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Monday, November 30, 2009

Moxie under construction... come back tomorrow for a full update!

MOXIE - The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage; vigor; verve; pep.
 





 Moxie under construction... come back tomorrow for a full update!

Uggg!! I was really trying to avoid this delay but ah well, life happens! Just to fill you in a bit, I am headed to Hawaii for almost two weeks and I am furiously trying to set the blog up to run without me. I thought about suspending the blog while I was on vacation but that will put my whole 52 week plan off kilter... not necessarily a problem but I just don't want to do it! I feel the Bliss Game can, should be able to be played while I am on vacation... I just may have to blog a bit differently (before and after the fact rather then during!) about the experience.

After my two weeks in Hawaii I will be getting ready for the Christmas holiday which will include a one week trip to my mother's internetless home so realistically the entire month of December needs to run on semi-automatic! Please be assured that for each week of the game coming up I will have my usual Bliss Initiative filled first post and I will be providing my inital thoughts on the weekly topic. What may be missing is my daily updates on how I am doing. Instead, I will be offering Guest posts on the different virtues and I will offer my observations at some point in the future. I think that those of you who are playing the game along with me will still find plenty of inspiration for your own games.

I will do my best to keep the flow as logical and easy to follow as possible. Please keep in mind that if you comment, it could be as much as a couple of weeks before I am able to get back to you. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

I wish everyone an Outrageously Joyful Holiday Season!
Love,
Kathy

Next Post: Moxie week really gets started, complete with Bliss Initiatives

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gratitude week comes to a close.

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

Gratitude week has come to a close but I can see as I noted in my first post of the week, it truly is the linchpin for the rest of my Bliss Virtues. It is all about attention for me. As I made my way through this week I became increasingly more aware that I rarely pay attention to all the wonderful gifts around me. Please don't get me wrong, I am a generally aware and happy person so I'm not entirely oblivious to the good stuff in my life. It is just that I find it difficult to actually pause and allow the gratitude to well up. I'm not sure what my problem with it is. Something perhaps to do with an underlining fear that if I pay too close attention it just might disappear.

Now I realize that this underlying fear is in direct contrast to anything, everything I have learned about gratitude but yet it is still there. Actually, some of my best access to feeling grateful comes when I think horrific thoughts. What if something happened to Rob or Jessie? I can feel the tears well up even as I type, I can't imagine it (or is it that I CAN all too graphically?) but then immediately on top of these thoughts comes the gratitude. I can talk myself back from the brink of my self induced despair when I consider this: even if something horrific happened I would count myself as one of the luckiest people on the planet to have had the chance to be Rob's wife, Jessie's mom for any length of time.

I am not sure how it happened but I have somehow wired gratitude up with worry and until this very moment I think that I felt this is somehow wrong. I don't want to be worried about losing anything so it has been easier to avoid the gratitude. I have been trying to use thank yous and pocket charms as my cue for being more grateful but it wasn't really working. It wasn't working because I haven't been interested in acknowledging the worry that has accompanied it.

Certainly this worry, when taken to extremes is not very rational but when taken lightly can actually provide the impetus for making a difference. When I am grateful that Jessie is generally so healthy, its partner worry that she could get sick or hurt can guide me towards making good decisions about helmets, swim lessons and helping her develop the habit to wash her hands. When I am grateful that I get to live in this great country the accomplice worry that it is in decline can spur me on to vote, volunteer and write my government representatives. When I am grateful about being alive on earth in this century and not another, my affiliate concern that the planet is dying, will encourage me to recycle, reduce waste and support green companies.

The very beast that has kept me from feeling the full breadth of gratitude makes it more likely that I will do more and find more to be grateful about. The fear that I have not been acknowledging is actually the cue for which I have been looking! When I feel fear, worry or concern this is where my presence can make the biggest difference. This is exciting! I feel like gratitude, once confined can actually breath a bit. I am definitely looking forward to its 13 week simmer here in my game. Next time around I'm taking the roof off for sure! This week, adjusted for my last minute revelation, I give myself a 6.





Next Post: Moxie week begins

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some miscelaneous grateful musings...

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.
Roberto Benigni 

Hello all, going a little light on the blogging to spend time with family and friends. As Jessie says, "It not puper (computer) day it Thanksgiving Day!" Or at least Thanksgiving weekend! I hope my post finds you well and enjoying some of your own family and friend time.

Rob, Jessie and I have been enjoying some extended time together for which I am very grateful. Rob has been working some very long hours so it has been a treat to hang around for extended snuggles in the morning and leisurely afternoons doing things around the new house. Yep, it is the simple things that prove the most rewarding.

I have had mixed results with my pledge to use "Thank You"s as a cue for being grateful. Amazingly we say it a lot around here. So much in fact that it becomes really easy for it to lose meaning. When Jessie says it, "Thank you Mommy, you taking good care of me." it is easier for me to interrupt my usual flow an actually take a second to be grateful. Somehow, however when Rob says it, "Thank you Sweetie." I haven't paused as much... Today I'm going to work on that!

Meanwhile, here are a few Gratitude tidbits I found interesting that may inspire.

49 Gratitude Quotes and a Poem Of Thankfulness
Living Gratitude Blog
Create a Gratitude Journal 

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
 
Next Post: Grateful Endings 
 

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]




 “Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men,
but be careful that you do not take the day and leave out the gratitude.”
E.P. Powell

On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish to say that I am honored to have you in my life.  Thank you so much for joining me on my Everyday Bliss Journey. I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

I saw this on a sports blog called The Big Picture, and it made me chuckle so I thought I would share it. They thought they would rank Thanksgiving food! What would be your ranking? Turkey would be lower on my list and I can't believe they didn't have some apple pie, although I do like the pumpkin cheesecake idea! If the green beans have those crunchy onion things on them I would move them higher too! I particularly like that they distinguished two types of cranberries. Does anyone really bother with salad??


1. Stuffing
2. Gravy
3. Sweet potatoes with two pounds of butter and brown sugar
4. Turkey
5. Pumpkin cheesecake
6. Pumpkin pie
7. Pecan pie
8. Mashed potatoes
9. Jello-like cranberries
10.Fruit
11. Squash soup
12. Biscuits
13. Other cranberries
14. Green beans
15. Salad


12 Ways to be Thankful
7 Fascinating Facts about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Turkey Hotline Stories confirmed by Snopes

Next Post: Gratitude Musings

 

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shift your intention from what you are receiving to what you are giving

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

I saw a tweet from Demi Moore the other day which said,"Shift your intention from what you are receiving to what you are giving."  I decided it was an excellent topic for Gratitude week.

While doing some of my research about gratitude I became a little dismayed at the number of sites which proclaimed gratitude as the way to get what you want.

Finally revealed...The astonishing power of gratitude and the solution to the 5 big mistakes that keep most people from putting it to work for them!


Gratitude is a very powerful force for creating good things in your life, when it's properly applied! 

Wealth and prosperity are all yours if you cultivate gratitude! It makes me sad. Certainly the sages over the centuries weren't intending gratitude become a get rich quick scheme. Many of these teasers actually lead to some good information about gratitude but I think the approach cheapens the entire experience.  On the other hand, shift your intention from what you are receiving to what you are giving seems a completely honoring way to consider gratitude.

I know that when I have been interested in what I can do to help others a completely natural byproduct is feeling more grateful. Help someone with baby clothes I no longer need and I become grateful for having more then enough for my little girl. Sponsoring a child who needs so much I am grateful my child will never know such lack. Give a family a Thanksgiving feast (The Real Gift) and I am grateful I and mine do not know hunger.  When I take time to find out what is happening outside my own home I become immensely grateful that I have a home. When I reach out to someone who is sad, lonely or just wanting company then I am grateful for friends who reliably do the same for me.

Still, I don't seem to look outside often enough. It is easy to get busy. It is easy to be consumed with what is happening inside the walls of my home or even worse inside my head. Since starting this blog it has become, perhaps, even worse. I want the blog to be interesting, I want people to like it, I think about it and not always about the people who actually read it. In my post on Monday I said,  I am going to make a point of thanking people who have helped me, provide a service or otherwise make living a little bit better for me. It is something I think about but rarely do... and so far while I have been thinking about it I haven't done a thing!

I think I'm going to stop this post here... I have some thank you notes to write!


And for those of you who would like to make a difference in someone else's life as you celebrate your Thanksgiving Day, I would like to recommend my friend Conde's Thanksgiving dinner project.

The 10th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Drive is a project to fund Thanksgiving dinners for homeless families with children in Phoenix area schools.
Donate today for The Real Gift Foundation Thanksgiving Dinner DriveOur goal this year is to fund 3,300 dinners, which will feed over 20,000 people.
It only takes $25 to feed an entire family. Every dollar counts – so please give as much as you can.
The pre-cooked dinners include an 8-10 pound turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and more.

Conde Abbott Rogers has one wish for Thanksgiving - that all 3,300 homeless children & their families can have Thanksgiving Dinner. YOU can help by donating - http://www.therealgift.org

Next Post: A Happy Thanksgiving

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cultivating an attitude of Gratitude all the time

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]


Ankida - an ancient sumerian word that means "where heaven and earth join"


I am grateful for the magic light which can be seen, it turns out in the morning too, as the sun just approaches the horizon.

I am grateful for the gentle snores of my husband and child.

I am grateful for the smell of fresh coffee.

I am grateful for time by myself.

I am grateful I do very well on little sleep.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to cries coming from Jessie's room. My immediate thought was that she wasn't as well as I thought and just needed me, as she does when she is sick. So I went into her room and lied down next to her to find that her bed was soaking wet. Uggg her diaper must have leaked, I guessed as I proceeded to change her and the bed, when I found that somehow I had let her bring a sippy cup to bed and it was the cause of all the wetness. Silly mommy.

So, now that Jessie is back to sleep and I am all awake and enthralled with the magic light peaking in the pre dawn window, it is the perfect time to think about cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Here in the wee hours I am finding it very easy and it occurs to me that this may be an excellent first step. That is to take some time and be alone to think about the people and things you love. In our busy busy lives it is so easy not to allow even 10 minutes to go un-programed. I am back, once again to the few minutes of solitude I have been contemplating adding to my morning routine since I started this game. I really don't know why it continues to be so difficult or why I am resisting the practice so decidedly. As I sit here this morning it seems entirely brilliant. It certainly could have been easy to be annoyed about being up and unable to fall back to sleep but I rarely have time alone so a cup of coffee and a little magic light is pure grateful heaven!

If one is interested in studying gratitude, the internet provides a plethora of opportunities. Put gratitude in nearly any search field and hundreds of references pop up. It seems everyone sees the value in cultivating appreciation and thanksgiving but what I believe really makes the difference is not knowing this fact but living it. I can see I have quite a distance to go before I can even hope to say that. Sitting here during this remarkable time alone I find gratitude eagerly occupying my thoughts. When the buzz of the day is in full force, Jessie needing something, phone ringing, Rob wanting something, me wanting to do something right now... gratitude quickly flees to allow room for multitasking decisiveness, which while mostly efficient, lacks any of the splendor gratitude allows.

I thought the trick would be to try and think about things to be grateful for as much as possible. Since I was home for the day yesterday, and had access to the GratitudeLog.com, I started to post almost furiously about the things for which I was grateful. Then I noticed I started being more concerned with how the posts might land for other people and/or what they were saying about me and suddenly I was no longer grateful. I was just trying to look grateful and it really started to feel like a chore. It was clear, this approach was not working.  So, I researched some more and found that the people who seemed to have the most gratitude in their lives were people who are able to cultivate it as a gentle backdrop to their life. Thankfulness seems to be the key.


IF THE ONLY PRAYER YOU SAID IN YOUR LIFE WAS "THANK YOU", THAT WOULD SUFFICE. ~Meister Eckhart

And interestingly enough many of the folks who wrote something that landed as right and sound with me had the quote, from Eckhart von Hochheim above, displayed prominently on their website or post. Now I am getting somewhere! I have been raised to be a polite person. I say thank you often, and my husband and daughter do too.  When I say or hear the words there has been a degree of unconsciousness I have allowed to permeate. Today I am going to do my best to change that. No more fervent pursuits of gratitude. Today I am going to use "Thank you" as my cue to appreciate. Thank you can become the warm undertone in my days and I believe gratitude will reveal itself more fully.

Of course Meister Eckhart's quote speaks to a more active practice of thanking. I believe he encouraged people to be thankful in all situations and this act of gratitude would allow acceptance in even extreme situations. I however, am a gratitude novice and need to start somewhere. Using the words thank you as a cue, and my gratitude rock as a cue, these are the little steps I am able to make right now. Perhaps in time my thankfulness will be bolstered and I will someday enjoy the warmth of thundering gratitude. The folks in these blogs seem to be well on their way. Enjoy their inspiration.

Attitude of Gratitude
The Daily Gratitude Blog
Cheerful Living


Next Post: Shift your intention from what you are receiving to what you are giving

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gratitude week begins!

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.

I am positively tickled that Gratitude week ended up on Thanksgiving week. What could be better? I'd love to claim some grand plan to have it so but frankly I just put my virtue list together and it sort of stuck. I figured that each week would be perfect no matter where in the calendar it landed but this is magically fabulous!

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many people. The family all gathered, friends and great food all inspire some of the best in us. I have always liked Thanksgiving but being a Christmas junkie in my heart of hearts it always seemed Thanksgiving was the launching pad for the holiday season and I haven't given it its proper consideration. The thing that clearly has been missing has been Gratitude. I consider myself a grateful sort of person but I really believe getting more appreciative and thankful will bring an exponential increase to all of my Everyday Bliss Virtues. Gratitude is a kind of linchpin for the entire game! Hows that for upping the ante on this weeks game?

This week's "Bliss Initiatives" are color coded in purple for quick identification. They are specific things that you too can try, if you want to play along with me. However, because as Earl Nightingale says, "you become what you think about," even if you only follow along, and never take on any of the bliss initiatives, I expect some positive results. I will be exploring and encouraging GRATITUDE this way:
  • Practice Gratitude - There is a ton of information about the "practice" of Gratitude out there. It has become positively mainstream in the spirituality and self development world. What I mean this week when I say I will practice Gratitude is that I will be keeping a Gratitude Journal. When I am near my computer I will also post the things I am Grateful for over on GratitudeLog.com, a pretty fun community that calls itself "The Happiest Place on the Internet." It is a little bit like Twitter except people only share things for which they are Grateful. I linked it to my TouristMom Twitter account too (I am TouristMom in both places) so if you follow me there you will get my Grateful tweets. As I mentioned in an earlier post, so far I've resisted the urge to compound my internet affliction with a hand held device, so I will not be able to update on the go which could be fun... perhaps by the next time Gratitude week rolls around! Ultimately I think it will be fun to see how much gratitude I can generate by keeping my journal. 
  • Gratitude Rock- In this Bliss Initative I will revisit something I did during my Joy Week, which is to carry a pocket charm. Over at Think Simple Now they called the same practice carrying a Gratitude Rock, with these instructions:Find a rock that feels good in your hand. Name it your ‘gratitude rock’, carry it with you along with your keys and wallet. The idea is to remember and say “Thank You” for something in your life, each time you touch or see the rock. For example, when you empty your pocket at night; when you pack up your things in the morning; when you reach for your keys. An actual rock is not necessary; you can use anything small as a figurative representation.   
  • Gratitude Boost - each day I will listen to at least one grateful song. Terrific Gratitude Playlist provided by FIQL PLaylist below.
  
  • Spread Gratitude - This week I am going to make a point of thanking people who have helped me, provide a service or otherwise make living a little bit better for me. It is something I think about but rarely do... send a note to the boss of that particularly helpful employee, tell my gardener I think he is doing a great job, tell that new neighbor she has been welcoming and nice. I'm getting out the thank you cards and I'm writing some!!!  Susie Michelle Cortright writes in her article Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude  Say "Thank You." Whom in your life do you appreciate? Let them know, whether it's your mom your kids, your friends, your husband, your child's daycare provider or the helpful woman behind the cosmetics counter. A heartfelt "thank you" often does the trick. Make it a habit and your attention will suddenly turn to all the things people do for you.

 Next Post: Cultivating an attitude of gratitude

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Final Thoughts on Romance Week and Bliss Game update

ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

I am happy to report that Jessie is starting to be her old busy self again. It is funny to have had her being sick as a back drop to Romance week but frankly it did not matter. I loved that circumstances did not have to get in the way of of Rob and I having some romantic fun. Today over some coffee in bed Rob read and enjoyed the 101 reasons list I put together and now as I am typing this he is making Jessie and I some breakfast. How much more lovely could it get? I rate myself an 8 out of 10 for the week.

Since I have a few new readers of the blog this week, I thought I 'd share a bit about the project as a whole. I designed this blog as a place to share how am doing while playing what I am calling the Everyday Bliss game. My game is loosely based on Ben Franklin's life long practice to track and study his progress with regard to 13 Virtues. At the bottom of the blog (and posted in the discussion tab titled The Everyday Bliss Game on the new Facebook page) I've listed Ben's Virtues and the definitions which he distinguished. When I decided to try my own version I came up with my own list of Virtues which I believe add to the experience of Everyday Bliss. You can see how I came up with my list in this post and if you are inspired to follow along I hope to increase your experience of everyday bliss. Another way to play would be to come up with your own list of virtues.

In my version of the game, I come up with what I am calling Bliss Initiatives which support each of my weekly virtues. The initiatives are concrete things I will be trying out and those of you who want to play along are invited to try as well.  I begin each week on the Monday of a given week and always provide a link back to the weeks Bliss Initiatives (see Romance header at begining of this post for an exmple) and then I blog about how it all is going. Some weeks, like the latest Romance week, go well and other weeks, like serenity week are not very inspiring. Each week I give myself a score 1-10 on how I think I did. I haven't come up with a formal scoring system as of yet so this score is more or less a gut feel on how I think I did.

Newcomers are invited to jump in and just start following along and/or are invited to go back and play with the Virtues that interest them the most. One of my friends likened the blog to a box of chocolates. You may not have time to read along everyday but my hope is that even an occasional visit provides some inspiration and subsequently increases your experience of Everyday Bliss. Each virtue will get four visits during the year, netting four chances to explore each virtues qualities. Amy, one of my readers commented,"I guess this is why it's nice to cycle through your habits over the course of a year - who knows what craziness a week may hold, or how receptive you'll be to a particular change of pace. This experiment is really interesting to watch from afar!"

The game is definitely a work in progress and I welcome feedback of all sorts. I am doing the blog for personal reasons but I'm hoping to provide something of interest for all those who happen to follow along, play along or even come by for a single visit, so please don't be shy about jumping right in and commenting in the blog itself or on the New Facebook Page.

Many thanks to everyone who has taken time to stop by, comment, share and in any way participate with the blog. I am having a great time with it and really appreciate having a community that is interested.

Outrageous joy!

Next Post: Gratitude week begins

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Saturday, November 21, 2009

101 reasons why I love My Sweetie and the extravaganza that did not happen.

ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

When the week started I was all set to create some big romantic extravaganza for this weekend but as I posted yesterday this was not in the cards for us. Part of my initial idea was to make a cute little Jar something like the one I shared in my tips and lists post and then I read about this 100 Reasons picnic on  Loving You (bookmark this site if you always want quick romance ideas at your finger tips!) and decided that was what I would like to do for Rob. 

100 Reasons Picnic
I got this idea from combining two of my favorite ideas on this website! I realized after reading an idea about this couples 100th day anniversary, my boyfriend and I's 100th day anniversary was coming up. I typed up 100 reasons why I love him and cut out each one out. Then, I blew up 100 balloons, and put one reason in each balloon. He had to pop them to find the next one. I had a balloon th
at said START which was kind of an introduction to the game and one that said END which contained a large note that said "I love you" on it. The setting this whole time was in my bedroom with candles lit and blankets down with a picnic basket fully prepared--an indoor picnic in the bedroom with 100 reasons why I love JT right in front of him!
--submitted by Lindsay


I was going to get 101 orange balloons and pretty much do what Lindsey did above but, because Jessie's been sick, I haven't been able to prepare anything. Then I went back to the Jar idea and my printer failed me. Actually the printer is probably fine, its just that it is in a box in the closet and hasn't been set up since we moved... and since Rob wants to be the one to do that, I didn't want to blow the surprise by telling him I need the printer for something TODAY.  If I wasn't housebound with sweet Jessie I could have gone over to Kinkos and maintained the surprise but by the time I realized that wasn't going to happen it was pretty clear the extravaganza would need post-poning anyway.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the kind of thought required to pull off a romantic surprise will up the innate romance quotient immediately. Even if it is something you aren't doing immediately your lover will reap the benefit of your romantic thinking. It really wasn't necessary to pull off the extravaganza for our relationship to benefit. Just scheming about it had me thinking and behaving more romantically.  As I sit here now,  I'm happy to have a fun idea in my back pocket for some future deployment AND I have my list of 101 things to share with Rob immediately!

So here they are, I am posting them publically because it makes it a bit more exciting and real for me. A little bit like a wedding when the couple shares their vows and the minister reminds the community that it's job is to help the couple keep their vows. So community, here are my reasons for loving Rob. By posting them here I am declaring this is how I feel today and I will honor Rob in such a way that these REASONS and many more remain true for the rest of our lives.

101 Reasons why I love Rob
by Kathy Sprinkle
  1. I love you because of the way you look at me.
  2. I love you because you are my Sweetie.
  3. I love you because I am your Sweetie.
  4. I love you because you put your family first.
  5. I love you because you woo and wow me!
  6. I love you because you said yes to wooing and wowing me forever.
  7. I love you because you hurry home from work to see me.
  8. I love you because you always call if you are going to be late.
  9. I love you because  you always remember our special days.
  10. I love you because you wanted to be with me even if we could never have kids.
  11. I love you because you convinced me having a child with you would be great.
  12. I love you because you gave me Jessie.
  13. I love you because you have been loving towards my mom and family.
  14. I love you because we are a family together.
  15. I love you because you give great back rubs.
  16. I love you because you like to kiss me.
  17. I love you because you make me want more kisses.
  18. I love you because you never leave without a kiss goodbye.
  19. I love you because you always greet me with a kiss.
  20. I love you because your hugs are the coziest.
  21. I love you because you are a great Daddy to Jessie.
  22. I love you because you enjoy my quirks.
  23. I love you because you embrace being a tourist with me.
  24. I love you because you always make sure the car is in tip top driving condition.
  25. I love you because you surprise me.
  26. I love you because you are kind to animals.
  27. I love you because you recycle.
  28. I love you because introduced me to Hawaii.
  29. I love you because you wanted me to have the prettiest engagement ring I have ever seen.
  30. I love you because you like to snuggle.
  31. I love you because you don't sleep well unless I'm in the bed too.
  32. I love you because you like to buy me fashionable clothes I would never buy myself.
  33. I love you because you have great taste.
  34. I love you because you wanted us to have a home we own.
  35. I love you because you always have good advice.
  36. I love you because you let me make mistakes.
  37. I love you because you trust me.
  38. I love you because I trust you.
  39. I love you because I can be myself when I'm with you.
  40. I love you because you make feel wanted.
  41. I love you because you are never boring.
  42. I love you because even when I'm grumpy, you still like me.
  43. I love you because you let me give you a detailed description of how I spent my day.
  44. I love you because your idea of romance includes an orange boa.
  45. I love you because you took the Landmark Forum on my asking.
  46. I love you because we both know that together we can work out anything.
  47. I love you because you make me feel like I've never felt before.
  48. I love you because you are always on my side.
  49. I love you because when you hold me tight everything is always all right.
  50. I love you because you make things fun.
  51. I love you because your love gives me the feeling that the best is still ahead.
  52. I love you because sometimes you call just because you're thinking about me.
  53. I love you because you always talk things out with me.
  54. I love you because you bring out the best in me.
  55. I love you because you're simply irresistible.
  56. I love you because in the story of my life, the best chapters are filled with you.
  57. I love you because you always know just what I need.
  58. I love you because you're a good sport even when I'm not.
  59. I love you because I feel so at ease in your arms.
  60. I love you because you bring me joy beyond measure.
  61. I love you because you always say what I need to hear.
  62. I love you because you make a great Martini.
  63. I love you because all the little things you do make such a big difference in my life.
  64. I love you because you've taught me the meaning of love.
  65. I love you because I love all the ways you give.
  66. I love you because you're always on my mind. I just can't do without you.
  67. I love you because you're someone I can be goofy with.
  68. I love you because I enjoy being with you.
  69. I love you because I can ask you a dumb question without feeling dumb.
  70. I love you because your favorite pastime is to be with me and Jessie.
  71. I love you because I love the sense of security I feel when I am with you.
  72. I love you because I love the smell of you.
  73. I love you because of your goofy penguin walk.
  74. I love you because you make the coffee for us.
  75. I love you because you're warm and cuddly (warm and cuddly ala' Madagascar too!)
  76. I love you because of the way you plan for our future.
  77. I love you because you keep an eye on me when we are at a party or in a crowd.
  78. I love you because you would fiercely defend me or Jessie if needed.
  79. I love you because of your thoughtfulness.
  80. I love you because of things I won't share on a public list.
  81. I love you because of your respect for me.
  82. I love you because you are always looking out for Jessie's best interests.
  83. I love you because you are romantic.
  84. I love you because you are passionate.
  85. I love you because you are whimsical.
  86. I love you because you are joyous.
  87. I love you because you are loving.
  88. I love you because you delight me often.
  89. I love you because you spoil me.
  90. I love you because you would rather be home with us then anywhere else.
  91. I love you because you are nice to my friends.
  92. I love you because you help your friends.
  93. I love you because you are my best friend.
  94. I love you because of the way you hold me in your arms.
  95. I love you because making this list is easy.
  96. I love you because new reasons show up everyday
  97. I love you because I can't imagine my life with out you.
  98. I love you because of who you have been in your life
  99. I love you because of who you are now.
  100. I love you because of who you are becoming.
  101. I love you because you know how to love me.
Next Post: My final thoughts on Romance week

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise 

      Friday, November 20, 2009

      Romance in small doses

      ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

      Romance has definitely been on the rise over here in the Sprinkle house. The warm smolder would likely be  an inferno now if it weren't for Jessie being sick. Some of my BIG PLANS have had to be curtailed to accommodate caring for my poor sad girl. She isn't running a fever but she is more lethargic then I have ever seen her. She is definitely worrying her mommy and daddy and if we see no improvement by later today we will be doctor bound.

      Anyway, the reason I even bring up Jessie's health is that it actually provides a great example. It would be very easy, given this situation, for Rob and I to entirely ignore romance all together. I mean who could blame us, we have a sick child. Certainly Jessie's situation takes precedence when we consider having a date night out (not going to do that this week) but it does not mean that romance has to be curtailed completely. Actually I think the most romantic thing Rob had to say this week was "I love how well you take care of our girl." It feels good knowing that he notices things like that and that his concern for Jessie makes giving up our night out together inconsequential.

      Instead of some of the bigger gestures I had fun considering, and can hold for another healthier time, I've had to rely on the little things which is possibly more to the point of my Romance Week. As I said in my Getting in the mood for Romance Post I am working on making romance a commonplace thing in my home. Part of the air we breathe so to speak. These little things, holding hands while watching a little television, taking time for that 30 second kiss, a cup of coffee shared in bed together have really made a difference. Rob has been acting in kind on his side of the equation bringing special groceries home for his house bound family, surprising me with flowers and those little shoulder rubs I mentioned in an earlier post when he walks by. The air has definitely shifted in a more romantic direction!




      When Rob and I were dating we came across this bright orange boa at a flea market. Rob's and my favorite color is orange so we bought it on a lark. Rob joked that he would love to see me "dressed" in it sometime and from that point on I have left the boa or an orange feather laying around just to let him know that I had some romantic intention. The photos here don't show it very well but the boa was part of the larger flower path to the bed I surprised Rob with on our first anniversary. I have sneaked the boa in our suitcase for a surprise showing on vacation, sent photos of it to his phone and hung it mysteriously on the front door knob. This week I let Jessie play with it which netted some unexpected fun for her otherwise sad sick day and also resulted in orange feathers liberally strewn about the house which for us is very very romantic!

      We will not be sharing any big extravaganza this weekend but I've definitely realized I can keep romance alive even if the circumstances don't always call for it.

      Next Post: 101 reasons

      My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

      Thursday, November 19, 2009

      A Strong Fascination or Enthusiasm

      ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

      Part of my definition of romance includes a strong fascination or enthusiasm for things other then Rob and our relationship. When I tried searching with those exact key words a lot of sites about vampires show up. Apparently many people have a fascination with vampires today. Due in large part to the Twilight phenomenon. I do remember my sister had a fascination with fanged teeth when we were teenagers so perhaps this vampire thing is more then just a fad from today. I am more fascinated by fuzzy animals so when I saw this I had to share it since it certainly covers both fascinations.

      Cute and creepy at the same time!
      Found over at PrunePages.com



      Anyway I digress, the veiled purpose of this post is to share something that I enthusiastically find fun.





      The cool graphic displayed above was designed by me in mere seconds over at Slide where anyone can quickly and easily create visually fascinating slide shows. I made mine from two photos, one which is the cover shot of the Alphabeat single Fascination and the other is a Wordle I made about Romance Week.

      Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

      Here are links to some other wordles I made today.
      Another  Romance_week  combination
      Rob_and_Kathy_Wedding -which is a wordle made from our entire wedding ceremony, I just popped my .pdf into the create box and voila'!
      Rob_and_Kathy_Vows - this is a wordle made from ONLY the vow portion of our wedding ceremony

      I'm not sure what exacty I will do with them and/or I may play around some more with them. The romantic possibilities are endless. I may try one made from my 101 reasons I love Rob list that I a working on too... I'll keep you posted!

      And here the fun Alphabeats singing Fascination for your enjoyment!



      Next Post: My Romance update

      My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

      Wednesday, November 18, 2009

      Getting in the mood for Romance

      ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

      One of the reasons I call this blog Everyday Bliss is the Everyday component. I want to cultivate Bliss as an Everyday occurrence, not something that happens only on special occasions. So this week I am working on making romance a commonplace thing in my home. Part of the air we breathe so to speak. This being the case it is pretty easy to notice when romance isn't in the air so I thought it was a good idea to consider what it takes to get in the mood.

      I mentioned in Monday's post that I was not very excited when I realized it was Romance week but by the time I wrote a couple of paragraphs I had completely shifted my attitude and was looking forward to what this week might hold.  So taking time to think about romance is a good first step to having romance. My friend Jessica even offered this tip in her comment to yesterday's post  "First thing in the morning and last thing before sleep, think one loving romantic thought about your partner. Twice during the day think two more similar romantic or loving thoughts." Of course just thinking about something doesn't always get things moving so a good next step would be to DO SOMETHING SIMPLE. Which means it would be idea to have an arsenal of little, quick Romance boosters that you could employ whenever you noticed romance lacking. My personal favorite is to make sure I'm taking time for my 30 second kiss which I introduced in my Occasional Bursts of Passion post (there are also some other great romantic tips in that post.) The combo of thinking romantic thoughts AND kissing for 30 seconds will do wonders! Lets be clear it is easy to give lip service (pun intended) to these ideas and we or our sweeties can be well out the door before we remember we said goodbye with little more then a peck on the cheek. The day is not lost!

      Try thinking about what it was like when you first met. You weren't significant others, husbands, wives or even necessarily friends you were lovers. Gregory Godek says in 1001 ways to be Romantic says in number 347, "Live as lovers. Remember that's how you started your relationship. You can recapture the glow, the passion and the excitement. It's largely a mindset, followed by a few active gestures. Live as lovers!" Remember the "active gestures" you employed when you first met. Drop an email thanking them for the great time you had last night or are expecting later today. Send a photo of something you think they would enjoy seeing because it made you think of them. When Rob and I first met I was always sending him weird tidbits about ducks because he told me how much he liked them. We even bought decoys or other ducky items whenever we traveled together. Friends who visit our home think the rubber ducky motif in our bathroom has something to do with having a toddler. In truth it started long before Jessie was even a twinkle in our eye! Likely you have something in your history that could get the fires of romance burning again.

      Love Duck coming soon to a bathroom near me!

      If you don't want to pull something from your past you can always create something new. I really liked Regina's idea of sending a little coded messages, which I shared in yesterday's post, as well as writing I love you in the shower steam on the mirror. With a little research it isn't hard to find romance boosters that are tailor made for your particular relationship.

      Finally, if using your personal arsenal of romance boosters isn't doing the trick THEN try harder! Really! Sometimes it takes going a little bit further then you are comfortable with to get the ball rolling. If you have been neglecting the romance in your relationship then chances are one cute email and possiblly a rose or two aren't going to ignite a huge romanic bonfire. Then again even if a little smolder gets started it can be a lot of fun create something bigger. So, step three in my little Get in the Mood for Romance recipe is to plan something romantic.

      The kind of thought required to pull off a romantic surprise will up the innate romance quotient immediately. Even if it is something you aren't doing immediately your lover will reap the benefit of your romantic thinking. You will act differently, you really can't help it. And who knows maybe they will even start acting in kind. Rob has already offered to make dinner this week and last night he paused when walking by me and gave me a little shoulder rub. Nice! My big romantic surprise for this weekend, as mentioned in this week's Bliss Initiatives, includes me making a jar with 101 reasons I love Rob. Just thinking of the things to put on the little slips of paper has already made me feel and act a lot more romantic and even without knowing what I'm up to Rob is acting more romantic himself. (Rob only reads my blog on the weekends so any plans of mine are always safe until then!)

      To re-cap, my personal recipe for getting in the mood for romance.
      1. Think about romance
      2. 30 second kiss or other romance booster
      3. Plan something romantic
      4. Stir and provide 1-3 liberally!
      Next Post: A Strong Fascination or Enthusiasm

      My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

      Tuesday, November 17, 2009

      Everyday Romance Tips and Lists

      ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something. [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

      Romance week is off with an inspired start! For the first time in a while, I actually talked about my blog in public. Thank you to Shannon for asking about it. SO there I was at the park having a talk about romance with all of my mommy friends and we shared some of the cute romantic things we have experienced. It was totally fun. For the most part we discovered that we pretty much leave romance up to our husbands. I think this is about to change!

      My big romantic gesture last night was to put cozy new sheets on our bed. This may not seem like all that much but let me tell you freshly laundered, brand new out of the package sheets are a terrific backdrop for romance! This morning I greeted Rob with a heated towel as he got out of the shower. He loves the right out of the dryer feel so this was a little treat tailor made for him even though I was inspired to do so when I read it on the Romantic Lyrics website under their romantic ideas tab. When I said I was going to do something romantic everyday I did not mean I was going to produce a huge romantic extravaganza everyday (although I am working on one for the weekend!) The idea is to cultivate an environment of romance and simple little things like hot towels really do that.

      Today I will share some quick links to help you get inspired to do something for your love.
      KNOW THE CODE?
      submitted by: Regina Johnson
      For the last year my fiance and I will send each other a "quickie" to let each other know we are thinking of them or need a hug, or an I love you!.
      We page each other and punch in a code which for us is either 1227 ( the date we met 12/27), 214 (valentines), 426(the date we got engaged), or 2142004 (our wedding date).  Each is a way to say "I love you".

      While your love is taking a shower, sneak in and write, "I love you!" on the steamed mirror.

      Chill a bottle of white wine or uncork a bottle of red wine to let it breathe. Either cook dinner or order pizza in. When it's time to do the dishes, pull out a favorite new magazine or romantic book with instructions for your love to go hang out on the couch and read... (while you do the dishes!)


      A couple shares their game of inventing cyber lovers complete with their own email accounts who carry on a steamy affair... pretending to be someone else provides a charming freedom for fantasy.






      Look at this fun item! "This is one full year of 'romance with purpose & accountability'!"





      • And finally, only because we only have so much time in a day, these ideas from Loving You 
      Romance 101

      Romantic Flower Meanings
      Let your love know how you feel with one of these flower-themed cards!
       Spring Romance Ideas
       Lucky In Love
       all romance 101
      Date Night Ideas

      Romance At The Zoo
      Moneky around with your love on a fun date to the zoo!
       Plan Your Dream Home
       Date Night: Poetry Reading
       all date nights
      Romantic Travel

      Romance At Disneyland
      Insider tips to make your vacation as romantic as possible!
       Best Country Drives
       Hotel Escapes V
      Next Post: Getting in the mood for romance!

      My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

      Monday, November 16, 2009

      Romance week begins!

      ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something.



      Remembering the romance of our Hawaiian wedding


      Each week when I am considering the bliss virtue of the week I rarely think about the coming week. In fact it is usually Sunday or sometimes, as was the case today, I wait until Monday to look at my list to see what I am exploring this week. Today I have to report that when I saw romance I was less then excited. It isn't that I don't enjoy romance, who doesn't?! It is just that I am totally clear that this week will be made or not based entirely on my romantic efforts. It isn't Rob's romance week so it isn't like I can sit back and wait for the flowers to roll in, although knowing my sweetie he will participate at least that much. It is my romance week and this means me getting of my duff and doing something romantic! Now I have all sorts of ideas about what would be romantic for me but the real point of romance is to court or woo another so I need to do the things that Rob finds romantic.

      Hmmm. just where do I start? I got it! 
      Bring Food. Arrive Naked.
       
      It is the best darn advice, and title of Greg Godek's new book. For those of you who don't know this guy, he has written 12 books on romance including 1001 Ways to be Romantic which I already own! What the heck have I been thinking? Why did romance seem like a task when I have such great resources at my finger tips! Once again my little Bliss experiment is giving me a little kick in the pants just when something is needed! I love Rob dearly but I have been pretty darn weak in the romance department. When Rob and I met after I posted an ad asking to be "Wooed and Wowed forever" and he actually agreed to do so, I immediately started my slide into the no romance zone. Thankfully I am pretty romantic in my heart of hearts so it hasn't been all bleak for Rob, but he answered my ad to woo and wow so I have made that his job and I just haven't been playing the way I could be.


      Amazing in just the time it took to write these paragraphs my entire attitude has shifted. Mere moments ago romance looked like something difficult or at least requiring effort I wasn't sure I wanted to put forth. Now it looks like something immensly fun and creative. Watch out Rob a blast of romance is definitely heading your way!


      This week's "Bliss Initiatives" are color coded in purple for quick identification. They are specific things that you too can try, if you want to play along with me. However, because as Earl Nightingale
      says, "you become what you think about," even if you only follow along, and never take on any of the bliss initiatives, I expect some positive results. I will be exploring and encouraging ROMANCE this way:

      • Study - This week I am back to making study one of my Bliss Initiatives. There are a ton of interesting romance ideas out there and just thinking about romance will help put me in the mood for a romantic day! If you are playing along do consider your own rmance search on the internet. Top 10 romantic ideas searched in google netted a list that could keep someone busy for an entire year, let alone one week!
      • Field Work - This week I pledge to do at least one romantic thing each day and report back here about it. I will also create one big romantic surprise to be executed sometime this coming weekend. Want to play along? What fun surprising thing can you do for your loved one this week?
      • Getting in the mood for Romance  -I will be reading a romantic poem or reading about another's expression of romance each morning. Here is today's offering from http://www.poemhunter.com/
      Starlight Romance by Justin Gildow

      You have me tonight
      And I have you
      Tonight rings in a beautiful night
      And the galaxy is ringing out and miking the silver twilight

      Adrenaline is wavering
      Love is coming
      Ecstacy is dripping
      And passion is soon to be pouring

      Together, you and I are a part of a starlight romance
      So come to me and let's dance
      Let's give a few waltzes a chance
      Let's get caught up in everything that's lovely
      Let's get caught up in everything that's pure
      Let's say all the right things
      And let's be so absolutely sure

      Just remember
      You have my heart
      I hope you won't betray me
      Since I've put all my hopes into you

      Time holds these precious moments still
      These ones that we hopefully will cherish
      These ones that we hopefully won't forget
      These ones that we made
      These ones that we feel
      These ones that are real

      Above it all though
      I thank God for this tonight
      I thank him for tonight
      I thank him for you
      I thank love for keeping us true
      I thank love for keeping us real
      I'm so glad to be alive
      I'm so glad to be with you
      I'm so glad to have you with me tonight
      And for tonight, for this night
      We've survived
      Here's cheers to our night
      I thank the sky for you tonight
      And the stars have made it all right for tonight
      In helping us celebrate our starlight romance
        Next Post: Romance lists galore!

        My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

        Sunday, November 15, 2009

        Community Closing

        COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship. [Community week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

        Wow this week was over really quickly! Last night my moms group had a lovely potluck supper over at Katherine and Jesse's house. Jessie thought it was a bit confusing that someone else could be called Jesse and when it was suggested that she be "Girl Jessie" and Katherine's husband could be "Boy Jesse" she just glared and said "I Jessie!" and wouldn't acknowledge that there was any other Jesse there. Pretty darn cute. Anyway, it was a lot of fun being in the company of some of my favorite people and getting to share the experience with Rob. Some of the Social Capital deficit in our lives clearly comes from us having entirely different experiences with the outside world. Generally I do stuff with the mommy group while Rob is doing work stuff but we really don't socialize with other people together all that much.

        We have decided to change that and in addition to attending our monthly pot lucks we intend to invite more friends over for dinner and possibly games, particularly as our kids get get older. We are also going to create some type of neighborhood warming after the holidays and invite our new neighbors over to our house. We've lived here a month and I know 4 neighbors by name and a few others by sight. I'd like to increase that number and it would be nice to actually know something about them too! I think I will be starting Jessie at a neighborhood parent participation preschool when she turns three so that will certainly add to the community we intend on building in our new neighborhood.

        Regarding my Bliss Initiatives for the week, I spent a little time on all of them but really was far from flushing them out completely. Particularly with regard to identifying all the communities around me. I think I've determined that I'm not really ready to jump into something new but I will be keeping my eye out for the right opportunities that inspire me. Overall I will rate myself a 5 out of 10 for the week.

        Next Post: Romance week begins!

        My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise 

        Saturday, November 14, 2009

        Community Study

        COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship. [Community week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

        I didn't put STUDY as one of my Bliss Initiatives this week but somehow it seemed appropriate anyway. There are dozens of surveys out there ranking the BEST communities for singles, families, people who have dogs, like to walk, kosher eating... you name it.  But what interested me most is why one community feels more connected then another and what I could do to be a part of the connected things here in my new neighborhood. So while I was poking around I came across the concept of social capital. I've certainly heard the term before but for me it has meant something like those with lots of social capital are richer, more fortunate and probably luckier then the average person. Somehow it felt to me that if someone was leveraging social capital they were somehow cheating.

        Now that I have discovered the real meaning of the concept (from Sloan Foundation, Boston College)"Broadly, social capital concerns the norms and values people hold that result in, and are the result of, collective and socially negotiated ties and relationships. It is integrally related to other forms of capital, such as human (skills and qualifications), economic (wealth), cultural (modes of thinking) and symbolic (prestige and personal qualities). For example, economic capital augments social capital, and cultural capital can be readily translated into human and social capitals (Edwards, 2002)." I think everyone should be developing, using, and LEVERAGING social capital all the time.

        When I saw the following chart over at the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America website

        Declining Social Capital: Trends over the last 25 years
        • Attending Club Meetings 58% drop
        • Family dinners 43% drop
        • Having friends over 35% drop 
        I realized this was exactly what the"Fabled Land of Easterly Street" residents remember about our time together.  Way back in the 1960s, when we all lived there, we were chock full of social capital! We all had family dinners, moms attended PTA meetings and our Dad's belonged to civic groups and somebody was ALWAYS visiting someone else's house. We had neighborhood bar-b-ques, pot lucks and card games. In the summer, home movies were played on garage doors for all to enjoy as simple cocktails and the newest Campbell Soup casseroles were braved. We knew and cared almost as much about our neighbor's troubles, successes and joys as our own.

        In "Bowling Alone, The Collapse and Revival of American Community" by Robert D. Putnam as re-capped by Simon and Schuster "Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities... interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We're even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors have contributed to this decline."

        The book draws on evidence compiled in part from the Saguaro survey (conducted in 2000 and again in 2006) which asked the following questions to determine how connected Americans are to each other:

        • How many of your neighbors' first names do you know?
        • How often do you attend parades or festivals?
        • Do you volunteer at your kids' school? Or help out senior citizens?
        • Do you trust your local police?
        • Do you know who your U.S. senators are?
        • Do you attend religious services? Or go to the theater?
        • Do you sign petitions? Or attend neighborhood meetings?
        • Do you think the people running your community care about you?
        • Can you make a difference?
        • How often do you visit with friends or family? 
        Yesterday when I lamented that "I felt like quitting" I think it was in part to my answering these very questions for myself. In all the communities I have felt or do feel at home in, our social capital has been palpable. I want the social capital quotient of any new community I join to be great. I want Jessie to thrive in the that type of environment!

        Thankfully, while this does not help very much with my immediate quest for more community opportunities I do have one local community where the social capital remains high. That is with my very wonderful moms group which, thanks to Lisa's incredible forethought to include the dads too, is having it's monthly potluck supper this Saturday night!

        Next Post: Bliss Initiative to Enjoy some community

        My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

        Thursday, November 12, 2009

        Community Confession, I felt like quitting yesterday.

        COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship. [Community week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

        Yesterday I was having the hardest time writing my post. I was really confronted by this whole discussion of community.  To begin with, I really miss some great communities I have been a part of in my life. In my Kathy Sprinkle Story I mention "the fabled land of Easterly Street" which was a formative community I participated in as a child, which has grown to mythic proportions in the memories of the former residents. What exactly was it about that place and time that has so many of us wanting a revival?

        In that same post I mentioned Hastings on Hudson where I was moved to create a "town warming" party and subsequently spent six of my favorite years discovering, discussing, ruminating the mysteries of the universe with my posse of friends. My friend Tamara and I would dabble in the metaphysical and would create parties and revelry in our collective musings and then magically with pure intention manifest them around us. We would take classes, write poetry, sip cocktails, watch sunsets, decorate our homes and find warmth and wonder in each others company. I have rarely enjoyed friendship so much.

        And then there is my friend John and his camp, which for me has become synonymous with John's love and hospitality.  No matter how long I stay away,  I and all the friends I meet there, are always welcomed back with open arms. We laugh, we talk about silly and serious topics, eat wonderful food (thanks to John's incredible expertise) and play lots and lots of board and card games. John and I have started playing scrabble on line together which helps fulfill some yearning but doesn't come close to the marathon in person gaming sessions. When I imagine being very old, it is always in a rocking chair on his porch in the Adirondacks.

        Several work communities, like American Teleconferencing which I wrote about in my corporate whimsy post, and Landmark Education gave me purpose as well as camaraderie. It is particularly interesting how well a common purpose can unite people from all sorts of backgrounds. I haven't really had much "purpose"lately. Except of course to raise Jessie and care for our family, which is my first priority no matter what else I add to my plate.

        Which brings me to the fact that my plate currently has room and I have been hopeful that this blog becomes and encourages a new community in which to play. I have clearly been doing so for some ego driven reasons and enjoy sharing my sometimes quirky ideas with more then the few moms and family members with which I spend most of my time. What has been missing for me is more personal interaction. I think over time it is quite possible for an online community to feel personal. Case in point is my WTE Alumni group. We met online in the What to Expect when you are Expecting over 35 chat room well over two years ago. These wonderful women, most of whom I have never even spoken with have become very good friends. I hunt for their facebook updates, worry about their children's health issues, seek their advice, revel in their successes and laugh at their foibles.  My days would be wanting without them.

        So yesterday here I sat, melancholy that I don't have as much of my old favorite communities and feeling like my attempt to foster one over here was going unappreciated or unnoticed and I found it really difficult to put my fingers on the keyboard. How could I write about community when I wasn't even able to make this one work?! And if I am going to consider more active play in my new neighborhood then maybe I should ditch the unproductive ones and so on and voila' it seemed like a good idea to quit the blog. HA! What a crock! I guess my wily tourist self was looking for an out.  I may have felt like quitting but in my heart of hearts this just is not an option. I am in a year long experiment filled with highs and lows and I just hit one of the lows.

        Excellent. Now that this is settled it is time to get back to work!

        Next Post: A bit of Community Study

        My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

        Wednesday, November 11, 2009

        Intentional Community or Elective Segregation?

        COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship. [Community week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

        When I first thought about adding some intention to my normally haphazard way of finding community I think I got a little haughty. I had some vision of picking the ideal mix of people who would entertain enough of the same thoughts I do for me to find them interesting! The actual haphazard way I've bumped into everyone and everything in my life is probably the precise reason I have as much fun as I do. If I went and got all scientific and started filling my time with only like minded people I think things could get pretty boring pretty fast.

        Linda Hollier spoke in her recent post over at Integral Life of the potential trap the internet can be when like minded folks ONLY interact with each other: One of the gifts of our mobile technological culture is the ability to be and communicate with like-minded people. It is also one of the contemporary cultural traps. The danger is that in being able to find like-minded people, we can fall into a kind of elective segregation, in which we communicate almost exclusively with those who share our views. What sociologists find is that this selective communication tends to reinforce people’s more extreme viewpoints, whereas mixing and communicating with more diverse populations tends to moderate extreme views. [Updated 11/12/09 Linda was kind enough to point out that this is from "The State of the Integral Enterprise. Part 1: Curent Status and Potential Traps" by Roger Walsh which you can find here.  The whole article is excellent as well as the discussion and both are worth pursuing. ]

        I think I was seeking some of the comfort I have found in past communities and not seeing the gift and privilege that may await if I don't act quite so calculatedly. I remember when I was an exchange student to Austria in 1981/82,  I enjoyed learning how other people lived and jumped in, adopting local customs, including carrying a canvas grocery sack when I went to the store. At the time this did not seem to be a remarkable thing.  I just found it quaint and did it to fit in better with my new host family and friends. I even recall telling my friend Hans about how great it is in the USA and that at grocery stores in the States they give you bags, for free! It was so convenient and proof that the USA was also great. At the time it never occurred to me that the Austrian way was actually better. Today I loathe the single use bag. Paper or plastic? How can either be good? I'd like to think of myself as a crusader but so far I just MOSTLY carry my own bags and /or feel guilty when I don't.

        So, now I am guilty of getting all satisfied and right about environmental issues. I have been following and quoting as righteous, Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man on and off since he started his project. I even spent some of the time wishing I had the commitment to do the same (which includes the skill to enroll my husband in participating) and some of the time just totally thankful that someone else was doing it and I could learn something from their effort. As a result of reading Colin's blog I have come to the realization that I spent a good part of my life trying to get people to come around to my "right way of thinking!" It is good and right to recycle so why wouldn't everybody do it? I have been so arrogant and righteous about the right things to do I haven't even considered there may be more at issue then just the bare facts.

        Van Jones says with regard to environmental policy: "...you can’t have a sustainable economy when only 20 percent of the people can afford to pay for hybrids, solar panels, and organic cuisine, while the other 80 percent are still driving pollution-based vehicles to the same pollution-based jobs and struggling to make purchases at Wal-Mart..." When I get all blameless because I carry my own grocery bags I am not even beginning to make a dent in the real environmental picture. And seeking out like minded people to prove my rightness is not going to make any difference, even if it does make me feel good.

        All this being said I am clear I want to develop a community that is open and interested in divergent opinions so we don't get all satisfied and complacent in our world views. I want to feel connected and excited to spend time in my communities. I want to feel the people I spend time with are up to something and willing to help the people around them. I'd like Jessie to learn and grow into a happy and productive citizen because of the communities we participate in. And I wouldn't mind if they recycled.

        Next Post: Community confession!

        My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

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        Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

        • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
        • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
        • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
        • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
        • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
        • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
        • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
        • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
        • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
        • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
        • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
        • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
        • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

        Benjamin Franklin Quotes

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