Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This is the proof! Looks great on my bookshelf! I cannot begin to explain the joy in seeing my book as I ripped the package open yesterday morning. As I said in my post Proof! this has been a goal of mine since the fourth grade, to write a book and see it published. Though I have published a poetry chap book, a cookbook from my former catering business and a book of short stories, poetry, and photography, they were small publications and for a small audience. So this is a really great moment for me! And of course great moments in our lives usually generate great happiness, but I am reminded too of the little things that bring happiness to my life and that have been a part of the entire process of writing, such as the encouraging words from my husband, friends and family, or the little hurdles surmounted along the way. So while the big moments are incredible, it is the small things in life that bring us the most lasting happiness if we will take the time to recognize them and celebrate them each day.

Spend some time in your journal writing about the little things which bring you happiness. Take time to celebrate the small things that bring you happiness and have a happier outlook at all times!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Choosing Happiness through accepting, trusting, giving

I have learned a few things over the last few years that have made my life easier and I would like to share with you today. First, I have learned to ACCEPT what I can't change. Sometimes we bang our head against a brick wall in trying to change things that we can have no affect upon. In Philippians 4:11-13 we read: "I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens...I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength." This is hard, because we so often want things to go the way WE want instead of letting go and accepting, but when we accept, there is profound peace. Second, I have learned to TRUST God, even when I do not understand his plan. In Philippians 4:6-7 we read: Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience Gods peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand." My husband and I have had some really tough financial issues to deal with this year, as so many others have, but when we finally said we don't understand God's plan for us, but trust that all will be well, we have been able to let go of the worry and fear. And last, I have learned to GIVE IT UP to God! I cannot understand what the future holds, but I can give it up to him and find peace. In Romans 15:13 it says: "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." I love the words "confident hope" because this makes me realize hope is not passive, it is active and requires us to place our hope in the confidence of God. When I address groups about choosing happiness I like to quote a passage from West With The Night in which the father tells his daughter, "when you find something worth pursuing, work and hope, but never hope more than you work." I think confident hope is what this means as we can place our hope in God, but if we do not live our lives for him, our hope is pointless. So this is the question then I continuously ask myself, "Who's going to be in charge of my life?" And I know when I accept, trust and give it up, the answer is always, God.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Choosing Happiness After Divorce: A Woman's 52 Week Guide to Living a Positive Life I am happy to say has gone to the printer and I'm just waiting for the proof to be sure all looks well and then the book will be available from the publisher, or on Amazon.Writing this book has been a tremendous experience, one I've had as a goal almost my entire life. While in the fourth grade, in Los Alamos, NM, Mrs. Skahan published our class poetry and from that day forward I knew I would write a book someday! I still have that poetry book, made with punched holes with brads to hold it together and a construction paper cover which we each decorated for our own personal copy. I dug it out of my memento box recently and read again the poem I wrote about Linus, my Siamese cat. Writing a book was just a bit different, but writing that poem as a fourth grader seemed quite a big task at the time as well.

As I wrote Choosing Happiness, I shored up my own thoughts and experiences in how choosing happiness has worked for me, but I've also grown daily in my choice, as I've studied the inspiring works of others, and made happiness a more concentrated practice in my life. Practicing the choice every moment of every day really does make a difference. Struggling with what could be the most traumatic experience of your life makes the choice tough, but one worth the effort. If you are having a difficult time choosing happiness, try writing in your journal some activities that make you happy and then spend some time this weekend engaging in one of them. Taking your mind off your difficulties and redirecting to a positive, fun activity may be just what you need. We only have right now, right this moment to be happy, so go for it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An unwelcome gift

My niece remarked recently about being hurt by someone in her life. She felt quite sad from the experience. I have felt that way myself in the past, and though I can still be hurt momentarily by someones meanness, thoughtlessness, or unkindness, what I have learned is that I have the choice to not accept their "gift" of hurtfulness and to choose to not let it affect me. While we may acknowledge what the person has said or done, we do not have to take it on. This is a problem for them, not for you. If you are acting out of kindness and love in all things, then let that person keep their "gift." If you have done something to them to incur their being upset, take responsibility and apologize, but then move on. We cannot control another person's actions, thoughts, or words, but we can control how we react to them. You can only choose happiness for yourself, and by making that choice, and practicing daily, you will soon find that it becomes easier and easier to live your life forward, to be happy, and to not allow someone else to control your thoughts or actions. If dealing with an angry ex, this may be difficult at times, but the marriage is over and the best thing you can do for yourself is to live your life and not allow this person to affect you any longer. Let your ex keep the "gift." Choose happiness for you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Today's Harvest!

I wanted to share with you the harvest from my garden today! I have enjoyed having a garden this year after many years of one not being feasible. This is one of the simple things in life that brings me great happiness.
Steve and I started out the day running the Chick-fil-a 5k! This was my first race in over a year, having injured my neck in June of 08 and being advised by my physical therapist not to run. He started me on posture exercises though, and with continued yoga practice and power walking I have slowly built myself up for the run. It has taken practice and patience to get to this point again, but the best thing is, the posture building exercises, such as planks and wall stances have built my core and given me more strength than I had in the past. I thought I might not ever take up running again, but perseverance has paid off. I now run every other day, then walk thirty minutes and yoga on the days off from running. Choosing happiness is kind of like this when you've been through a traumatic, life changing experience. It will take patience and practice to build yourself back up, but the pay off can be, if you choose, to be happier than you have ever been in the past. You can come back with more strength than you thought possible. I encourage you to find an activity which brings you happiness. Make it a ritual each day to engage in this activity and find your joy! I'm not, nor have I ever been a great runner. I'm slower than the majority of other runners, but I do it because it makes me happy when I finish! And the endorphines sure keep my happiness going all the time! Spend some time in your journal listing as many activities as you can think of you might or do enjoy! Make time this week and go for at least one of them. Choose happiness!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fill me with life!

Our pastor spoke today about the "Fuel" we need in life to fill us up. Ephesians 3:19 says, "That you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God." John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." And Galations 5: 22-23 says, "God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways."

In thinking about these versus and how they apply to happiness, I realize that when God says he gives us life and not only life, but abundant life, he is not speaking to our living and breathing, he is speaking to our well being, our thoughts our hopes our dreams OUR HAPPINESS!!!  Because embracing the gift God has given us in life itself is where happiness lies! When we live our lives with the attributes listed in Galations we can know happiness. While going through divorce and the months, years, that follow, if we stay centered in the negative there will be no happiness. It is only when we begin to live in a manner which embraces patience, kindness, love, self-control, will we truly find happiness. Each of these attributes require practice. They are simple concepts, but difficult at times to employ. Spend some time in your journal exploring how you can work on these in your life. Happiness is a choice you can make each moment of your life, but practicing the attributes that will bring you happiness will make the choice much easier to make. Have a happy day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


“Look to this day for it is life. In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence, the joy of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty…Today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day…”

                                      -Ancient Sanskrit Proverb

What a great reminder - all we have is right now, this day, this moment and we should live it well! Though I struggle at times with this concept, as the years pass, I realize how true this is. Life is short and it is going by fast and I don’t want to waste a moment of it in anger, bitterness or despair! This morning, as I picked my first Heirloom tomato from the vine, I could not get over the beautiful pink undertone to the red! These tomatoes are “the splendor of beauty!” And they seem especially so since the squirrels ate the first harvest earlier this summer! I cut up that tomato, salted, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, sprinkled on some goat cheese and fresh basil from my garden and enjoyed it for lunch. Magnificent! This seemingly simple act though, like so many we do each day, connects us to life, to memories, to who we are and to happiness. Because these very acts are the reality of the day and what we choose to do with them will determine our happiness. So no matter what actions you must take today, take a moment to find the joy or the beauty. This day is your life!