Dec 31, 2012

Happiness Week 52

Wow! Wow! Wow! 2012 is over and so is my Happiness and Photo Project.

Someone recently asked me if the photo project was my original idea. Actually, I thought it was when I came up with the idea last year. Click here or here to read my first posts. Since then I found people have been doing 365 projects for several years so in fact I'm a little late, as always. I discovered that there are even websites dedicated to the concept that allow people to share their photos, like this one, so if the idea of a 365 project is intriguing to you then you might want to check that out.

I'm sure people have a lot of different reasons for starting a 365 project but probably the one thing they have in common is a love of photography and a desire to expand their photography skills. I had high hopes of getting out on location and shooting for hours. In reality my life is too busy to do that on all but the rarest of occasions and I'm not very good about taking time for myself unless it is "productive". Though, I knew when I started this project that I would probably have a lot of days represented with pretty average snapshots, since my intention was not just about photography but to look for happy moments among the ordinary days and to practice gratitude. I think my photography skills improved some but not as much as I'd have liked. I certainly spent a lot more time shooting using manual settings and experimenting than I ever would have. 

It turned out that after blogging about my days I didn't have the energy to go into greater detail with additional blog posts unless something really big was happening. From that standpoint, I'll be relieved to put this project behind me and get back to regular blogging minus the happy perspective, because this life as a special needs parent is a challenge and being honest about that is more true to my authentic self even if I am attempting to live a happier life. For those of you who have struggled with your own happiness in 2012, thank you for tolerating my weekly posts I'm sure it was annoying at times.

When I started this happiness project I starting paying attention and talking to people and what I hear is that we all have areas that we struggle. I do believe there are a great many people who feel they should/could be happier than they are. I believe it is the human condition but that there is hope. For every person, no matter their circumstances, life could surely be better and it surely could be worse. There are many facets to living a "happy life".  It is not a simple thing so I won't go into it deeper here but do recommend reading the book that inspired my project even if you don't intent to embark on any kind of crazy project. At least consider checking it out from your local library. It's an easy read.

The second portion of my project was to record my days in a Happiness Journal. Boy was it hard for me to stick to the happy moments and not record the bad.  I think my whole life I've been hoping  the normal irritations of life would go away and voila a happy day would be revealed.  You know the kind of imaginary day when you are in a good mood the entire day, no one cuts you off in traffic, you are able to do what you set out to do, your husband is helpful the whole day and you aren't annoyed that you have to stop what you are doing to make dinner or sooth children's tempers, or perform some other list of random chores. I'm finally realizing there is no such day and life truly is about enjoying the little things.

There is an appropriate saying on the cover page for month of December in my journal which can be applied to the search for happiness and the expectation of finding it.
"If I lose my direction, I have to look for the North Star, and I go to the north. That does not mean I expect to arrive at the North Star. I just want to go in that direction." -Thich Nhat Hanh 
It may not be possible to "arrive at happiness", but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to go that direction. We will get closer than if we had continued traveling aimlessly.

Stay tuned for my final compilation of all 365 photos to be revealed soon. If you can't wait, click here to see the album.

Daily Happiness Photos - Week 52
12/24 Candlelight
There is nothing as beautiful as candlelight.

12/25 Not Hosting Christmas Dinner
This year I didn't host a single Christmas event and that made me beyond happy. Steve's Dad and wife do such an amazing job serving a salad, then soup, and then a full prime rib dinner. More appetizers and desserts than you've ever seen. English crackers for all. It's always a wonderful time.
12/26 Incense
I've always loved to burn incense. (Though now I have to do it when Ainsley isn't around since smoke is bad for people with trachs.) It smells wonderful. A couple months ago I bought myself a foo dog incense burner at an antique store. I was so excited to finally open it and see what it looked like with incense smoke coming out its mouth. It didn't disappoint. Now I've got another excuse to burn incense.

12/27 1st Casserole
This is the second piece of Italian terracotta I bought myself for Christmas. I'm intending to bake casseroles this year. My first dish: Joanne's cheesy potato casserole. It was delicious so it looks like we'll be adding it to our recipe repertoire. With ham on the side it was like Christmas dinner all over again.  

12/28 Father Son Time
It's been great to have Steve around during the holidays. Evie had a friend over to stay the night so Steve played the Pokemon card game with Adrian. Later they played Risk. I love that Steve takes the time to play with Adrian. It sure makes Adrian happy and I love that boy so much, it makes me really happy to see him so happy. 

12/29 Sleep Overs
Maybe because I never had them as a child, I love it when my kids have sleep overs. I love seeing my kids so happy and getting to spy on them a bit. Both Evie and Adrian had a friend sleep over during Christmas break. I love that they all went outside to swing on the swing set. Lucky kids.
12/30 Photo Frame Project
I started this photo frame project earlier this year.  Finding my favorite 50 pictures among 30,000 was like looking for the proverbial needles in a haystack. It was quite a process but I got it done before the end of the year. I am SO happy to finally have photos up where they will be seen.
12/31 Family Time


Having family time together in the days after Christmas is the best part of the season I think. It's been especially nice this year since Steve's been working so much. We are enjoying the tribute to Dick Clark and looking forward to Taylor Swift performing and toasting to the new year at midnight. Hopefully there will be a lot of family time for us in 2013.
Happy NEW YEAR everyone!!! May 2013 bring you all much happiness!


  1. Happy New Year Susan! I have enjoyed your happiness photo project. I loved the fact that you did find happiness in the ordinary days of life. I think that is what it is all about. It is easy to be happy during big events or when something special is happening. It is an entirely different thing to find glimpses of happiness during a duldrum day. Well done! May 2013 treat you and your family well!

  2. I loved your happiness project! But, I can see why you would want to just go back to blogging too. Everything - even being happy and looking for the little things - takes a lot of energy. It's hard to have enough to go around!

    I hope 2013 will be a good year for us all. And I also hope that it will be the year we get to meet in person!

    Christy xo

  3. Happy, Happy New Year my fabulous friend! What an accomplishment your Happiness Project was. Looking forward to sharing 2013 with you via our blogs and, hopefully, sharing a drink (or two) with you in person.

    Love ya!