Smiling like its normal

Yesterday SmirkPretty posted an amazing essay on 100 Blessings.  Take a moment and read it.  It’s worth your time.  Seriously worth your time.

I decided to try it.  Just look for a blessing, a small thing to be grateful for, a small thing that made me smile, a small thing of worth.  100 of those things in one day.  I called them blessings, although I’m a non believer, because I think we all recognize that a blessing is a good thing in life, a thing worthy of gratefulness.

I really can’t tell you how ridiculous an undertaking this is for me.  There have been times in my life, just as recent as last week, where I can’t find a glimmer of hope or light or good in the world because my brain has painted all the world into a deep void of darkness.  On those days finding even one or two things to be grateful or happy about is an olympic level effort.

And then on a whim, inspired by a gorgeous blog post, I just decided to do 100 of them.  In one day.

I took the approach that anything in my life or that touched my life, that was good, was a blessing worth counting.  I got 20 done in less than 2 minutes.  After that the hardest part was remembering.  My brain is not in the habit of looking for the sparkles of light in the darkness that inhabits my life.  I’m busy feeling my way in the dark.

But when I remembered, I could just look up and find 5 in under a minute.  Look up right now and you can too.  For example in front of me is a book shelf of my absolute favorite books in the world.  Curled up next to me is a fluffy ball of pestering love, covering me is a quilt made by my grandma,  under me is a comfortable bed, surrounding me is a safe apartment… Later it was the smell of cut grass, the newly planted flowers at work, the laughter of friends, the job, the purple pen, the kindness of my boss, the hard work of a co-worker, the generosity of a co-worker, the safety of the water I was drinking…

As the day progressed my day became lighter.  I definitely forgot about it for hours at a time.  And I lost track of what number I was on several times.  I have no idea if I accomplished 100.  I do know I accomplished a personal moment of revelation.  I became both lighter in heart and more aware of my surroundings by merely noting to myself the blessing.  It made me far more mindful.

The real question is – can this be done everyday?  Can I count 100 blessings every day?  The idea doesn’t seem overwhelming.  The idea makes me smile.  Perhaps it feels doable because I’m not at the bottom of the Abyss this week.  But I will take it because it feels like a celebration rather than an existence.



Today I was reading Cecelia’s daily update on her farm life and I favorited it, as I always do because she is one of my favorites.  And I thought “How odd that I’m always in the first spot on her list of favorite stars.

And them my very slow morning brain recognized why and I smiled.  At my own stupid brain failure.


On Monday, my co-workers were full of stories of their April Fools day.  I had forgotten they love it and I AM glad I took the day off.  But I did smile at one of the stories and at their joy in retelling it.  One of them took a large paperclip and put it on the copier and then copied it 10 times.  She then took those blank sheets with a paperclip image at one side and put them back in the paper stack of the copier/printer.  So when people innocently printed something from their computer it showed this paperclip.  I liked how clever it was.  They spent 10 minutes poking around that copier while she watched.  She finally told them.  It sparked a prank war I’m glad I missed but I did think her prank was clever and I smiled at her joy in telling it.  So, I guess I’m going to have to back down at least partially on my April Fools opinion post of last week.


My smiles this week are representative of my brain being open to enjoying the small moments.  To being able to smile at my own cognitive failure moment and being able to enjoy the story told by my friends who were all so full of fun and cheer over their pranks.  There are many days when I can do neither, so I’m pleased by the smiles in the small moments.


Job Interview! – Weekly Smile

I have had a rather bad few weeks.  My current job has become somewhat untenable due to their choice of insurance.

Which is to say, my anger at their choice of insurance.  They have chosen to use minimum required insurance.  Until this, I had decent insurance through the Marketplace.  The upshot is that they are saving money by taking it out of my pocket.

This is untenable for me financially in the long term.  I don’t make much money and will end up in a spiralling debt if I keep the job and try to continue to keep up with my health issues.

So I’m looking for a job.  Which is a cesspool of anxiety for me.  I have imploded from it.  But this morning I got an interview scheduled with a company.  This is a huge step.  Its a terrifying step.  But its a grand brave step and I did it.

And it also means that despite all the things my brain keeps saying to me, I do at least have sufficient qualifications to be called in for an interview.

And it means that I’m helping myself in a situation that feels so overwhelming to me.  That’s a special feature of depression and anxiety, they distort situations so that you feel like normal steps to help yourself are impossible.  And my brain has been working overtime on that feature.  But this interview is like a lifeline.  I may not get the job but existence of an interview provides tangible evidence that there is a way out of my situation.  One interview means its possible that other interviews can happen.  And that eventually I can get a better job.

So I’m smiling about the path, the lifeline that is symbolized by this job interview.   There is a way out.  I just have to keep running down the path and remember it.


Georgette Heyer – Weekly Smile

I have read Georgette Heyer’s novels – the historical ones, at least 10 times.  Some of them significantly more.

They are old friends.  I know what is going to happen, but visiting Heyer’s world is always going to make me smile.  I know the characters, I know what is going to be said, I know what is going to happen.  But just like talking old friends, there is a pleasant joining of phrases, known and beautiful that make me relax and know that life is OK.  They make me smile.

These books have kept me company while I sat for endless hours in hospital rooms, while eating alone in a restaurant, while flying across the country in a plane.   They have made the unendurable stress of being helpless bearable. They have cheered up moments of loneliness.  They have made time pass pleasantly.

I will never be able to thank her for the gift of her words.  But they have given me a great many smiles.


Grandma’s Quilts – Weekly Smile

My grandmother made each of her 11 grandchildren a quilt.  They were quilts with blocks made from discarded cloth, often old clothing – no matching color coordinated calicos in these quilts.

My quilt and 2 of my cousins quilts were made with squares cut out by my great grandmother who was pushing 100 at the time.

There was a time when my grandmother would never be sitting without a quilting frame near her so she could put in a couple of stitches.  Its part of my memory of her.

When she died there were 2 quilts sitting her a chest.  They were given to me.  So now I have 3 quilts from grandma.

When I became homeless, I took all three quilts into the car with me.  They kept me from freezing at night.

When I got a room at a rooming house, I put the quilts on the cot and suddenly it felt like I was home.

This is the rooming house room made homey by grandma’s quilt

When I moved into this apartment – I put the quilts on the bed and it was OK.  Because my grandma came too.

These quilts make me smile.  They make me feel warm and safe.  They are not coordinated designer fabrics.  But they are very beautiful.  Because they make me feel good.