It's a Twinderful Life

Looking For the Silver Lining in All of Life's Clouds

choosing happiness: part 5,001.

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope your Father’s Day was a good one! We had a beautiful day here in Salt Lake and only wish it would have lasted longer.

As you well know by now, we’re passionate about the topic of choosing happiness here. I read this post this morning from one of my favorite blogs of all time (if I haven’t mentioned that already) and wanted to pass it on to you. I’ve tried “pursuing virtues” in my own life and have seen firsthand how practicing this really does give you the ability to feel true happiness regardless of circumstance.

I hope it inspires you like it did me!

Have a great week!

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words of wisdom.

Holy Hannah Kids! We apologize for our sore lack of posts as of late. I’ll spare you the excuses, but suffice it to say that we’ve been busy ’round these parts – and we may or may not be spending WAY too much time looking for and purchasing ADORABLE baby girl clothes. Seriously… this isn’t healthy.

Until we get around to writing a real post, please enjoy this post, written by one of my favorite blogger teams, The Brave Girls Club. They are AWESOME! I really, really, REALLY want to take one of their online classes someday, but until then, I’ll just enjoy their daily words of encouragement. I hope your feel as inspired as I did after reading these wise words!

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Finding Happiness Challenge Update

Howdy hey neighbors. It’s time to hear about how your Finding Happiness Challenge went! This Monday (3 days ago) marked the last day of the 21 day challenge. In case you missed the post that explained what the challenge consisted of go here.

I did this challenge in February and it rocked my world. It’s been a few months since then but I still try to do some of the things mentioned in the challenge like writing complimentary e-mails to coworkers and writing down one thing that went well every day. I keep my “things that went well” in my The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record by Gretchen Rubin. It rests comfortably on my bedside table as an easy reminder to me to write something every night before I crawl into bed. I’ve also tried adding a few ideas of my own to my routine and I’ve noticed that these things consistently make me feel happier:

  • I try to take my dogs on a walk every other day after I get home from work. The weather is amazingly beautiful here in Salt Lake right now and I love being outside after a hectic day.
  • I watch less T.V. and read more.
  • I try to get out on the weekend to hike.
  • I’ve been reconnecting with old friends and am reminded that I know some freaking AMAZING people.
  • I’ve stopped being so hard on myself. I’m a mover and a shaker and I like to plan out my days. I used to get frustrated if I didn’t finish each and every little thing that I had set my mind to do in a day, but now, if I don’t get everything done, I don’t become frustrated. I just tell myself that there will be time to do it tomorrow, or the next day…

Since completing my own Finding Happiness Challenge and incorporating the few things mentioned above into my routine I have definitely noticed a change in the “lens” through which my brain views the world. I find that I automatically have more patience with myself. It is easier for me to remember that each person that I meet is my brother or sister and I love them more. I don’t envy others. I find myself filled with so much gratitude during the day. I feel so much more content with my life, even if I’m not in the exact place that my old self used to think that I needed to be at this point in time. And, my favorite “lens” change of all, I find that my brain magically finds the positives in all situations, almost like it has its own free will and is making that choice for me. It rocks!

Now we want to hear what you’ve noticed since finishing the challenge. And if you haven’t taken it yet, don’t waste another second! It is SO worth it. Until tomorrow…

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Inspiration & Deliciousness for Your Weekend

Happy Friday Peeps! We made it again! Love me a weekend like woah! In celebration I’d like to share a few things that inspired me this week as well as a couple of recipes to make your weekend even sweeter. And it would be a crime if I ended this post without revealing one of my favorite indulgences of all time that I have been enjoying as of late, so buckle up kids, and strap on a smile.

First up – a little inspiration for you as we go into the weekend. I was sitting in staff meeting this week and heard these two quotes and absolutely fell in LOVE with them. I want to cross-stitch them onto a pillow and then just squeeze the life out of that pillow – they are THAT good.

I have wept in the night

For the shortness of sight

That to somebody’s need made me blind:

But I never have yet

Felt a tinge of regret

For being a little too kind (Anonymous)

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates a climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I posses tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.  I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal in all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or dehumanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be. . . we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” (Goethe)

Weren’t those absolutely FABULOUS?! I know! Choosing kindness and happiness can have such an amazing effect not only on us, but to everyone we come into contact with. It becomes infectious and I strongly believe that the more we practice doing this, the more it becomes habit. To Anonymous and Goethe, you represented!

Next, a sweet recipe that you just HAVE to try – again from Elana’s Pantry. That woman is a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free GENIUS! If I ever had the privilege of meeting her in real life I would hug her so hard and thank her for bringing delicious and delectable desserts back to my life.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup creamy roasted peanut butter
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan palm oil shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a small bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together peanut butter, agave, shortening and vanilla with a hand blender.
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet with hand blender until well combined.
  4. Scoop dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I also spray my parchment paper with a little bit of oil for extra non-stick power.
  5. Bake at 350° for 6-12 minutes until golden around the edges.
  6. Serve.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies and, believe me, they won’t last long. I always tell myself I’ll only have a couple and put the rest in the freezer to eat one at a time, but it never happens. I’ve also substituted almond butter for peanut butter and it has turned out equally delish.

For Sunday dinner, we’re having this FABULOUS vegan lasagna – a recipe that my boss introduced me to. We’re substituting Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna to make it gluten-free as well.

And finally, one of my favorite indulgences of all time – GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha. “What the heck is Kombucha?” you may be asking yourself. Go here to learn all about this delicious and extra healthy beverage. I first learned about it from my doctor. He told me to drink a couple of bottles after a round of antibiotics I had taken to restore the good bacteria in my digestive tract, and it worked like a charm. I was feeling back to normal within a couple of days! This magical elixir is around $3/bottle and, unfortunately, since I don’t have a money tree, I can only afford to feed my addiction occasionally or when it goes on sale. Totally worth it!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Finding Happiness Challenge

Happy Monday All! Today’s post is bound to inspire, so prepare yourselves.

If you’ve read about us on our “The Twins” page you know that one thing that we will be writing about on this blog that we have become passionate about  is the subject of finding/choosing happiness in the present in any situation that life throws at you. This passion really started to develop for me a few months ago. I had been feeling pretty down (which is very contrary to my usual happy-go-lucky, optimistic self) and it was really bothering me. For those of you who don’t know me I am a recovering Type-A personality. Wanting to be in control can be very motivating most of the time, but it can also drive you crazy when things that aren’t in your control don’t go as planned. And this was the situation I was finding myself in.

So, after a few weeks of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to do something about it and started researching what true happiness really is, what brings it into our lives, and how to foster it so that we can have it in the present, no matter what happens. I had already heard the concept that happiness is a choice, but it had always bothered me because it put the responsibility on me. I wanted it to happen to me passively, without having to put much effort into it, but after a while of noticing that this approach wasn’t working for me, I knew it was time to try something different.

I’ll be writing about all of the fabulous resources I stumbled upon during the coming weeks/months, but I wanted to share something with you today that ignited the spark for me to truly believe the concept that happiness is a choice.

I was sitting in a meeting at work a couple of months ago, minding my own business, when my boss showed us the following video. I know that the video is 15 mins. long, but trust me, you’ll want to watch the entire thing (and this shouldn’t be difficult since it’s very entertaining):

Wasn’t that fabulous?! I thought so too, so much so that I wanted to stand up in the meeting and clap (but don’t worry, I didn’t and kept it profesh). Although Shawn talks specifically about how happiness is related to productivity in the workplace, I think he touches on some key points for finding happiness in our day-to-day lives.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. (“If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average”)
  • Realize your potential. (Be the “unicorn”)
  • Train your brain to look for the positive instead of the negative

Towards the end of the presentation you’ll notice that he shows a list of things that we can do to train our brains to look for the positive and to change the lens through which our minds view the world (one of the foundational concepts behind cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, for all you social worker/psychologist types out there). In case you didn’t have a chance to write them down, here they are (with a few tweaks of my own):

  • 3 Gratitudes – Write down three unique things that you are grateful for every day.
  • Journaling – Write down one thing that went well every day.
  • Exercise – Exercise for at least 20 minutes, 5 – 6 days a week (even if that means a quick stroll outside).
  • Meditation – Find 10 minutes every day where there are no distractions (TV, phone, music, kids) and just breathe and be.
  • Random Acts of Kindness – Write an e-mail to one person every day outlining something positive about that person.

There you have it. A simple, concrete way to train your brain to choose happiness in the present.

So here’s the challenge part of the post – try it out for 21 days. See if it works for you. Let’s stop pushing happiness “over the cognitive horizon.” I’ve been trying, and let me tell you, I’ve noticed a BIG difference.

Once you’ve completed the challenge, let us know how it went for you.

We’ll see you on the other side!