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Category Archives: Choosing Happiness

Ringing it In, Magic Style

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2012 is winding down, and everyone is getting ready to ring it in with the ones they love… Scott and I are trying to remember what we did last year, and Oliver is currently sleeping through the festivities. Something tells me he’ll be awake to watch the ball drop for the first time – he’s not one to miss a meal. He’s currently napping on my chest and snoring little baby snores. Every so often he gets this big smile – we’ve been trying to guess what he’s dreaming about. Maybe today’s play date with his friend Madeline?

I’m daydreaming about 2013 and relishing how great today’s yoga class felt – it was a resolution last year to pick up the pace and really find my edge in class. I’m really proud of my progress, even spending most of the year pregnant. I finally mastered crow (the belly actually helped – like a ballast!), learned how to find rest in downward dog, and found the beauty of a perfect hovering push-up. Today I nailed a headstand and felt all-powerful – at least over my body. Gorgeous end to the year, left me feeling joyful and expansive and patient and optimistic.

Our little family is celebrating quietly tonight. Scott made delicious homemade soup on this rainy night, and we just watched a sweet romantic movie (The Vow with Rachael McAdams); now we’re watching the Times Square festivities on mute while we listen to our wedding playlist and reminisce about the year. What a great, life-changing, dramatic year it’s been! No one can say 2012 wasn’t memorable. And our best memory will be welcoming this perfect baby – this year will always be his to us.

Happy New Year to you & yours. May 2013 make you as happy as 2012 made us.

What a difference a year makes:

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New Years Resolutions

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I got a great book for Christmas from my sweet husband, Gretchen Rubin’s new Happier at Home. Her “Happiness Project” blog was what inspired me to start this blog in 2007, and a chapter in the book sort of struck home. She paraphrases Voltaire about “not letting perfect be enemy of done” – in other words, letting good enough be good enough.

I run a content marketing business. I teach people to blog for a living. and it made me self-conscious. I’m afraid this little blog has languished because I’ve learned too much about what a blog should be. It now takes me hours to post as I resize pictures or look up references or try and summarize months in a single post. For example, right now I’m itching to 1. Pull out my laptop so I can type faster (I’m tapping this out on my phone, with a sweet dreaming baby sprawled on my chest); 2. Dig up the photo I took with Gretchen at Blogher; 3. Read my first blog posts all over again and reminisce; and 3. Put an image of the book cover and an Amazon link in the post. By the time I did all that I’d have been interrupted a half-dozen times and probably never post anything.

So. New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Get over myself. Let “good enough” reign. Stop letting Facebook sub in for actual writing. Blog more. Capture memories and ideas more often. Heaven knows my memory isn’t going up to the job these days!

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Hello from BlogHer!

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I really can’t believe I’m here. Over there on the left, that’s Gretchen Rubin, author of the NY Times Bestseller 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. My very first post includes the line, “Gretchen, if you ever read this, my sincere thanks.” I got to tell her in person, which made my day.
On my right is Brene Brown, the author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are and I Thought It Was Just Me.

Also, watch this: and this:

I’m having an amazing time. Search my twitter for #blogher11 for all the wonderful tips I’m getting here – amazing!

Happy Valentine’s Day! And Magic Wedding photos

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Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor, I’m finally (finally!) getting all the photos and video from everyone in one place, in order! If the video asks you for a password it’s “lemmons” – and there’s a link to all the photos underneath the slideshow. If you want any of these photos in a print-quality version, shoot me an email. Thanks to everyone who made it such an amazing day! xoxo -Jenny

password = lemmons

password = lemmons

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To view all the photos, click here

And Much, Much More…

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… and more. Much, much more :)

Photos and recaps from a glorious wedding and honeymoon to follow soon, I promise!

photo via FFFound!

Starting Over, Without a Map

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It’s been six months, and I’m finally all settled in my new job. I’ve learned where they hide the good pens and when there will be fresh coffee, hung pictures in my office and outlined a plan for the (newly minted) marketing department. And also, unfortunately, figured out I’m not in the right place.

I’ve recently had a series of revelations about my personal beliefs and the mission of the organization that raise some difficult questions. I’ve also determined that I can’t possibly meet corporate expectations with a staff of one, and more resources are not on the way. If I’m serious about choosing happiness, it’s time to cut my losses and head in a new direction. There are also dreams I want to move toward, not just situations to get away from.

Last fall, I quit my job and announced that I was going to to find a path toward writing for a living. But then a safe job with good benefits came along, and I chickened out. And I’ve felt a little like a sell-out, once again making excuses for why I wasn’t spending my energy fanning the flame. Starting this blog was an attempt to assuage that feeling without making a bold career change. I’ve reminded myself that health insurance and paid vacation usually don’t come with freelance writing, and that maybe when there’s a little more cushion in the bank or one more line on the resume or a more impressive writing portfolio, then I’ll consider a switch.

Also, I’ve also been so attuned to resume building for so long that part of me balks at changing course so completely, quitting a good job after only six months, with no contacts or experience or road map for the next phase of my journey. I have no idea whether I’ll end up freelance writing, proofing college papers, using my marketing experience in the publishing world, or working on my book while I swipe credit cards at Barnes & Noble. Not knowing which direction to move had me frozen in the headlights.

But lately it’s been eating at me more and more, and I realize I don’t want to look back at a good life and wonder why I didn’t do more to make it great. I think it’s time to jump. Wish me luck.

The Inspired Copycat

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Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
-T. S. Eliot

Appropriately, the inaugural post of InsideOutHappy begins with a quote; better yet, the words are a nod to my life-long habit of borrowing and surrounding myself with words of others who said it better. And in that spirit, this endeavor also must begin with a debt of gratitude to a stranger whose own words I’ve surrounded myself with for a awhile, and whose simple efforts towards choosing happiness so echoed my own passions, that I had to join the fray. Gretchen Rubin created The Happiness Project in March 2006 with these words:

“One afternoon a few years ago, I realized with a jolt that I was allowing my life to flash by without facing a critical question: was I happy? From that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking about happiness. Was it mostly a product of temperament? Could I take steps to be happier? What did it even mean to be ‘happy’?”

My own light bulb came on a few years ago as well, though I must say my personal philosophy of intentional happiness has taken longer to percolate. The concept evolved from a vague realization that I had been gifted with some natural lens calibrated for seeing the silver lining, and that most people could see it too, if it was pointed out. And that over time, those around me started occasionally pointing it out to me first. So this skill can be learned, and the result of this education isn’t a foreign language or an MBA, but true, deep, intentional happiness. So here, presumptuously, is my very best effort to try to turn a vague realization into a method, or at least share the things that inspire me. Because lasting happiness comes from the InsideOut…

Gretchen, if you ever read this, my sincere thanks.

What do you think? Can happiness be a learned trait? Do you have a quote or mantra that helps bring you back to center?