So today is the first day of my Happier at Home Challenge and I finished reading the first chapter, Preparation from Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. In it she lays out her four truths of happiness:
1. To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
2. One of the best ways to make myself happy is make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself.
3. The days are long, but the years are short.
4. I’m not happy unless I think I’m happy.
Next, she fleshes out these ideas a bit and it really resonated with me, so I grabbed a piece of paper and brainstormed some things that I thought of while I was reading:
- Waking up to a clean kitchen and a clean dining room table: This makes it about 1,000% easier to begin our school day.
- Keeping the house picked up: It doesn’t have to be spotless, but I feel better when I don’t risk breaking my neck to walk across my kids’ bedrooms to kiss them goodnight.
- Having an easy rhythm to our day: I don’t want a strict, timed schedule to follow, but I do love when our days just flow like a gentle stream because we know what we are to be about and we just do it.
- Time to relax with each other: Straight from supper to bed without time to hang out as a family does not make me feel good. I feel like I missed out on something special and wonderful.
- Time to talk with Preacher Man each night: After the kids are in bed, I love when we take the time to sit and chat with each other about our days, what projects we’re working on, or whatever is on our mind.
- Unexpected Visitors: Puts me in a funk every time when I can’t even open the door all the way or invite them inside because my house looks like we’ve had tornadic activity in the house.
- Too Much Stuff: When everything oozes onto the floor, counters, shelves, stuffed in closets because our house is full of useless junk.
- Chasing the Clock: I hate days (which are most of them) where I feel like the clock is my taskmaster and I keep pushing and rushing the children.
- No Interaction Beyond School: When the day has ended, it doesn’t feel right if I can’t think of some special time I spent with each of my kids beyond school work.
- Priority on God: When our home feels the most right is when I’m being diligent with my Bible study and prayer and when the children and I study and pray together.
- Priority on Family: My perfect days are when we do nothing but be with each other all day.
- Priority on Fun: Our house doesn’t feel right unless there is much laughter and happy squeals.
- Priority on Harmony: Not necessarily everyone getting along (although that’s nice!), but when our routines run smoothly, our spirits seem in tune with God, and our down time is shared.
Atmosphere of Growth
- Tracking my Progress: It always helps me to see my improvements visually. It encourages me and lets me know I’ve had more successes than failures.
- Less Procrastination: If I want to grow our home into the good and right things while minimizing the bad, then I have to DO something. I can’t blog about it, dream about it, or whine and complain about it, I need action. Now.
- Analyze Everything in My Home: I ran across this quote the other day which basically summarizes how I want our home to grow and what will encourage us to grow spiritually,
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
Happy Other = Happy Me
- Try to Make Someone Happy: Beyond normal cooking, cleaning, etc. try to make someone in my sphere of influence happy each day. Above and beyond the basics.
- Make Myself Happy Each Day: Be selfish and do one thing just for my sheer enjoyment each day!
Long Days, Short Years
- Focus on Now: As sad as this thought makes me it’s true. Chipette turned 9 in November, which means she is halfway through her time under our roof if she leaves home at 18 to go to college. At the most, we might have a few more years beyond that. I choose to focus on NOW and be in the moment, every moment that I have with them.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” ~ Book of Proverbs
Even if I don’t feel happy, even if I want to have a pity party, I need to try to think happy as much as possible. If I have to fake it, so be it, but I want my initial response to be happy. No one wants to be THAT person on Facebook whose status updates are always negative and complaining.
So these things are the beginning of being happier at home. I look forward to fleshing some of these ideas out and getting my hands dirty with making home a place where my family wants to be more than anywhere else. Because it’s happy here.
Next month, I’ll be working on chapter two, Possessions: Find a True Simplicity.
Putting on a happy face in the tree house,