Friday, March 21, 2008

Thank You for being a Friend

The Happiness Project blog by Gretchen Rubin is wildly popular among the life and success blogosphere set. Her post on how to be a good friend has these suggestions:
Here twelve tips for how to act like a true friend:
1. Be supportive when your friend has bad news. This is perhaps the most critical duty of a friend.
2. Be supportive when your friend has good news. This is trickier; surprisingly, it’s sometimes harder to be supportive when someone gets a promotion, gets engaged, or enjoys other good fortune, than it is to be supportive when someone is going through a hard time.
3. Don’t gossip. It’s not nice. (reminder to self-see #6 and #7) Also, although it may be fun to gossip about Pat with Jean, Jean is probably going to feel wary of being your friend—you’re not trustworthy. Along the same lines…
4. Keep a secret. One of the most satisfying aspects of friendship is that it allows two people to confide in each other. Spilling secrets will destroy that. Ah, it’s so delicious to disclose a secret—but you have to resist.
5. Exchange favors. Along with the feeling of intimacy, one of the best parts of friendship is the feeling of support it provides. And while getting support is important, giving support may be even more important for boosting happiness.
6. Don’t criticize a friend’s sweetheart or spouse (or children)—and, at the other extreme, don’t flirt with a friend’s sweetheart or spouse.
7. Be kind to a friend’s children. (especially a spouse's, which I've failed at)
8. Be friendly to a friend’s friends. In fact, in a phenomenon called “triadic closure,” people tend to befriend the friends of their friends – and this is very satisfying. Friendships thrive on inter-connection, and it’s both energizing and comforting to feel that you’re building not just friendships, but a social network. ("social network" is a buzzword that somehow takes away from "friendship" in my opinion)
9. Show up. Sometimes a friend wants you to show up someplace when you’d really rather not: a wedding in Topeka; a surprise party that falls on New Year’s Eve, when you’d rather be doing something else. Recognize a command performance, and don’t miss it.
Bonus activities:
10. Remember birthdays. (I am really bad at this)
11. Be nice to their pets.
12. Help a friend think big. Nothing is more encouraging than a friend throwing out some huge goal and saying, “You should do that!” “You should write a book, you should start your own firm, you should run for office, you should join the Council on Foreign Relations.” You never know, sometimes one encouraging comment can have extraordinary effect on someone’s life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Boycott 2008 Summer Olympic Sponsors

I've sent the following message to the Worldwide Sponsors of the 2008 Olympics:
In protest of the actions of the Chinese government, I am boycotting products and services of the corporate sponsors of the 2008 Olympics.
I will stop my boycott when your company withdraws it's sponsorship or the situation in China is resolved.-- Stephanie C.
Tomorrow I'll start working on the Partners level of sponsorship.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Artifacts available!

Oh lemme at 'em!! A friend and I went to see this exhibit when it was in Akron, salivating over items for sale. Now that they are within reach...I may have to participate in the online auction.
A Ming Dynasty Spirit House

Page from a triptych of illuminated leaves

Ragamala Indian Painting

Teen realizes dream with school in Vietnam

How much of an impact can you have on your world? How far of a reach? With a good example set by her grandmother, this teen accomplishes something that reaches the other side of the world.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Indoor BMX

What could be better than an indoor BMX park to work off some cabin fever? And give you road rash? And make grown men act like teenagers. As well as really, really sore. Check out my significantly crazy other:

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Happiness Project

I'm participating in Happiness: The Group Writing Project You can too! Visit Alex Shalman's blog by clicking the link, answer the questions on your blog and your blog will be listed on Alex's which is a lot more famous. This could be good - great even! So here goes!

The Questions
How do you define happiness?
Happiness is being pleased with your present circumstances; enjoying family, friends, and activities; managing stress well; having a sense of well-being. I also believe that having something to look forward to and setting personal goals contributes to happiness.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child?
My childhood happiness = 5 because of my mother's mental illness. She is bipolar, so growing up she had periods of mania, depression, and normalcy. Because of her instability and behavior, my parents divorced which contributed to my unhappiness.
My happiness now = 8 because of remarriage to a wonderful guy, a great standard of living, travel, and a better ability to cope with stress.

What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day)
I love my (part-time) job at the library. Routine gives me a sense of well-being. I enjoy being an early riser and having a bit of time to myself first thing in the morning. I use an afternoon nap to 'reset' my mood since I seem to drop off in the afternoon.

What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life?
Stress can take away from my happiness, especially worrying about my family. Severe illness and death in the family have been recent things that have impacted my happiness. I've used counseling and support to cope with these events. To lessen the impact of the types of things that take away from my happiness, I try to redirect my thoughts, count my blessings, distance myself from negativity if possible, and take a break from high stress situations if I can. If a situation is within my control, I can choose to remove the stress by fixing the problem or removing myself from the situation.

What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness?
I plan on setting goals that focus on things that I enjoy. I have applied to graduate school because I love learning. My husband and I look forward to our retirement (or semi-retirement). I love spending time with my grand-babies and look forward to doing things with them as they grow.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Zen Habits

I've started signing up to RSS feeds. After a short time now, I need to go through and weed or will do nothing but read feeds. At the top of my must read list right now is Zen Habits. It's like I can't escape this blog! No wonder it won the Best Performancing Blog Award for 2007. If you'd like to get caught up quick, I recommend buying the new e-book the Zen Habits Handbook for Life.