Money, Happiness, Humor

It is an amazingly beautiful Saturday morning. The temperature is just right; the sunshine is bright and the sky is a clear blue with cottony white clouds. The jasmine outside my window has wrapped around the thin bark of my young oak tree; the sweet scent of tiny, delicate jasmine flowers reminds me of just how perfectly God has balanced this life. In this moment, cool breezes scented with sweet jasmine, song of birds serenading from the high branches of oak and pine, my books lined up on my bookshelves next to my desk in my room, remind me of thankfulness; I remember darker days before now. I remember days I never thought I would find peace; but now, I have peace. I have happiness. It has taken decades to get to this peaceful space.

Throughout the ages, the question of what brings happiness has been hotly debated.

Is it money that brings happiness? Is it inner acceptance of God’s will in a person’s life? Is it environment? Is it the connection to family and friends? Is it. . .? Is it. . .?

Is a person’s level of happiness impacted by genetically-based tendencies towards biochemical changes in the brain that makes their moods fluctuate beyond their control?

Is personality quite simply the major factor?

Honestly, I think it is a combination of factors; I don’t think it is just one factor.

I can say for sure that I found peace in my soul when I became honest with myself, when I stopped looking over my shoulder in anticipation of whether I had made someone else happy. My happiness increased when I learned to say “no” and to set boundaries, when I learned that it is not selfish to defend my own personal space. I found happiness when I learned that I am valuable quite simply because I am God’s child and that I do not need anyone else’s approval.

Happiness means different things for different people, of course. We have all read about the massively rich who are miserably unhappy. Yet, we have all met people who live in poverty who radiate contentment.

I live near the ocean; while I don’t have a yacht, I do have the opportunity to rent a kayak. Well, I know it’s not the same thing, but. . .Happiness is joy of living; Happiness is laughter at the peculiarities of life.

I like brainyquotes and I often look for interesting quotes there. I would like to share some humorous quotes regarding happiness that I found on that website. I hope you get a few laughs from the quotes. Have a beautiful and joy-filled Saturday.

Here are the quotes:

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable-” Clare Boothe Luce

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it-” David Lee Roth

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory-” Ingrid Bergman

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city-” George Burns

Please leave a comment and share your definition of happiness.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

It’s All in the Perception. . .Where are you from?

“I’m a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.”-J.D. Salinger (Brainyquotes)

Just yesterday, I had to complete a diversity and inclusivity training at my job. I was informed in the training that the question “Where are you from?” is an example of microaggression. Needless to say, I scratched my head. Maybe it’s because I was born in the middle of the last century, but I could have sworn that “Where are you from?” is an icebreaker in a conversation. In my life, “Where are you from?” is usually followed by the sharing of information to get to know the person better.

Evidently, for the under forty crowd, the question is the equivalent of a vicious verbal weapon laden with layers upon layers of negative, discriminatory innuendo. Seriously, it’s obvious that somebody has read far too much into this icebreaker question. In fact, anyone who experiences discomfort from being asked “Where are you from?” should seriously sit down and ponder why they feel discomfort at the question. Why the paranoia? Maybe the person asking the question is just trying to start a conversation. Maybe I am just simple-minded, but I have been asked the question and I have asked others the same questions. It’s called a conversation.

In it’s very definition, microaggression admits that it’s often unintentional in nature.

Unintentional meaning that it is not intended to offend.

Truth is every little word cannot be dissected and scrutinized for underlying meaning and innuendo that quite possibly might not exist. It is absolute madness to create a society in which everybody has to walk on eggshells and monitor every little utterance so as not to offend.

Truth is everybody is offended by something.

My mother told me a long time ago, “If you can’t say something kind, don’t say anything.”

I have lived by this.

“Where are you from?” is just a question intended to start a conversation.

How the person receiving the question perceives it is entirely up to that person’s interpretation of the intention of the person asking it.

Of course, depending upon the situation, if the person asking the question is being a jackass, then that is an entirely different animal.

I think we all know the difference.

Intention and perception are everything.

Let’s just be kind.

Let’s be mindful of our words.

Words have power to heal; words have power to harm.

Think before you speak, but, don’t be afraid to speak.

Start a conversation. We need each other on this lonely planet.

What we don’t need is a laundry list of what we can and cannot say.

Who gets to write the list?

Who?

Think about it.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

The Present

Pictured here is a torii gate that the local arboretum has in its Japanese garden near the tea house. The arboretum is very peaceful with its winding paths, rocks, flowers, trees and shrubs. Traditionally, the torii gate is at the entrance of a sacred space.

This sprawling garden fits my definition of a sacred space.

It is a refuge. It is a place I can go and quietly sit beside the pond and watch the branches of the willow tree sweep into the water and watch the koi fish swim between the willow trees’ delicate, sweeping branches.

The pale blue sky above me and the chilly January breezes remind me of the simple beauty of this life. This life is such a priceless jewel and God has blessed each of us with this day to just bask in the sunlight and to breathe in the sacredness of this moment.

For the next couple of weeks, I am unplugging social media. I do not want to know about those things that trouble me. Yes, I am going to stick my head in the sand and look away.

Only God can change this trajectory of chaos and mayhem.

I can choose to take a deep breath, stay in the moment, go for a peaceful stroll among the ancient oak, pause beneath the red torii gate and consider the sacredness of this space in time.

God has blessed us with so much that we as a society have taken for granted.

I am thankful to God for the beauty of this day.

I am thankful and I give praise to my God for this gift of sacredness.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Happiness is a Sugar Cookie

I love hot tea. I love sugar cookies.

To me, food heaven would be a cup of hot tea that tastes like a sugar cookie.

Well, the Celestial Seasonings Tea Company has actually made my dream of food heaven a reality.

This afternoon, I was grocery shopping and to my surprise there it was, my dream come true- “Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride” tea.

I blinked several times. This, after all, has not been a very good year, so I considered that my imagination might have been running wild on me since I was wearing my mask snugly (maybe my oxygen level had dropped).

I carefully snatched up a box and examined it, read the ingredients, zoned in on the “natural sugar cookie flavor” and immediately put two boxes in my cart.

At home, I brewed up a cup and, yes, it does indeed taste like a warm sugar cookie!

Joy! Happiness! Peace!

While sipping my sugar cookie tea, I read the little note on the side of the box that gave the history of sugar cookies.

Apparently, sugar cookies were introduced to North America by a group of 18th century German immigrants who settled near Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Also, noted on the box was a Norwegian Proverb: Cookies are made with butter and love.

I absolutely agree with this Norwegian Proverb.

Nothing says love better than a cookie, especially a cookie that is as buttery as a warm sugar cookie.

There is a cup of hot tea that tastes like sugar cookies at the end of this dark tunnel known as 2020.

In this Christmas season, I plan to daily enjoy a cup of hot sugar cookie sleigh ride tea and give thanks for the small things that can give incredible joy in the midst of this difficult year.

I feel better already!

Blessings to everyone. Merry Christmas!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

Happy Friday (or Saturday)!

Happiness. Joy. Beauty. Peace.

These are qualities which are largely ignored in a world which dwells obsessively on sadness, ugliness, and chaos.

Truth is that there is more beauty than ugliness. There is more joy than sadness. There is more peace than chaos.

It all depends on choices. What do you choose to spend your time listening to, talking about, reading?

Do you wake up in the morning and complain about the long commute ahead of you or do you wake up and look out the window at the beauty of the sun’s golden rays gloriously shining between the trees?

Do you look at your children and snap at them for not having their book bags ready or do you take a moment to hug each of them and thank God that they are in your life (remember they grow up and move on to their own lives sooner than you can even imagine)?

Do you complain that your spouse forgot to take the trash out or do you stop and remember back to your wedding day and that precious love you entered into so many years ago?

Choices.

We all have them. We can decide which actions we want to take.

We can either choose to be unhappy or we can choose to look out the window at the early morning sun and be happy that God has blessed us with another chance to try to better ourselves.

We can choose to hug our children and tell them that they are special, that they are precious to us.

We can choose to extend grace, love, and understanding to our spouse when he or she seemingly falls short of our own arbitrary expectations.

We can choose to look inward and evaluate our choices.

Joy, beauty, and peace can only be found when we choose to actively look for each of them.

The question asked often is whether the glass is half empty or half full.

I say it is half full.

It is a choice.

Happy Friday (or Saturday).

I choose to be happy. I choose to push through the negativity and smile as I watch the glorious sun rising above the tops of the pine trees each morning.

These days are blessings.

And I am thankful for these blessings.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Beauty of Flowers

100_0811_0004100_0810_0003

There is an arboretum a few blocks from my house. It is a peaceful refuge.  I enjoy taking my camera with me there and photographing flowers. I find that the single kindest act I can do for myself is to switch off the negative news, go out into the sunshine and walk among flowers.

All too often, we get caught up in the rush to the next minute rather than stopping to enjoy the beauty right in front of us.

100_1275_0057

So, stop and smell the roses!

So, stop and enjoy the timeless beauty of a garden.

Enjoy this life rather than complain about its imperfections.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever be as perfect as the petals of a flower!

Have a beautifully blessed day!

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

Rescued

close up photo of beagle resting head on armrest
Photo by Hilary Halliwell on Pexels.com

Rescued

BoBo nestles beside me wrapped in his pink blanket,

Australian Shepard/Beagle/ Dachshund, my little rescuer,

having rescued me from the sadness, from the darkness,

he my shadow, my faithful little friend.

Cold black nose, his lips turning upward as if smiling in his sleep.

His chin resting on his big paws,

my perfect friend,

in his silent sleep, his presence comforts me,

nestled next to me.

 

Jenny Andrews Copyright 2019

 

It has been three years since I adopted BoBo from a pet rescue in my community. He was one of a litter; his mother had been rescued as had his father. Dogs (and cats) can bring such joy to someone’s life. Consider adopting from an animal shelter or a reputable animal rescue if you are considering getting a pet. Pets take a lot of care and attention, but they are such a blessing, as well. BoBo has been a blessing to me.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2020!

 

Ode to Ex-Husband

adult adventure beautiful climb
Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

Ode to Ex-husband

Forgetting to remember you.

Going to places we never went,

just so I can try out this new life,

where your negativity does not exist.

This new life where I can remember how to laugh again.

 

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

 

Please remember to check out my poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow.” It is published under my name Jenny Andrews. It is available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon. I am interested in knowing what you think. Thanks!