WHAT’S YOUR 10% PLAN?

Non nobis solum nati sumus.  ~Cicero    (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)   Pictures by Marylin Warner.

Non nobis solum nati sumus. ~Cicero (Not for ourselves alone are we born.) Pictures by Marylin Warner.

10% HAPPIER

 

Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once. ~ Robert Browning

Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.
~ Robert Browning

The Earth Laughs in Flowers.  ~ Emerson (Especially when the flowers fill the little boots worn by your grandchildren.)

The Earth Laughs in Flowers. ~ Emerson
(Especially when the flowers fill the little boots worn by your grandchildren.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who watch Good Morning America may have seen it when Dan Harris, Nightline anchor, had a panic attack on camera and couldn’t continue.  Instead of ruining him, the crisis set him on a new path.  10% HAPPIER is his touching, hilarious, skeptical and profound book that shares his journey to rewire his thinking.

Harris’ book helped him deal with stress and have at least 10% more happiness in his life, and that’s nothing to scoff at, if you think about it. What would be your plan for 10% more happiness?

Before her dementia, I know how my mother would have answered. I once overheard her in the kitchen trying to encourage an unhappy friend. Mom was baking, and as they drank tea and talked, Mom asked the woman what things made her happy. I’ll never forget the cynical reply: “Do you think I’d be sad if I knew how to make myself happy? How do I know what might make me happy?”

Things got quiet. Mom was kneading bread dough. I heard her pound on the dough and say, “Well, at least try doing things and see if you stumble on something that makes you happy.” I peeked around the corner to see Mom move the dough bowl over in front of her friend and say, “Punch around on the dough for awhile and see if you feel better.” It didn’t take long until I heard them both pounding away and laughing.

Any time I want to feel/think/be happier, I go for laughter. I agree with writer Anne Lamott: “Laughter is carbonated happiness.”   And I know for sure that in church, in meetings and other ‘serious’ situations, whenever I try to suppress laughter, the worse it becomes. I’m not a big fan of Woody Allen, but he and I agree on one thing: “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”

So I take my cues from my mother: I try doing things to see what makes me happy. Even with the dementia, when a caregiver put a straw in Mom’s chocolate milk to help her drink it, Mom did something…she blew bubbles.   When I was growing up and got moody and mopey, I soon found myself doing something:  helping Mom in the garden, taking the dog on a walk, hanging up laundry in the sunshine, or going to the library to find a good book.

Or baking bread. Pounding the hell out of bread dough didn’t always make for the best loaf, but it got me pushing, pulling, breathing deep, and working out my feelings.

My happiest suggestion to add laughter to your life is this: become a snake charmer. Miss Harper Lee (not the author, but a darling, funny golden retriever) teaches you how in just a few pictures. Do yourself a favor and click on her link: http://thek9harperlee.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/its-official-im-a-snake-charmer/

If you have personal helpful hints for 10% more happiness—or any degree of increased happiness–please share them. Life is hard, and we’re all trying to do the best we can! And don’t misunderstand; there are times when we need more help than pounding bread or blowing bubbles in our milk. When that happens, we should support and applaud each other for getting the help we need.

This past week readers lost an inspiring and wonderful writer, Maya Angelou.   Her legacy will be celebrated for generations to come.

Many times I taught I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS in my high school English classes.  Each time it became obvious which students felt caged in their lives, and there were many who felt that way.  Angelou’s words made a profound difference in their growth.

She’ll be remembered for many things she said and wrote, but this quote by Maya Angelou is one of my favorites: “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

Maya Angelou  (photo by Gerald Herbert/ AP photo)

Maya Angelou
(photo by Gerald Herbert/ AP photo)

 

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80 Comments

Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, Ralph Waldo Emerson, special quotations, Uncategorized

80 responses to “WHAT’S YOUR 10% PLAN?

  1. Don

    I’ve never pounded dough in my life. I wish I had. Sounds wonderful. Marylin that paragraph you wrote about your Mom and that unhappy friend is brilliant. I wish I could have seen that encounter. Again, as always such an enjoyable post.

    • Thank you, Don. My mother was always a good listener, but she went on with her work while she listened…and she believed in getting things done, even if it meant putting to work the person who wanted to do the talking and complaining.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Now, I hope you’ll sometime make some yeast bread, and each time you have to knead it down as it’s rising, really pound it. I think we could cure a lot of problems–and feed many of the hungry–if we all pounded bread dough occasionally! 😉

  2. When I got depressed I’d go and dig another drain…

    • Hey, whatever works… 😉
      If you’re accomplishing what needs to be done–by choice–AND staying busy and feeling productive, I’d say you’ll be on the right track.

  3. I’d never heard that quote by Maya Angelou but I’ll remember it forever now – so much sense in that. As you know, Marylin, I’m a great believer in ‘finding the funny’ which doesn’t mean trivialising a problem, it means that if you start to feel brighter in yourself, you can pretty much deal with anything. I truly believe that. And the old saying ‘ laughter is the best medicine’ has to be my watch word/phrase.

    • It really is the best medicine, Jenny. And when I was growing up and sent out to do a chore or reorganize my room and closet, I usually found some way to have music with me, even if it was my brother’s transistor radio, and music was a good distraction for me.
      Like you, I believe that ‘finding the funny’ definitely is not trivializing the problem, but is lightening the load of the pain or the sadness.

  4. Pounding bread dough is wonderfully therapeutic. And so is laughter. And so are your posts. 🙂

  5. I LOVE your idea of making myself 10% happier, especially on one of those days when it is a struggle.
    I will try it next time I am down a bit and see if it works 🙂

    • I was surprised when I saw the book, Elizabeth. So many books and CDs are absolutes, the make-yourself-happy–all-the-time kind of promises. 10% doesn’t seem like all that much, but it really is a lot. It at least gets things started in the right direction!

  6. Trust me, I like to laugh! It is good if we have something to laugh about. With some company it is easy to get a laugh in. Others maybe do not have the same kind of humour that I have. I must admit I do not always laugh at jokes. Some jokes maybe are not exactly my cup of tea.
    I agree with Elizabeth, some days it may be a bit of a struggle to do certain things. But how wonderful I feel when I do the things I have to do and do them willingly and in the end quite happily! 🙂

    • Sunday mornings from 9 am to 10 am we have here in Australia a TV program called ‘Inseiders’. Towards the end of this program there is a brief section with ‘Talking Pictures’ about what our politicians have been up to during the past week. This morning the Talking Pictures were quite hilarious again: I laughed and laughed and laughed! This is going to get me through the day.
      I want to recall here one incident from the 1990s. We were about to board a plane from Paris to Newark. We were asked by the person at the check-in desk: “Do you have a bomb in your luggage?”
      Both Peter and I felt like laughing our heads off. However we had the good sense to control our emotions. Our answer was just a very stern “No.” 🙂

  7. Hudson Howl

    Given all which encompasses me, the good, the bad, the ugly this post shines as any star or sun. Inspiration, pure as honey. Am all most inspired beyond words. Thank you for writing this.

    Doing….. Doing is what makes us feel ‘whole’. From ‘wholeness’ one derives happiness. It is tough, when the big scheme measures happiness by what we can afford to attain. It is big hole to get out of.

    As for my 10%. Well you have visited it. You have seen it. I think that is my 10%.

    • You summarized it perfectly: Doing is what makes us feel ‘whole’–which was my mother’s philosophy. If you were ‘feeling out of sorts’ as she used to say, doing what needed to be done in spite of that feeling would give you a new focus and confidence.
      I have seen your 10%, and you’ve found your path!

  8. Very insightful and timely post.
    Now I have a couple of more books to add to the reading list.
    I just love your Mom stories. So wonderful that feh took time to find a helpful response. And how lovely to see the young Marylin peeping found the corner and taking it all in.

    Love the flowery boots. Will check the charming snake later.

    • Rod, I think you and your wife and grandkids will get a big kick out of the “snake charmer” pictures. It takes about 30 seconds and leaves you smiling for a long time.
      I hate to admit what an eavesdropper I was as a kid. Our house had great places to sit in the hall and hear what was going on in the kitchen or living room, and I picked up some excellent role modeling by listening to my mom as she made bread or did dishes while she simultaneously listened to and responded to visitors who dropped by for ice tea and a chance to unload their problems.

      My grandchildren wore those boots a few years ago and had a wonderful laughing time as they stomped around in wet lawns and jumped in mud puddles. I couldn’t let go of those little boots, so I made them into flower planters. I giggle every time I walk up to the front door.

  9. Good morning my dear friend! You helped me start my day on the right foot – laughing! It is so true that laughter can turn the mood/world/day upside down in a positive way! Thank you for your inspiring “10% happier” post. As always you touched my heart and made me smile – big! You already know some of my favorite things and what can very quickly make me happy…the flower quote above – perfect! And, pounding bread dough – ha! What is a better way to get out frustrations other than sprinting around the block! Anything to get the heart pumping the not so good vibes out of the system and letting the oxygen bring on the happy aura. Enjoy your day and have a wonderful weekend! Much love and many hugs to you! Robyn

    • And good evening now to you, my dear friend Robyn! 10% is a worthy goal, I think, and if pounding bread dough or letting the dog drag you around the block will make it 11% happier, then it’s great!
      I’m glad you enjoyed this; your photographs and poems/quotes/excerpts so often make me smile for hours, so I’m glad to return the favor.
      You have a wonderful weekend, too!

      • And your smiles should be AT LEAST a 10% increase in happiness now, Robyn! Shop 65 chose a marvelous photographer to partner with for the art displays! The black and white photographs you took of the staff–the one with the woman at the counter, leaning on her arms is especially fantastic!–predict that your display will be outstanding. Congratulations!

  10. I like wandering around your flower garden of quotes, some familiar to me, some not so.

    What is my 10% plan? DOING something. Working on another blog post which feels like creating art, reading another blog post (like yours), cutting off a rose from the patio bush or going to my Pilates class. Sometimes doing the laundry helps simply because it produces visible results. Music–always music. I refuse to stay in a slump for long. You always encourage me, Marylin. Thank you!

    • And thank you, Marian, for more specifics for “doing” something. Music–always music–oh yes! Even if it’s just my own singing or humming, I always feel better when I’m working with music!
      Inactivity leaves lots of time and space for worrying and fuming and feeling worse and worse. My mother saw idle hands as an invitation for unhappiness. Thanks to her influence, I learned to bake things, to knit and crochet, to sew, and to hide away and write stories.
      She never worried about what I was writing; she reminded me she was always eager to be my audience, and as she waited for a response she’d offer her paper and paints and pencils so I could illustrate my stories if I wanted.

  11. Diana Stevan

    Good morning, Marylin. Ah, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I remember when I was a therapist, I’d mention Norman Cousins, who wrote The Anatomy of an Illness, where he detailed, how sick he was and how he laughed himself better through watching the Marx brothers. Great post. And yes, Maya Angelou was one in a million.

    • Cousins’ Anatomy of an Illness was amazing. We all suspected that belly-rumbling laughter and just kicking back and happily enjoying good food and friends and fellowship were at least parts of the equation of healing ourselves. Norman Cousins confirmed that!
      I have a friend who has a jolly big old dog that visits patients in a hospice wing, waddling in to the rooms and ‘humming’ until they laugh when they pat his head. The dog’s name is Norman…

  12. Marylin, I have always found books to be helpful for any occasion except when am too hungry to concentrate. Music does help too.
    Great post. Bob Marley sings be happy, don’t worry.

  13. juliabarrett

    I feel lucky. Happiness comes naturally to me. But I agree with your mother. In Judaism there is a concept that the outside and inside are partners. If you act, i.e., do stuff, eventually the inside will follow the outside. In other words, smile. It will make you feel better.
    On the other hand, some of my mother’s relatives suffer from severe chronic depression. I won’t touch that with a ten foot pole. It’s an illness that requires treatment.
    Maya Angelou did love to laugh. When I worked in the Iowa Writers Workshop she visited us – I was in charge of coordinating her visit. What a lovely time I had. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

    • Then you do remember that sun-brightening laugh she had…especially in relaxed situations. She was on a writing panel at a conference, and the man next to her was drinking a swig of his Pepsi when a person in the audience asked a ridiculous question. It caught him off guard and though he tried to hide it, he snorted Pepsi out of his nose and onto her notes. For just a moment she was shocked, and then she let out the the richest, most wonderful laugh, and waved her notes, flicking the Pepsi back at him.

  14. When I realized that despite my people-pleasing outward appearance, I am inwardly a stubborn rebel, I was able to increase my happiness by simply refusing to give in to unhappiness. I know that’s abstract, but I’m an abstract thinker, so it works for me.

    And I do laugh a lot, every day. It really does help. That’s why I like people best when they have a sense of humor. All my friends are great at making me laugh (as are my husband, and my parents, siblings, and children). I feel very uncomfortable around people who refuse to laugh, so I avoid them.

    • Increase happiness by refusing to give in to unhappiness. Wow, Tracy! Can you suggest some specifics? I really am interested.

      My mother-in-law refused to read true crime or excessively violent books, or see upsetting movies, and if guests in her home dwelled on gloom and doom or upsetting theories, she quietly got up and went into the kitchen to fix coffee or do other things. She wasn’t a Pollyanna or naive, but she refused to absorb the negative and prevent the positive.

      • I follow your mother-in-law’s prescription, exactly, and then some. I hardly ever watch the news (it’s negatively hyped, designed to incite negative emotions–fear and anger), but I DO know what’s going on in the world. I read intelligent news, often from Europe (they cover world news better than American sources generally do). And I don’t hang out with or listen to grumblers or whiners. Which does not mean I’m uncompassionate–I deeply hurt with and for people, even those who are incapable of changing their attitudes, and that’s precisely why I can’t hang around negativity.

        I’ve turned into a very strict gatekeeper–there are just certain things/ideas/attitudes that I refuse to let into my consciousness, and if negativity does get in, I boot it out. If I can’t kick it out or walk away from it, I tune out until I can.

  15. These last few weeks I have felt very down. So I enjoy links, such as the one you provided on the doggy snake charmer and your Mom’s take on how to be happy.

    I’ve read Maya Angelou’s poems, but I had never read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” I just bought it and will read it this summer. A quote of hers that stands out for me is: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    Thanks for your comforting words, and for making me feel joy and laughter when I read your posts. 😆

    • Oh, Judy, I’m glad if this helped. We go through periods when we feel down, and it really is like the little guy in the PEANUTS comic strip who has a rain cloud hanging over him all the time…miserable and exhausting.

      Some of I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS will discourage and upset you, but the message of survival and triumph over difficulties and pain is encouraging. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.

      • Thank you, Marilyn. The points you mentioned about Maya Angelou’s book is why I have avoided it for so long. But I have heard about the message of hope that it offers as well.

        As for the other, I’ll use summertime to recharge. Right now, I’m channeling Snoopy giving a huge hug to Charlie Brown and that makes me smile. 😉

  16. Molly

    This is a phenomenal blog, Mom! I was just talking to friend the other day who has 3 HUGE issues going on his life. He was talking about the fact that he just gets so depressed everyday. When I asked him what he was doing about it, he mentioned a lot of sleeping and possibly going to the doctor! I suggested that every time he start to feel low, he should do something that works towards the issues! For example one of his problems is he lost his job…. So instead of feeling low about it, look at some want ads and maybe even make yourself apply for one! As I explained to him, do something proactive anytime you start to feel low!

    • Doing something proactive instead of giving up is good advice, and I hope you can help your friend. But if things get really bad for him maybe he does need to see someone, though not necessarily a doctor who will just put him on a lot of meds.
      You and Grandma are so much alike, Molly. It wasn’t pushy or flashy, but you both would just find something interesting and helpful to do, and you’d work quietly for awhile, then talk, and you both always seemed so content. And even when you were just a little girl, she would take you along to visit someone and take cookies or flowers, or just stop in for a quick visit to cheer them up.

  17. Molly is wise. She got it from her grandmother, mother and Maya Angelou. 🙂 Laughter truly is the best medicine.

    • The problem, Lynne, is that before my mother’s dementia, she and I and Molly could not sit together without one of us getting tickled at something, and then passed it on to the others until we were all shaking. The longer, louder and more dramatic the meeting or sermon or presentation, the more likely we were to get giddy.
      You’re right: Laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s also the best antidote for boredom or worries, but we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, either.

  18. I did not know any of this about Dan Harris. How interesting and a book worth finding.
    Lovely post….so uplifting and positive. I think you must be a great person to be around.
    And yes, we will all miss Miss Maya so much! I loved teaching her too.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. Claudia. After what happened to Harris on national TV, it’s amazing he didn’t give up but really searched for answers. The title–10%–doesn’t seem like much, but it’s actually a tipping point to turn things around.
      For me, the most important reminder was that even small changes and seemingly minor gains actually make a huge difference.

  19. I’ve always agreed with Maya’s words, Marylin. Growing up, I remember my sister and I trying to hold back our laughter in church. Something as silly as a piece of fuzz drifting in front of our eyes would make us want to laugh out loud. Our mother would cast the disappointing eye and we knew we had to muffle the laughter with our hands.
    My personal happiness hint would be, if you think things are rough for you, always remember there is someone far worse off. This has gotten me through difficult times in my life.

    • Jill, you and your sister would have gotten me kicked out of church if we sat together. One Sunday the lady in front of us had a tag on her dress sticking out at the neckline in back–but it turned out to the the price tag–and it had been marked down twice. I started giggling.

      My mother gave me one of “those looks” that settled me down immediately, and then privately, very smoothly, she leaned forward, patted the woman’s shoulder and gently tucked the tag inside, out of sight. My mom never allowed unkindness, and she taught me the lessons I remember very clearly without her ever saying a word.

  20. This is such a beautiful post. I laughed when I pictured your sweet mother blowing bubbles through the straw (we all ought to do that more often), and your thoughts on teaching “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and the effect of Maya Angelou’s brilliant words on so many of your students gave me goosebumps. Thank you so much for including Miss Harper Lee (the dog) in a post about happiness. She makes her human mommy 10% happier–and then some–every single day.

    • As Miss Harper Lee’s human mommy, you make all your readers 10%+ happier through your blog. Your ideas are so creative, and Miss Harper Lee is so cooperative! The “snake charming” is the sweetest, funniest sequence of pictures yet, and I couldn’t imagine leaving it out of this post.
      Thank you!

  21. When I need a lift I look at hayrolls. Giant rolls of hay scattered across fresh cropped fields. I feel especially blessed when I happen upon them. With the advent of Pinterest, I don’t have to wait for nature to make me smile – I can look at my pictorial collection (second-best to the real thing, but still a mood elevator!)

    If we keep adding ways to make us 10% happier, do we eventually reach 100% improvement?

    And I’d be remiss not to mention I appreciate the intro to the golden snake charmer – thanks, Marylin!

    • Actually, there’s probably a point of diminishing returns, Shel, but it’s worth a try! Giant rolls of hay scattered across fields give me a lift, too; especially one farm’s creations on the backroads between Yates Center and Fort Scott. As I drive that last stretch to visit my mother, I watch to see what new things the farmer has done. In Oct. one of the hay rolls will have a pumpkin face painted on the side; at Easter it was the face of a bunny, and the hay roll was beside a tree trunk painted orange like a carrot; another time it was a winking dragon!
      It’s always something, and I love finding people who take whatever they have and use it to create something fun and wonderful. Only once–out of all my trips–did I see the farmer working on one of the hay rolls. I honked as I drove by, stuck my hand out of my open window and gave a thumbs up! He was a weathered older man who had the most wonderful smile; he took off his cap and waved it at me.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the golden snake charmer, Shel. I couldn’t resist.

      • Your experience with the hayroll decorator brought back a wonderful memory for me. It was a similar situation in Newcastle, OK – a lackluster town I had to drive through to get to work each day. I looked forward to the driving out to see how “the” hayroll was decorated. I was so excited when I ‘caught’ the aged man in the act, I had to stop. It made me a little sad when the decorating stopped after all those years. Maybe he’s still okay and now decorating hayrolls on the backroads between Yates Center and Fort Scott!

      • I’m guessing maybe your man in OK and mine in KS were either related, or they both had that little glow of “need to create” as well as harvest. Shel, I just love it when I see or hear of this kind of creativity; it makes me want to whistle and clap my hands!

  22. One of the things I like about the exchange with your mother and her friend, was the friend’s honest response. Friendship can be a life saver when you need to unburden yourself of something so personal. I have had to work on that and share when I need help. However, several years ago, I discovered the power of the endorphin! And when I can’t figure out something, including what will make me feel better, I walk…fast :). As that ‘happy juice’ begins to flow in my brain, suddenly life doesn’t seem so bad and I can see the positivity. So I would say walking is my gateway to happiness!

    • Very interesting way of perceiving her friend’s response, Laurie. I’m glad to see it from that perspective. She was one of those friends who always had an excuse for not figuring something out, but now that I think about it, maybe it was with only my mother that she could admit it and ask for help.
      Thanks for your comment!

  23. Marylin, our dog is already a snake charmer without knowing the club existed – he squeaks and squeaks his snake and then howls his head off – he’s a border terrier and they’re known to ‘sing’! He has made me more than 10% happier, both from having him in my life and all the new experiences I’ve had with him:-)

    • Oh, Andrea, hearing a border terrier squeak a play snake and then “sing” in a howl would make my day 10% happier, too. That’s so cute. Our dog Maggie would probably ignore it…or bury it somewhere; for sure I know she wouldn’t howl or sing. Maybe your dog could teach her??? 😉

  24. Jenn

    Marilyn, what a great memory of your Mom! It takes a true caring person to help someone see the good when they are unable too, and doing it in such a simple way like giving her dough to punch.
    I think the 10% plan is something we could all try to do, and I plan to start that now.
    I am glad you have all of these wonderful stories of your Mom, thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Jenn. I appreciate that.
      My mom really could help others see the good…and then help them figure out a way to reach the goal…even if it was just punching bread dough. I remember thinking that Mom should have made her wash her hands real good first. That’s what she made me do, and her friend had very long fingernails and lots of rings.
      I guess it didn’t matter; I don’t think Mom actually baked or served that loaf! 😉

  25. I saw the book and the interview of Dan Harris after he wrote this book! I have notes in a notebook about this man, Marylin! So glad you followed through and posted about this experience that changed his life! I love the idea of being 10% happier! I think your mother gave you so much in her lifetime and that episode of punching the bread dough was a clever way to get her friend to be happier! I enjoy my grandchildren, their views on life, when I need to smile or laugh, or a good hug. I am blessed with these. So glad you added that you taught Maya’s book. I like how you said you could tell which students were ‘caged.’ Good post with lots of ‘food for thought, Marylin!’ Smiles, Robin

  26. I didn’t actually see his meltdown on TV, Robin, or an interview after he wrote the book. But he was on talk radio one night sharing some of the strange steps he took to figure out what worked for him, and I loved his voice and the way he could laugh at himself and still be serious about the importance of what he learned.
    I’m glad several things on this post struck a chord with you. You and I are on the same page about feeling blessed with your grandchildren and their views, and the importance of their hugs!

  27. Another wonderfully thought-provoking and beautifully written post Marylin to make me smile, nod in agreement, think wistful thoughts and then remember those times when I’ve tried so hard to stifle laughter in the most inappropriate places (like church!) but making it so much worse!
    I loved Maya Angelou’s poems and writing and that quote is the best yet! So true! Laughter is the best medicine there is.
    Funnily enough while with the boys this weekend we were reminiscing about a day out that we had taken years ago during one of visits back home, in the UK, with my uncle and auntie. We always have the best times with them. It was me, my three kids and my mum and with my uncle and auntie we walked to the park and had a picnic. In the rain. We were the only ones there, but we were determined to have our picnic no matter what. Everyone who did walk by thought we were mad! We laughed about that.
    But what really got us was a bit later on, the weather being even worse, we walked to the train station to see if we could take the steam train but it wasn’t running that day. As we stood on the platform wondering what to do for the next couple of hours for our outing my auntie said, in her delightful northern accent, “Well, we could always go to Ramsbottom!” She said it in all seriousness and there really is a place called that but something about the way she said it made us all absolutely crease up with the kind of laughter that made our ribs almost burst out of our chests. We laugh about it now all these years later.
    I guess then that would be my10% plan…hang around my uncle and auntie more often 😀

  28. Sherri, I love this! I hope you print out and keep your entire comment; it’s a terrific memory, well written as a funny, touching and genuine story filled with excellent lessons and inspirations.
    It also fits in the One Word category: when you’re feeling down or want to perk someone else up, you can always suggest they go to “Ramsbottom”!!!
    Just the word makes me smile! Thank you, Sherri.

  29. Interesting post Marylin. Right now I am re-reading ‘..Caged Bird ..” (and am sure I’m one of many doing exactly that) .

    • Hi, Sallie! I have a friend who works in the library about a mile from us. She was going to meet several of us for lunch today but had to cancel–she said it has been nonstop since yesterday and now the last books of Maya Angelou’s–her poems, books, any books with any of her writing–have all been checked out! Enjoy I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS.

  30. Jane Thorne

    I haven’t been blessed with meeting your Mum Marylin, but I am grateful for the gift of getting to know a little of her ‘wonderfulness’ through your writing. You share that ‘wonderfulness’, as I see it in you. My 10% I discover outside of my comfort zone…I push myself to give 10% on something that I don’t think I could do, then explore till I find it. I pick a thread up that is different and then run with it to see where it leads….there is magic in the 10%. A wonderful, thought provoking post as always and I just love the flower filled grandchildren’s wellies…delightful. ❤ xx

    • And I love how you call the galoshes wellies! It sounds so much better, so much cuter for children’s rubber boots. I really like how you discover your 10% outside your comfort zone, Jane, how you pick a different thread and run with it to see where it goes. That’s wonderful!
      And than you for the sweet comments you always make about my mom, Jane. Or Mum, as you say. Again, it sounds so much better. 🙂

  31. TBM

    Oh I’m a firm believer in laughter. I can’t go a day without laughing. And maybe I should “punch” some dough 🙂

    • Make two loaves. With yeast bread, you punch it down after it rises, then cover the bowl with a cloth, let it rise again and knead it again. That’s the loaf you’ll bake and eat and share with others.
      If you punch like crazy, again and again, you may start laughing, but you might as well toss out the dough when you finish as it’ll be too tough and kind of dry (and might have fake fingernails in it if your punching friend gets carried away!) 😉

  32. I’m convinced there is nothing better than laughter to lower our blood pressure and ease our stress. But it can be difficult to find when life seems to be beating us down. For me, it also helps to take a long walk and reconnect with the larger world. Too often, what’s bringing me down or stressing me out is trivial. A clear look at a star-filled sky also does wonders.

    • I’m with you on the wonders of laughter lowering our blood pressure! I also find that playing with our dog works, too, but maybe that’s because I end up laughing at her antics.
      Last night was a starry, starry night here in Colorado. I sat in the soft breezes and enjoyed the beauty. You’re so right–it words wonders!

  33. Your Mom gave her ‘unhappy friend’ very good advice, “Well, at least try doing things and see if you stumble on something that makes you happy.”
    I think I’ll take Mary’s cues too Marylin. Everyone deserves a little empathy, a little validation and a little happiness.

    • We’ll both take our cues from her on this, Theresa. For all her own practical, keep-working common sense habits, Mom never forgot that everyone does deserve a empathy, validation…and happiness. Thanks for saying that so well and reminding me.

  34. Just this morning the part time home health gal that helps me take care of mom & dad and I were laughing so hard we were nearly crying. You see I’m a terrible bread maker, and I had just pulled another part brick, part raw loaf out of the oven. I keep trying, some day it will happen!

    • You’ll love this, Brighid. The summer after my freshman year in college, I worked in the kitchen of a resort lodge in Estes Park, CO. The manager got called out, so he gave a muffin recipe to me so the two other college girls assigned to the bakery could make muffins for the dinner crowd. We followed the recipe exactly, except for one thing. Some huge commercial-size tins of ingredients on the shelves weren’t clearly labeled, so we had to guess. What we thought was baking powder was actually instant vanilla pudding mix.
      You could have used our muffins as hokey pucks!
      The dining room always offered a choice of breads with the dinner menu, but that night there were no muffins!
      You bread loaf was actually a HUGE success, Brighid–it had you all laughing so hard you were nearly crying. THAT’S SUCCESS! 🙂

  35. Karin Van den Bergh

    Dough pounding. Definitely an effective stress relief. LoL
    10% is found in the simple things..enjoying the first sunrays on my face while sitting on the deck, listening to the birds and sniffing at my hot cup of coffee..hmm;. And of course I’m happy when I sing..or is it the other way around 😉

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