Wednesday, May 26, 2010


...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.~~St. Paul to the Philippians.

There is a widespread misconception that happiness and contentment are only possible if one has everything they want or need. Therefore, we strive and connive and contrive, always reaching for more and more, never content, never happy with what we have.

One woman even wrote to me, angry because I was such a Pollyanna, always happy and never upset with anyone. 'Easy enough for you to be happy when you don't have to deal with bad stuff.' Sigh...

I've been there. I lived below the poverty level for much of my life. I actually lived places that wouldn't necessarily be considered habitable in today's world. I've been the next place to homeless a couple of times.

I've known the loss of family, friends, pets and belongings. I've known grief, ill health, disappointment and yes, pain and anger. Every human being suffers similar disasters and losses. We can't control those events in our lives. But we can control how we face them.

Everyday we make a choice. We choose to be content/happy. Or we choose to be discontent/angry. It's that simple. We choose to look around us at the blessings we have. Or we choose to see only what we don't have.

I suppose you can figure out what my choice is most days. Over time I learned choosing to be happy was easier on my innards. It isn't that difficult. It's mostly a matter of deciding to focus our thoughts on the positive things in our lives.

There have been times in my life when the most positive thing I could dredge up was the simple fact that I woke up in the morning. Hey--it's not a given, you know. When we go to bed at night, we expect to wake up, but there's no guarantee that will happen. Imagine that being the high point of your day.

But it was a positive and as I went through day after day, I clung to that with all my strength. Slowly, I picked out other positive aspects. The sun was shining. A sunflower was blooming. I didn't burn the oatmeal. I found a quarter on the sidewalk. I saw a butterfly.

Contentment doesn't arrive with trumpets and rainbows. It steals into our hearts one blessing at a time as we make room.



  1. You have to know and understand yourself first and care less about what people think about you or other stuff to be content within

  2. Happy people are also more likable to be around than someone who's always mad at the world or angry about circumstances beyond their control.

    I choose to be happy too:)

  3. Love this: "Contentment doesn't arrive with trumpets and rainbows. It steals into our hearts one blessing at a time as we make room."

    May I quote you?

  4. Excellent reminders, as usual!

    Actually, one of the things I admire most about you is your ability to smile, even when the world is handing you crap. You're a great role model!

  5. Thank you, ladies!

    Mia, of course. I would be honored.

  6. Yiii! When I read - Not Without My Daughter - and the author, who was living a nightmare, said - if there are bugs in the rice you pick them out. If the baby poops on the floor, you clean it up - those things don't matter. In other words, for crying out loud, don't sweat the small stuff. That book made a huge impression on me - as do you! You are one of the most accepting people I know. Thanks, Anny.

  7. This was a great thing to read today, Anny. True, so true.

  8. I like and admire your attitude. I've been trying to be positive and think I'm doing a pretty good job. But it took me a long time to get there.

    Some people have to deal with physical depression which can shed darkness on the rosiest things. Perhaps the woman who wasn't happy with you, suffers from that. Still, I believe a lot of happiness and contentment is our choice.

  9. Thanks for the reminder, Anny. We all need to remember that.