Lisle Hendrickson | What Makes Me Happy

For this post, I asked Lisle what makes her happy and to then collect images that visually capture the why of her happiness.  Make sure you read all the way to #14 – her discussion of Wyoming is quite lovely — 

I was born on my mother's bed in Santa Ana, CA, the third of eight children.  It had the potential to be an embarrassing situation, but thankfully I was busy enough that I didn't care.  I went to Ricks College, then to Weber State University, where I met my husband and then finished my degree (BA in English).  I have four children, no marketable skills, and I spend all my “free” time driving, planning youth activities for church, and pretending I can manage my time well enough to have a creative hobby.

Without further ado, here's what makes me happy:


1.  My Family — I suppose it's obvious, because everyone loves my family (and their own!).  I like being with people who have the same sense of humor that I do, and that think I'm funny.   I also take enormous pride in the fact that my kids can do a lot of things on their own, and I marvel at all the traits that didn't come from me.  They're really good at lots of stuff!  And Husband?  He can do all sorts of stuff I can't, like car fixing and computer stuff, and wiring the house…

Hendrickson Nauvoo

2.  Good hair days — Silly as it is, a good hair day makes me feel special, like receiving a little gift “just because.”

3.  My bluetooth headset — I love being able to have a conversation without my arm getting tired!  Plus, I talk to my sister all the time, and it's fun to test the limits of the batteries.  I'm on my 5th headset…

4.  Reading a really good story — I grew up with my head in a book, and only pulled it out for special occasions, reading all the Nancy Drew books, then the Hardy Boys series, and then the Bobbsey Twins.   The result of this was that my childhood memories are a little out of sync with the rest of my siblings (“I don't remember that…  Are you sure it happened that way?  Where was I when that happened?)

I have this brilliant ability (disability?) where I can turn off all of the anticipatory senses in my brain.  I love to just let the story unfold without making any guesses as to what's going to happen.  A story that unfolds quickly is the best, since I have a ridiculously short attention span, and the unexpected twist at the end usually turns out to be just that–unexpected.  It's a joy!


Source:  istockphoto

5.  Service — I know it's a little cliche, but when I'm worried about doing for someone else, I don't worry about me.  And that's the best thing I can do some days.

6.  The smell and feel of a really good wool or fabric — I'd probably have to lump them in with office supplies, for the reason that they are the things I use to create stuff.  I don't make things that are grand, or professional, or even always good, but it pleases me to no end to be able to have the goods to make “anything” and “something.”  I guess I smell potential!


Source:  istockphoto

7.  Church — I like the frequent reinforcement of the knowledge deep in my soul that my Heavenly Father loves me.

8.  Playing in the dirt — It's a plus if things actually grow well – this makes me feel like I can do something productive and profitable for my family.  It's a long process, but harvesting vegetables grown in my garden at the end of the summer isa treat!


  Source:  istockphoto

9.  Not having to be the driver of the car — It feels so unproductive to me, and my frustration increases with the number of people paying attention to my driving.  I'm not a bad driver, but I don't like being under the microscope when husband is sitting next to me.

10.  Snoring babies – There isn't anything sweeter!  They smell good, and it's probably the most relaxing white noise ever created.


Source: istockphoto

11.  Having my own ideas work out – Some things I'm really good at–spatial relationships are easy.  I can pack more stuff into a moving van or car trunk or suitcase than you'd think would fit.  Unfortunately, I have a tendency to fill all of those things right to the brim.  It's like a big puzzle; fun to do because there's a solution.  I don't always think through to the end, though, so I often find myself off on an adventure that can't end well, because I missed a crucial step in the planning process.

12.  Yoga – Makes me feel strong, and limber, so that I can do anything, and do it without ever losing my center.


Source:  istockphoto

13.  Jack Black movies — I never wanted to be a fan of Jack Black, because current comedians have a real tendency to be “funny” about things that aren't, like sex.  Jack Black's films have spots that tend toward the vulgar, and sometimes the language isn't lovely, but by the end of the movie, you just love his character.

He's always some slightly goofy guy who's not quite in the same place as everyone else, and through all his silliness and perseverance, he brings everyone else in the movie around to his way of thinking and they all join in to help him achieve his goal.  His goal, of course, is usually something that helps people, something lofty and community-based.  So, in the end, you see that his disconnectedness and his unrealistic view of his place in the world work to his advantage, and that in turn changes the world around him.

Could we all be Nacho Libre and save an orphanage?  Would you want to remake a whole video store full of movies to save your neighborhood?  Can I be that positive all the time, even when my friends are telling me that I'm wrong and that I'll never make it? Maybe.  Maybe not.  But, wouldn't we all love someone to rally around, even if they're a little goofy?


Source:  People Magazine

14. Wyoming — It's difficult to articulate my love of Wyoming.  Wyoming seems overlooked somehow.  Oh sure, everyone knows there's Jackson Hole: Classic pretty with trees and mountains and celebrities, but that's not where I spend my time.

The big part of Wyoming is everything else, and that's what I love.  It's a great big desert state with hardly any people.  There are antelope, rodeos, windmills and high winds, horrible winter storms, hot dry summers, and big long stretches of freeway so straight and monotonous that you could just fall right asleep at any moment.

I still love it.  It's all brown and green with blue skies and clouds.  There's Farson, a town that is literally just an intersection, only a dot on the map.  They have a real soda fountain in the general store.  And Rip Griffin's Texaco, which is big and has I-don't-know-how-many gas pumps and a huge gift shop inside and showers for truckers!  Little America, home of the best serve-your-own ice cream cone in the state and really nice bathrooms.  Good fireworks aren't illegal there.  None of this is travel literature that makes you itch to see it.  But if you take a few minutes off the side of the freeway and really look, you see this whole other world.


Source:  istockphoto

Wyoming has people, but not too many.  It's stark, but It's not pristine; you can take a side road and see where people have been, but the people who came didn't change it.  There are ruts made from wagon wheels 150+ years ago, that nobody ever filled in or made into something else.  There are windbreaks, and snow fences, and wire fencing to keep cattle from wandering too far.  There aren't obvious signs of huge irrigation projects.

There is just space, and the face of things as they are now.  Like wrinkles, maybe: laugh lines and crow's feet upon the land.  Wyoming is aging gracefully.   Wyoming didn't spend its youth trying to convince you it was cool, it just did what it needed to do.  It took a different path than the surrounding states, did what it was designed to do,  and it's proud of that.  It doesn't care if you don't love it; it only changes when it wants to.  You don't have to want to be there, you don't have to stay.

If you want to visit, Wyoming welcomes you.  Hmmm…Maybe I do know why I love Wyoming.  I think it's my idol.  I want to be Wyoming when I grow up.


The foolish

[woman] seeks happiness in the distance, the wise just under [her feet].  James Oppenheim (via Melanie Mauer)

If we spend time each day doing things we love to do (noting what we have loved in the moment), we will have likely assembled the key ingredients of our dream a la Christine Vick's approach.  And thanks to Emily Anthon for the ‘Here's to Happiness' idea.

If we list competencies, instead of kitchen contents, can we in a SuperCook-like way determine yummy life recipes? You may also want to take a look at Pam Slim's post Are you Ingredients Looking for a Recipe.

What makes you happy?

Pew Research Center’s “Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-Time Work”

Hello, hello!

We’ve been on vacation for the better part of two weeks — plenty of time to think, little time to write. Next time I plan to go on hiatus, I will let you know.

The first order of business is to flag a report (with a nod to Entrepreneur Daily and USA Today) published by the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project titled Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-Time Work.

I wasn't all that surprised to learn that 6 in 10 full-time working moms would prefer to work part-time; however, I was intrigued to learn that the divide between working and at-home moms has widened.

In the 1997 study, about 4 in 10 of all mothers (38% of at-home moms; 39% of working moms) believed that an increase in working mothers was a negative societal trend. However, by 2007, 44% (15% increase) of the at-home mothers saw this as a negative; only 34% (an 8% decrease) of the working mothers concurred.


Why is this the key finding?

Because the digging in our heels around our work/life decisions suggests that our society's oft-repeated mantra of “live and let live” notwithstanding, mothers are becoming more, not less, judgmental of one another, and that sibling rivalry continues on the rise.

Which makes me quite sad.

Happily, there are mothers who shun the rivalry, embracing systergy in its stead.

While vacationing in Jackson Hole last week, I spoke with three such mothers, Stacey, Heather and Jane. Stacey I have known for many years; I've just become acquainted with Jane and Heather.

Photograph courtesy of Melanie Mauer, a woman who is the picture of systergy

All of us have children under twelve. Each of us has a college degree, two have advanced degrees. Two of us work full-time; two are at-home.

Given our respective choices, and the trend identified by the Pew study, I suppose our interchange could have deteriorated into intransigent finger-pointing.

But it didn't.

On the contrary.

We asked one another how we’d made our decisions; we spoke of the trade-offs, sharing our struggles, validating and encouraging one another.

Does this kind of conversation, one in which we experience systergy, help us to rethink our competence, and bolster the belief that we can be the hero of our story?

I can’t speak for others.

But the answer for me is — Yes, and again, yes.


Can you think of a time when you have been critical of others’ choices related to how they were balancing motherhood and career? Any thoughts as to why you were critical?

My husband and I waited several years (10 to be exact) before having children. There were some who criticized us, but truth be told, I was critical of women who chose to have children immediately. In retrospect, my criticisms were a manifestation of my own insecurity: if I could believe others were wrong, then I could be definitively right.

Can you think of a conversation in which you encouraged and validated others? How did you feel? How do you move from sibling rivalry to systergy?

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