Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011: On my way...


Thanks for all the support for Ang and Ali at home and for me on the road.  I'm in the guest house at my dear friends Bob and Lynne's home in Phoenix.  You may recall that this was Ang, Ali, and my final stop on our trip back home from MN.  Bob and Lynne are like family.  I always feel safe with them, and this was the PERFECT layover for tomorrow.  It's like a little respite between the unbelievably hectic day today of trying to pack, take Ali to the doctor, get the oil changed on Ang's car, have two coaching calls with clients, and vacuum the house, fly to Phoenix, etc, and tomorrow... flying to NY / JFK where we have a 7 hour layover followed by one long flight to Cairo... in coach.  Pray for an empty seat in first class!  LOL.

Anyhow, so far so good.  As for the political climate there, today's protests were scheduled and sanctioned.  Tomorrow will be more telling than today as to how things are going.  I got an email from our tour host, letting us know that we have an armed guard with us everywhere we go... now I am definitely not a gun guy, but that DOES sound cool.

In other news, Ali got into pre-school!  I say it that way because at mid year, it is not always the case that a space opens up, but lo and behold, there is one!  She'll start when we get back from Minnesota.  I am so excited for her.  She is going to LOVE her new school.  It is literally right across the main street from our condo complex at Santiago Canyon College.  They have a Child Development Center there that came highly recommended to us.  What's great is that it is a 10 minute walk from door to door, so we'll get to walk Ali to school again, just like we did in MN!  When she heads off to kindergarten in the fall, we walk 10 minutes in a different direction through our neighborhood park and we are at her elementary school!  LOVE the ability to NOT NEED a car in southern California to do something!  YAY!

Lastly for today, I want to share about an article on happiness I read on the flight here in the Southwest Magazine.  The article is written by Christopher Peterson, PhD, the author of A Primer in Positive Psychology, and a regular blogger for Psychology Today.  I think this is so important, I'm going to go into extreme detail with this.  I sincerely hope this next conversation contributes something to you.  If so, PLEASE comment on the blog so we can all be a part of this conversation...

In the article, they post a survey that ascertains your happiness.  Okay.  Fill it out, add up the numbers, and you find out where you rank on a happiness scale.  There are 8 questions.  Your answer is a number from one to five, one meaning it's not you at all, up to five where it is very much like you.  Add up your answers from the 8 questions and we'll see how you do!  Consider your past 30 days when answering:

(Remember, 1=very much NOT like you, 2=not like you, 3=somewhat like you, 4=like you, 5=very much like you)

I have had more good days than bad days.  (1-2-3-4-5)
I enjoyed things every day.   (1-2-3-4-5)

I was so involved with what I did at work or school that time seemed to stand still.   (1-2-3-4-5)
I took time to pursue hobbies and leisure activities.   (1-2-3-4-5)

I felt loved.   (1-2-3-4-5)
I mattered to other people.  (1-2-3-4-5)

I felt connected to something larger than myself.  (1-2-3-4-5)
What I did made a difference in the world.   (1-2-3-4-5)

If you scored at least 25, you are usually a happy person.
If you scored at least 30, you are usually a very happy person.
If you scored above 35, wow!
[If you scored below 25, essentially you need to have more fun.]

Now, given that the past 30 days represented only month number 3 since Bella died, it would be reasonable for me to put up a low number, right?

What number do you think I got?



I believe that happiness is a state you reach when you are living to your full potential.  That is my definition, not the article's.  This score is great feedback for me to see that I am living FULL OUT right now, and for me, THAT is a great source of happiness.

My dear friend, Jim Hornaday, wrote on his facebook info a long time ago that people always ask him why he's smiling or what he's smiling at.  He answers that he believes happiness is a choice.

Funny, before Bella, I didn't feel the same way.  I wished I did, but I struggled with depression and addictive tendencies, always a little irritable, restless, and discontent.

Ironic.  After experiencing the life and death of Bella as her daddy, I now understand that Jim was right all along.

The best part?  I don't have to wish I feel the same way, my score tells me I already do.

How 'bout you?  Is your happiness dependent upon circumstances INSIDE YOU, or OUTSIDE YOU?

God night.


  1. Tim,

    I think I must have been adding my second comment to yesterday's post as you were getting this new one up and running! I have only one eye open now and will give your words here the attention they deserve in the morning. Just hope you got the last message I left at the end of yesterday's post.

    Bon voyage. Wherever you travel, there are many there with you.



  2. O boy...think I need to read the book...need to make happiness a choice or hire you for a coach or both!!

    I wish I knew you had 7 hours in NY, I would take you to lunch...dinner...when are you there?

    Have a wonderful trip! Donna in NJ

  3. Ugh. 7 hour layover. That's a bummer!
    Hooray on the preschool! She will be the star of the show! Can't wait to hear all about it! Glad it worked out!
    love from home..ill being touch with your girls.
    safe travels. Lots of pictures!

  4. Congratulations to Ali--I'm sure she'll love pre-school.
    Wishing you a safe and enriching trip.
    I like the test--especially since I am a very happy person.
    Love ya,

  5. Good luck, hope your trip goes well!! And good luck to Angelique while you're away as well.

    Congrats to Ali. My 3.5yr nephew had his first day of preschool yesterday and he LOVED it. :) I'm sure she will have a blast!

    I got a 35. :)

    Cara in Tucson

  6. HI Tim,
    I scored a 28 so I am border line (-: Something that I need to work on for sure. This morning I ran into Ang as she was leaving Joan's. Ali was sitting at the table playing with Conner and her Zhu-Zhu pets. Everyone was happy and ready to start their day! I am so excited for Ali but sad we won't see you all on the regular. I have heard nothing but great things about that preschool. Actually it is one of our top three picks for Braeden. We hope he can start preschool in the fall but right now he still needs the home environment with Grandma Joanie. Have an awesome trip, be safe, can't wait to read about all the adventures.
    Peace & Love

  7. Can't wait to hear about the trip! And how neat that Ali can walk to pre-school! I know she'll have a great time and dazzle everyone. :)

    I got a 34 - and I agree with you. One day I was talking with my mom and she made a comment to the effect of "you have all these stresses on you, yet you seem so happy." My take on that is that all those stresses (work, taking care of kids, laundry, etc etc) are going to be there anyway, so why make them worse by being unhappy? I also know that I am not happy on my own - the joy of the Lord is my strength!

    Be safe in Egypt and keep us posted as you can!!

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for Team A)

  8. I definitely need to allow myself to have more fun! Scored only a 22 :(. sigh... working on it though...!

    Have a great trip, safe travels...blessings!

  9. I'm glad to confirm that I'm a happy person with a lot to be thankful for. Praying and avoiding negative energy,comments or people help me a lot.
    Good luck on your trip!
    Praying for ll of you.
    What a beautiful picture! Bella looks like a little doll.

  10. Sarah Hickman in ColoradoJanuary 26, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    What a beautiful picture of Bella!!! Thanks for todays blog... I REALLY needed that. Oprah was about Happiness today too! I think someone is trying to tell me something... LOL! I scored EXTREMELY low on your test. Its time I take the "bull by the horns" and choose to be happy... no matter what! Thanks again for opening my eyes Tim! Hope you have a safe trip to Egypt!!
    All my love,
    Sarah Hickman

  11. I got a 30!! So I'm usually happy...which is a good thing. I'm glad that you posted that little test on here tonight. Got me thinking. That was fun too!

    I'm so glad that Ali got into pre school. That is great. She will have fun and learn and make new friends. That is always awesome.

    I'm praying that you get a nice first class seat for that long trip to Cairo. Boy, it may not be so "fun" in coach! :0) I also think that is pretty cool that you will have your own armed guard your whole trip. My husband and I actally are gun people so I think that that would make me feel better on my trip. Hopefully he'll just be there for decoration and he won't need to use any of his skills. :0) I'll say a prayer for you guys. Have fun.

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie, and Liam
    The McLaughlin Family, CA

    P.S. I love the picture of Bella and Ang tonight...they are both so beautiful.

  12. Congratulations to Ali! She will be the star of the show there...no doubt...she's such a cutie!!! We'll be signing Christian up next month for preschool, he was accepted to The Learning Village :) How many days a week will Ali be going?

    Wow...Bella is breathtaking in her dress! What a doll!!!


  13. {BLUSH}

    I'm glad to know you made it back from Egypt without actually ever getting there. You are the king of providence, aren't you? ;-)

    Great news about Ali's new pre-school!

    As far as the test goes, I scored a 34. it was a great test for me because it revealed an area of my life that I would like to add a little more meaning to. Funny how inspiration tends to reciprocate! Thanks Tim!