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Year Two, Day 83: The "Happiness Way"

Life is interesting.

This morning I woke up cranky as usual. But then I remembered what I had written in my dayplanner on Saturday:

"The way to happiness:
Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry.
Live simply, expect little, give much.
Fill your life with love.
Scatter sunshine.
Forget self, think of others.
Do as you would be done by.
Try this for a week and you will be surprised"\.
~The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, 1952

Mr. Peale adds in the next paragraph: "...as long as you lead a God-centered life".

I am on Day 3 of my "happiness way".

I am realizing while studying this book, and doing the exercises, which include much prayer and self inspection, that I have been my own worst enemy.

I am determined to change!

"...the formula is to know what you want, test it to see if it is right thing, change yourself in a such a manner that it will naturally come to you and always have faith". 
~The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, 1952
This morning, I made a change. I replaced my grumpy thoughts with scripture, as Mr. Peale suggested.

One passage he recommended saying daily and committing to memory is Philippians 4:13: 
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Even choosing to wake up happy!
And I was tested.

I was agonizing over whether to ride my bike to church or take the bus.  It was cooler today, a nice day for a bike ride. But, I had to stop at the library, teach a student and go to the gym. I was thinking it would be easier to bus.

So I took off on foot. And I am so glad that I listened to that small, still voice inside.  

This voice, I am convinced is a gentle encouragement from the Holy Spirit.

I got all the way down to church, with one minute to spare, and noticed there were no cars in the parking lot.

How odd, I thought.

I tried the doors. Locked.

Then it occurred to me. I had gotten an email from one of the members asking if I needed a ride to the church picnic. I told him kindly that I would not be able to go since I had students and an English class to teach in the afternoon.

I did not realize the picnic was in lieu of church service!

What a bonehead, I scolded myself.  

But then I stopped and remembered my "happiness way". I stood there in the middle of the street, trying to reroute myself. It was too early for the library.  The bookstore at the bottom of the hill didn't open until noon.  The gym was quite far - close to my afternoon student.

I took a deep breath and told myself gently that this was a chance to sit over breakfast and read from The Power of Positive Thinking.

And I did just that! I had oatmeal and a cup of coffee. And leisurely read my book and looked up the scripture passages.

I felt very happy and peaceful. 

Then my phone rang. It was my son. 

Whenever my son calls, I think the worst.  This is a bad habit of mine. I expect the worst and pray for the best.  

But I am working on replacing this thinking with positive thinking. 

I put a smile on my face and in my voice and answered the phone.

It turns out that he was just calling to say hello and ask me if I wanted to meet him for lunch!

This sounds small, but one thing I pray for is the safety of my son and for our relationship to be close and easy going the way it was when he was young.

We met an hour and half later. The restaurant was a good 15 minute walk. Time for me to tell myself, that I loved my son and having lunch would be a good time to just enjoy each other's company. Not to lecture.  Not to grill him about his plans for life.

We had a lovely time. I did share with him that I was excited about the book I was reading. 

And lo and behold, he said, "I need to read more!"

I almost fell out of my seat. But I managed to remain calm. I asked him if he'd like to read a little bit of my book.  

I slid it across the table and excused myself to the restroom.  I hope he didn't see how big my grin was.  I live for my kids to enjoy reading as much as I do!

After lunch he asked if I would go help him clean out his car. His girlfriend has young children and the evidence was scattered throughout. 

We actually had a nice time, bonding. Cleaning and vacuuming.

I remembered my "happiness way":  "...live simply, expect little, give much".  

Profound, but simple truth here.

I am on my way!

Happy Sunday!

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