Positivity Starts At Home

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 33 of 84

 When I was growing up I often heard the expression, “Charity begins at home.” Well, what does that mean? Does anyone even use that expression any more? What is Charity?

The expression meant that you should take care of your family and people close to you before you worry about helping others. What was implied was that the church should worry less about foreign aid and focus on helping the needy here at home. And finally, if you really want to make the world a better place, start by being polite to your sister. Charity begins at home.

Today I am suggesting that like charity, positivity begins at home. Can you imagine being a scowling, grumbling grouch at home and then going out to greet the world with a big smile and a helpful attitude? I know, it happens, but the face you put on for your family is your real face, not the one everyone else sees. It’s the face that shows your true disposition.

Family is our greatest treasure and our incredible joy, and when we finally realize that fact, we can cultivate a happy and loving one. If we speak kindly, tell our children and spouses that we love them and follow up with respect for them, then we will have a happy and positive life.

On days that I am the scowling, grumbling grouch that goes out the door and then pastes on the smile for my friends to see, I don’t feel very positive about myself. I feel like a phony and sad that I wasn’t kind and loving to the people that mean the very most to me in the whole world.

family

Here are some ways to be positive at home:

– Keep the house free of clutter; make it peaceful

– Cherish your family by making a healthy meal

– Make someone’s bed

– Smile, smile, smile

– Have a kind word for a family member who is struggling

– Put candles on the table at mealtime, and light them

– Say, “Thank you!”

Ok, now its your turn.  How will you find ways to be positive at home this weekend?

couch

  Today I am happy and grateful for:

1. My family

2. Supper all prepared for me last evening

3. A confidante who is helping me to become a better person

4. People who read my blog and encourage me

5. Prayers of so many people after my son’s accident

Music And The Mind

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 32 of 84

Consider this: Music can be stimulating, arousing, calming, relaxing, stressful, irritating, melancholy, melodious, uplifting and it can change your mood, feed your emotions and make you buy things you don’t need.

Don’t believe it?

-Think of the last time you were out shopping. This time of year the shops are filled with Christmas music, which puts people in a generous mood to buy more expensive and classy gifts. Or, like me, it can cause panic because it reminds me that time is running out to get it all done.

-When I am on the treadmill, the more lively the music I play, the better workout I get in. If the music stops or there is a slower song, the quality of my workout suffers.

-When people are stressed they often put on some music that will help take their mind off what is getting to them.

-What was it about Susan Boyle’s first performance of ‘I Dreamed a Dream” in Britain’s Got Talent that brought appreciative tears to your eyes in 2009?

When I was going through my divorce and needed something to fill the airspace besides my dark thoughts, I would sing along with Shania Twain’s “UP”, or Buddy Wassisname’s  “Is You ‘appy?” These songs never failed to make me laugh and change my focus while I belted them out at top volume.

And then there was someone I knew during that time who introduced me to a lot of music, and I wondered why the songs always made me cry. He was a depressed person, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was only some years later that I replayed that music and I realized that it was all depressing and about unrequited love, lost relationships and sadness in general. Some of those songs were:

Hurt – Johnny Cash

Sylvia’s Mother – Dr Hook

Alone again, naturally – Gilbert O’Sullivan

When My Ship Came Back To Shore – Alice Gerrard

Tonight I’ll Be Lonely – Allison Krause

Love Hurts – Gram Parsons

Crying – Roy Orbison

It’s A Heartache – Bonnie Tyler

No wonder I couldn’t ‘get over it’.

Nowadays I like to listen to a mix of classical music, oldies and a little jazz, but when I need a good laugh I always go back to Buddy Wassisname. It has the power to instantly change my mood and my perspective; and it makes me laugh my head off.

I dare you to listen to the whole song but especially the words. If it doesn’t make you laugh then you’re a tougher person than I.

Today I am happy and grateful for

1. The coffee that Dave prepares for me every evening so that in the morning I just have to push the button.

2. Safe trip to Antigonish yesterday

3. To have seen my son and give him a hug

4. For yet another great deal at Michael’s

5. An offer of help from an unexpected source.

 

Clutter and the Mind

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 31 of 84

 I’ve noticed that my environment affects my mood. When I go into the kitchen to do some cooking or baking, the very first thing I do is to clean up the workspace. I need clean counters, free of clutter and a clean sink, or I become catatonic and am not able to get started.

It’s the same thing with my office. That room becomes a gathering place for all things personal, like writing, gift giving, reading, paperwork, knitting and whatever else I have on the go. There are notes to self, photos, receipts and bank statements on my desk. It’s my personal space and I guess it becomes a reflection of my state of mind at any given time.

Just like the kitchen, its difficult to get much done when the place looks like a cyclone hit it. Very often my desk is piled with the week’s ‘stuff’ so much so that I have to sit in the easy chair to write. I’m trying to clean it up once a week. Sometimes it works, but often it gets a little out of control.

One glance at that desk crowded with bits of just about every aspect of my life is an incredible distraction to focusing on the task at hand.

desk*Unedited pic of my desk extremely recently

It’s depressing.

But when my desk is tidy, it is more conducive to getting some work done.

desk2See the difference?

Did you ever notice that when you visit people who are chronically depressed and negative, that often their home is  full of clutter? I listened to a woman speak at a conference many years ago about her debilitating depression and how it was ruining not only her own life but her family’s life as well. She told us of how she was counseled to clean up her home, and start to get rid of the clutter and disorderliness. She got to work, and it took a long time, but with the help of her family she was able to accomplish the task. Out went bags of things they weren’t using and spaces were tidied up. There had been a lot of garbage lying around, broken toys, clothing all over the place, and her cupboards were a disaster area.

When her house was cleaned up and she learned a method of maintaining the tidiness, she became a much more positive and happy person.

The depression lifted.

Wow!

I am not saying that being cured of depression is as simplistic as cleaning up the house; what I am saying is that getting rid of the clutter is a great first step to a more positive mindset that can help to alleviate some symptoms of depression. I have noticed this in my own life time and again.

Today I am thankful

1. For the Knitting Ninnies

2. That no trees fell on our property during last evening’s windstorm

3. For my close friends

4. For an orderly living room that I love to sit in with Dave

5. For a good day of accomplishment yesterday

 

 

 

A Compliment Complements YOU

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 30 of 84

 I am a Michael’s junkie; I admit it. When the store flyers come every week I rush through the hardware store, the grocery store and the specialty store flyers until I come to the prize- Michael’s Arts and Crafts! Sometimes their specials are nothing short of spectacular, and I find all sorts of things I didn’t know I needed.

michaels

Yesterday there were some great specials advertised and coupons to go with them, like Christmas ribbon 70% off and half price yarn, and a coupon for 30% more off. Along with droves of other women I patiently stood in line to pay for my treasures and finally found myself in front of a cashier who looked vaguely familiar.

No way, I thought, it couldn’t be the same person.

I remembered one day last year when I was exchanging some yarn and this girl helped me out. She was dressed in black, was at least 50 pounds overweight and had dark circles under her eyes, long greasy hair and an expression that said, “Don’t mess with me.” She looked like she was in pain.

And so I said to her, “Are you having a rough day?”

She told me all about her bad back and the medications she was taking that left her drained and ‘not all there’. I told her I was sorry she had to suffer all that.

And then I was gone.

This girl had the same hair, but now it wasn’t greasy. She was slimmer and her eyes were bright. With a white blouse and some well-applied makeup she looked great and she was smiling. I knew there was a lineup of people waiting to pay for their treasures, but I couldn’t keep silent.

“You used to have a bad back, right?”

“Yes I did.”

“But you don’t have that problem any more, right?”

“No, I’m feeling much better now, thank you.”

“What made the difference for you?”

“Well, I got off all my meds, started eating right and exercising. I lost a lot of weight and most of my physical problems just left me.”

And then I told her that I noticed a huge difference in her, that she looked fantastic, healthy and happy. She thanked me for not only noticing and asking about her health, but also for the great compliment.

She said, “You made my day; no, you made my week! Thank you so much!”

She was all smiles. Me too.

As I went through the rest of my day, things just got better and better. My mood was upbeat and positive to the point that anything was possible. I went to do some errands with a feeling that I had touched someone’s life in a good way, and I found that my attitude was contagious. Everywhere I went, there was good conversation and laughter.

I had no negative thoughts. None.

Giving a compliment not only makes the receiver feel great; it also does something to the person giving it. I’ve found that like yesterday, when I tell someone they have a great smile, or a positive attitude, or that their effort shows results, it makes me feel good as well.

It takes the focus off me, and that is always a good thing. I think I will find someone else to compliment today. How about you?

 Today I am thankful

1. That I was able to brighten someone’s day

2. To have found a Coach purse at a consignment shop!

3. That someone wants to see my car (please, please buy it)

4. For great sales at Michael’s

5. For a wonderful meal out with Dave last evening.

 

Positively Supermom

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 29 of 84

 The Positively No Negativity Challenge is now one third done. How am I doing? Well, I have managed to ‘put myself out there’ as I said I would, and in so doing I’ve become a much more positive person. I am not where I want to be yet, but I’m seeing progress.

I smile more.

I’m not quite as fatalistic as I was a month ago.

I’m finding solutions for dealing with certain problems rather than whining about them.

I am more able to put issues in their proper perspective and worry less about them.

I like myself more.

Well that’s a good start. All that being said, and as I’m being so positive this morning, last evening was another story. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Sometimes having a light and positive attitude can be shattered by just a little thing and that can turn into an avalanche. See, yesterday I started fretting about my old car that is still not sold and all the negative thoughts came in: I’ll have to store it for the winter, it’s a rotten car and no one will buy it, I’ll have to haul it away to the junkyard, and so on.

That brought me on to worry about my son’s concussion and that he will never heal, he’ll scrap his school year and why can’t I make it better for him.

As if that wasn’t bad enough I started thinking about Christmas and all the things I have to do in the next couple of weeks: I don’t have time, I don’t have ideas for gifts, I don’t have enough money to buy them, I’ll gain ten pounds from all the baking and I’m not up to being Supermom this year.

So, armed with all that negativity, I started picking at the only other person around: my poor husband. He did manage to talk me down, but not before I whined loudly and clearly.

Poor him.

So this morning I am trying to put all these things in perspective. What happened to that perky, positive person I was just two days ago? Well she’s still here but now she has to start goal setting for the next couple of weeks and making lists of things she can accomplish day by day. She needs to go visit her son and make sure he’s ok, but most importantly, she needs to look at her blessings and to thank God for everything in her life, both the good and the not-so-good.

So here we go…

Today I am thankful

1. That my son only has a concussion. It could have been so much worse.

2. That I don’t need to sell my car to put food on the table.

3. That my kids are coming home for Christmas (and I will be Supermom)

4. That my husband loves me even when I am not lovable.

5. That God loves me anyway.

ziggy

 

 

 

You’ve Had Better, But You’ve Had Worse

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 28 of 84

 In small town Nova Scotia some years back there was a man named Harry Crackenback. * Harry was slightly mentally challenged but the whole town knew him and they humored him. On an evening in winter, Harry used to go down to the local pub and take his place at a table where someone would buy him a beer or two. Back then there was a little stage and a microphone where anyone with a semblance of talent could get up and entertain the group. The stool behind that microphone was just too inviting, and so after a couple of beers, Harry used to get up with his accordion and spin out a ditty or two for the group.

mike

He wasn’t very good and he knew it but that never stopped Harry. After his song, there would be some polite applause, after which he used to say, “Thank you. You’ve heard better, but you’ve heard worse.”

What a great and positive attitude!

We use Harry’s line in our house whenever something isn’t up to par , and it adds a little humor to a potentially tense situation:

If dinner is not up to par: “You’ve had better, but you’ve had worse.”

When a movie at the theatre is lousy, “We’ve seen better, but we’ve seen worse.”

When the hotel bed is shaped like a banana, “We’ve slept in better, but we’ve slept in worse.”

When the coffee tastes like dishwater, “I’ve had better, but I’ve had worse.”

On a disappointing vacation, “We’ve gone to better places, but we’ve gone to worse.”

And then we laugh about it.

And so it is in life, you’ve had better but you’ve had worse. When I was going through a very dark time a few years ago, on the days I was feeling so down and out and hopeless about my situation, I would meet someone who was worse off than me. That always helped me to put things in perspective. Things were not good, but they could have been much worse.

Today I am happy and grateful for:

1. A quiet and restful Sunday

2. A successful craft show on the weekend

3. Being a member of my church

4. The duvet on my bed that is so warm and comfy

5. My brother-in-law who makes me laugh without even trying.

*Not his real name

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grinch No More

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 26 of 84

 The past few years I have had a hard time to get into the Christmas spirit. After my divorce in 2004, Christmas became a time of loneliness and hardship, even with my precious children around me. I went through the motions but there was an emptiness that I just couldn’t shake.

Then in 2009 I remarried and moved 1300 kilometers away with my youngest son and so my children have not been home together for Christmas since that time.

Really you could say that I have been negative on Christmas for the past few years. When Dave talked about putting up the tree, I would just let him go ahead but my heart wasn’t really in it. When he wanted to put up lights outside, I would naysay that as well. And then talk of gifts, baking and parties just put me in a tailspin. I would have cancelled Christmas if it was in my power. You could say I was a right proper Grinch.

 Grinch

grɪntʃ/

N. Amer.informal

noun: Grinch; plural noun: Grinches

1. a spoilsport or killjoy.

It’s not that I planned nor wanted to be like that. It just was. About the only thing I really enjoyed was going to the Christmas service at church and singing the carols. That always brought me back to a day when life was much more simple and peaceful.

This year promises to be different.

I had some wonderful news this week- two out of three of my sons and my daughter-in-law will be coming home for Christmas!!! I am making food plans, activity plans, decorating plans, gift plans and party plans. Excitement reigns.

Interesting, isn’t it, how my Christmas disposition has been at the mercy of what other people are or are not doing. I wonder if my new positive attitude had anything to do with the imminent arrival of my cherished family.

Now there’s something to think about.

christmas

 Today I am happy and grateful for:

1. Hubby’s help at the craft show today

2. Making two new friends who make me laugh like crazy

3. Something amazing to look forward to this Christmas

4. A special ceremony at church tomorrow

5. An undisturbed quiet time every morning