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One of the books I read this year was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This bestseller has been around since 2009, so you may be way ahead of me.

Although I’d read her column in a woman’s magazine, I’d never felt the need to delve into the book–that is, until someone I love confided he was working on being happier.

As sometimes happens, shortly after that conversation, I saw Gretchen’s book, thought of him, and bought it. Not wanting to send him something I hadn’t read, I plunged in.

And guess what?

I saw myself.

76cc3-img_1347Like the author, I have a good life: a fine husband, children, grandchildren, and friends. I have enough disposable income to buy a pair of shoes that strike my fancy or to splurge on a surprise for someone else.

However, as I read, I realized that in spite of this, I wasn’t as happy and content as I wanted to be.

So I slowed down and pondered the research Gretchen had done and the way she applied it to her life.

And I tried some of it myself.

Consequently, I’m more aware of what brings joy to my life, and I’m happier when I take time to savor little surprise such as:

  • Finch eggs nestled in the center of a fern

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  • A fragrance-filled breeze leading me to new gardenia blooms at the end of my porch Gardenia2
  • the warmth and whir of a relaxed kitty snoozing in my lap.

I’m more content when I recognize and acknowledge other peoples’ kindnesses like:

  • The friend who called me every day when I was going through a rough stretch
  • Text messages and calls from my children and grandchildren
  • Terry’s willingness to eat out without a fuss when I’ve had a busy day or just don’t want to cook
  • Other writers who share their knowledge, read my blog, and encourage me

I feel more fulfilled when I

  • Make time to write
  • Check on that person who’s struggling with a problem
  • Exchange a daily list of things for which I’m grateful with my gratitude partner
  • Interact with readers like you.

I could go on, but you get the drift.

I’m happier because I’ve been taking the time to notice and acknowledge the blessings in my life.

There will be more to come. And I’ll probably share them here.

What makes you happiest?

 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 2:22-23 NLB

MUSINGS

days-2016

It’s been a week since we said our goodbyes. They were leaving for Atlanta Friday morning, preferably by 6:00 a.m. Not wanting us to feel we had to get up to see them off, they insisted on hugs all around before heading to bed. It wasn’t long until we hit the sack, too.

FRIDAY MORNING

It’s still dark when Terry whispers, “I hear them stirring.”

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I glance at the clock—5:50 a.m. I throw off the covers and hop out of bed. As I slip on yoga pants and a shirt, Terry calls from the door, “They’re leaving. Caroline is already in the car.”

I scurry out.

Maria and Emily wait in doorway of the den. We hug and exchange I love yous. Then we follow them outside to give Caroline for one last hug through the window and catch Brad by the car door.

Before we know it, they’re backing out of the driveway. Their headlights sweep across the neighbor’s yard and onto the street. We wave from the porch and step back inside to watch their taillights disappear down the street.

No tears.

Just gratitude for time together and for the good life to which they’re returning. That old girl-kitty, Mimi, and the dogs, Max and Milo, miss them. Plus, they need to regroup before they head back to work and school on Monday.

LOOKING AHEAD

I remind myself, we’ll see them again soon. Christmas will be here almost before we turn around.

img_3970Wait. Was that chocolate cake one of the girls was carrying to the car?

Perfect send off.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecc. 3:1

Mother’s Day 2016

Mother, Maria and me on a long-ago Mother’s Day
Dear Mom,

Another Mother’s Day has rolled around, reminding me once again of how blessed Will and I were by you. Thank you for giving us a wonderful childhood. You and Daddy were the best parents ever.


I can’t believe how long it’s been since we lived together in our cute little house on Pear Street. (I still want to call it 7th Street like it was when we moved there. Seems so much more sensible for someone trying to navigate our town.)


There are so many little things I remember you doing for others when we were growing up, like the those May Baskets we made one year and filled with flowers then secretly delivered to neighbors. You could make a cup of coffee and store-bought cookies fancy.

You taught us to love our family by welcoming their visits. Driving to Little Rock for lunch with Aunt Mary and Uncle Zack on Sundays after church taught me that sometimes you have to make an extra effort to stay close. (Thank you for taking us to church first.)

You always welcomed our friends inside. (I’m sorry about Grandma’s bluebird vase the boys broke. Even then, I understood it meant so much to you, not because of its cost, but because it had belonged to your mother. But I get it even more now. I love to wear your costume jewelry. Your bright beads still bring lots of compliments.

You sure fed us well and never seemed to mind taking special requests. Thank you for letting me eat a leftover hamburger or tuna sandwich for breakfast and even making the tuna two ways because Will liked his plain while you and I went for pickles and eggs in ours. You even spoiled Minnie by buying her hamburger meat. (No wonder she was such a plump little pup.)

I loved sitting on the counter while you mixed up batter for my heart-shaped birthday cakes. (Anytime you baked, you left enough batter for us get our fill when we scraped the bowl or gave us a bite of cookie dough.)

You and Daddy made simple outings great fun. I remember picnics at Bee Rock and Gum Springs, swimming at Echo Dell, not to mention holidays like the Fourth of July. I can still see Daddy holding a Roman candle out to the side and hearing that pop with each burst of light while you hollered, “Wilbur, be careful.”

How did you manage to find everything on our Christmas lists year after year? No wonder sometimes you woke up with a migraine on Christmas morning. Looking back, I realize you were a super shopper, especially of sale things.

Thank you for making me help with housework, ironing and cooking. (Although, I hated that ironing, it all helped when it was time to manage my own home.)


I could go on and on, but you get the gist of it. I realize that Will and I were at the center of yours and Daddy’s world. But I didn’t know for a long time that other children didn’t necessarily experience all the love and care we received.

I wish we could spend this Sunday together, but since we can’t, I’m reminding myself that you’re young and strong now, celebrating with Grandma, Will, Daddy and all those who’ve gone on ahead of me. One of these days, I’ll see you again, and we’ll reminisce. Until then, remember that I love and miss you. 


Your grateful daughter,

Sissy


Her children rise up, and call her blessed;
Proverbs 31:28a ESV

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2016. All rights reserved.