The Happiness Report #10

I hinted to this some earlier in the week, but…

My brother has cancer. We found out this week that he has Stage 4 cancer in the form of an inoperable mass pressing against his esophagus. In addition, we were told this evening that his spine is deteriorating, which most likely means the cancer has metastasized into his bones. The PET scan will be happening soon and we’ll know much more then, but in the meantime we are trying to grasp the reality that cancer has forcefully invaded our family.

How does this fit in with happiness? Well, not a lot, except I know how important it is to focus on the positive. I’ve seen the power of “mind over matter” at work and I know that even amid all the worry, sorrow and stress, it will be essential for us to keep our mind focused on the little things that makes us happy.

Some of the things on my list today may seem small and petty, but you know what? If you can get a boost of happiness from something as simple as eyeshadow, then there is nothing petty about it. So, for now, here is what has made me happy lately.

Friday morning I’ll be joining Libby’s and group of Kansas City bloggers swinging hammers for Habitat for Humanity. As part of their Get Back to the Table initiative, Libby’s will be providing 12 new homeowners with everything they need to make family mealtime a reality including a complete dining set and a stocked pantry. Libby’s is also partnering with local Hen House  grocery stores to collect food to stock the Habitat for Humanity food pantry so that all of their new homeowners can benefit from these efforts. It makes me so happy to be part of such a wonderful event. Follow #LibbysGiving on Twitter to see how things are progressing throughout the day.

I recently started reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. If have any interest in becoming a better writer, this book will inspire you like no other. I’m only on chapter four, but I feel like I’ve pushed myself in my personal writing time more this week than I ever have. This book will make you strive to be a better writer.

My friend, Amy, from Mom Advice created the coolest 100 days of summer activity “guide”. It is so cool you will just have to go check it out for yourself.

Ready for petty? The other day I was at Sephora and the girl put a sample of Bare Minerals Bare Skin eyeshadow in my bag for me to take home. I have never loved an eye shadow more than this! Ladies… you know how you sometimes want to wear makeup but for the most part don’t want it to look like you are wearing makeup? You go into Sephora and say “I want to put on makeup each morning but I don’t want it to be really noticeable that I’m wearing makeup” at which your husband who overhears you says “If you don’t want to look like you are wearing makeup, then why don’t you just not wear makeup?” And then you decide that men are dumb if they don’t understand the understated makeup need? OK – well THIS is that eyeshadow. The “you are wearing makeup but it doesn’t totally look like you are wearing makeup” eyeshadow. I love it and I think you will too!

I’ll end on this note. Happiness is… a suite at The Great Wolf Lodge with one King sized bed, 2 Queen sized beds, 1 pullout couch…. and everyone piled in one bed by morning.

Give your babies extra squeezes tonight. Tell your family you love them. Pick up the phone and call your loved ones. And, remember to look for happiness in the little things. It is often in those little things and little moments where the largest pockets of happiness can be found. (Thanks everyone for your prayers…. they are appreciated more than you could ever know.)

Please note – I am being sponsored by Libby’s to participate in the build for Habitat for Humanity, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Another side note – I don’t really think men are dumb…they may not understand the significance of makeup, but they certainly aren’t all dumb.

Oh – and please share what’s been making you happy lately! Let’s spread some happiness around!

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  1. Billie says

    My husband has stage 4 Melanoma. After surgeries here, we went to M D Anderson in Houston. They have given us hope when we had little. We go back every 3 to 4 weeks for follow-up tests and to see how the chemo is progressing. So far we have had nothing but good news. We are leaving Monday for our next trip to Houston. Cancer is a horrible disease that touches so many families, but until it involves your family you can’t imagine what it is like. Our hearts go out to your brother and family.

  2. says

    I’m very sorry to hear of your sad news and hope for strength for you all. I lost my aunt recently in a similar way, quite unexpectedly. In spite of your news, your post has me feeling brighter — you have such a positive attitude. Enjoy Bird by Bird. I’ve read it many times over the years, and used Lamott’s advice often in my own instruction. She’s quite a character (I’ve met her) and I believe her book serves as a larger metaphor for life. Take care.

  3. says

    Dear Kristen,

    Saddened to read your news today. Sending you chi for strength and prayers for your brother and family. I reccomend the book Poetry As Survival by Gregory Orr. Even if you are not a poet, as a writer, you will relate! It served me well when my Mom was having a quad bypass sitting in hospital waiting rooms. I wish you happiness in whatever form it comes. Virtual hugs.

  4. PADMA says

    Really sorry to hear about your brother.Will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers and its so true about what you said about looking for happiness even in little things.Very touching post :)

  5. says

    Such sad news. I am so, so sorry.

    There is nothing really that can make that diagnoses okay, but the picture of your family all piled into one bed certainly shows what’s important about life. Thank you for the reminder to just take it all in and enjoy, while we can.

    Am sending prayers to your brother and all of you.

    xo Kim

  6. says

    I am sending my most heartfelt positive thoughts and wishes your way! I, too, am a big believer in “mind over matter” and I am confident that with some strong prayers your brother is going to shine through this. Thinking of your family and so incredibly thankful to have found your blog. The photo of your whole family in one bed is so touching!

  7. says

    Kristen – I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s illness. One of my best friends has just begun her 3rd treatment approach for lymphoma (diagnosed Oct. ’09 – still waiting for remission). I remember a long time ago when she smiled at me over a dinner table…hair very thin and complexion never looking worse…and said, “I look like crap, but every day with hair is a good hair day.” And, after a biopsy went very wrong, nicked her artery and resulted in cracking her chest open to repair…six weeks later she was wanting to do cartwheels. (In our youth we were gymnasts.) More than a year and a half in and she continues to battle cancer every single day, but her attitude makes every day bearable. It’s all about finding happiness in the small stuff and contentment in the relationships around you. I will be praying for your family and for your brother’s medical team. Hugs to you, friend.

  8. Lisa says

    Dearest Kristen, sorry to read about your brother’s diagnosis. Lots of prayers and love being sent y’all’s way.
    What has made me happy lately? Well, on Friday, you know that my boy (a very special kitty for others who might read this) hasn’t been feeling well, and I’m still sad, anxious, and scared about it…. Well, it was later that evening I happened to look outside and saw him watching something on the ground, and he’d pounce a little, watch the ground, move again…. It was difficult to see what was happening as it was getting dark. He looked my way, saw me, and picked up what it was he was watching. He trotted up the sidewalk and up the front steps, and, right in front of the door I had opened just a hair, let drop from his mouth a mouse! It was still very much alive! I had to quickly shut the door! The mouse scrambled off the porch through the space between the porch and door.
    My boy looked up at me, “Look what I brought you, mommy!” He glanced down, then around, peering around the sides of the porch, “Um, where did he go?” (I swear that’s what it looked like he was thinking!)
    I love that boy. xx

  9. says

    Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post with your readers. I am so sorry that your brother and the rest of the family have to endure such a dreadful illness. But having lost my husband, my brother, my brother-in-law and a good friend in the last six months, I know firsthand how precious each day is and I’m glad to read that you are trying to remain positive. Here’s what made me happy today: being in Italy with my son and making home made pasta at my cousin’s house today. Love the bed piled with everyone in it. Positive thoughts and prayers are coming your way.

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