Project HDM: 10 Years

Ten years.  Yes, it’s been a decade of posting a Happy Day Moment on my Facebook page. April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2020.  Yes, that’s 3,650 consecutive days of discovering and recording a “moment” each day that reminded me to be grateful, to live with gratitude. {Yes, you can applaud/throw confetti/send chocolates and/or vacation packages …. 😊}

Why did I begin this social media project?

With so many Facebook posts that were negative, complaining, even whining, I was determined to use my status as a more positive platform.

My goal for this project was to make myself focus on some “moment” during each day where I could be positive, thankful, and “happy” that I was alive. To slow down. Just for a bit. And be grateful.

Throughout these postings, I’ve experienced days with moments of love, joy, celebration, laughter, happiness – unexpected moments. But I’ve also had some days that were really crummy and achy and some that were soaked in sadness, loss, sickness, grief and disappointments.

In every day, yes, every day, however, I found that “moment” that I could call forth as “happy.”

This experiment has been profound for me. For most of my life I’ve had a glass-half-full attitude, even when a diving accident as a 13-year-old left me a diagnosed quadriplegic. I’ve learned what being grateful can do, embracing each day. Life can be hard. I know.  But every day that I choose to look for the happy, the good, the blessing, the love, the joy – shifts my heart and my head into a better place. A place of gratitude.

Quite simply, it’s become my tool to keep track of the good things in life. No matter how difficult and defeating my day can sometimes feel, there is always a “moment,” something to feel grateful about. We can all be grateful.

While it’s tough to find that “moment,” that “something” to be grateful about during a rough patch, it’s not just another “easy to say, but hard to do” action – it can actually help rescue you during a storm.

Even more than that, regularly finding a “moment” and identifying the good things in your life can help prepare and strengthen you to deal with unexpected heartache and pain.

We all have own challenges and difficult days. Yet, even in my darkest days, my instinct is to feel grateful for the things that I do have and for the things that are going well. I let gratitude be the doorway to hope; once hopeful, I find strength and the will to take one small step that moves me to better and easier times.

It’s God’s way. It’s who we can choose to be. Grateful.

For in writing good words, for finding “happy” moments and sharing them, I’ve discovered that I’m more thoughtful, more encouraging, more inspired, more aware – of the goodness of life all around me.

I know it’s rather grandiose of me to think that my small little space, my Facebook presence can make a big change in how others think about gratitude, but if I’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that when it comes to talking about living with gratitude, and about how we use our words – we can’t do it enough.

Words. Matter. Even on Facebook.

Words we write. Words we say.

Every year has its negatives, its disappointments, its regrets, its sorrows, its pains, its losses.

Yet, every year (if you choose to discover) has its positives, its joys, its celebrations, its wins.

Some years have more milestones than others: personal physical mental professional relational emotional financial spiritual. Some years prayers are answered; some years there is more waiting.

This identifying and reporting a Happy Day Moment has become a spiritual practice, a habit…and my super power is believing that we can all find a Happy Day Moment. The daily practice, the discipline, the routine of choosing to look for the positive, being grateful, not always focusing on the negative, has changed me. Forever. Strengthened me to face … anything.

I take note of my gratitude for a moment in the day when things are good, or I feel blessed, or I merely remember that I’m alive. Mostly, the moments are tiny and commonplace, not usually moments of grandeur or enormous successes. They are moments of small human connection, that smile, that morning kiss, or a sudden bit of humor, or a child’s laughter, or the elderly couple holding hands, or the glimpse of a cardinal on a branch, or even a moment of peace during a hectic day. Then, sometimes they really are monumental moments: 30 years married; 35 years married; births of grandchildren; husband’s retirement; new job; son’s career and new home; Cubs win the World Series.

Throughout these years, however, I’ve noticed that I’m capable of finding happy moments smack in the middle of the tough and painful and hurting and grieving moments. The comfort from a friend when I’m sad can be a happy moment, right in the midst of a very hard time. The kindness of someone bringing a cup of coffee when I’ve had a stressful and exhausting day can be a happy moment. The prayers from those who know my heartache can be a happy moment.

Yes, life is still good and there can still be gratitude, even when difficult stuff happens. This practice doesn’t shield me from the hard times or a denial that dark times will always exist, but acknowledging my “moment” brings me unshakable joy and gratitude for the miracle that is my life.

Becoming aware of a happy day moment takes a personal effort, paying attention to the instances of the blessings of life, shining a spotlight on the small good things.

It’s impossible to think negatively when you’re focusing on the positive.

It’s impossible to have an attitude of lack when you’re embracing abundance.

It’s impossible to be judgmental, resentful, or quarrelsome when you’re thankful for your relationships.

It’s impossible to miss the lessons when you give thanks for your difficulties and obstacles.

It’s impossible to miss the moment when you’re present and grounded in each one as it comes.

I know I can keep my humor, my perspective, and my patience regardless of how my day (or life) evolves.

The key is gratitude.

After years of leaning into gratitude, I know I’ve only scratched the surface of this powerful principle. I realize my pursuit of gratitude isn’t an accident, as much as preparation for what has come my way during these last few years. Preparing to see me through – because when it comes to the struggles of life, we need gratitude to be our companion.

Because this is what happens:

Words of gratitude lift us above circumstance.

Sometimes the wall of difficulties we face appears too tall to scale. But the presence of gratitude lifts and carries us. We become stronger, more agile, infused with what we need, not just to face the barrier, but to search for a way around or over that we hadn’t considered before.

Words of gratitude refocus our attention.

They change our perspective.  We’re never off on the wrong foot when we step out in gratitude. We can’t think negatively when we focus on the positive. We’re less judgmental, resentful, or divisive when we’re thankful for our relationships (especially the complicated ones). Sometimes it’s easy to focus on our hurts or sorrows and miss all of the other places that good things are happening.  It’s possible for good things and hard things to co-exist in our lives. We show wisdom when we can focus on being thankful and noticing the good, instead of concentrating on the bad.

Words of gratitude bring us joy.

Those who live in gratitude have the most joyful lives. It’s impossible to miss the joy when we’re on the lookout for blessings. We won’t miss out on the moments when we’re present and rooted in each one as it comes.

Words are powerful. Even words written in a Facebook post.

Let’s make our words a powerful happy mission.

Let’s unleash the power of gratitude.

My mom – always my Happy Day Moment

I had not intended such a long silence in posting to my website. Life. Sometimes it gets. In. the. Way.

But today I must post this celebration of my Mom’s 85th birthday. Mom always seemed to be what I needed. Probably what you needed, too. Thank God. My mom – always my Happy Day Moment.

Her gifts. Her talents. Her abundance. Her love faith hope — what she has, she always gives.

Her heart has what we need

Do you need a hug, a card, a ride somewhere? She’s there – with love and friendship, wisdom, and words of hope/encouragement. Always hugs and fun, laughter and joy. Always peace and kindness and goodness, faithfulness. Always gentleness and graciousness, abundant generosity and courage.

“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Her spirit has what we need

Do you need healing? Are you hurting, sad, lonely, grieving? She will share her Jesus, her faith, her prayers – always, everywhere, over the phone, her laying on of hands (even in supermarkets), her scriptures, her “sermonettes,” her fasting, her interceding, her anointing, her service to build up the body of Christ.

“So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

She also has things we need … and she shares!

Her kitchen has what we need

Are you hungry? She’ll bless you and the furnace repairman and the lawn care helper and just about anyone with her baked goods. Cookies/muffins/pies/banana bread/soup in the freezer. And she’ll deliver! Maybe there is chicken and noodles, or maybe lasagna. But always crackers and snacks in the cupboard. Everything. In. The. Fridge.

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” ~ Hebrews 13:16

Her closets have what we need

Are you going somewhere special, not time to shop? She’ll offer jackets jackets and festive apparel (all the holidays), shoes .. oh, the shoes (even sparkly ones), scarves, and every top you could think of, coats, and bangles and bling.

“Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” ~ Luke 3:11

Her purse has what we need

Are you sitting beside her at a meeting/church/ballgame? Find yourself lacking some essential? Just ask Mom! She’ll pull out her handbag! She’s hand you a Kleenex. Always tissues. (sometimes tucked in her sleeve), comb, Wintergreen Life Savers, nail file, sewing kit, measuring tape, chapstick, pens, paper, coupons, toothpicks, aspirin/Advil, lotion, band-aids, safety pins, and perhaps a granola bar. Perhaps even cash.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:15

Mom’s got your back. With an embrace, a cheerful remark, a Word from the Lord, a Tupperware of cookies, a Christmas sweater, a packet of tissues. She’s got you. (And I didn’t even mention the decorations/baskets/candles/etc. in her two garages…)

Mom pretty much has it all. And she has always given her all. Her purpose to bring glory to Jesus.

The gift of Barbara Kehoe.

“Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above.” ~ James 1:17

Happy birthday, beloved Momma! I am living with gratitude that you are my mother.

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s choose

Moments. That steaming cup of coffee in your hand. That smell of bacon floating through the house (even better, that taste of bacon). That waggle of the basset hound on your neighbor’s leash. That fiery sunset blazing across the evening sky. That giggle of the toddler in the shopping cart in front of you. That mother cooing and calming her infant in the diaper aisle. That simple “sweet dreams” uttered at the close of day. Moments. To. Notice. Moments to be thankful. Moments to live in awareness.

You can do it. You can pause and notice and grab onto the precious moments of this life and stop being distracted with the things that don’t really matter. You can live with gratitude. Even in the hard places.

For this month of November, this month of Thanksgiving, let’s choose to be fully alive, to “SEE” [detect, observe, witness, recognize, comprehend, appreciate] the Moments in our daily lives. For these thirty days, let’s choose …

To focus on doing the things that will matter forever.

To see and feel and listen and touch and taste.

To attend to relationships.

To give grace and forgiveness instead of anger and blame.

To forego judgment and embrace understanding.

To regard kindness and patience and faith as essentials.

To surrender the need to always be right.

To understand the value of time, that life is short.

To silence distractions.

To realize that some risks are too important not to take.

To stop worrying about failing and to start doing.

To Love because in the end, there is nothing else.

To. Keep. Loving.

In. All. The. Moments.

For this month of November, when the hourglass of 2020 is sifting to an end, let’s choose to …

Be willing to love.

Be willing to be loved.

Be willing to know.

Be willing to not know.

Be willing to say yes.

Be willing to say no.

Be willing to protect.

Be willing to let go.

Be willing to hold onto.

Be willing to rejoice.

Be willing to pray.

Be willing to be thankful.

Let’s choose. Love. Let’s see love. Let’s be love.

God’s Love.

Happy Advent messages

On Thanksgiving night, I was in my bed, cozy and thankful, my tummy still full of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and wild rice. As I thought about the calendar turning to December and the Advent season, I asked God how I could share these four weeks of Advent with my four grandchildren. He said to my heart, “Share your favorite Bible verses with them.” So, that’s what I’m doing. I told them, “Expect a message from Jobu for the next four weeks.”

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas and means ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. I wanted to use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to share my love for each grandchild and help us remember the real meaning of Christmas. God’s LOVE coming to us in Jesus. Advent is a time of expectant waiting, knowing fully the amazing gift God is about to deliver and yet, at the same time, a period of slowing down to savor the season. It’s an opportunity to set aside special moments to fully experience the joy and the miracle of Christmas, to focus on Christ’s birth.

These are my special moments for my four grandchildren, what I wrote in their weekly Advent “messages”:

December 2. Week One: You are strong.

You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10

The Lord is your strength and your shield; your heart trusts in him, and he helps you. Psalm 28:7

December 9. Week Two: You believe. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope. Romans 15:13

You believe in him. You are filled with a joy that cannot be explained. And that joy is full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8

Jesus said to him. “All things are possible for the one who believes.” Mark 9:23

The Scriptures tell us that no one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed. Romans 10:11

December 16. Week Three: You are prayed for (by Jobu!)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more. Philippians 1:9

I haven’t stop praying for you, asking God to give you a wise mind and spirit. Colossians 1:9

I know your soul is doing well and I pray that you are doing fine in every way.  3 John 2

I can’t stop thanking God for you, every time I pray, I think of you and give thanks. Ephesians 1:15

December 23. Week Four: You are loved. (by God!)

God says, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. I have kept on loving you with a kindness that never fails. Jeremiah 31:3

God’s love has been poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to you. Romans 5:5

But God is rich in mercy, and he loves you very much. Ephesians 2:4

Lord, show your love to us as we puts our hope in you. Psalm 33:22

As I cherish each of my dear grandchildren, may they cherish these Advents messages with scriptures which I so cherish.

Take in the Good

I was having a rough go of it not too long ago. A rough go of life. Things I wanted to happen, didn’t. Things I wanted to say, couldn’t. Things I had worked at, failed. No need for details. We’ve all been there. It happens to all of us, doesn’t it? Rough patches. And some last longer than we thought we could endure. What I had to keep reminding myself, however, was to take in the good, take in the blessing, take in the positive that can always be found in the rough patches.

Count Our Blessings

It’s easy to get caught up in the rough/disappointing/unhappy/bad stuff that happens to us and that’s EVERYWHERE around us these days. So depressing! So much negativity. So much turmoil. So much grief. However, if we focus only on all the heartache, the weight of it all will surely crush us. Rather, instead of examining all the things that are going wrong, that are distressing, why not think about all the things are going right? Counting our blessings. Because we all have something to be thankful for. Loss can open the heart, regret can bring restoration, anxiety can alert us to threats, and anger can spotlight wrongs to be righted.

Take in the good; take in the blessings.

Why it’s good to take in the good

Neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson says that “Given the negativity bias of the brain, it takes an active effort to internalize positive experiences and heal negative ones. When you tilt toward what’s positive, you’re actually righting a neurological imbalance.”  And, happily, guess what? This builds stronger immune and cardiovascular systems, as well as increasing optimism, resilience, and resourcefulness.

Focusing on what’s good, what’s wholesome, and then taking in that good naturally, increases the positive emotions flowing through our minds each day. Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, a leading scholar in the study of emotion and positive psychology, has shown that positive emotions don’t just feel good in the moment, but have long-term benefits. They lift our moods; they increase optimism, resilience, and resourcefulness; and they help counteract the effects of painful experiences, including trauma. It’s a positive cycle: Good feelings today increase the likelihood of good feelings tomorrow.

Taking in the good is not about putting a happy shiny, Pollyanna face on everything. It’s about turning away from the hard things in life. It’s about nourishing our hearts, our inner well-being, nurturing our contentment and peace—shelters during hard times where we can always return.

Take in the good; take in the positive.

Some things I know for sure

1) We don’t always choose our circumstances. But we always choose how we are in those circumstances. It isn’t as much about our circumstances as what we do with them.

2) We see what we expect to see. Look for good, and you will find good. Begin to see the good, to develop a posture of looking and of finding the positive, and you will find joy, you will find blessings. And we may come to realize that the most loved are often the small moments. If we keep our eyes open, we’ll discover that the good is all around us.

Continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. ~ Philippians 4:8