Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Website Wednesday: Stretching Myself

On Wednesdays I write about websites that I visit often. It is also my participation in Works for Me Wednesday this week.

I have several websites that I visit regularly just because they stretch me. I'm not talking physical exercise here, but expanding my mind and heart.

The first is The Happiness Project. While the title may sound like something more self-indulgent than expanding (chocolate makes me happy! roller coasters make me happy!), it isn't. Gretchen Rubin spent a year researching the nature of happiness, with some surprising results. Her Twelve Commandments of Happiness include "Be polite and be fair" and "Do what ought to be done." As she reached out to others, she became, well, happier.

I found today's post particularly inspiring. I also like her Happiness Formulas and how she struggles with things that ought to make her happy, but don't.

Another website that makes me think about how to be a better person is The Simple Dollar. I wrote about this site before as a personal finance blog, but find that I'm much more drawn to his articles about living a good life. This post on Things that Make You Feel Good, for instance. It starts out about saving money by finding free things to do, but ends with the conclusion that truly, the best things in life are free.

My admiration for this blog was sealed when he decided to forego most of the advertising revenue rather than show ads that "conflicted with the mission" of the Simple Dollar. I greatly respect those who put their money where their mouth is, and immediately made a donation to the site. There's plenty of good financial advice here, but it's the life lessons that keep me coming back.

Zen Habits, winner of Performancing's Best Overall Blog, is a bit hard to categorize. Recent posts have titles like "One Simple Principle to Live By: Purity", "Why I Love Being a Dad" and "5 Powerful Reasons to Make Reflection a Daily Habit, and How to Do It." The writing style is clean and crisp and the articles make me say, "Hmmm."

My last recommendation for today isn't a website, but an email list. It is the Panhala daily poetry list. An archive of past poems can be found here and if you like what you see, you can subscribe by sending a message to

Poetry, like music, is very personal. I find Panhala's verse to be inspiring, funny, uplifting, poignant, and thought-provoking. Artists include Mary Oliver, Czeslaw Milosz, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, e. e. cummings, Rumi, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Reading the words of such amazing minds on a daily basis is one of the high points of my morning.


  1. Since I'm already a subscriber to Zen Habits and your review sounded so intriguing, I checked out The Happiness Project. Very cool site, I'm really liking it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Another website I enjoy for technical things about food is Harold McGee's columns in the New York Times -


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