Monthly Archives: March 2011


2011 has had some daunting moments and the events that have occurred will continue to impact on our lives for a long time.   I am constantly looking for things that help boost mood, build resilience and an optimistic view of life.  The title of this book caught my eye and I requested it from our local library.

“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”  by Gretchen Rubin.  

I have found this book to be a stimulating, provocative and helpful read.  It certainly requires attention and is not some glib, once over lightly wander through “happiness”.

Her website is: and is chock full of extras.

Even without natural disasters, economic recessions and unrest around the world, we humans are fascinated with Happiness.  If you want to extend your inquiry into this state read this book.



I have a curious and inquiring mind.  I wrestle with the Big puzzles about God and life and purpose and existence and this puzzling seems to happen in a wide and expansive part of my brain.

 I also wrestle on a daily basis with more minor puzzles, such as what to cook for dinner!  Lots of these sorts of puzzles get worked on in the part of my brain that applies logic and consequential thinking.

However I also love crossword puzzles and my brain seems to work on these in a quiet, focused, “flow” part of my brain.  One particular type of word puzzle I enjoy is called a Code Cracker

( go to www. for more details).  Once I have cracked the initial code I can follow with little hesitation through the puzzle.  I can become oblivious to time and other distractions.  I feel a sense of satisfaction once the code is cracked, as well as a relaxed feeling that comes from giving my whole attention totally to one task.

Another trick I have learnt about my brain and how I function is to leave the clues I cannot solve initially in a crossword and go and do something completely different.  I often return to find the answers pop instantly to mind.  I find that I can use this trick to help solve other puzzles in my life that don’t always have a single, straightforward or easy answer.   Time and focus on other tasks or activities can sometimes allow some other part of my brain to come up with an answer or a variety of answers to choose from.

I am interested in hearing about puzzles you enjoy and ways in which your brain works to help you solve puzzles.

More fun ideas

My informal research about what women did to play and have fun also included the following:

Soaking in a bath

Playing with collections of dolls and teddies

Writing anything “non heavy” e.g emails to friends, letters to family

Coffee and chocolate

Repartee and friendships with work colleagues

Professional development, learning and the anticipation related to new challenges in those areas

Playing with ideas, opinions, viewpoints and words

Pottering about on a musical instrument

Sitting in the sun

Having breakfast in bed

Watching early morning television

Christmas time, visiting Santa’s Cave and specialty areas in shops

Imaginary stories, fairies etc

Gardening and baking = thinking time while doing things

Craft and creative activities

Playing with crayons, pastels and colours

Playing with spiritual “tools” – meditation, Reiki, visualisations

Finding time, taking time and giving themselves permission to do any or all of these nourishing activities were the biggest obstacles to increasing fun and play in the women’s lives.

The Tuis must have tuned in!

Yesterday I posted that the Tuis were absent from our garden.   An hour later there was a Tui singing in one of our trees!  I guess the message got out into cyberspace and somehow jogged a Tui to turn up here to let me know they are not that far away!

Today there is a Tui in a neighbour’s garden.  

It has been around all day so perhaps they are returning.  Nice.

Fun and Games

A few years ago I was challenged by someone to consider how I played and had fun.   I had a few ideas about what I did but the question piqued my interest about what other adult women did to play and have fun.  I sent this question to 18 women of varying ages and I received 10 responses.

Many women reported the following as ways to play and have fun:   Music, singing and dancing; reading books or magazines; playing with their own children or other people’s children;  enjoying pets; nature based activities, such as beach walking, picking flowers, skipping stones; shopping both browsing and purchasing; spending time with others, having a meal together, sharing experiences, new places to visit, visiting friends, playing tricks and pranks on friends, or simply blobbing out with a preferred person.

Being able to feel free enough to really express ourselves in a joyful happy way without the burden of responsibilities and worries, even for brief moments is a healthy thing to do for ourselves.

Tomorrow I will post a list of other fun and playful things the women mentioned in their replies.

Where are the Tuis?

I love watching the birds in our suburban garden.  In the years we have lived here the trees, both native and imported have grown, often to sizes much greater than the labels on them indicated.  I suspect we are being rewarded now because we provide better homes, shelter and food for the birds.  A special reward this summer and early autumn has been a resident Grey Warbler. 

This is a tiny bird but with a big and most beautiful song.  I read a description of its song once as being “an unfinished symphony” and I think that sums up some of its magnificent qualities.  It also has a very big heart, although in an unwitting manner, because Shining Cuckoos often lay their eggs in the nest of the Warbler and kick out the Warbler’s eggs.  To their credit the Warblers get on and raise the interlopers.  It is a constant delight to hear the lovely song and know the wee bird or birds feel safe enough to live in our garden.

With autumn here our resident Fantails are here in the garden again and we welcome their bright wee chirping noises and staccato acrobatics as they flit about.

No sign of the Tuis yet.  They must be living elsewhere at present, close to food sources.  Maybe flowering flaxes or red gums.  Perhaps as the weather cools and the Indian Summer we have been enjoying has gone, they will back.

I’m going to tie a seedy bird biscuit on the bird feeder now and watch to see who comes to enjoy that.  The biscuits were made by 4 year olds at preschool and sold to raise funds.  Good stuff.

12 daily messages

Over the past few years I have been reflecting on some messages that have helped me in times of stress and uncertainty and which help keep me more balanced in my life no matter what is happening around me.

I’ve listed them in no particular order: 

Be Gentle with yourself and others

Just do today

Let go and let God

This too shall pass

Step by step

I can do all things through God who strengthens me

Laugh a lot, enjoy nonsense and silliness

Breathe….Practice self care

Act with loving kindness

Remember everyone is burdened with something

Ask for help

I am interested in daily messages that help you with your life:-)

Back to the blog

Okay so I’ve been silent for a long while.  What has motivated me to begin blogging again?  A number of factors have influenced me and they include an urging from at least three people who feel I would find personal value in writing more here. 

Recent earthquakes in my country and in our Pacific neighbour Japan have highlighted once again how important it is to connect with ordinary people in ordinary ways and to see the difference, no matter how small from those contacts and connections. Blogs have provided insights into the lives of these ordinary people who are facing extraordinary circumstances in a real, first person way.  I hope I can learn from their resilience, their caring, their fortitude and practical skills and learnings so that should I be faced with similar disasters I will be better prepared.

I have also been enjoying reading a variety and growing collection of blogs.  I feel inspired, educated, stimulated, informed and challenged depending on the focus of each blog.

So here goes…..again.