Monthly Archives: May 2018

Happiness Is…

If someone was asked to describe you in one word, what would it be? Would the word happy be on the list? I confess that if someone were to describe me, the word happy may not be in the top five adjectives. It is kind of sad because I do enjoy being happy and would like to be known as a happy person.

When I gave some thought about what would make me happy and analyzed the list, I was surprised to find it was filled with things I have no control over or material items that in the end don’t really matter. Do you ever say ‘if only this thing would happen, I would be happy’? Or if I only had that trinket, I’d be happy? If I got money for every time I thought that, I’d probably be a millionaire by now.

I’ve lived long enough to know that when you do get what you think will make you happy, you find that it doesn’t last. Sometimes there is something not so good connected to what you wished for that you hadn’t planned on, and it jaded your happiness.

It is sad, but most people base happiness on things that are beyond their control, such as, if I only won the lottery, I’d be happy. Or they base it on something concrete, such as, if I only had this job or that house or car, I’d be happy.

Happiness is a state of mind and should not have anything to do with external circumstances. It is a state of being what we define as joyful, cheery, blissful, or merry. Being a happy person has to do with what is going on inside us. It is a choice we make.
Just as we exercise our bodies to lose weight, we need to exorcise our minds to attain the state of being happy. We have to exorcise the negative thoughts and concentrate on the good. We need to exorcise wrong thinking, irrational thoughts, and quit making conditions for being happy.

Make the decision to be happy. Happiness does not come easily. We have to commit to it daily, hourly and minute by minute. Since happiness is so important to us, we should readily adjust our thinking to attain it.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

Family

One of the things that my husband and I look forward to the most these days is having a family dinner with our children. Our children and my husband and I live in different states. When we can all be together and have a meal, it becomes an event. There is something comforting about food and fellowship, and there is also bonding and memories we make that carries us through until we can be together again.

Family dinners are important. According to several studies, the benefits of families eating together on a regular basis are: children have better success in school, it reinforces and instills family values, and it also helps to keep weight down. Teens that had family dinners five or more times weekly are less likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.

When a family sits down to dinner together, it is a time to bond. It is essential to ban all cell phones, television, and other electronics during the dinner hour. Then everyone will be open to having conversations which allows the family to connect and to share information about what is going on in their lives. They can also discuss current events, family events, and anything and everything. Discussions allow the parents to reinforce values and give the opportunity for each member of the family to feel what they say is important and is a contribution.

In order to not make the family meal something that just falls on one family member, everyone should participate in the preparation and the clean-up, plus this adds to bonding time. For a short time, each day family members can feel connected, loved, and that they matter. They will know that they are part of something bigger and have to answer to more than just oneself.

In this busy age, it is hard to schedule one meal to be eaten together. The nice thing is that it does not matter what meal it is. If it is easier to schedule breakfast or lunch, then do it. Staying connected to family is important. It is precious time that you cannot get back.

Lord, thank you for my family. They are the people who know me best and yet, they still love me. I am tied to them by blood and experiences, both good and bad. These ties are strong and weather much pounding by outside forces. Remind us to cherish and love one another always, regardless of our faults and differences and to make the most of the times when we can be together so we can build lasting and fun memories. Amen

What Lives On

Elvis Presley was the first American Idol and the epitome of the American Dream. Born in poverty, he and his family lived off the goodwill of friends and family for most of his childhood. As a young man, he had a burning desire to play the guitar and sing. Yet, he was practical and studied to be an electrician and drove a truck to help make money for his family. But he never gave up on his heart’s desire.

At nineteen, he went into Sun Records to cut a record for his mama, which eventually lead to him recording That’s Alright Mama – his first big hit. By twenty-one years of age, he was known as simply Elvis – no last name needed. He was famous, handsome and highly controversial. For the rest of his life he was never able to go out in public because he was so recognizable and popular.

Elvis passed away in 1977. The sad part about his death was how much the press and the public held onto the bad things about him and loved to dwell on them. He was crucified by some of his friends and the press. The drugs, erratic behavior and the weight gain made him a caricature. Those who choose to perpetuate that bloated image and erratic behavior forgot all the good things he did, such as, his contribution to the music industry and love of music. Nor did anybody mentioned the people who lost jobs because he died, the charities that lost donations, or the people he gave so freely to – whether friends or complete strangers. His kindness, simple consideration for others and that fact he was always respectful to everyone was lost to bad press.

Elvis did not live in a million-dollar mansion or move to a posh neighborhood. He stayed in the place he considered home. Even after his death over 37 years ago, his estate provides means and employment for Memphis. If he could come back and see it, I often wonder what he would think of it all. His choices were not always the best, but he certainly still stands as Elvis – no last name needed.

His life is a reminder that bad choices can live on long after one is gone and overshadow one’s accomplishments and good deeds. That is a humbling thought. Life is about choices. Today as I think of Elvis, I chose to remember the smile, grace for others and passion for his music. His example of living his dream and giving to others is something we can all admire and hopefully will be inspired to emulate.

It’s not how much you have that makes people respect you, but who you are.

Elvis Presley

Rest

I swear, sometimes I think animals are smarter than people. Between nine thirty to ten o’clock every night, Phoebe, our Border collie mix, barks at us or will try to herd my husband and I to the bedroom. She will do anything to push us to go to bed. Once we are in bed, and she’s nestled in with us, she is fine. While she may appear to be a spoiled little brat (and she is), she knows that sleep is important to her human pack.

Sleep and rest are both renewing and refreshing. Many of us don’t get enough of it, especially moms and dads. It is during sleep that your body can repair itself and relax. It is also a time for your brain to rest. Sleep distances you from the problems and events of the previous day. When you get enough sleep and rest, you are able to face another day just a little bit stronger than you were at the end of the day before.

In Genesis, God set forth an example for mankind. He rested on the seventh day after Creation. It is not a suggestion, but a necessity. If God rested, then we who are created in His image must do the same.

Like everything else in life, it is something that you must set aside time to do. In this electronic age, the workplace takes up more time than ever, and many can’t seem to get away from email and work-related issues at a decent hour. Let’s add children and their practices, games, lessons, school-related events and homework into the mix. Let’s not forget that everyone has relationships that one must attend to whether it be spouses, significant others, family, friends…you name it. Who has time for rest and sleep? It ends up being something that you must do because your battery dies, or you would just keep on going.

According to most studies 6-9 hours of sleep is ideal, depending on the person. If you go too long without proper sleep and rest, your body will start to breakdown, and your brain will sputter. Only you know how much sleep you need.

Even though the concept of a good night’s rest and sleep seems to be a luxury in our society, it is too important to not make it a priority in our day. After all, everyone needs distance from today in order to be renewed to face the challenges of tomorrow. Proper sleep can help you become more balanced. It is something that you can do without much effort that will make you a more relaxed and less stressed person.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3