Saturday, March 30, 2013


While working on our new basement and changing offices into bedrooms, we are living in a daily state of chaos.  At first, only a couple of living spaces were impacted.  Now ALL areas are involved.  There is no place to go as a refuge from the chaos.  This has started me thinking about chaos, what it really means, and how to survive it.

If you look up the meaning of chaos, you will see that it means "any state of confusion or disorder".  It definitely feels like disorder.  As a way to deal with this, we have created a Move In Project Plan on an Excel spreadsheet that is 6 pages long and covers the work that needs to be completed by the end of April's move-in date.  This has been a life saver, because I was  not sleeping well before I developed the Project Plan.  All of the tasks were floating around in my head, and I constantly worried that I would forget something or that we would miss a deadline.  I have found that getting details down on paper is an effective strategy to help me manage chaos.

I have been a good organizer my whole life.  While many people see a chaotic mess and are overwhelmed by the complexity of creating order, I have always enjoyed the challenge and have been able to develop an organizational system that restores order.  It has always been my experience that when tackling the mess, you have to make a bigger mess before you can make progress in organizing.  Therefore, it was no surprise that the chaos had spread into every space in the house due to the enormity of the project.  It just took me awhile to realize that I do well in controlled chaos, and I needed to find a way to create that state.  Now that we have the Move In Project Plan, I keep it updated.  As a result, communication to all participants is working well.  Our state of chaos has changed to controlled chaos.  I can live with that!  Now I can find joy in the steps I see each day as we move to completion.  

Have you found your joy today?

Monday, March 25, 2013


I don't know about you, but I find that sunshine greatly improves my mood at this time of year.  We are all wanting spring to get here and are frustrated by the snow and cold.  I see signs of this every day on Facebook and when I talk to people throughout my day.  However, the sunshine does tend to improve my spirits.

Sunshine is an interesting word for me.  When I lived in Mexico, my nickname was Rayito de Sol, Little Ray of Sun.  There was a principal in Minneapolis who called me Sunshine whenever he saw me.  While it is true that I try to smile when I meet people, I am not the smiliest of people.

I worked with some teachers-usually kindergarten teachers-who smiled all of the time.  They were naturally cheerful.  This isn't me.  While I try to be positive about life, my analytic side makes me identify problems.  Many people see this as negative, but it is how I can solve an issue to make things better.  It's how I cope.

I admire people who spread cheer all of the time.  My dear friend, Wendy, is one of those people.  She has the BEST smile.  Just seeing it cheers me up, and I know that our friends feel the same way about her.  Thinking about her sunny personality always brings a smile to my face and brings joy to my life.  I always think of her when I see the sunshine.

I hope that you are able to get outside or near some windows so that you can soak up some of this gorgeous sunshine!  Whatever you do, find a moment to celebrate the sun and the promise of spring.  Have a lovely day and as always...

Have you found your joy today?

Sunday, March 17, 2013


There is something very exhilarating and hopeful about constructing.  Your mind is awash with many different visions of the potential new living space you are creating.  It is very exciting in the envisioning stage.  Where should this wall be?  What colors should we use in the space?  What kind of flooring do we want?  The ideas and potential choices go on and on...

When you actually begin making decisions, you realize that there are LOTS of decisions you have to make. There are many little details that need your attention.  Do you want this?  Do you want that?  You get to the point with some things that it really doesn't matter.

 That's when you turn to your spouse and ask, "which do you like?" or say, "you decide" knowing that you can make it work.

Once you have made these decisions, the work starts.  It is amazing how many stages there are to building a new room.  We are fortunate that we have family who knows how to build all of the components necessary. Now is the time when you hope that your decisions are the right ones.  So, we will wait and see.  In the meantime, we have the joy of seeing our visions come alive.

Have you found your joy today?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Snow Day

A snowstorm hit Minnesota today.  I woke up listening to the sounds of children playing in the snow.  I turned on the TV to check to see if today was a snow day for the kids in our neighborhood.  I soon discovered that it was and that many other districts had cancelled school due to the snow.

It was the joy I heard in the laughter of the children that made me sure that it was a Snow Day! I can remember how excited my children were whenever school was cancelled on a Snow Day.  It was a time to get the snow-pants  hats, and gloves on to frolic in the snow.  Suddenly, our yard was decorated with snow angels, snowmen, snow forts, sledding paths, and the remnants of snowball fights.  After making arrangements to stay home from work, I would help them get ready for the outdoors, watch them play from the windows, and have hot chocolate ready when they came inside.  It is amazing how the gift of a day at home to play in the snow can give a child so much joy.

I discovered today that it's not only children who are enjoying today's Snow Day.  As I was listening to the radio this morning, I heard the husband of one of the hosts regaling us with his excitement about having a day off from work in his district.  Angel lives his life filled with joy, and it was infectious to hear about it on the radio.  I was laughing and smiling at his stories; it was a great way to start my day!  I also noticed that several friends on Facebook were excited about having the Snow Day.  This was a refreshing change from hearing about the trials of driving to work.

Adult activities are different from the activities of children on Snow Days.  My friends were choosing to go back to bed (that gets my vote!) or prepare breakfast.  One was organizing drawers and cupboards.  Obviously, they were also accessing the Internet.  Others spent the day in physical activities: snow shoveling, snow blowing, and snowshoeing.  I took the opportunity to catch up with a friend on the phone, because I knew he would be home.

I don't know if you have ever heard about a lagniappe.  It means "an unexpected gift; a little something extra" and comes from New Orleans.  I believe that a Snow Day is truly a lagniappe.  No matter what you did today, I hope you truly enjoyed your unexpected gift.  If you have a chance, share with us what you did to celebrate your Snow Day.

Have you found your joy today?