Remember your Delights

(( Hello, happy June! I wrote this post back in March the first day of all the changes from Covid19. It seemed bad timing to post due to so much sickness and death. It was a very sad time. These days I think it might be a nice writing for you to ponder. It is actually quite interesting to see where my head was at nearly 3 months ago. I am certain, as I am sure you would agree, that my next post might sound a little different. Thanks for reading.))

Hello friends. Happy March! Are your days as blurry as mine? The days fly by and I can’t seem to get anything done. I am writing on a Tuesday. Typically a drag of a day. Not Monday, whew, but not close enough to the weekend to breathe a sigh of relief. This Tuesday feels pretty good however. I am substituting for the middle school, happy to be working. The weather outside my door is beautiful. The wind is blowing slightly causing a subtle breeze over my desk, I remembered to pack myself a delicious lunch, not just a handful of nuts and granola bar, and I have a dinner out with friends on Thursday. Along with this moment of gratitude I have now decided to remind myself of some of my delights. Let me share this with you so you too can focus on some delights in the midst of all this virus fear and political nonsense.

Over the weekend I was listening to This American Life podcast, #692: The Show of Delights. The podcast gave me a concept I never took time to recognize. It gave me fodder as to what gave me delight. The idea is to identify what feels good and what joys are you feeling or seeing? The definition from the dictionary app on my phone states: a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture. But it is so much more than it’s definition. It’s an awareness of good and a way of cultivating positiveness. Each of us feel this uniquely. When was the last time you used the word delight? What makes you feel good? That moment you actually slow down and say it to yourself or out loud. “This has been a really nice day.” or “I am delighted I was able to spend time with you and catch up. I have really missed you,”

No matter what is happening in my world, if I see a cute little dog, not a puppy, but a little dog, I am one hundred percent DELIGHTED. I love little dogs. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes. Yes, literal tears! I already have 2 dogs, both male, but they are not little. One is small and one is medium, both a little chunky. They are sweet, don’t get me wrong I love them beyond. But what I feel when I see a cute, little, adorable dog is pure giddiness. I have great plans one day to have said little dog. A female dog, one with long fur that will demand a bow or ribbon. She will be my purse puppy, a cutie pie that peaks out with eyes that melt anyone who sees her. My boys are full on cringing at this point. Their eyes are rolling to the back of their head. “Mom, please, no.” I can hear them now. But there is no stopping me. I promise I wont be over the top, I tell them. I’ll only dress her every once in a while, and I swear, I wont paint her nails!

Another great example of my personal delight is when all my boys are home with my husband and I. We are rarely home all at the same time. With my oldest son working full time and my other two sons both full time students. We will eat a meal around the table, typically dinner, talking and teasing one another. My husband is attempting to be the funniest in the family by making some of the corniest jokes as the rest of us eye-roll him while we laugh. We then debate who is the funniest in the family. Each of us trying to outwit and out-humor the other. Then we clear the table and bring out our favorite family game(s) and the competition between all five of us begins. It’s healthy competition, most of the time. I have the feeling of pure delight looking at all of our smiling faces sharing our limited time together. I am close to having a true empty house soon, though it already feels empty, with everyone’s busy schedule. These moments have become few and far between so I delight in each one.

One day while substituting a fourth grade class a student handed me a folded up note. At first I thought it might be a note telling on someone. There is a bit of tattling in elementary school. But turning it over I saw a tiny heart. This little 9 year old boy wrote me the sweetest note. Telling me how much he liked me coming to his class and could I come teach full time? Talk about feeling delighted! I was so touched I had to bite my lip not to start crying. It meant so much since being a substitute is a tough gig, boy can I tell you stories! You don’t always feel like you are welcome. Or you feel like you are being taken advantage at every turn. But those days when a student yells, “Mrs. Granberry who are you subbing for? Is it my class? Say it’s my class. You are my favorite sub!” This is a true moment of delight. So there are days when subbing feels like the worst, but then those days when kids can make you feel so loved, I delight in every moment.

Hopefully, I have given you something to think about. Joys for you to reflect on and remind yourself of your own delight. Is it the smell of warm snicker-doodle cookies in the oven when you walk in the door after the longest day? Or maybe there is delight in hiking or running. There is no delight too small or too big, Just noticing these joys will make the day a little brighter. And just think if you share these delights outloud, “Look at that, a double rainbow!” “Look at that massive tree! Do you see how big the trunk and how green and bright the leaves look with the sun shining? You will be spreading the joy. And don’t we all need more delight in our day?! There are many delights we experience, we just need to be reminded. So, consider this your reminder to remember your delights!

Evolution of a Shopaholic

My shopping addiction really started out as a necessity. It was a constant need to keep three growing boys fed. It would have been cheaper just to buy a cow with the amount of milk they drank. Those boys never stopped growing which meant the refrigerator never stayed full, and they grew out of their clothes so quickly. As a stay at home mom, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do a good job. To keep everything well stocked and all needs met. I didn’t exactly have the best role model so I was in high stress mode to do it correctly. I was taking my job as a mom very seriously, making sure I was breaking the mold of bad parenting that I had growing up. I spent all my waking hours mothering and taking care of household duties, never mind all the volunteer hours at each school. The years when they were at 3 different schools was a real challenge. Have I told you how much driving I was doing on the daily? Let me save that for another time. I think the shopping turned into a way to off set all the parenting responsibility (light bulb moment!). Buying for myself or others turned out to be quite therapeutic. But the real joy was in finding a discounted item. It has been said that I have made purchases solely on the huge discount being offered. It felt good, I mean real good. I usually had to call a friend or my sister to brag. It felt like I was pulling a fast one on the retailers. Of course if I wanted to be realistic about the whole thing, I’d recognize they were (pulling the fast one on me) winning as I swiped my credit card time after time. This realization of shopping too much was not something I recognized at the time. I had no idea the amount ‘therapy’ shopping I was actually doing.

The more I was in the retail world the more it became clear the amount of deals I could find everywhere. You just had to take the time to look a little longer. It was so hard to pass up on that clearance item or sale item I knew was a great price. This was way before the onslaught of websites telling you where and when to shop for the best deals. I remember being informed of the end-cap isles at Target. And, the clearance isles? Don’t get me started! What a game changer. I used to be a Macy’s or strictly a mall store shopper but then I found out that TJ Maxx and Marshalls was a better deal if you were satisfied with items that may not be the current popular color or style. I was perfectly comfortable with same name brand items for less. There was no difference. The items were not irregular or damaged. Many times the exact same item could be found at both discount and department stores. Very exciting. In addition, you could always find a nice gift. Some items are so unique you can’t find them anywhere else. I loved to find just the right gift, whether for a birthday or special occasion. I made the time pass quickly by my in store shopping, in between all those pick up and drop off drive times.

Inevitably the shopping got out of hand, no surprise to most of you. I did not need to buy another chotchke or upgrade an item to the house. Did the boys really need another t-shirt, shorts, or a new pair of Nike’s? Probably not, but they beg to differ on the Nike purchase. It was becoming obvious that we had too much stuff. The house was feeling smaller, and not just because the boys were growing like weeds! Those good deals had me buying more than was needed. I began to replace items that didn’t need replacing. To make matters worse, I wasn’t getting rid of anything in the process. I got so caught up with the savings between the before sale price and the new price that I forgot the reason for the purchase. Eventually, the donation boxes started to fill up. I had to get rid of a few things since I didn’t want to be called a hoarder! At one point my middle son decided he had enough of all his ‘stuff’. He became a minimalist. Can you imagine how I felt when he was getting rid of most of the items in his room? I was having a hard time. He was tossing so many of my great deals. It had gotten so cluttered he decided everything had to go. Everything. He wanted it cleaned up. Looking back, I don’t blame him but it was hard for me, so I did try to slip a few items back in, but he was on to me. Very little stayed. His room was the cleanest in the house.

Nowadays, the in store shopping has been cut to a minimum. The needs aren’t the same. My boys are mostly out of the house I am no longer the stay at home mom stress case. Besides, the checkout lines at my favorite discount stores have gotten longer. The word of discount shopping is out. I guess I wasn’t the only one excessive shopping for good deals. I can honestly say, I no longer have the desire to actually drive to the store and deal with all the people. There are so many people. Therapy shopping is not what it used to be for me. It all feels so redundant now. Lucky for me my husband has stepped up as the grocery/Costco shopper and frankly I’m thrilled. This keeps me away from the stores. There has been a change in my shopping habits. I’m not hankering for the next good deal. Now I just want to a get in and get out of any store. My son’s minimalist lifestyle was rubbing off on me. As much as I would love to end the conversation here, to impress you with the new me, how the excess of clothes and other items are no longer, I cannot. Shamefully I just ended up getting savvy to another way to shop.

The internet sucked me in and fast. My therapy sessions were coming back and it appeared an avid on-line shopper was in the making. I dabbled with internet shopping a bit in the past, but was too intimidated by the whole thing to dive in. However, once I figured it out, and I didn’t have to leave the house, it became so easy and convenient! The only downside became the delivery wait time. No immediate satisfaction. Unfortunately, it was easy to forget how much I spent, or saved, or the fact I even bought it in the first place. On line shopping is dangerous. You can shop at anytime for anything. There are so many items I didn’t even know I needed or wanted. And now that I am a Pinterest fanatic there are crafts and gifts I had no idea I could be making and purchasing all these years. My creativity was blossoming.

We all know how many sites are out there with just a few clicks and returns on a keyboard. No need to get dressed or find my keys. For the endless supply of everything all you need is an internet connection and a credit card. And so it began. The shopaholic was making a comeback. I decided I was going to make homemade baking vanilla for friend gifts. All I needed was a few items. Let’s see, the storage bottles, the vanilla beans, the vodka. That’s not much right? Oh and look at this, I can make my own holiday gnomes, I just need a cone shape, some yarn, hot glue gun, a wooden nose. I really should do something with all that sea glass I have collected. What do I need? Oh, some wire, maybe canvas, special tools. And what about the holiday gifts? I better get started, the holidays are so close. Do you see where I am going with this? Too far. I began to buy more ‘stuff’ to make all these projects plus a few more ‘daily deals’ I couldn’t pass up. Something had to change.

I am not sure how it happened but I suddenly had a reality check. A realization that it was time to take a hard look at myself. To recognize the need to stop all this shopping. Use up the current load of craft material, stop buying just for the deal. It wasn’t necessary to overdue it on gifts or outfits. I finally put a stop to my excessive spending and began to recognize true needs. I finally stopped to ask myself if the purchase was really necessary or was I dressing up my want as a need just so I could buy it. I was surprised how quickly I was able to curb most of my spending. I was also surprised as how good I was feeling by not buying constantly. The house was starting to look less cluttered and dresser drawers were closing. I was ready to step away from the laptop, and put away the credit card. I was looking forward to using my extra time on something more fulfilling.

As a child, reading was my escape. Things weren’t great growing up. The one thing that could make me feel better was to escape into a good book. The stories were of a different world. A story in which I could leave this place and enter into a whole new life. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my childhood therapy. With that in mind, I grabbed my tablet that has access to an endless amount of e-books and started downloading. However, it wasn’t long before I got distracted. My tablet had all the shopping and other interesting websites just a screen away. It’s like being an alcoholic working in a bar, the temptation is real. I will need hardbound or paper back books only, I told myself. I was determined not to fall back into old habits. I have plenty of books I bought over the years (!). But I don’t need to do that anymore since there is a library just a few blocks away. No purchase necessary! I can get all the books my heart desires.

I am pleased to report that I am on the right track. I have made a commitment to myself and my family to curb my shopping. It is easy to not spend any money if I just stay away from the stores. The on-line shopping is a bit more challenging. Amazon has those daily deals along with everything else under the sun. Those websites are quite convincing about purchasing something that will improve our life. And yet, I am finding actual satisfaction in not purchasing anything we don’t need, no matter how great the deal. I have organized my craft projects in order to use up my supplies. I have become very generous to various donation groups to get rid of the excess. I have given credit to my son who keeps his things to a minimum. I have a pile of books I have read and many more I can’t wait to get started. I am happy to recommend a few and I hope you will recommend your favorites. Happy reading!

A 2020 Resolution

I have never been one to have a new year resolution,  mostly because I didn’t expect I could keep any.  I did however give some thought to making a few changes.  Nothing too drastic, hence I fail.  But, something that is feasible and meaningful.   One thing I thought to improve upon is my communication skills.  Let me fine tune this statement, I would like to improve on the consistency of reaching out to friends and family. In addition to initiating and planning date nights with my husband.

It has been my practice that I keep in touch basically by others reaching out to me.  When it comes to girlfriend time, I usually will be doing something with the friend who reached out and asked if I would like to join.  I am not historically the person who makes a plan and spear -heads the involvement of others.  I was asked by my son, point blank, “Why not?” And I fearfully said, “I don’t know son.”  But then he called me out and asked if it was because I was afraid of being rejected.   Well shoot, way to make me accountable, son.  To be honest I think he has a point.  I’ve been known to take things too personally and for someone to say no, they aren’t  available, stings just a little. Being rejected is tough.  I know I am not alone.  Most of us have felt slighted by someone saying they have other plans or attempted a larger activity and it never coming to fruition.  Insecurities have a way of showing up and slowing us down.  I must learn to push ahead and keep trying to make a plan happen.

As for my family, it has more to do with not having anything new to share.  Which, isn’t always a bad thing.  But, I convince myself there is no need to call unless  it has that update or new value feel.   It’s time I changed my mindset into one of creating connections, and remind people that I do care by taking the time to call and just say hello. My mother in law and sister in law talk to each other every day.  My excuse is that I feel redundant with my activities.  I feel as though what I have to share is boring. (Uh oh, here comes the insecurity train.)  I need to call my mom more often to just tell her I’m thinking of her and hope she is doing well.  I worry about her so much more now as she has gotten older.  It could be misconstrued  by many that my lack of calling indicates that I don’t care, but that is so far from the truth.  I am not going to make any excuses. Well, maybe just one.  The lack of  communicating  was the norm for me in my household.  My folks never just chatted with me.  Communication was by necessity only.  I may just be falling back on a recessed normal and using it as my crutch for lack of connecting.

Speaking of connections, I need to make more of a connection with my husband.  HIstorically he has been the one to plan our outings due to his job dictating his availability.   However, this is no longer the case.  I am sure he would be thrilled with my making a plan for us, it would show I care and I want to spend time with him.  It has been so often that he does the asking and the planning.  Lately I have been complaining that we don’t do enough and yet I haven’t so much as planned movie night.  It may have to do with football season, that takes up a bit of time.  But no more excuses, it’s time for me to show accountability and plan of action.  I want to prove that I can plan and execute. It’s embarrassing just thinking of how surprised this will make him.

So with that said, I am going to make a point of planning some activities, a happy hour, a hosting of Survivor, or movie night.  I will plan a date night.  Instead of suggestively  saying  to my husband we should have more plans,  I’ll plan our activity and give the poor guy a break from always initiating our outings.  I am committed to calling family to just say hi and check in on how their life is going.  This will be my effort to keep the lines of  communication open.  I will call with no purpose other than to keep in touch.  I will also keep a smile on my face and make sure the feeling that I care is executed loud and clear.

 

Just a thought..

Well, make that many thoughts.  Are you familiar with that certain someone who has a reputation of non-stop chatter? I have a mind that tends to act just like that someone.  I have a tendency to think about many things while wondering, “Is it just me?” “I can’t be the only one who thinks these things.”

Fortunately, I am aware it is not, but I know better than to say all these thoughts out loud.  So I plan to use this blog as a way to get those thoughts and ideas out there in the internet universe.  Perhaps it will be a self-discovery, a way to find the voice inside to become a more confident voice in sharing.   Maybe it will just be a meme that sums it all up.

Let’s just see where this thing takes us.  Let’s see how long it lasts.