Spread the Joy – Enjoying the Hard Life

hardlifecoverBack in college I briefly dated a guy who taught me how to drive a stick shift. We borrowed my friend Romi’s little Ford Escort and drove around deserted back roads so I could practice. I was awful. My date was very sweet and patient but after several hours of me stalling at every stop and losing speed as I struggled to find the next gear and the occasional grinding, he finally said, “I don’t want to make you feel bad, but it seems like you should be catching on by now.”  Shortly after that, I dropped him off and drove back to my dorm without a single hitch. I never had another problem driving a stick shift after that night.

The story always makes me laugh because it’s so typically me. It’s like I have to make every mistake possible before I can figure out the right way to do things. And then I’m golden. The downside is it’s probably best to steer clear of me when I’m learning something new. The upside is that on the other end, I can tell you about any mistake a person can make and how to find your way out of it. And it’s in this spirit that I wrote The Upside Down World’s Guide to Enjoying the Hard Life.

If there’s a counter-productive, neurotic or unhealthy way to approach life, it was probably a habit of mine at some point in the past. In this book, I share 45 of my favorite ideas, practices and attitude adjustments which have allowed me to overcome my worst tendencies and enjoy my often difficult life. The essays are quick, easy to read, good humored and practical. No lectures or theological treatises. Just lots of ideas for how to be more mindful, self-compassionate, forgiving, happy, grateful and at ease with yourself, your life and the people in it. There’s even an index to help you find which essays to turn to when struggling with everything from anxiety to guilt to forgiveness to relationships and more. Continue reading “Spread the Joy – Enjoying the Hard Life”

Bloggy Linky Goodness

OK, my week had eight days in it this week. But it’s a holiday, so you won’t notice anyways and we’ll just keep it to ourselves, k? BTW, can anyone tell me if hyper-dramatic 6 year old girls ever work the histrionics out of their system. Or is this just our ramp up for her teen years? Cuz if she keeps this up, her bedroom door might end up as damaged as mine is from all the slamming. Although maybe that would help – I haven’t slammed my bedroom door in ages because it’s completely borked now. The doors in this house just weren’t built to stand up to a woman with a difficult marriage and 5 or 6 kids. IJS

So moving on . . . it’s Bloggy Linky Goodness! I know you’re all so excited. And really impressed with my semi-consistancy with getting this up 6 whole times now. This is amazing stuff from the woman who forms tendencies the way other people form habits. Well, I do have one habit – I read everyfreakingthing. Which is good for you because now I can tell you which things out of everyfreakingthing are most worth reading. Here goes: Continue reading “Bloggy Linky Goodness”

Mary the Grocery Store Lady and Me, Me, Me!

Last night I went to the local grocery store and saw that Mary had dyed her hair. I was a bit surprised. Mary never struck me as the hair dying sort. The cigarette smoking, beer drinking with her family sort, yes. Mary works overnights at the local grocery store and she kind of intimidates me. She’s not like the nice, cheery ladies who work during the day. Mary doesn’t look at you and she doesn’t care if you found everything you were looking for. She wears prescription sunglasses inside, is thin as a rail and moves like a man. I always think she hates me but I’ve watched her with other people and either she hates them too or that’s just the way she is.

I always try to talk to Mary. I hate how unfriendly people are around where I live, so I make a point of talking to people when I’m out. It’s my little protest. And I just think it’s right to be friendly. However, I’m actually pretty shy and easily intimidated. So when I run into someone like Mary I have to work up the nerve just to say “hi” and ask how it’s going. I don’t always make it. I feel like she’s so fiercely determined not to look at you and keep her mouth set in a straight line because she doesn’t want anyone to talk to her. But if I don’t even try to talk to her, I’m convinced that she thinks it’s because I’m a stupid, fat cow who thinks she’s to good to talk to a person like her. Which right there is a good demonstration of why it’s not healthy to try to put yourself into the head of a stranger. You’re just making crap up. Continue reading “Mary the Grocery Store Lady and Me, Me, Me!”

Am I Still A Good Person if I Can’t Pay the Bills?

My husband wouldn’t want me telling you this, but I’m sitting here waiting for water to heat up on the stove so my girls can take a bath. Because the water heater broke last week and we don’t have money to fix it. It joins the washer, dryer, 6 car tires, van, sedan, kindle, 3 DVD players, dishwasher, computer and 4 kitchen chairs that have broken … Continue reading Am I Still A Good Person if I Can’t Pay the Bills?