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Habits of the Happy

Happy New Year!

Let's sit down and I'll serve the cake! December was a great and tiring way to end the year! We have three birthdays in our household, so it is always extra festive! Everyone except Deacon and Krew were in our local presentation of The Nutcracker, so it was a busy season! Brett and I were party parents for the opening scene about Clara’s birthday, while Linley danced the part of a party guest. We also lived in the presence of a snowflake, Linley’s second role, a Little Flower, Jenna’s ballet debut, a Mini Waltz, in which Ella Kate danced with flowers, and the cutest Bon Bon ever, Raegan!

Since the theme of the season was The Nutcracker, and Jenna turned seven and Raegan turned five the same week, we did a Nutcracker Gingerbread House Decorating Tea Party. We decorate the kitchen eating area for birthdays, so we decorated with pink, turquoise, and purple with snowflakes and sparkles to blend with the rest of the Christmas decor in the house.

We served tea for Raegan in Friday...

and tea on Sunday afternoon for Jenna!

It was a lot of work but I am so glad to have done it, since we usually do not have “parties” especially so close to Christmas. The older girls wore their aprons to “serve” at the party and it was an exceptionally girly good time. The boys enjoyed the yummy food!

Brett’s birthday was the 29, but he had a sinus infection that day, so even though we made a cake ready for the day, we did not celebrate until two days later. Boo! Cake was still good, though!

God has a sense of humor, since we met Krew one year ago during a snowstorm and he was four weeks early!

This year we made cake pops and pretzel rods. By the end of the baking session, I was reminded again why we only make them about once a year - so tedious!

We decorated the kitchen birthday area in baby blue. I love to make people at home feel extra special on their birthdays - I consider it their one day of the year. Everyone else can learn to celebrate someone else and realize how much we love and appreciate each person they live with. I sewed a buffalo check table runner we will reuse each year for the January boy birthdays. Both boys love Pound Puppies so we have a puppy theme to go along with the blue. I found these cute dog plates and napkins at Target. Yay!

We are easing back into the school year, so church and ballet start back this week and we will resume school studies next week. As we enter a new year full of promise and hope from the Lord, we still have the hopes, wants, and needs from the year before. We have the same problems and the same worries. New years mean fresh starts and new beginnings and new habits, which feels good, even when we carry some concerns from the previous year into the next one.

Society convinces people we need to be the prettiest mom, the trendiest dresser, the best homeschool teacher, the most productive lady, the highest achiever at the office, the most awarded girl, the most educated student, have the neatest home, live with the best husband, have the most successful kids, and put a hot meal on the table every night. Oh yes, and post the best pictures online for all to see. Whew! This is exhausting!

How about if we slow down and take a minute to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

I have this verse hanging over the doorway in the living room but I still have a difficult time actually doing it. Our bodies need stillness, calm, quiet, and creativity. This sounds funny coming from me, with a house full of six kids! Someone is always jumping or moving or talking. We can take on a calm and peaceful mindset even if your life is loud or hectic. How do you start your day? Through talking with clients and my own life experience, there are certain ways people maintain joy so I hope these inspire you as much as they inspire me.

Habits of

  1. Begin each day with God. Choose a Bible study, pray honestly about what you need and how you feel. It all begins with Him!

  2. Mind your own business. Let silliness go and do what you need to do. Forget what others are doing or not doing and live your life. There are a lot “bosses” around my home who like to regulate everyone else and let them know what they need to be doing. I find myself reminding them to “do you.”

  3. Talk Less. Sometimes the air needs no words to fill it. Sometimes time is needed to carefully evaluate any words that need to be said or actions needed to be taken.

  4. Help others. Make a meal for a neighbor whose husband goes out of town. I had a dear neighbor I still am good friends with who made casseroles when Brett went out of town several times. Take out someone’s trash who is sick. There are countless ways to serve those around when you take a minute to think about it.

  5. Laugh. Laugh when something silly happens or plans go awry. Laugh at yourself when you trip on the sidewalk. Enjoy life without taking everything too seriously.

  6. Learn new stuff. You are never too old to learn how to do something new. Practice some recipes, get a sewing machine, make your own candles, take a gym class. I have loved learning kickboxing over the past few years. It was not a natural flow for me, since it is quite different from dance, but I love sweating my heart out every Thursday.

  7. Get up early. I used to get up to lifeguard at 5:00 a.m. during seminary. It was rather miserable and was short-lived, but waking up at a reasonable hour gives the day a great start. Getting up to greet the day and flinging open the curtains to see the sun is well worth it. Plan something enjoyable each day. I do not necessarily mean something extravagant, but for me, sometimes it is making some hair bows or picking up groceries with coffee in hand for the ride.

  8. Put the phone down. Phones are excellent tools and I really cannot remember life without them. Useful for banking, ordering, connecting and more, they serve a great purpose. We also live with real people doing real activities. Look people in the face when they walk in the room, eat a meal without a phone, and stand outside with some fresh air and really take it in.

  9. Choose to remember your blessings. Train your mind to be honest about circumstances while recalling the good stuff in life. Gratitude is an absolute day-changer. Take a minute, admit frustration, put your hair up, and keep going. The Lord understands how you feel and what you need, so remember that!

Enjoy your 2023. Your authentic hope and joy will not be found in a new year, new job, new status, new friends, or anything else other than the Lord. I have tried. It never works. I still am learning to find the joy because of Jesus. Let Him be your Source of joy each day. Through all the random crazy in life, choose joy. I will be working on this too!



Pic(k) of the Week

When Christmas is so fun you pass out in the middle of supper time...

What We're Loving

To sew a quick table runner, measure your table.

Your runner should be 1/3 the width of the table and hang over 6" on each end.

I added 1" to my measurements to sew.

Put right sides together, sew at 1/2" and leave a small opening to flip it right side out.

Iron it as flat as possible.

Sew an invisible stitch at the small opening and there you go!


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