WHO: Judith Warnick Highsmith, Tyler
WHAT: “The Business 9 Women Kept Secret for Three Decades,” by Lori Weiss
WHY: It touched me because these nine women (and now their families) are going out of their way to benefit those in need in their community, a need they identify themselves, without expecting anything in return.
Doing something unexpected for someone is the most gratifying experience you can have, because it really does cause happiness — for both the recipient and for you. It’s not just writing a check; they aren't wealthy women, but they found a way to accomplish their goal without their families suffering.
Uplifting that there are still folks like this in the world who are willing to take personal responsibility for being their brother's keeper.
WHO: Christina Fulsom, Tyler
WHAT: My grandmother
WHY: My grandmother taught me to smile, regardless of what I was feeling. She said sharing a smile makes others smile, and smiling makes you feel better — simple and true, but more powerful than I ever imagined.
Connecting with others makes me happy. I’m not referring to those whom I know and see regularly, I’m talking about connecting with people who cross my path for just a few seconds. All it takes is a moment of stillness, eye contact, and a smile — life suddenly slows down.
If that person sees me and lets down their guard for an instant, we are connected. In that instant they know that I “see” them and that they matter. That connection makes me feel calm and happy. In a fast-paced world full of stress and distractions we look at people but often we don’t “see” them. We are losing our human connectedness.
What one looks like doesn’t determine who they are, and more importantly doesn’t present what their life is like. We are all vulnerable and beautiful, and at the deepest levels, each of us needs to know that we matter. I hope in those few and far between moments that I’m connecting with people who need to know that they matter and that is the reason our paths crossed. Bonus, it is not one-sided, them “seeing” me makes me feel like I matter. Perhaps my grandmother’s simple lesson was just an introduction, and it was my job to find its strength. My advice: Find stillness, make eye contact, “see” the other person and connect with a smile.
This will make you happy.
WHO: Stephine Reagh, yoga instructor, Tyler
WHAT: 12:34 p.m.
WHY: Because sometimes it's just got to be the little things. I like when I check a digital clock and it says 1234.
I've liked it since I was a child, and some years ago I set about reclaiming small pleasures in order increase the amount of time that I spend appreciating, smiling and being happy.
When the clock reads 1234, I always smile. I also like 12:56, but I have no real explanation for that.
WHO: Charles Johnson, Whitehouse
WHAT: “Arms Wide Open” by Creed.
WHY: It sends tears of joy streaming down my face, as I think of how truly blessed I am to have so many good friends in my life since Dec. 1, 2012.
WHO: Beth Walker
WHAT: Black eyed peas with chow chow
WHY: My family always grew “purple hulls,” and Grandmother made and taught me how to make chow chow. Chow chow is a relish made from whatever vegetables are plentiful, usually in the fall just before the first frost.
She used green tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, broccoli and carrots with lots of apple cider vinegar (which she made, too), all in pretty ball canning jars. The taste takes me back to my roots and certainly makes me feel good.