The BIG 5 List – Pets

44497060_10215972748805023_4616306690273312768_oThis weeks BIG 5 List is all about pets.  Yep for the most part our four legged friends that love to hop in the RV and head out for adventures with us.
We have two traveling companions, Sadie and Chunk.  They are campers through and through.  When it’s time to load up the trailer, they are first to the door and ready to go.  Our little family members are seasoned campers  They have their spot in the RV and the truck and seem to love being out for the ride.
This week we will list our BIG 5 things to consider when traveling with your pet.
Here we go!
1.  Treat them like family.  When we take out little ones with us, we include them in most if not all of our activity.  We don’t bring them so they can just sit in the RV.  We have pets for companionship.  Leaving them alone all day is not why they want to be with you.. or the other way around.
2.  Make sure to give them their space.  We throw a extra large dog bed on the floor of the trailer.  It is a place for them to nap, lay around, or delight in a treat.  But it is their space and they know that they are welcome when we give them that place to be a part of our journey.
3.  Take their favorite stuff.  We have a blanket they like, their bed and of course their toys.  Again, it is a part of making them welcome.. that and when you do have to leave them alone, they have their stuff to keep them entertained.
4.  Make sure their shots are up to date and bring along their medical record/shot records.  You never know when you will need them.  An unexpected trip to an out of town Vet or a trip to Petsmart for a special Spa Day.  You will need to have that documentation.  I have even heard of some camp grounds or RV resorts that want to know that your pets are current.
5.  Our Dogs love to take walks.  Help your dogs help you stay fit.  I see too many dogs just leashed (chained) up to a tree in the campsite while the people ignore them.  Walks on the beach are Sadie and Chunks favorite camping activity.  Chasing the ball on the beach is Chunks idea of heaven on earth.  So get out and active with your pets.

We love our pets and want them to be a part of our lives and our camping adventures!  If you bring them along have a great time with them.  They are special to all of us.
Oh.. a bonus item for the list…
If you have barkers… yeah ours tend to bark at times too.. but they typically bark when they are scared or lonely.  The more they know you are there for them, the less they bark.  At least that’s our experience.
Thanks for coming along with us… what are some things you do with your pets and hey… how about giving us a tip on your pet experience.  Leave us a comment.
Have a Happy Day!

Two Months and all is well

retiredIt’s been two months since my last day of employment.  My retirement day and “ceremony” was nothing special other than the drive home when I realized that waking up every morning was going to be different.  I would have to find a new purpose for getting out of bed.  Life was no longer about waking up and providing for the family, the retirement plan would now take care of that.  For the first week I spent time realizing how life would be different.  I created task lists and to do’s.  I spent time thinking about future direction and the projects that I would be taking on, we established our goals for 2019 and beyond.  And low and behold I became busier that I ever have been.  A good kind of busy though, a busy that is driven by me and what I want to do, when I want to do it.
I have mentioned before that I am very active in Scouting.  Scouting has taken a large amount of my time.  It is time that I love giving as I know and have seen the benefits of the program in building up youth and leading them to be good people that will one day assume leadership in our communities.  That is a subject for another time, but I share this to say that being retired has allowed me more time to give to Scouting.
I was asked a few months before my retirement if I would entertain the idea of leading a major project for the local Scout Council.  Taking on the Committee Chairman position to lead the Contingent to the 2021 National Jamboree.  I accepted this position with the understanding that it would essentially become a full time job (not paid).  And so far it has lived up to that expectation.  There is almost something every day that I have to dedicate to this effort.  Don’t get me wrong.. I love it and it has been a ton of fun…. so far.
But today marks the two month mark since my retirement.  Teresa and I had discussed as we were planning for the retirement what the first few months would look like.  How the money would be budgeted, what to do with my time, and of course, how much time we could spend in the RV.  So with the holidays right on the heals of the retirement, the kids house burning, and the birth of our grandson, it has been a real busy two months.  We did manage to get our in the RV once in November, but it soon became a temporary home while the insurance found a place for the kids to stay.  That is all working out just fine now for the kids and it looks like their house will be ready to move in around April or May.
So in the first two months all things considered all is well.  We are not worried about the money, we are keeping busy, going to gym every morning, and then there is the blog and the Youtube Channel.  Which we have taken on as a project to share our happy life.
The blog is… well you tell me… doing well?  I am not sure what that means or how to measure it.  I see the number of views and subscriptions have gone up, but in the two months since we started it we are not certain that our goal of establishing community has moved the needle.  We have not received feedback and our comments sections are extremely quiet.  So I assume that just takes time and time is something that we have for sure.
The Youtube channel relaunch also has been real quiet.  While our effort thus far has been in getting our plan together as to what our channel is going to look like and we are creating content and plans for future content, the growth of the channel is pretty non existent… but that too takes time and with more and more content we hope hope that it will grow.  For us it is about sharing the story.  We understand that there are millions of options on Youtube, but as we watch other channels we get the idea that there is something for everyone and a place for everyone’s story to be told.  So we will be hanging in there and will continue to create content for both the blog and the Youtube Channel.  It’s only been two months, the reality world that I live in knows that all good things need to grow and that simply takes time.  Time that we have.
It’s been two months to the day… and All is well.
Thanks for coming along with us on our journey.
Can I ask that you if you like what we are doing.. share it with a friend.  Check out our Youtube channel… and again, if you like what you see, share it.  If you don’t like it today.. check back.. the future looks fun for us and what we are trying to do.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness

Happiness1Lets talk about happiness.  I am sure that happiness is on a huge sliding scale and means something different to everyone.  We call our site the Happy Place Diaries, a reference to our RV by and large and the happiness that it has brought to us.  But the sub text of our site is a “Journey to Happiness” and that is where we need to define or shed some insight as to what Happiness means to us and what being on a journey to “find” it means.
First of all our journey to happiness should not imply that we are not happy and we are in search of being happy.  On the contrary, we are very happy with our lives, what we know however by observation is that happiness can be fleeting and change by life circumstances.  Our journey to happiness essentially is an effort to mitigate those circumstances and find happiness and joy in how we live our lives.  I think that we can distill that down to a few ideas or ways that we choose to live our lives.
Number 1.  Money.  Money is the number one stressor in most peoples lives.  We have achieved some financial freedom and have made decisions that allow us to reduce the stress that money could have on us.  We have conceded that we will never be millionaires and that we can live comfortably on what we have.  To us it comes down to an understanding that at the end of the day it is not a bunch of stuff that matters.  Rather it is how we use that stuff to make life better for us and others that make a difference.  Now would I love to be a millionaire?  Sure.. it would open a few more doors, but the trade off is the question.  What is the cost to have all the money and still not be happy.  One of the biggest decisions of our lives was for me to retire.  It came down to can we live comfortably and can we take care of ourselves and our family.  The answer was yes.  It would mean that we would have to make some sacrifices, if you want to call it that, in that, not moving into a new house and getting real good and our budgeting.  But working together we have come to a happy place in our money and that stressor of our lives.
Number 2.  Stuff.  How much stuff do you need.  We have our hobbies and interests, but when a serious inventory is taken of stuff… how much do you really use and what do you need.  Over the past six months or so we have really been taking a look at our stuff and what we need and use.  Many trips to the Salvation Army, Good Will, and the dump has reduced the amount of stuff we have.  Combined with selling off some good used stuff we really have a better understanding of our stuff.  Society dictates that we need more and more and encourages clutter, the by products of to much stuff.  We still have more work to do to reduce our stuff and declutter, but what we know for sure that less has become more.  I think that is one of the wonderful things about the RV.  Everything has a place, everything is in its place, and everything has a function or we don’t need it.
On the journey to happiness reduction of stuff has actually made us happier.  We have learned to use what we have and not get bogged down by what the “Jones’s” have.  It really does not matter in the grand scheme of things.  What I discovered after I retired is that when it comes to clothing for example, I have more than I need and use.  When I was working I was always in uniforms or casual clothes.  Now that I have quit wearing uniforms I am only wearing cloths that fit my life style.. casual.  Yeah, I’m holding on to a suit or two and keeping some nicer clothes in the closet, but really it’s all about comfort and practical use clothing.  The rest can go.  Kind of like going to a restaurant that has too much on the menu.  To many choices apply a little more stress and less happiness.  I know what I like and that is what I do.  That makes me more happy than wading through the clutter of stuff.
10900246_10204119814730465_1618872015724708408_oAnd Finally, number 3.. Family.  While it is last on this list, it certainly is first in what makes us happy.  Keeping our family first has made us very happy.  We have three kids that are all grown and almost gone.  They are the joy of our lives, not without frustration and concern at times, but that’s called parenting, our kids have grown to become good adults.  They all have good jobs, staying focused on their goals, and are good citizens.  They are responsible and loving.  They are caring and kind.  Our oldest son just gave us the gift of a grandchild.  The best of our family is that they value the family.  They understand that the family is most important.  It is the foundation of who and what we are.  Our whole family from our parents to now our Grandson is the most important thing in our lives.  It brings us great joy and happiness.
Family, Reducing Stress, and taking inventory of stuff.  A simply formula for happiness and three things that through focus and work have made us happy and contribute to our happiness.  We have a Happy Life, we want to keep it that way.. and this is our journey. Always staying focused on the reduction of anything that does not make us happy.  I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast one day and he summed it up pretty well.  “If it doesn’t make you money and it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”  It doesn’t do us much good to do things that move us away from happiness.  So we don’t.
We are happy to share… how about you?
What are some things that you do in your life to make you or keep you happy?
Leave us a comment and share happiness with us.

Monday’s Motivation

20-new-year-resolutions-list-2019-619x330Ok then.. you made all those resolutions and are motivated to make 2019 the “Best Year Ever”.  It is the 7th of January… how’s it going? One week into the New Year and I just came home from the gym.  Yep you guest it.  At least a third  less people that started a week ago.  Now I’m not judging here, just saying that if you really want something… DON’T GIVE UP!
You need to set the goal and go get it!  We talked about goal setting in another post and how it can help you find success.  That success leads to more and more success and soon it becomes easier to set and keep goals.  I think that too many people give up because they don’t get immediate results.  I sure worked that way.. but reality is what it is.  If I could write a goal to lose 10 pounds and POOF! It happened tomorrow I would be a happy camper.  But the fact is that it takes work, time, and energy, and most of all WILL.
You need to will to cross the finish line.  Today was hard at the gym.  I felt the affect of skipping two days (had to be there for my Grandson to be born).  The holiday meals and treats caught up and the alarm clock went off way to early.  But it’s the 7th of January and I had to make a choice.  I had to get up, put on the gym clothes and get in the gym.  I had to do the work so that tomorrow will be easier to get up and get the work in.  And so it goes.  That journey starts with a single step, but put a handful of steps together and you gain momentum that will lead you to accomplishing your goals!
So don’t give up.. especially on yourself.
So there is you Motivation for Monday.
Find yourself a reason.. find the will.. and GO FOR IT!

Levi Adam

ttxpcv7brjyj1rxnee29igWe would like to introduce you to the newest member of our Family.  Levi Adam.
Levi is our First Grandchild…. and we can not be more happy to finally meet him.
We are so proud of our Son and Daughter In Law.  Levi is healthy and has already brought so much Happiness to our lives!!!  A terrific way to Start 2019!
Mom and Dad are doing great and are adjusting to being new parents.
Everyone for the last few months have been talking about how great being a Grand Parent is.  After 24 hours, I can totally see what they mean.  Our lives have changed over time and this is a very welcome change and addition to our Happy lives.
Levi was born on January 5th and weighs in at 7lbs 3 oz.  So far he has been a quiet little guy, but has certainly showed off his ability to let everyone know when he needs attention or wants to be close to his mom.
Did I mention we are so Happy!  Can’t wait to take our little guy camping!
Thanks for letting us share!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPYNEWYEARWe wish you the very best in the New Year!
Thanks for coming along with our Journey to find Happiness in our lives and keep our dreams alive!
As we all set goals and look forward to what the New Year brings find your Happy Place and take those that you love along for the adventure!
Happy New Year.. Hope you all have a Fantastic 2019!
Jerry and Teresa!

The Company you Keep

17201265_10211096623424936_6421052433514078069_nSince we started our journey in the Happy Place a few years ago, we have found that there are different ways in which we enjoy our RVing experience.  We like the get away weekend where Teresa and I spend some time alone.  We also like to go as a part of a big group.  Most of the time however we like to spend our time with our group.  We have a lot of fun with our friends and family that we camp a lot with.  It is a big part of our RV community.
18740638_10211801748572624_756363865489076487_nAs we grow that community it is fun to find people that enjoy our type of camping and travel.  We are not full timers, but embrace many of the “Life style” choices of the full timers.  We love to mess around with gear, we love to travel, we love to spend time in our Happy Place.  Not quite ready to give up our sticks and bricks home, but if we were out every weekend in our camper, that would suit us just fine.
18700229_10211801750252666_3031405470785781557_nCamping with our Ka-tet (the name we call our little group) is a blast and because we enjoy each others company, we are open to exploring and seeing more in our campers.
Planning for longer distance and duration trips is on the horizon.  Muggy and Rob, Tom and Jen, and every once in awhile our Parents make up a super fun group to be with.  We add other couples in to the fold on occasion, but the company that you keep certainly drives how the journey goes.  Finding the right combinations of people and places make all the difference in the world when it comes to our experience.  Either way, we find that having the RV offers us more options to be with the ones we like to camp with and the things we do while out there.
In the coming year we will continue with our journey and look to some longer trips.  This coming summer we have a trip to the East planned that will take us to Kansas City and a big loop back home.  I can not wait for that one.
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Our camping community is to expand.  We are enjoying getting to know new people and sharing our journey.  With the kick off of this blog and our Youtube channel we hope to grow that even more.
Glad you are coming along for the journey!
Stay tuned.. the best is yet to come!

Merry Christmas

TZ1zgvGYQOOmuRqrZwr4yAFrom our Happy Place to Yours we wish you the most Happy Christmas!  This year has brought us lots of Joy and Happiness as we have been on our Journey to Discover a Happier life.  We are truly blessed and have a wonderful life… there can always be more though.  We look forward to the New Year and all it will bring.  Happiness, Challenges, a New Grand Baby!
This Christmas we hold our Family close and are reminded of those things that are the most important to us.
Find your Happy Place this coming Year!  And join us in our Journey to a Happy Life!
Blessings!
Jerry and Teresa

House Update- Just Stuff

epy4IY9qSVuMXq0VXVYl+QWell we are 4 days from our Sons house burning.. as expected, it has been consuming our lives since the Fire Department left.  I promise that this blog is not going to be about my sons house.. but until we get this situation to the recovery and cleaning phase it will be at the forefront.  The good news is the process will start on the 26th of December. Paper work goes in today and the insurance is all over it.
The point of this post is this.  It’s just stuff.
Just Stuff and as we enter the last weekend before Christmas it is important to remember that it is all stuff.  We value our stuff and sometimes let our stuff get the best of us.  As we walked through their house yesterday with the contractor that is going to get to the task of getting their lives back to normal we came to realize that with a few exceptions nothing in the house was that important.  The contractor asked what needed to be replaced immediately… besides the house itself…  There was nothing that was asked for.  There was not one item in the house that they could not live without.  That got me thinking.  A computer?  Clothing?  Furniture?  Besides personal items like pictures, everything can and will be replaced.  It is all just stuff.
rbiCzasUTNy3wBzXRfQ%OQI think that is one of the reason I love the RV so much.  There is not that much stuff.  We keep it simple and we make due with the things that we have.
The kids are not homeless, they are just displaced right now.  They still have a roof over their head as they are in our travel trailer… but they have heat, water, and the family right next door.  The stuff is going to be replaced.
We can be upset and feel some sorrow for the loss of the stuff, but at the end of the day they have to look ahead to what will be better.  New stuff.
The timing of this is awful that is for sure.  But nothing important was lost.  Christmas is still going to happen and in a couple of months they will move back into a remodeled home.
It could all be worse so we count our blessings.
Think about how you live and all the stuff.  What is important to you?  This ordeal has put things in perspective for us.
Have a Happy Holiday Season!
This has added to our appreciation of the Happy Place and the Happiness we find in our lives.

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Wellness Wednesday

Happiness1This morning while I was on my run at the gym I thought about where we are on our journey to Happiness.
Wellness Wednesday will not be a regular posting, but today I thought it important to share a few thoughts.
First of all, what is wellness.  I believe that wellness is one of those “to each his own” things.  Now we can all agree that it has to do with health.. but what makes you well?
I am sure that when we talk about wellness we immediately think of our health, so lets look at it in those terms.. health.. as it relates to our happiness.
Our physical health is very important.  And when I say our I am speaking of not only Teresa and I, but you all too.  This may apply to you and your situation.
So our physical health is very important to us.  We are not super health nuts, we try to eat healthy and are getting into the work outs.  We are three weeks into the gym routine and am really starting to enjoy my time getting healthy.  We both have noticed changes in our selves.  Weight loss, toning, and a general feeling of energy and fitness.
We feel this is important so we live longer and can maintain an active life style.  Looking at family history I think it is important for me to be healthy for a longer life.  My parents are still here and we enjoy the fact that they have been able to watch their grandchildren grow into adults.  They also are going to see a great-grandchild, something that their parents never got to see, nor did their grandparents.  We live in a different time where we have more information and more opportunity to be and stay healthy.  I want to be there to see my grandchildren become adults and perhaps see great-grandchildren.  So we need to stay physically healthy.
Financial Health is an important part of our lives also.  When we are financially healthy we have less stress, we have the ability to do as we want and see our plans become reality.  I retired last month from my career.  The reason I was able to retire was because we put ourselves in a position to be financially healthy.  We will never be millionaires and I doubt we will hit the lottery, but we will be comfortable for the rest of our lives.  I attribute this to forward thinking.  I am no genius and certainly not a financial guru, but decisions we made early in our career, namely to stay in it for 30 years, led to the point where we could retire and spend time living.
Happiness is a big component in our health and wellness.  We strive for happiness in our lives.  I heard once that happy people live longer and make those around them happy.  I also believe that happiness is up to you.  We live in a world that dictates struggle and strife.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Happiness is up to us.. we make it.  We take all of those things that contribute to happiness and make them happen.
Our RV has become a major part in that and to a certain degree, it has become the center piece of how we plan around our wellness.  We have made it a part of what we want out of our lives, who we want to be with, and how we want that manifest within our lives.
The Happy Place (our RV) is our escape, our community, and a focus point to move forward in our lives.
It is family, friends, and a wonderful place where all of our health comes together.
So wellness is important.  It is mental, physical, financial, and spiritual. We find ourselves better for focusing on all areas of our health and wellness.
I feel for those that struggle with their wellness.  It really is up to you to find your Happy Place.
We have found the road to ours.
Thanks for paying us a visit.  This blog is a part of that wellness plan.  It keeps us accountable because it is out there for all to see.
Thanks again!
A happy life starts with a happy Place!