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Came to a realization the other day. Maybe my job as a mother is to go through life being pleasantly befuddled.

It gives my son the chance to set me straight about what’s cool. How to set up my smart phone. What’s new and exciting in EDM music. Things like that.

So, my son ordered a pair of “distressed jeans” recently, and when he opened the package, I was momentarily fertummelt (that’s Yiddish for befuddled/puzzled.)

“Okay, honey…so…they’re supposed to look like that?”

Cue the teen-age eyeroll.

“Oh, Ma. This is how they’re made.”

I told him that we’d had distressed jeans when I was a teen, also, but the jeans my son bought were all but ventilated. Corrugated clothing must be a thing now. They were so torn up, I’d surmise they were involved in some sort of industrial accident.

Moment of silence, please.

This morning, I woke up with the “Tousled Look.” Not just “bedhead,” mind you – it was like a whole herd of cowlicks, stampeding across my head. Press them down and boing! They’d spring right back up again. Lovely.

But the thing is, when I go to the salon, my stylist gives me a razor-cut, blow-dries and styles me for an hour and I end up with… pretty much the same Tousled Look.

Sometimes, it’s not the circumstances or conditions that affect us, but our attitudes.

Maybe it’s possible to choose to feel good about life the way we choose cool clothes and a flattering hairstyle.

When you shop online, you can select the attributes of the item you’re looking for: price range, cut, sleeve-length, etc. If you don’t want it, you don’t put it into your online shopping cart. You don’t put it onto your credit card. You don’t put it into your life.

If we could do that with our feelings, we’d have a lot more time to actually live well and be happy. Jealousy? Delete from cart! Gossiping? Cross it out. Stubborness? Declined!

As a bonus – it’ll leave us more time to be taught by our kids how out of touch we really are!

Oh, son.  Angel I love. Light of my life!

Mom here. AKA, the Noodge. The Inquisitor. The Eye-roll Evoker!

Son, it’s about time that you and I have a heart-to-heart. Before you get all verklempt, no.  I’m not talking the Birds and the Bees. (Or, as we say in Joizey, da Boyds n da Beez.)

Nah, we’ve already done that.  Earned myself a good dozen eye-rolls with that lovely little convo. I’m talking about a serious sit-down about Big Stuff. Like, What You Want Out of Life. Every young bird has to leave the nest eventually, and once they do, they learn how to fly.

You’re going to have to support yourself someday, so here are your options:

□ Marry into Money. (Just joking. We mustn’t be so shallow! Unless you are and you do. In which case, buy me a little cottage with your wife’s bags of dough. XO♥)

□ Invent an App for Gullible People with Expendable Cash, like Stripper Name Roulette (using the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on.) Mine is Sheena Orchard.

□ Take aptitude tests online and figure out what you’d like to do for a living, with this one caveat: it should be something you love to do. Keep in mind that the old saw is true (no, that’s not me, shnookums. I’m the old bat! An old saw is a cliché.) If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Remember to treat people the way you’d want them to treat you. This is called “the Golden Rule” and you’ll recognize when others do it by the way they shine and sparkle. Respect yourself as well. Always do the right thing.

Treat your body as the temple it is – you’ll be driving that vehicle for the rest of your life. So fuel it up properly and maintain it so it lasts a good long time. A healthy body and a positive attitude will take you far.

Now remember: no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my baby boy. And no matter where you go, I’ve always got your back. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

Go out and conquer the world now, son. And don’t forget to call me every once in a while! If I don’t pick up, I’m probably at Bingo, so just leave a message. Remember always, you are blessed, beloved and believed in. Be about it now.

You’ve got this.

Love, Ma.

When the fitness club commercial came on, it made me stop in my tracks. Not just because I had a bag of cheese curls in my hands at that moment (I swear, officer, I was holding it for a friend!), but because it featured a very fit young woman – apparently a personal trainer from a t.v. show – energetically endorsing a fitness program called Curves.

“You’ll be the happiest you’ve ever been,” she says to the camera.  The thing is, the set of her face says she’s about to bite your head off!  And at the end, when she says, “Go love your life,” why does she look like Robert Conrad with a battery on his shoulder. That was a dare, tough guy…ya better reconnize!

I feel the same sort of Shiba Inu fear reflex anytime I happen across Nancy Grace, the former lawyer turned crusading/ratings-seeker. I’ve seen zombies in horror movies in a better mood! She once said she’s at her happiest when she gets to speak for the victims of crime, because they deserve justice. If this is what happy looks like, I’m going to sign up for a Deep Dark Doldrum!

Just as Droopy Dog  and Grumpy Cat really aren’t happy, I get the feeling these people are missing the point.  If you’re happy and you know it, please people. Let it at least reach your face.

I looked around the web to find moments of unbridled joy and found this early clip of my state’s CEO, Bruce Springsteen with his E Street Band. At just about a minute in, when the Boss looks over at the keyboard player, there’s no mistaking that joy on his face.

I’m a sucker for all of those army-parent-coming-home videos, but this one is probably my favorite.

Then there’s Sutton Foster and the cast of the Broadway play, Anything Goes, rehearsing, and the cast performing at the Tony Awards in 2011. 

I also love the Odd Couple episode where Felix and Oscar write a song called “Happy and Peppy and Bursting with Love.”

This clip of PSY and MC Hammer at the 2012 American Music Awards has to qualify as a guilty pleasure, for sure.    And I still like that old standby, the Evolution of Dance.

I love to listen to gospel songs and hymns, and one of my favorite is this uplifting song from Joyous Celebration.

Maybe the snarling fitness guru and foul-tempered legal-eagle should watch some of these feel-good videos too.  All right now, dear readers. Go on out there and love your life!  And that’s an order!

What if it were actually the law of the land that everyone had to be happy?  Sort of like the safety-belt “Click it or Ticket” rule.  Put on a smile or go on trial.  If you were in a miserable mood, you’d get locked up and sent to a piñata party till you got your happy back.  Holla!

I decided to look up the definition of happiness on Bible Gateway, and found there was no clear-cut answer. I did find out what happiness is not from the Sad Sack Scripture – the book of Lamentations.

I am deprived of peace.  I have forgotten what happiness is. Lamentations 3:17 NET

So peace of mind can lead to happiness.  And lack of it can lead to misery.

It might seem cliché, but I think the key to being happy is to keep your mind on positive, uplifting things.

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.  Proverbs 4:23 ERV

I’ll buy that.  But how do you get there when there’s so much going on in the world that can make us feel unsettled?

If you listen to Isaiah, it seems that happiness may be as simple as making a choice.

But be happy and rejoice forevermore over what I am about to create! For look, I am ready to create Jerusalem to be a source of joy, and her people to be a source of happiness.  Isaiah 65:18  NET

Be happy, God says.  I’m about to do something awesome.  You don’t have to carry the burden of what tomorrow may bring; that’s my department.

Happiness can also be contagious.

Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. Proverbs 12:25 NET

The habit of happiness – partnered with prayer – can see you through almost anything.  And it reminds you that it’s not always about whatever is standing in your way.  Sometimes, it’s about Who’s standing behind you.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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