A New Year…A New Idea

Dear Reader:

I had a new idea yesterday and it filled me with happiness. In fact it made me recognize that I needed to stop and simply take the time to think about what incidents in my personal life make me the happiest.

How many of us have ever stopped long enough to make a list of what makes us truly happy? Not me.

It doesn’t have to be a Yahoo! Vertical Leap kind of happiness (though it might)…It can, also, be an unexpected quiet moment of satisfaction that grow immeasurably larger as the moment progresses… until self-awareness jumps in and we realize we are truly happy in that one time spectrum.

I am certainly not the first person to realize that if we want more happiness in the new year, in 2021, than we had last year we need to know ourselves better and consciously acknowledge a deep understanding on what uniquely makes us happy…and then seek inner awareness when “happy” comes to visit.

Have you ever noticed that people tend to avoid the word “happy” when asked if they are? People will pause and then respond with something along the lines of “I am content…and that is good enough.” 

Really? At the end of our lives…we settled for a contented life. We let security and complacency replace adventure, new beginnings, meeting new people, travel, sharing thoughts, sharing interests, loving friends and family… daring ourselves to take a risk, and helping others?

We usually associate happiness with specific incidents whereas we can feel a joy for life even when times are tough. It sounds strange to say I felt “joyful” last year during the pandemic…but I honestly did most of the time.

I felt God’s presence and His support more closely than ever…I might have lost patience but never hope that the 2020 situation would get better.

…And I intuitively knew that joy was just under the skin, beating in my heart, for the simple pleasure of being alive…watching my family grow amid laughter even with all the challenges that accompanied the pandemic and volatile political atmosphere.

When one lives with metastatic breast cancer…or any other chronic life-threatening disease you never take a single day for granted…but see it for what it really is…the greatest gift God bestowed on us.

Take a moment today and think back on the past few days and mentally make a list of what made you smile…feel happy. It might have been a phone call, text, or email from a friend or loved one…discovering something pretty still growing in my garden in the dead of winter, discovering my neighbor’s cat Fuzz peeking through my window, looking at the latest pictures of Winnie the toy poodle, or Eva Cate’s new “girlie” bed….she was ready to get rid of her bunk bed.

So until tomorrow…

Happiness doesn’t have to be anything big…just simple delights of daily life that are uniquely ours….once we recognize our happy triggers…we need to pull them more often and let the confetti of happiness fill our lives more.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

As I walked around my sleeping garden yesterday…there were still plenty of subtle life to be seen…tiny buds starting to grow..camellias in their full beauty…”Big Red” the geranium is producing red buds opening into blooms as fast as it can…it is so happy to be back out on the porch.

I remember a saying about a garden that went:

“Adopt the pace of nature…her secret is patience.” I need to remember that attribute this year in all endeavors.



…Four hours later: 7:00 p.m.

I am not happy.  Be still! Listen quietly!

Do you hear it above the chaos and confusion of the day…the soft tears of Lady Freedom (Statue of Freedom)… falling upon the gold dome atop the Capitol Building? It is the sound of her tears …while witnessing democracy attacked from within.




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to A New Year…A New Idea

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Years ago someone very wise said that we should use the letters of pray to know how to pray. We should start out with praises for our many blessings…R we should think of all the things we need to repent from…A prayers for others and Y ask for yourself. You are right snoit happiness …it is dependent upon our circumstances but JOY is what we have by having Christ in our lives.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank goodness the sun doesn’t stop rising just because something terrible happens …it keeps its promise to rise and shine no matter the circumstances…I find that very comforting..one of the few securities in our lives that never disappoints.


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