Viva Bliss Award: Passing It On

I’m not much for blog awards.

Not only do blog awards tend to feel suspiciously like chain letters to me (“Here’s your award! Now pass it on to ten people!”), I’m just not naturally inclined towards celebration. At least not formal celebration. I’m big on small, spontaneous celebrations for things like when my toddler accidentally draws a “U” or  a “V” on the white board or when my daughter not only goes the whole 2.5 miles to the library, but she skips most of the way.

But mostly I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth to decorate the house for an event just to throw away, store, or otherwise clean up everything almost as soon as I’ve got it all done. I didn’t get this from my mom. She had a different handmade wreath to hang on the door for every single holiday, including Presidents Day and National Sandwich Day (or was that Pinecone Appreciation Day?). I, on the other hand, am disinclined to “create” an occasion. I prefer to think that the occasion itself is the occasion, independent from the centerpiece I’ve crafted from an old TV Guide and some gold spray paint.

But when Leigh over at Live Your Bliss gave me the Viva Bliss Award, I felt like celebrating because I love Leigh’s blog (which I mentioned in January in my rundown of blogs I read regularly) and because the award acceptance stipulations didn’t involve hot glue guns or upcycling baby food jars into decorative terrariums.

Leigh has asked that recipients answer three questions and then pass the award along. First, the questions:

1) What color and flavor is Bliss?

The color of Bliss is the rosy pink of my children’s cheeks when they’ve been running around outside or when they’ve just woken up. And the flavor? Well, I’ve not been able to drink beer for several years, but I still associate the taste of a nice, bitter-but-complex IPA with Bliss. Bliss is satisfying but there’s an edge there to remind us that the feeling is, like everything, transient. It will end, but it will also come back, we just don’t know for sure when. In the case of an IPA, it’s with the next pint (provided you’ve not already had too many). With Bliss, it’s a little more difficult to predict.

2) What is the most unexpected time or place that you found Bliss?

This was a little more difficult to answer because Bliss almost always takes me by surprise. Maybe it was during my family’s post-layoff cross-country trip in June of 2011. Driving across Nebraska and Iowa with my husband, two kids, two cats, and a Vitamix in a rented behemoth of an SUV was surprisingly Blissful. I watched the American West change to the American Midwest and the high-grass prairie of eastern Nebraska give way to the rolling prairie of Iowa and felt at home.

Similarly, when my husband and I moved to California from North Carolina (pre-kids, pre-Vitamix, and in a VW Jetta, but still with two cats), we experienced an absolutely soul-satisfying sunset in Topeka, Kansas. That’s not a place we would have pegged for a Bliss-filled experience, but there it was.

There’s also a much more distant memory that I always have carried with me, and I’m not even sure if it’s an accurate memory. It was when I was just shy of four years old, wearing my crocheted sailor suit and walking across the cemetery lawn after my brother’s funeral. I squatted down to pick up these cute, perfect little daisies nestled in the dew-covered grass only to find that they were plastic. My mother made me put them back, but their presence there and the sunshine and the green grass has stuck with me as a very pleasant experience amid the confusion and uncertainty of that time in my life.

3) What’s your superhero name?

Oh, my goodness. I’ve never even considered a superhero name for myself before. I think my greatest strengths are rather mundane. If I were a superhero, my name would still be “CJ” but “CJ” would stand for my superpower. My greatest strength is prudence and the ability to recognize the nuances of every situation and appreciate it not only for its obvious “good” but also for the less straightforward, more bittersweet undercurrents.

My superhero name: CJ the Constantly Judicious! (Although maybe without the exclamation point. I don’t want to be rash with my punctuation.)

And my catch phrase might be, “Not so fast there. Let’s think about this.”

In addition, as a recipient of this award, I am encouraged to pass it along to 6-10 bloggers who “actively seek Bliss in their lives and inspire others to do the same.” But since I don’t read many blogs and since I just made a list of my favorites in January (see link above), I’m just going to offer two blogs that really stand out in the “seeking and inspiring Bliss” category.

  • Forgeover, by Tucker and Victoria. They’re on the January list, too (and I hope they’re not yet tired of me talking up their blog), but their blog so thoroughly matches the theme of this award, I wanted to call it out again. Tucker, Victoria, and their two kids are currently docked in the Marquesas after sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Mexico. This is the first major milestone of the journey that is the realization of their long-time dream to circumnavigate the globe. Every post reminds me that, when you’re following your dreams, even fairly significant setbacks seem a lot smaller than they might otherwise. They are making incredible memories for themselves and crafting a childhood for their children that’s full of Bliss, adventure, compassion and the everyday knowledge that they have the power to realize their dreams.
  • Simply Intentional, by Michelle and Jedd, a young married couple who have just begun an adventure with the Peace Corps in Jamaica. Their writing reveals the highs and lows of Peace Corps work, but it also reveals the connection between people just because they’re human beings, regardless of culture, ethnicity, economics, and geography. And not only that, their blog’s a great read.

Both Forgeover and Simply Intentional remind me of the power of compassion and opening our hearts to the possibilities before us. Talk about inspiring Bliss!

Congratulations on your Viva Bliss Award, guys!

Spread the Bliss: Nominate Someone for the Viva Bliss Award

As a recipient of the Viva Bliss Award, consider doing the following:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by writing a post about it and link to this post.
  2. Include the Viva Bliss logo in your post.
  3. Pass on the award to 6-10 bloggers who “actively seek Bliss in their lives and inspire others to do the same.”
  4. Answer the following questions in your post:
  • What color and flavor is Bliss?
  • What is the most unexpected time or place that you found Bliss?
  • What’s your superhero name?

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