What I learned in a day in Haiti

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Recently I went on a cruise with family to Royal Caribbean’s private beach in Haiti. For most of the day I relaxed on a lounge chair enjoying the tropical paradise. While doing so I watched the locals try to sell souvenirs and dote on tourists for tips. What really struck me was watching them clean the water of trash and debris with, what appeared to be, homemade baskets. Though it was far from a true representation of Haiti’s economic state, it opened my eyes to a lifestyle far from the one I live. I began to feel guilty for my differing circumstances.

Surely they must be disheartened to spend their life cleaning up after our luxuriousness. I was surprised to learn, from them, they are happy and grateful we come to vacation because it provides them opportunities for a better life.

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Finding happiness in life is just as obtainable for them as it is for me because their focus is not on their circumstance but rather on improving their life and the lives of their loved ones. They focus on becoming better.

All to often, I allow my happiness to be dictated by where I am. Residing in a self-indulgent, instant-gratification society I find myself focusing on what I don’t have. I do this so much I found myself comparing the Haitian’s lifestyle to my own. What I should be focusing on is what I can do. No matter where I am; literally and figuratively in life, focusing on becoming better will always bring the most happiness.

Pick me up

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We have miles of trails right around the corner from our home. The kids jump on any opportunity to go hike them. Often our four year old starts out with lots of gusto, like she did on this day. She smiled and laughed as she ran down the path.

After about thirty minutes she started to tucker out and say her legs hurt. It just so happened to be when the trail was circling back up the hill. In an all out plea she sat down in the middle of the trail and cried, hoping Dad would pick her up.

Well he didn’t. He kept walking, hoping she would get up and keep moving. I lingered behind trying to motivate her, telling her we were half way done. I was unsuccessful at getting her to move but, shortly after, she saw red ants and got up quick.

Just ten or so minutes later she began complaining about her legs again. This time I took pity on her and encouraged my husband to pick her up. He swung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Later, when we got to more even ground, she began walking again and was able to end the hike in good spirits.

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I find myself like my four year old a lot. I’m excited to take on life and see what I can accomplish. But, all too often, I hit a hill. The hill typically isn’t anything significant. It can be something as small as a day-to-day task; you know, the ones you do over and over again. They’re the tasks when you first reached adulthood that were exciting, now they’re mundane.

Depending on my mental state, there are days when I want to call defeat. I want to sit right smack in the middle of the trail and yell, “no more!” Yes, I just admitted I would like to revert back to being a toddler. Playing all day, with the worst part being you have to take a nap; admit it, you would like to be a toddler some days too.

Lucky for me, I have extrinsic motivators (for Ella it’s ants, for me, her and her siblings), which help push me along. They give me a reason to get up and keep going. For instance, I have never been able to get up multiple times at night until my little “ants” came along. It’s crazy what they can get you to do.

Some days those cute ants aren’t enough though. I get to the point of “endure-until-it’s-over”. I no longer want to be hiking the once, exciting trail at all. I’m making it or rather, faking it, until it’s over. Unfortunately, that only gets me so far. Eventually, I hit the “can’t go any further”.

I’m sitting on the trail, the ants are biting my bum, and it’s painful, but I can’t find it in me to move. I’m too tired.

Almost every time I’ve hit this stage someone has been there to pick me up. It is my firmest testament that God lives and loves us.

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This is one of my very favorite quotes. It is the very reason why I am here today, why I have the desire to help others, and, ultimately, why I am able to experience joy.

Life is full of downhills and uphills. I have a long list of people who have helped me during those uphill times in my life. I am so grateful for that endless list of people.

Stop making excuses (part 2)

Do you know what makes you happy but it doesn’t always come easy? Do you think you should give it up? If you answered yes to all three questions in part one, then you should find a way to make it happen!

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Running makes me happy but it comes with a cost.

With each addition of my three children, my me time has become less and less. I also have a husband who works crazy hours. Sometimes my only way to run is by pushing a double stroller.

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The end result: one tuckered out and the other refused to be in the picture.

Is this ideal? No. Is it worth it? Yes.

I run pushing a stroller because it makes me happy, it makes me a happier mom, and it provides me happiness far after my run is over.

My happiness from running plays an important part in my life. Some days I get lucky and run solo. Other days I find an excuse not to go, and, typically, am not as happy. Even when something seems like too much work, if it makes me happy, it’s usually worth it.

 

*This is not a sponsored post. The stroller I have and highly recommend is:

Mountain Buggy Duet Double Stroller, Black