Me, happiness tips, and a joke.

With fingers crossed, I hit the “submit” button on my computer screen. Sure enough, I’m a self-help book. Dang it. That’s what the online quiz told me, but what I really, really wanted to be was something cool, creative, sublime, or funny.  Perhaps a poetry book, a recipe book, or a lovely romance novel.  But no, I’m a self-help book.  You know, the one that shows you how to organize via a handy-dandy acronym, SPACE (sort purge assign contain equalize)? Or the one that tells you how to make your own energy bars because you hate the taste and cost of manufactured protein bars and know you can make your own better? Or the one that encourages you to develop not 1, not 2, but 7 habits to be a great family?  That’s me.  I’m the friend you call for a Cliff Note version of endless non-fiction books related to the purpose of life and literally “how to” live life well within a family.

What did the fish say when he hit the wall?  Dam.  That’s right, I’m funny.  In a “I’d rather laugh than cry or complain” sort of way.  Family life is difficult.  Tip #1:  Laugh.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  ~ Leo Tolstoy

Are all happy families alike?  Well, most people would agree that happy families do share traits in common.  They provide a place and ways for members to thrive.  They have good relationships amongst each other.  They encourage individual members to be their best selves within the family.  They share values that are good, positive, and proven.  Happy family members are happy for each other.

Are all unhappy families different?  We can all think of outrageous extremes when a family derails; murder, all manner of abuse, and gross negligence come to mind.  At first glance, unhappy families do look different in how they express their pain but they also share traits in common.  They tend to live in chaotic environments, with confusing patterns of behavior, and with dangerous routines or no natural rhythm at all.  They tend to struggle communicating, connecting, and trusting each other.  They tend to have extreme bullies and victims; where mutual responsibility dies.  They have individual members who are selfish, demanding, and disproportionately or needlessly energy zapping which brings the group down.  Unhappy family members can be jealous, fearful, passive, and angry when other members do well.

The idea that there is no perfectly happy or unhappy family first came to me over twenty-five years ago when I worked with troubled children and their families at a place called Friendship House.  I knew that my family had problems and that my friends’ families had problems yet the problems I saw within these families were shocking.  Every conceivable offense against man was being committed and the most unnerving part was that this was my hometown.  These families didn’t look or live all that differently from me.  I began reasoning that family stability and happiness was a matter of degree.  Some families are mostly happy with unhappy moments, some families are mostly unhappy with happy moments, but most are somewhere in between.  Tip #2:  Choose happiness.

That simple insight was the beginning of my desire to increase happiness within the context of my family and to help other families to be happier, too.  Self-help books are teachers and organizers.  And the best teachers, me included, see themselves as life-long learners.  Here are a few learning curves that are increasing my happiness right now.

Newbie

  • Grandmother
  • Runner
  • Higher Protein, Lower Carb, Eater
  • Blogger

Proficient

  • Social Media Networker (Twitter, Message Boards)
  • Church Goer
  • Foodie and Beer Connoisseur
  • Baseball Fan

Expert

  • Educator
  • Manager and Administrator
  • Group Organizer and Leader
  • Wife and Mother

I call this blog Family Love Does More because I want to teach, organize, network, and learn.  A lot.  Together. I want to help myself and others to be happier through family life and all of it’s seasons, roles, responsibilities, sorrows, and joys.

How happy are you within your family life? What family relationships, roles, and responsibilities are you most engaged in?  How valuable do you perceive them?  What season of family life are you in?  What sorrows are bringing you down?  What joys are lifting you up?  Do you believe that you can be an instrument of positive change in your family?   

If you lean more toward the unhappy end of the family happiness continuum, hold onto your hope.  With good information, support, and encouragement, you can be happy, make happy moments, and string them together.  Families need members to meet basic physical needs for food, water, and shelter.  We need members to provide safety, both physical and financial.  We need members to share friendship, intimacy, love and belonging.  We need members to honor and respect each other while developing inner confidence.  We need to help each other to reach our goals, dreams, and our ultimate purpose in life.  We need to contribute our unique gifts and talents for the betterment of all.  We are needed!  Tip #3: Chip in. 

Remember those troubled kids and their families at Friendship House?  Well, one day I was late to work because my 200,000+ mile car had broken down yet again en route.  Thank goodness a friend picked me up, dropped me off, and as I raced passed the secretaries to my classroom, I spotted a handsome man in the waiting room.  Within an hour he was introduced to me as Dave, my new partner.  At the end of the day, Dave read a story to “our kids” as I focused on updating student notes.  Until I noticed… silence.  Each of these troubled little souls was soaking in every word of the story, every ounce of Dave’s warmth.  This is the beginning of my, “How did you meet your husband?” story.  Our story has continued with many plot twists, unique characters, and cliff hangers.  Now doesn’t that sound like an adventure book?

Thank you for connecting!  Feel free to ask a question, give a tip, share a story, or tell a joke here.  And a very warm welcome to Family Love Does More:  Where self-help book meets adventure book and (with hard work, good humor, and eternal love) everyone lives happily ever after ❤

fish blog

The End

Update:  November 22, 2014

39 thoughts on “Me, happiness tips, and a joke.

    • Great question! My blink response is to say 24/7! In general, M-F I focus on mornings being for kids, afternoon for friends and general others, evening for husband. Saturday is a free for all frenzy. Sunday is for God. Social media fits in between, sometimes more and sometimes less. And none of this is as straight-forward as it looks on paper!

      That’s, in part, why I appreciate you, OM, and what you are doing at your blog. You are one of few bloggers who I see actively reaching out to others on this media (what I see as a tough one). I may not be much of a blogger, with Twitter being my current media fave, but I want to be a good blogging neighbor, like I am IRL. So I’m watching and learning and thank you for that. If there’s anyway I can be a good neighbor to you, I will gladly do so! Thanks for your precious time & have a great week 🙂

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      • You are right! Matters of faith are so close to the heart. I’m grateful to all who share in this way. While my faith informs and fuels my passion, content related to family life is what I feel most adept to share. I use the term, adept, loosely 🙂 Thank for this exchange – means a lot to me!

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  1. Thank you for this blog, Angie. Your comments on “unsoliticed advice” hit one of my bells…I do this WAY too much, so I’m looking forward to learning from you.

    I think many of us who have begun walking closely with God and practicing His minute-by-minute presence in our lives can become overly exurberant in telling our story.

    Everyone must find their own path, as you say, make their own mistakes.

    Looking forward to walking with you in this virtual world…I may even have to jump on Twitter one of these days.

    Blessings in the meantime,

    Mary

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    • Mary, thank you so much for connecting with me. I was just at your blog to thank you for visiting mine and I read He Said His Name Was Dean http://walkingwithmybrother.net/my-story/he-said-his-name-was-dean/ and was swept away by the… love. Really, that was what I felt through the pain. You describe the relationship between you and your angel, a messenger of God, with such beauty and transparency. Your “overly exuberant” story telling is a privilege to read. Keep up the great work…and finish that 60’s story, OK? 🙂

      And if you find your way to Twitter, please do say hello! If you have any questions about how to enjoy it, just let me know because I’m glad to share Twitter love 🙂

      Have a great week and I look forward to connecting again ❤

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  2. Angie thanks for your lovely comments and for following my blog. You have a great family blog here! And must say i’m looking forward to reading your post! It’s nice to meet you 🙂

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    • How very kind of you, Genevieve! I’m super glad to connect and I gladly accept this award 🙂 Within the week, look to hear back from me that it has been posted, in the mean time, I wish you and yours every happiness ❤

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  3. Thank you so much for the encouraging comment on my blog about my struggling with writing papers! And thanks also for the helpful link! I shall check it out and am sure I will learn a thing or two on how to get more comfortable with writing. You have a Master’s Degree? That’s AWESOME! After only going to college for 1 year so many years ago, I’m only now getting back to school to at least finish an Associate’s Degree before I turn 40. Goodness, if it wasn’t for English (and uh, Math and Science courses too), I wouldn’t mind continuing with college. But because those are my weaknesses, I am quite limited – and am still wondering what in the world I’m actually gifted in (which will be for a future post). Thank you again for your encouragement and helpful link suggestion!

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    • You go! Just keep working hard, ask for help, and don’t let anyone stop you from getting your degree, if that’s what you want. I wasn’t very strong in math or science either, but muddled through 🙂 But I can see that you can write, so it really could be something to invest in; the formal writing that is. Perhaps you can find someone to meet with and discuss the matter, like my professor did with me. You may be one person away from breaking the “formal writing” code. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Hey Angie, I love your blog and have nominated you for four amazing awards. Of course, you do not have to participate and I completely understand if you would prefer not to, or do not have the time to, but if you are interested in participating, just follow the link below.

    http://lydiadevadason.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/yay-more-awards

    Apologies if it isn’t something that you’d be interested in but either way I hope you stay in touch. Lydia

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    • Why thank you, Lydia! I look forward to reading about these awards and getting them on my blog. If it takes me a bit, know that I’m in the middle of spring baseball with 3 sons and my daughter is due with her first baby soon! Have a terrific rest of the week 🙂

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      • Ah, I’m so pleased and no worries at all. Enjoy the baseball and the birth of your grandchild – how exciting! 🙂

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  5. Angie: Thank you for the follow. I love the tone of your blog and it appears you have much to offer the reader. I’m eager to have a look around and see what else you are offering your readers. Before I started blogging, I depended on Twitter for social media. Now I rarely go to Twitter. Blogging is a better platform for me and the message I provide. Thanks again.

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    • Thanks for your encouragement, Sheri! I’m spitting my time between twitter, blogging, and a message board. So much social media, so little time 🙂 Your blog is very impressive. I’m rooting for you!

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  6. Dig the new theme, Miss Angie! I think it suits you, and I suspect there will be more pics of boldly colorful things, like you. 🙂 Good to see you “back in the house,” lol. 😀 ❤

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    • What a great plan, Jacob! I’m so happy that you chose to visit my blog and I was glad to visit and follow yours. I look forward to our paths continuing to cross 😀 Happy weekend to you!

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