Happiness is a Skill

I have been reading a book by Christine Carter called Raising Happiness, and it is so interesting! Christine is a scientist who studies what makes people happy.

Right now I am reading a chapter on mindfulness--which is basically being attentive and aware of what is happening right now. It is sort of the opposite of being on autopilot. Being on autopilot is like when you drive home from somewhere, and all of a sudden you are home & you don't really remember the actual drive, where as mindfulness is when you actually experience the drive--you noticed the landscape and the houses, and thought about where you were going and how you were going to get there, etc.

I have a really hard time being mindful it turns out! I don't know when it started, or if I've always been like this, but it has definitely gotten worse since I've had kids. I have the hardest time just sitting down and playing legos for example...my mind wanders and I think about the dishes that need to be done, or a conversation that I had with someone, or what all I need to do still for a project that I am working on. So much is going on in my mind that I am not even paying attention to the legos or what the kids are talking about, or anything like that. And I think I'm missing out on a lot that way.

Christine says that, "Practicing mindfulness doesn't just lead to decreased stress and increased pleasure in parenting, it brings profound benefits to kids. Parents who practiced mindful parenting for a year were dramatically more satisfied with their parenting skills and their interactions with their children, even though no new parenting practices beyond just being mindful had been taught to them."

So...that's really neat! That is something I can work on, I think!

Girly-ness and Princesses

You have to check out this excerpt from the book Bittersweet, written by Shauna Niequist.

She brings up her friends who have a baby girl and have declared their house a "princess free zone." This made me laugh a little--because I hate princesses so much.

I think the thing that I don't like about princesses is the same thing that Shauna doesn't like about princesses--just the image of a girl sitting around being beautiful waiting for a brave knight in shining armor to slay the dragon and rescue the girl and live happily ever after just really makes me want to barf. I am not a girly girl (that's obvious, probably.) I feel like it is important for me to encourage the girls to slay their own dragons. To rely on God and the abilities that He has given them, and not wait around for prince charming to overcome the obstacles for them.

Now, I realize that this is just my own personality & my own preference. I have gone through a phase of relying on Shawn too much and expecting him to rescue me from my trials and it really made us both miserable. Now I have come out of that, and I can see that my relying on Shawn was getting in the way of relying on God. And waiting around for someone else to overcome my obstacles for me takes a lot of the joy out of life.

I also realize that it is totally okay for others to like princesses. And that not all princesses are vain helpless dopes. Ruby, for example, wants to be a princess when she grows up. Okay, okay--that may not be a realistic goal, but if she did somehow end up being a princess--I think she would be a loving, thoughtful one who always defends the fatherless and the widow. And I guarantee that Lucy would be out there slaying the dragons...or at least taming them & making them her pets. =) So--I am okay with them playing princesses, because their character is what is important. That they grow up to be loving, courageous, joyful girls who love God and take care of others.

so--what are your thoughts on princesses? Or, what does being a princess mean to you? Does it have positive or negative connotations?

love ya,