October 04, 2014

Happy with a Houseful

I'm paraphrasing Elder Holland's latest BYUI devotional, "Living After the Manner of Happiness".  He says, "If you want to be happy, DO what happy people do."

I've been reading (listening to it while I cross-stitch at night actually) a book for book group 1000 White Women.  (I forward past the steamy parts.)  Comparing the white man to the Indians May Dodd explains that the white man (or woman) spends so much of their time trying to achieve a state of happiness.  The Indians are too busy working to worry about whether or not they're happy, and yet they are!
I agree.

I speak Elder Holland's words over and over in my mind.  Want a clean house?  Do what people with a clean house do.  Want happy children?  Do what people with happy children do.  

I even tell my kids to just pretend they love each other for one day.  Ha!  I tell them, treat each other as if you are best friends-- and you will be best friends.

I often act as if I have the most kind and helpful kids-- and I actually DO.  I try not to focus on their absolutely normal childish behaviors and just see their potential.  It really works.  I think that's what our Heavenly Father does for us!!
(He's almost walking...)

Didn't Elder Eyring give a talk once about making plaques for his children?  His timid son, he made a plaque with a lion.  

Today is the weekend we get to listen to inspirational talks and be fed.  We have guests visiting from out of town.  Which is SO fun and a LOT of mouths to feed.  

As much as I always imagine conference where I am able to sit and be fed, I have come to plan on a conference where I'm fed in snippets as I create a home where others can sit and be fed.  I actually love my job.  I feel blessed and happy as I serve.  I love creating conference traditions that spread joy to those I love.  I don't miss much, I am able to sit and quietly listen the next week when my home is quiet.
(Anna thinks these pictures are so funny- check out the orange waterbottle.)

I think "acting as if" is so healthy.  

The problem with being a stay at home mother is that we have the luxury of thinking too much about how we are feeling.  We have too many people saying to us "I could NEVER have that many kids" or "I could never do that".  Or, "you're doing too much, just say no."  Or, "do what makes you happy."  Oh please.
Saying no, doing less, focusing on yourself, this will NOT bring happiness.

Do you think you'll be less busy if you DON'T bring a meal to a friend or babysit someone else's kids while they go to the doctors?  Do you think you'd be more happy if you only had yourself to feed?  Nope.  You'd be lonely in your immaculate home with abundant free-time.  Even IF you didn't have humans to serve in your home, you would find some to serve.  Happiness comes in loosing yourself NOT in focusing on yourself.
You wouldn't be happier if you had nothing to keep you busy.
People fill their lives-- we all live 24 hours a day, no matter what we try to accomplish.  Tired is natural and GOOD.  

We are absolutely blessed to be able to choose why we are exhausted.  We can choose to spend our days serving others or spend our days getting manicures and eyelash extensions or spend our days typing up random reports for people who tell us how to spend our days.  We ALL are busy.  
You and you alone get to choose the life you want to create.  You CAN create the life you desire.  You get to write your history.  Don't let your health or your mood determine your destiny.

I still LOVE the advice I got from Sister Julie Beck when I was very ill.  She said "much of the work of the church is done by people who don't feel good."  I love her.
Act as if you're happy as you start your day!

Acting "as if" is like jump-starting a car when the starter is broken.  You know, when you start it rolling down the hill and pop the clutch?!  That's what you're doing.

Can't tell you how many of my intimate moments have started because I "acted as if" I was in the mood.  Mood follows behavior.

Don't start your day asking yourself what you feel like doing today.  Instead, tell yourself what you are going to be doing that day.  Feelings follow actions.

Recently our Superintendent told me, "First you change the policy, then you change the mindset."
(Chicken pot pie)

So, today-- BE HAPPY.
Do Good!
Act as if you LOVE what you do.
Act is if you are a Pro!
See yourself as the expert you want to become.
It works.
Acts change feelings.
Acts of service create joy.

Tired is an absolute gift.
(Ask any person on bed rest.)
Tired and used is how I want to feel at the end of my days.  
Like the Velveteen rabbit learned, "Real hurts sometimes"-- but it is an honor.
Enjoy your day friends!!
This is a glorious month.

I love having company.
I love being surrounded by children and friends and yes, sometimes chaos.
I might only get snippets of conference amidst my conferencing-- but those few loaves and fishes leave me FULL.  
Life is good!!
A life of service is sublime.
Loose yourself and go to work friends.
This is what truly happy people do!!

(This is what we're cutting out during conference...)
So fun!!


Evaly said...

Thank you for sharing this – I need to remember it!

Angela Vach said...

Thanks Jen! I loved this! I have felt the same way recently, even with others voicing differing opinions. Serving and acting as if, keeps us moving forward. Somedays that's all we can do. Aren't we counseled that when we don't feel like praying, get down and pray until you do? I'd say that's acting as if! :)

Marie said...

Great post, Jen!!! I needed this today... Am saving it to my reading list --- will be re-reading often! ❤️

Hope Anna and Ben are doing well!

Anonymous said...

You are so positive!! I find I accomplish more when I have more to do and more people to serve, but these things come in seasons. I'm learning to just enjoy each day and each season for what it is. It always changes!! Change-- the only constant!!

Amber said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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