Happiness Challenge: Birmingham, My Work, My Community.

Well I have officially fallen off the #31DaysofHappiness program. Not really. I have a lot to be happy about, but haven't been able to sit down and write about it. So let's just jump in, shall we?

I have been in love with Birmingham for a long, long time. And yes, I live in a suburb, but I consider myself a Birminghamian through and through (you can hear about how I got here, and why I stay, in this video on Why Bhm.) 

Sometimes I get so excited talking with people about the city that I realize I can sound like I work for the Chamber of Commerce. Not that I don't have my moments of frustration, which often happen when I'm on the road and see what other, particularly Southern cities are doing, and wishing that Birmingham would step it up a bit. But then I get home and take Nate to Railroad Park and have NolaIce snowballs in the middle of this great urban oasis, and I'm glad I don't live anywhere else.

I realize we are stepping it up.


Which brings me to the next point: My work. 

Today my father, as part of the #31DaysofHappinessProject, posted an eloquent blog about the happiness he enjoyed during his three decade career as a mortgage banker. In the course of his career, Dad went from bartender in Queens to the head of a major mortgage bank. It wasn't all good times, as he writes in his post today. But there were moments of joy in his work, and he sought them out. He writes:

"I was happiest when I dealt directly with the customers and helped them solve their problems. When I went home after many a long day, I would pose a simple test to see if I had a good day. Did I help someone buy a house? Did I help someone in distress stay in a house? If the answer was "Yes" to either question, I knew that I had a productive day. If not, I promised myself to get back on track the following day. someone buy a house? Did I help someone in distress stay in a house? If the answer was 'Yes' to either question, I knew that I had a productive day. If not, I promised myself to get back on track the following day." 

I read Dad's words this morning as I prepared for a video shoot with a group of Birmingham women who were to share their story with us for the magazine. In reading it, I was reminded that we all have a mission in this world. Part of my father's was (and is) to help get people into homes of their own. 

My mission is to help people tell their stories. I am happy, plain and simple, to be the person who listens, and types up the words, and set up the photo and video shoots. To tell stories on pages, and in Tweets, and in images.  

And when I get to help tell the stories of women who are proud to live in the South, to be engaged members of their community, like I did today? Well I'm over the moon. Just look at the amazing smile from Jann Robinson, one of the lovely local women who I got to spend the morning with:


Jann Robinson

(What am I not happy about? Well, the big old mark on my dress that I got from trying to rush out the door, brush my teeth, and take a phone call at the same time. Smoooth ....)

But I digress. 

I ended tonight at a meeting for Paint The Town Red, the April 14 fundraiser to benefit The Red Cross. I was pretty beat, having run a shoot in the morning, and meetings all afternoon. Nate was with me, patiently sitting playing his DS (and I hope listening to the conversation about this amazing event to support an organization that supports our community). 

I am tired. There might be a stack of dishes in the sink. I am probably going to fall asleep with my computer on my lap, and get up and do it all again tomorrow. But you know what? I've told some stories today. And I'll tell some more tomorrow. That makes me happy. 

Related Links:

The Happiness Challenge Day 21: The Laughing Sigh, Vodka Cranberry Clooney 

31 Days of Happiness: Stellar Fashion and Fitness 

31 Days of Happiness: Beautimous Burger

31 Days of Happiness: That's Just My Opinion