Tag: happiness

what makes you happy

what makes you happy?

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google images

I wonder how many people have asked themselves that question. I know that I hadn’t until the last few years. I think we don’t ask ourselves that because we’re afraid it makes us sound selfish and self-centered. After all, it’s not always about us and our “happiness”, is it? And that is true.

To always be concerned only for ourselves and our own happiness would indeed make us self-centered. But to never ask that question is to invite self-pity and depression.

We are so much better for ourselves and others when we seek a healthy balance. But that’s not usually the case. Most people don’t even know what makes them happy. They’ve never asked it of themselves so how could they?

Now before I go any further with this, there have been many studies to document that there are “universal” activities that bring most people joy. The most important one is being of service to others. I think that’s true of everyone I’ve ever talked to. We almost always feel better when we give of ourselves, even if it isn’t well received or appreciated all the time. We also feel happy when we’re around the people we love. But beyond that, the activites that make us happy are as unique as each of us.

For me, I like getting on my elliptical. It makes me happy to know I’m doing what is right for my health. I feel happy when I don’t overindulge in wrong eating. (which isn’t very often, by the way).Other things that make me happy:

  • Painting——anything and everything, pictures, walls, furniture. etc. Being creative in any way makes me happy.
  • The first cup of coffee in the morning practically makes me giddy.
  • Snuggling in my warm bed in a very cold bedroom.
  • Sitting on the beach
  • Decorating my home and the homes of anyone else who will let me.
  • Butter pecan ice cream and pizza. (not necessarily at the same time)
  • Wandering aimlessly in a book store, especially a used book store
  • Traveling
  • Flying
  • Collecting seashells
  • Sitting in a coffee shop
  • Books
  • Sitting in a library
  • Digging in the dirt
  • Comfortable clothes
  • The color yellow
  • The color aqua. (I guess it’s really all colors. Be it in fabric, paper, paint, etc.)

It’s important to know what makes us happy because when we’re dealing with some “blue” days or depression itself, or when we’re stressed, it’s good to know what we can turn to that might spark some joy. Sometimes just thinking about what we enjoy brings relief.

You notice I didn’t list things like God, family, friends, etc. Those are a “given” for most of us.I wanted to list some totally frivolous activities so you can be encouraged to do the same and not feel guilty. I’m not.

By the way, it’s OK to know what makes you happy.

It’s not just OK. It’s highly recommended by many mental health professionals.

I would love to hear from you. What really makes you happy? Not what you think you should say. Not what you think is the right thing to say. In case you don’t know where to begin, consider this. What causes you to lose track of time? Anything that causes you to lose track of time (it’s called being in the “flow”) is probably an activity that makes you happy. Give it a go. Just the act of writing it down is therapeutic.

God bless and have a good day.

Joshua 2016

Today is the first day of an exhausting week.

Today begins a week with our seven-year-old grandson. This is is third summer visit. He is quite something. Kind of an old soul in a kid’s body. He says and does the funniest things.

Last year he asked us if he could watch a certain movie, can’t even remember which one now. I asked him, ” What do you think your mom would say?”

He replied, “Well, you’re the adults in charge so it’s your decision.”  Remember, he was six at the time.

I need to let you know it backfired on him later when I told him no about something and he told me, “My mom lets me do it”. And, of course, I reminded him that I was the adult in charge. Hah!

It will be a fun-filled week of gorging on popcorn and cheese puffs. We’ll have an ice cream cone every day.  We’ll fish. We’ll hike. We’ll go to the beach. We’ll watch movies. We’ll do crafts. I have a bunch of stuff ready.

We will head up to the cabin on Wednesday where there will be mostly fishing and his favorite activity which I unwisely came up with last year and now it’s
“thing” with him.

We have a rope hammock set up between two trees. We pretend it’s a ship and we’re on the high seas. There are holes in the hammock where we put our “oars”, which are two long walking sticks that we have painted. We are chased by pirates, almost eaten by Pirhana, shipwrecked, you name it. Anything that can befall our vessel does. We have to paddle really fast to stay ahead of all the dangers.

I worried that I wouldn’t be up to this year because of my mom’s recent death. But I have decided I am going to give it my best shot. I’m telling myself it will be good for me.

cabin Joshua 2016

 

Joshua 2016

 

Joshua 2016

joshua cabin 2016

I was thinking today about life, how as one life ends somewhere another is beginning somewhere. Even though we grieve our loss, we must always remember that it’s our loss.  And our loss doesn’t mean someone else can’t be happy. I can remember when my husband had open heart surgery and it bothered me a lot that people in the waiting room were laughing and talking while I was scared to death and going through hell wondering if our life together was over.

I look back and realize I was wrong. Sadness and happiness are always happening simultaneously. That’s the nature of life. I think when we can step back and look at the big picture it helps us cope. It doesn’t take away the pain, of course, and I don’t think it should because:

Without pain there is no happiness. You can’t recover from something;  you can’t get over someone until you pass through the valley.

I wish it weren’t so but it is.

So this week I’m going to be a kid again myself. I’m going to give my grandson the best of me. His life is just beginning. I want it to be filled with as many good memories of his time with his Grandpa as we can give him.

But do think of me. When the week is over, I’m going to be exhausted!!!!!

God bless and I hope you have a calm week.

What is the foundation of your choices?

I am continuing from yesterday. As I wrote then,  I am listening to a series of sermons that Pastor Andy Stanley is doing on the Beatitudes. I wrote yesterday about the tenuous situation I find myself in because of my mom’s health and about how I will be making lots of choices this summer. Last week I wrote about that sometimes transparent line between hope and reality.

While his series focuses on happiness, I’ve chosen to pair it that subject with choices because happiness most certainly piggybacks on the choices we make.

Andy further says that “we suffer for doing the right thing and we suffer for doing the wrong thing, so which side do you want to be on? But you can only be happy on one side of that equation.”

Even an unhappy person can find happiness doing the right thing but an overall happy person can not be happy doing the wrong thing.

Andy Stanley again, “You sow and reap  your way to happiness.”

In my own words,

“The path to happiness is sowed (choices) along life’s way. Happiness is harvested (reaped) when the time is ripe.”

Matthew 7:24-28 is all about house building. The wise man makes the right choice by building on rock, not sand. His house will stand any storm. The foolish man makes a wrong choice and builds on sand. Well, you know what happens when sand castles get hit by waves, don’t you?

This story is often used to make the point that we are to build our lives on the only foundation that will stand, Christ. But maybe the lesson to be learned is that even that decision begins with a choice. Our “home” will either stand the storms or it won’t. It all depends on what choice we make from the very first part of construction.

So it goes with our future.

Our future dwelling places depend on the choices we are making today. I have chosen to build my life around the teachings of Christ. They have proven to be a strong and enduring foundation. That doesn’t mean my “house” hasn’t been shaken a few times. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had to shore up the foundation. But it (me) is still standing.

What are you building your future on? Do you even know?

God bless and have a great day.

 

heart

What is the condition of your heart?

Someone once said,

A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.

My mom never graduated from high school. She will tell you she is not smart although nothing could be further from the truth. She is a woman of integrity.

So when I came across this phrase, I thought of her.

She if often intimated by people with educations and feels inferior. She is easily in awe of people with money figuring they must be really smart if they have a lot of it.

But who is smarter? The person who has learned to live life humbly and generously or the one who has a couple of degrees, and a lot of money but is a miserable human being?

What is the condition of your heart?

What is the condition of mine?

How generous are we to others? Do we give our time and resources freely or do we hang on tight to them?

Sometimes I think I’m smart but when I do I remind myself that if I do make smart decisions, it’s because it’s the prayer I pray every day, “Lord, give me wisdom for each decision I have to make and each circumstance I find myself in. Make me smarter than I am.”

He has always provided me with the information, the resources, and the time I need to make good decisions. Sometimes I don’t receive wisdom until the very last minute but I have learned to trust God over the years. Thus I’ve learned that my thinking processes are guided by him and for the most part I am pleased with the decisions I make.

I have much to do today so I’m signing off quickly because God is waiting to hear from me and I’m waiting to hear from him. This has been a week of getting up and getting out the door with precious few minutes for our usual time together and I need to keep my heart tuned-up.

God bless and I hope you have a great weekend.

 

god-can-do-more/2017

It’s a choice. It’s all a choice. Here’s why.

It’s early and I’m getting ready to head to my mom’s.

I read a sentence this morning from Leo Tolstoy and it’s so true, in most instances anyway.

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.

I have to remind myself of that often. I’m not going to have my mom around that much longer, although she comes from a mother who lived to be one hundred and three and a sister that lived to one hundred and two. My mom is not as healthy as they were and is very frail. Every day we worry about a severe fall that will completely do her in.

But until then, I want to care for her the best I can. I’ve pampered her a lot this week just because I can. One of her caregivers is a licensed cosmetologist so she’s had a pedicure and a manicure. I’ve prepared some special meals and tonight she gets treated to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I am sad though because we don’t have the conversations we used to have. She can’t as she can’t follow a chain of thought for more than a few minutes. I realize I am in a stage of grieving even though I still have her with me physically. She’s not the mother I know. She’s a new mother, one that requires my utmost patience.

What a shift in roles, one I never saw coming but one that has enriched my life and made me a better person, although I worried for a time that it would make me bitter.

But God is on his throne guiding me every step of the way and I rest in him.

God bless and have a good day.

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