Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

What Makes Happiness

March 24, 2011

What makes happiness?

1.  Be a friend of God.  Talk to God.  Trust God.

2.  Be grateful.

3.  Love and give.  The fragrance remains on the hand that gives the rose.

4.  Work toward goals that come from the heart.

5.  Learn new things and develop new skills.

6.  Make time to do things that bring enjoyment.

7.  Make time for people who bring joy.  Cultivate nourishing relationships.

8. Laugh.  Make a place for humor and share it.

9.  Capitalize on strengths and talents.

10.  Put beauty in life.

11.  Establish boundaries.

12.  Recognize choices.

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The 45 Minute Solution

March 2, 2010

When confronting “the blues”, dullness, boredom and the like, I was once given a transforming recipe by a mature and wise pastor.  I call it the 45 Minute Solution.

First, spend 15 minutes a day reading the bible.  Ask the Lord to speak to you through the bible, and you can even ask Him what book of the bible to read.  Personally, I like the gospels, epistles and psalms, but I have never read a book of the bible where I didn’t find a little nugget of gold that met my exact needs at that moment.  Just be aware that God will speak to you if you ask Him and your soul is open and willing to hear Him.

Second, spend 15 minutes a day pouring out your heart to God.  Ask Him for everything you need, lay all your burdens before Him, and don’t forget to thank Him for all the ways you have seen Him help you.

Third, spend 15 minutes a day encouraging someone else’s faith, sharing the hope the Lord has given you.  You can do this through spoken or written words.  You can’t encourage someone else without the encouragement strengthening you, too.  As an old proverb says, the fragrance remains on the hand that gives a rose.

Try this for a couple of weeks.  I promise it will be life changing.

A Prayer on my 50th Birthday

February 19, 2010

I wrote this prayer on my 50th birthday.  That was quite a few years ago now, but I found it again and want to share it.

Dear Lord, my eternal friend,

Here it is, my 50th birthday.  While I’m not having a full-blown mid-life crisis, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this birthday.  It’s reminding me how short life is, and how little I have accomplished.  When I look at all the youthful dreams I had of what I wanted to do for You, I wonder if I ever will do anything really significant in the time I have left on this earth.  Why does all this matter?  Well, I guess I just want, somehow, to pay you back in some small way for all you’ve done for me.  Love needs a response, and I’m so aware of how much You have loved me.  I want to love You back, and I don’t know how to do that except to love Your people and do good things in this world.  Yet, my love for You is so small, my expressions so inadequate, and I always fall so short of what I intend to do for You.  This love is so much about Your giving and my taking.  What else can I say but thank You.

Thank You for making me.  Thank You that I was created to live here and to know the experience of human life.  Thank You for letting me know You from an early age so that I wouldn’t spend most of my life running away from You in fear, as so many people do.  I can only imagine what that must be like.  Thank You for being there during the saddest and loneliest times of my life, and for letting me know in small, yet personal ways, that You were there for me and heard my prayers.  Thank You for being a God who always listens.

Thank You for giving me sight, hearing, a mind to think clearly, the ability to move freely, and days that are mostly so free of pain that I take my body for granted.  Thank You for the freedom from disease that allows me to serve You with more opportunity than a lot of people have known.

Thank You for the people You’ve given me to live with.  Thank You for good parents.  They were people who loved and respected You, and who gave me a wonderful heritage of their wisdom and strength.  Thank You for a husband who’s the perfect partner for me.  He has taught me more than any human, been there through thick and thin, and filled every empty place.  He has led, supported and loved me for years.   Thank You for the gift of children.  Loving them throughout their lives has been so completely satisfying.  You’ve taught me more about Yourself through the experience of parenthood, for You are the Great Parent.  Thank You for being a partner in our parenting–the largest share of the partnership.  Thank You that despite all my failures as a mother, these children have turned out well.  Thank You for being all they needed and all I wasn’t.  Thank You for the wonderful relatives and friends who have graced my life through the years, whose presence seen and unseen, has been a source of joy and comfort.

And so Lord, what about the future?  I don’t know how many years or days You plan to leave me here.  I know I still have dreams of doing a lot of good things–things I hope will please you.  If the past is any indication though, I’ll fall far short of what I hope to do.  What can I say, Lord, but take me and use me.  Since You always do the lion’s share of whatever we accomplish together, then You please pick what we will do.  I realize there’s going to be three of us in whatever You plan, for You are always thinking about my dear husband, and making plans for us as a couple.  I want to say yes to all of it, Lord.  Use us Lord, and let me serve my sweetheart, as well as You, for all the days You grant us together.

I know some things will change in the future.  If I live long enough here, my body will wear out.  I dread that Lord, and I dread losing, one by one, my abilities to serve You in this world.  Help me to face my limitations with courage.  Help me depend on You.  You have things to teach me, even in my physical weaknesses.  Help me to focus on what I can do for you, not on what I can’t do.  Help me to realize that my weaknesses are blessings, if they force me to depend on you more.  They will make us closer.  And after all, what’s more important than becoming closer to you, if I am soon to see you face to face and live with you forever?

Lord, I’m thinking less now about how many things I can do that spread far and wide.  I’m thinking about what things I can do that will live after I’m gone.  I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know what a wonderful friend You are, how totally trustworthy You are, and how You help them in every way.  Please show me ways to do that Lord.

Last of all Lord, we will make a final journey together.  I know it will come sooner than I think, even if I’m quite old when it comes.  Just as You’ve never left me in life Lord, I trust You’ll hold my hand and walk me through the final passageway.  It will be light then, Lord, and I’ll finally see Your face, which has been in the shadows all these years.  I hope I will also see the faces of all those I’ve known and loved.  If You grant me a last request Lord, it would be that everyone I’ve known would unfold their arms from across their chests and take Your hand.  Give them whatever they need to be able to do that, Lord.

What can I say now Lord, except You are truly the beginning and end of everything.  You are the Love behind all that is good.  Help me complete all I lack in loving You.

Loving to be Happy

September 22, 2009

If you want to be happy, indeed if you really want to live life to the fullest, you have to love, love, love.  Dr. Smiley Blanton once said “Love or perish”.  We have to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves.  Everyone is familiar with the saying of Jesus that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.  What people aren’t familiar with are the last words of this quote.  The last words are “do this and you will live.”   If we love God, we will grow closer to Him.  As we do that, we begin to realize how much He loves us.  That gives us the confidence and esteem to be able to love ourselves.  As we provide for our legitimate needs, we fill our internal well to be able to give love to others.  All this love coming around through God, us and others and around again is the source of life.  This love is like water to a thirsty plant, like rain to the desert, like sunshine in a dark and dreary place.  Just as we would say our well watered plants are “growing happily”, our well watered souls are growing happily too.  And we are living, really living.

How to Have a Happy Life

July 28, 2008

“As much as it is possible, try to make a big deal out of the good times and a little deal out of the bad times.”   Nonni

A joyful heart

March 1, 2008

I think the tenth most important thing in life is to cultivate a joyful heart–a joyful attitude toward life.  I look around at my contemporaries–old as anything, and also at my granddaughter and great granddaughter’s contemporaries and I see a whole country of people on anti-depressants.  I’m no doctor, and I’ll admit there are probably a lot of good medical reasons why people take these medications, but in my day, “depression” was called “the blues” and people were supposed to get a handle on it.  Most people did.  Thats not to say there weren’t plenty of people in mental hospitals with severe depression, but nowhere near the number of people who are now taking anti-depressants.

The bible says “a merry heart does good like medicine” and I believe that is true.  I used to struggle with my moods when I was a younger person, until I studied some of the non-medical indicators of depression.  People who are depressed have a number of these things in common.  Notice I don’t say “all” these things, but depressed people will have a number of these things in their life.

First of all, their care of their physical body will be sub-par.  They will eat junk, use either caffeine or sedating substances or both, and they won’t exercise.  They have a lot of unhelpful thought processes: they have unrealistic expectations about what other people should be doing, they have a persistent negative outlook on life, they have withdrawn from social contact, they have withdrawn from things that they used to enjoy, they have stopped or never did look for a power greater than themselves, they have stopped or never did look to be involved in something bigger than themselves, and last, but not least, they are almost totally self-absorbed.

I want to offer “Nonni’s recipe” for getting over this kind of depression.

1.  Get up early, no matter how you feel.

2.  Thank God that you can walk and talk, see and hear, take care of yourself, and that you had a bed to sleep in last night.  Thank Him for every good thing you can think of.  Take about 10 minutes.  Write these things down.

3.  Dress and take a brisk walk.  Walk about 30 to 60 minutes at a good pace.  Look at things around you.  Thank God for the birds, the green growing things, and smile and wave at the people you see.  Stop to say hello to whomever is outside.

4.  Have a good breakfast.  Keep it healthy.

5.  Drink enough water.  A lot of “droopiness” could be dehydration, especially in warm weather, but even in winter as some of our heating systems are very drying.

6.  Ask yourself what meaningful thing you could do today that would make the world a better place, or that would at least help some individual.

7.  Do something uplifting.  If you don’t feel the energy to do anything, then at least read something inspiring.

8.  Call someone, and try to lift THEIR spirits.

9. Add something beautiful to your surroundings.  Pick some wildflowers.  Bring in a blooming branch.  Play some music that makes you feel good.

10.  Think ten positive thoughts about your life, your future, the people in your world, and write them down.  Where possible turn them into goals for something good, happy, meaningful or beautiful that you will do.  Thank God again for these 10 things.

11.  Periodically do a mental housecleaning, and forgive everybody who has hurt you.  Everyone has their demons.  Forgive yourself.  Write down everything you are holding against others and everything you are holding against yourself.  Take the list and throw it in the fireplace or the paper shredder.  Now resolve to live in the future.

12.  Tell yourself that you will be a “worry procrastinator”.  If you can DO something to insure a more secure future, do it, but put off worrying.  Its a time waster, especially since 9 out of 10 things we worry about never happen.

13.  Do what Martin Luther did, and ask God to protect your mind as you sleep.  Ask Him to remove old negative thoughts and refill your mind with thoughts that are pleasing to Him.

14.  Go to bed early.  Fall asleep with a thankful heart.  In your mind, re-visit a favorite place.  Re-live the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful place.  You will be asleep before you know it.

Give my recipe a try for a couple of weeks.  If you don’t feel better, feel free to comment me.

 Nonni