Seeking Significance

I just read another fine post from Becoming Minimalist: Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance Joshua Becker talks about the limitations of success: how it is affected by the economy, how it ends the day you die, and how it never seems to be enough. In turn, he also talks about the benefits of significance: it lasts past your time, it carries on to the next and the next person, and it satisfies your very soul.

This is a big part of my Happiness Project. I desire less “stuff” and I’ve been trying to BE more. I talk a lot of this here in my blog. My Happiness Project is 6 months old, so I thought I’d revisit how Seeking Significance has affected my Happiness. I’ll break it down following Joshua’s practical steps from his post:

  1. Realize that Life Won’t Last Forever – this has been a big thing for me. I’ve noticed that I take more time to just be there in the moment when the moment happens. I’ve tried hard to “stop and smell the flowers”. I’ve begun to notice the little things. I’ve done silly things like take off to Montana on a whim with my family.
  2. Live a Life Worth Copying – this is one of the reasons that I write this blog. It is one of the reasons that I did the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is why I try so hard to be a good friend and help strangers. It is why I share about my belief in God on this blog and on Facebook. I want to be an example; I want to inspire others to search for significance in their own lives. Even if I inspire just one person to say a kind word to another, then my life is worth living.
  3. Focus on People, not Dollars – this is extremely important to me. I am tired of working for a living. I want to work for a life. I want to be somewhere where the business focuses on the people, not the bottom line. That’s what I believe in. I don’t worry about my job anymore, I spend the time with those I care about instead. My job no longer controls me.
  4. Start with One Solitary Person – I have often helped strangers in the past; that’s how I was raised. However, I am taking more time to smile at complete strangers and ask them how they are and listen for the answer. I give up my place in line at the grocery store. I hold the door for someone. I bring a coffee or flowers to a friend. I say thank you to my kids and my husband. Little things that add up.
  5. Find a Career Outside Your Job – my new business adventure – Simple Life Celebrations – is all about helping people. Really helping people, and I get to do it with my best friend! I can’t tell you how wonderful it makes me feel. How much it inspires me and makes me crave so much more. Not for money, but for being able to do what I really love to do.
  6. Realize that Significance is not Dependent on Success – I’ve stopped saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if...” or “Once we have more money….” and “When the kids are older, we’ll….” – I’m so tired of waiting for that day. I make things happen now. Not tomorrow, not next week, now. Today, I can make a difference.
  7. Reduce Your Expenses – We’re eating out less, we’re going down to one car, we’re planning ahead, we’re finding cheaper ways to enjoy time together. We’re realizing it isn’t about the “stuff” we have, it’s about the quality time and being together.
  8. Read Biographies of People Who Sought Significance Rather Than Success – I read so many inspiring blogs and books from so many great writers that inspire me to be more than I am. My blogroll on the right side of this post is such a small example of the blogs that I follow. There are literally so many more. I don’t watch the news because of the doom and gloom. I read the stories about the great things that we human beings have accomplished. There are a lot of great things happening, each day. I truly believe that each of us can make a difference, one day at a time.

I certainly have a long way to go in seeking significance. But, each day, I am closer. How has Seeking Significance changed your life? Share in the comments.

As always, a song to share:

“I want to be remembered for the love I spread around” – my favorite line in this song.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If…

I caught myself thinking those words in the shower this morning. I stopped mid-thought and actually smiled and chuckled to myself. It’s sneaky how the old me tries to creep in every once in awhile!

That phrase,”Wouldn’t it be great if…” can be good, but for me, it’s an excuse.

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if…I could get that job?
  2. Wouldn’t it be great if…the business would take off and I wouldn’t have to have that job?
  3. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had more time to do what I love to do?
  4. Wouldn’t it be great if…my husband would take me out for dinner?
  5. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had so-and-so in my corner?
  6. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had good luck for a change?
  7. Wouldn’t it be great if…I lost 15 lbs?
  8. Wouldn’t it be great if…the kids did what I asked?
  9. Wouldn’t it be great if…I were a different person?

To me, those words are idle wishes. No plans, no actions, no accountability. They imply that it’s out of my control, but gee, sure would be great if they were in my control. Oh well, poor me…

That was the old me. The moaning, groaning, woe-is-me me. Wallow in self-pity, but don’t do anything about it!

Now (well, most days 😉 ) I am a woman of action. I don’t say, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” I say, “Hey, this IS great!” or “I have an idea” and I start to work on that idea!

Yes, my problem now is I have like 50 things going on, and I’m struggling finding balance, but WOW! I am happy! I am excited! I am seeing the GREAT things happen! I don’t have to say those words! The GREATness is right here, right now!! How cool is that!?

I look back over the past 6 months and see just how far I’ve come!

  1. I didn’t get that job, but there are others popping up! It will come!
  2. Our business didn’t even EXIST 6 months ago! Now we have a website full of great stuff, more than 138 fans on Facebook  – some people we don’t even know! Ideas and excitement building!
  3. I have more time to do what I love because I am doing what I love right now! I have written 100 blog posts, read hundreds of other blog posts, made new friends, learned SO much!
  4. I took my husband out to dinner. He does the laundry, he cleans, he cooks amazing dinners; we’ve grown so much in appreciating and loving each other for who we really are.
  5. I have so many people in my corner, I cannot even count! They were there all along. I just didn’t appreciate them. Most of all, I didn’t think I deserved them. I am good enough.
  6. My luck has changed because I make my own luck! I act, I do, I work for it and most of all, I believe it. The Universe shines on me every day. I am Shining, every day! 🙂
  7. I haven’t lost 15 lbs, but I am in the best shape of my life! I am going to ride more than 200 KMs in 2 days this weekend, and I know that I can do it! I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman! (Had to put that in!)
  8. The kids don’t always do what I ask, but, they try because I yell less. I empower them to take care of their own stuff, to have responsibility. Most of all, to have fun!
  9. I am a different person. In so many ways. I am becoming who I was born to be. And that, makes me very happy!

The next time I catch myself saying that, I will smile and laugh. Yep, you just try sneaking back in! If you want to come in and say those words because you’re DREAMING about something and are going to take some action, well, GREAT! If you’re just whining, well, go whine somewhere else! I’ve got mountains to climb, so get out of the way! 🙂 It’s an EPIC journey and I don’t have time for your nonsense!

Cafe Cevraini – 10 Daily Things!

I was just inspired by my good friends over at Momalom to write a list of 10 things that happen daily at Cafe Cevraini!

This is a list of ten things that happen pretty much every day at our house:

  1. A hot latte waiting for me when I step out of the shower – delivered by a hot Italian!
  2. My daughter asking “What’s the high today?” before she chooses her wardrobe – a 15 minute process!
  3. An invasion of aliens, Star Wars guys, Halo dudes or some other creatures – with me often stepping on someone or moving them off the kitchen table!
  4. My beloved making lunches because I absolutely HATE doing it!
  5. Twirping sounds from my Tweetdeck and me checking to see what’s up in the blogosphere
  6. Me stepping on something on the kitchen floor in my bare feet and wondering, “What the h#$* IS that, anyway?”
  7. Snuggles, hugs and kisses abound from every direction – hugs make everything alright, no matter what the day brought!
  8. Arguments about whether so-and-so brushed their teeth or not; including hot breath in the face as “proof” – lovely…..
  9. Me tripping and cursing over a dog or two in the way when I’ve taken my contacts out and trying to find my glasses – which never seem to be in the same place twice!
  10. Tuck in the covers, butterfly kisses, a bedtime book or two, lights out and falling asleep with a least some part of our bodies touching each other, making sure we will be together in dreamland…

What are 10 things that happen at your house every day?

The Art of Conversation

For the past 10 days, I’ve been a part of Five For Ten:

– a wonderful blogging project hosted by Momalom’s Jen and Sarah. It has been an incredible experience. I made many new blogging friends; laughed and cried at so many new blogs from so many beautiful writers. It was very cool to see everyone’s “take” on the 5 different topics. And the comments/conversation that followed? Well, that is one of the things that inspired this post.

It is funny how I’ve been so drawn to deep, meaningful conversations since I began my Happiness Project. The self-reflection has made me ask questions of others and want to know so much more of them and of myself.

Ronna Detrick and her soul-searching, thoughtful discussions on Faith, Feminism and Truth has pulled me in like a vacuum. I’ve found myself wondering, believing, listening to my heart more than I ever have before. I jumped at the chance to be a part of her “A Conversational Space” so that I could learn more about myself through these meaningful conversations. I crave more each time I get a chance to dive into that world.

So many bloggers that I look up to – I worry if I don’t see their tweets on twitter or new posts for a few days; like a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. I consider these people true friends, even though we’ve never met in real life. Like we’ve sat at each other’s kitchen table and shared thoughts, dreams, funny stories and tears about family, love, children, God and ourselves. I thank them all for the opportunity to know them over the past couple months.

My Wednesday EpicChat – I am booked for an hour each week because I simply cannot miss the conversations that happen in the “room”. I am inspired and uplifted each time. Ready to take on anything, knowing that if I follow my heart, it will be epic, indeed! I learn more about myself in that frantic one hour of tweeting back and forth than I did throughout my 20’s!

The conversations I’ve been in lately in real-life…well, they’ve been some pretty tough talks lately. Talks where I’ve listened as others cried; and lately, especially, where I’ve been the one needing help. I’ve questioned my worth, questioned my ideas, questioned my journey. I’ve had shoulders to lean on; my Angels in the Desert as Ronna has talked about before. I have needed them. And they have been there. Conversations that have gone on for days. Started and stopped, then started again. Healing, bringing hope.

My life isn’t perfect. My husband isn’t perfect. My children are not perfect. I am very far from being perfect. But, as I have always said to anyone that will listen, as long as we can talk about things, everything will turn out ok.

That is why I love conversations so much. That is why I crave conversation the way I do – no matter what is happening or has happened, I can turn to someone, somewhere and I can talk it out.

When people get together, no matter who they are, and open themselves up to REAL, HONEST conversation, worlds can change. I truly believe that. I have seen that, here online and in real life.

The beauty of conversation is simply breath-taking. It is an art. An art where everyone can be an artist. All you have to do is open your heart and mind to someone else and see where the conversation takes you. Say what you need to say:
*

Plain Ol’ Happiness

I sit here on the grass, sun beating down on my back – heat from a long absent sun. A caressing breeze flutters the scrap of paper I write on. At last, a gorgeous spring evening after so many grey days.

I consider Happiness. Simple. Everyday. Happiness.

My daughter here, learning to play a game I love; I’ve always loved this game of baseball. It was the only game I was ever really good at. Happiness. The game that I spent so many hours playing with my brother, just the two of us. The quiet back and forth; smack of ball in soft leather. Back and forth. Over and over. Happiness. I remember hours shared in the company of my patient brother. Few words. Sharing a love. Happiness.

I look out at that girl; so tall and lanky among the others; wearing her brother’s ball cap, pony-tail sticking out the back. Happiness. No fashion show, no boys to impress, no bickering. Just a game. Played in the sun on a gorgeous spring evening. Happiness.

There is a father nearby, playing tag with another little girl; giggles echoing through the breeze. No cell phone chirps to interrupt their play as they head to the park. Hand in hand. Happiness.

Incredibly, from where I sit, I can see fields and horses – foals sprinting; tails held high as they race. Surely, they are in high spirits brought on by that welcome sunshine. Happiness.

In the distance, I actually hear the songs of frogs. I never noticed them before. Happiness. Among them, the sound of robins and the churning of a nearby feed mill. I hear the clink of ball hitting aluminum bat and players calling to each other. Happiness. And now, a pair of Canada Geese honking, disturbed from where they were feeding. A train rattles by, filled to the brim, signs of prosperity in uncertain times. Happiness.

She holds a bat now…I can see her look of concentration…That “tongue-sticking-out-thing” that she gets from me…Trying so hard to figure this out…Her swings are faster…stronger now, after a little coaching…Determination I see in those eyes. Happiness. Oh!…So close now!…The bat sweeps straight across; barely missing!…Another pitch…Yes!!!…It skims along the red shale toward first base…an out…but still…a HIT! Happiness.

The wind picks up a bit, and I can feel a sprinkling of rain; but the sun shines on. The girls spot a rainbow over the diamond and it distracts them for a bit. They exclaim to each other. Happiness. Sheer joy at just seeing a rainbow. They don’t notice the temperature drop as they chatter and laugh and toss the ball back and forth. Happiness.

A splot of  rain on my piece of paper. Or is it a tear? Happiness.

*

Songs of My Heart

Today, I’ve been thinking about a few songs that I’ve heard recently. I had been meaning to load them on my iPod, so I’m doing that tonight. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any songs with you.

Trace Adkins – All I Ask For Anymore

This video makes me cry because I take my family for granted. They are right here with me. Trace’s reflection of what used to be important to him and what is important now is such an important reminder.

Help Me Out – Suzie McNeil

Can´t go back to where you´re from
´Cause baby you´re not fooling anyone
So don´t be sorry now for the damage done.

Less is less and more is more
And baby don´t keep standing at the door
´Cause you may never know what you´re waiting for.

This song has a really fun beat, but these lyrics hit too. You can’t go back and change the past, all you can do is move forward. Just standing there doing nothing doesn’t help anything.

Running – Jully Black

This song has such a powerful message for all of us – “Running for the Right” – “Running for the Fight” – “Liberty and Freedom” – Stop Hiding and Denying

What Faith Can Do – Kutlass

Faith. I needed this song this week and it’s message. Watch the video and read the words.

I’ll bet it has something that you need to hear too. 🙂 <>

Resolutions Recap

I’m back from my “holiday” – which was just a break from the screen, more time in the “real world”.

I thought I’d take a look back at my New Year’s Resolutions and see where I’m at for the first quarter of 2010. You should revisit your goals, see where you are and maybe “recalibrate” if necessary on a regular basis.

Here’s where I’m at:

  1. My Happiness Project – I have been working on this quite regularly. I continue to read Gretchen’s book and blog for inspiration. Most of the time, I’m finding that I’m much happier. I do still have “those days”, but they are less often. April’s theme is “Lighten Up” – I’m going to be goofy, document our family memories in some fun videos, work on my quilting projects that have been calling my name, and just have FUN!
  2. Our “evil plan” – to start our own business – well, Krystal and I “officially” launched Simple Life Celebrations last week! We have content on all of our pages now, more being added every day. We want to be so much more than Party Planners and Organizers – we want to build a community and resource for busy moms (and dads) that will support and empower us all to Celebrate LIFE! I’m quite excited about this adventure! It is awesome!
  3. The Ride to Conquer Cancer – I am working hard on this too! So far, I’ve raised $470 of the $2500 goal. We’ve been training hard – spin classes twice per week and have been getting out on the road. Our longest training ride was 74 KMs, so we’re doing pretty good gearing up to the 200 in 2 days! If you want to sponsor me – click the link above. It’s the least we can do to battle this disease that touches so many!
  4. Writing and thinking about my blessings – I do this a lot, but I think I could do more of it. I don’t call my mom enough. I don’t visit my Gramma who lives just a few blocks from me.  I have more work to do here!
  5. Quality time versus Screen Time – well, that has been an issue over the past few months, partly because of us starting our business that is so much ONLINE! LOL! I have been offline a lot more in the past couple weeks. I am trying to “schedule” when I’m on and when I’m off. And when I’m off, I’m focusing on them instead of having one eye constantly checking to see what’s happening. I actually TURN OFF (shocking, I know!) the laptop! I have been aware of this issue, and I’m working hard on spending quality time with those I care about!
  6. Set an Example for my Kids about Living Life – I believe I am doing much better at this. I yell less and listen more. I am following my heart and chasing my dreams. I whine less and do more. I am pretty sure that they see that. Our home is becoming more of a sanctuary. My kids are getting out there and doing stuff instead of sitting around “bored”. They are talking to me about important things in life instead of being afraid to come to me. I’ve admitted mistakes, and they are less afraid of admitting theirs, which is a really good thing. We are learning and trusting each other. We are becoming a closer family!

Where are you at, compared to your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you stuck with them? Have they changed? How can you refocus and work on them some more? Let us know in the comments!