Monday, November 24, 2014

The Happiness Project

Happiness…what does it mean?

It's interesting…I looked up the definition online, and I chuckled when I read that it meant, "the state of being happy." Yup - that certainly explains it, huh??!!

Which does beg the question, though…what makes you happy?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately…most likely due to my feelings of sadness that have shadowed me since losing my father last month. I've felt burdened by tears and grief, and believing that my life was void of happiness. Sometimes, when faced with overwhelming grief or joylessness, it can be hard to find the small moments in life that make us happy…it's as if we can't be happy unless something huge or major comes along that surrounds us with glee and delight…and that's not a good thing.

We sometimes need to be reminded to find the happiness in the small things.

I needed a good kick in the butt reminder of this, and so I'm grateful to a friend, Kathi, who challenged me to find three things a day that bring happiness…no matter how big, no matter how small. And, of course, being the competitive person that I am, I will ALWAYS rise up to a challenge (or a dare, but we won't go there!), and so yesterday, I deliberately and determinedly looked for those small things that made me smile.

And boy - was I surprised by the results.

I didn't find just THREEE things yesterday…oh, no.

The day ended up being full of moments that brought a smile to my face…a warmth to my heart…pleasure to my soul.

The day began with a bowl of warm potato soup for breakfast:

Yes. I said potato soup for breakfast.

DO NOT JUDGE ME on my breakfast choice!!!

I had made a HUGE batch of homemade potato soup on Saturday, deliberately making extra so we'd have leftovers. And on Sunday morning, a nice, warm bowl of potato soup - with some cheese and bacon on top - sounded perfect for breakfast.

And it was. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Happy, happy, happy.

After breakfast, I said a quick goodbye to Hubby and Daughter, and then headed to a Ladies Holiday Brunch and Ornament Exchange. For three hours, I giggled, laughed, drank delicious mimosas, and played a cutthroat game of Swipe the Ornament with some delightful and super-fun women:

Okay, so we don't look like we're having much fun in this picture, but BLAME THE PHOTOGRAPHER (me!), because this is so not representative of the laughter - to the point of tears - that ensued later! I think we were actually listening to our hostess go over the rules of the game here…which is why we're all looking a bit serious. Stealing ornaments from someone else is definitely serious business, for sure.

I was also tickled because I was sitting next to THIS girl, Suzie, one of my BFF's - going all the way back to high school:

Suzie can always make me laugh and bring me out of a funk, which is a good thing…girlfriends are definitely good for the soul.

When it was my turn to play, I made a beeline for THIS set of ornaments and stole them from another lady:

I really, really, really liked these - as I decorate one of the rooms in my house with a woodsy theme, highlighted with bronze ornaments…these would go PERFECT in my house!! I did feel a tad guilty about swiping these beauties from the other lady, but I was assured it was all part of the game. My happiness in having scored the perfect ornaments overshadowed the guilt, though, so after a heartfelt apology to the original owner, I left the party very, very happy.

Hubby and I then headed down to the Kauffman Center to catch the matinee performance of Mannheim Steamroller:

The Kauffman Center is truly a gem here in Kansas City, and I'm always impressed at the beauty of the venue:

Pictures do NOT do it justice, as it will blow your mind pretty much every time you visit.

Before the show, I took a selfie of Hubby and I:

I'm a lucky girl, so this guy always makes me happy. I think the lady behind me doesn't look too happy, though - maybe she's sleeping…or most likely, checking her phone. Let's hope.

So, the concert was pretty amazing…I love the music of Mannheim Steamroller…so soothing, so relaxing, and so cool to watch them perform it live with the entire orchestra on stage. One song, though, had me in tears - Auld Lange Syne. Gah. I couldn't help but think of my Dad, and so I shed a few.

After the concert, it was going on 6:00 pm - and dinner was now in store. Hubby took me to one of my favorite restaurants, the Grand Street Cafe. And there, I was thrilled to discover they had a gluten-free pasta now on the menu:

This was a buckwheat farfalle "Mac & Cheese" dish - made with sun gold tomato, olive oil, fried kale, fontina cheese, pecorino & romano cheese, and smokehouse bacon.


It was delicious. And gluten-free, to boot!!!


And truly one of the best parts of the day were the pants that I was wearing:

I splurged on these Antonio Melani wool pants two years ago - after falling in love with the beautiful pattern & bronze/gold ribbon running through them - but I was a little too thick-in-the-middle to wear them.


This running has definitely paid off, as I managed to fit into these pants all day yesterday with ROOM TO SPARE!!!!

Woot. Woot.

Happy, happy, happy - that was me!!!!

Strangely enough, I had a very, very vivid dream last night - about my Dad…and in my dream, my Dad was admonishing me for being gloomy and sad…telling me I needed to get on with life and enjoy the moments…coincidence???



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