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Totally Together

Permission Granted

January 28, 2011 by  

I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking lately about the meaning of life. It’s a deep topic, I know.

I’m not sure that there IS a universal meaning of life or a one-size-fits-all version, but I am beginning to have a clearer view on what it means to me, and to my family.

and it’s pretty simple:


That’s it. It’s terribly simple and ridiculously simplified, but at the end of the day, that’s what really matters to me.

Everyone chooses their own happiness—my happiness is not the same as yours. While I love reveling in a great drama showdown between the Real Housewives on Bravo, I do not want to live drama in my own neighborhood or circle of friends, and therefore change the subject when a girlfriend starts gossiping. While it’s a conversation starter to bring up the weather, I’d rather focus on the GOOD parts of the weather, not the bad. Rain brings flowers, sun gives us Vitamin D., etc.

Does that mean that I’m living in denial about certain things? That I’m acting like a PollyAnna?


I recently met (super briefly) Steven Fogel, the author of “My Mind is Not Always My Friend“.

I listened intently as Steven explained that the voices in your head should be treated as a cabinet of advisers, similar to the President’s advisers. YOU are the commander-in-chief of these voices, and YOU get decide what to do with them. Do you take their advice to gossip, or get annoyed and lash out when someone takes your parking space, or do you take the time to step back and look at the entire situation?

Do you immediately get upset when the bag of flour gets dumped all over the kitchen floor, or do you take a step back and realize the flour got dumped because your 4-year-old was trying to make cookies all by himself? For you.

It’s a constant choice, and we’re all works in progress. No one is perfect, and I’m certainly not trying to make it seem as if I act appropriately at all times, because I most certainly don’t. There are days when I both rant and rave.

But I’m working on it. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I’ve tried my hardest, the kids are warm, dry, fed, & loved, and Adam feels supported. All the other stuff is trivial.



So what’s with the title?

I’ve titled this “permission granted” because I think it’s time that permission IS granted to just be happy. To be thankful. To count the blessings. We’ve had a really hard few years—all of us. Our country is at war, the economy has tanked, millions are out of work, education is plummeting, and people don’t feel safe in large crowds.

it sucks.

But this suckitude (sucky attitude?) is like a virus that spreads, and if you (I) dwell in it, it just spreads and gets worse.

and that’s not good for anyone.

January is practically over. Most people I know started the year feeling FANTASTIC. This was it. 2011 was the year that could do no wrong.

If you find that you’re having a hard time getting this FANTASTIC feeling back, make a change. Distance yourself from negative news/thoughts/feelings/people.

You are in charge. YOU are the commander-in-chief.


how to be blissfully happy

I’m not going to be “that kind” of grown-up

how to make a (non-cheesy) vision board

Remember the WoMom!

I’ve started a Gluten Free TV segment and my very first guest is Shirley Braden, from Gluten Free Easily! click on over to to check it out.

Post a comment · 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Permission Granted”

  1. Sarah Smith on January 28th, 2011 10:53 am

    I totally agree with this post! If we decide to be happy, we will be happy! And it is definitely a constant choice, but a worthwhile one nonetheless! I’m a new reader of your blog, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Thanks!

  2. Elaine Shanks on January 28th, 2011 12:48 pm

    This post speaks to the thing I desire most – specially in light of the last few months that were very bad in our family. Be Happy and Be Peaceful. Those are the words that keep rolling around in my brain. Thanks for the post.

  3. Shirley @ gfe on January 29th, 2011 7:39 am

    Oh, Steph, I love this post! So many folks are trying to find the bad stuff in life and focus on what they don’t have. I see this all the time in the gluten-free world. I’m so happy with all I have … the abundance of food, resources, etc. But others will say things like, “I see you’ve come to terms with being gluten free. Well, I haven’t yet.” Oh, dear. Focus on the good and more will come, I like to say! Anyway, thanks so much for writing this! I agree with Elaine, too. Being happy and peaceful top all the other goals. BTW, did you happen to see Oprah’s show the other day on happiness? It was pretty good. She had the author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zone Way on and he shared what he had learned in doing his research for his book. It was pretty eye opening and encouraging.


  4. Christal on January 29th, 2011 8:07 am

    Great post, Stephanie! I must admit, I do miss the Daily posts, esp. the ones that remind me to change my sheets (doing that today!) but when you come up with the longer, thought-provoking ones, it’s worthwhile. I know my religion plays a large part of my “happy” attitude because I have made a choice to be content and find the joy– ‘happy’ just seems so fleeting. But we also made a choice to limit our TV viewing many years ago, and while the intent wasn’t because we thought it would make us happier, I definitely think it has been a byproduct. My boys don’t see commercials for stuff, I don’t hear so much of the ‘news’ or sub-par TV shows that afterwards seem to put a drain on your positive attitude. It’s hard enough to stay positive with the people already around you, but when you’ve started off with a core of contentment, and it gets stronger over time, it does get easier to spread around (hmm.. kinda like exercise, which I suck at… if I could use this principal…. naah.. 😉

  5. jennibell on January 30th, 2011 2:39 pm

    Great post!!! Couldn’t agree more — *we* are in charge of our minds!!! And sometimes all it takes to get it (our minds) back on track is to be around someone who’s always happy & upbeat, or read a great blog post about gratefulness. Here’s to the next eleven months of 2011!!!

  6. Alison St. Sure on January 30th, 2011 4:40 pm

    You know what, Steph, it’s perfect timing that I read this post right now. I had one of those days. Just getting over the flu, feeling insecure, not myself, down about things that really aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme. I don’t think I had a sucktitude (great word!), maybe more like a saditude.
    Thanks for the pep talk!

  7. Roberta on January 31st, 2011 2:06 pm

    I read something a while ago that I’ve tried to keep inmind on those days when I’m cranky and setting that tone for everyone around me. Don’t whine that roses have thorns, be grateful that thorns have roses. It helps.

    • Stephanie on February 1st, 2011 10:04 am

      what a great saying! I love it.

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