Love Built From the Ground Up

“Grandma and Grandpa painted a picture of 53 years and one, little house….they built their love from the ground up.”

Today my grandparents would have been married 55 years. As I sit here at my desk at work, I reflect on the profound impact their love has had on me. It’s completely, totally, and incredibly awe-inspiring, and overwhelming at the same time.

Tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. Happy tears; for a marriage so beautiful, so strong, and so priceless, that nothing could possibly come close to it. Happy tears; for being able to have this love story as a part of my family….forever. I truly am blessed in the most wonderful ways.

Yet, at the same time, tears of sadness begin to roll down my cheek. Sad tears; for knowing that my grandparents aren’t celebrating this day together. One in Heaven, one on earth, it’s heartbreaking to know that my grandma has lost her companion. The man she’s been with for nearly 60 years. My heart hurts for her.

But, throughout the hurt, there is some joy, and I’m sitting here wondering how it’s possible to feel such opposite emotions at the same time. Warm memories snuggle into my heart now as I look back on their life together. From meeting at the tender age of six, to becoming godparents at age 16, to falling in love and marrying at age 20, to building a home and a family, their story is nothing short of a miracle.

As I browse through some of their historic wedding photos that I scanned to my phone, I smile to myself. I could only imagine how my grandma was feeling that day. A young bride about to marry her best friend, her soul mate, the love of her life. I wonder what was going through her mind then. I wonder what went through his mind. Did they know their story would impact their future granddaughter? Did they know that through all of life’s ups and downs, they would always manage to overcome every obstacle together?

I laugh as I remember their playful moments together. How they would sometimes act like two little children having the time of their lives. My heart turns to complete mush as I remember the romantic gestures they would show each other. A kiss, a hug, the sparks in their eyes, the “just because” gifts, the way my grandfather used to take complete care of my grandmother – simply because he loved her, and she was his world.

I cry as I remember the two short weeks of my grandpa’s illness, and how my grandma watched with helplessness, and took care of him with such unutterable tenderness.

This love, is only something that I can dream of. Since I was a little girl, it was never about Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella or Prince Charming, it was always about grandma and grandpa. And it will forever will be.

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#TheHappinessChallenge: Why I’ve Decided to Join the Social Media Movement

Do you think the world could use more happiness? Could you use more happiness in your life? I know that I sure do! Research proves that when your brain functions at a positive level, it performs 31% better than it does at neutral or negative! Interesting right? This is what is called the happiness advantage!

Recently, I stumbled upon the 21 Day Happiness Challenge on Twitter and I thought it was such an interesting idea. Logically we know that happiness is a choice. We are in control over our thoughts and reactions. However; we often lose that awareness when life throws us those unexpected curve-balls. Or, at least, I do! I’m a professional negative nancy on those less than stellar days! {Whenever I’m having one of those curve-ball days, all I want to do is crawl under the covers and eat the heck out of some double brownie chocolate chip ice cream. Annnd, maybe add some chocolate sprinkles for good measure 😉 }

The purpose of this challenge is quite simple: to regain and promote optimism and happiness by committing to doing the following five things each day for 21 days. The beauty is, these tasks are powerful enough to make a difference, yet not so difficult that it becomes daunting!

This challenge is hardly time-consuming, and can really change your way of thinking. I’m doing this because want to change my mind-set. Who wants to join me? Let’s do this! Here’s 5 steps that YOU can take to get to happy!


Journal Three Specific Things That YOU Are Grateful For

Writing can be so cathartic and can really soothe the soul. By documenting 3 specific things that you are grateful for each day, you are re-wiring your brain to look for the positive – no matter what the situation! So grab a journal, a piece of paper, go on your computer, anything works, and start jotting.

ExampleToday, I’m grateful for having a loving family to come home to every day, for being greeted with puppy kisses, and for having a Heavenly Father who forgives me, and never abandons me. 


Record One Positive Experience Per Day

 

Similar to the exercise above, writing down one positive thought a day, trains your brain to find the good in your life. Think about it, have you ever found yourself dwelling on negative or extremely embarrassing events from the past? Of course you have! It’s the worst right?! Instead, focus on one positive memory per day. That will help your brain relieve that positive experience and cause the same feelings of happiness.

Example: my friend (for the purpose of this blog, we’ll call her Joy) and I used to enjoy going to view Nicholas Sparks movies together. We’d make a plan, she’d pick me up, and we would head to the movie. Looking back on those memories always makes me smile from ear to ear. You know those people who shine so bright even the sun gets jealous? That’s Joy! I loved (and still do) spending quality time with her, and was so blessed to have shared those little moments. She radiated positivity and happiness, and I always came home with a full heart.


Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness

 

This is by far my favorite task on the list! I love showing people kindness. It makes me happy and (hopefully) makes the other person happy as well! Create a Kindness Kit for someone, post a positive thought on your social media accounts, compliment someone, pay it forward. There are all different and creative ways to spread sunshine around. Don’t hesitate – just do it!

Example: One of my favorite things to do is to send out little messages and gifts to people – whether that’s in the form of text messages, cards, or even a writing. I love to make others smile, and I love the surprise element of it all!


Exercise

Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is probably my least favorite activity on the list. I’d rather curl up with a good book or tv show, and a cookie. BUT, I’ve begun to find out that exercising is such a powerful way to boost your mood. As it turns out, nothing can release endorphins quite like getting up and moving around!

Example: Do a different type every day, just to make it interesting, but be sure not to burn yourself out. Yoga, stretching, whatever your preference may be,  take 10-20 minutes each day and treat yourself to feeling good!


Meditation

 

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life. We’re constantly rushing around to accomplish tasks that we hardly have time to breathe sometimes. That’s not healthy and that certainly does not make us happy! By taking time each day to meditate will help to bring you back to the present, will allow you to focus, and give you the relaxation that you need and deserve!

Example: Take a moment or two and do something strictly for you. For me? That means reading my devotionals, listening to my Christian music, and praying. Getting back in touch with my faith is the only way I know how to bring myself peace, along with happiness.


Studies show that it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. Wouldn’t happiness and positive thinking be a great habit to start? For me, it will! And, I hope it will for you, too. So, what do you say? Hop on the bandwagon with me and challenge yourself for 21 days.

If you’d like to participate in the challenge, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment here, or on the contact page!