20 April 2016


I have seen a lot about happiness and finding your own happiness and how eating at the office makes you unhappy and steals away from contentment. I started reading about what people think make them happy.

I noticed in the article about eating at the office making someone unhappy and I thought back to the days I worked in an office. One of the places I worked was not convenient to places to go buy food or even to run out and get food. The person who ran out had to eat at their desk if they got food for the others. But that didn't take away their happiness. We would take turns. When we ate together, we ate in the lunchroom and joked and teased and played cards or read a book or crocheted (yeah, that was me). My friend taught me how to do counted cross stitch and we would work on that together. Happiness is not something someone can give you, it is something you have to create for yourself. You have to want to be happy and you have to find it in the simple things. I find happiness in listening to my girls, listening to them talk, play pranks, laugh and just be together. My girls are great. I find happiness in watching my cats play with an ice cube (in their water or on the floor). I find happiness in listening to my dog dream (her howling in her sleep in the funniest thing ever). I find happiness in reading a book, listening to a book on tape, music, singing (even if it isn't great), or just making something to donate or give to a friend. I find happiness in silence and solitude (yep, I do enjoy silence and solitude). I find happiness being next to my husband, partner or friend. Toward that end, I think I would like to share some tips for happiness:

1. Dream!
    I dream all the time. I dream of when my girls will be grown up and creating lives that make them happy. I dream of places I would love to go (with them or with just my husband). I dream of rescuing cats and dogs (not living in a place where we can do that, but I would love to have a nice big farm filled with rescues). I dream of owning a yarn shop and continuing to teach others how to make things with string and sticks (or hooks) or needles. I love to teach what I love. Also, if you have a dream, nurture it and figure out how to make it come true. Don't depend on someone else to make your dream come true, it isn't their job to make your dream come true, it is your job to make it come true! Research your dream, what will it take to make this happen!

2. Give!
   Yeah, there is the rule, it is better to give than to receive. Do that! Give. It doesn't have to be big, just something you can do! Give with your talent, give with small things. Maybe you are waiting in a drive thru to get a drink or something, pay for the person behind you (maybe that is all they are getting, too) and let them know to have a great day. I can guarantee, that small gesture will have made someone smile. If you can make things, make things and donate them to places, for instance, there is a group that makes prayer shawls and they are given to nursing homes. There are groups that make baby hats and baby blankets for new moms. Sometimes these are only given to the moms who lost a baby, sometimes for all moms, it depends on the group. I have even heard of a group that makes cute outfits for the moms who lost a baby. The nurses will put the baby in the outfit and when the moms have had a chance to hold the baby, they remove the outfit and give it to the moms. I remember after I had my first child, the nurse told me that moms who lose their baby keep everything (staples from ER C-section, instruments that would normally be thrown away, etc). You could help pack meals for kids who don't have enough to get for weekends. Ours is called Warrior Backpack and they accept monetary donations, help packing, help unloading the truck of food. Great program and I really love helping them out.

3. Don't try to buy happiness.
    You cannot make yourself happy going out and buying new shoes, new clothes, new purses, etc. Happiness is not in the stuff you buy, but in taking care of yourself. If you need something buy it, but don't go out shopping just to spend money. I love to read. I go to the libraries frequently and borrow books. The girls borrow books. I have found that I enjoy having a Kindle, it allows me to carry many books with me, books for the girls to read (for when they forgot theirs or the charge is too low), books for me, books for my husband (he likes biographies). I found that I can search on Amazon and some other sites and find the books for free and if the book is horrible, I can delete it. I don't need to buy things to be happy. I can go outside and enjoy the sun, or open a book and enjoy the story. Sometimes even listen to a book on tape (in the car while I am driving) or a movie with my girls.

4. Find a balance.
    It is not your job to make someone else happy. Find out how to be where you want to be and with whom you want to be, when you want to be. Be where you need to be when you need to be there.

5. Abide by the Golden Rule (Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated).
   I was always told this growing up. Treat others as you want to be treated. I would do that at school. I would treat people as I wanted to be treated and they would beat me up, call me names, in one case, push me down stairs. I was called Poison Ivy. I remember the boys hitting me until I was black and blue. I cried a lot when I was in school. When I got to high school, some of my classmates were not very nice to me, one girl got really nasty when I wouldn't buy drugs from her. But as far as what they did, it was nothing. I actually liked high school. I made some friends. I had fun and life was good. These girls had nothing on grade school. They only called me names.

6. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (and it's all small stuff).
    A year or so ago, my middle wanted a CD from Celtic Thunder. We ordered it and checked the tracking to see where it was and when it would show up. She got upset because it would say it was in Cincinnati, and then it was in Florida. It didn't come to us on the day it said it would. It traveled the US more than she had. But I couldn't get her to understand that the store would ultimately be responsible for sending a new one if it didn't show up in a certain amount of time. Eventually, the time passed and the store had to issue store credit to her and she got something else and the CD that she wanted finally showed up after travelling through the south.

7. Don't compare yourself to someone else.
    When I teach someone to knit or crochet, I tell them, don't compare your work to someone else's. You don't know how long they have been at it or how many hours they put in. If you compare yourself to someone else, it will only make you unhappy and frustrated. Compare your work to what you started with! Keep the first thing you made and compare to that. That is where you will see your best efforts and most improvement. This life is not a race! It is an endurance. You want to get to the finish line no matter how far away it is.

8. Take responsibility.
    When I worked in one office, I learned something great from a wonderful lady I worked with, if you make a mistake, own it! I know that at times, I get frustrated with my children (who hasn't gotten frustrated with their children). I will yell at them to get their attention. After I have worn myself out in my fury (they weren't listening until I yelled), I will calmly ask them to come to me, I will give them a hug and tell them I love them and that I am sorry, but I am tired of them not listening when I tell them something. People are more important than gadgets (or books or TV). We should always pay attention when someone talks to us. I know that if I am reading and a daughter says something, I stop what I am doing and look at them (helps me to hear them better, as I am hearing impaired and sometimes have to read their lips to understand all their words). If the TV is on, I turn it down or silence it. I am also in the process of getting out of the habit of looking at my phone when it chimes (got into when my mom was so ill).

9. Smile!
   I read a story about a young person who was so very sad, that he/she had planned to kill him/herself. They said that they just felt that they didn't matter any longer and that he/she wished someone would just notice him/her and smile at him/her. I have always encouraged my girls to look people in the eye and smile at them and greet them. Just a friendly hello. I have noticed that that small gesture has been good for the person and for me and the girls. I know that when I am in a business where the person has to wear a name tag, they often forget that they are wearing their name, I greet them by name. They often stop in shock and say, "How did you know my name?" I will often remind them of the name tag. Many people don't greet them by name. If someone introduces themselves to me, I will remember their name. But I do have a bad habit, I developed working in one office. I worked in doctor's offices and learned to recognize people and greet them by name when they came in, but when I would be out away from the office, I wouldn't recognize them. I compartmentalized because in medicine, especially psychiatric offices, you have to protect the person's privacy. They would have to greet me.

10. If faced with a challenge, find a way past it.
     If you encounter a problem, try to figure out how to get around, over, through it. Do you need help? Ask! We are not islands all alone in the ocean. A few years ago, our water heater broke and we needed to replace it. We found a plumber and a new water heater. We had to go elsewhere for awhile to get showers (thank God for YMCA and friends), and on the day he was installing, I had to take 2 of the girls to practice (they played basketball) and he was still working in the basement. I asked a really wonderful neighbor to help and a friend hung with the girls while I went back and forth. We really do have good neighbors.

11. Live for today.
    Don't live in the past, "if only I had done this, instead of that." Don't live in the future, "one day I will do this or that." Live for today. Today is the gift. Thank God for all the things you have. I remember one time reading that if you are only left with all the things you thank God for, what will you have? I thank God every day for everything. I thank Him for friends, animals, children, husband, food, housing, clothing, etc. He has truly blessed me with many great things and people.

12. Lift others up!
    If you have to destroy a person in order to feel better about yourself, you actually won't feel better. I was listening to my children (again, I do that daily. They have so many lessons for me to learn from them), and my middle said something and her sisters started laughing. As they laughed, they said to her, "Don't ever change! We love you just the way you are!" Think about that! Yes, they were laughing at her words, but they also said, "Don't Change!" Stay true to yourself! They could have torn her apart, but they didn't, they lifted her up! They loved her just the way she is and was! We have family stories, stories that have meaning for us and the girls love to retell the stories. I think because they love the innocence of those words from those times.

13. Don't allow negativity.
    There are lots of negative people in this world and they can pull you down. Surround yourself with happy people, with positive people. Allow them to love you and love them, too. I have some wonderful friends. As our lives have changed and grown, it is not as easy to be with them like we used to. But we keep in touch. My favorite quote comes from a friend who has adopted children, "It will be funny in 24 hours." I wish when my girls were little, I had had that quote in my life. There were times where I just wanted to cry. It seemed no matter how hard I worked to keep a clean house, the children didn't care and neither did my husband. I was trying to live to my mother's standards. (Another thing for being happy, don't let others change you into someone you don't want to be.) Then I realized, I was only making myself and the children and husband unhappy. I may not have the cleanest house, but I have happy children. In fact, it took longer than 24 hours, but the day the girls dumped a container of Kool-Aid on the floor and added water (the carpeted section, not the kitchen) and stained the carpet is a lasting memory. I was careful of silence after that. I also started spending more time with the girls. Instead of spending so much time cleaning and being unhappy when I was the only one who tried to keep the house to other standards of clean, I took the girls to parks, zoos, museums. I would watch them play. I would listen to them laugh. I would enjoy every moment with the girls, because they would not be small forever!

14. Most importantly: Be Happy.
    Many years ago, a person came out with the song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" What a great thing to remember. Be Happy. You must choose to be happy and go after it. I choose to be happy. I choose to enjoy every day. I choose to love my family, friends and any animal (cat or dog) that crosses my path. And, I choose to be thankful for everyone and everything!

Now it is up to you. What do you want to do?

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