Happiness or Success?

My writing prompt for today poses the question,“What do you want more out of life? Happiness or Success?”

Success means something different to everyone. But then again, being happy does, too.

Some people believe being successful means having a lot of money, fame, or power. But to me, a successful person is someone who has a pretty good handle on life. And if you have a good attitude and the determination to keep moving forward, being a success can take on a whole new meaning.

I have goals I would like to achieve, such as writing a best-seller, or doing something to change the world. And, by some miracle, if I do achieve these goals, I might be considered a success by some, but what really matters most is how I perceive it.

And honestly, even if I don’t write a best-seller or change the world, I will still see myself as a success.

I am a success because I am happy.


Crafters Are Happier People

If you think about it, crafting is just another form of creating, and creating gives us purpose.

Why is purpose important? Because it’s one of the keys to being happy, the state of being that all people strive to get to.

With that being said, how can crafters not be happier people?

I have observed, and experienced, this phenomena myself. A group of women, of all ages, who didn’t even know each other, got together recently to learn how to do a certain project. In just a few minutes, we were talking and laughing like old friends.

I have seen it in my own grandchildren, who are rambunctious and full of life, as most children are. But as soon as we sit down to do a craft, they are so focused on what they are doing, they don’t have time to complain or fight, and we all have a great time. Plus, they get to take their creation home for their parents to ooh and aah over, which helps build self-esteem.

I have heard teachers say crafting time is their favorite time. Not only does it calm the students down, but it gives them a chance away from the usual structure of the school day and lets them think freely. The students are more relaxed and they can let the creative juices flow much easier.

My youngest daughter has in a funk lately. The stress of life is taking a toll on her. Kids, work, a demanding husband, and the burden of running the house and paying bills is overwhelming. I’ve been there. I know what that feels like; you’re stuck and can’t really do anything about it. Or can you?

When you’re stuck, you have to get “un-stuck,” and one way to do that is do something you have never done.

So I asked her, “Do you have a hobby? Is there something new you’d like to try?”

She gave me a funny look, shook her head, and laughed. “Nothing. I don’t have time.”

“You have to make time,” I told her. “This is the part where you turn off your phone, tell your kids you need some alone time, and lock your bedroom door.  It’s important to take care of yourself, which includes doing something for you, something you enjoy doing.”

The more we talked, I discovered she saw a craft project she wanted to try involving string art.

“But I don’t know how.”

I grabbed my computer and googled string art. We looked up different varieties and got some ideas for a project of our own. We bought some nails, grabbed a hammer, a piece of finished wood, took out my embroidery string, and went to work.

We haven’t quite finished the project and I want to wait to unveil it, but something happened to Lori as we were working on the project. Her mood changed from one of depression to light-hearted. She was genuinely excited about what we were doing. And she smiled, a lot.

It was nice to see my happy-go-lucky little girl again.

I know achieving happiness is not as easy as that. It’s a complicated. We have happy moments, but most people can’t maintain that peaceful and content feeling very long. Life is stressful and we tend to get lost in the day-to-day struggles.

True happiness is a state of mind. Not only does it involve having a purpose; you have to decide that you aren’t going to let anyone or anything disturb your peace. You have to let go of those things you have no control over. And you have to be grateful for where you are at any given moment, something that requires more than a few hours of crafting.

But it’s a great start.




Challenge #8-Writer’s Choice

My 8th Challenge states I can write about anything I want. So I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my life.writing challenge8

I am 52 years old and have lived in Cedar Rapids my entire life, except for a couple of months when I visited Colorado and Tennessee to do a little “exploring.”

I have 3 daughters, and a son, my youngest, who has a developmental disability. He is autistic and diagnosed with ADHD, which made it difficult for him to learn how to read or write. The doctors told us at one time that they doubted he would be able to live on his own, but because stubbornness and determination runs in our family, we proved them wrong.

I did my best to teach him how to be responsible and pay his bills and take care of other business, but the rest is up to him. He is so smart about somethings but oblivious to others. His autism makes him socially-awkward, and it takes most people time to warm up to him.

Last year, Sean met Ashley. She is a nice person with a good heart, and I am very happy they found each other. They are getting married Aug. 15, and though it seems as though they are the perfect fit, they will have a lot of challenges to overcome.  Sean has a hard time keeping a job because of his disability, and she will just have to either accept it, or not.

My middle daughter, Caryn, just moved to Chesapeake, Virginia, with her husband and 4 children. This is the first time anyone in our little family has moved more than 20 miles from home. I was happy for them when they moved because it’s a chance to finally get ahead, but I miss them.Last night I was able to Skype successfully for the first time, and it made me feel a little closer to them. Caryn is having a tough time being so far from home, but I know once she starts her new job, she will be too busy to miss us.

My other two daughters, Holly and Lori, live in town. I get to see them and my other five grandchildren pretty regularly, which is a wonderful thing because spending time with my family is one of my favorite things to do.

I have three jobs. I work full-time as a receptionist/office administrator at McGrath’s Dodge car dealership. I am a program assistant for Cedar Rapids Main Street (an organization that helps preserve the historical district in CR), and work for Metro Sports Report, an online sports magazine, as a web editor.

I’ve had to cut my night hours back dramatically, which has help my stress level, but I’m still finding that I don’t have time to do everything I want. I guess it’s all about priorities.

I’ve published three books on CreateSpace, a self-publishing company. Between Worlds, my first, is a 3-book teen sci-fi series. I came across CreateSpace by accident and wanted to experience the life of a published author. (It’s quite a thrill to hold your own book in your hands for the first time!)

I am working on my third and final book in the series, which has been more difficult than the first two. I love the way my character, Mya, has developed since I began the book, one of the reasons I want to continue writing books.

I also compiled my family’s recipes in a cookbook, which I gave the title,  Homemade in the Heartland. I have always loved to cook, and when my daughters started asking me to write my recipes down, the book took on a life of its own.

I live with my mother, who is homebound. She only leaves the house to go to the doctor. I stay with her because the only other option would be have her go to a nursing home and I don’t want her to have to do that. I want to help make the rest of her life as comfortable as I can, and I think that is by staying with her. If there ever comes  a day when a nursing home is the only choice, I think she will already understand that.

I love my life. It’s not perfect, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am grateful and content and live a life where I am at peace, even when the world around me is in chaos. To me, that equals happiness.

The journey I’ve taken to get here wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. But that’s another story.