15 Days of Happiness :: Enjoy the Flowers


In my flowerbeds I planted Ranonculus several years ago.  In my climate it’s supposed to be an annual, but apparently there’s a little micro-climate in my yard that they survive in.  I wondered when we had sub-zero temperatures for so long this winter if they would make it or not.  Imagine my happiness to see their leaves poking out of the ground a few weeks ago.

They’re small flowers, but are possibly my favorite flower ever.  They come and go quickly in my garden so I have to consciously stop when I notice them or they’ll fade by the time I remember to go back.

So many things in life are like this.  We think they’ll still be around for us to enjoy when we have time, but the world keeps spinning and many of life’s simple joys must be appreciated NOW.

I’m a big fan of enjoying the flowers in life.  Studies have shown repeatedly that fresh flowers boost our spirits and increase happiness.  So head out to the garden and enjoy yours.  Stop along the side of the road to look at some.  Pop into a flower shop and treat yourself to a bouquet, or if that’s too much, buy a single bloom and bring it home.   Maybe you could buy two and share one with a friend.  It doesn’t matter if you buy them yourself or if they’re given to you; they bring happiness just the same.

Study your flower.  Smell it.  Notice the layers of petals, the lines, the curve of the stem.  Notice how saturated with color they are.  Study them and remember that the God who created these masterpieces also created you.

I wish I had a field of flowers I could cut, bundle and send to everyone I know.

I think I need to head outside for another look!

Happy Living, Jennifer

15 Days of Happiness :: A Deep Breath


I’ll be honest.  It hasn’t been the happiest day.  It’s been a rugged day, full of unexpected complications.  My mother’s heart carries a private weight that makes buoyancy difficult.  Nothing catastrophic; the weight of  life is heavier sometimes.  Knowing I needed to write this post has had me thinking about happiness all day.

Every year I particularly love watching my Iceland poppies bloom.  There is something so touching about the way they bow their heads as the pod bulges with potential.  They remind me of those private moments when we quietly bow our heads to take the blows of life and gather the energy to lift our chins once more.  They remind me of a mother summoning the strength to bring forth life.   It is part of the process of making wonderful things happen, and I love how my flowers teach me this lesson anew each spring.

I’ve thought today about how happiness isn’t just a buoyant feeling we feel.  It’s also something quiet and steady we can learn to tap into.  Like the coals that burn long after the flames have died down, I think we can learn to find happiness in foundational things even when the days are hard.

Some of the quiet, steady blessings I reflected on today are:  a loving husband who is consistent, my children who still love me even at the end of my lousy days, knowing that I stand on the shoulders of giants – amazing people in my own family tree whose lives are/were solid and true, the sun that rises and sets each day, the relief of praying to God who holds the future, the ability to hold very still and breathe deeply.    Pausing in my complicated day to consider these things was my bowing, summoning, remembering.  I felt like my poppy.

It’s ok to have tough days.  Sometimes we have tough weeks, or even years.  If we can pause to stoke the coals of faith, remembrance and hope we will find the strength to be steady and to hang on to the happy things that are ours.

So today my act of happiness was a deep breath.  Several of them.


My deep breath allowed me to put the day in perspective.  I counted so many blessings:  the smell of my daughter’s hair as she climbed up on my lap, helping a daughter make a new friend, listening to my little girls play school together, taking care of something important, brainstorming a plan for my son to surprise a friend on his birthday, going on a bike ride, cleaning with my daughters, the sound of sprinklers, the neighborhood children playing in my yard, noticing how full of life and beauty my eight year old daughter’s face looked on the way home from school, a cool evening breeze.   The noticing of these little things reminds me that after the bowed head comes a face lifted to the sun.


Sometimes happiness is knowing that soon we’ll bloom again.


15 Days of Happiness :: Make Time Your Friend


We’re all busy, with more to do than time to do it in.  One of the greatest drains on my happiness is the feeling that time is my enemy.  When I feel like I don’t have time to do what I should, I end up feeling helpless.  The garage I don’t have time to clean becomes a source of guilt, the project I don’t have time to finish becomes mere clutter, the laundry I don’t have time to fold sits in a pile, the dream I don’t have time to chase taunts me as my day-to-day life holds no promise of improvement.

I think we’re all like that.  We feel like we don’t have time to finish so we never start.  There isn’t time to do it right so we don’t do it at all.  We don’t have time to be thoughtful so we aren’t.  We don’t have time to organize our whole life so we just give up and keep on as we have been.  The list goes on and on.

I’ve learned that it’s not really time that robs me of happiness.  It’s my perception of time.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.  In this life is 100% fair.  Sure, we all have different constraints on our time, and we have different stages of life that govern how most of our time is spent. But we all have time.  In order to have time be a source of happiness instead of a drain on happiness, we have to make it our ally.

Enter my kitchen timer.

I may not be able to work for several hours on a project and see it to completion all at once, but I have fifteen minutes.  Somewhere in my day I can find 15 minutes to invest in the life I want to live.

This morning I took the timer in my closet and set it for 15 minutes.  I quickly cleared the floor of clutter, then briefly went through my hanging clothes.  Every time I found something I haven’t worn in a year, I tossed in a bag.  Then I quickly got a couple of boxes down from my top shelf to see what was in them.  To my surprise I found some maternity clothes I had forgotten about.  Two minutes later I had 4 empty boxes and 5 bags of clothing to get rid of this afternoon.  Yes!

My closet isn’t finished.  There is more to go through, but I started something I’ve been avoiding and did far more in 15 minutes than I thought I could.

Right now my timer is ticking away for a 15 minute blogging break.

Yesterday the timer was there when I weeded one of the flower beds outside.

In a few minutes I’ll use it to tackle a pile of clutter on the kitchen counter.

Using 15 minutes to work on something I don’t have time to do makes me feel like I’m in control of time.  It reminds me that I don’t need long segments of time to make improvements in my life.  I can do something small right now, in the next 15 minutes!  When these few minutes become valuable simply by changing my perception of them, time becomes my friend.  It is my tool, given to me by a loving God to make good use of.  He knows that he’s given me more to do than I can possibly accomplish, and he wants to see what kind of decisions I’m going to make with my time.

Some decisions I made a long time ago; when I decided to have a large family I chose to have more cooking, cleaning, housework and driving to do than many other mothers.    It eats up most of my time, but not every single minute.  I have 15 minutes, and a steady 15 minutes each day can work miracles.

Today, set a timer for 15 minutes and do something awesome.    It doesn’t matter that you finish, only that you do it.   Do it every day.   It will make you happy.

I promise!

Good luck, and happy living, Jennifer

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