Relishing Life

Focusing on the Blessings in My Life

Happiness March 7, 2009

Filed under: family,habits,Homemaking,marriage,musing,nature,raising children — Relishing Life @ 12:02 am

What is your definition of happiness?

When you have more than enough money to fulfill your needs?
When your soul mate smiles at you?
When your child tells you that he loves you?
When an friend calls to just to say “hi?”
When your pet cuddles with you?
When you are traveling?
When you curled up with a good book?
When you receive a hand-written letter in the mail?
When the traffic was light on the way to work?
When you nailed the presentation?

There are so many aspects of life which we can base our happiness upon. Yet, it is a choice as to what we allow to affect our moods. We all have things go wrong during our day:

We just can’t get up when the alarm buzzes the first time putting us behind for the ENTIRE DAY…
Traffic was horrid making us irritable…
The boss picks the other guy for the special project…
The kids make a mess and are fussing about everything…
Our spouse had a bad day and all household tasks are left for us to handle…
The cat threw up on the carpet AGAIN…

The list goes on and on. But are these really reasons not to be happy? Yes, they put a damper on that moment, but happiness is a state of mind. One which we have control over. We can choose to let these things bring us down for the rest of the day OR we can focus on the blessings of the situation or other blessings in our life.

Many – okay, most – of my days are rout with minor irritants that dampen my mood:

The kids don’t want to get dressed…
Now, they want to get dressed, but refuse to actually put the cloths on their bodies or let me do so…
The boys are arguing over a toy…
The house is a mess…
The ability to put DH’s dirty cloths in the hamper has eluded him – although our 2 year old and 4 year old do so without prompting…
The cat has thrown up on the carpet AGAIN…
It is five o’clock and I still haven’t even considered what to make for supper…
DH is irritable after a long day of work and traffic…
Did I mention that the cat has thrown up yet again???

But, these things are only minor nuisances. They might cause me a bit of additional work and definitely help me to develop more patience and tolerance, but they aren’t life-threatening although our attitudes can be. So, when something annoys me, I try my best – which quite often is not good enough – to remain calm and focus the blessings:

The kids are learning to assert their independence…
The boys are learning the art of negotiation…
We are blessed with an abundance of earthly things…
The boys love being Mommy’s helper and taking care of Daddy’s cloths for him…
Our purring cats…
McD’s is on DH way home from work (LOL!)…
DH comes home to be with us most every night and enjoys his work…

Happiness is a conglomeration of all of the little blessings in life that we choose to focus on.  As I continue on my journey, I work on my patience and understanding. I try not to become angered by the little ones’ blatant disobedience (most often failing). I try not to impose my expectations on others (DH) unduly. And, each night I pray that God will grant me the patience and skills to be the best mom and wife I can be. It is a blessing to know that I don’t have to be perfect!  With God’s help and my determination to try to choose to be happy as much as I can by recalling my blessings and the small joys that bring me so much pleasure instead of fixating on the nuisances, I am beginning to be a much happier person!  Please remind me of that it is up to me to remember my blessing the next time I start focusing on the negative, okay?

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Date Night at Home March 4, 2009

Filed under: marriage — Relishing Life @ 9:27 pm

The Happy Housewife asked for ideas for date night at home. Seeing as we are living very frugally (although occasionally treat ourselves to a date that includes paying for a sitter (we don’t have any family nearby)), we have been embracing date nights at home for a while now. But, having date nights – at home or otherwise – requires more than just planning something that isn’t part of the normal doldrums. We have to keep in mind why we were “dating” each other. Our top priority in dating one another was reconnecting – sharing something that we both enjoy. The cool thing is that we can do any activity that we wish, including ones that we hate, as long as we have the correct mindset. How? Well, aren’t we marriage because we enjoy (or at least at one point in time did) our spouse? As we spend our special date nights together, we focus on seeing the blessings of each other. The things that we like about the other person. As it is human nature to dwell on the negative, sometimes I have to stop and remind myself of all of the wonderful things that DH is and does. When we are focusing on the positives in each other, our relationship is strengthen and we feel a greater depth of love for one another.

Other people have wonderful date nights that include a special dinner after the kids go to bed, but by the time we get the kids to bed, I am worn out and would rather just skip the date if I am starving and still have to get everything laid out to create the date atmosphere that is enjoyed by other couples. I wish that weren’t the case, but I just don’t have the energy for it. (Okay, and it seems to me to be more work for me – more dishes, more prettying the house up, etc. Yes, I can be very lazy!) But, we do enjoy our date nights at home. Some of the activities for a date night at home that we enjoy are:

  • Playing Guitar Hero together. We both enjoy it, and as we are working as a team for a common pursuit, we have fun cheering each other on. Okay, and the occasional good-humored teasing helps us to relax a bit.
  • Snuggling on the couch together while watching a good movie (one that we already own or that we borrow from the library) or television program. It is nice to just have the physical closeness without thinking about some chore that needs to be completed. We rarely take the time to sit down and watch television of any sort together as by the time the kids are in bed, we are usually trying to unwind in our own ways. So, it is special when we take the time to watch something together.
  • Laying on our bed (fully clothed! – or not) and talking about our true desires and thoughts. As I said in an earlier post, there is just something comforting and intimate that allows us to talk easier while laying on our bed.
  • Playing a board game together. We don’t do this nearly enough, but it is fun when we do.
  • Gazing into a burning fire – either in the fireplace or on the patio in the fire pit. There is something about an open fire on a clear night that brings great peace to us both. We then share our intimate thoughts and dreams within this special cloud of tranquility.

I can’t wait to read what great ideas other people have of incorporating date night into their frugal lifestyles. We will have to try to implement some of them. And, maybe I will even plan far enough ahead that I could cook us a special date night at home dinner with some candles. But, we might just have to settle with a special dessert shared by candlelight.

 

The Blessing of Our Marriage February 1, 2009

Filed under: marriage,musing — Relishing Life @ 3:56 pm

There are so many blessings to be thankful for this morning!! The one that my mind keeps returning to is my marriage. Saying that we have been through a lot over the years is a bit of an understatement. We haven’t always seen things eye-to-eye nor have we handled situations in the manner that the other needed at the given moment. We haven’t been there for each other the way that was needed by the other individual. We have made decisions that have hurt each other – some that cut to the very core and have been difficult to mend and are still requiring care. But, when everything is all said and done, we have both decided to stick together and work through the challenges becoming more of what the other person needs and more willing to open ourselves up to one another. It is hard to open up to someone after they have deeply wounded you. It is hard to overlook those past transgressions and forward to the beautiful future that we have together. Yet, marriage is about the union of two souls and working as one for the benefit of both. As we have grown both individually and together – especially over the past year, we have developed a stronger, more solid marriage that has blessed our lives deeply. As we continue to move forward, wounds are still tender and trust not 100% firm, but each day they heal a little more. We are blessed to have God on our side to turn to and guide us through. We are learning to meet each others needs more fully and our marriage has been blessed 1000 times over. I thank God every day for the blessing he has bestowed upon our marriage and our hearts.

 

Together Again! January 3, 2009

Filed under: marriage — Relishing Life @ 4:06 pm

Ah! The joy of someone you love returning home from a trip is wonderful! The boys and I picked DH up from the airport this morning after having gone on a trip to visit his dad. The boys and I had fared well in his absence, but we are overjoyed to have him at home with us again. His presence in the house is warm and reassuring like being wrapped in your favorite blanket in front of a glowing fire.