Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Happiness is fleeting. In my life, the feeling of being happy shifts like the weather – the only surety is a change in and out and in again of happiness.

I’m imagining you might relate? It’s rare for anyone to be happy every day. (By-the-way, being joyful is a different story from the average happy moment. Read some thoughts about JOY here.)

Most of us merely want to have more happy days than we’re already experiencing.

Just like choosing to live in one part of the continent with more days of sunshine, than a different part of the continent with fewer sunny days, we do have the choice to structure our lives to experience more moments of happiness.

Is every day sunny? No. Will every moment be happy? Of course not. However, you can…

Structure your happiness – 100 days experiment!

Just so you know, I don’t think you need a special book, app or planner to take action toward structuring more happiness in your life. Purchasing something isn’t necessary. You could design your own map, print your own tracking pages, or just use a plain notebook to make notes.

The idea is to have a plan and then track progress over a period of time.

Happiness 100 days - plan to have more days of happiness.

I ordered the 100-day Happiness Planner for my birthday a few years ago. It was during a hard time. No tragedies – just life.

During this time I felt like I needed to take strong, decisive steps to structure my days to include opportunities to feel happy. I looked at many programs, considered creating one of my own, and then – for my needs – I decided to invest in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

This resource provided certain properties I needed:

  • a short period – 100 days is just over 3 months – to try new ways to structure my days/weeks and experiment with specific goals
  • no particular dates (undated) so I could write in my own dates and begin/end as I chose.
  • opportunity for reflection – questions and room to journal my thoughts
  • planning space for daily and weekly events
  • space to record thankfulness every day/week
  • a way to track what I was learning via Scripture and actively listening in church services
  • positive affirmations (although, I replaced some with God-honoring statements for the ones I didn’t like.)
  • and more – you can read about the 100 Day Happiness Planner here – I liked this resource so much that I became an affiliate.

This site, PostiveThanksLiving.com grew out of my time working in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

What do you need to structure happiness into your life?

More happy moments may not happen all by themselves. Sometimes we need a boost, a trigger, or a tool.

I hope this site, which grew from my time of reflection, can be a boost and trigger for your life. My goal is to provide positivity and gratitude prompts so we all have what we need to add some happiness into our life.

What other tools to structure happiness could you use?

Maybe you need to focus on adding some healthy boundaries to your life? This is a good book to learn how to do that.

Perhaps you feel it’s time to pursue deepening your marriage.

  • Rob and I talk about this book with couples all the time. It’s practical and easy to implement, no matter in what state your relationships exists.
  • Or maybe your marriage is just fine, but you need to do some planning as a couple – this is an excellent resource.

Have you ever done a “vision board”? In simple terms, it’s a collection of photos/images of what you’re working toward pasted or printed onto one paper. (I couldn’t find a resource to link to here, so I guess I’ll be creating one in the future!)

What other tools do you need?

Leave a comment – what has helped you find more happiness in your life in the past?

structure your happiness with the 100 days of happiness planner
Click here to explore this resource – but remember, it’s not necessary to buy this – you could do it on your own if you feel motivated…
structure your happiness - 100 days Happiness Planner
Have you made a list of those things which make you happy? Ranking items is a powerful way to make this idea real…
PIN this to your Pinterest!
Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming… use this time to honor the loving women – regardless of relation – in your life!

Those women who encourage you like a mom

might really appreciate something you make.

And what’s more encouraging than a bit of positivity?

Remember – it isn’t about the dollar amount or the blood relationship – it’s about honoring the connection! You could even give this before the day!

Make a Positivity Garland

Make a Positivity Garland - use the prompts, some string, and flowers.

It’s easy – just some circles with positivity prompts,

(you could use the ones provided in the PDF or make your own)

a length of embroidery floss,

and a few artificial flowers!

Less than 20 minutes

and you’ll have a pretty little garland

for that special woman who loves you.

Make it for a friend, for your friend’s mother,

a courageous single mom, the woman whose babe is in eternity,

a grandma with far-away grands, or that “yet to be” grandmother,

an elderly loved one who never had children,

someone who is longing for children but whose arms are yet empty,

or any special lady who needs a lift!

Give this even before that second Sunday in May, to keep those ladies’ thoughts uplifted!

Here’s the PDF to download

with the words in the circles and some instructions:

Mother's day gift  for someone special who loves you like a mom - a positivity garland

Want to make something else?

Try some “sticky positive thoughts”

– click to check out this post to learn the “how to”…

(This post includes a PDF for the cards

and a video where I learned how to make the little pocket):

Positive Sticky Thoughts - card bundle - Make Positivity a Habit - Mother's day gift for that special woman

And if Mother’s Day is difficult…

Too often this second Sunday in May holds more tears than joy.

If Mother’s Day is a difficult day for you…

or someone you love…

then maybe this might provide a bit of encouragement.

A mother's love has no barrier. When Mother's day is difficult.

These flowers stand as a small banner to a mother’s love.

A mother’s love has no barrier – not earth or eternity, not time or distance, not fear or hate.

We acknowledge your mother’s love.

You are not forgotten.

You are thought of and prayed for.

To miss the joy is to miss all.

To miss the joy is to miss all.

Find out where joy resides,

and give it a voice

far beyond singing.

For to miss the joy is to miss all.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

To miss the JOY is to miss all.

I use Instagram to document those things that bring me joy… and around the end of each year, our family gathers to draw/color/write a “plate” to highlight all the joys, peaks and valleys of the past year. We’ve been doing this for 18 years. (Click here to see our “plate” experience!)

Somewhere, sometime, a long time ago, I heard a person say, “If your life is worth living, it’s worth documenting.” I don’t remember who said it, but it’s remained a cautionary statement.

However, before you can document your joys – those happenings which cause JOY – you need to notice them. Perhaps that’s why I find the above quote by Robert Louis Stevenson particularly poignant…

In what way

(or ways)

are you taking action

to notice and capture the joy in your life?


For the miss the joy is to miss all - in what ways are you taking action to document your joys?

Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. She gives most who gives with Joy.

Read more about joy – click HERE


joy - a good feeling in the soul - how do you describe joy or happiness?

And HERE

Make Optimism a Habit

Make Optimism a Habit

How do you make optimism a habit in your life?

Maybe you find being positive easy, or perhaps it feels forced at times. Even for me, there are days where I struggle to “walk the talk”. So what helps?

Positive Sticky Thoughts - card bundle - Make Positivity a Habit

Here are 3 ways to make optimism a habit:

1. Optimism grows from thankfulness. Be aware of all the opportunities you have in your life to be grateful. Express them!


2. Smile. Yes, smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin which have a physiological impact. Even a forced smile works.


3. Surround yourself with positive words. What we think is important. When you find yourself dwelling on the negative, replace it with positive statements. Scripture verses work for me and a few days ago I wrote an article with 25 Sticky Postive Thoughts to see if any of them resonated for you. From your responses to that post, it seemed like you liked the idea.


In response to those who emailed after the article, “25 Sticky Positive Thoughts” – I created a PDF to print out cards with the statements.

You can download and print the cards yourself – and make them as pretty as you choose…– click HERE.

Leave a comment…

What statements would you add? Make optimism a habit!

Make optimism a habit - get 25 positive sticky thoughts to help.

Here’s the video where I learned how to make the little envelope…

5 Great Lessons You Can Learn By Being Thankful

5 Great Lessons You Can Learn By Being Thankful

Lessons? What benefits come from being thankful? Being thankful in all circumstances (even in a pandemic) can teach you much more than you’d imagine. Sure, not everything feels good, but there’s always something you can find for which to give thanks.

Practice your Thanks-Living skills!

Here are five great lessons you can learn by being thankful:


1 – Thankfulness opens hearts.

Being thankful, regardless of the stage and state of your life, might not be easy, but it does impact those around you. During times when Rob and I have experienced less-than-optimum situations, expressing what we’re thankful for has created a connection.

Hardship can divide spouses, families, and friends, just because everyone is focused, in word and deed, on the struggle.

Expressing thankfulness draws hearts back together.

If you find yourself avoiding talking to those you love because of the issues you’re dealing with, then start with a sentence about what you’re feeling grateful for… talking about all the blessings in your life can engage everyone, and you might surprise each other at what you find yourself grateful for…


5 Great Lessons you can learn by being thankful - especially in a pandemic.

2 – Being thankful shapes the future.

Once you start discussing all the areas in which you’re thankful, you’ll begin to see where God has blessed your life in the past. And that leads to anticipating future opportunities. If your future is shaped in what you’re thankful for, it becomes easier to bounce back and get on track.


3 – Gratitude reduces want-itis. Lessons in less.

“Gimme-gimme” and “I want, I want, I want” have become an epidemic in our western society. Being thankful for what we have combats the materialism of our culture in a healthy way.

Once you notice all you actually possess and feel a sense of thankfulness, wanting extra stuff becomes less attractive. The lessons and benefits of this part of being thankful just keep on going…


4 – Thankfulness impacts our memories – lessons in remembering.

Memory is subjective. Two people can think back on the same experience and will have differing memories, according to their bent toward optimism or pessimism. Once an individual looks back in their history with the filter of gratitude, the memories can be wired toward optimism.

5 Great Lessons you can learn from being thankful - If life is a cup of tea, gratitude is the honey that makes it sweet.

5 – Thankfulness balances a healthy sense of self – a curious circle of lessons.

Being thankful can increase an internal sense of self-esteem because it hones attention to where others are helping. By acknowledging you need help, which can be humbling, you also must shift to the belief that you’re a worthwhile person because someone went out of their way to help. It’s a curious cycle.


Yesterday I wrote about sticky positive thougthts and said I have Scripture verses posted to encourage my thinking. This is one that’s been very important to me:


… in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1Thessalonians 5:18

This article about a sermon on the above Scripture is one of my recent favorites – it unpacks the idea that we don’t need to be grateful for the suffering, but rather we can be grateful in the suffering.

Do you have any “thankful quotes” you value?

Quick! Leave a comment…

For what are you grateful right now?

Sticky Positive Thoughts

Sticky Positive Thoughts

What sticks in your brain? Have you ever heard a melody and it kept going ’round and ’round in your head for the rest of the day (or night)? If you like the song, then that’s OK – but if you don’t… well, it can drive you batty!

And it’s the same with our thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts we think are helpful for our behavior, and sometimes they aren’t.

Wouldn’t it be good to have sticky positive thoughts going ’round our head rather than those stinky negative ones?

Sticky Positive Thoughts

Let’s get some sticky positive thoughts into our brains… Do any of these resonate with you?

  1. I’m loved and wanted.
  2. My time will come – I can be happy when others succeed.
  3. God supplies all my needs.
  4. I am able and capable. I can.
  5. If I fail, I’ll fail forward.
  6. Positivity is my first choice.
  7. I’m thankful for all things.
  8. I have a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
  9. My goals are my focus – I don’t play the comparison game.
  10. If I’ve learned something then I’ve succeeded.
  11. Stopping to smell the roses is a joy in my life.
  12. When I give, I do it with my whole heart.
  13. Excellence is my calling.
  14. The peace of the Risen One abides with me.
  15. Challenges are opportunities to grow and improve.
  16. Feelings are not facts – I stop and think before I speak and act.
  17. I have all the time I need.
  18. Being organized is fun.
  19. I have hope for the future.
  20. I have great value.
  21. I’m thankful for now – I can see the joy in today.
  22. Prayer provides my strength.
  23. I invest in relationships by celebrating the little things.
  24. My waiting is never wasted.
  25. It’s OK to say “no”.

What do you say to yourself to think positive thoughts? Take a couple from the list above and write them down – put them in prominent places around your space to nudge you into optimisic thinking.

(I have three sentences on my night-table. They’re Scripture verses – ones that hold great meaning for me. They adjust my thinking when I find myself sliding into a negative spot.)

Find some sticky Positive Thoughts and nurture an optimistic outlook!

(It can’t hurt, can it?)

Life as a symphony.

Life as a symphony.

Your life: is it a symphony or a solo?

As beautiful as a solo can be, a symphony has greater depth.

(In case you’re wondering, a symphony is a musical composition for a group of instruments with at least four distinct sections.)

Who is playing in your symphony?

Whistling alone might not be the best choice. Make your life interesting – embrace the opportunity to play with others. However, it’s also good to be playing your life’s symphony with a group that supports you…

So – who is in your symphony orchestra of life?

Is it time to audition a few new players?

A few places of encouragement:

To support this idea of not just whistling in an empty room, I’m participating in a writing challenge for the month of April and I thought I’d share some posts from fellow writers!


  • Bonnie always makes me chuckle! (I’ve been reading her posts since 2011) Everything from relationships, her grands, to trash on the beach – it’s all fodder for her way of looking at life. If you want to view Life on the Lighter Side, check out Bonnie’s post!
  • Kerry is a mom from my home country of Canada. She writes about being creative – this post has a beautiful perspective. “Choosing a hobby for which you have talent is an important part of self-care.she says. What’s your creative hobby? How do you use your creativity to glorify God?
  • in this post, Stephie is talking my language of optimism! She has great points on why expanding your horizons will help you be optimistic and why you need to be aware of your surroundings.
  • I “met” Debi and Tom from The Romantic Vineyard when we both participated in a 30-day challenge in 2011. She continues to write about marriage, and her posts are insightful and fun – Rob and I have adopted/adapted some of her dating ideas. Debi asks, Are you up for the challenge”? – I encourage you to explore the website and share it with your “couple-friends”!

These are only a few of the articles I’ve been reading in this symphony of online voices…


Go deeper and Enjoy!

Need some encouragement in connecting with others? Try this post – or this one.

Do the next thing.

Do the next thing.

Feeling overwhelmed? Just do the next thing.

Is everything too much?

Concerned over your future – of things not working out?

There’s a simple solution: just do the next thing…

“Do it immediately, 
do it with prayer, 
do it reliantly
casting all care. 
Do it with reverence, 
tracing His hand 
who placed it before thee 
with earnest command. 
Stayed on omnipotence, 
safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings
do the next thing.”


(ancient Saxon poem referenced by Elisabeth Elliot)

Let me give you some good news…

You don’t need to know it all.

God knows. He will direct your path – if you ask Him.

So, if you’ve asked God to be with you today, to direct all your ways, then take heart.

You haven’t come all this way to only go this far…

Just do the next thing.

And then the next.

You can.

(… more from Elizabeth Elliot)

“Tucked in the back of the Book of Mark, following the story of the Crucifixion, we read this lovely little story.

Mark 15:42-46

“By this time, evening had come. And as it was preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, a man who looked forward to the kingdom of God, bravely went into Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead, so he sent for the centurion and asked him whether it was long since He died. When he heard the centurion’s report, he gave Joseph leave to take the dead body. So Joseph bought a linen sheet, took Him down from the cross, wrapped Him in the sheet and laid Him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance.”

Can’t you imagine the disciples and Mary and Martha and the other bewildered women, sitting in absolute dejection and perplexity when their Lord and Master and King had just died?

They couldn’t think of one single thing to do.

Here came this Godly man, who looked forward to the kingdom of God, who bravely went in and asked for the body of Jesus.

He could think of one thing to do. He did the next thing.

That must have been a tremendous cheer and encouragement to those discouraged people. “

Elizabeth Elliot is the author of more than 20 books.
Do not wait for the right moment. Do it now.

Do not wait for the right moment. Do it now.

Wait. Hang on. Hold up. Pause.

Why? Why wait?

Will the moment ever be right? And if we’re waiting for that mythical just-right moment, how much will we miss?

(Oh, yeah. I’m preachin’ to the choir here. Waiting is my pass-time. I’ve spent 50+ years practicing the art of waiting. <sigh>)

“Do not wait for the right moment.”

NOW is the right moment.

Or it could be if we don’t let it pass.

Let’s get real here: sometimes it’s just laziness that has us waiting.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Am I the only one who is waiting and it’s not a good thing?

Let’s spark some urgency with a few questions:

Imagine all the good stuff we could miss out on…

  • What won’t be birthed if we wait?
  • Who will be impacted negatively if we pause?
  • Where won’t we go, should we hang back?
  • What won’t we experience if we sit tight?
  • And if not now… then when?

If not now… then when will the “right moment” come?

Probably never.

Take action. Do it NOW!

Imagine if you couldn’t fail – what would you do right now?

What if you could positively impact a whole group of people (or maybe just one precious soul). Where would you take action today?

There are amazing sights, sounds, fragrances and experiences about to be added to your history…

Go!

Do not wait for the right moment. DO IT NOW!

Benjamin Franklin didn’t wait.

I’m participating in a challenge to write every day – in this challenge I’ve also been reading other posts. The second item in a post on Benjamin Franklin sparked my thoughts today, “Benjamin Franklin never waited for the right moment. He took action when he had an idea… ”  I think we’d all agree that he accomplished quite a bit in his life. Right?

You are capable of so much.

Set yourself up for success. Choose something to pursue that will be easy to reach – at least in the beginning. And if you have a large goal in mind, then divide it into smaller bits and pieces. You are capable of SO much!

Do not wait for the mythical right moment - do it now #optimistic #thankful #positivethanksliving

Want to be prompted to be optimistic? #positive #thankful

You have great worth.

You have great worth.

As imperfect as we all are, we do have worth. Great worth.

Did you hear me?

You have great worth.

Your self worth is not dependent on another person accepting you, affirming you, helping you, believing you, admiring you, approving of you, buying into your ideas, or not, or anything else outside of yourself.

You have great worth because you are here.

You were born for a purpose.

Even if no other human on this planet can understand that, you still have great worth. Perhaps, in this moment, even you can’t pinpoint why you were put on this earth, however, you do have great worth. I’m convinced of it… God does not make mistakes.

You are not a mistake.

You have value.

Regardless.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Your physical appearance, perceived ability or inabilities will not have an impact on the person you’ve been designed to become. Even if you are struggling right now with horrible issues – seen or unseen – there will be a way through. There will.

Because you have great worth.

Is it hard to believe it?

Is it hard to believe you have great worth?

OK. It could be that believing in your own worth is hard at times. Maybe all the hoopla and hoorays about starting the new year fresh is painful to hear and read. Maybe you’re afraid. Perhaps you can’t see a way forward right now… (even if on the outside you’re putting up a good front. Or not.)

Alright. OK. Take a breath. And another. One more breath.

Is there someone in your life who can believe for you – can someone believe you have great worth – and do it on your behalf? Just for a bit. Can that person believe in your worth, until you’re strong enough to believe it yourself?

I believe you have great worth.

If you’re reading this, know that I’m thinking of, and writing to YOU.

Yes – you.

Don’t give up.

Put that alcohol, that drug, that 50th eclair down. You have great worth. I’ll believe it for you until you can believe it yourself. It will get better. You will make it through. The mess you feel you’re in will pass. Relationships can be renewed, rebuilt, re-imagined. Be kind to yourself. Any mistake you’ve made… God can forgive.

There is grace available. Always.

Why?

Because you have great worth.

You have great worth. You were made for a purpose - even if it's hard to believe right now. #positivethanksliving

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14

Want to feel and explore the love of God – read this.


NOTE:  is there someone in your sphere of influence who you sense is struggling? Reach out. Tell that person that they have worth – that they matter. It will make a difference. (Others did that for me – that’s how I can know.)  And if they can’t believe – yet – then believe it for them.

 

 

Getting Started – Anytime is a good time.

Getting Started – Anytime is a good time.

The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

That’s a quote by Mark Twain.

Is he right? Maybe. Maybe not. From my personal experience, finishing is more difficult than starting… but not everyone is alike. For some it’s starting that’s a barrier. Either way, to finish anything you do need to begin.

As I write this note to you, it’s a popular time of year to start something. (New Years.) Each year I choose a particular word to focus on during that year, as opposed to resolving to do something new or different. What do you do?

Not everyone is a fan of resolutions at the beginning of the calendar year – of getting started on better ways of living because of a date on the calendar. Regardless of your opinion of resolutions, I wish you happy starting, continuing and finishing.

And just remember that anytime is a good time to start!

Happy New Year.

Is there something you’re starting, or you’ve begun that you’re keen on continuing? Leave a comment… 

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. #optimism #positivity #positivethanksliving #thankfulness #gratitude

(For me, I’m not even starting a new “word” this year – I’m doing a second year on the word “thankful”. It feels like that’s a big enough word to last two years! )

Need some encouragment on getting started?- read this!

But as you start, just remember:

from Ecclesiastes 3…

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

We don’t need a new year to hope for something new to begin – true hope is found in the One who makes everything new. 

You can. It’s just that simple.

You can. It’s just that simple.

You can.

Sometimes it’s just that simple.

You can - it's that simple. #positivity #thankfulness #gratitude #optimism #positivethanksliving

Maybe you need to get out of your comfort zone.

Perhaps it’s time to find your fixed point and stop going around in circles.

Could you ask an optimistic person to come alongside you?

Remember – YOU ARE CAPABLE OF SO MUCH!

Yes. You can.

It’s not too late. You’re enough.  You’ve done enough preparation.

Begin.

(I’m cheering you on!)

Remind yourself – click HERE to download the wallpaper photo below for your smartphone.

You Can - PositiveThanksLiving - Phone Wallpaper


I’ve been reading this book… and that’s what has prompted today’s post. Our inner dialogue impacts what we begin and finish. One of Neil Fiore’s suggesions when  you find yourself overwhelmed by a task, perhaps feeling unequal to all the effort it’ll take, is to work on the project for a half hour, and then record on your calendar your progress. It’s part of taking credit for the work you’ve done. You’re proving to yourself that you can.