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Archive for the ‘Life's Little Pleasures’ Category

I am a true lover of cliches and overused phrases, so it’s not surprising that I often find myself saying “wow, it really is a small world after all.” In fact, just last night my cousin and I were exchanging messages on Facebook about an unexpected mutual friend, and I relayed that very phrase in our discussion. I must say, though, that it’s slightly hard for me to think of that phrase without thinking of the “It’s a Small World” boat ride at Walt Disney World. It’s the “ride” where a bunch of little plastic dolls from all over the world bob their heads and sing the song in a few different languages as you float by. It’s a great ride for the faint-of-heart (or extreme doll enthusiast) to take because it’s nice and relaxing and involves no treacherous flips or turns. I promise, my small talk about plastic dolls and outdated Disney rides is actually going somewhere…

Every couple always remembers the “first time we met” (unless that first time involved one too many “adult” beverages and the night’s events have to get pieced together after a few Advil and a next-day snooze). Nonetheless, the details are often regaled to friends and family at parties, wedding receptions, anniversary parties, etc. I think it’s always so refreshing to hear of the unlikely way a couple met or how the universe somehow pulled them together and they couldn’t help but fall in love. Everyone has his or her own interpretation of stolen first glances, shy and awkward hellos, and meet-cutes. Well, for one Boyton Beach, FL couple, their “first time we saw each other” story was a lot more interesting than they initially thought…

Just days before their wedding was to take place, Donna, the blushing bride-to-be, was showing her fiance, Alex, a few family photos from her childhood. They flipped nonchalantly from picture to picture until Alex became fixated on a specific picture of Donna and her family at Disney World. He couldn’t help but notice a familiar figure in the background of the picture – his own father pushing a stroller. As he soon realized, that stroller was occupied by none other than Alex himself. Donna’s family lived in Florida at the time and had gone to Disney World for the day, and Alex’s family was visiting from Montreal; and somehow in all the hustle-and-bustle, the two young toddles crossed paths. Little did they know that their first photo together was taken decades prior to their (now second) meeting at work where they fell in love. Let’s all let out a collective “awww” and smile as we think, wow, it’s a small world after all… 🙂

What a great story to tell the grandchildren!

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Sometimes, we need to be reminded of the little things in life that make us happy. We get so caught up in the chaos of daily life, that we often forget to delight in its daily pleasures. Every day, we owe it to ourselves to take time to breathe deeply and to soak in the small pleasures that make life worth living. No matter how stressful or bad your day has been, take a minute to think of something that makes you really happy, and if you’re able to at the time – act on it, if you can’t – reminisce about a time you enjoyed the small pleasure.  You’ll feel relaxed and will be smiling before you know it. And don’t push this 5 minute activity aside for “tomorrow” – remember, your own happiness is worth more than gold, and there are zillions of things in this world that make each of us happy.

The nice people over at Shine from Yahoo have gone ahead and done the dirty work for us. They have created a list of 101 small pleasures we can enjoy every day – we don’t even have to do the thinking on this one – now that’s a small pleasure in itself! 🙂 I guarantee, however, that just skimming this list will induce some self-thinking about what you individually delight in – so grab a pen and paper and jot down all the little pleasures that make you happy. When you’re feeling blue, grab this list and remind yourself how lucky you are to have so many things that elate you. I truly believe that it’s the small stuff in life that really matters.

After reading Shine’s article, I created my own list of 20 small pleasures that make me feel gratified. I plan on starting a journal to list out my favorite pleasures (starting with the 20 below) and adding to it whenever I feel a twinge of inspiration. I can’t wait to relish in all the small pleasures and tokens of happiness that await me!

20 Small Pleasures I Delight In:

1. When my niece and nephew call me “Norsey” – the nickname my niece thought up for me

2. Savoring a large piece of birthday cake (whether it’s my birthday or not!)

3. Watching the sun rise or set

4. Sleeping in freshly washed sheets

5. Taking long walks with my girlfriends

6. Working on a crossword puzzle and completing it (or getting close to completing it!)

7. Feeling warm sunshine on my (sun-screened!) skin

8. Looking at family photo albums

9. Drinking margaritas and eating cheese dip outside on a hot day

10. Swinging on swings at a park or on a porch swing

11. Causing another person’s laughter

12. Sitting by the fire curled up in a blanket on a cold night

13. When my cat fall asleep on my lap

14. Reading a children’s book and looking at all the pictures

15. Chewing 2 pieces of Extra watermelon-flavored gum at once

16. Making a PB&J on white, fluffy bread and smashing it thin before I eat it

17. Taking a hot shower after a long, hard workout

18. Finding the perfect pair of jeans

19. Enjoying a nice summer night outside without getting any mosquito bites (or at least only getting a few!)

20. Soaking in the sight of beautiful gardens in the spring full of fresh, vibrant flowers

What does your own Happy Road consist of???

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Naps are one of life’s little pleasures but most of us don’t get to experience them very often. Sometimes, I wish I could make like a Kindergartner, grab a mat and a juice-box, and sprawl out on the carpet next to my cubicle. There is just something so refreshing about catching some zzzz’s in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a European country (but if you do – hello my readers from afar!) where siestas are accepted and encouraged. Therefore, we just remain sleep-deprived, groggy, and irritable on more days than we would prefer. In fact, according to Rich Maloof, contributor to MSN, nearly 1/3 of the American workforce reports falling asleep or feeling very sleep on the job. Although most of us often report feeling languid and lethargic, succumbing to our yawns still produces a stigma of “laziness” – that we are just too “lazy” and need to WAKE UP! We choose to pump ourselves full of caffeine (I think I could single handedly keep Coca-Cola in business due to my Diet Coke addiction) and try our hardest to fight the eyelid droops.

If you haven’t already nodded off while reading this post, know that you shouldn’t feel bad for allowing yourself a quick doze every so often (just try not to take it during the sermon at church…Mom… 😉 ). Studies show that an afternoon nap can actually be very good for you. A brief, well-timed nap can positively affect disposition, mental health, and cognitive thinking, and it can increase productivity and learning. Because we are usually moving a mile-a-minute, naps have become as luxurious as caviar. If you have a thirty minute break in your day (Yes, I realize you haven’t had a break since 1997, but if you somehow find a lull in your day), I suggest you occasionally use it to become better buddies with your pillow. Before you snooze, check out answers to these common questions related to the art of napping, courtesy of Rich Maloof and Do You Need a Nap?

Why am I usually tired after lunch?

“The body’s biologic rhythms naturally include a period of sleepiness in the afternoon, typically around 2:30 P.M. This daytime lull in the sleep-wake cycle, known as the circadian dip, can leave you less alert and sometimes overwhelmingly sleep. Eating a heavy lunch may contribute to this afternoon nap.”

Will a nap refresh me or just make me want to sleep more?

“According to the National Sleep Foundation, a nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance. Longer naps, however, may lead to sleep inertial, which is the feeling of grogginess and disorientation experienced when awakening from a deep sleep. Sleep inertial is likely to last longer, even up to an hour, if the nap extends beyond a half-hour. A recent study suggests that a 10-minute daytime snooze provides the most benefit in terms of reduced sleepiness and improved cognitive performance.”

Why do little children and the elderly nap so frequently?

“Sleep patterns change as we age. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep in every 24-hou cycle; in fact, by age 2, most children have spent more time asleep than awake. During sleeping hours, the brain processes information while the body releases growth hormones and restores cells.

Older people need just as much sleep as younger adults (about 7 to 9 hours) but spend less time in the deepest, most restful sleep stages. They’re also more likely to have medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, that can disrupt sleep and leave them tired in the daytime.”

Does a nap make up for lost sleep?

“A short nap can help you be more alert and less stressed after a sleepless night. However, inadequate nighttime rest leads to what experts call “sleep debt” – time owed the body in rest, which is difficult to pay back. the body’s daily patterns of hormonal, metabolic and neurological changes can be upset by poor sleep habits and irregular intervals of rest.”

If I nap now, will I be able to sleep tonight?

“The short answer is yes, provided you don’t nap too late or too long. A late-afternoon nap can make it difficult to fall asleep at your usual bedtime. Napping for more than 30 minutes increases the change of sleep inertial and of entering a full sleep cycle – a 90-minute plunge through various sleep stages, during which the body does not want to be disturbed.”

Tuckerd Out!

Tot Napping at Table

Asleep in the Bathroom

Asleep on the Computer

Homer Simpson Asleep on the Job

Asleep at Work Cartoon

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