This is the True Joy in Life…

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

The being thoroughly worn out before you’re thrown on the scrap heap,

The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community

and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,

for the harder I work the more I love.

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no brief candle to me;

it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment

and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible

before handing it on to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw

I watched another Freedomain video recently, and he ended it with this quote, along with the latter below from his own mind:

“Wear yourself out in the pursuit of virtue, and leave only the barest husk to be thrown in the grave.

Just be used up completely.

Be emptied of words, be emptied of power, be emptied of dedication, be emptied of challenge, be emptied of courage – SPEND IT ALL.

Let only your skeleton be what the worms get – nothing else.

Have everything else spent to the last penny, and let that last penny of spending be that which kills you, because you have nothing left to give.

And that I think is the satisfying life.”

Stefan Molyneux

***

When watching this video over the course of a few days, the ending quote hit home with why I started blogging in the first place almost 4 years ago.  It really was mostly a creative outlet, but every Wednesday, I’d try to post something on marriage.  We’ve seen and known so many horrible or even “just limping along” marriages, that I wanted to impart some basic knowledge to people who didn’t know these things, and yet were searching for it.  I think this is normal for people who find out great truths to want to impart that knowledge to someone else.  Why on earth would you hide something that can help people with building better marriages, which in turn, creates healthier, happier children, and less divorce, better societies and more productive, good people in this world?!?!

Seriously, if you have that information and are not sharing it somehow, you may want to really ask yourself why you are keeping that valuable help from other people?  This isn’t meant as some kind of condemning judgment, and obviously sharing it can be done in a million different ways, I’m not saying everyone has to go start a blog or youtube channel and try to make a difference in those venues – but it’s just pure fact that by not sharing that information (which is like a treasure really) with people in dire need of it, is morally wrong.

It’s easier to see this fact when you apply it to being wealthy and not generous in your giving.  If a wealthy person isn’t giving in some way to society – to purely good, helpful causes, not the kind that perpetuate problems in society – then it is just like the rich man in the Bible who stores up grain all for himself:

Luke 12:13-21

[13] Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

[14] Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” [15] Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

[16] And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. [17] He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

[18] “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

[20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

[21] “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

Being “rich toward God,” is sharing the gospel and biblical truths about how life is meant to be lived.  Sharing that often comes in form of writing, books, blogs, but doesn’t have to only be in those ways.

“The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge, but not so the heart of fools.”

Proverbs 15:7

The best sharing is face-to-face with people in your real life, but writing and blogs is also extremely beneficial to many people – and is a better way to “broadcast” that knowledge and wisdom.  I know this personally because I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being told by those I’ve been blessed to touch!

Looking back, it’s been awe-inspiring to affect so many women’s and men’s lives through simply writing about marriage and sex or parenting.  Giving other people Truth so that they can better live their lives the way God would want them to, has been a privilege that I didn’t foresee when starting out writing as a mere creative outlet!

Our own marriage is in large part as good as it is because of other people who took their own time, energy and heart and passion to write great marriage books that I read during our first year when I worked at a Christian bookstore!  If they had thought what they had to say wasn’t important, didn’t need to be shared, or were neurotically worried that men reading their books would “compare their wives to the women writing these valuable books,” we would probably not have the marriage we have today.  The Truths we learned from these godly authors were SO valuable and important – their books were their ministry.  Many people who benefited from their writing would have missed out on those blessings if the authors had decided sharing these Truths were wrong – including the authors themselves!  Because sharing with others Truths that are life-giving is a blessing in and of itself!

While studying what these authors had to say on a wife’s role in a marriage during our first year, I was amazed it is so easy to get married when one has literally NO IDEA how to maintain that marriage or live together in a compatible way.  Even driving a car takes more time and effort in studying the laws of what is right and wrong to do while in it and out on the road.  I mean seriously, you get more instruction and valuable information when getting a driver’s license than you do before you get married – no wonder there are so many divorces or miserable marriages!

Most of it is likely due to lack of knowledge of how or what a good marriage actually looks like from day to day.

So make your life count!  Don’t live an “unlived life” full of complaining, slander, and wasting your time doing things that harm you!  You are meant for so much more than that ❤

Here is Stefan’s video, and again, it look me days to get through it little bits at a time.  And it’s not for children’s ears!!  He’s an atheist, so he cusses sometimes, but the overall messages he does are full of wisdom.

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Gardening: Just a Little Bit Goes a Long Way

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Our garden has been flourishing since we’ve started again!  It’s reminded me of so many passages in Scripture that talk about God and gardens, His pruning us and tending to us.  Everyday it is such a joy to go out and tend it.  Even just looking out our window to see it, along with the butterflies and moths that flit around in it, brings me so much joy each day.

My husband bought me a dragonfly light that changes beautiful colors at night to light the garden.  So we’ve nicknamed it Dragonfly Garden ❤  It is so sweet.

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I’ve seen a ladybug on our giant spinach leaves every time I’ve gone out this week, eating away the pests that would harm the plants.  And to my surprise, I saw a blue dragonfly on one of jalapeno plant leaves!!  It sat there for awhile and let me look at it 😀  It was so awesome and gave new meaning to our naming it Dragonfly Garden.

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We have such an abundance of cabbages, Swiss chard, and spinach it is finally helping our grocery bill since we no longer have to buy our salad greens (something we bought weekly) for our sandwiches and salads.  It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to go out to this garden that I and my son have planted together, and pick food for our table and know that it’s bringing in an abundance of nourishing vitamins and minerals to our family!

I always wanted to be a woman who had a sustainable garden – a woman who genuinely loved and enjoyed gardening.

***

It’s kind of strange to see that I’ve achieved this goal now.  Last year our tomato plants did so amazing we had a production each week to eat off of, so hopefully we can get back up to that again… but I’m particularly happy about our spinach leaves 😀  they cost a lot at our grocery store, and it’s just so fulfilling to be growing an abundance of them right in our backyard!

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For the Lord will comfort Zion [in her captivity];

He will comfort all her ruins.

And He will make her wilderness like Eden (the most beautiful garden),

And her desert like the garden of the Lord;

Joy and gladness will be found in her,

Thanksgiving and the voice of a melody.

Isaiah 51:3

 

And the Lord will continually guide you,

And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

 

***

God is the Gardener…

For we are  God’s fellow workers [His servants working together];

you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.”

1 Corinthians 3:9

November Joy

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November might possibly be my favorite month of the year.  It’s just so beautiful, the season of Fall is truly underway, and the delights of friends, family, and food await us by the bucket-load!

Happy November to you if you’re reading this!

When I think of November, I always think of our American tradition of Thanksgiving. This is the month of all months, especially for dwelling on how grateful we are for the blessings in our life.

After deciding to do a Thankfulness journal back in August, cataloging my days with the boys like a diary of sorts, and adding in one thing every night that I was grateful for, I’ve decided this is something I will always try to do.  It’s been so wonderful to look back at the days, see what we did, the little hilarious things that happened, or the sad things and how we got through them, but especially to see what I thanked God for before bed each night.  It’s been interesting to wrap up each day, no matter how good or terrible it was, with the blessing of choosing thankfulness for at least ONE thing I was grateful for.  The days ebb and flow, stretching out and long, or passing by faster than I felt I could keep up, but God’s love remained the same.

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I love the seasons, how each year brings a chance of renewal and remembering what God has blessed us with or brought us through, or what He’s doing right now in our trials.  Recently, our Bible study has switched from studying about the wonder of God, to the joy He wants us to experience.  It’s a strange thing to be studying so much about joy when November, for me, has always been about thankfulness.

I didn’t really realize it, but joyfulness comes extremely easily to me… and this is a gift I should be thankful for!  Ever since being accused of not being genuine – being too happy to be real – back when I was maybe 16 or 17, I’ve wondered why my joy, my genuine happiness wasn’t always perceived as a reality.

Our study guide asked us each to rate on a scale of 1-10, how much joy we have in our life, and I rated it easily at a 9 out of 10.

Joy, happiness, cheerfulness are feelings that come easily to me, but I never understood how much of a blessing this was until doing this study.  In fact, I almost felt a little ashamed at my celebrating the joyfulness of life, afraid that I only looked fake.  I never realized how this is something people sometimes have to work at, and sometimes very hard.  The author of the study admitted she believed her capacity for joy in her life had been only at a 3 out of 10 before searching it out in Scriptures.  I guess when someone is at such a low score of joy in their own life, when they see someone who has a higher level of joy, their first thought is that this person can’t be real, that having that kind of experience must be fake.

“Joy is a gift.

You can be more joyful tomorrow than you are today.”

A huge part of being joyful though, is allowing yourself to enjoy the gifts God’s give to all people in life.  It is also understanding yourself enough to know how to search out and go do the things that fill you back up with more joy when you’re running low or going through a difficult time.

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Whatever it is, joy doesn’t seem to be something that is passively waiting for everything to be just right before we can feel it’s pleasure.

JOY INVOLVES A SPECTRUM OF EMOTIONS, ACTIONS, AND RESPONSES THAT INCLUDE GLADNESS, CHEER, HAPPINESS, MERRIMENT, DELIGHTING, DANCING, SHOUTING, EXULTING, REJOICING, LAUGHING, PLAYING, BRIGHTENING, BLESSING, AND BEING BLESSED, TAKING PLEASURE IN, AND BEING WELL-PLEASED.

One of my favorite places to go in the mornings for a walk with the baby.

One of my favorite places to go in the mornings for a walk with the baby.

Make November full of joy for yourself and your family!

Cook up your favorite holiday dishes a little earlier, make some delicious pumpkin pancakes with hot maple syrup for breakfast, go for a walk in nature and really feel the vibrancy of the colors around you.  Curl up in quiet space with a good book and glass of wine, or get up early and wrap up in a blanket on the couch with a hot cup of your favorite coffee.  These are things that never fail to bring me joy.

Promise to do something, to be radiant with God’s love for you, and to allow yourself to search out joy this November, and I wonder if you’ll find yourself also swelling with gratitude in the end.

Black & White

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So I always thought I was a cat person.  I had no idea dogs – especially puppies – were such wonderful creatures.  I had a dog growing up but since we lived in the country, I spent very little time with her, we never trained her, so she was pretty wild and independent.  We never had a real bond between us… she wasn’t an inside dog, and I never played with her outside very much.  Maybe it started with that little dachshund making it’s way into our garage and us keeping it a few days, trying to return it to whoever lost it.  It was so sweet – so different from a cat – I couldn’t get over it.  No one in the neighborhood claimed her, but she ended up being wanted by an awesome lady who works with my husband!

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But this dog… this little dal… is soooooo sweet.  He has become my new best friend – seriously!

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He goes everywhere with us… loves kids (chases little kids though because they run away… lol must work on that).  He’s friendly!!!  Wants to please!!!!  And oh-so beautiful.

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The Art of Travel

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I have a friend that is incredibly and amazingly the most adventurous girl I know.  Her love, her passion?  Travel.  I came across an essay in the book, The Art of Living, that drew images in my head of her and her journeys around the world.  She doesn’t just take time off a busy schedule to go on some two-week vacation, this girl orchestrates complex legs of her journey of life where she is working in a different country as a nurse (Nepal), or on an extended stay in Bali, Indonesia.  She’s been to several places in Europe, Asia, and America, while she grew up and lives in the arctic circle.  Allow me to present my friend, a beautiful woman who inspires me, challenges me with her capacity for bravery, and truly embodies the poetic essay, The Art of Travel.  I adore her… enjoy her pictures of her journeys!

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When you pack your bags to explore the beauties of your own country or to travel around the world, consider these keys to a happy journey.

Travel lightly.  You are not traveling for people to see you!

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Travel slowly. Jet planes are for getting places not seeing places; take time to absorb the beauty and inspiration of a mountain or a cathedral.

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Travel expectantly.  Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened.  Untie the strings with an expectation of adventure.

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Travel hopefully.  “To travel hopefully,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, “is better than to arrive.”

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Travel humbly.  Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and ways of life.

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Travel courteously.  Consideration for your fellow travelers and your hosts will smooth the way through the most difficult days.

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Travel gratefully.  Show appreciation for the many things that are being done by others for your enjoyment and comfort.

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Travel with an open mind.  Leave your prejudices at home.

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Travel with curiosity.  It is not how far you go, but how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience.  Thoreau wrote a big book about tiny Walden Pond.

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Travel with imagination.  As the Old Spanish proverb puts it:  “He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”

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Travel fearlessly.  Banish worry and timidity; the world and its people belong to you just as you belong to the world.

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Travel relaxed.  Make up your mind to have a good time.  Let go and let God.

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Travel patiently.  It takes time to understand others, especially when there are barriers of language and custom; keep flexible and adaptable to all situations.

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Travel with the spirit of a world citizen.  You’ll discover that people are basically much the same the world around.  Be an ambassador of good will to all people.  ❤

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Avoiding a Victim Mentality & Pursuing Joy

I’ve been wondering for awhile what makes some people fall into a Victim Mentality, what makes them acquire a personality that truly believes that their life and what happens to them, is out of their control (and sometimes, the control of God).

I love taking my son over to spend time with his grandparents, I get time to talk to my dad about life, ideas, and just enjoy his and my mom’s presence.  Maybe its being 6 months pregnant, but its nice to be able to go over there, and relax and be taken care of with my mom creating homemade sodas for us, slushies with her margarita machine, ordering pizzas, or the latest new treat this last weekend… White Chocolate Covered Popcorn (so amazingly delicious). 

I wanted to ask my dad his thoughts on why a person might fall into a victim mentality way of thinking, we’ve both seen horrible things happen in our family and even in our own circumstances, but even in facing certain horrible life situations where we both at that time, were a victims, neither of us have fallen into victimization.  My dad emits a usually positive and joyful attitude, he has his faults too of course, but overall he takes life’s phases and trials with a grain of salt.

He also has a progressive bone disease that he found out about when I was 9 called osteoporosis, where he has to be extremely careful – any slip or minor fall could end him up in a wheel chair for the rest of his life.  His attitude in the midst of this is choosing positivity. Aside from avoiding truly dangerous situations (water parks), he doesn’t let this hold him back.  He goes to our beautiful downtown riverwalk and power walks super fast – enjoying the beautiful view and the broken and diseased body that he can still do many things with.  His walking efforts have even paid off, his bone density has actually increased (which is something not usually seen with osteoporosis).  Its amazing what the mind can achieve over the body when it truly embraces the joy of being alive, and of understanding that we have more control over how we decide to live than we would think to imagine.

He told me when talking this last weekend, about another person who had a major accident that resulted in them having to live life differently.  This man’s accident left him having excruciating pain in his body for the rest of his life, to make matters worse, the doctors told him that he had to be very careful, or any sudden movement could be the end for him.

He finally went to a doctor that really looked at his spine… he found that it was fused together, and had very little to no chance of breaking suddenly.  The doctor’s attitude was matter of fact,

“Well you can decide that you can live with this, or you can decide that you can’t….”

He gave him the permission to do as much as he could do physically, in tolerating the pain… exercising, being active, and getting out were allowed.  This simple attitude of “Well… its your choice how you deal with this,”  changed this man immediately, awakening his consciousness of his control over his own life.  He had slowly hobbled in to the office, walking crippled and bent over – afraid that any step might be the end of his fragile spine… but he literally ran, leaping out of this doctor’s office, his pain momentarily suspended in the pure joy he felt in realizing he was free.

 

My dad reiterated that “some people make it, and some people just don’t.”  Not everyone is capable of finding joy in their pain or hardships.  It is unnatural and goes against what even our brain chemicals would have us do (be overcome in depression).  But having joy in hardships is biblical, we are called to it… Jesus even said at one point, that all the things he was saying to us was SO THAT we could have a joy like His (John 15:11).  I’m in a great Bible study this fall that has breeched the beautiful topic of having joy amidst our hardships or crises.

 

I want to be known as someone who has a lot of joy… to me, if I can leave that impression on others as a “legacy,” I’ll feel like my life was lived well… I’ll feel like I achieved the greatest success.

Secrets of Happy Mommies ~ And the Importance of Being CONTENT!

I love being a mom.  I’d say that even with all the housework, tantrums, and even in being pregnant and hormonal – I’m definitely happy the majority of the time, and grateful for this life I’m living & for getting the privilege to be a mommy.

My son loves me so incredibly much – even after having a couple of time outs today, he cuddles up with me at bedtime, throws his arms around me and tells me that I’m “such a sweet mommy,” and that he loves having me for a mom.  *cue the tears*

I tell him all the time how he is a gift from God, and how much I love having him as my son.

Recently I’ve been digging in to the history of feminism, where exactly it came from, who the women really were, and what the main causes for “feminism” were.  It had slowly been revealed to me in reading these women’s stories, and one author even goes so far as to say this right out, that feminism was built on a woman’s discontentment with her life.

If you’re Christian, this should raise a red flag.

As a Christian woman, contentment in our life is something worth learning how to experience – its greater than a mere virtue, its crucial to a happy life in general!  To read the honesty, to see it played out in the lives of these women so long ago in how they let their discontentment rule the day (and their children’s and husband’s lives), shows the value of being content as a mother… as a wife… as a single, if you’re single.  Contentment is part of the Christian life – no matter how hard your life experiences, you must embrace that like Paul, you can do all things in Christ, Jesus.

 

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.

I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

 

I read this article with glee in seeing that I do/have done pretty much all of these – so yes, they really do work!  Put them into practice and start working on building contentment into your life!

From Parent’s Magazine: 17 Habits of Happy Moms:

1. Ask for help

Happy mothers are not afraid to ask for help from family and friends. While morose, martyred moms miss those out-of-town weekends and movie nights with their husband because they can’t find a babysitter or a willing relative, Very Happy Moms just say, “Please.”

2. Leave the house — now

Have you been outside today? Fresh air, sunlight, and nature are believed to be critical mood enhancers for women, and moms can get this little lift while pushing strollers or swings. Look around that playground. Who looks happy? Go talk to her, right now.

3. Plan some big fun

In my research, I’ve found that VHMs work really hard to find time and money for vacations. Take away the alarm clocks, the homework, the deadlines…bring on the sunsets, the sand castles, the card games. Suddenly you remember why you spend so much time doing these people’s laundry.

4. Get your groove on

You call him “honey,” and he calls you “sugar” — but are you giving each other enough sweetness? Happy moms like getting busy. It’ll put a smile on your face. And it’s nice to have a Very Happy Husband hanging around.

5. Eat, sleep, and be merry

Being sleep-deprived may be a badge of honor for those with young babies, but the sooner you can figure out how to get your eight hours back, the more delirious with joy you will be. Follow that well-deserved rest with a bowl of oatmeal and a banana instead of three cups of coffee and the remains of somebody’s Pop-Tart, and see what happens.

6. Have a six-pack

I thought the main habit of Very Happy Moms might be popping Prozac, but I asked around and not a single happy mother mentioned drugs. Not even margaritas. Sigh. What they did mention, in droves, was exercise. And of course they’re right: Just about equal to how good regular exercise makes us feel is how insidiously the gloom creeps in when we weasel out of it. Fortunately, to a mom, exercise can feel almost self-indulgent — after all, you’re doing something for yourself, in the company of other grown-ups. And that’s part of the buzz.

7. One is not the loneliest number

Carving out time away from the kids is crucial, whether it’s poker night with the girls or just a long bath with a magazine.

 
8. Be nice to thy neighbor

You would think that moms would be tapped out in the giving department. But most happy moms make doing things for others a regular part of their lives, whether it’s baking a lasagna for a family with a new baby or offering a ride to an elderly friend. Remember: Your helpfulness is another deposit in the karma bank.

9. Love the one you’re with

The happiest moms don’t compare and compete. Neither they, nor their kids, nor their cars, nor their houses have to be the smartest, cutest, newest, or neatest. The green-eyed monster has chewed up the happiness of many a mom. Around A.D. 89 the philosopher Epictetus offered advice for Very Happy Moms: To be content is greater than riches, so love what you have.

10. Hang with your gal pals

Very Happy Moms have close mom friends. Knowing that others are in the trenches with you is key. From the super-petty issues to the deadly serious crises, I don’t know how I would have made it without my friend Theresa. Over the years, she has patiently listened to long stories involving extremely important topics, such as Pull-Ups, car pools, and her favorite: the vice principal of the middle school.

11. Plan a little fun

Very Happy Moms sometimes buy themselves flowers, just in case no one else has thought of it. They meet their husbands for lunch, get a facial, or have the car detailed just because.

12. Play with the rules

One of the best things about being the person who makes the rules is bending them. With each of my kids, I allow certain treats that have a slightly wicked feel. With my 4-year-old daughter, it’s taking a bubble bath with our miniature dachshund. With my teenage son, it’s stopping for really expensive sushi on the way home from a doctor’s appointment. Very Happy Moms know when to turn the mundane into magic.

13. Pick and choose

Separate the siblings and enjoy some one-on-one time with each kid. No interrupting, no juggling, no sibling rivalry. What joy!

14. Look ahead

When your happy buzz threatens to slip away altogether, remind yourself that “This too shall pass.” It works both ways: Either you get through the terrible stuff by knowing it’s not forever, or you put it into perspective by reminding yourself that the good stuff — the sticky kisses, the cute little tutus — will also soon be gone.

15. Forgive and forget

We all want to live up to our parenting ideals and do everything right all the time, and here we are, losing our tempers, being inconsistent, and bribing kids with candy on a daily basis. Unfortunately, all the time you spend brooding and punishing yourself for this is more time when your best self is not there for your kids. Very Happy Moms know that even the best of us have days from hell. They let those days go, and get on with exercising and vacation planning.

16. Pee in your pants laughing

Kids love to see their moms smile (mine actually comment on it, if that tells you anything), and research is starting to show that just crinkling your eyes, turning up the corners of your mouth, and laughing can produce the happy brain chemical serotonin. At least it will make you look really ridiculous, which will make your kids laugh. And laughing really hard with your kids is one of the best Very Happy Mom secrets of all.

17. Cuddle up

Though I consider myself a Somewhat Cranky Mom, I share this with the Very Happy Moms I surveyed: I have a hug habit. “Hugs and snugs and snoodles” is how my 4-year-old, Jane, and I refer to our smooching sessions. Happy moms cuddle their kids every chance they get, which is smart since those chances diminish through grade school and then disappear altogether by the time your former cuddler gets her driver’s license. So take Janis Joplin’s parenting advice: Get it while you can.

A Heavenly Home to Go To

I’ve been doing some major Spring Cleaning in our house for the past couple of weeks, going through old storage boxes, throwing things away, putting aside things to sell at a garage sale, and reorganizing the insane mess we’ve made bringing all this stuff out in the first place. We’ve even decided to completely rearrange the garage while were at it – for good measure!  I don’t really like this kind of cleaning… where things get messier before they seem to get better, but I can see how necessary it is from time to time – even in organizing a closet or pantry (blog posts to come!) – it’s going to take some hard, unproductive looking work to bring everything out before carefully planning where to put it back in.

I honestly don’t work well in the midst of mess… even though the boxes are neatly sectioned off in their own little area, waiting to go back into the garage once we have that rearranged and cleaned out, it still bothers me that they are invading the space that used to be so serene.  It serves as a constant reminder that I haven’t finished a huge task yet. 

Our messy house got me thinking again of how great it is to have a peaceful, heavenly home to go to.  I miss the home I loved to look at, and curl up on the couch to enjoy being in.  The beautiful thing is that a house doesn’t have to be perfectly untouched and tidy to feel heavenly – a lot of the ambiance has to do with the people and attitude that fills it.  This got me wondering… does a messy house (for me) lead to a  messy attitude?  I truly think there’s a connection there, because I don’t feel my best when our house doesn’t have clarity and order. 

Here’s to Spring Cleaning… that we finish it fast before I go insane. 

Hurt & Angry: Apology Wanted

It’s a given that people hurt each other.  We all live in this dark, fallen world, surrounded by God’s beauty in nature and sometimes, in each other; however, the fact still remains that much in this world is not good.  Even the family structure, which should be the safest, most beautiful place, is threatened with anger, harsh words, cold hearts, and dysfunction.

It’s not hard to imagine that everyone you meet is somehow fighting or overcoming past hurts that they’ve incurred, possibly even from their own family or friends.  Many times these hurts have been expressed in hopes that relationships could be repaired, much to the dashed hope of the person seeking to deal with their pain in a healthy way.

Even stranger to many people, myself included, is the phenomenon of the human race to hold onto their pride, and even when knowing another party is truly hurt and broken over things they did or allowed, will not apologize for years, sometimes waiting until their death-bed (I’ve seen this with my own Grandma), or not at all.

What is someone to do with the fact that they are left hurt, angry, and broken, and know that their hope for an apology might never happen?

I think I’ve found the answer.  Ponder if you will, on some of these quotes:

“There are unrepentant people in the world, maybe even in your family tree.  Some people do not apologize because they don’t know how.  Others do not believe they owe an apology for their behavior.  Still others are hardened or enabled by their own destructive or numbing choices.  others offer only what they filter through their own life experiences.”

(from The Mom I Want to Be by T. Suzanne Eller)

 

“As hard as it might be to understand, there are people in the world who will forever and always be permanently remorseless.  And if God will not compel them to feel contrition, certainly we will never be able to do so.  While we are commanded to offer them the opportunity to repent, the decision to acknowledge what they have done must come from within.

Consequently, we must never allow our emotional health, which depends on our ability to forgive someone, to remain wholly dependent on that person’s willingness to bear the burden of what he or she has done – because it very well may never happen.”

(from The Prayer of Revenge by Doug Schmidt)

You just can’t allow your own well-being to suffer because someone denies you an apology – it’s not that I’m saying an apology isn’t right or needed, I think if more people in this world had enough courage to apologize when they’ve hurt someone, we would live in a much better place.

It’s even biblical that even before you dare to pray, if you know someone has something against you, you are supposed to stop praying and go directly to that person to make amends right then and there – not to even put it off for another moment!  That’s how much people truly need acknowledgment of their hurts and pain, God knows, but He wants healing for you even if the other party will not acknowledge what happened.  He wants you to be whole and well without an apology.

God loves you, and I do too, don’t let another person control your thoughts and emotions by withholding a much-needed apology.

Let go, and live.

Thankful doesn’t even begin to cover it….

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I can’t even really put into words the immense joy, peace, and thankfulness I feel.  Today is America’s Thanksgiving holiday, but the overwhelming gratefulness has been growing inside me for a few weeks!

I am not really in a position where you would expect someone to be overly joyful or thankful… I was recently fired from a job, where many of my colleagues asserted I was one of the hardest working and one of the best contributors to their team.  Even though it was deemed I was being terminated “through no fault of my own,” and was able to receive unemployment income, I still watched my associates receive raises as my family lost my precious income that we depended on. 

I’m so immensely thankful for all the lessons I learned through enduring something that had the potential to make me bitter!!  I’m thankful I stood my ground and fought my case, I’m thankful I didn’t do anything to ruin my good reputation or debase my self-dignity.  I learned so many truths and was given so much advice from people who saw what was happening.  I learned how I would deal differently with a situation like that in the future.  While I was enduring that trial, I fully trusted God knew what He was doing.

He did.  He was removing me from a situation that I didn’t need to be in anymore.  He brought me out to a beautiful existence of joy, peace, and happiness!  I’m getting to give myself to my family, my son, and even to others who need help and assistance that I simply didn’t have time for before.  I’ve always been grateful, but this experience taught me to be even more so – not to take anything for granted!  I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced more contentment, my heart is so full its overflowing with love and grace.

I’m thankful for the lessons God’s shown me – the wisdom He’s given me, and how He’s constantly changing me into a better woman.

I’m so thankful for my husband – he is human, but he is so good.  He treats me like his queen, and has sacrificed for years for us as a family working in a job he truly disliked in order to support us faithfully.  I’m thankful that he’s pursuing what he truly wants now, and that I’m able to support him emotionally.

I’m thankful for my son – he makes life worthwhile.  I’m thankful I was able to get pregnant at all… I’m thankful that we both want more children and that we both deeply care about orphans.

I’m just so thankful for life.  It is so precious and everything I have is such a gift.  These gifts are so precious, and again, I am so very thankful.

May God fill you with this same joy and grace. 

May He help you experience ultimate contentment and happiness in doing what He wants you to do in life.

May you find your purpose that only you were destined for, whatever it may be.