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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7044 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7044 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2016 :  11:29:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi girls –

Have you ever really given much thought to happiness? Is it a goal of yours, something you stride for? Does it seem to just come easily to you? Or is it something that seems to elude you at every turn, something you just can’t seem to find. Over the past couple of years, happiness seemed harder to come by, and I didn’t like how I was starting to feel inside. I love to be happy! I love to laugh! I love joy in all things, big and small! And dang it all, life is just too short to be consumed by anything other than happiness! I needed to get back on track; I needed to find the joy again. So, I determined I was going to find it, whether it just was and I wasn’t seeing it, or whether I was going to make it happen. I decided my pursuit of happiness was going to start at Christmas, and it was going to start with the kids in my life. After all, who is more happy than children?

My quest began with setting aside special days to spend with each of my foster grandkids over the holidays, allowing THEM to choose what they would like to do. Afterward, I would give them a small budget and took them Christmas shopping for their family. The happiness was about to unfold moment by moment.

My middle one wanted to spend the day at Chuck E. Cheese. After ordering what I will call one of the most bizarre pizza combinations ever (his choice), we set out to playing the games. We played all sorts of things, and I won his admiration for being able to get the most tickets out of each play (a secret that now he and I only share!). After trying to get the pizza down (He loved it, I did not, but I didn’t let on!), we found this video game where you just sat in the booth and shot at giant bugs coming from all angles to attack you. This game I was NOT very good at, but he, in turn, spent time teaching me all the tips and tricks he could think of as he screamed commands at me. I have to say, I think we hogged that game for about an hour and one-half. Now, I’m not usually one for bright, flashing lights and loud noises, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything else in the world. And what really amazed me was just how thoughtful this boy was about gifts for his family. He walked into a girly-store, as my guys would call it, and immediately picked out a set of necklace and earrings for his little sister. For his mother, he chose several small scented candles. At first he was going to pick them in different scents, but then he thought she might really like to have the whole house smelling good at the same time, so he chose the same fragrance and a neat little stocking-style bag to wrap them in. For his Dad, he choose a silly tee shirt that would crack him up, along with some rad stickers for him to put on his work lunch box. And for his older brother, he gravitated to the video game store where he chose a game for the new system he was going to receive for Christmas. Afterwards, we settled in at the Food Court where he introduced me to a DQ Chocolate Mint Blizzard, and we spent time wrapping his gifts and writing out all his tags. I cannot begin to tell you how much his face lit up as we talked about our special day and how much his family was going to be surprised. I told him how proud I am of him as he told me all about how things worked at the different fast food places – what the different pipes were for and where they led, how the fry station worked, how a blizzard is made. I laughed at his corny jokes, I listened about what he was learning in school, and smiled remembering my own youth as he shared all the things he likes to do with his friends. It was awesome. Money just can’t buy that kind of good, you know?

Next up was a day with my foster granddaughter, who is five. Her dream day including having tea with her Nini; so, I decided we would be princesses for the day. Wearing tiaras and boas and “pearls,” we took a long drive out to my favorite tea room. It’s an old converted Victorian featuring themed rooms and special gifts to purchase throughout the house. We walked in and were greeted by a sweet older lady who just showered my little sweetie with adoration, admiring her tiara, her golden hair and big, blue eyes. She had to take a call, so we took a quick peek at all the neat things in the gift shop and at the big, fancy dining rooms on the first floor. We were informed we would be taking tea up on the second floor, which absolutely delighted the little princess who had been eager to explore the whole Christmas-decorated house. Upstairs we were drawn into this “salle de bain” which featured a beautifully tiled floor, charming old porcelains and brass, mermaid decorations and Christmas florals. She couldn’t get over the fact that they had Christmas tree in the BATHROOM! The her eyes grew WIDE when she saw the claw-footed bathtub, which was filled with HUGE glass “bubbles” and lights – a mermaid’s dream bath to be sure! We then entered the “garden room,” decorated with wrought iron tables, a fountain, statues, Christmas greenery, white lights, Santas and angels. Even I was a bit swept away by this room – it was an elegant garden fantasy. My foster granddaughter gravitated to the little open closet filled with garden close-out gifts. She proceeded to tell me everything I needed for my garden next spring, and started to list all the things I should grow. Crack me up! The next room was a magnificent display of antique oak furniture, pristine Battenburg linens, floral china, silver-backed mirrors, and a beach-themed Christmas display. This was my personal favorite room, so imagine my absolute delight when my little princess announced this was where she wanted to take tea! The hostess informed us, however, that the room was reserved for a group coming in shortly after us, but she had something even more wonderful in store… The Christmas room! Even MY eyes widened at that entry: a huge Christmas tree in the corner with mischievous elves, arms and hands filled with decorations, diving in and out of the branches. They were hiding behind pictures, peeping out of little nooks, and even jumping down from the tops of windows. Everything sparkled with childhood fantasy and candy-inspried delights! Soon we were seated at our table, napkins in our laps, when the waitperson brought each of us a three-tiered server, filled with treats especially made for a little princess and her Nini. For me, a pot of tea; for her, a pot of pink lemonade. She delicately grasped the little silver server, squeezing her selections gently to transfer them to her plate. Then she looked at me with those big, blue eyes and asked if she could pour her own lemonade. “Of course,” I said. “Just be very careful.” I watched in amazement as she poured with the utmost care. She started looking around the room and giggling at all the places from whence the elves were peeping. She savored every delectable bite of goodness set before her, delighted in the china covered with little roses, and joyfully wondered at the surrounding sights and sounds of Christmas. The owner came in to introduce himself and welcome the little princess. As she pointed out her favorite things about the room, her perfect little nose began to run. Much to my horror, before I could hand her the hanky from my purse, she grabbed the edge of the linen tablecloth, blew her nose and wiped it impeccably clean. <sigh> I was very relieved when the owner just laughed. I’m not sure whether he was laughing at her or at the look on my face, but I was extremely grateful when he giggled not to worry - it wasn’t like he and his staff hadn’t entertained little princesses before! When our teapots were dry and crumbs abounded on the tabletop, we ventured down to the gift shop where she selected a Christmas pin for her Mommy and a big, fancy vintage beaded flower ring to complement her own ensemble. We took a quick jaunt across the icy parking lot to their little specialty flower shop, where she delighted in all of the fancy flowers, Christmas greenery and decorations. The rest of the day was spent singing Christmas carols in the car, “fixing” each other’s hair, shopping at the Dollar Store for gifts for her Dad and brothers, having a snack at Mickey D’s, wrapping all of her gifts in just the right papers with just the perfect bows (for, as you surely know, princesses are extremely picky about these things!), signing tags, and making up stories that one day might actually be recorded into children’s books. I’m not sure which of us enjoyed the day more, but I can tell you for certain that both of our heads were dancing with sugarplums as we lulled into deep slumbers that night!

Then came the day when I took out my 15-year old foster grandson, who also happens to be my godson. I was a little nervous because he is getting older and I worried that hanging out with his dear old Nini might not be as cool as it had been in seasons past. He was very quiet and reserved when we got into the car to go. I told him I had really been looking forward to spending the day with him, but I was worried that he might not really want to, now that he was older. He just blinked his eyes and gawked at me. “I was really looking forward to this, too, Nini! We haven’t done this in a long time!” With a joyful sigh of relief, I asked him what HE would like to do. I made a few suggestions. He pondered for a moment, then said, “I have an idea, but I don’t know if you are going to like it… ‘How about going to see, ‘Star Wars?’” Be still my heart! I had been wanting to see that since day one, but my guys were either not feeling well or too busy with other things to go with me! I was “in,” for sure, but not without that momentary pang of guilt for going to see the movie without my husband and son. But then again, this was my godson’s day, and this is what he wanted to do – it WAS his choice, after all! So, making a pact that we’d never tell my boys the secret of what we did, we headed right over to the theater. It was awesome. Before the movie, we talked about his friends, school, girls... all the normal stuff a teenage boy is interested in, but usually does not discuss with his elders. We even talked politics for a little while, which really surprised me. Our conversation taught me a lot about how much he has matured and what a deep thinker he is, and I reveled in just knowing him. The movie was okay… I mean, I enjoyed it, but for me it did not have the same effect as when I saw the first ones as a kid. He loved it, and that was all that mattered. We went on to do a little Christmas shopping. His main concern was getting something special for his mother (my foster daughter). His stepdad and brother and sister were easy, but, he said, “She’s my Mom.” He said she deserved something special because she works so hard and does everything for them. He and his stepdad (my foster son) had bought her some candles, so he wanted to make sure she had something pretty to put them in. He thought everything through thoroughly, right down to color, size and uses. Three stores later, he settled on a beautiful set of gilded candleholders and some accent pieces that she could turn into a centerpiece on her Christmas table, then turn around and use throughout the house the rest of the year. Gifts fit for a queen. He bought some other things for the rest of the family, then we headed out for dinner. The first place we went, we had to leave. I won’t name names, but even though the place was practically empty we waited almost an hour for our food. I was tired and feeling a little crabby from hunger, but I knew my godson was looking forward to his meal, so we waited. Then I looked up to see the waitress stick her hands in my salad and proceed to literally suck the dressing off of each and every finger. I thought I was going to vomit! I went right up to the manager, told him what happened, gave him a few dollars towards our beverages and left. The next restaurant was much nicer. The waitress was prompt and accommodating, to be sure. Dinner was on the table in no time, which quickly put both of us were in much better frames of mind. During the course of our meal, my godson told me all about how he has been helping kids who are bullied, both in school and online at a special website. He told me a few stories of how both he and his friends had been bullied over the years, and how much he enjoyed helping others through those same experiences. It felt as though I was listening to the words and wisdom of a 40 year old man rather than those of a 15 year old, and I was absolutely blown away by all he shared with me. I have always loved this kid – I had the privilege to welcome him the moment he came into this world, and was overcome with love when I first held him in my arms. As he spoke, all these memories from his life came flooding back, and I marveled at the thoughtful young man who sat before me, holding back tears of joy. What an amazing journey this is, watching him grow into manhood. Great things will surely come, and I am so blessed to be able to share in his life. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Christmas came. We drove over to the chaotic Christmas at their home, replete with good food, a yipping doggie, doting grandmas, children running through the house, exhausted yet beaming parents, and toys and wrappings strewn all over the place. As I sat in the midst of the chaos, I watched everyone with great satisfaction. My son and foster daughter were laughing and teasing each other like two little kids; my husband and foster son were talking shop and comparing their new tools; my foster kids’ mothers were excited to share with me the thoughtful picture frames the kids gave them, filled with family photos and wonderful memories. The Christmas tree sparkled with colored lights and homemade ornaments. I smiled at the sight of gingerbread men decorated by the kids... I was the one who introduced my foster daughter to that tradition when she lived with us. As an aloof teenager, she balked at the task; but now it’s a treasured memory she hands down to her own children. Oh, the memories. Warm my heart. And then, I looked up and gasped at the beautiful sight of icy cold winter framed by frost-painted window panes. Rockwell himself couldn’t have created a more heart-warming scene for the memory book. God couldn’t have given me greater gifts than these. This is what happiness is all about.

These days I seem to be counting my blessings more and more. Happiness is truly right before me. I don’t know how it became so hard to see! It’s in the people. It’s in the moments. It’s in the laughter. It’s in the little things. It’s in the special things. It’s there, even when you’re not looking for it. Just look a little closer – you’ll see!

‘Hoping YOU will share your happy stories and ideas with all of us – it’s so important to share the joy!

I wish you all the happiness 2016 has to offer!

Hugs, love and happiness -

Nini



Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jan 23 2016 11:56:41 AM

Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7044 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7044 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2016 :  12:09:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


'Just thought you'd like to see what one of my happy moments look like...

Her eyes change color... I just noticed now, in this one, they're green! :)

Hugs -

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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YellowRose
True Blue Farmgirl

4672 Posts

Sara
Paris TX
USA
4672 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2016 :  12:21:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, it took me several readings to read your post because I can't read long passages at a time. I so enjoyed hearing about your special days with your grandchildren. You were truly blessed to have those moments.

As for me I seek peace and contentment. Each day I try to do something I want to do and not have to do. I want to take the time to look at how the shadows play across my back yard and watch as my girls, chickens, scratch and run around. It's the little things that bring me the most joy. Just being alive is wonderful to me.

I find that the time I spend in Bible study helps me to live in peace during the day. Peace, blessed peace is what makes everything else work in sync for me.

I find my time spend here on the Farm is a blessing too. Conversation with like minded women enriches my daily life.

It all comes down to the choices we make during the day. We can choose to be contented, happy, at peace, or whatever we strive for. We may not be able to change what is around us but we can choose to hold on to our peace and have a good attitude.

I have also found that the better I treat other people the better I feel about myself. That old parable of 'reaping and sowing' still works today.




Sara~~~ FarmGirl Sister #6034 8/25/14
FarmGirl of the Month Sept 2015.

Lord put your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth.
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7044 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7044 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2016 :  12:57:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sara - I just love you!!! If we lived near each other, we'd be having tea and lemonade quite often, and I'd be soaking in your wisdom! You are SUCH a delight! Being alive is just wonderful to me, too... Especially when there are such wonderful people as you to share it with! :) BIG hugs to you, sister! - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Bonnie Ellis
True Blue Farmgirl

2450 Posts

Bonnie
Minneapolis Minnesota
USA
2450 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2016 :  10:05:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, I read with great joy the adventures you had with your grandchildren. You are blessed. We are blessed through you. Thanks.

grandmother and orphan farmgirl
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Red Tractor Girl
True Blue Farmgirl

4418 Posts

Winnie
Gainesville Fl
USA
4418 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2016 :  05:16:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
NIni, I enjoyed reading all about your sweet moments with your grandchildren. How wonderful to have them in your life to enjoy!!

Winnie #3109
Red Tractor Girl
Farm Sister of the Year 2014-2015
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7044 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7044 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2016 :  08:30:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Awww... Thank you, girls! They sure do make my life full and happy! And YOU are special blessings that make my EVERY day happy! Love you dearly!!!

I want to hear what YOU are all doing to make happiness happen, too!!! Please do share YOUR inspiration!!!

Hugs -

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Bear5
True Blue Farmgirl

13055 Posts


Louisiana/Texas
USA
13055 Posts

Posted - Feb 11 2016 :  11:22:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, your Granddaughter's smile is contagious!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing.
Marly

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." Elisabeth Kurler-Ross
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