Happier With Family

Say it Rah-shay By Jan 05, 2014 37 Comments

The holidays swept in and out in the blink of an eye. This past holiday season I was in a better place both mentally (not as stressed or grumpy) and financially (I made several gifts and did not shopping when I wanted to) and therefore I felt like I was able to appreciate the holiday a bit more. It was such a busy time leading up to the actual holiday that it was a bit of a blur and before I knew it, I was eating Chinese takeout with my family. Seriously, within an hour gifts were exchanged and opened and some family members dispersed to other places that they had to be.


As we ate our takeout, takeout that was ordered because no one had cooked, I expressed just how upsetting it was that a holiday season was over in an instant. My mom and aunt both agreed that they would have liked more family time and we promptly made plans to make the next year a time of family and fellowship.


It may seem strange to say that I need to create fellowship with my family but it’s true. For most of my life my family has lived with a few miles of each other and we are physically close to each other. I grew to resent the literal closeness and made choices to distance myself from my family. I thought I would be happier if I did my thing and found that I was not always alone in that thinking.  This is not to say that my family is some awful entity; not at all. But the Fagg Family can be a force to be reckoned with and sometimes this girl felt that she needed a break. That break seemed to have come at a price and at times my family seems to be perfect strangers and not people I have known forever. I thought I would take a cue from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home and make myself Happier with Family in my home.


Almost three years ago I made a list of 101 things I would complete in 1001 days. The list included a variety of things, from paying someone’s library fines, to taking a walk through my neighborhood, to trying new restaurants. The deadline for finishing my list, April  27th, is coming up and I am a little saddened that I kind of abandoned my list and did not accomplish some of my goals. My normal behavior would be to beat myself up about not finishing the list but following my goal to flourish this year, I decided to stop the mental beat down, take another look at the list and choose a few items which I could complete by the time April rolls around.


There are three items on my list which I have adapted for my Happier with Family at Home project and they are to have a dinner party, start a game night and to call my relatives at least twice each week. With everyone having cell phones we all have been texting each other which has been really fun. It may sound silly but it’s been a hoot to get a text message from my mom, cousin and daughter with the silliest jokes, emoticons and sometimes a simple hello.


I have also set into motion plans for my first dinner party with the family for the end of this month and I am kind of nervous. When we chatted on Christmas our conversation was heavily flavored with all of the things that could go wrong and I hesitated to make arrangements because I only heard the negatives. There could also be positives and instead of worrying about what could go wrong, I am focusing on what can and will go right and I have in mind a great evening of food, laughter and trash talk. To prep for this night I have been cleaning and purging the clutter and that is enough to make me feel brighter. My house is a home and waiting to be filled with family and games.



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This post was inspired by Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.


  1. I m away from my family a lot too because we live far apart from eachother. But every year, a family member of mine comes to our house, and we have a great time. Meanwhile, maybe i’ll write a goals list too.

  2. Grasyah says:

    It is always better and happier when I am with my family..

    I agree with what you’ve posted..

  3. Jenna Parsons says:

    I have never been stressed at the holidays until this year. I will have to take your tips and make some of the gifts instead of stressing about shopping next year.

  4. I have never been stressed at the holidays, until this year. I will have to take your tips, and make some of the gifts instead of stressing about shopping next year. We recently moved, so having to travel for the holidays was hectic.

  5. I think it’s really nice that you’ve decided to reconnect with family a little bit more. I have also always been one to keep a little distance, but I love them just as much as ever.

  6. I am not close to my family geographically, so holidays is just my kids and I. I try not to get too worked up about decorating and presents. I go for low-key

  7. Veronica says:

    I am not close to my family geographically, so holidays is just my kids and I. I try not to get too worked up about decorating and presents. I go for low-key

  8. Thien-Kim says:

    A dinner party sounds like a great idea! If the idea of preparing all that food makes you nervous, make it a potluck!

  9. Lawna says:

    Christmas is such a busy time for our family. We spent Christmas EVE by visiting my sister, and then my in-laws. Then on Christmas we did our own gift exchange and then went to my parents for another gift exchange and christmas dinner. I would feel so dissapointed if it only lasted an hour. Hopefully next year you guys can spend plenty of time together.

  10. Ignore the negative–concentrate on the positive and all will be fine!!

  11. Pauline C. says:

    I’m always happy with my family and I don’t even think I could live without them (eh, unless I get married. lol) But yes, just stay positive girl and it’s always fun being with your family 🙂

  12. I am so lucky that I live within minutes of the majority of my family. I see them all the time. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have them all around.

  13. Agree, nothing beats spending time with your family. 🙂

  14. Pamela R says:

    connecting with family can be a tough thing at first but in the end it will pay off big I’m sure–Hope the Dinner Party goes well!!

  15. kay adeola says:

    I live far from my family too and just the simple things of a quick message or email makes a big difference 🙂

  16. Ashley Gill says:

    This is awesome! Good For you!!! Family is the most important thing in my mind and I miss my family dearly. We used to get together very often when I lived back at home.. Now being 1800 miles away, its hard to simply connect over the phone. very sad sometimes. Good luck on getting you family together and happy! They’ll love you even more after you pull this off!

  17. Lexie Lane says:

    I think calling my relatives is a lot for me but I’ve started to really get into the “life is short” thing. So I know I have to really start appreciating the people who love me. This is a good thought provoking post. Thank you!

  18. Sharon says:

    Atta girl…although I’m not close with my family at all and totally don’t miss them, I’m always happy to see others working to make their families work

  19. I think it is brilliant that you are reaching out to cultivate better relations with your family. We have a lot of contention with our family adn sometimes things go wrong. But that doesn’t stop us all from trying to improve our relationships with each other and I have seen massive strides in our relationships over the last few years. Keep at it. It will happen.

  20. Sarah Bailey says:

    The holidays went by so quickly didn’t they – I love the fact it is family time when most people cn be around 🙂 x

  21. A family dinner party would be nice. It’s been a while since I have done that including my in laws.

  22. Terry says:

    I enjoy being with my family…. what is left of it. Holidays are not spent with my sisters any longer because everyone has their own family to go to so we usually all get together in the summer.

    I spend the Christmas Holiday with my Daughter, Grandkids, my Hubs family and close friends..

  23. Well.. I live on the other side of the world from my family. I haven't seen them in years…But yeah, I understand wanting distance.. at some point when we reunite it happens to me, too. Good luck with the dinner party and remember to think positive. 🙂

  24. Pam W says:

    I live very close to all my family, so I get to see them often. I would like to have more planned events with them, our holidays were over too fast.

  25. In the Philippines, we value family too much that we love to make houses near ancestral homes. But even though, there are still times when we feel like strangers, like how you described in the post.

  26. becca says:

    always look for the positive and you will be fine i have faith in you

  27. I am very close to my family especially my parents and siblings.

  28. I like the idea of completing the 1001 new things. But it’s not necessary to have a set date, and why not add one thing every time you accomplish something. So that you will always have something to look forward to get you out of your comfort zone and try out new things.

  29. Jennifer Williams says:

    I love that you are going to still work on the list instead of just walking away. I am not close with my family but wish we had some as my kids are really missing out. Do not take them for granted.

  30. It’s always nice to plan bonding times together – it makes the family really stronger.

  31. Lady Lilith says:

    You still have time to complete you list. You may not have time to do it all, but you can do more then you have now.

  32. So this post reminded me that I, too, did a 101 things in 1001 list…time to dig it out and see what I can cram into the remaining days I have left 🙂 Love the concept of your Happier Family project!

  33. Pam Hudson says:

    Good luck with your dinner party. I am sure it will be great and you will have a good time. Focusing on what can go right is the way to make sure everything does go smoothly.

  34. amanda says:

    I think this is something to definitely learn-do-discover for families.

  35. What a grand idea! I love the "Fellowship" idea. I may start that this year with my kids and hubby. Have a ton of food and sit and talk in the living room while chowing down!

  36. I really like these ideas. I think that, with the pressures of life, we often forget about the things that really matter such as spending quality time with our loved ones.

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