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?


Insecurities February 11, 2009

Filed under: musing,quote — Relishing Life @ 9:42 pm

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson has always been one of my favorite philosophers. The clarity with which he wrote about the human experience seems to convey my fuzzy thoughts and feelings. It is as if Emerson looked inside me and printed onto the page the words that reflect the turmoil or thoughts that I am experiencing. This is NOT to say that I believe myself to be on Emerson’s level – far from that!! It is just that his writings always touch me in such a personal way that I can relate as if he and I were sitting down chatting over a nice cup of hot chocolate and his words were chosen carefully for the lesson that I needed imparted to me.

How often is it that we are comfortable being ourselves in the privacy of our home? How is it that we are in a group that we become someone else – taking on the attitudes and behaviors we perceive as being favored by those in our company? How hard it is to be completely true to ourselves when in the presence of people whom are not part of our immediate family! How we wish to have everyone love us and accept us for who we are yet we put on a facade in hopes to make a better impression. Even as we walk down the street, we try to present an air of confidence which we may not truly feel. Acceptance and insecurity. We seek to be accepted and we are insecure about being accepted as we are by others.

I find myself all too often concerned with being liked by others. Did he misunderstand what I was trying to say? Did she misread my body language as being standoffish instead of being uncertain in the situation? Does he think that I am uneducated because I cannot contribute to the current conversation? Does she think that I am rude because I am not good at engaging in small talk? Did my attempt to be funny come across as idiotic? Was my awkward attempt to reach out and make a new friend interpreted as needy?

As I deal with my insecurities, I remind myself of my strengths. It is during these times that I focus on who I really am and the person that I wish to grown into. As I strive to be the best person I can be in all of my roles, I hope that others are able to see me for who I really am and love me anyway.


Beautiful Blessings February 10, 2009

Filed under: education,family,musing,nature — Relishing Life @ 9:27 pm
  • The quick and easy recovery of my grandma who had a heart attack and splint put in a week ago.
  • The boys giggling as they are playing in the backyard. Such a beautiful sound!!
  • The unseasonably warm day.
  • The presents of my wonderful husband who is working from home today.
  • The peace of knowing that all that *needs* to be accomplished will be.
  • Our loving and supportive extended family.
  • The time to spending reading on topics of interest to me.
  • The rich resources available to us at our public library. (Our oldest son checked a framed print out to display in our home – he wanted it for his bedroom, but we aren’t so sure it will be in one piece if left in there. LOL!)
  • Watching our oldest go into the prints room at the library and see one that he said was “beautiful” and ask if he could check it out (we had never done so before). It was great to see in interest in art and appreciate its beauty.
  • The geese returning from the South.

What has blessed your life today?


A Fresh Start February 9, 2009

Filed under: habits,Homemaking,musing,raising children — Relishing Life @ 8:12 pm
A fresh start, a new beginning
Past mistakes erased, poor choices forgiven
A chance to thrive under new circumstances
The opportunity to become who you were meant to be

When blessed with a fresh start, make the most of it! Every moment is a fresh start to some degree. Make the conscience decision to make better decisions every moment from here on out. All decisions won’t be the best, we are human.

Here are some of the things that I am going to concentrate on (and it will take ALOT of work on my part and ALOT of help from God to even begin to make improvements in these areas!) as I step forward from this point:

  • Providing more “child training” for my little ones
  • Being more soft-spoken to my family
  • Taking more care in my household tasks as they are a reflection of my love of my family
  • Making better choices with how I spend my time (i.e., less time on the internet)
  • Giving others the benefit of the doubt
  • Reach out in friendship to others more

What is… February 3, 2009

Filed under: family,musing — Relishing Life @ 6:07 am

What is tomorrow without today?
What is a marriage without love?
What is the future without hope?
What is food without nourishment?
What is an embrace without caring?
What is knowledge without learning?
What is friendship without sharing?
What is love without giving of ourselves?

All of these are empty vessels if without the substance behind them that make each a wonderful blessing. I choose these blessings with their beautiful meanings intact. May your life be full of these blessings and many more!


Let Them Play February 2, 2009

Filed under: education,musing,raising children — Relishing Life @ 6:47 pm

If we all wish for the days of our childhood when we were free of adult responsibilities, why are we pushing our children to grow up so fast by taking away their free time and instituting formal education at a younger and younger age? Why is it that we wish to be carefree and playful like children yet we are always telling our children to be quiet, “act your age” (which is another way of saying “you aren’t behaving like a miniature adult), and quit goofing off? Is it because we are jealous at their ability to truly enjoy life to the fullest while we are weighted down by the responsibilities of adulthood?

I am going to try harder to let my children be children. It is hard to just let them be kids sometimes, but that is what their job is – to be kids! They make messes. They investigate things. They are exuberant. They are God’s blessings to us. Lets delight in them enjoying the world!


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.