Sunday, July 9, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Happiness is: Index Cards with Positive Reinforcement

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Time. It seems to stop when a crisis happens or a life-experience that takes our breath away. At least for a few minutes that's how it is for me. It is hard to explain, but I have always been a person that such uncertainty lasts for about twenty-minutes to maybe an hour and then it's time to get organized. Such a life-experience happened a few years back. I was left alone to not only tell my son we were on our own to walk life together, but I had never handled anything. Anything.

I had always been a journal keeper. In ninth-grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Standridge, I think was her name, had us keep a journal for a grade. I kept one but it was more of an art journal, colorful. It began one of hundreds. I wrote every emotion to sermon notes, learning to paint over the rough spots that I had written over the years. When this particular life-experience happened, I grew...beyond emotions or feelings, not that they are important, but I wasn't riding on them, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong or should be doing or not be doing to make my life and relationships better. For the first time, it was about God. When He is all you've got, He is all you need.

It was important to me to put God first, so I had five devotionals I read in the mornings and at least that many at night. I got up early and made sure I was spending time with God by nine each night. I wrote verses and quotes on index cards, posting them all over my bedroom and bathroom. I wanted to be encouraged and focused so I walked the right path in caring for Garrett, my mother, staying healthy and on my hope and faith in Him.

Since my health, both physical and mentally was important during all of this, I went to my family doctor to say, "Look, this has happened and I want you to be my cheerleader and be aware should my focus change when it comes to living healthy and caring for my family..." She asked me what I was doing to remain positive, which has always come natural for me. I told her about the index cards. She began smiling and got excited. She replied, "I want you to make more! Take them and put them all over the house, in your car, at work, read them to Garrett and your mother."

Today, I still write various things out and stick them on the fridge, on my desk or dresser, but I don't carry them around as I did the first year or so. My happiness and joy built from within and remained, knowing that I established a strong inspiration from within my being, my soul and mind. God put the strength there. With each pound of weigh I lost, each muscle I built, every mile I have run or walked, I have built confidence that I can live healthy and strong. There are no excuses, it's a decision. Living healthy can start with a simple index card and an ink pen. That could be all the encouragement you need to begin.

Life happens, it's what you decide to do with it that defines who you are and where you go.

Hugs, Rita

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