Longing for a perfectly ordinary, boring life?

I used to say that my life was normal and boring, in such a tone that implied that this was a bad thing.

Last week, after hearing just a 20 minute sampling of the drama in one person’s life, I was left feeling very thankful for this perfectly ordinary life. What I heard was like something out of a soap opera!

It got me thinking though …

As much as I’m thankful to have a fairly run-of-the-mill, ordinary life, I certainly have no intention of being bored!

I do not want to live a life that consists of ‘get up, get the kids to school, sit at my desk for several hours, pick the kids up, cook them some tea, put them to bed, have dinner, go to bed, sleep, rinse and repeat.’

Talk about dull! And really, it’s no way to live!

What if every day we could wake up with a sense of wonder, excitement and delight?

What if every day was fun, included doing some work, but it felt freeing and energy-giving?

What if we could do all of the stuff listed above, but instead of it feeling boring and monotonous, what if we could look back on a perfectly ordinary day like that and smile?

When I advocated the the New Day Resolutions a few weeks back, this is where they come in. Did you try it? How did you get on? (Hit reply and tell me if you like. I’d love to hear all about it.)

My New Day Resolution (just for the day remember) was to kiss my husband and children on the head, every time I saw them.

The first time I gave my husband a kiss on the head, he was half asleep but it made him smile. One time I kissed my son on the head, he turned around and gave me a big hug, which made me smile.

It wasn’t a total success (there were times in the day when I totally forgot to do it) but overall, it was both fun and lovely.

I’m still trying to decide what fun, new thing to try today but I’m determined it will be something different, and just for one day.

So what’s this obsession with just one day? Good question.

Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself.”

What if we lived like that? Sure, we can have long-term dreams and aspirations. Goals and things we’re working toward.

But what if, as each new day came along, we just took it as one day, decided what we’d like to try or do or experience that day, and did it?

Not overly analysing the long-term wisdom. Not looking at the what-ifs and maybes from all angles – how does that make life any easier or more fun?

Just waking up, saying hello to God and thanking him for the new day, and asking him what adventures the two of you will get up to that day.

What might that look like?

And how much more fun would your life feel?

And before you say it, I am well aware that fun isn’t everything but you know what? It sure beats being so serious all the time!

Try it, you never know, you might like it ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Just because you can go fast, doesn’t mean you must!

Our family car died back in February. It had done us proud. Trips to France. Pushchairs in and out and in and out again. Several car sickness incidents. Scrapes and knocks and bumps.

And then it was gone. And for a little bit, I felt sad. Sad for all the memories.

And then we bought my bright yellow sporty skoda – and all hint of remorse was gone!

I’m not one for going very fast but I must confess that I love that I can pull away quickly at roundabouts and gone are the days of getting overtaken before you’ve even had a chance to pick up speed.

So yesterday I was out and about, meeting with the carpenter about Give A Brick (so exciting – but that’s another story) buying flowers for my sister (she turned 30) and popping said flowers up to her house, so they’d be there waiting for her when she got home from work.

And it was as I was tootling along the motorway, singing Christmas carols (stop it! One of my errands was Christmas related so I get a pass!) that I noticed I wasn’t breaking the speed limit.

If you’re a police officer, look away now …

OK, so now it’s just us, I’ve got to tell you, I have a bit of a tendency to drive too fast sometimes. Safely. But fast.

So it was something of a surprise to notice that I was going along, quite happily, slightly under the speed limit. Under the speed limit? What’s that about?!?

And then as another car overtook me, a thought popped in my head:

Just because you can go fast doesn’t mean you must.

And so I didn’t. I sat there, dancing in my seat to my music, taking in the scenery, it was all very nice.

And of course then I thought about you and how this relates to life. Because us girls are great at multi-tasking aren’t we? (Actually, don’t tell my husband but I’m really not. I do everything kind of half-assed when I multi-task but hey, we’ve gotta pretend eh?) Most women though are of the stronger, more dependable sort than me.

Maybe you’re like that and always seem to have three different things on the go at once?

If so, I wanted to encourage you today to slow down a little. Yes, we’ve heard it all before … slow down and enjoy they journey, blah, blah, blah. And be honest … sometimes you hear that and think, “come on, if you only knew what I’m having to deal with!”

And you’re right, I don’t know what you have to deal with today. And yes, you probably have so many demands on you, it feels like if you slow down any, you’ll drop everything. It’s only momentum that’s keeping you going!

But I want you to encourage you to try it anyway. Even if it’s just for today, or even a few moments of today.

You’re wonderful and brilliant and so, so capable.ย You were made for so much more than just rushing from one thing to the next.

But just because you can keep going so fast, doesn’t mean you must.

Driving a car at full throttle will wreck the engine. You’re much, much stronger than any machine but even you really would find life a little bit more sparkly if you could take your foot off the gas from time to time.

And so that’s your challenge for today. Are you game? Get to it!

 

If you’re boring even yourself then we’re really in trouble!

You’re brilliant!

I know that. You know that. Your mum definitely knows that.

But what about those times when you’re being brilliantly boring?

I mean, it’s not like you’re doing it on purpose. It kind of creeps up on you.

And then one day, you’re sat at your desk, looking over something you just wrote and it hits you …

When did I get so damn serious?!?

What happened to that girl who loves to giggle? She still tells silly stories and puts a pink straw in her husband’s pint glass, purely for her own amusement.

So when did she stop showing up at work?

And yes, I am that girl. But I’m pretty sure you need to lighten up a little too sweet heart.

If your work is not making you, and the people around you, laugh, at least once a day, you’re either doing the wrong work or you’re not really being you.

The first is a conversation for another day. It’s the latter I want to talk about.

Humour. It’s a funny old thing. (Pun absolutely intended.) You might be rubbish at telling jokes and maybe the things that make you giggle make 98% of the population roll their eyes and groan but that two per cent?

They think you’re a comedic genius!

I don’t care how serious or grown up or right a proper you think you are, God gave you a sense of humour.

Some people seem to have had their funny bone severed when they hit puberty and never got it mended but even them, given a little encouragement, can remember what it’s like to laugh.

You’ve heard all the cliches about laughter being wonderful medicine and good for the soul and yes, this is true but you know what? Smiling and laughing every day just makes life feel nicer.

I’m 35. Sure, I don’t really want to suffer in my old age but I don’t much care about laughing right now as a way to make my body feel better when it’s ancient. But laughing today because right now today it makes me feel wonderful?

That I can commit to!

So here’s my challenge for you today …

Start by looking at where you are right now. When was the last time you had a right proper belly laugh? Are you smiling every day? What makes you smile? What makes you giggle?

And how can you let more of that out to play today?

You might have a really serious job and no, if you’re a funeral director, I’m not suggesting you play ‘Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer’ at your next service ‘because it’ll be a giggle and help lighten the atmosphere’.

There are times when quiet and still and somber really are what’s needed.

But for everything else, there’s Mastercard.

Ooops, wrong post. I mean, for everything else, there’s a place for smiling and laughter.

Recognise what makes you laugh and bring that into your today. It’ll make your day feel fantastic and you never know, you might just infect someone else too.

Wouldn’t that be nifty?

 

How a smile from a stranger inspired an ‘aha!’ …

You might remember last week I went on a bit of a ‘What if every day was delightful?’ crusade and, based on the emails I got in reply, it seems I might not be the only one who thinks every day delight could be the way forward.

I wanted to share a moment from last week that inspired it all.

I was in my car. Not usually the most inspiring of places you might think but I did have one of my favourite albums playing so that was a good start at least.

So as I was paused at the traffic lights, listening to “How Long Will I Love You?” and quite happily minding my own business, a man came toward the crossing in that kind of run/walk way that people have when they’re in a bit of a hurry but don’t want to do full out running.

He looked at me, leaned forward on my steering wheel enjoying the music, and gave me a big smile. It was fab!

That moment totally made my morning.

And I know it’s kind of random and really was nothing, but, at the same time, it was lovely.

And that in turn got me thinking about how we all too easily miss those moments. It’s the random smiles and unexpected little things that have the potential to transform a day.

But you have to keep your eyes open.

If we walk around with our heads down, shutting out the world, we never give delight a chance.

It reminds me of that bit in the bible where it talks about entertaining strangers and, that by so doing, you might be playing host to angels.

What if that little glimmer of delight in your day was actually God smiling?

What if every single thing that made you stop in wonder was actually a love note?

What if, every single day, God is whispering to you, and you’re too busy, too stressed and too quick to actually notice?

What if we kept our eyes open, expecting the smiles, the love notes and the whispers? What might that look like?

 

How about delight when your site gets hacked, your youngest child is vomiting and the dog ate your homework?

OK, so that’s not a title written from recent experience – thankfully none of my three have been sick for several months! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But you know those days when everything is going wrong? And you just want to crawl into bed and have the day be over already?

Or worse still, nothing’s going wrong per se. You just have so much going on, you can’t seem to find time to do everything and so you find yourself getting more and more frustrated as thing piles onto thing and urgh!

Am I really suggesting that busy is worse than a day filled with vomit?

You know what? I am.

Because the good thing about one of those ‘please just let me go back to bed and have it all be over’ days, is that you can wake up the very next day and it be sunshine and rainbows.

Unless you have more than one child. Because those viruses have a nasty habit of spreading through the whole family and you end up losing a whole week to the plague!

But even then, you know it’s just for a time.

You know that your children will get well. Your website will get fixed. The homework can be re-done.

It doesn’t last for day after day after day after day.

But the curse of busy? You can easily lose months to that.

Seriously. Because it seduces us into believing that what we’re doing is oh so important, vital even.ย And we kid ourselves that we must be moving forward in our business because we working so much.

Sometimes we just need to stop. Slow down a little. And really look at what we’re doing and why.

But whether it be the novo virus or the curse of busy, it is possible to find delight, even on the days when you feel like you barely have time to breathe let alone take a walk, a long soak in the bath, read a book or any other of those wonderful things we advocate for helping people smile each day.

Sometimes you’re going to need to be inventive. Allow yourself to laugh at the ridiculous. Giggle at the daft stuff, the stuff that makes your children titter. Be the person who finds the comedy moment. Improvise.

And if comedy is inappropriate for the kind of day you’re having, it’s time to bring out the big guns … gratitude.

What are you thankful for? Who are you thankful for?

One of my favourite ways of getting a dose of perspective when I’m having a ‘messy house, children squabbling while I’m trying to work, nothing seems to be right with the world’ kind of day is to take 15 seconds to smile to myself and remember that I’m thankful for my three (noisy) children, I’m thankful for a roof over my head (no matter how messy the contents) and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to work from home so I get to enjoy being with them and seeing them grow up.

Thankfulness beats the blues, every time.

And now it’s over to you. Whether it be comedy gold or a dose of gratitude, remember that you can choose to find something to smile about in every day, even when the dog ate your homework!

 

A strong faith alone just isn’t going to cut it!

Does this ever happen to you … One thing after another after another piles on top of each other, coincidence after coincidence (or as I prefer to call them God-incidences) and before you know it – wham!

You’re slap bang in the middle of realising something really important?

That happened to me this week but this time, it wasn’t the nice, smiley kind of coincidences that started piling up.

The theme for this week of the party is delight and then my dad, preaching on the importance of enjoying life because our time is precious, was followed by a friend on Facebook posted a moving piece about losing a dear friend. Another reminder.

And then today, after a lovely few days away with family, my husband got the news that a colleague with cancer who, just a few days ago, wasn’t given long to live, has passed away. Already.

One thing after another, piling on top of each other, forcing me to stop and really think about why it’s so important to enjoy each day.

I wrote about it earlier in the week of course but the reminder today, so close to home, has caused me to pause again.

It’s so easy to focus on the big dreams, the plans and ambitions.

And yes, these things are important. The most successful business people don’t just wander from day to day, doing whatever takes their fancy. They’re focussed and driven and know what they need to do each day to keep moving.

But.

What if we spend all our time focussing on tomorrow, pushing and driving and working and striving and then, in one random, unexpected moment, we take that last breath?

I don’t say that to be morbid or to encourage you to slack off and not bother working on your business. Thankfully, we don’t get to know when we’re going to die, so we just crack on with life as usual, doing our thing, making the best decisions we can.

But you know what? If I did know, I’d be sure to give my children an extra cuddle or ten. I’d be extra loving and smiley toward my husband. I’d not waste precious moments on stupid arguments. I’d treasure every second. Take in every scent. Notice the delight around me.

Which of course brings us full circle to our theme for the week … delight.

It is possible and important, vital even, to find something wonderful in every single day.

 

Does it ever feel like your brain just needs a reset button?!?

I was in the shower yesterday morning and I thought of you.

No, not like that. Silly ๐Ÿ™‚

It was more a kind of noticing and then almost right away the thought, I need to tell you about it, in case you do this too.

So what did I notice?

I noticed my thoughts. They were going at like one thousand miles an hour.

As I stepped into the shower I was thinking about one thing but then within seconds it was something else and then that other thought led me in another tangent and, and …

And then I noticed.

So I tried to drag myself back to just being. It was like this reminder in my head. To just stop for a minute.

“Enough already!”

I literally stood there with my head directly under the shower outlet, allowing it all to just spill over me, into my eyes, over my hair. That feeling of just nothing other than the sensation of the water.

It was like all the noise in my head was washing away too.

Do you ever get like that? Have so much going on in there, you have to be reminded to shut it off for a bit?

It’s got to the point where I can’t be relied upon to remember anything unless I write it down.

Like yesterday … we went out in the car and my husband noticed a mark on the seat from where our eldest had spilled something.

He couldn’t understand how I could have forgotten about it by the time I got home and, as a result, not wiped it. He was even more puzzled when I asked him to remind me when we got home because if he didn’t, I’d forget again!

The joy of being my brain eh?

But I’m certain I’m not alone. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who needs to be reminded to stop and just be.

So this is for you …

If you find yourself with thoughts and ideas tumbling over one another in your brain.

If your idea of switching off is to brainstorm on your iPad instead of at your desk.

If every single time you go to the cinema, you end up writing a note on your phone because there was something said in the movie that you don’t want to forget.

Today, for even just one moment of today, take time to stop and be still.

Open your ears. Open your heart. And just be.

 

Goodwill is for life … not just for Christmas? What if?

I was thinking about how nice this time of year is (parking and over-spending aside!) What with the twinkly lights, the music, oh and the Bailey’s coffee. Very nice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And yes, it gets stupidly busy and yes, it’s a bit stressful.

But people seem, I dunno, a little bit extra kind and tolerant? It’s fab!

So then I got to thinking (oooh, just a little bit more.) You know that song … I wish it could be Christmas every day?ย Well I don’t actually wish it could be Christmas, like, every single day, not in the way the song means … presents, fairy lights, excess food … but you know what would be really cool?

What if the extra kindness and tolerance lasted longer than the next month or so?

(And yes, I’m well aware that I won’t be the first person to wish such lofty ideals out loud. But hey, a girl’s gotta dream eh?)

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi.

So yes, it’s a lofty big dream but if I keep being extra sweet and kind and lovely and tolerant, and you do the same, and it rubs off on someone else.

And then … before we know it, it could be infectious!

What do you think? You game?

Sweetness, without the calories! ;-)

What is it about the red and white stripy wrapper, set off with the obligatory twinkle lights of course, that makes those candy canes look soooo appealing?!?

Every time I see one I’m reminded of Elf (“don’t eat the yellow snow!”) and my pulse speeds up with just the thought of all that sugar. Yummy!

Of course the little darling in the photo won’t get touched until it’s time to take the tree down (unless it should ‘accidentally’ fall, all by itself, with no help from my eldest whatsoever!) but then I got to thinking about other sweet stuff that we could store up this Christmas.

Words. Smiles. Acts of random kindness.

I don’t really believe in storing up karma. The image of God sat there with some kind of a cosmic abacus, adding and subtracting based on how good or otherwise we’ve been on any given day, just doesn’t feel right. Bad stuff happens to good people and vice versa.

But I do very definitely believe in love and kindness and goodness and how fabulous the world looks and feels when we smile at a stranger in the street.

So I was wondering about the idea of storing up those good feelings, a bit like how all that sugar is stored up, extra concentrated in that candy cane on my tree, but instead of saving them all for after Christmas, what if they got so full up, they couldn’t help but come oozing out the top a bit? (Reminds me of the year my mum’s mincemeat fermented just a little too much. Oooh that batch was potent!)

And so, your mission for today, if you choose to accept it, is to look for little ways to add some sweetness to someone else’s day (and nope, adding an extra spoonful of sugar to their tea does not count!)

For bonus points … keep a record of what you did or said. That stuff is amazing to look back on later!

Go on, I dare you! ๐Ÿ˜‰