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…

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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 }

Lily @ Lily's Health Pad September 29, 2010

Hard times help you grow. I must keep this in mind when I think about my current work situation. But as cliche as it sounds, if I can get through this rough spot, I can get through anything. And in the end I will come out stronger.

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Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook September 29, 2010

Angela, thank you for sharing your story! It’s inspirational when someone we know overcomes certain obstacles and becomes a beautiful human being.

Growing up, I went through a lot of obstacles, such as teasing and being bullied for not being able to hear others, but those times have shaped me into the person that I am today. I’m emotionally stronger, confident, and willing to beat the everyday challenges. It’s difficult on some days, but the loved ones around me are the ones who help me get through it.

Great post, Angela!

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Sava September 29, 2010

That is incredibly sad about the music player,
But it sounds like you turned a bad situation into a situation that was just fine :D

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Tina September 29, 2010

Agreed! Happiness is being able to see the blessings we currently have and then sharing that love and joy with others. Great post!

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Jennifer@ knackfornutrition September 29, 2010

It is funny how people can think alike sometimes. I wrote about appreciating the little things today on my blog as well. :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 29, 2010

Angela this is such a remarkable post! I love the depth of personal info, insight, realism, real heartfelt words you shared. Thank you for keeping it real :)

I totally agree with you on “mind over matter” and deciding to be happy or not. Life is about choices; and I am not a fake person at all, and I am not a ra-ra cheerleader type, but overall, I try to be upbeat and positive. Well I don’t “try”, I choose to be. Not every day is perfect, but it’s how we view the world, our circumstances, etc etc.

You and I both have psychology backgrounds so could talk about the junction of cognitive-behavioral influence all day long with ya Im sure :)

Seeing the rainbows and the bright spots? Well, I spent 10 months in Phoenix and hated every single second of it. It was awful, not for me and I longed to get back to San Diego after making a silly real estate purchase in Phoenix. With much blood sweat and tears, and just making it happen, we got back to sunny So Cal, we are home. And never plan to leave!
:)

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Steph September 29, 2010

Great story, Angela. You are very inspiring and you just made me feel so much better!

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Laura @ Starloz September 29, 2010

great post, i look on the brighter side of life. it’s much happier here!

that bread looks INCREDIBLE!

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Danielle September 29, 2010

A great post. This speaks of thanksgiving – of the act of ‘giving thanks’ & of having gratitude. Beautiful!

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Lisa @ bakebikeblog September 29, 2010

What a beautiful reflection :) And you are so right – sometimes even the smallest things can make a day something wonderful :)

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Krystina September 29, 2010

Oh my gosh I want to eat all of those biscuits! They look so flufffffffffffy.

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Camille September 29, 2010

I know for a fact that my day would be perfect if I ate those biscuits.

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Ashley @ Will Run for Food September 29, 2010

Great post! I need the reminder every now and then!

Oh, and did you just recently “wash” your ipod? If so, try sticking it in a bag of rice overnight. It helps to remove the moisture and has revived many water-logged electronics in our household. :)

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 29, 2010

What a beautiful post Angela! I would have to say when the husband and I broke up a few years ago while we were dating, it was something that was one of those things that seemed like it was the absolute most horrible decision in the world (which i suppose it was) but it forced me to really focus on myself and take control of who I was. Thinking about him every day of my life for a year and a half is more than enough for me to decide he was the one I couldn’t live without.

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Jen September 29, 2010

What a great post! I think it is great that you take the time to add inspirational and thoughtful messages to your posts, and they are so on target. Nearly all of us can relate to them–I guess that is why your blog is so popular! Keep up the great work!

Jen

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing September 29, 2010

LOVE this!!!
I’ve been through some difficult times in the past and now I see the good they came from it. Now, I’m going through a VERY difficult time and struggeling to see the four leaf clover.. but I have faith it’s there.

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Kacie (Nonexistent Colors) September 29, 2010

Thank you so much for sharing!! That’s not something everyone can do, but I feel most can relate to in some way. My undergrad was seriously a struggle for me, and it’s taken me until now– moving across the country, starting a masters program, and not knowing a soul, to realize how unhappy I truly was back then! I am in a whole new territory of life, but I am truly enjoying the challenge, and discovering more about me!!

And I fully agree with you, it is the smallest of the small where you find happiness!! Some days I can’t even explain what made them great, they just were! :)

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Chelsea at Striking Balance September 29, 2010

I am actually going through a tough time currently. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 3.5 years. I was the one that initiated it because I was no longer happy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset about it. You form a lot of habits in those 3.5 years that I now need to break! I wrote about the experience on my blog, so I won’t go into details here. But already, I am feeling more at peace and like this hard time will turn into a four leaf clover for me. Thanks for this post, I needed it :)

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Sarah September 29, 2010

Angela,

You’re right about happiness. I’ve noticed that conditional happiness always remains that way. People who can’t be happy until they have X often decide, as soon as they get it, that they then need Y, and then Z, and then the rest of the whole dang alphabet. Best to be happy with what you’ve got, however much there is of it.

I’m hoping that what I’m going through right now will serve as an opportunity for growth. I’ve had severe shoulder pains (impingement) for five months, and I can’t do much of anything, including exercise or the hundreds of creative things I used to do. I can’t brush my teeth or sleep without terrible, horrible ouchiness. Nothing has helped so far, in terms of treatment. I’m using this time to learn to take care of myself, eat better, rest when I need to instead of push myself, and to realize just how much I have in life, even if there’s not much left at the moment. I’m hoping I’ll just have a big growth spurt as I go through all of this. I’ve already decided that optimism isn’t mindless and frivolous the way I used to think it was, but the only way to survive with my sanity intact. I’m hoping to make this more than pretty words and put it into action. And it’s scary! And I don’t know how to do it! But now happens to be the right time to start.

And… this is so sappy. But I have you to thank for that last realization. Reading your blog has helped me in more than just my eating habits. Thanks. :)

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Lauren September 29, 2010

Beautifully written, Angela. You are so inspirational. Having a good day is only a matter of deciding to make it one :)

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Laura September 29, 2010

Thanks for this post, Angela!
I have found many silver linings after cloudy parts of my life. Your message here reminds us all to live presently and find the positive each day, even if it seems so small it’s invisible.
LOVE the rolls – did you bake them in a skillet?

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Erin September 29, 2010

I loved reading this tonight. No one’s life is perfect and it’s so important to put that in perspective and remember it. Every day is a gift, whether it’s raining and you’re cold or it’s the perfect sunny day and your heart is filled with joy. Life flies by.

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Michelle @ IronDivas September 29, 2010

I am such a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. It is easy to get off that train of thought, but I remind myself of that daily. I just made a huge leap of faith and finally am starting to do something that gives me joy. I started, along with a girlfriend of mine, a women’s fitness group in our area trying to encourage other women to make healthly eating & fitness a part of their lives, and showing them that it can be fun! There is no monetary gain in it right now, but just knowing that we can impact someone’s well-being and future is such a great feeling. Thank you for your post, it is really encouraging! I count my blessings everyday, and know that even if I were to never receive another one, that I have been given plenty!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 29, 2010

I’m excited to find out about the fluffy white clouds in your kitchen! 2009 was a super tough year for my family and I, but like you talked about in this post, I think so much of it made me stronger. It made me appreciate what I have so much more, and now I make an effort each day to be thankful for my life and not take little things for granted.

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Jessica September 29, 2010

Thank you for this post! I can relate to your school/career story. I love school, but later I learned that I do not like my major/career choice. I got a good paying job out of college, but I was so unhappy and anxious all the time. All I wanted to do is curl up in a ball after work and comfort myself with reality TV and wine. And then, one day I decided that I had to quit. I didn’t know when, but I would save money until I felt comfortable enough to leave.

Now I am at a job that I don’t hate – yay! It doesn’t pay nearly much and I am still unsure what I want to do long term, but I am SO much happier. I have a very good idea of what I want to do though. Life is too short to settle, right?

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Jessica September 29, 2010

And while I was at that job, I would tell myself that I could convince myself to like it and mold myself to be this person who I thought that I should be. That just doesn’t work. It was all of that struggling that made me more grateful and more hopeful.

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Eleanor September 29, 2010

I have never commented on your (amazing/beautiful/inspiring/lovely!) blog before, but I felt the need to with this particular post.
I’m 17 now, and my parents are in the process of getting a divorce. If I’m to choose a parent to go with, it will be my Mum. And if she gets the chance, she will move. Your leap of faith sounds a lot like the one I’m -nearly- about to take, and I just want to thank you for sharing that.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that makes moments perfect. We get to choose whether we have a good day or a bad day, and we can also choose to appreciate our days for what they are: chances at making life beautiful.

Love,
Eleanor

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Hillary September 29, 2010

all i want to say is: thank you for this :)

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stacey-healthylife September 29, 2010

Those look fantastic, so light and fluffy.

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Wei-Wei September 29, 2010

You’re so amazing.

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Moni'sMeals September 30, 2010

Thanks for sharing. You and your blog are beautiful and I just love coming over to check-in. :)
I am so happy for you that you have been in such a good place the past few years- a “present” place at that. ;)

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Marina September 30, 2010

I was like that, thinking how I’ll be happy when something happens, when I get to some point. But that’s not true, because the heart always wants more.
Now, every day when I wake up, I thank the universe for another day, and I promise myself that today will be a good day, and I’ll be happy and satisfied with myself.

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Judy September 30, 2010

Great post Angela. It is so important to focus on the positivies in any situation. If we are looking for the positive, we will find the positive. I also feel that everything happens for a reason and we must TRUST that things are happening exactly the way that they should be. Life can be amazing if we appreciate the love and beauty that is around us each and every day.

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Annie@stronghealthyfit September 30, 2010

Great post, very insightful :-) I think there is always something to be learned from difficult situations or periods of time in one’s life. I believe those times usually they serve to lead you to something better/new, or to teach you something important.

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Jes (Self Motivation) September 30, 2010

Thank you. I really needed to read that today. You just made my day!

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rachael September 30, 2010

Great post! I definitely look back on hard times with a silver lining too.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 30, 2010

Amazing post Angela! I can relate to this so much.

I went through some really tough times last year when I struggled with realizing I was in the wrong program at university, but it gave me the strength to change my career path and now I couldn’t be happier!

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 30, 2010

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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Allie Finch September 30, 2010

Beautiful story Angela :) Thank you.
THIS MOMENT is all there is — if we cannot except now, see things as they really are & be content…we will never be happy or at peace. Our egos are always “looking for more” & we have to break that cycle by being present. Rock climbing & yoga have helped me embrace living in the presence & incorporate that into every day life — so many active activities teach us focus & presence: running, cycling, kayaking, etc. My husband & I are making huge life changes to assure that we live NOW. No more waiting.

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Allie Finch September 30, 2010

I went through an extremely rough time a few years ago & was in a situation where someone who “loved me” betrayed & hurt me in numerous, horrible ways because of his addiction. I hated myself for so long because “I allowed” it to happen — I didn’t care enough about myself. This is my four-leaf clover: to heal, I had to forgive myself. I had learn to love myself, be able & willing to admit that I am beautiful & deserve happiness & surround myself with uplifting people only. As awful as that experience was, I would not change it because one of the bi-products was a woman who now loves herself & only treats herself in loving ways. :)

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Kristen September 30, 2010

We all go through difficult times in our lives and I firmly believe that these hard times are what makes us stronger. If we are never challenged then we will never be forced to dig deep for that inner strength that we may have never known we have had all along.
After going through one of the most trying times a couple of years ago, I realized that sometimes you don’t know just how murky the waters you are swimming in are until you’ve made it out of them. THEN you can look back and see just how far you’ve come.
I appreciate your uplifting posts, Angela. I’m sort of going through a time at the moment. Miserable with my job, but I think that this too shall be a turning point for me as well. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with the internet world!
Kristen

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Kate@andwhenshesays September 30, 2010

What a neat post. It is so true that the best way to get through life is to find the silver lining or the four leaf clover in even the crappiest situations – sometimes it doesn’t come til later, but if we can do it in the moment it’s so empowering! You can prove to yourself that you’re strong enough to not let it keep you down, and there is no feeling quite like that.

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