Tag Archives: happiness

Finding joy where you are

I’ve blogged about this joy-versus-happiness thing before but I need to talk about this again.

Happiness is a feeling or emotion that ebbs and flows as you go through the highs and lows of your natural life. Obviously, we aren’t always happy. And thank goodness because we all need a dose of the sads to keep us humble, right? But more importantly, the beauty of our humanness is in experiencing the full spectrum of emotions we were built to endure. I won’t lie, I love the release of a full blown snot-inducing ugly cry now and again. Sometimes I secretly enjoy being miz and just climbing under my duvet and shutting everybody out. And let’s be honest, we all roll our eyes at the eternally happy colleague who skips down the corridors in the work place spreading sunshine wherever she goes.

However, joy springs from something deep inside of you. It starts off as a choice, and then burgeons into a belief. It is spurred on by faith and it is not moved by or dependent on circumstance. It is not dictated by your mood or your feelings or the number of snotty tears you cry. Joy remains unshakable in the wake of trials. Joy says I believe that even though this situation sucks right now, God is still the King of the world. He has overcome this. He is on the throne. Whether you like it or not, God’s Will, will be done. And God’s will is always good, is always favourable, is always blessing.

Let me give you an example of my own life right now, just in case Facebook or my Instagram feed has led you to believe that it’s all unicorns and sunbeams around here. My husband and I still argue and disagree on a plethora of things, we are not that couple who “turn the other cheek.”  We are either in a silent treatment face-off or a battle of wills over who gets the last word (I win most times, just saying). Now while there is sadness and disappointment and a lack of respect in these moments, it doesn’t detract from the joy I feel every time I consider that this is MY man (Denzel Washington voice) until I die. My children never fail to confuse and upset me. With every age I’m more astounded at how much harder this parenting thing gets, I mean really can I get a break. I got called in for Liam’s behaviour the other day. Me? I never got called into the teacher’s office NOT ONCE while I was in school, but I’m getting called in for my spawn? NOT COOL. While Hannah has turned into an absolute dream of a child, truly she is my most favourite daughter, she is as volatile as a Slinky… can you say up and down? But with all the difficulties of parenthood, the inexplicable and constant joy I feel whenever I think about these two perfect children is just there. And then there’s the circumstances we face… we’re still in the process of finalising our house sale which means lots of money and lots of anxiety. Secondly, I called the school I had planned to enrol Hannah in for next year to be told that they are actually full, now what? If you know me, you’ll know that sorting out schools for my children has been a project I have dedicated myself to fully and to be rejected in this way was like a slap in the face. And then the daily stresses of life… when there’s more month than money, when your appliances all seem to die at the same time, when you’re drowning in the stress of trying to please all your friends. This may not be true for you, but it is highly stressful for me to try and fit everyone in. I have a guilt complex over trying to meet up with all the special people in my life. There’s the loss of a pet, the boy child who has regressed and cries at bedtime because he is scared of the dark, the point on your to-do list you forgot about and now your boss is pissed off. Guys, if we had to focus on the things that were wrong in our lives at any given moment, we would be truly doomed. I’ve seen people in the darkest of valleys these last few weeks. People who have lost loved ones, people who have been retrenched, people who are going through fires that you and I will never understand and I think to myself HOW do you move forward in the face of such adversity?

But then joy steps in. I don’t know where you find your joy, but I find mine in the Lord. I remain joyful and hopeful and reliant on the fact that I will not succumb to the injuries I face. That this season will pass, that goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps23:6). I remain confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps 27:13).  You see, joy transcends the here and now and looks forward to the future. It veils your eyes with wisdom enough to see through the pain you may be enduring. Joy is that thing that makes you laugh through your tears, it makes you expectant even when you’re all out of options in the natural, and it comes from a deep-seated knowledge that it isn’t over until God wins.

Get freak-out happy.

On Sunday we went to the Oyster, Wine and Food Festival at Brightwater Commons. While I don’t enjoy oysters and didn’t taste any wine, I do like the vibe that this outdoor event offers. We went last year and had a good time and this year was equally fun. But this post isn’t about that.

While we were there, I forked out R60… SIXTY SOUTH AFRICAN RONDS for the kids to play for HALF AN HOUR in this park full of inflatable THINGS – like jumping castles, an obstacle course inflatable thingy, the inflatable with the climbing rope and so on. At first I was annoyed, as I counted the many other things I could have done with that R60, I thought it was a bit of a rip off to be honest, and one of those MANY things I felt coerced into because of the big puppy-dog eyed looks I got from my two children who do NOT have me wrapped around their little fingers.

But then I saw this…



And this….



And this…


And look at this…


And let me tell you, I would pay R60 twice or even thrice over to see that pure and unadulterated pleasure in the faces of my children again. There are many things we love to say about children – how innocent they are, how precocious they can be, how lovable they are, how easily they forgive, and the list goes on. But one of my most favourite things about children is the freak-out JOY they find in the simplest of things. And this is something I aspire too. This is something I yearn for, pray for and deeply desire – to learn to once again find incredible joy in the simple pleasures of life. I mean think about your kids or kids you know for a minute… My kids get giddy and jump up and down on the spot when I let them stir their own Milo and allow them drink with the fun twirly-whirly straws. Pouring their own bubblebath under the gushing hot water tap is like a freak-out-fest, lots of yelling and high-fiving, I tell you. They lose their minds when I say we’re going to read four instead of five books before bedtime (of course I make this call based on how long the story actually is but they don’t need to know that). And of course, as depicted in my photos, the joy of being able to run, jump, bounce and just run wildly in their little perfect worlds. The simple pleasures of just BEING.

When last did something as simple and meaningless as a hot cup of Milo, possibly with a handful of mini marshmallows, make you lose your mind? When last did you allow yourself to squeal with delight when you slipped your feet into your bedroom slippers after a hard day at the office? Because those things make you happy right? But we forget. We get so wrapped up in life and bills that need to be paid and children that need to be cared for, and deadlines that need to be met, that we forget about celebrating every good moment, as little as they are, like little kids do. I guarantee that you will experience at least five things today that should make you *squeeeeee* with childlike joy. Look out for them, and cherish them and for goodness sake, don’t be afraid to freak out when you feel that way. People will only stare because they’re jealous.

My current freak-out-with-joy list:

  1. Learning all the lyrics to the Jungle Book songs because HALLELUJAH it’s been chosen as the theme for this year’s concert at school! No seriously, I LOVE Jungle Book and the music is really upbeat and catchy, our favourite is “…. ohhh oobee doo, I wanna be like youuuuu, I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too…” *SQUEEEEEEEE* 
  2. Eating all my Parisian chocolate and macaroons which I was gifted with from my work peeps who have just returned from a trip I coordinated. I must have done a good job because I got SPOILT. *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*
  3. Started jogging last night (that’s a blog post all on its own) and while it was tough and I think I possibly hated it from beginning to end, I actually can’t wait to get back on the road. And its alone time with hubby.. *SQUEEEEEEEEE!*
  4. Going down the coast for our extra long weekend next week and spending time with my family *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

Watch this video, it will get you into the *squeeeeeeee* of things! Love how Baloo loves the beat! The kids lost their minds when I Youtubed the video for them!