot fudge brownie ala mode.

None of these are bad things; it’s only bad when I use them to substitute dealing with life.  Nothing I can buy will buy me happiness.  Not a new house.  Not a new car.  Not even a nice new desktop computer and desk so I don’t write sitting hunched over on the floor (although that might bring me better posture).

Time to practice being content with what I have in order to practice happiness.   I don’t have anything at home to make a chai tea latte?  Then I can have peppermint tea and I’ll still be fine (and not put on a few pounds by the end of the week).  I don’t have a computer desk?  Then I should spend a little more time away from the computer– it’s better for my eyes, too.

I’m going to practice being content with what I have and not buying anything outside of necessities for the next week.  Hold me accountable!

Contentment isn’t about getting what you want, but about being happy with what you have.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  – Hebrews 13:5

I don’t like some of the people I’ve been.  I’ve been selfish, stupid, angry, hasty, naïve, overly-sensitive, callous, and irresponsible.  But I’m not those people anymore, so I don’t know why I keep dragging them out when I want to beat myself over the head.

One of  my favorite parts of my faith is that I believe a person can change if they truly want to change. I also believe in giving others second (and third, and fourth…) chances.  So why don’t I give the same to myself?

Even though I don’t have the best memory in the world, I can remember every mistake and misstep that I’ve made.  Because I’m constantly looking back at these mistake and missteps, I keep making them.  It’s hard to walk a straight line forward when you’re looking back.

So, today I vow to start looking at who I am, not who I’ve been.  I am a strong, amazing woman who has persevered through quite a bit to get to where I am.  I have some pretty amazing friends who seem to think I’m amazing in turn… and who am I to tell them they’re wrong?  I am more than who I am and more than who I’ve been… and I can wait to see who I’m going to be, because I’m going to enjoy this person I am.

The next time I try to dredge up my past and rehash woulda-coulda-shoulda until I’m in tears, I’m going to focus on will-can-did.  I can do something right today.  I will do it well.  I DID do it well.

If I keep it up long enough, then it’s bound to be true.

Always remember, your focus determines your reality. – Qui-Gon to Anakin in Star Wars Episode 1.

It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice. – Will Smith, After Earth.

I disappeared for a long while.  I’m not even sure if I have any readers left.  But I took a break so I could get some things settled in my life.  I think I’m finally at a place where I can start blogging regularly again.

I was skimming the internet for articles today and found one on the “22 Habits of Unhappy People”.  It was a pretty good list, so I started searching out the habits of happy people as well.  I’ve certainly struggled with joy in the last few years; I’d like to be more of the joyous, energetic person I know I can be and less of the tired, run-down, gloomy person I’ve become.

While taking 21 days to form a habit has been largely disproven as a myth, I thought I’d try taking Lent to find my happiness.  (If I were Stella, I’d be getting my groove back.)  So, each day between now and Easter, I’m going to focus on a different aspect of happiness while still maintaining the ones from before.  After all, this isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it thing.  This is a drill-it-into-my-brain-until-I-remember thing.  I’m starting with today.

Day One: Don’t Complain; Make a Change

If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.  Don’t complain.  – Maya Angelou

I am a world-class complainer.  I wrap it up in pretty disguises: that’s so unsafe, (s)he hurt me, it might be better if… .  It’s still complaining.

For the next 46 days, I may not complain.  I may not vent.  I may not whine, whimper, wail, or bemoan.  If I don’t like something, I can work on changing it.  If something goes wrong, I can ask for prayer or assistance.  But this complaining thing?  It’s gone.  Bye-bye.  Hasta la vista, baby without the I’ll be back.  Because, really, what do I have to complain about?  I have a job, a place to live, food to eat, family and friends who love me, and relatively good health.

I am blessed.  If I don’t like it, then I can change it.