things to be happy about | v. 11

I started a new job last week. It was one of those quit-your-retail-job-on-Saturday-apply-for-another-job-on-a-whim-on-Tuesday-get-hired-on-Wednesday kind of things: unexpected, but not unwelcome. I'm working at a small farm-to-table restaurant downtown now and it's already a million times better than retail work. The second night on the job, the owner of the restaurant came in to talk with me. He told me that the most important part of my job is simply to be happy. "People love happy people," he said. "I love happy people!" Cool. I can handle that. I like happy people too.
But then there's that little fly in the ointment, the little smudge in the paint: even the happiest people aren't happy all the time. And that's okay! To be expected, even! We are not supposed to be happy all the time. 2nd Timothy says that, "everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted," in some way or another. However, we can pick ourselves up, give our worries to God, and choose to be happy despite the stress of life.
Still, it can feel an awful lot like a mask sometimes, a happy-mask that we put on for others--for our jobs and friends and family and strangers on the street--because it's easier than admitting to feeling down. It feels false and phony and stupid and just blah. 
People ask me a lot how I'm so happy all the time. Well, the truth is, I'm not happy all the time. I'm sick of being nervous all the time, sick of having plans fall through, sick of wanting to be anywhere but in this little-big town in Oklahoma, sick of all those little stupid things that pile up until you feel suffocated. And okay, now this is starting to sound like a sappy inspirational book from the Christian aisle at the dollar store...but with God's help, I pick myself up, again and again. As many times as it takes. Until I can find the goodness again.

Okay I'm going to stop it with the deep talk now and continue my things to be happy list again. Cause it's been way too long. And cause someone asked me recently if I'd ever start them up again (shout out to an anonymous-tumblr-asker!).

happy thing number one Thunderstorms are the best when accompanied by iced coffee, rice pudding (why does everyone hate on rice pudding anyway? it's delicious cold with some cinnamon and sugar!), and the comfiest pants you ever did meet. We've had a storm nearly every day lately and it's strange compared to the 110+ degree heat we're used to in the summer, but I'm not complaining, no, not one little bit!

happy thing number two I've been having a Moment with bruschetta lately. Moment is, of course, capitalized because that's the sort of thing bruschetta does to you. Toasted bread smeared with garlic and butter, then topped with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of vinaigrette. Mmm, mmm, come to mama.

happy thing number three Having old friends come over for the weekend and filling the days with leisurely breakfasts and chats late in the night, with a bit of sightseeing here and there. My mom pulled out some old pictures from Texas and it made me very happy.
(top: my mom circa 1998, bottom: me circa the same time)

happy thing number four The promise of lake parties and camping this weekend, the last hurrah of summer. This summer has been not at all what I expected, and I feel like I've barely gotten the chance to do any of the things I wanted to, but ah, c'est la vie.

happy thing number five Farmer's markets on pretty Saturdays. Just because.

Peace out, homies.