Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 17

What inspires you?

Mine is more of a "Who" inspires you...  My parents.

The Story Behind It--
My parents did a pretty freakin' good job with my sister and me.  There are so many things about them that inspire me to be a hard working, devoted wife and mother, and I could not be more thankful for the life they've given me. 

Dad made sure I was on top of all my school work, kept my eyes out for the best job opportunities, and stayed on track to graduate in four years (plus a year of credentialing).  He helped with interviews, words of wisdom, car trouble, and so many more things.  How my dad handled my wedding was just the most touching thing I think he's ever done for me.  He told me how much money I could spend and then stepped back and let me do it.  He never criticized (at least not to me) and never pestered about the budget.  I think, in the end, I went about $750-$1000 over and I never heard a word.  All I heard from him was how wonderful everything turned out to be!  How much he loved the food and how the DJ just made the event and how pretty I looked.  It was so great.  My dad inspires me to be responsible, caring, and level-headed but to always remember what is really the most important thing in life: being there for and loving your family.

Mom and I had a very different relationship than many other mothers and daughters, at least the kinds of daughters I see in my classroom now.  By 5th grade I was taller than her, which changed the dynamic of our relationship a lot.  Without much choice, it became more of a friendship much earlier than it should have.  We butted heads a lot growing up because we are VERY similar in our stubbornness and heightened emotions.  Thankfully, problems were always easily resolved.  We went to our separate corners for a few hours and everything was fine again.  In high school, she was always there for me, sacrificing not only at work but also with my dad to make sure I got to see a certain boy or go to a certain place.  She fought my battles for me, and I know that was really hard on her.  As I've gotten older, we really have become much closer.  I look to her for guidance now on how to handle strong-willed men (like my dad and Graham) and how to focus on God when things get stressful.  She is an amazing woman and has worked hard throughout her life.  Just like my dad, she did what she needed to do to make sure my sister and I were well taken care of.

I want to be a parent like my parents are.  There are things that aren't perfect, which is absolutely true of any set of parents, but there is so much I gleaned from them and will make sure my children receive as they grow up.  My parents inspire me to be a strong, family-orientated person, and I hope to show them just how awesome of a job they did as time goes on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 16

Tell about the happiest day of your life.

Graham hates to dance in front of other people.  He tries to make a joke out of it because he knows he doesn't dance very well.  We talked for months about dancing at our wedding, and I was pretty sure with the exception of our first dance and his dance with his mother, I wasn't going to get another dance out of him.  By the end of the evening, we were so tired emotionally and physically that we couldn't wait to get out on the dance floor and get all that stress out!  Graham was great!  We had so much fun out there for the thirty or so minutes of dancing we had.  Our ceremony was later than most and our reception had a lot going on.  With it absolutely pouring outside, most people were gone by 9:30 or 10:00.  The dancing was brief, but this is one of my favorite pictures from the evening.  I had so much fun with him that day.  It was definitely the happiest day of my life for SO many reasons, but this picture captures one of the major ones: how much fun I had/have with my best friend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 15

A television show that makes you happy.

The Story Behind It--
I bought the first four seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Amazon's Deal of the Day.  I had been meaning to get into the show, so being the impulse shopper that I am, I snatched it up.  I watched the first season by myself and instatly fell in love with Marshall... and Ted a little bit, too.  Graham felt a little left out and decided he wanted to watch it, too, so I started over to include him.  He loved it!  We watched all five seasons out on DVD and now catch the new episodes on Monday nights.  We go through withdrawals when we don't watch it, and we really do consider them our friends.  I know, it's not extremely healthy, but it makes us feel better.  We've just started seasons three for the second time through, (Worst season by the way.  Bleh!) but our friends our awesome.  Please watch this show.  You will thank me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 14

My apologies for the delay on this.  I have been focused on family this week.  I haven't read more than 50 pages in the last two weeks either.  I need to get back on the horse.  Here is a blog post, and the reading will kick off again tonight.....  as will my new exercise/diet plan.  Gaining ten pounds since my wedding (only three months ago!!!!) is not a great thing.

A conversation that makes you happy.

This is a conversation that occurred with my grandma about 9 months ago.  Graham had just proposed a few days earlier, and we went to visit her for the first time since our engagement.  By this time, Grandma's hearing was very limited, so conversations tended to repeat themselves.  She was always very proud of her air conditioner that Dad put in a few years earlier, so she always talked about that.  Anyway, this day she devled into something deeper than usual.

Me: So, Grandma, we got engaged this week!
Grandma: Yes, I heard!  Your mother told me.
Me: I figured.  We're really excited!
Grandma (to Graham):  Now look here, mister.  You better take care of her.  She is a special gal, and you better be good to her.
Graham: I will.  I know she's great. I will take care of her.  Don't worry.
Grandma: Okay, good.  Now give me a hug.

I found out later that Grandma is the only one to have given Graham any warning like this.  Not even my dad, who has made it his mission to make sure Lauren and I end up the best way we can, said anything to Graham.  It was Grandma Louise who put Graham in his place.  It makes me smile, and it makes me love her more knowing she cared so much.

Don't worry, Grandma.  He's doing a great job.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 13

A movie that makes you happy.

The Story Behind It--
I cannot get enough of a great romance story.  Though this movie has its share of drama and tears, the love between these people is one that warms even the coldest of hearts (obviously, as Darcy is now all warm and fuzzy on the inside, too).  It is my second favorite movie of all time and I will always dream of being Mrs. Darcy and to feel the love that these two share.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 12

A description or picture of someone who makes you happy.
The Story Behind It--
These are my favorite people (non-family, of course) in the world.  These are definitely the people that make me happy.
Tiffany is one of my oldest friends, though our friendship didn't really mature and become something great until our first year at Fresno Pacific together.  She was my room mate that year and just the most amazing friend.  Since graduating and moving away, we haven't seen much of each other but I like to think that she will always be one of my dearest friends and certainly about the best human being you could ever meet.
Sarah is my first cousin and so completely sweet.  There is hardly a Christmas memory that doesn't include her, and visits to her house growing up were always so exciting.  We haven't been able to see much of each other as we've grown up, but Christmas Eve at my parents' house would not be what it is without Sarah and her big smile there.
Rebecca is the epitome of sweet and salty, if that makes sense.  Your first impression of her will always be that she is pure sugar in its best form (chocolate of course).  Being around her cheery smile and kind words is all the motivation you could need to put a smile on your face.  She is never without a word of encouragement or a hug to give, and she loves like no one can.  Then after you get to know her, you realize she is so spirited and full of life!  She loves adventure and trying new restaurants and sinking deep into those awesome television dramas or just a great book.  She was born to be a mommy and is just an all-around magnificent person.
Lauren is my little sister but is certainly becoming a woman all her own.  I told her recently that when people ask me how old my sister is, I instinctively want to say "12," even though she'll be 20 in May.  I think I just really liked us when we were 16 and 12.  Now she is all grown up and getting ready to move away to finish school in Sacramento.  She is making big decisions and becoming her own person, someone separate from the world of "Lesley's sister," and I could not be more excited for her.  She will make you laugh for hours, and as we recently learned, she might have a career in children's books.  :)  
Erica is an incredible person.  I met her on my second day at Cold Stone Creamery in June of 2004 and we have been incredibly close ever since.  Work was not dreaded work for me because I got to sing songs with Erica and laugh and have fun while making tips!  It was great!  Since then she has become a complete inspiration to me.  She got pregnant almost two years ago and had to make some major life decisions, all of which I am so proud of her for.  She now has a GORGEOUS 15-month-old son and is busily planning her wedding to Mathew with whom she recently celebrated three years together.  She's moving across the country very soon and I will miss her something extraordinary, but she will always be one of my best friends.
Samantha is just awesome.  She was my suite mate during my sophomore year of college when I was her RA and she was one of my little freshman room mates.  It did not take more than a day or two to become very good friends.  I didn't have many close friends my freshman year there, so it was SO great to meet someone this awesome just a few days in to the new school year.  We both had a life-changing year and made some big decisions and some big mistakes (like all college girls tend to do), but I wouldn't have made it out without Sam.  I moved to Fresno the following year but we both have made a strong effort to visit at least twice a year and it's like time hasn't passed.
and then there's Graham, my rock and my cuddle bear.  Even during our worst of worst fights, there is an anchor in my heart that tells me that this is not the end, that Graham will still be there at the end of this, trying to make me smile.  I have not made it easy for him, but he has lived every day of our relationship trying to make me happy the best and most genuine way that he can.  I need to try harder to learn from his example of love.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 11

A story of something that made you happy this day.

The Story--
Because this post is going up in the morning, (and a story about having prep period making me happy would just be too boring), I will write about what made me happy this weekend.

On Sunday, Graham; Graham's brother, Joel; and I drove to Irvine to celebrate Graham's Great Aunt Jeanne's 90th birthday.  This day was difficult for me.  My own grandmother passed away last Monday at the age of 86, and we were very close. 

From about the age of 3 to 13, I spent every weekday afternoon at her house while my parents worked.  My sister and I spent every summer there, too, playing cards or Guess Who?, watching old VHS tapes over and over again, and hiding rocks as though they were Easter eggs in the backyard clover not having any idea how mad they would make Grandma's gardener.  Grandma came to every softball game, every play performance, every church solo, until her health prevented her from such big events.  She was able to attend neither my college graduation nor Lauren's high school graduation due to the heat.  She was so sad to miss them.  I started dating Graham three years ago this Thursday, as my relationship with Graham began to grow, he started to build a relationship with her as well.  He did not have a grandmother figure for much of his life, and my grandma welcomed him with open arms, literally.  During my bridal shower, she insisted on speaking up to the whole group: "That Graham, I just have to say, gives the best hugs."  (Nice and loud for all to hear, of course.)  Grandma was able to attend my wedding in December, which meant the absolute world to her.  I was so glad beyond words that she was there, too.  Now knowing that this would be one of the last times I would see my grandma, I wish I would have stopped by for a few more hugs and a few more pictures before the night was through.

Even though her health was starting to deteriorate, her passing was a complete shock to my family.  My aunt spoke to her at 4:00 on Monday and she was as cheerful and well as ever.  Then when my mom went to visit at 7:00 and couldn't wake her, we learned from the paramedics that she must have passed a few hours earlier.  Mom noticed her TV had not been turned to the news channel at 5:00, something she never misses.  This means my aunt spoke to her within minute of her passing.  She simply nodded off for a usual quick nap, her book in her hand, and is now with the Lord.  All things considered, this is the absolute best way she could have gone, "the way she deserved to go" as my mom put it.  It was so sad, but my family and Graham and I have found joy in all the memories we shared with her during her long, full life.

I chose to go with Graham to his family's celebration because I learned this past week that one must take every available opportunity to visit with and hug the ones they love.  I avoided visiting my grandma many times and regret that entirely now.  It was such a blessing to meet these extended branches of my husband's family, to hug these inspirational women, and to cherish my husband's relationships with his relatives first hand.  Graham's great aunt is a lot like my grandma: strong, compassionate, a little feisty, and a true woman of God.  Seeing all those people show their love to Aunt Jeanne made my heart so warm, not only because this wonderful woman is now a part of my own family, but because my grandma would have had the same response from all of us on her 90th birthday.  Along with my cousin Mark, I will be speaking at her funeral on Friday.  I am still looking for the right words to say, but I know they will revolve around her unconditional love that she had for us during my childhood and now adulthood.  I wish you could have known the wonderful woman that she was.  Your life would truly be better for it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 10

A Youtube video that makes you happy

The Story Behind It --
I found this a couple of months ago.  I wish so much that my little girl will be this awesome some day!  With a history buff for a daddy and an English teacher for a mommy, I think my odds are good.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 9

A site that makes you happy

Baked Bree

The Story Behind It--
I found this site a week or two ago, and I absolutely love it.  She makes amazing recipes and the photography makes me want to cook everything on her site.  Please go check it out.  It's fabulous.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 8

Something you found while searching "happiness" on Tumblr

The Story Behind It--
Something so true that I struggle so much with.  As mentioned in the introduction to this challenge, I am having a hard time cheering up after the wedding.  When money is tight and my job is often less than enjoyable, I find it difficult to choose happiness.  Graham encourages me, but hopefully I will get there soon enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 7

Something you found while searching "Smile" on Tumblr

The Story Behind It--
I've never used Tumblr before.  It was confusing.  Like Twitter but with blogging and Flickr-esque photo posting capability.  (It's even missing that final vowel in its name.)  Of the many random shots, this one was the most ambiguous as far as photo focus, but also cheery and fun.  It does make me smile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 6

A picture of someone famous smiling

The Story Behind It--
Julia is my very special friend.  (Notice how we're on first-name basis.)  She makes us big-teethed girls feel alright about ourselves.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 5

A song or song lyrics that make you smile

"Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys

The Story Behind It --
This was that song that I would tear up to in high school and college when all I really wanted was a man to hold me for ever and ever.  I was one of those girls who thought every boy I dated was "the one," but it wasn't until Graham that I knew the difference, of course.  This song makes me smile both because it's bubbly Beach Boys, and you can't help but smile; but also because it makes me think of how silly I was back in the day... but how so true this song is now knowing what it's like to be "older and we wouldn't have to wait so long."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 4

A picture you think will make someone else smile.

The Story Behind It --
This is my dear friend Erica's fabulous little boy, John.  Graham and I spend many an evening cooing and giggling over pictures of this little fella.  You can't not smile when you look at a picture of John.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 3

A text that you saved because it made you smile

I don't do this anymore.  I used to, when I was a dreamy little college girl who got texts from boys from far away.  Now all my dreamy texts from boys come in the form of "What do you need from the grocery store?"  So for this day's Proof of Happiness, I submit all of my texts from Graham.  The fact that I get those "grocery store" texts means we share a refrigerator, which means we share an apartment, which means we are married, and for us, that's excellent proof of happiness.

I don't have an iPhone, but I want one!  I really hope Graham gets the hint that I would LOVE one for my birthday in a couple of months.  :)

Proof of Happiness: Day 2

A quote that makes you smile

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

- Winnie the Pooh, Pooh's Little Instruction Book

The Story Behind It --
Graham and I talk often of the little babies we will have one day, and it was decided very early on that we would have a Classic Pooh nursery.  The adorble innocence of this silly ol' bear is often teaming with some of the most profound outlooks on life, and Pooh certainly takes that "faith like a child" concept to a whole new level.  We hope our little babies enjoy the World of Winnie the Pooh as much as we do.

Lesley H. and the Lightening Scar Boy

I have reached the end!  I made it!  I read about 500 pages this weekend alone, but I finished the 7th book!  My opinion of the Potter boy and his prodigy friends has certainly changed over this journey, and I am SO glad I set this goal.  What a great story!  ...even if she did get quite a bit wordy there in the middle. Check out my review of the book (and my rating of the series) in my Review page above.

I know I am going to have a hard time investing in new characters now that this is over.  I have spend nearly 5,000 pages with these kiddos, and it will be tough to say goodbye.  Because of this, I'll probably move on to a nonfiction book like the last Donald Miller book I haven't finished, or Graham's really been on me to read Moneyball... for about three years now.  Maybe I'll throw him a bone.  :)

Now is really the time though.  Suggestions, please!  Tell me a book that changed your life, or made you cry, or is just something everyone should read.  I need ideas!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 1

A picture of you smiling

The Story Behind It --
The last morning of our honeymoon.  The rain had finally lifted and we got to enjoy our oceanfront balcony.  The trip was over, but our life together was just about to begin.

Proof of Happiness: Introduction

Got this from the lovely Karissa's blog (Pretty Things) and I've been needing some happiness lately.  I think I'm suffering from the post-wedding blues, when all this anticipation has built up over years and years, and then when things don't quite measure up to what I expected, it seems as though everything is horrible.  Okay, not horrible.  Things are actually wonderful.  I married a wonderful man.  With concerns over my job future (got my pink slip this past Monday) and money stuff, however, it's just been rough inside my head lately.  So... the happiness challenge.  I like it.

Each day I will post something on here (which will make Graham happy because he says I'm not using this thing enough) following the assignments listed below.

30 Day Challenge 
A Picture of you smiling
A Quote that makes you smile
A Text that you saved because it made you smile
A Picture you think will make someone else smile
A Song or Song Lyrics that make you smile
A Picture of someone fameous smiling
Something you found when searching “Smile” on Tumblr.
Something you found when searching “Happiness” on Tumblr.
A Site that makes you happy.
A Youtube Video that makes you happy.
A Story of something that made you happy this day.
A Description or Picture of someone who makes you happy.
A Movie that makes you happy.
A Convo that makes you happy (from a movie or chat or whatever)
A T.V. Show that makes you smile
Tell about the happiest day of your life.
What Inspires you?
Something on your Dash that makes you happy
Something you found when searching “Love” on Tumblr.
Define Happiness in your own words
A Picture of the last time you were happy.
A Picture that gives you hope
An Activity you find fun
Dedicate a post to someone telling them what you think about them (positive things)
Post a stickey note or sign somewhere with a nice message. (take a picture and post it)
Promote a blog that makes you happy
A Picture of a heart, smiley face, peace sign, or any other symbol of happiness.
Post something that you dream about.
Make a list of 50 reasons to be happy daily.
Reflect on the past 29 days, has your life gotten better? Do you feel any differently about things around you?