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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