Welcome to the Happiness Blog Hop hosted by Stephanie Medley-Rath (inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project). Today's theme is Keep a Contented Heart.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of year. I'm sure it is that way for a lot of people. For me, it is my favorite because it seems like everyone is just a little happier -- a little more grateful -- maybe even a little more friendly. Maybe it is the beautiful decorations or happy Christmas music that plays at this time of year? These things can serve as reminders of happy times and help us shift our focus. Or maybe it is the December Daily, Journal Your Christmas, Elf on the Shelf, etc. activities. If you participate in these sorts of projects, you can find others who are just as excited about the season and can't help but feel like you are in the present and a little less focused on the external aspects.
Even though people definitely get stressed out about finding the perfect gift, not having enough money, fighting crowds in stores, getting overwhelmed by time commitments, dealing with family dramas or endless other issues, it still seems like there is an underlying tone of happiness. Or maybe that is wishful thinking on my part?
It is also the end of the year when we can reflect back on the memories of all of the months before. Each November, I end up freaking out a little because I realize all that I didn't accomplish that I wanted to in the year, but for some reason, in December, I start to marvel at all that has happened in the year and how we've made it through a little stronger, a little better, and sometimes a lot happier.
As an example... back in January I was able to spend six hours in Paris. Six hours. In Paris. Not much time at all, I know, but it was amazing and magical. It was a crazy whirlwind event and almost more trouble than it was worth (for most people), but it was a dream come true for me. I have been able to see and touch the Eiffel Tower (and take tons of pictures of it from almost every angle). I was in an abbey in England for ten days. I was *not* in a plane crash. I went to New York. I saw some of New Jersey. I earned my MFA. I saw so many of Little Mister's "firsts" this year, it makes my heart swell. We welcomed Conan to the family in April. Tim found out he had cancer. He had surgery and no longer has cancer. Then Kate (our Boston) got cancer, had surgery and is okay. We were able to look up some family history at Ellis Island. We also looked at some family history in Tim's family's old albums/papers. We finished renovating Tim's parents' house and sold that for them. Jessica got an amazing job opportunity and is doing so well in the new position; I'm so proud of her. I've written about 20,000 words of a novel. I started a second Masters program. I've taken several thousand pictures. We've completed a bunch of fun crafty projects. We discovered Pinterest and have tons more to do. So much has happened.
I know I cannot keep up with scrapbooking everything, and there are a lot of things I wouldn't scrapbook, but there are so many rich memories, it amazes me. How do you keep up with it all?
I just know that at this time of the year, I have a contented heart. Yes, I still get grumpy at times. Yes, I get frustrated by people and want to smack some of them upside their heads. Yes, I get caught up in family drama and frustration. But it is somehow tempered by the contentment and love and doesn't seem so horribly bad.
What does the holiday season or the end of the year do to you? Is your heart content?
Next up on the blog hop is Scrapworthy Lives
Below is the full list of links for participating blogs. Please check them out!
Kiss & Tell Scrapbooking
Our Life with Spiky Potatoes
Scraps & Sass
Slice of Life
Take a Picture and Remember This
This Kalil Life
Your Memory Connection