Do you remember having to look up vocabulary words in English class? For me it involved the use of a large hardcover dictionary, for some of you Dictionary.com or a similar website may have been your source. No matter what source was used, you found that most words were not limited to one definition, but often there were multiple meanings.
Happiness is a trending term. It is a broad word that many try to define narrowly. Many self-help books have been written on it, public speakers hold seminars and conferences about it, life coaches offer their services to help guide you to it…..
What does it mean?
Just like many other words, happiness has more than one definition. Dictionary.com gives two: the quality or state of being happy is the first and most basic meaning and the second is good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. So now that we have it defined, how do we reach this state of being happy? How do we obtain good fortune, pleasure, contentment, joy? Is it something to be pursued or do we already have it innately in us?
My Happy/Your Happy
For some happiness is attached to material things and social status. Careers, money, houses, cars, designer clothes, jewelry are the indicators of happiness for them. Relationships are the source of happiness for many: significant others, family, and friends determine whether or not they are happy. Others equate a spiritual connection to happiness. Having a relationship with God or their ascribed higher power defines their happy. I think that happiness is innately within us and that sometimes it gets buried underneath some “stuff” but it still lives. For me God is the main source of my happiness, but I believe that contentment with my relationships, career, and having some of the material things that I desire further contribute to it.
What does happiness mean to you?
How you choose to define your happiness is just that, your choice. Choose it on your own terms and not someone else’s borrowed definition.
This final week of 30 days of growth and “newness” sprouted up different thoughts and revelations and a new breakfast spot.
A couple of days this week I found myself feeling a little down. There was no particular reason, it was “just one of those days” times two. Normally, I would have just gone through it and went about business as usual. Trying to push through it just wasn’t working this time; I couldn’t shake it off. Then God sent me two “angels” to encourage me and I allowed them to do just that. The role of encourager is usually mine, so it was different for me to switch places. I give a lot, fully believing in the words “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I am grateful however, for the lesson that I need to surrender to allowing myself to receive from others as well.
My husband’s birthday was this week. Every year since we have been together I have always sought to make his day special. From “fancy” dinners to Disney World and various things in between I have tried to do something out of his ordinary to honor his birthday. Every year though, he has requested not to do anything special for his birthday. So this year, I did something different and gave him the low-key day that he has wanted. No promises for next year though lol.
I told you that I really enjoy food. So you know I could not end the 30 days without a food “new”. I’m not big on breakfast, I know it’s the most important meal of the day…. It’s just not one of my favorites. When I do eat it though, I like a good spread. I had a breakfast craving earlier this week and answered it with a trip to a local country kitchen restaurant. It offered a cozy, friendly atmosphere and a hearty down home southern breakfast that a girl raised in the south could appreciate.
These 30 days have been interesting, fun, and challenging at the same time. But……. tomorrow it’s back to the regularly scheduled program-weekly posts. Join me to see what May brings.
Today I watched the first two episodes of a Netflix series that I would have normally overlooked. The overwhelming response and reviews from other watchers prompted me to tune into “13 Reasons Why”. I watched the show with my preteen daughter as some viewers suggested. Glad that I gave it a chance. It opened the door to a good dialogue between my daughter and I on some “touchy” subject matters related to middle and high school teens.
I was reminded this weekend that you can find treasures in your own backyard if you look for them. I did a little digging on Friday and Saturday. What did I turn up? I went to the nearby city of Matthews, NC and found a couple of new consignment shops to fuel my obsession. Shopping often makes me hungry; I stumbled upon a 1950’s style diner where I enjoyed friendly service and a good meal.
On Saturday I had planned to attend the Hippie Fest with my family, which would have been a first for me. After waiting in traffic for 20+ minutes to get onto the property on which it was being held, for a possible parking spot, we decided to find something else to do with our day. We ended up in the quaint college town of Davidson. There just happened to be an Earth Day Arts and Crafts Show taking place downtown. We were able to meet some new artists and get introduced to their works of art and crafts, enjoy the sounds of a two-man band (guitar and saxophone), and visit with some friendly residents.
Take some time to explore your city and surrounding areas you never know what you might find.
This week’s inspiration comes from the theme of a family reunion I attended this past weekend: “Family First”.
We hear “family over everything” quoted all the time. We say it, but is it really true? Our intentions are for it to be true, but quite often things get in the way. The start of a new career, a promotion, higher education, business ventures, and sometimes just life itself, are all things that sometimes push family into second or even third place. The pursuit of these things, frequently give us tunnel vision and family falls by the wayside, not completely forgotten, but maybe not given the proper attention. Phone calls grow fewer, visits delayed, special events not attended….
It happens to the best of us, so there’s no need to beat ourselves up about it. In the words of Maya Angelou now that we “know better let us do better”. Let’s keep pushing and pursuing, but at the same time remembering what’s most important: “Family First”.
When I looked at my youngest daughter’s hair two years ago, when I decided to put a relaxer in it, all I saw was thick hair that was hard to manage (especially for someone lacking in hairstyling skills like myself).
Today when I took out her crochet braids (she is now 9 months relaxer free), I saw thick, beautiful, curly hair. The same locs that were there two years ago, adorned her head today. But I couldn’t see them then. All I could see was hours of washing, conditioning, detangling, and bumbling and stumbling my way through styling it.
As I marveled at her lovely mane, I received a revelation about how this “hairy situation” applies to life. Sometimes we look at a person and all we can see is a mess. But, what we fail to realize is that hidden underneath that “mess” is something beautiful. Because God doesn’t make mess, we can be assured that there is buried treasure within. So let us make effort to see beyond what we think we see and know.
In the game of poker and in life, sometimes you are dealt a good hand and other times a bad one. In both cases, your control over your hand is limited. Like wise in both the card game and in life you have the option to fold.
Folding in the game of poker means “to lay down your cards and stop playing the hand. You are out. You give it up.” (poker.about.com). In life we can lay down or surrender our lives to Christ, giving up our old life for a new one in Him.. In Matthew 11:28 He beckons us to Him “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.
James 4:10 encourages us to “humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you”.
2 Corinthians 5:17 lets us know that we can be dealt a new hand/ a new life “therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; behold, new things have come”.
There is an old country song by Kenny Rogers whose lyrics relate to the game of poker and to life: “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. You must know when to hold onto your cards, when to put your hand down, when to walk away from the poker table, and when to run from it. Accordingly, you must know when to hold onto your life, when it’s time to surrender it, and when it’s time to walk away from certain situations and/or people and run to Christ.
After the wedding ceremony, the reception, and the honeymoon are over, then comes marriage. Many months and sometimes years of preparation go into planning the perfect wedding ceremony. More often that not, this same prepping does not go into the actual marriage. Many fail to look past the dress, flowers, rings, reception food and music, as a result they are disappointed when the “happily ever after” is replaced by the reality of marriage. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it has its ugly moments as well. It is a merger of two into one and sometimes the merger seems like a hostile takeover. When uniting 2 people, 2 minds, 2 hearts, 2 souls, the sailing isn’t always smooth. There will be wild waves and tossing of the sea. If you’re not steadfast and fully committed your boat may very well sink.
I am not a marriage expert, but on today I celebrate 15 years of marriage. A marriage that has endured and weathered some of the most turbulent storms, yet one that is without regret and one that I would do all over again. I entered my marriage very much aware of the fact that it would be work. Marrying a service member and becoming an “instant mom”, I knew overtime would be required. Fifteen years in and I’m not ready to retire yet.
A falsehood about marriage that I am glad that I learned early is that it is 50-50. Fifty percent of anything is half of it, so if I am giving 50% of myself in my marriage I am only giving half of me. Half hearted effort usually results in failure. If you give 100% and your spouse does the same, you both receive the best of one another.
Enter marriage with your eyes wide open: realize that there will be storms and be prepared to endure them, know that it is work and be ready to give 100%, and most importantly (and what I believe has made the biggest difference) submit your marriage to God.
This one’s for the ladies who proudly wear that big “S” on their chests…… The superwomen. The ones who are always taking care of others, putting the needs of others before their own; the early morning risers, the late night toilers, the supporters, encouragers, the “you can lean on me” women, call on me at anytime and I’ll be there type of females, the “I got six jobs and I don’t get tired” crew. We take pride in being everything to everybody, but in doing so we often forget to take care of ourselves. That TLC that we spread to others, often misses us. So ladies, keep doing what you do best; however, let’s remember to take that cape off every now and then. Give yourself some of that same love that you so generously share with others.