#100happydays: Days 1-10

#100happydays began as an Instagram exercise in gratitude. I consider myself a pretty happy woman, but am guilty of getting caught up in the annoying realities of daily life – my kids are fighting, my house is a mess, my job is stressful, etc. And, if motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that gratitude, like patience, must be practiced daily. I welcomed the challenge to take a moment to be purposefully thankful for the many happy moments that make up my days.

Because this is an Instagram project, my challenge each day is to not just think of something, someone, some lofty quote, that makes me happy, but to think of something I can photograph. I can have a moment of thankfulness for a great phone conversation with my mom, but it doesn’t make a compelling Instagram photo. Likewise, I use very few words to describe these images. As I suspected in compiling them for this round-up, the image alone is enough to bring a smile to my face.

1Day 1: Final baseball game for the 2014 season. (For a better understanding of why the final game is the one that kicked off 100happydays, please read my post about Teaching Failure.)

2Day 2: Night Swim at the Berwyn Rec Pool. Uncrowded and awesome.

3Day 3. Golden beets from our garden, roasted in the oven. Simple salt and pepper. Thanks to my husband, the gardener.

4Day 4: Our latest library haul. Books make me happy.

5Day 5: Backyard baseball. No fees, technology or travel. Just brothers in the sun.

6Day 6: Connor’s love for horses always makes me smile. Stopped for a visit at Brookfield Zoo, Summer Nights.

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Day 7: Sunday morning bike ride with my husband.

8Day 8: Bringing my boys to work this week for Discovery Camp at Naz.

9Day 9: Fun plans for these items! Girls Night Out.

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Day 10: Making new friends while building a solar oven. #discoverycamp

 

How about you? How do you practice gratitude?

All the images in this post are my own. Please don’t use them as yours.

World Book Night with a little help from my son

So I participated in the first-time-in-America World Book Night last night. As with many things in my life, it didn’t go according to plan.

Way back when (6 months ago), I stumbled across a Facebook post about World Book Night in the UK. When I followed the link, I saw it was coming to the US in 2012. I love books. I love promoting books. I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I signed up for the newsletter.

When it came time to actually register and request books, I faltered. Once again, the idea of this was more appealing than actually committing to the follow-through.

Choosing titles to give away was no problem, but writing about a place I’d go and why I wanted to do this was a little harder. I’m a curl up on the couch and share my book love with like-minded people kind of girl. The thought of seeking out a place where I could find light or reluctant readers scared me. But I did it.

First paperback edition book cover

First paperback edition book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then I was chosen and I had to move beyond my comfort zone. I had a plan. I would go to the train station and just smile and offer my book, The Kite Runner, to strangers. Gulp.

As the date approached, I turned again and again to the virtual world for courage. I followed @wbnamerica on Twitter and “met” thousands of other people giving away books. I promoted World Book Night on Facebook and received loads of encouragement from friends and family. Ultimately, I connected with real-life friends and revised my work-alone plan.

Feeling better about a group of us working together with several titles, I wore my button, passed out stickers and packed my box. Then real life interfered with my best-laid plans. My husband could not get home in time for me to meet up with my friends. Sigh.

I could have used this as a reason to not interact with strangers, but I surprised myself by adapting quickly. I brought my youngest son along for the “fun.” He was none to pleased about being taken away from his backyard soccer game to “sell” books, but he had no choice. I explained how much this worldwide event meant to me and he agreed to help.

In the end, we had a blast walking up to strangers, talking up our titles and seeing people walk away with a new book. After a slow start, and quite a few skeptical looks, one train’s worth of commuters cleared out most of our books. My son was cute and charming and more than willing to run back to the box to refresh our armloads of books. I felt like part of a much broader community as I followed the experiences of givers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Now that it is over, I can forever claim being one of the first in America. And, so can my youngest son. I like that.

Some of my favorite #wbnamerica tweets:

Stacey Mason ‏ @StaceyLMason

“Sometimes we need books. And sometimes books need us.” Perhaps half a million free books started a new conversation last night @wbnamerica

Martha Kiley ‏ @MarthaKiley

Gave Bel Canto to a bartender, barista, counter girl, pizza guy, new moms, dog walkers and a butcher. Great night! #wbnamerica

The Book Shepherd ‏ @mybookshepherd

Yesterday was World Book Night-continue it and donate books to those who will open them and fall lin for the love of the word.#wbnamerica

Gabe Eggerling @saysgabe: I have always been told it’s a Gift to receive a book, but thanks to @wbnamerica I can say it’s also a Gift to give a book!!

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My box of WBN books

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Proud book-nerds ready to talk to commuters.

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My youngest son with an armful of The Hunger Games. Ready and willing.