Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days

I love challenges. There’s just something so fulfilling about completing a difficult task that I set my mind to complete.

I also love photos. If my house were to catch on fire, I’d grab Dewey and then all my photo albums, my phone and my laptop (I’m a Millennial – most of my photos are digital!).

So, it should be obvious that I love a photo challenge!! Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim has monthly photo challenges that encourage participants to take 1 photo-a-day that aligns with that day’s topic. You can see March’s challenge HERE (and then keep watch for April’s!). I have done these challenges quite a few times and even posted my results here on my blog! You can check ’em out HERE!

My current photo challenge comes from 100happydays.com.I found this posted on a friend’s Facebook and had to check it out. The premise is simple: Can you be happy for 100 days in a row??

“We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.”

All you have to do is take a photo of ANYTHING that makes you happy each day. It can be anything from coffee with a friend to something that captures the feeling of relaxing at home after a long day to your pet’s nose snuggled into your side – whatever it is that makes you happy just for a moment.

I gathered my girlfriends and we all agreed to start on the same day. Doing this challenge with a friend (or 7!) is helpful because you can help keep one another accountable. “Hey girl…sooo…I was avoiding work and checking my happy hashtag and I didn’t see you on there yet today…GET HAPPY!!!” The directions are easy:

  • Share your picture via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with a public hashtag #100happydays!
  • Come up with your own hashtag to share your pictures with your people!

Wanna follow the gang and I on our happiness photo journey? Hop onto Instagram and check out our hashtag, #happyin614 (614 is the Columbus area code)! Don’t be shy! Follow my crazy, busy, awesome, badass, exciting life on Instagram!

Wanna start the challenge yourself?!? AWESOME!!! Please share your personal hashtag here so I can encourage you and share in your daily joyments (joyful moments)! I’m so excited to see what makes you smile!

So far, I am 11 days in and totally enjoying the challenge! Here are my first 10 shots. Be sure to check back here to see my Joyments!

(click to enlarge!)

Days 1-10

Day 1: The A-Squad reunited!! Some of my best girlfriends Allie, Amanda, & Amee

Day 2: Saturday was been a perfectly beautiful day to spend outside with my favorite four-legged friend!

Day 3: I always leave Rock City Church feeling joyful and motivated! Each Sunday, I am able to take the message and apply it to my life. This week, where can I turn “Not a chance!” into “Okay God…I’ll take a chance.” ?? I’ve got some ideas!!

Day 4: Happy to catch up with an old friend over a home cooked dinner!

Day 5: Amee is now SIX YEARS CANCER FREE!!! And obviously it makes me so superduper happy to have my bestie/big sis/lesbian lover around year after year.

Day 6: I love my CBus!

Day 7: We got to welcome in spring with 108 sun salutations!

Day 8: YAY!!! I bought the Divergent trilogy and they finally came in the mail Friday! Guess what I’ll be nerding out to this weekend!!! (I have this silly rule about having to read a book BEFORE I see its movie.)

Day 9: I probably shouldn’t tell what I had to play during Cards Against Humanity to make Joe laugh to the point of tears…point of the story, Saturday was a wonderful night full of laughs with great friends.

Day 10: Happy to be stronger than I’ve ever been – in every way possible.

 

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The 7 Life Miracles: Life Coaching, Session #1

My dear friend Julie Wilkes has written a book, The 7 Life Miracles! I will be working through her book and journaling my experiences as I go. For more information on the book and what I intend to do here, please check out THIS POST!

7 Life Miracles

Life Coaching, Session #1

After reading and completing the exercises for Miracle 3, Create, my “So What?” was to contact Julie and set up a Life Coaching Session. One of the purposes of the Miracle 3 exercises is to look at your life as is vs. what you dream it could be and then take steps towards creating your dream life. As I completed the exercises, I quickly began to realize that I had never really stopped to think about what my dream life is! I’ve always just taken life as it comes and crossed bridges as I came to them. I have never had one lofty goal that I have worked towards.

Another thing that compelled me to meet with Julie was the idea that I am not working in my dream career. Yes, I love teaching and I’m good at it, but if money weren’t an issue, is that what I would be doing? No, probably not. So what would I be doing? I’ve always had a couple ideas, but this is where Julie’s assistance would come in. I really wanted to talk to her, begin to define my dream life/career and work towards it.

How’d It Go?!

I had my Kickoff Session with Julie yesterday! This whole thing will be an ongoing process, involving meeting every other week and checking in on Sundays. Our first session was mostly spent on beginning to define what my dream job would be and some steps to work towards that. Julie and I have known each other for about a year now, but this was actually our first chance to sit down and talk intimately. At first, the session felt a little bit like one of my therapy sessions, which is actually a great thing! I’ve had a ton of success with my therapist and I think what they can do to help people is amazing.

Julie began by asking me to really try to think about what my dream life would look like. If I could live anywhere, where would that be? Who would my friends be? After a moment or 2 of thinking, I replied that I’ve always wanted to be somewhere warm; Florida or somewhere Southern, but what keeps me here right now is my people. My home has to be on the beach. I see myself with the same best friends I have now.  My perfect day would include waking up without an alarm clock, having my coffee, spending time with the dog and writing, and most importantly, being outside in the warmth.

This is when I was finally able to admit to myself that if I could make writing a full-time job, that would make me the happiest. But I have never tried to define or create my dream job out of fear. My mom was a teacher, so she knew how to make that happen and once I was a teacher, it became a solid paycheck with 3 months off in the summer. I have been very fortunate in my life that I have never really had to struggle financially. My parents were able (and wanting!) to support my college career and all the other things a person needs in life. Yes, I have had months where my bank account neared $0, resulting in serious budgeting, but then entire time, I knew another paycheck would be on the way in a week or 2. So the idea of having a new career and having to possibly worry about money has caused me to stay in the safety and comfort of my teaching career.

Next, Julie asked me to define a few of my strengths. I listed my ability to make friends with people, the fact that I am a super planner (but also noted that this can be a weakness), and that I am forever optimistic/happy. After reviewing what we had talked about a few moments earlier, Julie found it interesting that I cited not wanting to leave my friends as my reason for still being in Columbus, yet I also listed being able to make new friends quite easily!

Huh…

Now that I think about it, I can attribute that to another one of my strengths: loyalty. Once I am friends with a person, we are friends FOREVER (so buyer beware! 😉 ). I take my friendships very seriously and work very hard to nurture and grow them into lifelong investments. I am always wanting and willing to let new people into my heart, but I want to take special care of the ones that are already there. And I know what happens to friendships when someone moves away. We keep in touch, but obviously it’s just not the same as being able to see someone whenever I want, especially if I were to move down south, which is more than a few hours drive. Because of this, moving might not be something I focus on so much as a possible career change.

Julie then asked me to list my support system (my family and closest friends) and describe a time in the last year that I had been successful. It took me a minute to come up with an answer, but when I did it was completing the half marathon last year. I had to actually train and work for it – I couldn’t just decide to run 13.1 miles a week ahead of time and then actually do it. I especially felt successful because it was my body and no one else could do it for me. The greatest strength that helped me to be successful was my determination and commitment. I said I was going to do it, so I did. Plus, I paid $70, so there was a financial value.

After Julie and I had chatted and gotten to know one another, we defined my goal as working towards becoming a full-time writer. And here was one of the most important parts of this session – I CANNOT FAIL. Not “will not” or “refuse to,” but Julie’s coaching doesn’t allow for failure. Let me explain. My 1-year goal is to take steps to becoming a full-time writer, not to actually become a full-time writer. All of my goals that Julie and I set are goals that I would like to achieve even if I weren’t working towards a career change, so none of them will be hindering to my current wellbeing. To put it another way, in the words of Brad, one of my funniest friends, “It’s not, ‘Step 1 – Quit your job.'”

I know have goals for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and a year. These are all very pliable and will probably change as time goes on.

1 Month Goals:

  • Research 1 other way to get published/or write
  • Learn about video blogging
  • Meet with 1 person who is a full-time writer and ask questions
  • Research writing classes I could take this summer

3 Month Goals:

  • Research 1-2 ways to get published
  • Try video blogging
  • Meet with 2 people who are writers to ask questions
  • Sign up for writing class
  • Research a place I would like to visit as a potential place to move to

SO WHAT?!

I am actually very excited about this whole thing! Just the idea of having a dream job and actually being able to work towards it in exhilarating! And who knows, maybe I’ll start doing all this and decide that blogging/writing isn’t my dream job at all, but something else is! I feel as thoughI am about to discover quite a bit about myself this year.

Also, I’m gonna throw this out there to help me accomplish a few goals: If you know anything about vlogging (video blogging), writing classes in Columbus, Ohio or are/know a full-time blogger I could meet with, let me know!!

Amanda & I know the 7 Life Miracles...do you??

Amanda & I know the 7 Life Miracles…do you??

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ALL THE LINKS!!!

  • My thoughts on
    • Miracle 1: Embrace HERE!
    • Miracle 2: Connect HERE!
    • Miracle 3: Create HERE!
  • Check out everything Julie Wilkes HERE!
  • The 7 Life Miracles on Facebook!
  • Seven Studios on Facebook!
  • Learn about The 7 Life Miracles book HERE!
  • Order The 7 Life Miracles  on Amazon HERE!
  • Check availability at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and get it now HERE!

The 7 Life Miracles: Create

My dear friend Julie Wilkes has written a book, The 7 Life Miracles! I will be working through her book and journaling my experiences as I go. For more information on the book and what I intend to do here, please check out THIS POST!

7 Life Miracles

Miracle 3

Create

Create your own canvas — Create the life you want to live.

Phew! This was one heck of a Miracle! I actually read the chapter a little over a week ago, but was so overwhelmed that I knew I needed to take some time to really deal with this Miracle.  It wasn’t going to be processed in one Sunday afternoon! In Create, Julie asks us to look at our life as an art canvas and start all over! We are to leave our past experiences behind, learn from them and breathe in a fresh start. SEE??? Now you know why this took a little time!

This section has a few activities to help us work through creating out own canvas.

Exercise 1: Viewing Your Current Canvas

This first activity asks us to take a snapshot of our current life, figuring out who we are and where we are in our lives today.

Choose a few key questions & answer honestly. I Have included my answers!

  • How do you feel today?
    • Relaxed, accomplished, motivated
  • What makes you happy?
    • Spending time with friends and family, exercising, cuddling with my dog
  • How do you feel about yourself/your choices in life?
    • Good! I know not all of my choices have been the best, but I’ve learned from them. I feel mostly good about myself. Some negative thoughts creep in sometimes, but I am usually able to shake them off quickly.
  • What are your passions?
    • Doing good things for my friends. Writing. Reading.
  • Do you have hobbies?
    • Working out, writing, reading
  • Do you volunteer?
    • Not as much as I’d like to.

Exercise 2: Uncoloring Your Canvas

This exercise encourages us to “…strip away negative colors that lurk on our canvas by thinking about any roadblocks, obstacles, and unnecessary anxiety or worry in our lives.” Because this can be an intensely personal ordeal, I have provided some quote from Julie’s book to help inspire you, rather than my canvas’ gross colors.

“Just a few negative feelings, toxic people or stressful situations can change how we interpret our life.”

“…choose to perceive these things differently as you move forward. Instead of letting someone break you down, allow yourself to create distance from that person or at least know that whatever he or she says or does is not truth – not YOUR truth!”

Let them go. Let them go. LET THEM GO!!!!

Exercise 3: Determine Your Colors!

Now we get to start with our perfectly white (okay, mine would be pink) canvas. “Let go of the past and imagine your fabulous future…be honest about what you want. I am not encouraging you to dream unrealistically — dream about what excites your passions and fuels your soul.”

Woah. Here we go!

“Picture the life you would like to live 10 years from now. What year will that be? How old will you be?”

2024: I will be 39!!

  • How will people describe you?
    • Happy, healthy, fun, reliable, kind, loving, smart
  • What is important to you?
    • The people in my life- my friends and family
  • Where do you live?
    • A house in Columbus. Maybe not the same house, but a house. If not the same house, perhaps in Clintonville or closer to downtown.
  • What do you do?
    • Teach, maybe write.
  • What is your home like?
    • Clean! Stylish, organized.
  • Are you happy?
    • YES! Well, most of the time!
  • With whom do you spend you time?
    • Most of my time will be spend with my future husband J and friends.
  • Can you see yourself laughing?
    • Quite frequently.
  • What time do you wake up each morning?
    • 5:30am
  • What’s the first thing you do?
    • Kiss my hubby!
  • Can you picture a place where you spend your time?
    • Some sort of “book nook.” A place with a big comfy chair I can read and write in.
  • Can you see the path you walk for exercise each morning?
    • If I don’t live in the same house, hopefully I will live in a house within walking distance to work, the gym, social gatherings, etc. I don’t know about walking each morning, but there will be some sort of exercise in my daily life.
  • When you go to sleep, how do you feel?
    • Tired, but accomplished for the day.
  • Are you living with passion?
    • YES!

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There are two more exercises that I did not document here. #4 involves creating a vision, timeline and goals to help you accomplish your vision. #5 asks us to decide how we will track our goals (okay, it’s much more involved than just that! You’ll have to read the book!). I have decided to be a journaler (obvi).

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Gosh, this Miracle has been especially trying for me. The main point here is to find a life goal and make a plan to work towards it. That’s great and I really want to do that, but here’s my problem: I’ve never really had life goals! I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true! Graduating high school and college were never really “goals;” they were more things that were expected of me, so I did them. There wasn’t a question of whether or not it was going to happen. As for my career, Plan A was to be a successful photographer! I’m now a high school English teacher. My college degree is in Commercial Photography. It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided that photography wasn’t something I wanted to do as a career. But I had to work, and teaching was something I saw myself doing down the road. Little did I know that “down the road” was only like…half a mile! Anyways, my point is that my career goals have been a little wobbly over the years. When I think about where I’ll be in my career 10 years from now, I don’t really know!

Here’s the honest-to-God truth about my career plans:

I’m currently a teacher. And I really love it. I do. But is it something I want to do for 35+ years?? Hell no! When I think about being 49 (20 years from now), I honestly don’t know if I see myself as a teacher. Yes, I enjoy what I do, but is it my passion? I don’t think so. I’ve seen passionate teachers. My mother was one. She was over-the-top amazing as an educator. She daily worked to improve herself in her career, the buildings she worked in and the people around her. I’ve been fortunate enough to be educated by passionate teachers. Look, I love what I do and I work really hard to be good at it. I don’t take my job lightly. I’m preparing kids for the world, for goodness’ sake! My students’ ability to be functional adults in the world lies partially in my hands, so please don’t misread me when I say I am not “passionate” about my career. When I envision someone who is passionate about their job, I see someone who lives, eats, and breathes their work; someone working 24/7 to be better at their craft. And that just isn’t teaching and me. Quite honestly, when I leave my school building, I leave my work. Very rarely do I work at home after school. Sure, I’ll stay late at work to lesson plan, grade, etc., but as soon as I physically leave, I mentally leave as well. The only things I take home with me are thoughts of my students. They are on my mind much of the time. I wonder what they’re doing and if they’re safe.

Okay, so I’m not passionate about my job. What job could I be passionate about? And there is the problem – I don’t know. I could see myself becoming passionate about my job if I could teach book club versus English. One of the best parts of my jobs is watching fall in love with reading. Seeing a kid laugh at a character, empathize with a character’s suffering or question “Why the hell did the author write the book like that??” gives me the chills and makes the early mornings and career questions worthwhile. I could also work with students on writing about what they read, but in a less formal situation- just write! It doesn’t have to be this format, or this prompt…just write your reaction. So anyways. Book club. I could teach Book Club. But there doesn’t seem to be a need or opening for that position. Maybe there is somewhere outside of my building or district or city or state! I’d just have to move to be passionate about my job! Yeah….no. I’m not leaving my friends and family; people I’ve worked really hard to build relationships with. It seems as though I choose my people over a passionate career, and that’s fine with me.

Back to what a passionate job would be. Writing? Yes, I love writing and seem to be fairly good at it and would actually like to learn to be better! But as a career?? What would I write about that people would pay to read? I have no desire to write novels. Some sort of self-help book like Julie wrote? Honey…I have all the questions and zero answers. A blog? Lots of people make lots of money writing blogs! Sure!!! But I’m not so sure that enough people want to read what I write about – my life and my thoughts. Some people read it and I am thankful for each and every one of you! But I don’t have a big enough following that equals career; especially when I have a wonderful, good paying job!

So maybe I focus on another aspect of my life for my goal setting. I really hope to be happily married by 39, but is that a goal I can work towards? It really depends on another person and so many things have to work together to make it happen, so I don’t really think I can make that a “goal” per se. Also, I’m much more focused on being HAPPY at 39 rather than married! Yes, I hope to be, but being happy is much more important to me.

SO WHAT??? How will I work to create my own canvas?

My goal for this Miracle will be to make an appointment with Julie for a Life Coaching session. I have so many thoughts and emotions running through my head about where I see myself 10 years from now that I need someone to help me process it all!! For me, having a 10-year goal is very important. I don’t want to just float through life and take everything as it comes. I like having goals and I think having a more solidified plan would help give my life more purpose. Plus, the idea that my career and my passions don’t exactly match is something that has bothered me for a while, but I’ve never come to a resolution about it. Julie is a professional and has helped so many people – I would love to be a part of that!

And yes. I just made it my goal to make a goal. It’s my blog – I can do that!

“Positive habits can help you work in the most efficient manner, stay organized and calm, be your best, and make confident decisions that support your goals and aspirations.” – Julie Wilkes

My creation space this afternoon!

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ALL THE LINKS!!!

  • My thoughts on
    • Miracle 1: Embrace HERE!
    • Miracle 2: Connect HERE!
  • Check out everything Julie Wilkes HERE!
  • The 7 Life Miracles on Facebook!
  • Seven Studios on Facebook!
  • Learn about The 7 Life Miracles book HERE!
  • Order The 7 Life Miracles  on Amazon HERE!
  • Check availability at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and get it now HERE!