The Pursuit of Happiness PSA

     Happy: cheerful, joyful, content, satisfied, delighted

“Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.”

What does it mean to be happy? How do you know if you’re happy? What do you need to be happy? Where do you go to be happy? Happiness. It’s a weird word, yet it means so much to so many people, and eludes many of them too.

I am often baffled by people who are miserable in life, they hate everything about their lives, yet when given the opportunity to change it or improve it, they decline and say “no, no, I could never do that.” because it’s different from what they are doing, so it’s uncomfortable and scary. They would rather stay where they are and be miserable in familiar surroundings than choose a new path. If you’re miserable, why not try something different? Why not seek a new path? Life is way to short to be miserable. Happiness is just a series of choices, for better or worse.

I can not speak for anyone else, on what would bring them happiness. It is different for everyone, and only you know what makes you truly happy. Truly joyful. Truly content and delighted.

A good show and a warm furring cat on my lap, and Rob next to me makes me happy. Delicious food that makes you wish you had a second stomach. The way your lungs feel when you inhale the fresh air outside. (unless it’s zero degrees…) Tea makes me happy, colors and textures delight me, creating and making things invigorates me. Spending hours, days, weeks and months during the winter with Rob, just hanging out makes me feel content. Quiet time alone with my Creator makes me joyful. These are just some of life’s little pleasures, of which there are far too many to name.

It is up to you, and only you to create the life you want, and to live each day surrounded by that which brings you happiness.

Dear people who tell me they’re envious of my life, don’t be. I am here because of choices I made, choices I continue to make. Most of them involve taking societies expectations and ignoring them to do whatever makes me happy. I’ve never made a major life decision and chosen the one “I’m supposed to” according to society or anyone else, but me. You can make those choices too. Every day when you wake up, you have a series of choices to make. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you understand what TRULY makes you happy, the sort of happy that makes your soul feel alive as if light poured out of you. Everyday you can make choices that either bring you closer to that, or farther from that. You decide what kind of people to surround yourself with, what type of energy (positive or negative.) you allow into your heart. If you don’t like something about your life, change it. Even if it’s just in a small way; Such as finding the good in every situation, even bad situations can be good for the way they can teach us to be strong and courageous.

Be who you were meant to be, let your weird flag fly. Do what makes you happy, nevermind about the rest of the world. You’re the only one living your life, don’t let anyone else do it for you.

Get our of your head, Get into your heart, think less, feel more.

I will never be a rich woman. But I am a happy one, a joyful one, a peaceful one. And you can be too.

A Wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.

Well, it’s been a rather long time since we’ve last spoken hasn’t it? Thanks for dropping by. Life can get pretty busy sometimes. (Though I do try very hard to avoid being busy…) A lot has changed since we last talked, so lets start at the beginning shall we. Go get your tea. (I’m drinking Chai…yum.)


Last year was kind of nuts. We started up work as usual in the beginning of May. Though, we also took on part-time work at a retail shop in Mackinaw City. Enchanted Knights. In addition to that, I had five new historic house members to train and supervise. (They all turned out wonderfully.) We had Rob’s 19 year old cousin, Kevin, come and stay with us for the summer as well.

And to top it all off, we purchased our first home in June of last summer! So we moved to Cheboygan, MI just as we started the busy season for work. Which meant packing up the apartment and moving house, 20 miles, in addition to working full+ time. It was pretty stressful, and a butt-ton of work. There’s lots of things I would do differently if I could do it over again. But the important part is that we are here, and happy as clams.

Ours is a big 2 story home, sits on 1 acre of beautiful woods, about a 5 minute walk from Lake Huron. (We can hear the lake perfectly well, can’t see because of the gorgeous thick woods.) 2,800 square feet + two car detached garage/workshop. And a couple of sheds in the backyard. 4+ Bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living/kitchen/dining. Library, wet bar, old attached garage (Now dubbed The Cellar.) and a small enclosed two story porch (bottom story is storage.) SO this place is HUGE. Though somehow Murphy’s Law of Stuff (your stuff will expand to fill whatever space you live in.) enacted very quickly, and it was quickly filled with a misc. of things. I’ve just now finally started to get everything under control, sorted and organized. I am a firm believer in organization for efficiency. If everything has an accessible home, then it’s easy to stay tidy. It’s important to first of all throw or give away anything you don’t want, need, or use. Just get rid of the junk. Growing up my Dad would periodically purge our bedrooms. He’d get on these cleaning kicks and just go crazy cleaning the house. When Dad said “we’re cleaning your room this weekend.” there went your whole saturday… It usually went something like this: Dad comes in with lots of big black trash bags. Daughter sits on the bed. Dad opens closet or looks under the bed and goes “OMIGOSH! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! LOOK AT ALL THIS! OMIGOSH!” and then spend the next few hours pulling things out “What is this?” … “Do you want it?” … “too bad.” … thunk into the trash it goes. or “then PUT IT AWAY!” … “Why do you have this?” … “Why are there so many fruit snack wrappers?” … and so on and so forth. And usually by the end of the day we’d have thrown out or gave away at LEAST one if not more big black trash bags full of junk.  So when I set my mind to it, I’m pretty good at going through and getting rid of stuff. I spent most of last week unpacking, purging and organizing the Library, Sewing Room and Studio. (yes…i have all those things in my house, and it’s so incredible I can’t even…) I’ve probably tossed out at least three big bags of trash, and given away just as much. And that is where we are going to start part one of the tour of “The Big House in the Little Woods.”

Second Story, Window faces front of the house. Stairs are to the right. Studio and Sewing room to the left.
Second Story, Window faces front of the house. Stairs are to the right. Studio and Sewing room to the left.

Now the house was built in 1977 by a Mr. Wheeler and family. So it is COVERED in wood paneling, and lots of things that make you go “huh, I wonder that that’s for.” Anyhoo, upstairs we have the Library. It’s kind of a weird open landing room. I’ll have to share the floorplan at some point, because the house is set up oddly. It’s not very open, lots of cozy little corners.


Like this one. Orange Kitty is enjoying one of the chairs in the Library. After unpacking all of my books, and eliminating about half of the ones that were given to me, I have managed to fill up all the bookshelves I currently own… Someday I want floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves, a small table and an electric fireplace/stove for heat.


And then we have the sewing room, this is looking in from the library. That dark hallway at the back leads to two guest bedrooms one of the left, one on the right. But I have a sewing desk over by the window where the machine lives. And then the table in the middle of the room to lay out projects and what have-you.



This is standing in that dark hallway looking at the sewing room (and into the library.) As you can see, I quickly ran out of shelf space here too… There is no such thing as too much shelving for optimum organization!





The sewing corner. It’s rather cozy.


And this is my Studio, which is also off of the Library but on the back of the house, rather than the front. I have all of my art supplies in here, painting, drawing, crafting, etc, etc etc.


On the other side of the room looking towards the library. On the right hand side, where that yellow curtain is. There is a door that leads to the enclosed porch upstairs. During the summer I can take out the glass storm windows and have a lovely screened porch to sit on. We Currently have our old couch back there, so it’s the perfect place to read a book and sip some tea on a nice day off. It’s like sitting up in the trees. And the afternoon light is marvelous.


Studio Headquarters! You can see the porch out the window there.


Rob was a dear and helped me take out the closet doors, because they were sliding doors that opened in towards the middle post…so it was just really awkward. At some point I will be hanging curtains over the doors, but in the meantime, I’ve got a mixture of milk crates and hanging shoe organizers to sort all of my artsy fartsy crap. And the built in shelves up top to store little-used items. So that’s it for today. As I get the rest of the house in order we’ll go through those too! Thankfully there is lots and lots of storage in this house, it just takes time. And at the moment we are on Winter retirement so I’m not in and big rush to work all day, though I am going to go have some lemon chicken and rice soup and fresh bread! om nom nom. 



Spring it seems will never. ever. arrive. Although, I am not really in a position to complain about the cold. Unlike pretty much everyone else, I do not have to daily brave the frigid temperatures for whatever reason. But still…it’s cold. It was ZERO degrees the other day…

The studio corner

I must admit, this winter has been rather leisurely even in terms of crafting and being in the kitchen. The lack of function in my hands has really slowed me down. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) Tomorrow I’m going to see a chiropractor about them, and I am waiting anxiously for an order of herbs to arrive with which to make a soothing salve. When those come I will share with you the basics of making herbal salves. So I’ll save the herbalism soap box for then. When I’m not binge watching shows (I discovered an amazing period drama called Larkrise to Candleford on HULU, if you like period dramas go watch it! ) or browsing pinterest I’ve been devoting much of my time to painting. Later this week I will be sending off three entries for the “Places of Mackinac”  Art Exhibition at the Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Wish me luck! I’ll find out the results in mid-april. I don’t generally participate in art competitions, (especially where entry fees are involved) because they are so very subjective to the tastes of whomever is judging…and all art work is subjective (it’s one of the great things about it.) But I am feeling quite confident that I have a fair shot, but only time will tell. But still I paint on, and on. I’m almost sorry it took me this long to pick up oil paints. (But then I remember that they’re not cheap….) the colors are so glorious and rich, the texture of the brush against canvas is delightful and the blending is just to die for.

But enough about me, I wanted to take a moment to chat about the Mongering that is going on in our nation right now, specifically Fear mongering. If you’re exposed to any kind of media, social media, news media, tv media etc, it has become commonplace to Fear Monger. Everything and everyone is out to get you. Screen-shot-2013-05-03-at-10.20.13-AM

  Get your guns (the big ones!), get your security systems in your house, in your car (don’t forget the dog’s house!), hide your money, hide your kids,  protect your religious rights, protect yourself from uncomfortable situations. My neighbors are watching me! The government is watching me! The world is out to get us ALL!

Ok…so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But you get the point. Turn on the news and they will give you at least one new thing to worry about or to be fearful of every day. I can’t stand this. Can’t stand it. I will be the first to admit that the world is a dangerous place if you’re not careful. But what is the point of working everyone up into such a state of fear that they no longer feel safe in their day to day lives? Bad things happen, they do. But being afraid that they COULD happen doesn’t help anyone. It disturbs me greatly that people feel the need to be armed at all times. The public shootings disturb me greatly. One in particular stands out, it happened a while back, an older gentleman at a movie theatre ended up shooting another patron for an incredibly minor offense. Fear, I’m certain, was the driving force behind that trigger. Fear is a natural human emotion, when we lived close to the earth it helped to keep us alive. You should be afraid of that Polar Bear…he will eat you just for the fun of it. But fear has gripped out nation and turned into a nasty, dark, terrifying creature that has dug it’s claws deep into the fabric of our nation. Fear that is fed daily by us soon grows strong and terrible. It becomes harder and harder to break free from that fear the longer we let it stick around.

Fear and Anxiety are things that I struggle with in my personal life. Usually over really stupid things. But they have no place in my life. I refuse to let them. Every single time that fear creeps in, a conscious decision is made to cast it out again. So before you take to heart everything you hear on the news, before you repost that article about the scary things in the world on facebook, ask yourself; what is behind this? Is it merely information to help you navigate the dangers of the world (like how to survive a Polar Bear Attack) or is it fear mongering. Is the purpose to cause fear and distrust amongst the people? Think about it.

With that, I will leave you with this swedish proverb:

Fear less, Hope more

Whine less, Breathe more

Talk less, Say more

Hate less, Love more

and all good things are yours.

Quiet and Meatloaf

Go get your coffee, lets have a little chat. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about lifestyles. It’s the middle of winter, there’s been an excessive amount of snow everywhere, people’s lives have been thrown into an upheaval because Old Man Winter has spread his icy grip colder and farther than he has in a while. Personally, I find it exhilarating. But then again, I don’t have to go fight the snow to get to work, school, etc. I also understand that most people don’t have a choice about driving in blizzards. You gotta do, what you gotta do. That being said, if you are in the midst of a winter storm and you don’t HAVE to be somewhere (You do not HAVE to go to your friends house, restaurant, gas station, etc. be smart, plan ahead.) Please don’t go. If you do have to go, make sure you leave early enough to drive super slow if need be. There have been way too many videos of pile-ups on slick highways this winter, with cars going waaaaaay to fast for conditions. So while the snow has you trapped, stay inside and practice being still. That’s ends my public service announcement.

You hear a lot these days about how everyone’s always in rush, a hurry, gotta work harder, gotta be more productive, gotta do this, gotta do that, don’t have time for this, don’t have time for that, oh wouldn’t it be nice if I could just have 5 minutes to myself, i need a vacation, gotta go here, gotta do that, gotta stay here, gotta eat there, gotta go to this gotta go to that. The thought of all that exhausts me. Stop what you are doing. Just stop. Stop looking at your phone. Turn off the TV. Close the door. Stop for just 10 minutes and be quiet. Go ahead, I’ll wait…






Wasn’t that nice? We as modern humans are in grave danger of busyness. But is all that stuff really THAT important? Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong, perhaps I’m a “failure” at life. But here’s the way I see it. I savor my free time, I relish it. During the summer months when I’m working 40+ hours a week, my day off is Sacred. That is my day to rest, to do whatever I want. Usually it means Rob and I packing a picnic and going to the beach, or hanging around the house in our underwear all day watching Netflix. There’s been countless days when I didn’t get a single “productive” thing done. The dishes can wait, the shopping can wait, the laundry can wait, the errands can wait, it’s really not the end of the world, I promise. Maybe we’re just procrastinators, maybe we’re just lazy, maybe we lack ambition, maybe, maybe maybe. But to me, it’s not a waste. It is a time to rest, to be still, to stop and enjoy the hours passing by. Does this mean we never do anything? No certainly not. Among all the not-doing, the un-busy, there is plenty of doing. We do wash the dishes, do the laundry, (don’t worry mom) go shopping, clean the house, cook food, I paint and craft and further my personal education. But the doing is not the end-all be-all. And We are happy as clams, there is very little hurry to do anything and results in a very low-stress environment. (At least until we read the comments sections on the Internets.) All this not-doing is making me hungry!

A few weeks ago we made Blue Cheese stuffed Buffalo Meatballs, and they were DEElicious. But now it’s time to take it to the next level. On Valentines Day we will be feasting on Blue Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Meatloaf, with Celery Slaw. So here’s the plan. We’re making a basic turkey meatloaf, and will be filling the inside with blue cheese, either lasagna style a layer at a time, or swiss roll style. Said meatloaf will be baked, cooled slightly then removed from it’s pan, doused liberally in buffalo hot sauce. While the meatloaf is baking you can make a batch of Celery Slaw which is very tasty! Coarsely mince up a bunch of celery. (I did a few quick pulses in the food processor) drain slightly or pat some of the water out with a paper towel. Not too much though! In a bowl, mix Celery with Ranch Dressing, a touch of salt, pepper and shredded parmesan if you have it. Some blue cheese crumbles if you like them would be good in here too. As would a bit of very mild onion. We like having all the meatloaf and slaw with a side of rice. You can make it however hot you want depending on the hot sauce you use. I like Red Hots Buffalo Sauce.

Another thing I’ve been thinking quite a bit about lately is good deeds. I sometimes follow a few different “good news” networks that try to highlight all the good things that are happening out in the world today. A very stark contrast to the usual Doom and Gloom of major news networks. On the one hand it’s wonderful that the good stories are getting out there, it’s nice to see the good in the world. On the other hand, for me personally in my spiritual walk, humbleness is important. You shouldn’t do good works because you want to be recognized for them. You do good works, for the sake of doing them, because it helps whomever your helping. I recently had a conversation with someone who expressed disapproval  because their old pastor never acknowledged all the good works this person did. Unlike their current pastor who praises their good works to the rest of the congregation. Now to be fair, this person does a lot of really good work and helps a lot of people. But something in that statement rang out warnings to me. “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen these people in action treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it– quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way of your God, working behind the scenes.” (Paraphrased from the Message, Matthew 6.) I’m not saying not to do good works. Please do. If you see someone you can help, help them. Hold the door for the person coming through it, be kind to the cashier, be gracious in traffic, feed someone who’s hungry (even if they’re related to you.) But keep it to yourself, let your actions be your kindness, it’s ok if the whole world doesn’t know about it. But that person you were kind to sure will, and in today’s world a little kindness goes a very, very long way.

Lessons in patience

For those of you who are somewhat new to my little corner of the internet, I’d like to welcome you. I strictly adhere to the “Slow-Blogging” movement, really by default more than a lack of things to say. I still struggle daily with pain in my wrists, which has forced me to pick and choose my activities for the day. Blogging is usually pretty low on the list. If you can’t get enough of my charm and wit😉 ha! Please feel free to follow me on instagram @breezyink1989. I will give you fair warning though, that during the winter, pictures are largely of my cats…and the copious amounts of snow we’ve received. During the summer I take a lot of pictures of the beautiful outdoors in Northern Michigan that I get to call home.

This is one of those percolating posts…I’ve thought a lot about what sort of things I’d like to share on this blog. In the past I’ve done a lot of craft and food and history related posts; and rarely do I wax on about philosophies and life’s big questions, etc etc etc. Today we’re stepping out of the creating box and into my sitting room so we can chat over a cup of hot coffee; or tea if you’d rather. The Bear and I have ongoing discussions about current events, about the state of the country, the state of the world etc. Now mind you, we don’t have cable TV so we have to search out News ourselves. I follow NPR on twitter and do my research from there if the story requires it. All of this discussion makes me think (darn!) about life, and the world, about humans, about God. It forces me to confront and reconcile with the icky things that happen here on planet Earth. If nothing else though it has confirmed and reconfirmed time and time again my faith. I have been almost unfairly blessed. With a good childhood, lovely family, a reasonable education, a wonderful husband,  a fantastic job and we’ve always had enough. When I was a teenager I found a heart verse. Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.” To be honest for a long time this was the only part of the bible that was a part of my daily life. I left the church when I was 18, I don’t consider myself a “Christian.” But I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt in God and in his love for us. That verse has proved true in my life time and time again.  Does this mean my life has been easy? Compared to some, yes. Compared to others, no. My life like everyone else is not always a walk in the park with the rainbow farting unicorns. I have bad days, and good days and in between days. But the point of that promise is that life is going to suck sometimes, it just is. But you are not left on your own. You are not forgotten, you are not forsaken. Never. 

Sometimes though, it feels like I’ve been forgotten, it feels like I’m wandering through life on my own, and just exactly when I need it, God has put something or someone in my path to remind me that I am not forgotten. But waiting is hard, especially when you are waiting in the dark. Who likes waiting for things? no one. This is pretty evident in the way modern society is structured, there’s instant gratification for almost anything you can think of. All at the tips of our pretty little fingers. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes God asks us to wait for things, because he has something better for us. Last July my poor little 1996 Nissan finally took too big of a dump to fix. The brake lines had rusted out.. So the car goes just fine, it just doesn’t really stop… it was going to cost about $1,000 to fix it. This was after we had just spend that last year having costly repairs on the same car done, and 6 months with a very sick elderly cat friend, in addition to the regularly scheduled costs of being a grown up.  So we couldn’t drive the car anymore. Now in the midst of all this car nonsense, we are blessed enough to live a short lovely 5-10 minute bike ride from work. 5 minute bike ride to the little grocery store and access to the internet and a mailing address for everything else. So not having a car? not tooooooo bad. But come winter, we were going to need a car. We didn’t really have the money to just go out and buy a new car, nor the transportation to even go shopping for said car. (we live 20+ miles from the closest biggish town.) So I prayed about it, I knew God would send us a vehicle when the time was right. A few weeks later, my mother-in-law very kindly offered one of her two vehicles to us. It’s a tiny little 2 door, front wheel drive, volkswagen jetta convertible with lots of funny quirks as most older cars tend to have. Not exactly the ideal car for getting around in a Michigan winter…(especially this one!!!!!!!) We are blessed to be able to take the winter’s off from work and eliminate the need to be out on the roads regularly. Until we headed downstate just before Christmas…as we slid down i75 the little car fishtailing on the solid sheet of ice that was pretending to be a road, God and I had a long conversation. Mostly about road conditions, and the weather and the scary semi-trucks that pass tiny cars on snowy roads…but also about how nice it would be to have a proper car. I was never so happy to get back home safe and sound than I was from that trip. I haven’t really thought about a new car since then. I knew I wanted a Subaru Outback, but I doubted we’d be able to afford one anytime soon.

Well God had some other ideas. Last week, just out of the blue, I decided to google used Outbacks, just to get a ballpark idea on prices and perhaps we could afford one later this year. I ended up finding the perfect car. A 2005 Subaru Outback. It’s only had one owner prior to this, and then the dealer used it as a driving car for a while, it’s been thoroughly maintained, including the replacement of the very expensive timing belt in the engine. And it was priced quite a bit lower than most of the other Outbacks…(although not so low that it’s sketchy….) So just for fun, I e-mailed the dealership to get some more information and things picked up from there. Not only was the car still available, but we qualified for an auto-loan (loans are very difficult to acquire when you only work 6/7 months out the year…) at a reasonable rate and they monthly payments are even lower than what I had asked for. We’re going downstate on sunday/monday to pick it up! After 6 months of waiting (mostly patiently…) the precise car we needed came our way. 

So…what’s the point of all this? The point is, sometimes life sucks and sometimes the good things seem to far away, out of reach. Sometimes you have to bundle up in many layers and peddle into the really really strong cold wind trying to get home… But if you believe that you will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten, you learn to see blessings in the everyday things. Actively look for blessings in your everyday. (Those bike rides to and from work allowed me time in the fresh air and some peace of nature going to and from work.) You will not be disappointed. And every now and then God sends a lovely surprise. This, the every day blessings are what give me the hope and the faith and the forgiveness to reconcile with the icky things in the world. Because even in the midst of the ick you are not forgotten.


P.S. A quick rabbit trail on the nature of this post. I’m not religious, I haven’t been to church in years. But I’ve never walked away from God. I wasn’t sure if this type of post has a place on this blog. But…it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want?. I realize it’s a little preachy, a little sermony, but these are the words I’ve been given. I no longer believe that women can’t be leaders in the faith. (I was given a strong impression pretty early on that women have no place in leadership aside from supporting their spouses or other women.) I have a calling on my life. I have a calling to leadership, to nurture my fellow humans in love, faith, hope and kindness. And I have a blog so that I can whisper my words into the box and add to the noise of the internet, I might as well use it to whisper good  into the world. 

Don’t worry, I’ll get back to sharing recipes and crafts (We eat pretty boring in the winter, and I haven’t done much crafting so far either.), this is merely a new section of ideas, another part of myself that I’d like to share with you.

I welcome any and all comments, but please be kind, be respectful of your fellow trolls.