How happy people live

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Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Giving thanks. It’s not really difficult to do. It’s not daunting to find aspects of life to be grateful for if you truly try. If you look at your blessings instead of your trials.

Priscilla Maurice, an author from the 1800’s, penned this advice:  “Begin with thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day by day, adding to your subjects of praise; thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully; and, in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving. If you cannot begin with anything positive, begin with something negative. If your whole lot seems only filled with causes for discontent, at any rate there is some trial that has not been appointed you; and you may thank God for its being withheld from you. It is certain that the more you try to praise, the more you will see how your path and your lying down are beset with mercies, and that the God of love is ever watching to do you good.”

Being thankful, no matter what. It’s how happy people live. It’s how I want to live my life as I reflect on my 30 Days of Thanks Giving.

It’s how the elderly gentleman in the video below lives his life.

Thanks giving is more than a just a holiday. And happy people live lives full of gratitude.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Throwback Thursday gratitude

blogblank page (2)Thowback Thursday. That’s what it’s called when you post a photo from the past on social media with that moniker on it: #Throwback Thursday.

Well, it’s Thursday. It’s also halfway through this Thanksgiving month of November. And I haven’t written a new blog post to share with my readers for today. So I’m heading for the throwback category.

With a click of the mouse, I traveled back seven years ago to the year 2010 when I first launched Mama’s Empty Nest on Word Press. I called up some of my old blog posts from the month of November that year, read through a couple of my entries then, and noticed that I was writing quite a bit about being grateful.

I still am…grateful, that is. But for some reason, words just aren’t flowing out of me right now. So I’m reposting (with a few tweaks here and there) one of my old November 2010 posts today:

Often friends encourage me without them even knowing they’ve done so, and sometimes they humble me as well.

Today a friend told me she keeps a gratitude list.  She’s been keeping it for four years.

I started a gratitude journal way back in 1998.  Want to guess how many pages I wrote in it?  Nine and a half. 

What’s odd is that I enjoy writing tremendously, so why couldn’t I fill all the pages of that journal full of words of thanksgiving and gratefulness and start another one?  

Actually, I should have an entire bookshelf of gratitude journals by now.  [And by this date, TWO bookshelves full.] But I don’t.

So I’m feeling humbled by this friend who has so much more faithfulness than me at being grateful and documenting her thankful thoughts.  It’s obviously something I need to improve upon or at least attempt.

I rummaged through my desk drawer and dug out my lovely 1998 gratitude journal, a gift from a good friend.  

On the front page, she wrote this:  “Take a moment each day and write down five things you are grateful for.  It could be a moment, event, or just something that brought a smile to you today.  Let me start by sharing how much I appreciate your support and friendship.  You are truly ‘a very best friend’!”

This friend and I became acquainted through our children’s elementary school when we both served as PTA officers.  I jokingly told her when we met that we would become “best friends” as we would work so closely together on school functions. 

We laughed about that a lot, but we really did become close friends and even now, so many years later, we still sign our Christmas cards “from your very best friend!”

I noted that her entry in my journal was dated April 5, 1998.  I wrote this three days later:  “I am so thankful for friends like K [she gave me the journal] who brighten my day; friends like KL who can give me godly and wise advice; that Mom is experiencing God’s power and peace while she’s dealing with her cancer diagnosis; that our gracious and loving Lord not only hears our prayers but answers them; for my children’s, husband’s, and my good health.”

I continued to write a paragraph or two from April through June.  And then the writing stopped.  Is it a mere coincidence that I discontinued writing the day after my family and I moved back to the homeland? 

I don’t know.  Life was extremely unsettled then and my mother was dying of cancer.  I spent a lot of time in prayer during that time, but maybe my feelings and emotions were just too raw to put into ink on paper.

Over the years, I’ve picked up this small bound book with the floral design on the front, read what I previously wrote, and closed the book again without writing one paragraph.  [And still haven’t written any more.]

I could excuse myself by saying I was too busy planning my new home, raising my children, running to sports events, getting involved in church and school volunteering, but I know I was thankful for many, many occurrences, large and small, in my life.  So why didn’t I take a moment to chronicle them?  It’s a puzzle to me.

Perhaps it is a lack of discipline on my part.  I failed to note over 10 [now almost 20] years of thankfulness in written form in that gratitude journal, but looking back over those years, I can recall much for which my heart is grateful. 

But the day-to-day items, the usual but not insignificant blessings I’ve experienced, those are tucked away in my mind’s memory bank like old, faded mementos buried in a dusty trunk in the attic and forgotten.

And there’s so much to be thankful for.

That was so true back in 2010 and still spot-on now in 2017. Even on Throwback Thursday.

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Find your happy

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We all have one.  A happy place.  

Some folks dream of relaxing on a pristine sunny beach while others might be happier on the top of a mountain taking in a spectacular view.  For some, their happy place consists of being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life in the city while others enjoy the quiet contentedness of the country.  

Where’s your happy place?

Way back in late fall, Papa and I ventured on a long weekend trip a few states southwest of us to visit our oldest daughter and son-in-law. For this family-oriented Mama, spending time with my loved ones always makes me happy.

And one of the happy highlights of that trip happened one afternoon when my daughter had reservations for tea at a lovely spot called Sisters Tea Parlor where we joined daughter’s sweet mother-in-law and equally sweet sister-in-law.  

Definitely a happy place

Definitely a happy place

Treated to pretty and scrumptious tea sandwiches and goodies, delectable desserts, and an amazing assortment of all kinds of teas, everything proved delightful from the lovely company to the delicious food and tea to the adorable way each room in the tea parlor was decorated. 

I loved the sign “Find Your Happy” over the door to the Paris pink dining room where we sipped our tea and dined on our delights.

Find Your Happy.  

Isn’t that a good suggestion?

I can name a plethora of things that make me happy and I’m grateful for that.  But I have to say that one of my happiest places is right here. 

I find my happy when I’m writing something straight from my heart.  I find my happy when I capture a photograph that I know I can share with my family, friends, and blog readers.  I find my happy here in this spot. 

And yesterday, I was reminded that indeed this IS one of my happy places, and it has been for quite some time, when I received this notification from the hosting site of my blog:  

anniversary-2x“Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!”

So my happy place for the last five years has been sharing my thoughts and photos with some of the most wonderful readers right here at Mama’s Empty Nest.  And I need to thank you all for convening with me in my happy place.  I think I’ll go for another five years,  What do you think?

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~Frederick Keonig

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com