Monthly Archives: December 2016

It’s All In The Mind—Literally


Hand-painted Christmas Carol music box; one of my favorite decorations.

Christmas-time still makes me happy. And I wonder about that—because I’m definitely old enough to have outgrown it. But I never have. I hum Christmas songs as I go about putting up the tree. I love the red, green and gold colors of the season and when the weather snaps and crackles with cold, uh-huh even better.

I write this because one afternoon as I handled an ornament that had seen better days, it struck me as absurd that a combination of colors, glass balls, song lyrics and winter in the air should excite my mind and cause me to hum happily.

Does that mean I believe in Santa Claus? I won’t answer on grounds that I may be committed. 🙂 Do I hope Santa will bring gifts on that magical morning?

I have more ‘gifts’ than I can keep dusted and give thanks over already—no gifts please, Santa. And it’s not like I grew up in a home where Christmas was a big gift-giving affair. My siblings and I were all happy and thought it was a good Christmas when we got our customary apple, orange, a hand-full of walnuts and several pieces of hard ribbon candy—all in one of Dad’s socks—wow, that was fun! I’ve always believed giving truly is as much fun as getting.

Three days before the big day I had better things to be doing, but I was suddenly very curious by my childlike enjoyment of Christmas. So, I made a cup of tea and settled into my comfy chair to give this phenomenon deeper thought.

A short doze, and a second cup of tea later, I reached a conclusion: Christmas is a state of mind—just like happiness is. I mean really, logically, colors of red, green and gold, song lyrics of home and hearth and frosty weather happen on days other than just December 25, and without the ‘Christmas’ reaction. It’s all in the mind.

Each year, come December, childhood memories that lie buried eleven months out of the year, rise to the surface bringing the same excitement and fun as when I was six, ten, twelve … and I’m carried back to childhood … back to Christmas.

This gave me an idea for an experiment. I’m leaving all my Christmas decorations up through tax time. Maybe it’ll help me keep a happy state of mind as I empty my bank account in ‘giving’. I’ll let you know. 🙂

I hope you had a great Christmas! And keep God uppermost in your thoughts and plans for the 2017!

Until next time, signing off with hugs. 🙂 🙂 🙂


Who first said, “You’re only as happy as you decide to be?” Was it Abe Lincoln, Henry Ford or that ‘Will something’ person who did rope tricks and never met a man he didn’t like?  It sounds like something either of them would have said. And they most likely got the thought from even farther back—the world is round, and Mom used to say, ‘What goes around, comes around.’ She was right. It does. I wore an outfit to my book signing last night that was thirty years old—and it got compliments!

On to the subject of happiness; if it is a choice, how do we go about choosing? In spite of hearing all my life that things wouldn’t make me happy, and I feel guilty even  saying this—they do. Things do make me happy. I like things. It’s a different kind of happiness than I get from loving people and being loved by people. But my things do create a form of happiness. The pottery mug I drink coffee from and the dainty china cup for my tea, they feel good in my hands … the painting I brought home from Poland makes me smile …. I love it! But is that happiness?

Bear with me—I’ve given this thought.

When I finished my first novel and held it in my hands, it made me happy. The second novel did the same, and as I near the end of my third novel, I’m happy and having fun in the hours I spend at my keyboard creating lives for my characters … why wouldn’t it be fun? They ( my characters ) have a great love for each other,  enormous wealth, and beauty along with the perfect small town to live in—hey, this is fiction, and a short break from reality is what fiction is all about, isn’t it? My characters are good people, but sometimes they experience selfishness and other undesirable traits. I suppose most writers pull from their own life experiences in small ways without thinking about it. I never do! Uh-huh.

Deep into my third book, I often have to remind the main characters ( Lauren, Jackson and Brooke ) in the Valley Ridge series, that thankfulness and gratitude are their basic character beliefs. I know, I gave them those beliefs. When they forget and jump the track, problems arise, unhappiness enters. My thought is when we choose thankfulness and gratitude, the opposite from problems and unhappiness happens and happiness has a chance.

So, when the people I love and appreciate sacrifice a Friday evening at the end of a long week, going out into the cold to support me and my efforts, and buying a book that may be the farthest thing from what they’d ever read, I’m thankful, grateful—and happy. I’m filled With a happiness I could never get from the best of things. Possessions may bring joy and comfort, but never touch the heart  the way love and friendship does.  Can we  really choose happiness? Uh-huh, I think so. Oh, and the Will I mentioned earlier was Rogers, Will Rogers—a seemingly happy man. Give thought to what makes you happy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A great big humble thank you to everyone who came to the book signing! It was hosted by The Friends of the Library ( Nicki Powell and Alice Cochran ). The three authors were, Melrose Ayres, Denise Balog and myself—thank you again, you fill us with thanksgiving and gratitude! 🙂 To Ruth Allen and Bonnie King for helping with setting up and sales—many thanks, girl friends!  🙂

Keep God in your plans and in your heart! Until next time, MaryJ with  🙂 and hugs!

P.S.  I had to share:  As I looked back over this post, I caught a typo. Where I said my thirty-year old outfit had received compliments—I had spelled complaints! I had a good laugh and was instantly grateful I caught that. ( complaints could have easily been the correct word!  🙂

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Photo Gallery:




Me and my sister – Ruth Allen


Authors: Mary, Melrose Ayres, and Denise Balog


Bonnie King and me


Shara, Ruthy, Vickie and me – a fun time!