Sunday, February 8, 2009

Staying Happy (Spiritual/Motivational Sunday)

I was criticized recently for not broadening my horizons when I read. I was criticized loudly and in front of a room of professionals. I tried to explain to them that I read for pleasure only... and that if the book doesn't uplift me in some way and make me feel better about myself or my family then why would I read it? One lady in particular groaned at this statement and fairly sneered at me. She comment back with a remark similar to, "But there are so many more things to learn in the world, so many more things you need to read about like death and anguish--"

"No I don't need to read about them." I chuckled.

"If you don't, then you're purposely hiding yourself up in a cocoon."

I smiled. "A cocoon I'm very grateful for."

The woman threw herself back and crossed her arms clearly thinking I wasn't worth speaking to.

I said, "Look, I don't need to read about murder and molestation to know that it happens, okay? I don't need to read filth to broaden my horizons. I only have a limited time to read anyway, so I try to surround myself with good things, good books to escape from the world--not to slam me back in it again."

The woman was still clearly not impressed. She had completely sized me up as a fluffy, air headed delusional girl, with way too many kids. "Well, suit yourself. But i prefer to know what is going on around me, I prefer to know all angles so I can form an educated opinion of all sorts of things, not live my life hidden behind some sheltered happiness and blossomed smiles."

In that moment I knew that I had seen more terror and known more trials than this woman could ever comprehend. I stood up. Threw my coat over my shoulder and merely mumbled to the room at large, "My husband has gone to WAR enough times for me to realize what this world is really about. I've faced fear head on, I think I prefer to stay uneducated. Excuse me." And then I walked out of the room. Jaws dropped as I went, particularly hers.

Never, ever judge someone by what they read! LOL! Or how many smiles and how much positive energy they generate. I think that truly positive people are the bravest. They force themselves to laugh in the face of danger. To confront Satan head on and smile. I also feel that they guard themselves from attacks and sneers, because they can purposefully switch those sneers to their advantage.

I think positive happiness is the magic potion that much of the world desires. Many think it's easy or comes more naturally to some. Maybe. Who am I to say otherwise, I'm uneducated, right? LOL! But, I do feel that it takes practice. A whole lot of practice. And something that does not come easily, but something you earn and scrape and claw and fight for to attain once you find yourself down again.

It's a conscious choice, that can become habit with practice, but still a choice nonetheless.

I choose to face this and still be happy.

I choose to face that and succeed even better than anyone around me thought i could.

I choose to face them and not only smile, but to walk away. They will not hurt me. They will not bring me down. I am untouchable.

See? Very brave. And at the same time the most successful of all the groups of people there are. The ones that maintain positivity and believe there is a purpose to what they are doing--succeed. The ones that succumb and listen to the whisperings of Satan, find themselves faltering and desperate to pick themselves back up.

I challenge you all to stay positive. Be brave and realize the Lord is having you do this for a reason. Many are called, but few are chosen. If you stay brave. If you stay positive, if you believe in what you are doing and continue you stay true to His teachings--the Lord will bless you beyond anything you could ever hope for. You will be chosen.

I always take it as particular flattery when i find Satan attacking me and trying to bring me down, making me believe something I've done, or written wasn't worth it. Muhaha! You know why? That signals to me--sets out a massive homing beacon actually--that it IS good. It's so good that the creepy guy himself is scared! And he's trying to derail me from finding what I need to do to catch the attention of others. To make sure it makes it and gets into the mass market where it can help others. Muhahaha! Bring it.

I revised Pride & Popularity no less than 10 times. TEN!!! And now I'm gearing myself up for another round of revisions from a publishing house in a couple of weeks. But you know what? All the times that I cried over P&P only drew me closer to it. I know just as much today as I did when i first started writing it, the Lord asked me to do this. He needs this. I will not let Him down.



  1. I think it's interesting when people claim that entertainment aquaints them with the reality of the world around them. Entertainment is a glorified or stripped down version of reality. Whether we're reading a book that makes us feel good, or one that makes us feel bad, it's escapism. When I read an adventure story it's a safe way for me to experience emotions from the comfort of my living room couch. When people read dark stories, even those based on reality, they are delving into those dark emotions in a way that they percieve as "safe." But the problem is that everything we read affects us. Just as reading too many romance novels could lead to becoming disastisfied with your own love life. Reading too much graffic violence can lead to a desire to delve deeper into darker things. Those are just examples, but my point is that we can never discount the fact that what we read changes us in some way. It can sensitise us to beauty and goodness, it can enlarge our intellect and soul, or it can coursen our feelings and numb us to pain and suffering.

    I always argue that those who say they feel the need to learn about the realities of our harsh world should go live life. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, or shelter, travel, help your neighbor, serve a mission. If you have a pechant for learning about suffering, I assure you, you'll find plent of it in those endevours. And if you still feel the need to "learn" about that side of life, read biographies and histories. A dark novel is no more a reflection of reality than Rambo is a reflection of War. For those who like to read murder mysteries (I happen to be one) Be honest about what it is, entertainment, curiousity, not a reflection of reality, and recognize that that type of entertainment can drag your spirit down if your not selective about what you read.

    I absolutely agree with you that when you've experienced true fear and tragedy and overcome it, you're less likely to want to entertain yourself with it. My sister is a pediatric intensive care unit nurse, and she sees children die on a weekly basis from abuse, drug use, and neglect. She has comforted families who have lost multiple children in accidents. She's also live in third world countries and been a volunteer nurse where there was no health care. She has seen the worst that life has to offer, and I assure you, the last thing she wants to do is go home and watch a movie, or read a book that would add any more darkness to her life. She is one of the most positive, most caring, most enlightened people I know, and she surrounds herself with goodness while living very much in the world.

    Okay...I'm stepping off my soapbox now. :)

  2. WAHOO!!! I love your soap box! LOL! It's awesome! And thanks for the support!! There is so much more I could've said in this post, but I felt like it had written too much as it was... thank you so much for expanding! And I love your sister already! Jenni

  3. I can't believe the gall of some people. Who is she to judge what you choose to read in your free time anyway? grr!

    Yeah, I am totally with you Jenni. I can feel a difference in the way I feel about life and a change in my outlook if I see or read anything that is dark or disturbing.

    I don't feel enlightened or educated, I feel worried and my heart feels darker too. It isn't a short-term thing either. It takes time to push that darkness away so I can't even imagine--and don't want to--the darkness I would feel if I forced myself to be exposed to that on a regular basis.

    I am happy to be separate. I am happy to be sheltered. Just because I don't partake doesn't mean that I don't know about it. I know enough to stay away and that is what matters to me.

    I'm happy to say that I don't understand the mind or motivations of molesters or murderers. I hope I never do.

  4. I think it was Sheri Dew who said, the world needs more happy, positive women. It is already full of bitter, hateful ones. (that's a paraphrase of course) But I believe she's right. There is nothing wrong with being happy, but people look at excessively happy people as though they are naive or ignorant. I say kill them with kindness (don't really kill them LOL)

    As for books. A couple years back, I thought that I wouldn't be truly educated unless I read the classics. So I started, I added them to my reading agenda and began to read. I enjoyed myself very much. Then I came to a book on the list, called "Crime and Punishment." I read it. Bleck. I can't get this book out of my head and it's been years. So, just because something claims to be a classic, something that has shaped our history and culture, doesn't necessarily mean it's something I want to introduce into my brain. I enjoy being happy. Although I do enjoy the occasional literary reality check and torture marathons (Charles Dickens I love you), in general I do like to be uplifted when I read. I like to escape reality.

  5. I know what you mean. I'm taking a literature class right now, and some of the assigned reading isn't exactly postive. But I am remembering what I do like about literature, even if it isn't positive or doesn't exactly portray my values or morals. I like that after I read something that I don't agree with, I can respect the writer for their viewpoint and their opinion, but usually my opinion just gets stronger. I can more precisely put into words what it is I don't agree with about what they had written. It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy their writing, I just don't have to agree with it. In return, I hope that people that read my writing would give me the same courtesy. It may be too happily ever after for them, but I hope they can respect my viewpoints even if they don't agree. That is what writing is about. Respecting not only the writers, but the readers too. There is a variety of books out there for a reason. Life is too short to spend our time on stuff that doesn't give us some kind of growth. I adopted a saying a couple of years ago to help me better prioritize my time. "Just cuz I could do something, it doesn't mean I should." Just cuz someone could rob a bank and get away with it doesn't mean they should. I feel like the world teaches the opposite lately. That we should do EVERYTHING we possibly can to be considered educated or experienced. I disagree. We each have to do what is right for us. Nobody should judge someone elses choices, even if we feel they would be wrong for us. We can only answer for our own choices and actions, and they need to be something we can be proud of.

  6. I'm going to add my "amen" to the discussion. I think you ladies have pretty much said it better than I could, but I completely agree that reading depressing books does not a cultured person make.

    I do think it's important to be aware of what is going on in the world, but that's why I read the news. When I want to relax with a book, I want it to be RELAXING. I get very annoyed with the snobbish type of people who turn their noses down at fiction, especially commercial fiction, as somehow being a less valuable read. Please.

    Well, Jenni, I'm glad you stood your ground. You go, girl! :)

  7. WOW! You girls are awesome! You're like my own group of warriors! LOL! I love it! Don't mess with MMW! LOL!

    And it's amazing how you guys felt defensive for me... honestly, I very rarely even gave it another thought...LOL! honest. I was just using it to bring on the happy part of the post! LOL! The stay positive even when he tries to tell you you're worthless, but it's been really interesting to see your repsonses and feel the strength that comes from the group on a whole! Man! i can't wait to actually meet you guys! you're awesome!



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