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Happy Monday, folks!  I’ve put away the crowbar for another week — there’s nothing like getting a couple growing boys out of bed on a Monday morning to give those biceps a good workout with garden tools.

No one was smiling this morning.  Well, except me.

See, Monday morning now means a quiet house where I can just write.  Writing gets me out of bed.  Writing gives me energy.  So does reading great writing.

And coffee!  Coffee is really good too.

Finding happiness on a Monday, or any other day, is the basis for the wonderful blog  The Happiness Project.  (Yes, yet another great link found on Zebra Sounds!)  On The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin shares her “adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier”.  In one poignant post, she shares the paradoxes of happiness;  just one thing learned during her year-long journey of test-driving every happiness theory she could find.  Good reading!

To me, the true paradox of happiness is its unexpected painfulness.  A broken heart hurts like hell, but happiness/beauty can also pierce the heart with its sweetness.  When I look at my children, I feel so blessed and happy and lucky that it hurts.  The heart aches when sad things happen, but it can also ache with joy.

An alternative is to go through life slightly oblivious to all the intense beauty around us, keeping busy and on task to keep the mind and the heart from feeling too much.  A conscious or unconscious decision.  Plenty of fun and happy and laughs and pleasantness, just not the joy so sharp,  it cuts.

Happiness brings tears to my eyes nearly every day.  Is it a fear that all that makes me happy in this place could be ephemeral?  The knowledge that in this crazy world, anything can happen, any day?  Maybe happiness and sadness are separated by a very thin line, and the heart feels them both as one.  Either way, I cry at inopportune times, but that is me.

my happiness projectAll I have to do is look at those sweet sons of ours in the morning, before they are awake, and breathe deeply in their sleepy necks to wake them up.  It feels like as much happiness as I deserve all day.

Of course, the sleepyheads are so much cuter before they start moaning about the need to get up.  The onset of puberty might also change my tune.  We’ll see.

If all else fails to stir the happiness in my soul, there is always the option of putting on a happy face, even on the days when life’s blessings are less obvious.  Gretchen says it is possible.

The Little One has discovered that a paper plate works in a pinch.