Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Simply Happy

Q: What happens to a former Wall Street whiz when she buys the Chicken Soup for the Soul enterprise?

A: She gets Simply Happy.

After reading a ka-billion Chicken Soup stories, editor-in-chief Amy Newmark became happier. Waaaay happier.

The positive messages in the best-selling book series inspired her to write Simply Happy: A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom.

In my mind, people like Amy Newark exist in a nebulous, far-off land, like the Aflac duck or the Michelin Man. 

But Amy sent me a copy of her book with an enclosed letter reading,

 ". . . In this book, I cite some stories that had a big impact on me, and your story is one of them!"

Nice form letter, I thought. 

But as I read her book I came across excerpts from my story "Someone Else's Blessing" in Chicken Soup: The Joy of Less.

Whoa Nellie! Commence Happy Dance!

Amy Newmark won me over earlier this year with a handwritten note on my pay stub for "Made in America" in Chicken Soup: The Spirit of America.

Amy's note read, "Thank you! I absolutely loved this one. I'm telling it in interviews a lot!"

That note felt akin to finding an autographed copy of the Bible. 

 "Dear Jeanie, Hope you enjoy Psalms. Love, God."

Realization dawned. 

Maybe people like Amy are like the rest of us--busy with kids and spouses and deadlines and insurance payments and community service. 

And busy doesn't need to equal grumpy.

Amy shares some killer advice in Simply Happy, like  

“Stop listening to that negative little voice inside your head.”


“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”

Speaking of great advice, God shares His throughout the bible. 

...Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear... 

...Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  
And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

... Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need."

Embrace this encouragement from the ancient prophet Nehemiah:

"Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!"

Q: Who can we encourage today with our positive attitudes?
A: It starts with ourselves.

Now I'm heading back to the hospital to visit my father-in-law.
Despite the darkness, I choose to bring him joy.