Fluffy White Clouds

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Today was a great day.

Something I have realized over the years is that good days are usually not the result of some big, exciting news or a sudden windfall of cash or prizes. Although, those can be fun to dream about.

Most good days are the result of appreciating what we have presently in our day to day lives.

If we wait for everything to fall into place, such as losing those last 10 pounds or finding that ‘perfect guy’, we may never feel content because we are constantly longing for more. We are never enough as we are right now. Even as you read this, you might be thinking, This doesn’t apply to me. I won’t be happy until I have ‘x’.

And you are probably right.

A couple years ago, I decided that I was going to appreciate myself, my life, and my circumstances for what they were. Of course, appreciate doesn’t mean that you can’t strive for growth and change, it just means that you understand where you currently are in life.

Even when we are between a rock and a hard place, these difficult circumstances are often for a reason even if we cannot see it at the time. I have been through some pretty rough times in my life, but when I look back on them I see what each situation has taught me and how they allowed me to grow.

When I was struggling with a career and grad school that made me miserable, I didn’t know it at the time, but they would serve as a major turning point in my life. The unhappiness I experienced eventually woke me up and suddenly, I was determined to never settle for mediocrity again.

After my parents divorced when I was 17, my mom and I started a new chapter and we moved across the country from New Brunswick to Ontario. I would have been entering my last year of high school with all of my friends (and long-time boyfriend) in New Brunswick, but instead I took a leap of faith and I chose to move and to challenge myself. My mom got a job transfer to Ontario and we moved shortly thereafter with our life stuffed into a few suitcases.

Things were rough, especially for the first few months before we found an apartment to live in. I was living with nearby family for the first while and I was trying to begin at a new school and also juggle my studies and social life while living out of a suitcase.

My mom and I shared many tears together that year.

But as they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

While that time was filled with many challenges, it was also quite remarkable to see the progression over time. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I grew as a person and I matured a lot. Slowly but surely things started to fall into place. I started my last year of high school in a new school where I didn’t know a soul, but as luck would have it, I ended up meeting my future husband during my first day of class.

Sometimes a leap of faith has a hidden four leaf clover.

So yes, today was a good day, for no particular reason except for the fact that I decided it was.

The skies were bright blue with fluffy white clouds and the leaves were blazing orange and red, after several days of cold and rain. I hit the pavement, not even overly wanting to workout, but once I got out there I thanked my lucky stars that I had. I ran a fast 4 miles listening to nothing but the crunching of the leaves under my feet and the crickets chirping in the woods.

fallroad thumb   Fluffy White Clouds

[Image source]

That is not my picture, but perhaps in a couple more weeks?! ;)

I must mention that it took putting my music player in the washing machine (and breaking it) it for me to run without music, but I digress. As I said, sometimes clouds have a silver lining. ;)

When I wrapped up my work for the day, I decided to bottle the fluffy white clouds and create my own silver lining in my kitchen…

20100929IMG 3652 thumb   Fluffy White Clouds

20100929IMG 3637 thumb   Fluffy White Clouds

20100929IMG 3644 thumb   Fluffy White Clouds

But more on that tomorrow.

Do you ever look back on a tough time in your life and see the hidden four leaf clovers or life lessons that it brought to your life?

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet September 29, 2010

That autumnal shot is gorgeous. At first I thought you took it! It is really pretty.
I look at NOW and can see the hidden four leaf clovers. Just praying that they pan out for me.

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats September 29, 2010

It is so true that being present is the key to being happy and at peace. I work on it all the time and it can be hard.

Oddly, despite having a hard time being present (yoga has helped that immensely over the years) I have always found silver linings in tough times. I think it might be something my parents taught me – that with every bad thing there is a silver lining.

I am sorry about your music player.

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Bethany @ More Fruit Please September 29, 2010

Excellent timing on the post! I was having a particularly “blue” day yesterday and just couldn’t shake the funk. I couldn’t stop focusing on how unhappy I am in my current situation. I keep thinking how things are going to be so much better after certain events happen. I talked to my mom about it and her advice was to stop thinking how I can be happy in the future, and start thinking how I can be happy today. I’m trying to keep that in mind today, and so far things have been better! Thanks for sharing!

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Leanne @ Radiant Balanced & Fit September 29, 2010

I’ve gone through some tough times with depression/anxiety, and thankfully I got through it. Although it was incredibly hard & painful for me and my family to go through it, I came out a better person. I am much more in touch with who I am today then I’ve ever been before. I can tell when I’m starting to get depressed or anxious & now have the skills to pull myself up before sinking too low.

Going through that makes me grateful for the overall positive happy outlook I have on my life now.

It also makes me appreciate my family for loving me enough to be patient & kind and forgive the many mean things I said during my darkest days.

Family truly is amazing.

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Maria @ Oh Healthy Day September 29, 2010

This is the exact encouragement I need today. I have recently been wanting to quit my job and move. To where? I don’t know, but somewhere away from the city and the crowds and the smog. But, I can’t do that. What I can do though is appreciate what I have now. A decent, well-paying, flexible job that challenges me. A cozy apartment and my wedding to look forward to. Someday, I will have the small house in the country, with roads resembling the photo from above. Someday, but today, I’m going to appreciate what I already have. Thanks for post!

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Dominic September 29, 2010

Beautiful post! I actually got goosebumps just reading it, and everything you said is so true. I find myself to be the type of personal that dwells on things, and I know my life would be /so/ much better if I just stopped and started living freely.
Thank you for this!

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Freya September 29, 2010

What a beautiful post! I’m struggling with a lot right now and feeling really quite depressed about it, thinking I can’t be really happy til x,y,z happens..so this is a very interesting post to read.
I love the look of the bread (?) you baked – so fluffy!!
Ps – i’m litterally having to hide the scuffins I baked yesterday, cos my family are eating them too fast :p they are INCREDIBLE!

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Emmanuelle September 29, 2010

Yes! I consider the past, good and bad moments alike, as lessons that taught me a lot and led to where I am today. And although that’s not exactly where I want to be, this is where I should be right now and I’m working towards the future, still appreciating (or trying to ;-)) what I have now.

So, seen you are practicing yoga off the mat, as this is known in yoga as “santosha”, or “contentment”. Meaning understanding and appreciating what you have and where you are now, still striving for growth, and certainly not meaning that you give up on whatever dreams you have!

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Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies September 29, 2010

Agreed – I think it’s so easy to assume that everyone else has always had it easy…when everyone has their own struggles. My life has been full of them, but they have made me stronger and I know that everything in my life is happening at the right pace, in the right place and the right time – regardless of the norms.

I agree…a day is good because you made it so. :) Lovely post.

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Monika @ ForeverImprovingGirl September 29, 2010

I was so happy to read this, because this is so very much what I believe. But this belief was neither innate nor easily won.

Like you, I’d struggled to find happiness for a long long time. And I too now understand that difficulties are often gifts in disguise. My current happiness germinated out of decades of unhappiness – and this happiness, I fully believe, is here to stay.

And yes: awareness of the beauty of the world, gratitude for the gifts and being fully and completely engaged and in the moment…that’s where happiness comes from. Objectively I may not be that different from the me of a few years ago, but inside…inside I am a whole new person and oh, I love the person I’ve become!

(In short: yes, EXACTLY! And thank you).

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) September 29, 2010

Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us Angela. Having just graduated and feeling directionless, I have been guilty of thinking ‘when x happens, I will be happy.’ It’s been an even more confusing summer as we just moved and moving + finding a job at the same time is sort of difficult. I like how you say, you can grow and challenge yourself but also be happy with your present situation. I’m working on it and now I have your story to inspire me. Thank you!

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Nic September 29, 2010

I can’t wait to hear about the silver lining that you’ve created in your kitchen! They look fabulous!

Yep, I think we’ve all struggled with hard times. My was right after high school. I decided not to go to college and instead start work at a local law firm. It was at that law firm that I started to learn about healthy living and treating my body well. If I hadn’t made the decision to skip out on college right after high school (which everyone in my life told me was a bad idea) I wouldn’t have been introduced to some great people who influenced me in so many good ways!

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Lisa September 29, 2010

All of the struggles I’ve been through have made me who I am now. I would never turn back time and change anything. Of course, it’s easy to say in hindsight–hard to say when in the moment!

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hippierunner September 29, 2010

I found this very inspiring, so thank you! I like looking back on tough situations and realizing how much I gained from them.

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Maria September 29, 2010

All I can say is, :)

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Alyson @ YNL Blog September 29, 2010

Poetry :) This is exactly why I adore your blog and look forward to reading it everyday! Ok, and those rolls look pretty amazing too ;)

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Dani @ Body By Nature September 29, 2010

Excellent post! The proverb “this too shall pass” is a beautiful reminder that even though some challenges we face may feel unmanagable, we will get through it.

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Heidi September 29, 2010

How strange!! Our stories are so similar! When I was 17 my parents decided to move to the other side of BC from Vancouver to a tiny little town and I fought it with everything I had, but I realized I couldn’t make it work in the city, going to high school while living with a friend. So I moved with them, and on my first day of school I met my future hubby and we now live in that same tiny little town with two kids :D Sometime the hardest things we go through are the things that shape us in the most wonderful ways. And you certainly wouldn’t know how amazing life can be without experiencing some bad first :)

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Amanda Davis September 29, 2010

Yes, especially the tough times my parents went through financially. It really sucked at the time but it taught me to be more responsible and careful with money and to appreciate the things I have.

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Heather (Heather's Dish) September 29, 2010

amen to all of this. there are so many hidden 4-leaf clovers in my life it’s ridiculous, and all i needed was a reminder today that the job i dislike has also been a catalyst to me falling in love with blogging and realizing what my true passions are. i love your attitude and the way that we’ve all been able to watch you as you grow and encourage others like me to pursue their dreams!

thanks girl :)

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KitKat @ Pursuit of Happiness September 29, 2010

What a great post, thanks for sharing!

Sometimes it’s so hard to see the silver lining during a rough time. But now having experienced the good that comes out of the tough times, it makes it that much easier to know that the rough patch will go away and potentially leave you in an even better place than where you started.

Almost 8 months ago I went through a really hard breakup (and some days it’s still hard) but in the past few months I did my first ever triathlon, I’m taking a photography class and I just started boxing! I have also been able to spend so much more time with my family and friends and can’t not explain how much I’ve learned to appreciate all of them. And as hard as it is, having a positive attitude through rough times can make all the difference.

Without having gone through the hard breakup part, I don’t think I’d be as strong as I am today and I definitely don’t think I would have pushed myself to try all these new things. It’s crazy how it all works out :)

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Babs September 29, 2010

Leaps of faith are what life is all about. Several years ago I had to decide between 2 jobs–one I had been temping at for the last 6 mons and a new job. Both had positives & negatives, but in the end I opted to go with the new, because it was new. Through the job, I met the man I’m going to marry in a few weeks. A man that did his own leap of faith when he moved from Australia to America less than a year before I met him.

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Bridget September 29, 2010

beautiful post. having an attitude of gratitude truly changes each day for the better. you are an inspiration, Angela. thank you for simple, and yet striking, post and the consistent wonderful photography of your MOUTHWATERING food :) ahh what a beautiful day it is :)

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Julie @ Hotlegs Runner September 29, 2010

There’s always a silver lining — or a hidden 4 -leaf clover. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes (and our hearts) to be able to find them =)

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Jenny@ The Healthy Teenager, green tea, yoga and baking September 29, 2010

I can’t wait to hear about your fluffy clouds ^.^
I love your attitude, you’re a real inspiration. You’re totally right, you’re the only one who can control your happiness, you’re the only one in charge of your emotions.
It’s up to yourself to make the most of life as it is.
Love it!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 29, 2010

Oooh, can’t wait for your edible fluffy cloud recipe tomorrow. This is a great reminder. I was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness that has no cure or treatment. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the pain and think that I can’t be happy until the pain stops. But since that’s not going to happen, I guess I need to just learn to be happy despite the pain.

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Shanna, like Banana September 29, 2010

Living in the now and appreciating it for what it’s worth is very difficult. I was (and still am) who thrives on goal setting and achieving the ‘next big thing’. This makes being in the present unsatisfying at times, but I’m slowly trying to turn that around.

This past Sunday was one such day when I literally frolicked in the ocean and then proceeded to be a goofball in Target and wear a turkey on my head the entire time shopping. It was a good day :)

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Sassy Molassy September 29, 2010

Thanks for this positive post! Sometimes it is hard to find the silver lining, but that’s when you have to create it yourself. Often, I just remind myself that the tough times are getting me closer to the person I want to be and challenging me to be stronger and better version of who I strive to be.

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine September 29, 2010

My senior year of high school, my boyfriend of two years broke up with me. It was one of the hardest times of my life, but I came out of it so much stronger. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to stop crying, that everything would be alright, but I think handling it the way I did taught me far more than if I’d bounced back in a minute. I know now not to let other people create my happiness.

That bread looks ah-mazing. So excited for the recipe!

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liane September 29, 2010

Weird.. I was just having a conversation with someone at lunch about finding the positive in the situation I’ve found myself in…
On Nov 15, 2004 I walked into work and was told that the office was closing and I was let go. I was devasted. In hindsight, it was the really the best thing… I picked myself up, got myself through a couple months of unemployment and worked at finding a job that fit.
Last week, I found out that as of Nov 10th, I won’t be working at the company I am at now.
Pretty much 6 years to the day, I find myself faced with another bout of unemployment.
Except instead of being devasted and thinking I’ll never find anything else, I know that’s not true.
I will survive, I might be counting pennies for a bit, but I can live without “stuff”. The things that are truly important, the irreplaceable things — family, friends– I am surrounded by those, so I might not find a job tomorrow, or even next week, but I know I will :)

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Lisa September 29, 2010

That bread looks so good! mm!

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Lisa September 29, 2010

And, its posts like these where you let us into your life and show how your own struggles turned into blessings in disguises and how things happen for a reason, that gives me the hope that the hard times I’ve been through will turn out the same. I love reading and ALWAYS look foward to each and every day! =) Thank you for sharing your life with us!

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Kristina @ spabettie September 29, 2010

This is So Absolutely True… I have had a couple VERY difficult things to deal with in my life, and looking back now, I know they showed me how strong I truly am, and how I act in emergency and just what I am capable of. :) whew… there was a doozy, and sometimes I still am in awe when I think of how calm and collected I was.

Positive thinking and MAKING DECLARATIONS can be a Very Powerful Thing.

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Traci September 29, 2010

Yet again I am encouraged by your Post. I even shed a tear. Thank you for sharing:)

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Allison September 29, 2010

Great story..Nothing better then listening to nature on a run prefect time to just let your mind go and take it all in.. I never run with a ipod. I want to hear myself think or not. Just a beautiful thing.

Wonderful post today.

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss September 29, 2010

That’s a beautiful story, Angela. I always like to think something good comes from every situation, no matter how bad it may seem at the time. :) It helps you get through the rough times knowing it’ll all be worth it.

I bet the scenery was gorgeous for your run! I feel the same way with horseback riding through the leaves and cool weather- it’s so pleasant!

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Kelsey @ Clean Teen Kelsey September 29, 2010

I really appreciated this post, Angela. I’m 16, almost 17, and my parents are going through a divorce right now. It is unbelievably hard with all the papers, discussions and drama, and sometimes it’s a struggle to see the bright side of things. I try to remember that this experience will help strengthen me though, and if I can handle this now, I will be much more prepared for challenging things in the future. Thanks again for this post. :)

Kelsey

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Sarah (turning point) September 29, 2010

You should write a book! Your inspirational stories along with your awesome recipes would make for an awesome book! I would buy it!! :)

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Janelle September 29, 2010

I have actually been incredibly introspective lately, wondering where I’m at in life and why. I have always felt out of place in life, but lately I’ve discovered I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. And your so right, happiness is a choice.
Today my happiness was the ginger cookies I made from your recipe. They are pretty close to the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously. Thank you!

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Andrea September 29, 2010

Love this- I totally agree! I even consider there to be a huge silver lining to reaching rock bottom with my eating disorder- though recovery was exceedingly difficult, it made me reconsider every aspect of my life, not just my relationship with food. I switched programs in University, re-evaluated my friendships, and started doing things that actually made me happy instead of what I assumed would please everyone else. I’m not 100% there yet in terms of being easy on myself, but I’m waaaay better at listening to that wise inner voice now.

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Holly @ couchpotatoathlete September 29, 2010

It can be so hard to see the silver lining when you are in the cloud, you know? Like you said, hindsight is always 20/20.

To be honest, when I look back on the tough times of my life they aren’t so tough to me anymore. I’m having some issues with family members right now and I know that in the end everything will work out, but it is hard now. I don’t live with any regrets because my past decisions got me where I am today and they made me the person I am today.

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