Happy Place


A prayer garden in Korea
This is going to be a short post. Yay! I can almost hear you shout.

Where is your happy place? Physically, we get worn out and we often can't wait to get home to find rest. Emotionally, where do you go? Some find comfort in food. (Beware!) Others, in activities. I do, too. But I have found that being in a certain place is a sure way to get me back to my happy. Here they are in any order.

Woods. 

I have to admit that I saw a photograph that a friend shared on Facebook, and 'happy place' came to mind. It was a picture of an unpaved road, with tall trees and green grasses on both sides. Looking at the pic, I could almost hear the silence, with only the sound of my footsteps as I imagined myself walking on that road, crunching the leaves underfoot, with the wind softly blowing on the leaves of the trees and on my face. I could almost smell the fresh, clean air until...

I smelled the neighbor's food cooking, wafting through my window and I was brought to where I really was. Ah, it would always be pure joy to be in that place.

I have walked with my husband in the forest in Russia, when he took me hunting or fishing and I greatly enjoyed it. I love the green all around and the wild flowers growing without care on their own. I love the silence. It soothes the busy clamor deep inside me and echoes the music I want to hear in my heart. I have also enjoyed climbing up hills full of beautiful trees in Korea, where a nondescript prayer garden is hidden. 

Walking is one of my happy activities and so are singing and thinking-praying. I can do all that in the woods. I could belt out my favorite hymns while walking without fear of getting embarrassed. You should've heard me. I give my best concerts in such occasions. Praying-thinking or talking with God while walking is best done in the woods. I talk, even out loud (well, nobody is there to hear except God), while examining the intricate design of a leaf or flower that our Creator has made, or while I gaze with amusement at the cheerful antics of little robins. I tell God of my joys or the burden that is making my heart heavy and I hear Him whisper words of love and comfort. Peace rolls over me and I leave the woods happy, knowing that I had just been in the presence of God.

Bookstore/Library. 

I used to frequent libraries, but after having my kids, it has been impossible to visit one since I cannot go there with them. There is an image in my mind of them turning the place upside-down and inside-out. They can't get their hands off books and I'm so sure that they'd pull them down, everyone of them,  to the floor. My fears may be unfounded as we had been to the library once. And it went pretty well. Maybe I should take them there more often.

Well, instead of libraries, we have been going to bookstores. And that has been the hanging out place of the girls and me. It is actually a very 'clever' way of doing one of the things that I love--- rubbing elbows with friends (read: browsing books... What a nerd!) and reading. I say 'clever' because the kids can have their own children's books to read, while I have my own choice of books. I don't have to sit down with them and read the same book over and over and over again, until I get all nauseated. The repetitive act is like getting carsick, and at times I can't help but ask, "Are we there yet?"

So I have my books and the girls have theirs, and it's bliss time. Until it's time to say goodbye. And we sadly say goodbye to 'friends'. Some, we won't meet anymore; some, we get to see again. (Haha...)

Bath/shower room.

This is where stress, milk residue and food bits get washed away. However, I can't be in that happy place for long before a knock comes on, and some little one asks: "Ma, what are you doing in there?" Then, another knock, and another, and another. What do they think I am doing there? If I'm lucky, I get a peep and a  surprised, "You're using my bath wash!" 

Sometimes, it's the only place where I can find a little quiet time to talk with God without waking anybody up early in the morning or in the middle of the day where kids are running the place.

Garden.

I get my hands dirty here as my back is warmed with sunshine, my brow sweaty, and my heart happy. So therapeutic! The smell and feel of soil on my fingers is enough to remind me I am loved by a Creator who takes time to shape and give me form. And even as I work, He works in my heart.

Etc.

There are also the little spaces where I sit to write or read the Bible which, by the way, is anywhere as long as I can have a few minutes. And the room where I iron gives me lots of time to reflect and enjoy solitude and fresh, clean laundry.

I have found that my happy place is not actually contained in just one place but in a variety of places where my heart have found repetitive joy. My heart chart shows that when I intentionally seek God, there I come out happy. And we humans are beings of habit. Whatever gives us delight, we seek.

So, what's your happy place? For moms, I encourage you to find your happy place and return to it again and again and again, especially when days are long, noisy, chaotic, messy and just plain crazy. Find the time. For yourself and for your loved ones. You will find that by having your happy place, you are teaching your children to nurture their happy spirits. You are teaching your husband to value you as a person and your happiness. Because once mom is happy, the whole family is happy. Take the time, find your happy place.

And may your delight is found in God. He promised, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). You'll see it's true:"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 144:15).

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