31 Days of Finding Joy: Ennui!

Ennui: (pronounced ahn-WE) “A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction” –Merriam-Webster. Or, “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom”—Dictionary.com. First known use? 1732. Apparently people have been bored and weary for a long time.

So in case you’re living under a rock, I’ll let you know that Gilmore Girls is on Netflix now. I repeat: Gilmore Girls is on Netflix. This is important news because, Gilmore Girls. I am currently watching the entire series from beginning to end, even though I’m pretty sure there isn’t an episode I haven’t already seen. ANYWAY, in an episode we watched this week, Michele says that he is suffering from ennui. And then, of course, hypochondria-prone Sooki catches it as well. This video isn’t honestly that important to watch, but let’s watch it anyway, shall we? Because, as previously stated, Gilmore Girls.

ANYWAY. So, ennui. How do you find joy when you’re suffering from ennui?  If you’re tired of me saying that word, I’ll switch it. (But it’s so fun! In fact I’ve probably already covered this topic but HEY, I wasn’t using the word ennui and I’m the one at the keyboard, so here we go). Have you ever been in a state of life where you’re just so weary, dissatisfied, and bored that nothing sounds appealing anymore? All of the sudden life isn’t as glittery as it used to be. Now just for clarification: this post isn’t about depression, or tough stuff. It’s about gloominess. So please don’t think I’m trying to act like I have the cure for depression by pasting a smiley face on. I think that most of us know it’s not that easy. Okay, PROCEED.

I had a few days a couple weeks ago that I was just feeling down. It really was a shame because it actually took place during my birthday week. It was also a shame because I was smack dab in the middle of a series about joy and for goodness sake I didn’t want to talk about happiness when I was feeling so glum. But I did, because of my uncommittment issues I’ve referenced before and also because I’m aware enough to know when I need to keep plugging on so that I don’t let myself fall too deep into sadness. I was so emotionally unstable that I ended up crying on the morning of my birthday because I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear (which would have been underneath my uniform anyway) and because I hadn’t been sleeping well recently because of the physical pain I’d been experiencing. Tyler even tried to keep me from going into work because I hurt so bad and was so emotional. (To which I got even more upset because I didn’t want to stay home alone on my birthday. Insert more tears here.)

My particular cure for my gloominess? Well, of course, it helped when I wasn’t in pain. But mostly… I just kept my focus higher. Higher than my gloominess, higher than my sad moments. Higher than my boredom with life. I did that by focusing on the fantastic things, like spending time with awesome people I love and who love me. Reveling in the thoughtfulness of my family as they picked out the absolute perfect gifts for me. Choosing to laugh at the fact that it felt like everything was going wrong on my birthday. And remembering that sometimes… you just feel down. Some days are just crappy. Some days life is boring. But you don’t have to stay there, and the sun will peak out again. This isn’t a philosophical or ‘deep’ post, just reminding you that:

  • Even yummy Poptarts have yucky crusts
  • Even my favorite, blueberry crumble bread, comes with “crust” gross end pieces
  • All of my analogies have to do with food, and I don’t like crusts

So shake off your ennui. Know that even if everything is going wrong, and you’re starting to get gloomy… it gets better. Don’t get too bored and weary. I promise, things will probably start looking up again soon. For now, keep remembering the good things. And sit down with your favorite snack, a warm blanket, and Gilmore Girls. I promise it helps.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? Click here!

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31 Days of Finding Joy: Tyler Takeover

Hello. I almost didn’t write this post. I am feeling absolutely miserable tonight and hoping that I’m not getting sick. 😥

I’ve been laying on the couch since I got home, and Tyler made dinner tonight. (Grilled cheese anyone?) but then Tyler asked me if I’d written my blog yet today and I told him I wasn’t going to and he asked me why not and….. Ta da! Here I am. Lazily holding up my iPad. On the couch. Because I’m close to the end of 31 days and gosh darn it I’m going to make it through. But I’m still way too foggy and sleepy to come up with a real post, so I’m asking Tyler to come up with a list of things that bring him joy. Warning, he’s playing xbox as I ask him, so who knows what kind of answers I’ll get 😉

His words:
1. Waking up next to you
2. Being able to unwind and relax at night, without doing anything specific
3. A good thunderstorm
4. (Insert something I won’t post here) “…can I say that on a blog?” (hahahahaha)
5. A nice hot shower
6. A good movie
7. Ohhhh…. A night out with the girls. (Complete with dumb accent. I told you he’s ridiculous)
8. A good book
9. A home cooked meal
10. Making people laugh

There ya have it, folks. He’s such a stud.

I keep telling myself I don’t HAVE to post everyday for this series… That I can take a day off. But I have serious uncommittment issues people. As in I can never uncommit. Neither of those are a word, but you get the point. Now if you’ll excuse me, my arms are tired.

Goodnight.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? Click here!

31 Days of Finding Joy: Silliness.

See this kid?

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Don’t let him fool you with his serious face and his beard, beanie, and book (alliteration points). He is ridiculous. He is one of the silliest people I know. Do you have someone in your life who drives you CRAZY but even when they’re annoying you you can’t help but die of laughter? That’s Tyler. He is so ridiculous. He talks to me in weird accents, he makes jokes out of everything that I say… He is generally obnoxious and won’t stop when I ask him to.

I love it.

Seriously, he brings so much crazy into my life. And on the good days, it’s so much fun. On the bad days… It’s so necessary. When I’m down, nothing puts a smile on my face faster than this guy’s antics. I am so blessed to have him.

This is what my joy looks like today. And a lot of days. Loving every minute.

*in other news, Tyler doesn’t know I took this picture. So it should be interesting when he reads this later. Hehehe.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? I encourage you to read the rest!

31 Days of Finding Joy: A Spot of Kindness

I know that my posts have been a bit short lately, but I want you to know I have a valid excuse. My laptop is being a bit touchy lately so many posts must be written on my iPad. Argh!

Anyway, it’s a bit late tonight but I did want to share a spot of joy with you today. A friend/kind of co-worker of mine who I am just starting to get to know did an act of kindness for me. I wasn’t expecting it and did nothing to deserve it and BOY does that lead to a joyful heart.

I was very hungry this morning after I forgot to eat breakfast or bring anything with me. I didn’t even have anything in my lunch pail other than my main course for lunch. And lunch wasn’t scheduled till 1. Enter new friend here:

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AWW. It may not seem like a big deal to you but this little gift made my day. Wow. I hope that I can bring moments of joy to people around me like she did for me today! How can you be a source of joy for those around you this week?

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? I encourage you to click here!

31 Days of Finding Joy: Beauty in the Mundane

For all of the naysayers out there who have said that dish soap won’t work in an olive oil bottle…

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What do you think about THAT, hmm?! And it even works! Pics or it didn’t happen:

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So HA! Ha to all two of the people who said it wouldn’t work. I’m lookin’ at you, Target cashiers.

I highly recommend that you spend the extra couple of dollars to make your everyday things beautiful. It brings a lot of extra joy. And this cost less than $5! I’ve recently switched my thinking from, “it’s a necessity, it doesn’t have to be beautiful,” to, “it’s a necessity, so it might as well be beautiful!”

Now the only thing left is to buy some non-yellow dish soap so that some unsuspecting guest in my kitchen doesn’t roast sweet potatoes in dish soap thinking it’s olive oil.

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This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? Click here!

31 Days of Finding Joy: Sink Yourself Into That

31 Days of Finding Joy: Sink Yourself Into That

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original….Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” –Galatians 5:25&26, 6:4&5 MSG

I love The Message version of those verses. Just in case you’re a skimmer when it comes to big quotes (guilty), let me repeat just this one statement for you: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”

To begin, this is a continuation of yesterday’s post, so if you have any confusion, start there. I told you that today I would cover a detail I talked about yesterday, working toward a dream. I was thinking a few days ago that the one thing I know I want to do with my life is be a homemaker, a stay at home wife and mom. I love the domesticated life even more than I thought I would. I know I don’t have kids yet, but the decorating, organizing, and cooking part of life is what I’m loving right now. Ever since I was a young girl I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom.

A few days ago as I was feeling down, a thought occurred to me: what am I doing to work toward that goal? Now before you people jump in here, I’m not having kids any time soon. I repeat: no baby Salisbury on the horizon, folks. That’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m saying is, if that’s what I want to do with my life, then why am I tempted to get so down about this position not working out? Why do I just want to throw a pity party, sit on the couch with a Mountain Dew and some Doritos and watch Christmas movies?! Umm, hello! Use that energy to get up and get moving on your house! Get it looking good! Plan dinner! Don’t sit around wishing you were living that life… live it! Get off your butt and use that Mountain Dew to get your tail movin! I obviously can’t actually be a full-time homemaker right now. But I sure can use my day’s off to get “good” at it.

And guess what?! Sure, I have this “potential” that “isn’t being used”. Sure, I have (too much) debt from college and I should have a good job to make it worth it. But the truth is I don’t really regret my place in life right now. I definitely don’t regret going to college. And to have a high-profile job I’d have to be in a city where I don’t have any friends or family. So… God is good. And He isn’t just going to sit up there and say “Wow, Alex. You really screwed up.  It’s almost laughable. Seriously, you better throw yourself a pity party because there’s really nothing else you can do at this point. I hope you’re embarrassed for yourself.” Um, no. He’s saying, “Alexandra, I love you. I know you’re scared, I know you feel like you’ve messed up…  but even when you do mess up, I’m still good. I am a God of second, third, fourth, infinity chances. So get up and get moving because I still have work for you to do! Make a careful exploration of the work I’ve given you, and then sink into it!” He has plans for me. And I don’t want to miss out on them by sitting around wishing life was different. There really is no such thing as the perfect circumstance. God simply asks for a willing heart.

So what work has God put in front of you? Whether it’s work you want or you don’t want, He’s put it there for a reason. Sink yourself into that. That doesn’t just mean for a career, just as I certainly don’t mean only being a homemaker. It could be with relationships, people you’re supposed to reach out to, a ministry,… really anything.

So make a careful exploration of the work that’s been given to you, and then…sink yourself into it.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? Click here!

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31 Days of Finding Joy: This isn’t What I Signed Up For

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I had a kind of sad morning. Nothing huge, just another job hunt situation that ended differently than I had planned. I got over it soon enough but first came a few tears and prayers. I keep telling God “This isn’t what I signed up for!” If you’ve read my “Every Ending Means…” post, you’ll get the idea. Tyler and I had dreamed of an entirely different life. We couldn’t imagine anything different. It wasn’t going to be a perfect life, we knew that—but the set of struggles we were expecting are just different than the ones we have now. The plan was to be in Indiana, Tyler finishing up his degree, me getting a job, living in married housing on campus. This was set in stone. Whenever my friends would be sad that I was graduating and leaving, I’d assure them that I’d be back. “We signed the lease! We have to come back!”…or not. Making the phone calls to my roommate and best friends at IWU was extremely difficult. I literally cried for days. I ached for Tyler, I ached for myself, I ached for my friends who were counting on me to be there.

The initial pain passed but there are days when it’s still hard. Days when all I want is to be with my friends and have the life we had planned. To be within walking distance of good fellowship. Yesterday I was reminding God that this was not what I had planned for my life. I should have a job right now—a long-term job, in my field. When I go to visit my professors at school, I should have something to be proud of—not just a temporary customer service position. They had such faith in me, and I’m “wasting” all of that potential. I should be able to care for my family and pay off my debt. Instead, Tyler and I are both in temporary customer service positions with no guarantee of hours, job hunting, and living in New York. We’re looking at what will probably be coming in our very near future: Tyler working a swing shift at a factory and me working part time customer service. Every time I think about that, I feel a little sick to my stomach. I don’t know how I’ll be sleeping alone at night some weeks, but I do know that I’m not a fan. God, what is going on?!

I post all of this not for pity, not for advice, and not so I can just blab on and on about my disappointment. I do it for 2 reasons: to process, and to share the comfort that I’m finding. I know that I’m not the only one in this position, and we gotta help each other along, right?! The two things that have been stuck in my mind since yesterday morning are as follows:

  1. I’ve just exchanged struggles for struggles and joys for joys. There are some very real blessings in this life I’m living right now, as well as some sadness. The same would have been true in Indiana.
  2. Instead of dwelling in the uncertainty and change and disappointment, I should be working sinking myself into the work God has for me.

#2 is complicated and I’m planning on focusing tomorrow’s post on that. Today we’ll just talk about #1. I decided to end this post with 2 lists: blessings that are blessings whether or not I like them, and blessings that I just absolutely love. First, for the former:

  • We have jobs. Yes, they’re not the jobs we wanted or planned. No, I’m not using my degree. But we are working and my supervisor has been giving me as many hours as she can. Definitely a blessing.
  • If Tyler gets this position, we’ll have benefits and a little more money coming into the house. We’ll have to make some adjustments to our life, which will be hard, but we’ll also be able to make more progress on paying off our debt.
  • I’m far away from my friends at college, but I’m staying connected! I’ve skyped with my roomie twice (Brit will always be my roomie, regardless of me being married or her having a new college roommate. The fact remains, she’s my roomie. After 3 years of rooming together, she got stuck with permanent honorary roomie status.) With my friend Jill twice, talked to Charissa at least for a few minutes each skype with Jill, and have been keeping in touch with the 3 of them via texting or Facebook. Plus a lot of other friends who have wandered in and out of the conversations. I would rather be with them, but I’m so blessed that we’ve stayed in contact. They haven’t forgotten about me yet. 😉

And now for the second list, the things that I am LOVING about this life:

  • Our apartment. I couldn’t imagine a better apartment for just starting out. It’s beautiful and pretty much what I always dreamed of our first place looking like but knew we wouldn’t be able to find on our budget. We have lived there for a month now and I still haven’t gotten over it.
  • We’re close to family. Both of our families live in this area and it’s always hard to live so far away from them when we’re in Indiana. It would have been especially hard this year because my nephew Riley who has cystic fibrosis was just born this summer, and I’d be missing out on all of his smiles and adorableness, plus I wouldn’t be available to help out when necessary or learn the ins and outs of caring for Riley.
  • I’m close to my two best friends who have been stuck with me their entire lives, Amy & Meg. We’re terrible at making plans with each other but it’s so good to know that we can!
  • Oh my goodness do I love him. He makes me laugh at the stupidest things, he’s incredibly weird, and I know I can trust him no matter what. I love our life together. Plus he does the dishes so I’ve got to keep him around. 😉

That’s an abbreviated version, of course there are many more blessings. But those are the main things I’m focusing on right now. God is good all the time, regardless of our circumstances. What a great life I’m living. What are the blessings—hidden or evident—in your life right now?

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This post is part of the series “31 Days of Finding Joy”. Interested? Click here!

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