Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Printable: 30 days of happiness plan

Wow! I am at the end of my 30 days of happiness posts.
Thank YOU so much for all your comments, encouragement and support.

I have really enjoyed your additional insight, honest heartfelt experiences you have shared and that you have taken this happiness journey with me. I am now closer to reaching my 100 ideas of happiness goal and more importantly I have been learning more and more what makes me feel happy. So worth the time and effort I have put in over the past month pondering and writing.

Today is Day 30: Have a plan of happiness.

I am a seeker of happiness and am on a journey to discover what really makes me happy.
For some people is comes easily, for me not so easy.

So, I have decided I need to create my own happiness.
My goal is to experiment, to try, to learn and discover what I love.

For something different, I thought I would share with you a calendar I have put together with simple, small suggestions that relate to the past 30 days of happiness posts that I have blogged about.

I have kept it simple so that you can print it out and cross out each day as you go. You can use it however you want and I hope that it will help bring a little more happiness to your life.

I decided to do this as I believe it is important to have a plan for happiness. Often happiness just happens, special moments just occur for us to treasure and delight in, but some days they don't come and they are hard to find when you are exhausted and worn out. On these days we need to go out of our way to create happy moments for ourselves. Insert a homemade happiness plan.

I hope you enjoy what I have put together.

You can download it from here:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Be still my soul

Being still gives me perspective and insight.
Being still brings me answers and revelation.

With a full busy life, taking time to stop has been a challenge I have been working on. Finding the time to fit a quiet moment into my day has been the hardest part. Often when I can get a quiet moment either early in the morning or late at night, I find I am very tired and my mind is slow to function.

Even though it has been difficult to fit in, I have found that it has become a necessary part of my day. You see, I love to ponder, to toss ideas and thoughts around in my mind and to come to a conclusion about what is the right choice or course of action I need to take.

I am a very ponderous person.

I find when I take the time to be still, to find a quiet spot and to really think and listen, I see my family and life in a whole new perspective. Being still allows me to calm down, to assess my emotions and to be prayerful with my thoughts.

It centres me.
It heals my soul.

This perspective allows me to see clearly, answers to problems that have been worrying me and to see that I am really blessed when I am often feeling low and discouraged.

At first I found it difficult to be still, my thoughts would turn to housework or other uses of my time and it took a while to control my thoughts and to be in the moment of just sitting and being still.

Now, I look forward to still moments, to take in my surroundings, to appreciate ways I am blessed and look for the sunlight in my life.

On Sunday, a good friend of mine, Sharon, taught a lesson at church on being cheerful. At the end of the lesson she handed every woman a piece of paper and asked them to sit down and record their blessings in life.

A wonderful way to start off having a be still moment.

If you are struggling with finding time to be still or feel guilty about stopping to ponder, I highly recommend you try this activity to look for the good in your life.

It might not come easy at first, but if you persist, you will recognise the blessings more and more in your life and come to treasure this time.

Just as the sun is bursting through the trees in the image above, so will your happiness when you take some time to be still and listen to your soul.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to be happy * Dance often

Dancing brings me joy.
I love to sway and jiggle and bounce away to a song.

I feel free as I throw my body around and feel the beat of a song.

We love dancing in our home.

The cherubs are crazy dancers.
They are beautiful dancers and also energetic dancers.

What is it about watching children dancing?
I find it a delight to see them expressing themselves through movement.

To see them exercising and laughing and happy.
I always feel happy when I am dancing.

Especially when I am in my kitchen, with loud music, cooking dinner.
It makes cooking so much more fun when I am not in the mood to do it.

Below I have attached a great clip about the evolution of dance.
Love that Judson is rocking on to the beat of his own drum.

Enjoy x

Monday, June 27, 2011

{Book review and giveaway} 365 ways to make money

This post is Day 27 Stay out of debt as part of my Happiness series.
It is also number 48 in my happiness list.

Perhaps one area of our lives that often needs great attention, is the need to stay out of debt. Personal debt in our country is currently at a staggering level and there has never been a better time to be wise with our finances. I have learned a little about debt in relation to happiness over my time and I have discovered five main tips in relation to achieving finanical happiness:

1. Understand needs verses wants
2. Spend more than you earn = misery
3. Spend less than you earn = happiness
4. Interest never sleeps
5. A budget is essential

I so love a quote by J. Reuben Clark Jr.:

“Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies;...Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.”

I have personally felt crushed by debt several times and I know now there is good debt and bad debt. If you are in a situation where debt is controlling your life, there are ways to overcome it. It is possible to restore financial peace. I love the feeling that being in control of my finances brings, the peace in knowing that our house is in order in that area and the security of having a little savings gives.

A big boost in relation to happiness for myself and my relationships within my family.

Recently, I have had the wonderful opportunity to do some more reading about finances when I was sent a book to review written by the lovely Kylie Ofiu from Aspiring Millionaire and now her new site Kylie Ofiu Author of 365 ways to make money.

Kylie knows what she is talking about when it comes to making money. As one of nine children she has grown up in a home learning to be resourceful and practical. All you need to do is check out her blog to know she is one determined and focused lady on reaching her goals of earning some more cash. After all she is an aspiring millionaire!

Her new book is a insightful look into the many different ways that we can bring money into our home. It is a great resource if you currently are in debt and are looking for ways to speed up the process of earning some extra cash. Her book is practical, easy to navigate and informative. It contains ideas that have been tried and tested and some just look like pure fun to try and do at home.

365 Ways to Make Money is broken down into sections for easy application as some ideas range from quick and easy cash making ventures to larger scale opportunities to earn some much needed cash. Her book is not just a list of ideas, each idea is explained in detail and has symbols to help explain what may be required to make it happen.

I love, love, love that there is a symbol system used in this book. Some symbols relate to ideas you can do at home, ideas you need qualifications for and even a symbol that children (under 18 years of age) can undertake to earn some cash. Easy for me to relate to and even a great help for my children to understand when they start reaching the age of wanting to earn some more money.

I can now see myself saying when the cherubs come complaining to me about wanting some money,
'Go and get Kylie's book, 365 Ways to Make Money and pick out a way to make it happen!'
thank YOU Kylie!!!

With a new idea you could try every day of the year, 365 Ways to Make Money will get your mind thinking about getting motivated, dumping your excuses and seeking opportunities to reach your goals. I know after reading the book I started to devise different ideas in my mind on how I could make some extra cash to pay off our home loan a little quicker and to work my way to becoming a millionaire myself.

Thanks to Kylie and Wright Books I have the wonderful blessing of being able to giveaway a signed copy of her new book, hot of the press, 365 Ways to Make Money to a Seven Cherubs reader.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Add yourself as a follower on my blog
2. Open to Aussie residents only
3. Winner chosen by the random number generator
4. Entries close 11th July, 2011
5. For an extra entry share on facebook or twitter and come back and tell me
6. Please make sure you have your email attached to your profile or leave it below
7. Leave a comment below to enter and tell me:

What is your best idea for making money???

Giveaway closed.
Congrats to Tracy you are the winner!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Look for rainbows in life

In thinking about this post, I knew that I just had to invite one of my good blog friends Felicity to do a guest post on this topic for me. She is more than qualified at looking for the 'rainbows' of life and I so hope you enjoy her thoughts on this topic.

Giving gifts is one of my favourite things to do.

Whether it be for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, Christmas or ‘just because’, the process of finding or making the gift, wrapping it and tying a beautiful bow has been something that has given me great pleasure over the years.

It’s a joy to give something that you know will make someone else happy and as I’m getting older (and perhaps a little wiser) I’m also learning how precious the gift of receiving can be.

When I am given a package that has been beautifully wrapped, I view it as an added treat, because the ‘Gifter’ has put as much thought and effort into this part of the present as what is contained within.

Ribbons or bows are an essential part of the wrapping for me and I’ve collected a gorgeous selection over the years. They are like the icing on a cake and I love to be extravagant in their use.

So what does any of this have to do with looking for rainbows?

Well, I’m blessed to live on acreage and I feel incredibly fortunate to be given gifts from nature on a daily basis.

The joy of waking to birdsong, visits from kangaroos & their joeys, trees bursting into blossom, colourful feathers collected on my daily walks, glorious skies both day & night and clean, fresh air. All of these are simple treasures that make me happy and that I’m truly grateful for. But I must say that one of the most amazing and glorious of all my gifts from nature is the ribbon that wraps a sunshower or storm, the rainbow.

Have you ever considered how rainbows are just like ribbons or bows in nature?

I like to think of them like this - bows of serendipity unexpected & lovely, wrapping a rainy day in glorious colour.

To see a brilliant rainbow illuminating the sky through the grey clouds is to witness one of nature’s simple gifts of beauty. To see two together is a double treasure and I’ve been fortunate to have been able to do this on more than one occasion.

Having previously lived in busy cities and dry rural landscapes I know that it’s not possible for all of us to regularly witness the beauty of a rainbow.

But we can keep our eyes and hearts open to the bows that wrap the gift of our lives and those of the people we care about.

A cool breeze on a hot day, a warm hug from someone we love, a song that makes us tap our toes and sing along, a meal prepared for us, infectious laughter, a bubble bath & time to enjoy it, clean sheets fresh from a sunshine line.

So if it’s raining in your pocket of the world and you’re inclined to see this as an inconvenience, remember that we can’t have rainbows without the rain and that a rainbow is a gift of serendipity - unexpected and lovely.

** Thanks so much Felicity you have inspired me to keep my heart and eyes open this week for special bows in my life. Felicity blogs over at Gifts of Serendipity and you will love the treasure she shares with us each week. Pop on over to say Hi!

I so love rainbows - they make me smile and fascinate me.

{taken from out the front of my house}

This blog post is dedicated to my friend Lyn who is at home stuck on the couch with a
very sore leg and my hope is that she can find some rainbows during this time. N x

Friday, June 24, 2011

forgive yourself for happiness

I have been putting off writing this post for a while. It is a topic I feel passionately about: Forgiveness. Forgiveness of others, but especially of ourselves, yourself even.

My thoughts have been tumbling around in my head for years now and I added it to my blog happiness list so then I had to write about it. I feel that it is an area that as women we need to talk about so much more.

I have written before about how I feel we are harsh on ourselves and need to let go of the past.

As women I feel we get so comfortable putting ourselves down, being critical of our efforts and end up internally speaking in a negative way about everything we do. It becomes a new normal for us and we end up seeing no way that we can make a change to start being positive again.

In thinking about forgiving yourself for happiness I want you to think about:

Have you done things you are not proud of?
Do you feel there is no way to solve your problems?
Do you constantly spend time reliving your past mistakes?
Are you carrying around unnecessary burdens you need to let go of?

So often we carry unneccessary heavy burdens.

We lug them around and let the weight of these feelings and thoughts wear us down, discourage us and depress us. We end up feeling worn out, tired from trying to escape these feelings and left with no where to run. Then when we hit rock bottom it finally dawns on us that WE are the ones who need to let go.

As a mother I have made many mistakes.
I have lost my temper, been the kind of mother at times I never believed I would be and could be. 

I have tried my best to fix situations the best I can after those moments. 
I have gone out of my way to say sorry, to restore love to my home and to start again. 

That part was easy, forgiving myself however was much more difficult.

I find it so hard to forgive myself for experiences or feelings that may have happened.

After I while I realise that all this time I have been wandering around waiting for someone else to help me, to relieve me when really it was all left up to me all along.

We are in control of forgiving ourselves.
Letting go of the past can set us free to forgive ourselves.
It is a conscience choice that we make. A gift that we give ourselves.

Why is it possible to forgive others so freely and not to forgive ourselves?
Why cannot we be as kind to ourselves as we are to others?

Surely we are worth this kind of treatment ourselves.
Surely we are not that bad and deserve such harshness and to be denied self love.

I have struggled over the years to give myself permission to forgive...myself.
To give myself the gift of self love and the chance to start again.

I love that every day is a fresh start. A chance to do better, to be better and to become better.
To move forward, to try again and to be happy.

I know that forgiving yourself does bring happiness.
It is possible and so worth the time and effort.

Several times I have had to give myself the gift to fall apart, to weep and to suffer and to feel the pain I have been carrying around, unconsciously trying to protect myself. When this has happened, I have prayed, sought guidance and forgiveness has flowed naturally and smoothly.

I have been able to move forward, to feel light and free.
Thankful in the knowledge that I am here to learn, to grow and to make mistakes.

Mistakes are normal, they are necessary and will happen.
As I lighten up and give myself a break, I feel so much happier.
At peace even. It is worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to be happy * Have a house of order

I love a house of order. It makes me happy.
I love it when everything has a place and my home is free of clutter.

I have written a little bit about this topic here and here.

As a mother I find keeping a house of order difficult.
You see, I am a big believer that a house needs to be lived in as well.

So for me it is all about balance. I work hard at keeping each room clutter free but also give the cherubs freedom to be creative and to play. It is necessary that they scatter toys, that they tip out boxes of toys, that they build, design and draw and explore. In many ways I have had to lighten up in my home cleanliness expectations. I have had to lower my standards in a way.

With seven children, I do still have a clean organised home. I spend time every day de~cluttering. Some times it is only 10 minutes a day and I often will work on a different room every day of the week. I find even taking 10 minutes each day, every day makes a big difference to the state of my home.

Having a house of order invites a better feeling in my home. When everyone knows where things go and what the standard needs to be it makes it simple for everyone to follow, which = happiness for everyone.

One of my favourite poems about having a home with young cherubs is below. Many days when I was exhausted it helped me to calm down and to worry less about what others may think of my home with a bunch of cherubs running around and trashing the place! Enjoy x

Excuse this House
Author: Unknown

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there
Ours boasts of it quite openly
The signs are everywhere

For smears are on the windows
Little smudges on the doors
I should apologise I guess for 
The toys strewn on the floor

But, I sat down with the children
And we played and laughed and read
And if the doorbell doesn't shine
Their eyes will instead

For when at times I am forced to choose
the one job or the other
I want to be a house wife but 
FIRST I'll be a mother

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 ways to be a brave blogger

I first started a blog in December 2008 and have been writing on a blog for several years now. I have now had my Seven Cherubs blog for one and a half years. During this time I have learned a lot about blogging and have become braver in how I write and run my blog. 

Part of having a blog, for me, is being able to express feelings of my heart. As this is a very personal space, many decisions that I make in relation to my blog are an extension of me and affect how other people perceive me. Slowly I have become braver and I have been loving the results. I have become happier and more committed to what I feel strongly about. I am no longer afraid to share what is in my heart.

So here are my 5 tips for being a brave blogger:

1. Make decisions that scare you.
I know I am stepping out of my comfort zone when I make a decision to do or share something where I am worried what people will say or think. Even deciding to blog about happiness ideas scared me. I worried what people would think of me and if I could cope if no-one else was interested. I thought about the benefits that would come to others and myself if I made this decision and decided to be brave and to just go for it! After making the decision and starting I did not feel scared any more. Often we just need to make the decision and charge into it leaving no room for doubt to stop us.

2. Approach people to work with or help you.
There are wonderful social media tools available to help connect with other bloggers and businesses when you have a blog. I often use facebook or twitter to invite companies to run a giveaway or product promotion on my blog. All it takes is a few sentences to invite and the worst that they can say is No. Often if I am stuck with how to do something on my blog, I approach other bloggers who I see as experts and in every circumstance they have found the time to help me. Often all that is required is to be brave enough to ask. We are all in this blogging community together and are happy to offer support to those who need it.

3. Write from your heart.
Having a blog is a wonderful platform to express yourself. Writing from your heart takes courage and inner strength. Readers love it when you share a little of yourself, when you express what is really on your mind and what you are passionate about. Having good content on your blog is what will bring readers and helping your readers connect with you is what makes a good blogger.

4. Believe in yourself.
When I first started a blog I was very scared about what people would think of my thoughts and feelings. It took time and practise to believe that I had something worthwhile to say. So often I hear people say that they could not start a blog because no-one would be interested in what they have to say. We are interested in what you have to say, everyone has something important they want to share and if you believe in yourself and your message, others will too.

5. Be Passionate.
I believe it takes great spirit to be passionate. It takes commitment, courage and determination to speak openly and boldly on a topic you care deeply about. When I see bloggers or anyone in general speaking up about a certain issue they are passionate about, I immediately think they are brave. We need more brave bloggers to take a stand and to be passionate about topics because people will listen, they will make changes and will follow what we say.

I love that here in Australia we have many brave bloggers. Women and Men who blog from the heart, who share what they have learned to help and uplift others, who are passionate and who believe in being better and that what they have to say is worthwhile. I love connecting with these inspiring people and am thankful to call many of them friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to be happy * Have a happy slogan

I think everyone should have a happy slogan.
A saying they yell or shout whenever they feel happy.

My slogan is Woo Hoo!
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I say it fairly often.

It is a sign that I am feeling excited, cheerful and happy. It is also a signal to my cherubs that I am in a good mood and believe me - some days they need all the help they can get working out what sort of mood I am in!

I find having a happy slogan reminds me to celebrate and to be happy. Often when I am rushing around trying to get things done, I forget to celebrate small milestones that happen during my day. Having a happy slogan gives me an excuse or permission even, to get excited and to appreciate those wonderful moments I treasure and value.

I even use my happy slogan to motivate me during the day. When I have cleared the laundry of clothes - Woo hoo! When I served up a dinner and everyone ate it - Woo hoo! When I remembered to attend a school event - Woo hoo! Go me!

In our home when something wonderful and great happens we try to stop and celebrate the moment. We normally do this by yelling Woo hoo! and giving High Fives all over the place. As a mother I try to make an effort to include a lot of praise words to help celebrate achievements the cherubs make such as:

That's awesome!
Great work!
Way to go!
No way!
You totally ROCK!
You are so talented!

I love to see the smile on my cherubs face when I make a big deal of the efforts they have put in to reach a goal and for the kind things they do around our house. I even do this with Matt and I know he secretly loves it! In this way a happy slogan spreads happiness and joy through out our family. It is a simple technique but makes a big difference.

So what about you??
Do you have a saying or slogan you celebrate with when you are happy???

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to be happy * Never Give Up

One of my blog dreams is to help women be happy. By writing out my thoughts and ideas, I hope that I can especially uplift mothers at home. Many days as I have been writing and working on my blog I have felt discouraged. I have even felt that keeping up with this blog has been too hard with seven children and that I am really not making that much difference.

On these days, I have to give myself a serious talking to and remind myself that helping just one person (even if that person is me!), makes it all worth while.

Several times I have seriously thought I should give up.
To let it all go and to just plod along taking care of my family.

I know if I stopped my blog, nothing drastic would happen.
Life would go on for me and for everyone else.

Except now that I have started, my heart is tied to so many others.
I care deeply about them and want to continue to help them in any way that I can.

At time in my life when I really wanted to give up more than I could count, was when I was studying at University. It was a hard slog keeping up with assignments, working to support myself and wondering if what I was doing was worthwhile.

All the hard work and effort seemed to fade away into the background the day I stood on a stage to receive my degree. Even though I was about 6 months pregnant and had to have a spew bag with me because I was throwing up continually, it was a wonderful feeling knowing that I had worked hard to achieve my goal.

I felt great and relieved that I did not give up.

So to help you (and me!) keep going and to never give up here are some great tips I found:

22 reasons to never give up - here.
5 reasons to never give up on your dreams - here.
13 reasons to never give up - here

If that does not help you out then maybe you need to listen to a little:
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give you Up here.

Even if his song does not put you in a better mood his dance moves will surely make you smile!

To help you smile a little more today I thought I would share with you a couple of happiness lists that some wonderful Seven Cherubs readers sent to me:

Jen from Hospital Healing Hampers:

1. Comedy and the ability to laugh at oneself
2. Respect for each other
3. Camping at Coles Bay (soul food and healing place)
4. Art
5. Knowledge and the wanting to learn and open ones mind
6. Protecting our planet
7. Kids and animals
8. My garden
9. Respecting yourself and staying true to your values
10. Helping others
bonus extra (shoes!)
Amy from MahliMoo:

1. Picking up my eldest son from Kindy and him being so excited to see me that he is jumping out of his skin
2. See the joy that my eldest daughter gets from creating her artwork
3. Watching my youngest son discover a new thing that day. Be it how to clap/hi five his brother or a new taste etc. Can you see a theme here!
4. A bright necklace whilst wearing a dark outfit
5. Driving by the beach everyday to and from most destinations where I live
6. Snuggling on the couch with hubby watching a movie. This rarely happens at the moment but when it does it makes me so happy
7. Silly dancing with my kids. Hubby joins in and we dance around like complete loonies. The kids have a ball and secretly so do we
8. Random cuddles and kisses from my kids for no reason at all
9. Creating something for myself or my kids and learning a new skill. This year I have taught myself how to knit and have made scarves for myself and my daughters. I am currently trying my hand at crochet. My kids love it when they watch me make them new clothes or assessories. They actually asked me to make them certain things.
10. Waking up in the morning and realising that NONE of the kids have woken up over night and that I feel rested!!!

Have you had a time in your life where you have wanted to give up??? 
What motivated you to keep going???

*linking up with Maxabella today*

Friday, June 10, 2011

Exercise for happiness

Often when I am feeling low, participating in some form of exercise is the only way I can snap myself out of a mood. Having that time out for myself to run or to do some aerobic exercise makes a big difference to my day. It gives me something to look forward to and I love the way I feel when I have finished an exercise session. Well...the feeling right after I have finished not the feeling several hours later when I discover I had muscles in places I never knew I had!

I have been working very slowly on adding more exercise to my life. At the start of this year I started the Blogger Butt Challenge to get my...well...butt moving more. It was so much fun getting active and it has been on my mind again lately to start back on this challenge. I have started running again and have already noticed a change in how I feel about myself and with my body shape.

Now to keep it up and remember the key to change - consistency!

I love to walk, run, do Tae*bo and Yoga. I try to keep a mixture of different exercises so that I don't get too bored because exercising is not something I naturally love to do. I understand that it is necessary and my attitude is normally - let's just do this and get it over with!

Here are 9 reasons why exercise relates to happiness:

1. Exercise changes the shape of your body - helping you to feel better about yourself
2. It can take your mind of worries for a while as you throw yourself into getting active
3. It helps to beat depression and anxiety
4. It releases chemicals into your body which help you to feel motivated
5. It can be fun! helping to boost your mood
6. After exercise you feel happy that you accomplished something and even reached a goal
7. It helps your mental health - stimulates your brain
8. It can be done in groups helping to bring a social aspect to your life.
9. It can give you time out to think and plan and get your thoughts in order.

You can also check out Gretchen Rubin's (The Happiness Project) nine tips about exercise here.

How does exercise benefit you??? What exercise do you love???

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to be happy * Be Yourself

In creating my own happiness list, I am becoming more confident within myself.

I am starting to know what makes me tick, what helps me to feel happy and to disregard what everyone else is doing in favour for what I love to do.

I am learning to trust my instincts and to trust my heart.

I have had times in my life where I have not liked who I am at all.
Where I have looked in the mirror and all I could see was failure and disappointment.

I am my own worst enemy in so many ways.
I am hard on myself and can even be harsh on myself.

My internal dialogue is an area I am constantly working on.
I continually have to remind myself that I am of worth, that I have value and that I am loved.

I have been on a journey of self discovery a lot more intensley lately. 

I have felt the need to be more self accepting of myself and to lighten up a little.
To let things slide and to search deeper into my heart.

As a mother I find there are already so many voices speaking out and demeaning the wonderful role we play. As I watch television or even read other blogs, I find my mind drifting to thoughts that often lead me to feeling depressed. These thoughts don't come from anyone else....they come from me.

I find myself saying:

you really can't love yourself because....

you are not pretty enough.
you are not smart enough.
you are not skinny enough.
you are not talented enough.
you are not popular enough.
you are not contributing enough.
you are not commenting enough. ha!

I start to fight a battle within myself.
A battle to stay positive and trust that I am going in the right direction for me.

Hence my love to write about happiness and the importance of seeking it in your life.
It can be a lonely road to travel when you set out to blaze your own path to happiness.

I am not a professional. I am not a counsellor.
I am a stay at home mother wanting to naturally, daily, feel worthy and valued....within myself.

I am seeking it, I am needing it and I am wanting it.
I know I am here to be me and to accept me.

I want people to take me as I am.
Most importantly, I want to take me as I am.
Being me...the real key to finding my personal happiness.

I do not want to spend my life trying to be someone I am not.
There is a difference in trying to be like someone else and in trying to become better yourself.
I believe in keeping it real, in being who I am at all times.

I am not completely there yet, but I am close.
Most days I need to take my own advice.

I regularly say to my children:
you are unique
you have your own gifts and talents
no-one else is like you
be yourself
you have your own journey to take
do not compare yourself to others
believe in yourself
you have so much to offer
you are special
you are greatly loved
we believe in you

I truly, honestly feel this way towards my children.
The challenge is to feel this way about myself.

Trying new happiness ideas and writing about happiness has taught me so much.
I have discovered that I need to give myself time, to take small steps and to move forward slowly.
When I lighten up in this way I find I am so much happier.

I so appreciate you supporting me in this journey and love your comments.
Thank YOU for taking me as I am and for joining on my happiness discovery journey.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to be happy * Show affection

Happiness for me is felt more often when I feel we are showing affection to each other as a family. It happens when I lead the way by making an effort to focus on hugging and kissing my cherubs. I then find that my kids start returning the affection and we start going around in this big ole sweet affection connection! Bliss!

I have always been a touching, hugging person and I often reach out to touch someone when I am talking to them. I find it helps me to make a better connection with the person and it is such a simple way to show that I care. I also find it helps to reach out and touch my family members if they are upset and are trying to share a concern with me. I have noticed that they open up more when they are feeling affection from me.

It is also a great benefit to my cherubs to see Matt and I showing affection to each other. It helps them to know that it is healthy to openly show displays of love and affection. I hope that we are a good example for them when they start to enter relationships.

Here are some of my favourite ways to show affection:

1. Use kind words
2. Give hugs
3. Kiss family members
4. Spending time one on one
5. Wink
6. Smile
7. Hold hands
8. Give each other a massage
9. Sit closely together
10. Write love notes
11. Serve each other
12. Give small gifts

In fact, as a mother to many cherubs I often feel smothered with affection. Every time I sit down, someone plonks themselves on my lap and we end up having a kiss and cuddle. Some days this drives me crazy as I just want some space, most days I adore it and treasure it. Love my cherubs!


By the way, if you are loving my happiness posts you are most welcome to subscribe to my blog over on the right hand side and you can also follow me on facebook or twitter.

So tell me: 
Are you an affectionate family??? What is your favourite way to show affection???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to be happy * Have a happy colour

Do you have a favourite colour that makes you happy??? 

Blue has always been my favourite colour. It makes smile, relaxes me and helps me feel peaceful. I am lucky that it is also Matt's favourite colour so that when I decided to paint our house he was happy with me to be adventurous and go for some bright blue in a couple of rooms. I have shared before how I painted my bedroom blue so that when I wake up in the morning it is the first colour that I see. I love it and I so love having this colour in my home.

Having a favourite colour helps me feel happier as:
* it is an easy way to add a dash of happiness to my day
* if I wear an item of clothing in the colour I love I feel happier
* if I see an item in my favourite colour I associate it with good feelings
* it makes it easier for my husband and cherubs to give me gifts that they know I will love
* colours bring out feelings in people

In doing some research I found this cool chart that I played around with a little to share with you some of the feelings and words associated with colour. Have a look for your favourite colour:

Red: action, confidence, courage, vitality

Pink: love, beauty

Brown: earth, order, convention

Orange: vitality with endurance

Gold: Wealth, prosperity, wisdom

Yellow: wisdom, joy, happiness, intellectual energy        

Green: life, nature, fertility, well being

Blue: youth, spirituality, truth, peace

Purple: Royalty, magic, mystery

Indigo: intuition, meditation, deep contemplation

White: Purity, Cleanliness

Black: Death, earth, stability

Gray: Sorrow, security, maturity

I love how if I am need of a certain feeling I can seek out a colour to help me feel happier or uplifted in the way I need to be. It is a simple, easy way to change my mood and I love how colours can cheer us.

What is your favourite colour??? Does it make you feel a certain way??? 
Do you find yourself turning to it when you are feeling low???

This colour information was taken from here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to be happy * Expect Good Things

When I wake up in the morning I expect good things to happen. It hasn't always been this way for me, but it is now. I find the process relates so much to how I think, what positive thoughts I generate during the day and with how much I decide to start my day on a positive note. I know if I wake up in the morning thinking it is going to be a bad day - it always is.

All I seem to see throughout my day are the difficult situations that happen, the little moments where things go wrong and I even find myself saying, 'I told you it was going to be a bad day' myself!!

Like I want to prove myself right!

For me it is all in my mind. If I expect that good things will happen during my day then I am more likely to accept them and acknowledge them in my life. It does not mean that bad things will NOT happen, it just means that I will see the good things so much easier.

I will take the time to stop and count my blessings.

Expecting good things to happen is all about:
thinking {positive thoughts}
believing {that good things will happen}
having faith {in life and what it will bring}

So much of happiness for me is connected to my faith and my religious beliefs. It is a source of peace and comfort. The knowledge that I have about why I am here on Earth and where I am going after this life helps me to have faith that good things will come my way.

One of my all time favourite stories about expecting good things is in the clip below. I just love how it reminds me to keep an eye on the future, that things will get better and that blessings will come.

I remember as a young mother thinking on many days that good things were never going to come my way. That I was going to be stuck in the nappy changing, tantrum throwing, toilet training cycle forever. I just could not see any light at the end of the tunnel and my hope was that there were many good things in store for me.

Now that I am out of the nappy changing, toilet training stage {we are still in the tantrum throwing}, I can see so much more clearly the good things that have come my way and are still yet to come.

It is so much easier to feel happier.
It is so much easier to have hope.
It is so much easier to have faith.

It is possible to find happiness during difficult times.
Sometimes we just need to look at a little harder.
To search for blessings amongst the chaos and to change our own hearts.

If we make it a goal each morning to seek for happiness, we may be surprised by what we find. 

We may even astonish ourselves by proving our own thoughts wrong! 
We may even astonish ourselves by what we are capable of doing! 

"If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves"
Thomas Edison

P.S: I create this image at the top of my blog post with thanks to Shabby blogs, so you could copy, drag, paste and print it out to put somewhere in your home. Stick it on your bathroom mirror, stick it on your fridge, stick it in your journal, place it anywhere you need it to go. I hope it helps you have a great day.

P.P.S: When we are having a bad day, I often put on a song from the movie Despicable Me and the kids and I sing loudly and dance around the house singing 'I'm having a bad, bad day...'. You can check out the song here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How to be happy * Wake up happy

Happiness for me is getting a good nights sleep and waking up happy. An important key to my arising happy in the morning is going to bed at night happy with my cherubs and husband. I never get a good nights sleep if I have had a bad conversation with someone in my family the night before. I simply cannot sleep if it is unresolved.

Arising from bed feeling refreshed and ready for what the day brings makes such a difference to how I go about my day. Having something to look forward to during the day - whether it be a hot drink, a favourite television show, an outting with friends, a hug from one of my cherubs gives me something to get out of bed for.

I always get out of bed immediately in the morning and start getting myself ready for my day. I focus on what needs to be done and start looking forward to what adventure the day might bring. I start my day early so that I can stay on top of things with a large family. Some drama always happens in trying to get everyone ready for the day and it is so much easier to deal with it if I am ahead of schedule.

Here are my tips for waking up happy:
1. Go to bed at a reasonable hour (all you twitter ladies - I am talking to you xx)
2. Get things organised the night before
3. Have a clean kitchen to walk into in the morning
4. As soon as you open your eyes focus on something you love (if you have a hubby you are blessed!)
5. Stretch in bed and then smile
6. Believe that something wonderful will happen that day
7. Think about one thing you are looking forward to that day
8. Take a moment to count your blessings or pray

To help me in the morning to wake up I happy I painted my bedroom my favourite colour ~ blue. Every morning when I open my eyes I see a blue wall. It makes me smile and calms my heart as I think about all the things I will need to do that day.

What helps you to wake up happy in the morning???

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How to be happy * Dress up fun

Hello fellow happiness seekers! Thanks for dropping by my blog today and I am feeling blown away that so many of you are joining me on this happiness journey. We seem to be gathering a wonderful group of followers here at Seven Cherubs and you are truly making my heart burst.

Now lets get into some dress up fun for today. I decided to include this topic in my happiness collection as often I find my day is so busy that I forget to take advantage of fun moments and end up spending the whole day rushing around stressed and serious. I have been personally working on cutting back some of my commitments to give me more time for fun. I have been doing this by saying NO, even though I really want to do it and have been trying to add a little more fun to my life.

Last month I went with my cherubs to the Under 8's day at school. This day is where they have a day planned full of fun actvities for the children to celeberate being under 8 years of age. Matt and I went together and helped to shepherd around 5 little cherubs to help them fit in as much fun as we could.

As we went about the day and moved from one fun station to another, I started to relax and to have the desire to join in as well. Normally, my thoughts keep returning to my responsibility and my role to be a parent, to assist, to observe and oversee the fun and to not participate in it. I have no idea why I always think like that! Something I am working on.

When we arrived at the dress up station I could not stand it any longer - I saw this awesome head dress (see above) and just had to let my guard down and be involved. I had to line up for a turn to try it on as well. It was me! Ha!

Harmony had a great time trying on some outfits and it started me thinking about the fun that can come when we just let our guard down for a short time. I find I am so much more happier when I focus on having a moment of fun than worrying about what other people will think of me, even what my kids will think of me. At first I know the older children think in their minds 'Oh no! what is Mum going to do now?' but then I see them smile and laugh along with me and I know it was worth the effort.

If my post does not inspire you to dress up and have some fun then maybe Liberty will below.

Have you ever been to a dress up party??? Who did you go dressed as???

Friday, June 3, 2011

Giveaway Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie tickets

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Radiator Springs, Route 66, Mater, Sally, tractor tipping, 'Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beemer'...any of these ring a bell? Disney Pixar Cars 2 is coming to a cinema near you here in Australia on June 23rd. As a family we cannot wait! It is going to be a jam packed, action filled adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

We love action in our house, in fact our home is full of action. With nine people living here there is never a dull, boring moment. The children are all speed racers when it comes to running around the house and we seem to spend a lot of our time living life in the fast lane. Racing from one event to another and dealing with many different personalities in our journey.

One of our favourite movies about living life in the fast lane is the movie Disney Pixar Cars. My cherubs just love it, especially my younger three. It has been watched a million times in our house and always seems to draw the whole family in when it is on the television.

It is the story of a hotshot rookie race car called Lightning McQueen who ends up stranded in Radiator Springs where he meets a variety of quirky characters who teach him there is more to life than trophies and fame. We love the quirky characters in the movie and can relate to them as a large family. Whenever I see the movie it reminds me that you just need to get along with each other to make things work and that every day is full of twists and turns.

We love a movie night in our home and this is our favourite way to watch one together as a family. It involves pizza, blankets and awesome laughs:

Recently, I asked my cherubs to tell me why they loved the Disney Pixar Cars movie so much. So here are some of the thoughts they shared:

Eli: I love it because it has racing cars in it. It is funny and I love watching it when the cars are racing.

Liahona: My favourite character is Mater because he is weird and funny. It is a very creative movie with lots of characters and personalities in it and I love the effects (pictures).

Harmony:  It is a colourful movie, Mater is funny and it has a love story in it. There are no scary parts and I like watching the racing. I like the funny smile of Lightning McQueen.

Sam: I love watching the cars race and Lightning McQueen is a fast racer.

Nathan: The movie is good and Mater is a bit funny. It has a good story line and my favourite part is when Mater and Lightning McQueen are chasing the tractors in the paddock.

Chelsea: It is a movie about adventure and it has funny parts in it.

Liberty: It is cool and I like it when Mater lifts up Lightning McQueen. He is magic!

From my perspective, I enjoy letting the children watch this movie as I like the music, love the storyline about supporting country areas and the characters are just funny. Some of them remind me of people I know and it always makes me smile.

We also recently saw the trailer for the new Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie which is coming out soon. We have been looking forward to seeing it and it looks great! This time the cars are not confined to Radiator Springs, they are racing around the world, trying to save the world.

Lightning McQueen and Mater set off to compete in the World Grand Prix to determine the world's fastest car. While Lightning McQueen is tackling the race track, Mater is facing an adventure of his own, a top-secret spy mission.

You can check out the trailer below:

To help promote the new Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie Nuffnang is running a community contest.
You can check out the full details here.

They are giving away free tickets to the new Disney Pixar Car Movie!!
Every blogger who enters will win a prize!

Here is what you need to do:
1. Write a blog post about the new Cars 2 movie to help let everyone know about it
2. Include the movie trailer in your post
3. Leave a link to it on the Nuffnang site with your information.

Super easy and your kids will think you are super awesome when they get to see the movie!

This competition is open to all Australian resident who are able to attend screenings in Australia.
Entries close 17th June. Check out the terms and conditions here.

Happy Blogging!