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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is not my review of The Happiness Project

JOY - A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something exceptionally festive or satisfying. [Joy week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

Do you know how it is when you think you have a great idea? Something you are excited about. You talk about it all the time (or in my case blog about it) and you can't believe no one else has thought of it too. The possibility that you have come up with something truly unique keeps you awake at night with excitement. 

Wow! Life sure is fun! I can't wait to share the news with the world!

And then.

You casually pick up a book that looks interesting, begin to read and BAM! You realize you are not the only one who has thought these thoughts. You are NOT unique and, as much as the validation that you are indeed onto something impresses, some of the fun of it all is sucked from your sails. 

I'm too late. Everything has already been said. 

This is exactly what happened yesterday when I started reading Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project.
  The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

I have actually been following Gretchen Rubin's blog for quite a while. Her beautiful professional website showed up early as I surfed the net for tidbits to enhance my Everyday Bliss project.  She wrote posts that resonated with me. I even linked to her blog on several occasions and reposted one of her articles for you to enjoy. Someone else is playing a year long game, even if hers had already been completed three years earlier. A kindred spirit is found! 

I tweeted her with links I thought she might find interesting and she tweeted back! She even followed me! How fun is that? It was if my own happiness guru had asked to be friends. 

Gretchen started posting about the book she was writing about her year long project and I was delighted for her. I tweeted congratulations and wrote encouraging notes on her facebook wall. I am truly excited for her! 

Almost instantly the book is a NY Times best seller! Her success makes me happy. I intend on reading it immediately and download it to my Kindle. Somehow life happens and I don't get to it. I think about it. I must get to that book I say to myself but somehow it doesn't happen until I give myself bloggy accountability.

As is the case with this entire blog, and many of the things I have determined to do, I really don't get off my duff until I promise to someone other then myself that I will do it. I know all the self help jargon about being true to yourself and answering to yourself first but for me the threat of embarrassment is much more motivating then anything I tell myself.  I don't want to let YOU down, so yesterday I pick up the book.

I like it. I don't know what I was expecting but it surprises me in that it is a bit different then her blog. In the book she provides a lot of context for how she got started. Stuff that may have been in her blog but since I haven't followed her since the beginning I may have missed it. 

And then it happens. She tells us her inspiration for the project and wouldn't you believe it; It is Ben Franklin!! Her entire project is designed around the exact same thing as my Everyday Bliss project. Now Ben's book has been around for a couple hundred years. It isn't as if I thought I was on to some proprietary material. It makes sense that other people would be inspired by the same thing. 

I was floored! Kindred spirits indeed! 

Her approach is a bit different then mine and possibly more true to the Ben Franklin way. She does endeavor to keep track of all her virtues by the end of her year where as I have just been concentrating on a specific virtue weekly. She has other influences as well but her explanation of the Ben Franklin element really got to the heart of what I have been trying to explain since I started.

She has a similar idea. She did it first. She is a better writer. 

Yeesh! Is there anything left for me to do?

O.K. Of course there is.  There is no limit to the number of versions of the same game Ben can inspire. Like my idea that everyone can play their own "Everyday Game," Gretchen is advocating that everyone create their own Happiness Project. I just have to get over myself for wanting to be first. Considering Ben is the ultimate first, I suppose that would actually be second. And now that I also know that there is an iphone app for tracking and scoring a Ben Franklin Virtue Game I'm really clear that even Gretchen isn't second.

She is perhaps twelve hundred thousand and four so I can be happy with Eighty-seven hundred thousand and five. What number will you be?

[When I'm finished with the entire book I'll be back with my review. Fun to also note, as I am celebrating my 6 month blogging anniversary Gretchen was celebrating her 4 year anniversary. I wonder what will happen in my next three and 1/2 years? ]

Next Post: Something Super Joyous

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A week of Joy to share

JOY - A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something exceptionally festive or satisfying.

Photo Credit BingBing

Wow am I glad to get back "to it" as they say. I took my little one week hiatus, not with the intention of staying away from the blog entirely. I planned  on performing blog related things that don't really fit into the normal scheme of things on my blog and I guess that is exactly what happened! I really had no idea that a giveaway would take so much time and this primarily is due to the fact that I couldn't have anticipated such a great response. As I sit down to write my post this morning I realize that almost 150 NEW people are following my blog! Wow! And thank you all (as my daughter says) "very so much!

For the newcomers, and as a review for my old friends, here is a quick review of how the EVERYDAY BLISS GAME is played.  

My game is founded on two specific things.  First is my fascination with Benjamin Franklin. When I was in my early twenties I happened upon his Autobiography and was introduced to his thirteen virtues (Scroll down to bottom of the page to see Ben's complete list.) Ben came up with a list of virtues, which if lived would make him a better person. He did this while in his twenties and tried to lead his life following these virtues. Ben's follow through was remarkable. He put together a scorecard in a small book, which he carried at all times, and he would evaluate his performance on a daily basis. He did this for his entire life, and while one can debate his success with mastery, I am convinced it was huge contributing factor to his accomplishments and life well lived. 

When I first decided to do my experiment I considered using Ben Franklin's thirteen virtues. After all, they were tried and true. Then I thought that coming up with my own virtues would make it a bit more personal but thinking about picking THE virtues that I wanted to live by started to become very daunting. What if I picked the "wrong" ones? What if my choices made me shallow, mean or otherwise less joyous then I really want to be? It suddenly started to seem all lofty and not at all fun. That is when it occurred to me to pick something I wanted more of in my life.

Which brings me to my second influence, you become what you think about, an old Earl Nightingale adage I first heard about in my twenties when reading his book The Strangest Secret. This concept moved me to pick distinctions that would have me "think about" what it is I want. So on to the next dilemma. What is it that I want? As my friends and family know, I am a pretty happy gal. I have a wonderful husband who signed up agreeing to "Woo and Wow" me forever and I get to be the full time mother of the funniest smartest little girl on the planet. What more could I really want?

My inquiry led me to BLISS. I can remember some really perfect moments of bliss but could it, would it be possible to cultivate it as a regular occurrence? Something experienced EVERYDAY? Bliss is defined as supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment and somehow occurs for me as a special event. Everyday is defined as an everyday occurrence and somehow the two things could be a bit incongruent. Would cultivating bliss somehow make it ordinary or less blissful? I decided it was worth the risk. I mean what could it hurt if I end up raising the bar on what bliss for me is and if I only end up experiencing more fun and joy on a daily basis? Heck this is a game worth playing!

And there you have it. The Everyday Bliss Game was born. Today I am half way through the year long game and I am totally tickled that so many have decided to come along for the ride! 

This game is VERY user friendly. I mean it is about BLISS so I want everyone to have fun while participating or even just following along! As part of my study into each of my virtues, each week, usually on Mondays, I come up with what I'm calling "Bliss Initiatives." These are concrete things you can do in your own life to foster a particular bliss virtue, this week it is JOY.  Some of these things will be simple; perhaps something like Smile at three strangers today and others will be more time consuming; make a list of the things that bring you joy today or more complicated: hand make a greeting card and deliver it in person.  My thought is for you to participate as much or as little as you want. Some weeks it may be possible to take everything on and other weeks you may only want to follow along as I try things out.

I am not able to do everything I come up with either.  We all have busy lives and this project is intended to inspire not overwhelm!  Some weeks I have a dozen lofty ideas but am unable to even complete one. Remember I am going on the belief that we become what we think about so even the inquiry has an effect. This is the very thing I am excited to blog about.

So, bottom line, you can participate by
  • following along
  • playing along with the "Bliss Initiatives" I come up with
  • creating your own game and initiatives
And you are invited to play along as much or little as you want!

I start each week telling you what I plan to do,  end each week telling you what I actually did, and share my observations "from the field" in between.  I will explore each virtue in a number of different ways.  This week I wll be exploring and encouraging JOY this way:

  • Study - Poking around the internet, considering the Practice of Joy as a spiritual endeavor,  and reading the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin -- no recommendation yet I will let you know once I have finished reading it! 
  • Do something you love - Don't just say hi on Facebook, actually pick up the phone and call an old friend, share an ice cream with your child, get a massage, paint your nails... what ever it is that brings you joy. Be conscious and choose joy!
  • Carry a pocket charm - I find that I forget about this game as I navigate through my daily life.  I will carry this small totem around with me,  and as I happen upon it,  I will be reminded that I am focusing on JOY.  I found this small pewter stone with the word joy engraved on it but any small pocket sized item can work for you as long as you associate it with this project. 
  • Field work - I've done this before and am repeating it because it works! Each day I will be doing at least one thing from Daphna Caperonis' terrific list of 50 ways to find Joy.  Click here, even if you have no plans to do anything from her list.  Just considering it is a joyous experience! 

  • Get in the mood for Joy - Watch this very short (less then 5 minutes!)  Finding Joy Movie which is a nice, meditative way to begin any JOY filled day.  If time during the week permits,  watch one of these feature Films on Joy.
Next Post: Something Joyous

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

We have our winners!!!

JOY - A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something exceptionally festive or satisfying.

What a great way to kick off JOY week eh? The Everyday Bliss Giveaway is over and we have or winners! Coincidentally all three of my winners have an ETSY shop so I will be giving them a little linky love this morning. (For those of you eager to get back to the Everyday Bliss Game, please note I will be posting this week's Bliss Initiatives in my next post.)  So without further ado:

The winner of the Everyday Bliss Grabbag which includes a copy of the Ben Franklin Autobiography goes to Loren at Fruits of the Bloom

FruitsOFtheBLooM's  ETSY Shop Announcement

Hair accessories for baby, girls, and women: bridal head pieces, fancy flowers for weddings or portraits, artistic hair bows for special occasions, fun and funky hair clips and clippies, graphic hairbows for the nerd or modern sophisticate! Baby and little girl bracelets in sets or singles that stretch to grow with your special girl! Fruits of the Bloom even accessorizes your home--look for unique, creative items for the nursery and kid's room! 

The winner of the Starbucks Giftcard goes to Linda over at the blog My Trendy Tykes. Linda refers to herself as A Jesus loving, God fearing, kid chasing, face wiping, dish washing, laundry folding, homeschooling, boo boo kissin', bon bon eating stay at home mom and has a very entertaining blog as well as an ETSY shop called Ribbon Rock Star Bows

Grand Prize Winner of $50.00 to spend in the BLISS SHOP(s) of her choice is the lovely Heckety all the way from Ireland and the beautiful blog At Home with Heckety.

HecketyBeckety's ETSY Shop Announcement

Welcome to the West of Ireland where the rain falls soft, the winds blow hard, and thrifty crafting is still a way of living! I use vintage and upcycled materials whenever possible and enjoy discovering new ways to re-invent old ideas. I handmake all these crafted items myself in a smoke-free environment. 
I am a member of the Crafty Ireland Team!

If you wish to know more about Heckety's crafts or fancy a quick trip to the West of Ireland please visit me at:
Heckety at Home.

Thank you once again for everyone who participated! Participating Etsy Shop owners are encouraged to check the BLISS SHOP list for your store. It is possible I have missed someone and/or a link could be incorrect. Let me know in a comment or via email and I will correct ASAP.  I plan on doing a similar Giveaway again in six months, to celebrate one year of blogging, so stay tuned for that!

Happy Happy JOY JOY to you all this fine Monday!

Next Post: JOY Week kick off

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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

LAST DAY!! Wrapping up my Hiatus & Final Day to Enter Big Giveaway

HIATUS - a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

Image from 

Phew!!! I just finished adding the last (of those that have made it so far -- you have until Midnight Pacific Time tonight!) of the Everyday Bliss's Follower's Shops to my new BLISS SHOPS page. It took nearly four hours today!. I  am SO EXCITED that so many of you were interested in participating!! If you are a participating follower (Want your shop to be an option for the Everyday Bliss Giveaway winner) of the giveaway, please go to the BLISS SHOPS tab on the blog and check to see if your store is listed. If for some reason your shop is not listed, or I have listed your name incorrectly please drop me a note... in a comment or via email, and I will make any needed corrections.

I am hopeful I have you all! I did my best to locate everyone's shop, in many cases your shops are not listed in your blogger profiles so it wasn't always easy to find your store. If you have a shop, it would be a good idea for you to check in your public profiles (on blogger, wordpress, twitter etc.) and make sure your shops are listed. If people can't find you, they can't buy from you!

You may have noticed that I added a "PAGE" to my blog for the BLISS SHOPS. Part of what I was intending to do during my Hiatus, was add several pages, one for explaining my Everyday Game, one informational about me and one for the "new scoring system" I was hoping to complete. Well, none of that stuff is finished enough for me to consider going live with any of it so while my Hiatus plans went unrealized I was really happy to have all the extra time to devote to the giveaway. Who knew it would actually take so much time?

Tomorrow I will be kicking off JOY week with the announcement of the giveaway winners. You have until midnight (Pacific Time Sunday) to get your comments in... remember you can comment on any and all posts (Once per post) from the past two weeks for additional entries. All Facebook, Twitter and Blog followers also get one chance.  

Good Luck Everyone!

Next Post: JOY week begins with announcement of Everyday Bliss Giveaway winners.

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keep those comments coming!

HIATUS - a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

Well I must laugh at myself! I decided to take a break to do all these things I never seem to get around to doing but then I go and schedule a big giveaway! I am loving the buzz it has created over at the blog (over 200 followers now!) but I have to say it is a lot of work! Just compiling the list of more then 100 ETSY shops that my winner will be able to go shopping in is taking almost all my free time.  The experience puts me entirely in awe of Lisa Swifka aka The Whimsical Bohemian's handling of her 1000+ participant blogs in the One World One Heart giveaway.  

The good news is that I've decided to have the giveaway net some benefits for all of us going forward. I am in the process of creating a page for the blog that will showcase all of the Bliss Shops (Everyday Bliss Follower's Etsy shops :) that will remain a part of the blog. For those of you who want to keep me posted on sales, giveaways or other happenings in your creative world I will do my best to show case them on this page.  This will be separate from the day to day blog activities (Yes I am getting back to the Everyday Bliss Game!) but certainly there will be some linky love offered over in the blog from time to time!

Pretty much my Hiatus has turned out to be me coming up with a hundred more ideas that I may never have time to actually do! Ahh, ain't that the story of all of our lives?!! 

I also wanted to let my readers know that I am not intending on making this a Giveaway Blog.  A giveaway is a great way to create interest in the blog but this is not the focus of Everyday Bliss.  I expect I will always participate in OWOH since it is the event that opened my eyes to the bigger blogging world. I've decided to host my own Giveaway twice a year, as a way to say thank you to my readers and to generate some new interest (look for the next one in six months when I celebrate my 1st year of blogging!)  I will also let you know about other giveaways I find interesting but I will not be participating in  a million of them! 

On that note, I have come across a sweet little blog hop with a bunch of handmade items up for grabs. As you can probably tell, I'm a sucker for all things creative and home made so while Everyday Bliss isn't officially doing anything for the hop I do hope to win something!  If you want a chance to win something handmade do check it out by clicking on the button below:
I am joining the Bunny hop

Oh and don't forget this is the last weekend to comment for entries into the Everyday Bliss giveaway.  Come on... you know you want to win that $50!!!  So go ahead and comment comment comment.  :) 

Bottom line, I haven't gotten one tenth of what I intended done on my little Hiatus but I am energized and excited by my little break.  

Next Post: Hiatus continues...

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gratitude flashback! Couldn't be a better way to spend my Hiatus!

HIATUS - a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

Wow! What an overwhelming response to my giveaway! Thank you so much everyone. I'm closing in on 200 followers and I'm meeting some really talented artists. All in all a totally fun experience!

Many of my new followers have been poking around the blog and reading some of my older posts. (Thank you!!!) One of you commented about my post entitled "Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude All the Time"  which I originally posted Thanksgiving week last November. My personal favorite Gratitude post is "Anticipating Gratitude, AKA Christmas Morning kind of Living" and since I am feeling so very Grateful it seems ideal for a gratitude revisit here during my Hiatus. 

Anticipating Gratitude, AKA Christmas Morning kind of Living

I'm a big holiday gal. I love any excuse for celebration and I particularly like a good surprise.  Christmas morning, before a single present is opened is probably my favorite moment all year. I also like the ride to the airport before a trip or even a few stolen minutes before my family wakes up.  There is something about the potentiality of of those moments that makes my soul sing. Once the paper is off the packages, sun lotion is squeezed or the morning routine is underway I forget the bliss of expectations, mostly unrealized.

You see that is the thing. BEFORE anything happens there is this moment of possibility so pure that even though you have had years and years of mediocre, less then stellar happenings, there is always the hope that perhaps THIS TIME it will be one of the perfect ones. A surprise pulled off that totally blows your mom's mind in the best of ways, a vacation enjoyed so thoroughly that when it is time to go you feel satisfied and wanting no more, or a day of playful seamless joy when you would wish for nothing to change your life even one little bit.

The interesting thing about those MOMENTS BEFORE is that they happen ALL THE TIME. Moments before your husband tracks mud all through the house, moments before a favorite Teddy loses an ear, moments before the sunburn, moments before Jessie opens the exact same present for the second time... moments 
before are all still pure potential.

"Pure Potential" Image from Hypnosis Institute 

Certainly it may seem as if the tide was already turning in a specific direction when your toddler took the top off the bottle of glue but what if, crazily possibly if, it might be ok anyway. Maybe she won't pour it all over your new sweater. Maybe she will carefully place it on the table. Maybe she'lll spend 20 happy minutes making a masterpiece of feathers and cotton balls so you can finish dinner. Maybe the sweater will come clean in the washer when you thought it was dry clean only and you will be freed up to wear it all the time. Maybe the sweater will harden into an irreparable lump suitable for cotton ball and feather sculptures that take 30 minutes and allow mommy to take a whole shower all by herself! Maybe...

As life happens, it is the rare occasion when we allow ourselves to have that Christmas morning kind of thinking. We have limited the amount of grateful anticipation and substitute worry, disappointment or, possibly the worst of all, knowing exactly what will happen. We live lives that are predictable and if we tell the truth are rarely remarkable in our eyes. We've been brought up to think that looking through "rose colored glasses" isn't necessarily a good thing but I'm beginning to think that may be all wrong. What if we could add the slightest shade of pink and add a sense of wonder to our everyday moments. What if we allowed ourselves to be delighted and surprised by all of it? 

Maybe, crazily possibly maybe, we can!

Next Post: Hiatus continues...
Don't forget to comment on this and every post all week for another entry into the big giveaway!

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One more time about the One World One Heart Giveaway!

HIATUS - a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

I hope you all aren't too tired of hearing about the wonderful One World One Heart blog event. I know I have blogged about it before but the surprises just kept coming! I was the fortunate winner of many prizes and I've been meaning to send out my formal bloggy thank you and my Hiatus is giving me a terrific opportunity to do so!

Up until my participation in that event I operated in a kind of bubble. I played my everyday bliss game, wrote about it but really never thought about the rest of the blogging world. In my research about my different virtues I would happen upon blogs that had hundreds of followers and I could never figure out how that happened.  OWOH showed me that you have to get out and tell people you are out there, so I went ahead and jumped in!  And I am so glad I did! Today I reached 150 followers... how amazing is that?!! And I owe it all to the world that was opened up to me because of participating in that wonderful event.

Today I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the folks I won prizes from and invite you to hop on over to their blogs if you are seeking some creative inspiration. A couple of weeks ago I shared two of my prizes in a gratitude week post and mentioned that I would be back to share the other prizes. Go to that post if you want a peek at the the super darling Angel Cat ornament by Suzanne Urban Designs or the fun ornament pin cushion made by Deborah over at Vintage Soul

Here is the rest of my booty!

Gorgeous necklace "Hope" by Jodaeo Design
Each one of her intricate designs is a masterpiece to behold!
Visit her Etsy shop here

Two prizes in one from Hege-Annie's Paper Heart!
The super cozy slippers are being enjoyed by Jessie as I type this 
and I've already used three of the darling cards.
If you like Paper Crafts you MUST visit her blog!

This darling Steampunk Heart by Linda of Timeless Treasures of the East
is made from purple and silver polymer clay. 
It is embelished with a small heart shaped lock and key.

So thank you once again to the master of ceremonies Lisa Swifka aka The Whimsical Bohemian for her enlightening and fun game. Need some creative blog hopping then please visit the gals above and/or pop over to this post to see the complete list of 1000+ blogs who participated!

Don't forget that every comment on the blog this week nets you an additional entry in my BIG EVERYDAY BLISS GIVEAWAY. Do make sure you are following this blog if you want your ETSY shop to be included! Good Luck everyone!

P.S. The hiatus is going well but one week is hardly enough for my lofty visions of blog beauty... ah well some new fun will be in store none the less!  

Next Post: Something Hiatus filled!

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

A stroll down the Joy Memory Lane

HIATUS - a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

Since I'm taking a little break I thought I would offer you a little stroll down the Joy memory lane. This is a complete list of my posts about Joy the first time out. Start from the top to proceed in time order or pick what sounds interesting. If you have the time to peruse some of them, there are a few good insights awaiting you!

  • Joy Boosters - A bunch of things you can try to increase joy.

Don't forget to comment for your entry into the Big Everyday Bliss Giveaway. Etsy shop owners, the best way to insure the $50 is spent in your shop is to have one of your followers win, so be sure to invite your clients to join in on the giveaway!

Next Post: A recap I never got around to doing

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.


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