First Placement

April 8, 2013

Well we got our first placement. It was quick just an overnight and a little in the morning. I think Gretchen Rubin had it right when she said things that make you happy don’t always feel happy. I’m happy we had our first placement under our belt. It was interesting to see how we would fit with an older kid. ( she was 17).

The system is frustrating as many people described but unless you let it get to you it’s not so bad. You have to make sure that you talk to all the people involved in the case. If you talk to a care management person they might not know the whole story/ unknowingly misinform you.

I hope she does well in life and all I can do is hope we made a positive impact on her.

Finishing Class!

February 27, 2013

Part of my journey this year has been clearing out things that I don’t like about my life and the more positive nurturing what I’m passionate about. My husband and I started a foster parenting class in late October. We just finished our 30 hour training and CPR certification. This is something that I have always thought I would do with my life. I always thought it was a someday dream but I have began to realize that I am stronger, and more intelligent, and caring that I previously believed. I am glad that I opened my heart to love myself so that I can love other people.

We have our last home study on Friday and I am so excited!

There are 8,000 kids in my state that are in state custody and just under 1,000 ready to be adopted.

I have been on a journey since January 1st! I felt that I lost my way and that I needed some sort of incredible sign to let me know what direction my life needed to go in. I have begged and pleaded with my personal God to show me what I am here to do. I have struggled as a young person to find what I call a set of standards and morals that I want to live my life by. I have found several of these that I have found to be true in what I hope to become.

1. Be balanced- don’t lean too far one way.

2. People are Inherently Good.

3. Foregiveness doesn’t always mean forgetting, but foregiveness is always beneficial.

4. When you are feeling overwhelmed don’t do nothing, start with something small.

5. The journey of others is not your own.

I was feeling emotionally, physically, and intellectually drained the last few years because I didn’t feel that I was living a life filled with purpose. I decided when my husband and I moved towns that I would search for a better purpose and quit being so complacent with my time and energy. The biggest problem was that I just wasn’t happy. Not so much so that I was miserable. I have a wonderful husband and some friends that I consider soulmates. I just felt that I wasn’t living up to my potential.

Sometimes I feel that there is so much to do in order to fulfill these dreams but then something wonderful happens like a smile from a stranger so… one foot in front of the other.

Sunshine Through the Storm

February 23, 2013

The last two days have proven to be difficult. There was a large snowstorm and I was left home alone..(My husband is away on business and couldn’t get home). I started with doing things like cleaning the house (check), doing my homework (check). At first it was a nice little retreat from work and school but then things started to take on a less positive twist after about…oh… four hours. I don’t know why but when I am not good at being alone. I find myself in these times turning to a lot of negative self talk and doubt. In a way the last two days has been positive because it gave me a chance to refine some techniques to self soothe. It is more difficult to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when daily life interferes. It seems that I have been able in a way to face some demons. The thing that helped me the most was visualizing things that make me happy presently. I know this sounds corny and I have always been skeptical about visualization but it really works. I conjured up images and memories of my husband, Europe, my best friend Molly, and my lovely E and H.



I did try to make myself feel better with these images BUT I did try to address the things that weren’t as pleasing. Things that I didn’t feel as great about I visualized being better. For example, I am not as happy with how many people I have met since the move. So I started to visualize myself with more friends and being more in tune with the community. Well… I am still snowed in and I’m still alone but I’m glad that I always have this little old wordpress.



Social Justice?

February 18, 2013

The place that I volunteer has been robbed. This doesn’t have much to do with my happiness project blog but I need somewhere to talk. I have been seeing more social injustice take place. I started volunteering at an organization called Veronica’s Voice. They help the sexually exploited gain their lives back. The women who work there are not the normal crowd of public health graduates- these women are survivors of hell on Earth. I feel so humbled being allowed to be in the same place with these women and I am very saddened to hear they have been taken advantage of. Their computers, cameras, and cash were taken from their office and the safe center now doesn’t feel so safe.

Back in Reality

February 11, 2013

Today is the last day of my vacation. I just went on my honeymoon and got back on Friday. Needless to say I am very relaxed! I have noticed a very strong correlation between my happiness and stress levels. The more that I work on making myself happy the less that stress affects me. I have been very happy all day even though I know that my normal schedule resumes tomorrow and that there are a lot more things that I have to do this week than last. The difference from my regular outlook on the weekend is that I feel refreshed. I recently read a quote that said “The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the detals of daily life”. -William Morris.

This is my newest anti stress technique. Instead of dreading what I felt was mundane, I am going to celebrate them for any reason I can think of. For example I love school but I often feel like I could learn more from experiencing to world or that there are a lot of assignments I simply don’t want to do. I know that there are millions of children in the world who would love to go to school just to simply learn to read. Instead of feeling guilty that I am essentially just very lucky to be born where I was I think of it as one more step towards helping those kids. The faster I complete my homework the faster I get towards a meaningful career. It gives me energy and also allows me to be thankful for all of the things (even homework) that I have.

Another slightly sillier thing that I have been doing to help my stress levels is to lay off the caffeine! It is really difficult because I am a solid three cups a day girl. It is partly because I have a very busy/tight schedule but it is also a social thing. I have traded in two of my cups of coffee for yerba mate tea. It is cheaper and still allows me to occupy my hands in social settings.

Looking forward to tomorrow and all of the little things that I am able to do!


Hello world!

February 9, 2013

photo (3)

So I just arrived back into the country yesterday. I have been using all of this time to read and experience, and really get to know my happiness project. I wanted to be structured like Gretchen but my project seems to be much more fluid. I can’t wait to update in full detail.

Social Constructs

January 12, 2013

Today’s realization. Social constructs suck. I try to have an optimistic view, they were made to make us safe and regulate our world. Well I have to say that after years of trying to make myself fit into a societal box; I am here to proudly exclaim that I don’t.

Realization 1: Anti anxiety techniques do not work for me. I often feel that I am a cynic dressed in an optimist’s clothing. I have always tried to really feel as I act but never felt that it was really Courtnie.

Wow- sometimes the world is crazy. I have made some promises to myself in this New Year and I have found that some of them have seamlessly entered into my reality without my reality putting up too much of a fight. However, some things are not as easily done. Not because the requests were too much but because something inside of me said “No, Stop. You don’t deserve that. You haven’t justified that”. All of this negative self talk made writing this blog really hard.

I felt that this blog needed to be an extension of my usual research and discover in measurable success. But it doesn’t. This is a personal blog about a personal experience. I was worried that I wasn’t allowed to have a journey of self discover because I wasn’t an expert. Well, who is? Who can tell me what I want better than me?

I hope that someday, someone in a similar situation stumbles over this and says “Wow, someone else feels that too”. Human experience isn’t embarrassing. Live it, or whats the point?

The Power of a Thank You

January 5, 2013

I sat down today to write out my thank you notes to friends and relatives. Most people think of this as an obligatory time suck. Not me! I love writing thank you notes. It’s great for many reasons.

One, you get to follow an easy format. Say how lovely whatever encounter you had was. Possibly recall a funny or happy moment about that event. Next tell that person thank you for their generosity and gifts. You might also explain how that gift was being put to use and benefited you. The second awesome reason to write thank you cards is a little happiness high. As I was writing out my various notes I got to recall all of the neat trinkets that I got for Christmas and the happy moments I had shared with these people. This feeling made these cards genuine. The people I am writing to are dear to me and they give me joy even when they aren’t around.

It is tragic this little gesture is falling out of favor in many circles. Gratitude has been shown to help with mental health and happiness. So next time you receive a chotchsky in the mail sit down and write out a little note.