Making Happiness From Scratch

Real happiness, that deep down soul level happiness, can be one of the most elusive things to obtain in this life.  Many of us will spend the bulk of our years searching it out, and usually always in all the wrong places. It’s typically not until we get much older that we begin to gain an understanding of how happiness really works.   That is what this blog post is about. Happiness. What it really is, and how in the world do we really obtain it?

The definition of happiness reads like this, “happiness; the state of being happy.”  Uhh, okay. that’s kind of vague.  The dictionary tells you what happiness is, but not how to get it. That would be too easy.

It’s only in recent years that I have slowly begun to understand that things, nor people, have the ability or the responsibility to make me happy.  I am personally guilty in the past of depending on people for my happiness.

Luckily for me, my sanity, and the sanity of those I was subconsciously putting all of that pressure on, I had an epiphany. I have slowly begun to see, that if I want to be truly happy, and in turn spread that happiness outward to those around me, I am 100% in charge of creating my own happiness and joy.

All too often, we fall into the trap of expectation. Expecting our husbands, children, friends, pastors, etc., to “make us happy” Why do we do that? I believe it is because, and this is just my theory, that being TRULY happy takes a lot of work.

We need to put in the effort it takes. But what effort would that be? What does it look like?

We will touch on that, but first I want to go back to that epiphany I mentioned. One day while going about my business, not thinking about anything in particular, it hit me like a lightning bolt. The understanding that I had never had before about real happiness.

“I have GOT to start creating my OWN happiness!”

So then began the research into the matter.  Turns out, a quick Google search will send you into information overload! There are endless blogs, articles, informative pieces, and even studies done on the topic of happiness, and how to attain it.

But for the sake of time, I will sum it all up…YOU and only you can make YOU happy! Start by having a real honest conversation with yourself. Do you expect your significant other to make you happy? Or your parents, or children? Do you find yourself looking to things or food or even your pets for happiness?

I’m guilty of every one of those things at one point or another, but now I am working hard at shifting my perspective and my expectations, because if we aren’t careful and we continuously put our own self-care on the back burner by always putting ourselves last, while expecting our happiness to be provided to us by someone other than yourself, we’re at a real risk of becoming bitter, angry, and unhappy.  Our families can definitely bring smiles to our hearts, and that’s just a bonus.

So what does creating your own happiness look like? Well, for me it is starting my day with scripture, meditation, prayer, and gratitude. As well as positive mantras, because sometimes we have to tell ourselves something over and over again until we begin to believe it. Smiling in the face of adversity also does wonders for me. Happiness is a state of mind, and once you realize that, the world around you begins to look a little different.

Realizing that you are indeed in charge of your state of mind is a very freeing feeling. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it takes effort, hard work, and patience. One doesn’t become “unhappy” overnight, so don’t expect to change all at once. But do have that honest conversation with yourself. Make a list of the things you think would bring you happiness, then mark it all out and write “ME”.


Dressed For Success: Before & After Motherhood

Remember back in the day, before you entered the world of motherhood, what dressing for success looked like?
Full makeup, carefully coordinated outfits accessorized perfectly, ready to take on the day and put your best foot forward. Yeah. I remember those days…

Then suddenly, I find myself standing in line at the grocery store where I am almost always lost in my own little world, trying to visualize the shopping list I left at home.  Counting and recounting the kids to make sure they’re all there, and explaining repeatedly why “you can’t have that.”

But from time to time in those rare moments when I can slip out of the house for a quick trip by myself, I have much more time to, what’s it called…oh yes, hear my own thoughts!

It’s during these all too rare solo shopping trips, that I become hyper-aware of everyone around me. Most likely due to the fact that after 20 years of “momming”, my brain is now hardwired to work overtime focusing. And as a parent, I’m probably a little too observant, out of habit of course.

I can step back and get a glimpse of the world around me, which can be hilarious and be revealing all at the same time. I can easily spot “myself” in the crowds multiple times and simultaneously decipher approximately what stage of life people (specifically moms)  are in.

We, of course, do not all experience the same things at the same times, but you can get a general idea.

I remember when I became a mother to my first child, there was not a day that missed getting dressed and putting on my makeup. Even with the exhaustion of having my first newborn, I wouldn’t be caught without “my face on”, especially at work!

Soon enough, baby number two made their debut, and I found myself only “going all out” with my looks when I knew I would be leaving the house…then baby three…and four…and finally baby number five.

By the time baby five arrived, I had already mastered the messy bun before it was even a thing!

At one point during this not so flattering transformation, I got pretty down on myself with the typical negative self-talk I’m sure most of us are guilty of at one point or another. You know, the “I’m not pretty anymore, why even try”, kind of self-talk. Then on to the, “well I’m just too busy”, self-talk, and finally the realization that I was just not taking care of myself properly. The all too real phenomenon of moms putting themselves last all the time.

So now, with that realization, came another. Full makeup, carefully coordinated outfits with accessories or not, we are still dressed for success, but the focus has now shifted from our success to theirs.  And I’m totally okay with that!

Now excuse me while I go brush my teeth….four hours after already being up…



Bless This Southern Mess

A dear friend made this adorable mason jar door hanger that is currently residing in my kitchen, but the title of this blog is referring to, umm, me.

As I sat at the kitchen table, stressing over all that I failed to accomplish that day, trying to plan for my daughters 9th birthday party that was in just six days (wow, how time flies!), trying to figure out what to make for a homemade gift at our homeschool co-op Moms Christmas party, as well as penciling down each child’s grade level Christmas party dates and times, I took a long ragged breathe and looked up.

There was my friends’ cutesy door hanger. I couldn’t help but wonder in that moment..”was she thinking about my house, or ME when she made this??” Probably me. Yes, I’m sure of it.

Real talk! Aren’t we all a mess?? I mean, aren’t we? I get serious anxiety when I think about the “perfect moms” out there, with their perfect houses, perfect husbands, and perfect kids! I have the joy of rubbing elbows with many of these perfect moms at our homeschool co-op that we have been part of for nearly 5 years now. However, it’s just in the last six months that I have been making a conscious effort to get to know the other mommas a little better. Let me tell you…we are all a mess in our own messy ways. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

The ladies in my mind, who I have perceived as “perfect”, would probably laugh until they choked if I ever told them how I had envisioned them in the not so long ago past! But like diving too deep, the realization that these phenomenal females were a whole lot like me in many ways, was the best breath of fresh air!

We are all giving it our best, and that IS good enough! My best advice when you’re feeling like a momster who is falling apart, is to approach one of the women you see as “having it all together”, and ask them simply, “Are you feeling as big of a mess as I am?” I feel confident in saying they will surprise you by not being as perfect as you presumed. You will probably laugh together, cry together, and offer each other great advice!

Sometimes we just need to hear each other’s stories. Remind each other that we all struggle, (homeschool mom or not, this goes for all of us!) and laugh with each other as we swap war stories!

Stay blessed ya’ll, and embrace the mess!