The Key to Happiness

Photo by Michelene Cain

I walked Jordan, my yellow lab, outside for her morning stroll. The sun was just coming up over the horizon. Soft gray streaks of cloud streamed between glimpses of sunlight, a promise of the day to come.

There was an autumn chill in the air. Fall colored leaves were on the grass, the trees, everywhere. Our chickens were already up, walking about as if they too were ready for the new day.

I had a sudden appreciation for where I live. My home is at the end of a closed lane, surrounded by a natural woods, but with an acre or so of real back yard.

There is much grass to mow in the summer here and many leaves to gather in the fall. The driveway is long and currently needs some patch work. The trees are large and sometimes, we have to figure out how to chop them down when they get too old.

But, I love where I live. There was a time, years ago, when I did not. I wanted a bigger house, more rooms, more opportunities for livable space, a showplace of sorts where I could entertain and decorate.

What I have is a small ranch. We added a dining room and mudroom a few years ago so it’s a bit bigger now. But as I get older, I realize this is a great house for Jim and I to grow old in. Everything we need is on the first floor. Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living and dining rooms. Only the laundry room is downstairs and someday, we can bring the washer and dryer upstairs to the mudroom. And I certainly can decorate, and do, in the country style that has come naturally to me after all these  years.

What I really thank God for is my natural surroundings. As I get older, I more and more appreciate that I have a view of trees and great sky everyday. When I was a young girl, I loved nature, loved riding my bike, loved pretending I was a campfire girl. Maybe this yard is one of the things that drew me to my husband….the thought of marrying into this yard.

The Hill- A Great Place for Bonfires!

There is a pavilion on top of the hill from my house. Jim’s grandfather and uncles built it ages ago but it still stands. The brothers all got together a few years ago and fixed up the roof, made the poles alittle sturdier. When we once bought the property adjacent to ours (now belonging to my sister in law), the surveyors knocked on my door. They said, Is it possible that the pavilion straddles two separate pieces of property? I said, with a smile, Yes. No one in the family cared about divisions of property back then. It still doesn’t matter.

Because, we are all family around here. We live, surrounded by kin, and that is ok with us. If you want to be alone, you will be left alone. If you need help, the cavalry will show up at your door, probably bearing soup and whatever else you may need.

The point of this is to be happy where you are, with what you have. This doesn’t mean not to dream, not to create goals. But sometimes, in chasing the dream, you realize it is right in your own back yard.

The key to happiness is to appreciate what you have. What are you grateful for today?

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8 thoughts on “The Key to Happiness

  1. Marianne

    That certainly was beautifully written, Joanne. It sounds like you live on Walton’s Mountain. Yes, I do watch the Walton reruns. I seem to be chasing after a dream, still, even with all of my poor decisions. But even in that I am grateful for things most of us take for granted, like the breath and life of my son and loved ones.

    I think it’s wonderful that your family lives nearby, and that you are surrounded by love and nature…a comforting nest to make one’s home.

    Blessings for many tranquil years to come,
    Marianne xo

    Reply
    1. KatherinesDaughter

      Hello Marianne, It is sort of like Walton’s mountain around here, yes! I haven’t watched the show in a long time but remember it fondly. It is good to remember our gratitudes and also that God loves us, no matter what. xo Joanne

      Reply
  2. cindy neuschwander

    Beautiful and inspiring post, Joanne!! I was happy to read it early this AM, as it was a wonderful start to my day! Thank you for sharing! YES, sometimes, we need to be reminded that our blessings are in our own “backyard” & being happy is as simple as appreciating and taking pride in what we have. The early morning certainly does bring many blessings!

    Reply
  3. Laura

    Lovely post! It is amazing how a walk out in nature can quickly change your perspective. Since moving to the farm, whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or less then appreciative I strap on my boots and head out to the woods. I always come back centered and grateful for the “here and now”. Happy it works for you as well! 🙂

    Reply
    1. KatherinesDaughter

      Laura, it definitely does. A good walk grounds me, lifts my spirits and changes my attitude. Thank you so much for following along! 🙂 Joanne

      Reply

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