In Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. Summer Learning Camp 2023 is officially in the books, and I am relaxing with my son Jacob in hot, humid South Georgia. We got in one more trip before the end of the year, when our entire family can go. I’m still stuck on chapter 10 of my book, but I hope to break through and get it finished in the next week.

Quote of the Week: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” –Abraham Lincoln

Movie of the Week: This week, I am going way back in time for the movie of the week—to 1939, to be exact. The Wizard of Oz is a fantastic film about a girl named Dorothy and her little dog, Toto. Before seemingly getting swept up in a tornado, she tries running away from home to find “a place without any trouble.” With the help of a smack on the head, Dorothy ends up in Oz, where she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion—all fictional counterparts to the men who work on her family’s farm. Only when she spends her time in Oz, trying to get the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, does she realize that her life at home was not as bad as she thought it was.

Fortune (Cookie) of the Week: Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you. As we learn from Dorothy at the end of the movie, sometimes you don’t have to go far to find happiness. Next time you look for your heart’s desire, try your own backyard.

One of the things that makes me happy is watching nostalgic TV shows. Scarecrow and Mrs. King is an ’80s program whose premise is that Scarecrow, the codename for Lee Stetson, is a spy who stumbles across a suburban housewife, Mrs. Amanda King, while trying to evade capture by enemy agents. Over time, the two become agency partners. In one episode, Amanda tells Lee that while in college, she and her ex-husband, Joe, would go to a restaurant and play music on the jukebox. There just happens to be a song called “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe” by Ethel Waters…and I don’t think she meant coffee.

The world pushes ideas at us daily on what it thinks will make us happy. As I have gotten older, I know that my happiness doesn’t come from things. That’s not to say it isn’t nice to get a surprise from my husband or receive gifts at Christmas. It means that I don’t define my state of mind on what things I have. I would rather make people happy by doing things for them, often in secret. Don’t let others dictate how you feel about yourself. As bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.”

Shout Out of the Week: This week, I want to shout out to people who get up and go to work even when it isn’t the dream job they always wanted. In certain seasons of life, we must do what is necessary to make a living and care for our families, making sure to pursue things that make us happy outside of work hours. Just know that you make a difference where you are, even when you cannot see it.

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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