I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Love, Grace and Gratitude…
As I hurried through the local Wal-Mart after church on Sunday I began to study the people around me. There were crying babies, mothers trying to get them to stop crying, teenagers walking and texting aimlessly, men staring into the jewelry cabinet trying to find the perfect gift to make “her” happy. What I noticed was that there were very few happy faces; it appeared that nobody was happy to be there. I have to admit that I was not really excited to be there either. The three things on my list, toilet paper, orange juice and tub butter somehow turned into $85 worth of other stuff and my husband pacing along behind me chanting “okay, let’s go”.
After coming home to a grumpy teenager I grabbed a cup of hot chocolate and prepared to write. Letting out a rather loud sigh I looked at my dog who had taken up residence at my feet, I proclaimed “why can’t everyone just be happy?” Of course, he couldn’t answer me so he just rolled over and began to snore. As I sat staring out the window my computer “jingled” letting me know that I had e-mail. There it was, the spark I needed to answer my own question and to hopefully shine some light on the whole happiness (or lack thereof) issue. A simple quote staring back at me was my inspiration.
American author and motivational speaker Denis Waitley writes, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” This friends was my ahh haa moment for the day. After all of the time, energy and money spent on finding the perfect gift to make our loved ones happy we must realize that happiness does not come from a gift; it does not come from a person. We are the makers of our own happiness. At the beginning of November I began to write a “thankful” post on my Facebook page every day. Many people choose to post about being thankful for the month of November in honor of Thanksgiving. I chose to challenge myself to write a “thankful” post every day for an entire year. When I first started my “thankful” posts I, like so many others, shared how thankful I was for my husband, children, my home, job, etc.; you know all of the BIG things we are supposed to mention. Now, nearly two months into it I find that there are many little things that I am thankful for. Sometimes it is the little ordinary mundane things in life that mean so much, like macaroni and cheese or peanut butter.
Can one be thankful and not happy? It’s quite possible, I guess, but if we choose to live our lives according to Mrs. Waitley’s quote, then gratitude (thankfulness) along with love and grace will make us happy. Finding it within ourselves to live every minute with love, grace and gratitude quite often seems daunting and near impossible. I wonder if when we set out to make our New Year’s resolutions this year we deliberately resolve to live a happy life. By living a happy life we will find that we do not need all of the material “stuff” that we think we need to make us happy.
This past week a large group from my church went Christmas caroling at a local assisted living facility. We sang in two different wings of the facility. The first one was filled with folks who appeared to be relatively mobile and of pretty sound mind. Upon entering the second wing we were told that the residents there suffered from various forms of memory issues. As we began to sing (a bit quieter than before) I noticed a small white haired lady standing in the hallway. With her arms waving from side to side as if she were the music conductor, she entered the lobby, found a spot and began to sing along
with pure abandon. As I watched this woman I wondered how she could be so happy. She was tucked away in a nursing facility, was quite old and many of the people around her were unable to speak or move around. As we walked away I noticed her sitting with another resident chatting and holding their hand. This woman in her condition was happy; she was living a life of love, grace and gratitude. Without knowing her name or anything about her, she has left an image in my mind and on my heart that I will never forget.
So we celebrate Christmas this week (or whatever holiday you celebrate), keep in mind that being truly happy does not or should not revolve around the perfect gift. In spite of all of the negativity that lurks in our world true happiness is possible; it’s necessary. Be that happy person that you were created to be. Live in love, grace and gratitude and have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.