Sunday, March 7, 2010

Happiness Inspired?

Oasis Lifestyle:

Who needs inspiration? Me!!

I inspired myself this week by planting a little kitchen garden of sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, basil, cilantro, recao, golden marigold, and purple inpatients. It was a quick project because I planted it in a large pot and set it on the patio wall which overlooks the central mountains of Puerto Rico.
After reading a few pages from The Happiness Project a new memoir by Gretchen Ruben, I joined the website so that I receive inspiration on a regular basis. (!) I have also joined a time management site so that I can cut down my stress level.
~Are you feeling overwhelmed?~

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with tasks and stress, which has made me solution-oriented. I want to write a little about this problem. Just to keep it manageable, I have identified three common areas where we can be overwhelmed; work, finance and family. In my case- all three overlap.


What makes us happy at work? I found this John Ruskin quote at "The Happiness Project" website:

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.--John Ruskin (Ruskin is mentioned in Enchanted April- a must-read about love and reconciliation!)

[photo credit/painting by Sir John Everett Millais]

Makes sense?! What gives you a feeling of success at work? Is it recognition? trust? validation?

Does that affirming sensation have to come from the outside or can we give it to ourselves? I'm not going to answer these questions because I think Ruskin's wise comment is enough for now. However, I'm sending out a gentle suggestion that we learn to validate ourselves-to notice the good that we often do for others. We are all connected in some way. Our work extends our connection and can be employed to uplift others.

@Finance and family (I'm giving this problem breathing room. No solutions offered!)

It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends. --John Ruskin

Recently, I bought a pocket size black Cash Book. I thought I would like to record expenditures there. It's not going well. I just haven't been able to record what I spend. One day passes and then another, and I still forget to record purchases. I tell myself, "I will have to start again on payday." I refuse to admit that I just don't care enough about money. I like to say "yes" when the children ask, "Could you pay me back for... I had to spend my own money for a book, a ticket, a ..."; and "Could you give me a little money for...lunch, going out, just in case...". I think they are reasonable in their requests. I don't like to say no.
My poor little Cash Book is neglected, yet again.

I'm seriously flooded with memories of that powerful money management book, Your Money or Your Life. (Vicki Robin, et al.) Have you read it? It teaches you to recognize your own spending patterns and identify the feeling of enough. It's been updated but I'm thinking of the first version. I have a strong memory of the authors celebrating the fact that they were able to wear a pair of shoes for a few years!

Weakness? I buy shoes... often. (I'm feeling a bit of guilt. I'm still looking for that perfect pair.) My parents were frugal. Yes, frugal. As a child, I could not bring myself to ask for anything because I dreaded the inevitable, "No." Concerning my own money management-or lack of-my working theory is that I am now overcompensating with "yes" but it's under control. (If only I could verify my expenditures...poor little Cash Book-we need another reconciliation.)
~My New Sandals~

I love these stress relieving shoes. I recently purchase another pair at the local health food store. If you want to relax and increase your energy, you might try these sandals. Still, I must caution you that they cause some soreness while you become accustomed to the pressure. (A bit like a bed of nails?- no, just rubber nails!-ouch!)

reflexology health shoes -Mine cost about $20 but the link here has a pair for under $4 See how I'm trying to lessen my guilt by inviting you to spend money? Shame on me! :-) ...sigh...I should have waited to buy my shoes. What is my weakness? I don't comparison shop and I seek immediate gratification. (Note: these are insights for my little neglected Cash Book.)


There is a delightful scene in Enchanted April-the movie-where Lottie is suppose to record every cent in her own little cash book. I remember her husband, Mr Wilkins, asking her, "You are recording every cent you spend in that little book I gave you?" She replies, "Even the flowers." (He considers flowers a waste of money because they die.) Lottie does a much better job of record-keeping than me- even if she does waste money on charity and flowers! (Mr. Oasis is not involved in my money management project.)

As I'm on Lottie's side, I want to leave you with a pot full of tiny purple lantana flowers. (I think they are a lantana variety.)

Have a lovely week!

(Run your cursor over the text for hyperlinks)


  1. Greetings,

    Recommended reading for the beginner
    horticulture practitioner, perhaps
    the most complete, not the writing,
    the info:
    from Nueva Kiskeya. Best wishes...

  2. First of all, the view from your patio is absolutely breathtaking! I have a weakness for shoes, too, but money spent on flowers is NEVer wasted!

    "Does that affirming sensation have to come from the outside or can we give it to ourselves?" Funny, I was just thinking about this very thing today!

  3. I love these Ruskin quotations! Interesting question. My sense of success comes from doing work that I enjoy and feeling that I’m improving even if I haven’t had much in the way of commercial success. I’m still happy. I spend money on flowers and shoes I don’t really need too. Terrific post!

    Thanks for connecting me with the talented Beth Kephart last fall. I reviewed one her YA novels on my blog. We do seem to share a sensibility.

  4. I love your references to Enchanted April. It is one of my favorite movies. Kyle bought me the book. I should read it this spring. :D

  5. How wonderful it must be to have such a temperate climate at the moment to be able to plant one of my favourite herbs - basil. Our would die in the morning frost if I put it outside now.

    I do wish you well with your efforts to manage your time, life, job etc in a more efficient way. These habits once started can be so good.

    I am totally obsessed with my little cash book ever since years ago we went overdrawn at the French bank without even realising it. Ever since then I carry my cash book everywhere and note everything down (rounded up of course, I'm not that obsessive). The difficulty I have now is that with Mr FF being in Paris - trying to train him to Skype me or text me when he spends some money (it's a joint account) is quite difficult.

    As for shoes - you can never have too money and they are the perfect treat.


  6. hark at me with my major type - money instead of many.

  7. AC, thanks for the address and the visit.

    Willow, yes, that view is something I try to remember to appreciate. It's why we live so far from the city/schools/work. I agree with you about the flowers but the way I usually give in is by buying a plant. That way, I can enjoy them for a longer time- I do like to see them bloom.

    I'm glad to have connected with you about the validation question. In my own case, I wonder if I outgrew childhood expectations of me and now I sometimes feel cut-off and unsupported. Plus, many times our major unconditional supporters are our parents- and both of mine have passed on.
    So glad to have helped you make another connection. I think Beth is genuinely serious (like you) about her work and life as a writer. (I also connect with her on Facebook-you should add her.)Facebook has a system to connect to your blogs-Networked Blogs. I find it useful.
    Yes, I'm happy to have connected with you too and it certainly does seem that we have similar interests. Happy walking!
    I secretly hope to create my own Enchanted April in life! I run the script and dialogue lines through my mind quite often. That's the drawback of viewing a movie so many times. Right now I'm watching an Impressionism movie every night.(BBC) I love sorting out the painter's lives and pondering their relationships and art.
    Hope your poetry writing is going well. I will visit soon.

  8. Ms. FF, yes, it is wonderful to have warmth here but it is raining a lot. Still that's good for planting- at least in containers because they can be protected from a wash-out! I think you are the first person-in real life- that I ever knew who keeps a cash book. Is it common in your experience? It's difficult to be that structured but I want to try. I've given myself a date for finishing my writing project- to mail out in March! And it's stressing me out! I have to neglect some parts/people of/in my life in order to focus.) I'm sure you know what I mean.
    btw- Happy shoe buying! :-)xx

  9. FF- Great slip-up! It kind of works both ways! :)

  10. What an interesting post Cynthia! i gasped when i saw your patio and view. OH MY. I love your garden in a pot. I'm doing the same thing. This year i'm trying potatoes in a pot too!

    Inspiration and time mangagement both seem like a good way to help lessen stress. Keeping a cash book seems like a good idea too, as long as it doesn't add to your stress. I've had the same thing happen to me with my kids, money just goes. One thing that helps me is first, i don't have much. so there is not that much to account for. I also pay cash for most everything (or a debit card, same thing). I am more careful with spending and i can't overspend.

    You've inspired me to add Enchanted April to my Netflix queue, i've not seen it yet.

    And i remember those shoes! i had a pair once a long time ago, loved them! i am off to check out that link now, health shoes are a necessity!!

  11. I think you got a better deal after all! the link was in malaysia and the shoes cost over 22 dollars, shipping is the reason! I think your shoes were an awesome value!

  12. As one that has had to budget most of my life...low income,many children,single etc...I have found that my definition of wealth has changed over the be honest, I have no discipline to write down every purchase,much less the desire to feel guilty over simple pleasures...I believe true wealth is the ability to give. Not just in terms of money but to help someone along in life. You should feel rich!
    I too have a hard time saying no to my kids. They just grow up to fast...Thanks for sharing your view...Happy Planting and love the shoes! \O/ :)

  13. Lori, thanks for stopping by. I know you must be familiar with those sandals. I bought my first pair at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. I called them my "health shoes". I suffered wearing them all around the park- and was happy when I could hop on the train and rest my poor painful feet! After they (the feet and not the shoes!) were broken in- they just felt wonderful! I hope you enjoy the movie! xx

  14. Island Moments,
    I love your view on life and your priorities! I always think more money will come from somewhere- so maybe that's why I overspend/give. Still I pay everything I can on PD and then I am forced to cut back for the rest of the week. That's one way to money manage! Thanks for your comment and your positivity-charming!

  15. So much inspiration and so many good thoughts in this one post.

  16. That was a megapost, Cynthia!! ;) Loving your new profile pic, too....always so much in your posts....xo

  17. What a view from your patio! I'm not one for keeping a record of my expenditure and can't give a good account of where it went!! But I do not overspend.

  18. Enchanted April is one of my favorite movies, so successfully faithful to the book, its humour and truths. M'lush wasn't such a bad sort, despite the cash book, he just needed a little shaking up!
    Like your other posters here, the beautiful view makes me sigh with longing. Perhaps we all could use a week in a villa with a view.
    By the way, I have tagged you for something, I hope you don't mind. It is slightly related to the subject at hand(handbags - with or without cash books!)

  19. lady,b,-,franc,Keats,thanks for reading! I'm off line for ages days - sending u warm affection! Just a few days-the auto complete on this phone wrote "ages" not me. How funny!

  20. hi - i just loved this post and could really relate to so much of it. my parents had very little money...really, they were the two most non-materialistic people i have ever known. my mother once went for 9 years straight without buying a new dress. i am so not kidding. i think this is why, as an adult, i tend to buy stuff for myself way more than i 'should'..and give the kids money for this and that. i tried an experiment this year, to see if i could go a whole year without buying myself a thing. nothing. it lasted aprox 6 weeks :) oh well. your view is gorgeous! are you in coffee country? hubby was back in pr in early january...loved it :)

  21. I used to have one of those little black books! Was very good for the sum total of about two weeks. Ho hum!

    Great post. And great VIEW!!

  22. You are overflowing with ideas and information. I always enjoy seeing what you are up to.

  23. I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

  24. Thanks for your continued lovely comments (even the ones I don't understand!) I hope to be back here soon. Sending you all goodwill!

  25. Just thinking of you Cynthia and wondering how you are? xv


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