Tag Archives: family

What is happiness?

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Being content with what you have–but more than content. Appreciating it. Enjoying it.

At this exact moment, I’m enjoying my coffee, brewed here at work in our fancy coffee machine (with beans roasted in the mountains of Colorado–yup–having a boss who is a coffee snob really pays off). I’m appreciative of my drive to work this morning–full of prayer. Twenty-five minutes of quiet, uninterrupted dialogue with God. I’m enjoying the warmth of the day, the soft fabric of my dress, and the harmony between myself and my co-workers.

Self-confidence–knowing you are beautifully created, uniquely gifted, and strong enough to fulfill your calling.

By God’s grace, when I get home from work today I will meet my husband and two kids with hugs and smiles, and jump into the work of the home with willingness, energy, and an unselfish spirit.

Anticipating the future with joy–not obsessing, or worrying, or fearing.

Whatever happens next year with my husband’s new round of job applications, and whether he becomes the breadwinner or I continue to bring home the bacon, I will fear no evil . . . because God is with me. He is charting my course using the same wisdom, creativity and strength he used to create the very universe (or multiverse? Ooooh. =)

Seeing the humor all around you.

My texting relationship with my sister Erica helps in this area. The past few days, we’ve been texting each other hilarious pictures of ourselves when we look our worst, or pics of our houses at the messiest. And then, you just gotta laugh. Especially when the autocorrect on her phone produces the following text: “Person who Broaddus meals Brought them — incredible. Chocolatey her.”

I will now endeavor to text the sentence “Chocolatey her” as often as possible in my life.

It’s the story that you tell yourself about your life.

So when you’re telling the story of your day, of a season, of your childhood–tell it with thought and care. Not foregoing honesty, but looking at the biggest picture of all, which casts life in the light of deep meaning, ultimate joy, refining periods of suffering, and ultimately, redemption.

A verse from Psalm 19 has been on my mind the past few weeks–I’ll paraphrase–“like a strong man runs his course with joy.” I want to be the strong woman, running the course laid out for me with joy.

The smell of onions


It’s Sunday evening and I’m cooking Brats and Peppers, a slightly greasy and very delicious meal that takes a while. You start by caramelizing the onions, then add the raw brats (cut in chunks), brown them, add some bell peppers and then let the whole thing simmer in beer for over an hour.

The onions were just starting to brown and my husband said, “I love the smell of onions cooking. It brings back so many memories.”

“Like what?” I asked, sprinkling liberal amounts of salt and pepper over the steaming pot.

He thought for a while. “It’s like the smell of marriage–the smell of you taking care of me joyfully.”

He’s smelled onions frying in olive oil since we’ve been together, the aroma rising from dishes that I’ve made over the years in Boomington, Indiana, when we were undergrads and then freshly married; in Newark, Delaware, in that small one-bedroom off of Main Street; here in Chicago during my experiments with Indian, Thai, Mexican–and to him, it’s become the smell of love.

Friday felt like a two-dimensional day to me. I worked from home and processed sales orders from customers. I took care of Alice–changing diapers, reading books, administering snacks of raisins and crackers. We went to the park, and I kept an eye on my phone. We ran errands. The whole day I felt like I was trying to rev my soul to get out of neutral and couldn’t quite do it. It was a fine day, but a bland day. I enjoyed parts of it, but it didn’t feel vibrant.

I know there will be many days like that in my future. For me (even though I’m reaching the point of really desiring to be a stay-at-home mom), days that I stay home with Alice can have the tendency to feel kind of . . . somnolent. Like I’m in a waking dream.

But that’s okay. Because through making countless dishes over the years, some cooked with joy and some cooked in a tired glaze, some cooked perhaps even in quiet frustration (but cooked after all), my husband now thinks of love when he smells onions.

If I am faithful to serve my daughter and take care of her in love even on those days when I feel like my vitality is drained and my creativity has died a slow death, I will be making her world more beautiful. I can help infuse her world with love and create beautiful associations that will stay with her–as subconscious or conscious impressions–the rest of her life. Just as a child can carry a fear of dogs with them into adulthood if they have a traumatic experience while they’re young, I can be an instrument in Alice’s life by tying love into every experience so that her world is (I pray) ringing with it.

Maybe as an adult she, too, will smell onions and remember how much I love her.

Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)