Friday, April 8, 2011

Happiness & Joy – Day #8 from the A-Z Challenge

So many times throughout my life, I hear the comment, "I just want to be happy," but what does happiness mean exactly?

The Oxford dictionary defines Happiness as a feeling of showing pleasure or contentment. Joy, on the other hand (from the same Oxford dictionary), is a feeling of GREAT (emphasis mine) pleasure and happiness.

How do you know when you're happy? Through smiles? Through laughter?

Apparently happiness comes through contentment. As we struggle through our days, focused on errands we have to run, meals we have to prepare, laundry we have to wash, children we have to bathe, groceries we have to buy, carpets we need to vacuum, counters we need to clean, jobs we have to complete, events we have to attend, and appointments we have to make, we lose ourselves in our day-to-day lives.

By Friday night, we are often too exhausted to feel happy – unless we have plans for the weekend. During the week, though, many of us feel depressed that every day we experience the same routine: get up, get ready, go to work, work all day, come home, work all evening, go to bed, get up…

But we are also often unaware of how lucky we are that we have errands to run, food to eat, clothes to wear, children to hug, and all of the other reasons we should feel blessed to be alive.

We need to pay more attention to those times we smile and laugh, and we need to recognize and take advantage of those moments that bring joy into our lives, because the more we focus on happiness and joy, the more joy and happiness we'll experience.

What would make YOU happy right now? Here is an example of one unexpected answer I received to that question:

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner one night, asking my grandchildren for suggestions, when my phone vibrated with a text message from my oldest daughter, Keeley, wanting to know what the road conditions would be like for her on her four hour trip.

My grandson, Kaden, was talking to me at the same time, trying to resolve the what-to-have-for-dinner dilemma, insisting that all of my dinner problems would be resolved if only we had Chinese for dinner. I kept telling him, WHILE I was texting Keeley, that neither his mother nor I could afford Chinese.

As I continued to check road conditions for the town my daughter was passing through on her way to Bourbonnais (her destination from West Frankfort), my phone rang. It was my son, so I interrupted the text to take the phone call.

After my son and I talked for a few minutes, Greg asked to talk to his kids. Only Kaden and Zac were home, so before I put them on, I said to Greg's sons, as I walked toward them holding the phone, "I have a surprise for you. What do you think it is? What would make you really happy right now?"

Fully expecting them to notice the phone in my hand, and hoping Greg could hear his sons say, "My daddy! My daddy!" what happened instead – and I shouldn't have been surprised – was Kaden's response: "Chinese."

I have to tell you, that comment brought a smile to my face and laughter to my voice. Smiles and laughter give me joy. And experiencing joy makes me happy.

That completes Day #8 from the A-Z Challenge. Brought to you by the letter, H.

Previous A-Z Challenge blogs:

Amazon Hates Me – Day #1 from the A-Z Challenge

Bored – Why? – Day #2 from the A-Z Challenge

Craziness – Day #3 from the A-Z Challenge

When Your Daughter Develops, DON'T DO THIS! – Day #4 from the A-Z Challenge

Ellen – Day #5 from the A-Z Challenge

Family and Friends – Day #6 from the A-Z Challenge

The Grownup Table – Day #7 from the A-Z Challenge


  1. Wonderful post. I think so many search for what would make them happy without ever stopping to think what that something might be.

  2. Loved this! Grandkids always make me happy! :O)

    My “G” post is right here:

  3. Hi Theresa, I am visiting you from the A-Z challenge. I once heard someone state that happiness depends on happenings in our life. Which I think is so true. Wishing you a joyful weekend.

    The Watered Soul

  4. You can alwasy tell if I'm happy because you'll find me humming or singing. Loved the story.

  5. That is a cute story. I can imagine your grandson yelling "Chinese". My little one is a constant source of laughter and happiness for me too.