Happiness and Starving People

People starve to death. It’s a thought which haunts me, although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it’s not for the reasons you might think. It’s a reality that haunts me every time someone tells me that things have to turn around soon. Or when I want to comfort myself with the idea that eventually spring comes, the sun returns and nothing lasts forever. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” People starve to death. Tell a man or woman who watched their child starve to death that spring comes again each year. And that’s what haunts me – if people starve to death, then there’s no reason to think my in-comparison small problems will ever right themselves.

Yesterday my husband told me about a story he had read about a horrific attack on a little boy in Bangladesh. The boy was terribly maimed and the family had to go into hiding at a military installation due to ongoing threats from the local gang leaders responsible for the attack. My husband said one of the most striking things about the story for him came from the boy’s devastated father. Bangladesh is a poor country and the family lived in a one room tin shack in a slum. And the father told reporters that his family had been happy. They had been happy together and in their little community even though they sometimes didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. Today, money is pouring in from around the world to help the child and his family – there next many meals are guaranteed. But the father told reporters that his family had taken everything from them. And my husband said, “I read that and thought, I want to be like that guy. I want to be able to live in the middle of squalor and with nothing and be happy.” Is that a trade you would make – to live in squalor and extreme insecurity in exchange for happiness? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading

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Making Feel Good Memories

You know your happy place?  That mountain or beach or spa or whatever that makes you feel that all is right with the world.  I can’t seem to find my happy place.  Maybe its because I’ve never been some where exciting or maybe my imagination just isn’t that good.

What I can do is make “Feel-Good Memories“.  When I feel really good – I try to remember to make an emotional memory of that feeling.  I’ll take a few seconds to think about how good I feel.  Then I’ll make a note of the things that I’m happy about and tell myself, “I’m going to remember feeling this good.”  (Yes, I talk to myself a lot!  Most people do, but often they aren’t paying attention!)

Later, when I’m discouraged or struggling, I will bring those memories back up.  Sometimes I can feel a bit of that moment and it will cheer me up.  Sometimes all I can do is be amazed that I ever felt that good.  Either way, it’s ready-made encouragement when I need a bit of happiness to get me through.

So, make “Feel-Good Memories” for yourself.  And when you use them, resist the urge to be wistful for some time past when you were happier.  Be encouraged because if you were ever that happy before, you will be that happy again.

Why I Won’t Keep a Gratitude Journal!

Here’s where I tell you all about the magic of gratitude journals. Everyone you and I know, from my mother to Oprah swears that keeping a gratitude journal changed their life. Which is wonderful, but I have never kept a gratitude journal. The idea of having one more thing to remember and make time for – at the same time no less! – makes me queasy. And I like my way better any how.

Here’s what I do: anytime I am feeling good as I go through my day, I take a few seconds to thing of things that I am grateful for. Usually I’m grateful for whatever triggered my good feeling and I acknowledge that. Then I take a few seconds to think of a couple of other things that make me happy and be grateful for those as well.

This way, I can experience gratitude in real time. By adding on a quick thought for other things I’m grateful for, I might even get to extend that feel-good moment just a little bit longer. It’s the multi-tasking way of doing gratitude! Wins all around, people!

If you’re happy and you know it . . . perhaps you’re a SAM

Another one for the destruction of radical feminism by reality files: an exhaustive study by two sociologists at the University of Virginia has found that women who stay home with the kids rate themselves as happier with their lives than wives who work outside the home. This held true for both religious women who may see traditional gender roles as ideal and women who hold very progressive, feminist ideals. The study also found that people who believe that marriage is a life long commitment have happier marriages than people who think that people should divorce if they fall out of love.
I do understand that there were definite problems in society that the feminist movement and the sexual revolution tapped into. However, rather than tweaking and working within frameworks that did fit, too many people decided to “throw the baby out with the bath water” and turn society upside down entirely. While it’s nice to see so many recent studies which have confirmed traditional ideas of marriage, family, sexuality and gender, when one thinks of the serious damage which has been wrecked on people’s lives by the breakdown of families and traditional morals, it’s hard to feel smug. All the children growing up in poverty without fathers, all the young people coping with the humiliation and potentially life altering effects of STD’s, all the people broken by broken marriages and on and on.
This is why it’s so important not to allow our children to be sucked into the vicious, soul-destroying culture we live in and the lies which undergird it. If you have kids who are old enough to read, print out an article like this and give it to him or her to read. Equip them defend themselves against those who like the “feminist” I wrote about last week who would have them toss out their God-given desires to fit some crazy utopian vision which has wrecked such damage on so many souls. Like I said, it’s nice that research is disproving much of the nonsense we have been fed for the last couple of generations, but let’s not allow another generation to suffer through the sort of hardships and sorrows this nonsense has wrought before it all sinks in.

Feminists "Intellectuals" vs Real American Women

Some of you may have read or heard something about feminist professor Linda Hirshman’s campaign to condemn well educated women for staying home with her kids. This started with a ridiculous article in American Prospect titled Homeward Bound in which she declares among other things “The family — with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks — is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less-flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral responsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust.”
Ah yes, there’s the essence of my life: “repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks”. Talk about completely missing the point! What planet does this woman live on? That’s like calling being a rocket scientist “repetitious, socially invisible and physical”. After all, it’s repetitious because they are often working, reworking and refining the same numbers, sketches and calculations over and over again. And it’s obviously socially invisible, because let’s face it unless you’re related to a rocket scientist you probably can’t name a single one. And it’s physical because they have to keep their desks in order (no doubt a job that’s never done), may have to walk back and forth to meetings, the copier and may even have to physically put together and take apart models, prototypes and such. I say we start a campaign to declare rocket science to be a “less flourishing” sphere for women due to it’s “reputes, socially invisible and physical tasks”.
Of course the reality is that us women living in the real world completely disagree with her. According to studies only 16% of mothers actually want to work full time outside the home. No doubt she would consider this a sign of our oppression, but hey, we’re just little women – what more can you expect from us? Really, what her thinking reveals is a profound misogyny which underlies much of what has passed for feminism in the last 40 years. If you click on the link to her article above, you’ll see that the lead in says “‘Choice feminism’ claims that staying home with the kids is just one more feminist option. Funny that most men rarely make the same ‘choice.’ Exactly what kind of choice is that?” And this is exactly where modern feminism went wrong – they define worth by what men do. Women cannot be women on their own terms, being respected for their own choices, values and natural tendencies. Their equality and worth is assured only to the extent that they live up to male standards. Obviously, if a choice was worth making, men would make it. If they don’t, then no matter how deeply a woman may desire it, it’s just not up to snuff. The original feminists (Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al), must be rolling in their graves.
Fortunately, Ms. Hirshman doesn’t rely on her misogyny alone to let her know that staying home is a lesser choice; she also reads our blogs: “One of the things I’ve done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person.” Boy, she really has her finger on the pulse of my life! What a bloody joke!