Sunday, February 13, 2011

In search of INSPIRATION...... and happiness, every day

WARNING - very long post!!!
It has been ages since I last posted anything on my little blog here! I have no clue where the time has gone - or what I've done with it!!! But I do know that I have been in search....

Over the Christmas holidays I took a good close look at my family, and how we were all doing and feeling and wanting to do/be/try/discontinue (yes it's OK to say that too!). I noticed that all of us had become fully immersed in the weekly grind - Yuck! It's Monday........Yeah! It's Friday! Groundhog Day - everyday! And that is just not right! The kids are only 4 and 6 - and even they were thinking this!  We needed some good New Year's resolutions for happiness and INSPIRATION.
Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong, really. We are very fortunate is so many ways - good jobs, good health, family, friends, interests, etc. - but we were all still not quite "Happy" or I really mean "Happy as we could, and should, be". So I went off in search of INSPIRATION.

I started with myself. Because as the saying goes "If Mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
I know for sure I like to do crafty things - any kind of craft really. And yet I hadn't done any in a long time. Why? I just wasn't INSPIRED. I NEEDED INSPIRATION - and yes, happiness. So I tackled it just like a regular project: assessed the issue, figured out what INSPIRED me and made me happy, brainstormed ideas on what to do - and tackled it head on.  So, with my list of thoughts and interests, I went on-line and did some hunting on anything and everything that I could take classes on that looked interesting, didn't need a lot of supplies I didn't have and didn't require any particular pre-requisite skill or huge time commitment. It needed to be attainable, actionable and DIFFERENT!  I needed INSPIRATION and I needed some new experiences to do that. Here's what I came up with as a monthly, short-term plan:

JANUARY - a class called "Special Gift Giving" at a scrapbook store close to work called Scrapbook Queens. I signed up for this mainly because of the glass pendants, as I had a kit of this in my craft cupboard but had never made anything with it - so I needed instruction and INSPIRATION.  I took the class and here are the results:

I learned some new techniques, made 2 necklaces: one for me and one for DD which we both wore the next day, I met a few new ladies, got a night away from my usual routine and found a bit of INSPIRATION.  It might not necessarily be my "style" but it met my criteria! Off to a good start. CHECK, DONE!

And when discussing my INSPIRATION and happiness quest with a coworker one day over lunch, she mentioned that she knew of a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I gave you the link to the book, but I bought my audiobook at iTunes) which sounded very similar to what I was doing.  A lady tried to find happiness in her life through different thing, thoughts and actions.  So I came home and bought the audiobook. Yes, not the print book because I don't really take the time to sit and actively read things that require too much time - but I did have at least 2 hours each day of wasted time in my car (and I hate wasted time!) so the audiobook was the solution.  I am loving the book, learning lots, finding things and thoughts that are similar to mine and also finding INSPIRATION.  CHECK, DONE!

FEBRUARY - a class called "Introduction to Mixed Media/Collage", again at the Scrapbook Queens store.  I have no clue what it's all about - but I have picked out a photo, selected a saying from the selection they had - and I am ready to go on Thursday.  Something new to try and learn about - and hopefully get INSPIRATION from.  I'll post my results once I take the class.
I also signed up for 4 classes on "Digital Painting" at a local art studio which I started on Saturday.  Interesting so far - and INSPIRING. I learned about Photoshop techniques in this first class - and will start back once again after the Family Day long weekend here in Ontario.  I'll post my results when I'm done.

MARCH - I am planning on taking a class on making lampwork glass beads from a local artisan who has a studio nearby.  It involves an open flame and hot glass - how much trouble do you think I can get into??!! 

APRIL - I have signed up for a class called "Playing with Food" at a local cooking store. This is where they make interesting table displays and tealights out of regular everyday food items.  Looks interesting.  I also signed DH and I up for a class this same month at the same cooking store on brushing up your BBQ techniques.  Again - something different to try and experience and find INSPIRATION from.  And yes DH is not immune from my happiness quest, so I rolled him into my plans (I'm easing him in, he's not exactly jumping in with both feet for himself although he is 100% supporting my quest!)

Other things I am looking into are glass blowing, photography, painting, Photoshop and other things like that.  We'll see what I find.

Next I tackled DD.  I knew she didn't like the gymnastics class I have had her signed up for - for what appears to be 4 years now. So, I phoned them and discontinued her registration for this.  She was relieved.  Yes, it's OK to say you don't like something - as long as you tried your best, and gave it a chance.  Nothing lost if you tried something new.
So here is her plan:

JANUARY - Discontinued gymnastics - CHECK, DONE!  Resumed art class that she loves - CHECK, DONE!  She loves this, and here is one of her paintings.  I think it is fantastic, she's only 6!  Daddy has it in his office to show everyone - he's so proud.

I also signed her up for Hip Hop dance class.  Fun, exercise and some confidence building too.  She loves it, so another CHECK, DONE!

MARCH - start piano lessons.  I used to teach piano - and tried to teach DD.  Unfortunately, we started skipping lessons as things got busy, and I just didn't set aside the time to do it.  So I have signed her up with a teacher to do weekly lessons starting after March Break.

Next I tackled the Family as a whole: we as a family like to snowmobile in the winter, and we also like to go different places on the weekends and stay in hotels to explore the area. The problem is that there are 4 of us and only 1 snowmobile. What to do?

JANUARY - We bought a second snowmobile!  It's used, but in perfect condition and is a real source of fun for us.  We've been out and about every weekend so far on the trails and exploring.  Time spent with the kids, with the family all together, outdoors in the fresh air - FUN! Here is the new machine!

FEBRUARY - We have just booked a snowmobile weekend away for the 4 of us and the 2 machines in Haliburton for a winter wilderness adventure.  Snowmobile trails, skating, bonfires with marshmallows, indoor pool, games room, etc. Something new and INSPIRING!  Can't wait.  And I have a digital photobook all set up on-line to insert our photos into and print out when we get back - a lasting memory of the new adventure for all of us to enjoy over and over again.
One other thing that is small, but a big source of unhappines for me is a spot that the whole family uses to pile dirty laundry after our work/school day.  Instead of going to our rooms and putting the clothes there- they always seem to collect in 1 spot by a bathroom, but in a hallway, all week long!  Drives me crazy!  Then I saw a page full of decorative laundry hampers reviewed in Canadian House & Home magazine and I sent DH off to buy a particular one from our local store on Saturday - and Voila!  Problem solved, and it looks nice too!  Everytime I walk by it now I have a huge sense of happiness!  Small thing, big results!

We are also going to eat healthier - all 4 of us.  With the busy schedule we end up eating out on the run or ordering in because of lack of time.  No more!  I am working on this now - and will keep you posted on what I come up with.

MARCH - March Break is coming up and we always go to London, Ontario for a few days to our favourite hotel where they cater to the kids: face painting, balloon animals, clowns, movie nights with a popcorn machine, temporary tattoos, crafts, etc.  So we'll book that again - for more family fun!

And I think I might have my Mum signed up to try some new things with me too.  And my friend P.I.T.A. - I haven't forgotten about you - I have plans to include you too, so fair warning! Make sure you pencil in the Friday in April for the Creative Festival with me!

So - that's the plan and we are already into the second month of it - and I am pleased with the results.  I was also pleased to get some new ideas and actionables from listening to The Hapiness Project.  I think I might slip out today and buy the actual book too - for me to take closer looks at the various lists Gretchen refers to.

How about you?  Make sure you find time for happiness and INSPIRATION because life is too short!
Until next time, have a great day!

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