flower wagonBombarded with bad news, it is hard to keep spirits high, so turn off the TV, Twitter feed, and iPhone and tune into the little reminders of blessings unfolding around us. Easter is the perfect time of year to think positively about rebirth and new beginnings. So throw open those shutters and take a peek.

Okay, so it is raining again in Switzerland, the clouds hang so heavy ne’er a mountain in sight. But outside my window the daffodils waltz in the wind, buds pop open on the beech tree and the grass grows greener with each raindrop. The forsythia bush in the backyard burst into a golden flame overnight while I wasn’t looking.

Right now anyone who knew the details would say my life sucks. I am stuck in another treatment plan without answers from a disease that keeps adding symptoms. My husband is locked into a dead end job. My Big Kids are living 4000 miles away. Ze Frenchman and I are riding solo for the Easter holiday. But no pity party for me!

“The secret to happiness is being joyful for good things happening in other people’s life.”

My mom taught me that. She has an innate ability, a gift from her Norwegian mother, to find delight in life’s simple pleasures.

Mom set such a good example of purposeful living that it is hard not to follow suit. She invested wholeheartedly in raising four kids, and when the last one entered kindergarten, she filled her own book bag and went back to school to teach.kids in giant egg

When she retired from teaching, she rolled down the halls in a shopping cart and banged on all the lockers with a wooden spoon.

She embraced retirement with equal aplomb filling her days with good deeds, volunteering at the food pantry and church circle. When she wasn’t busy gadding about to her clubs, she was sewing up a storm of finery to commemorate every rite of passage for her grandchildren and her friends’ grandkids.

Jealousy does not bode well in kind hearts. Take a tip from Mom. Step outside yourself.

When you’re feeling down in the dumps about your lot in life, focus on what is going right in someone else’s. Then lead the parade.

Dance when your nephew is accepted in his first choice college.

Laugh aloud when you hear your son enjoys coaching so much that as soon as one season ended he started another as an AAU coach.

Cry a few tears when a former student makes a surprise visit back to high school to bring you a purple jacket – your favorite color – from his British university.

I only need to look beyond my own window to see that plenty of goodness is going round.

When a college roommate’s daughter gets married, raise a glass in cheer instead of feeling sad that you live too far away to attend the wedding.

When a best friend from high school has her long awaited first grandbaby, send a special gift and enjoy the FB photos.

When a buddy lands a book deal, applaud her success as a victory for all writers.

finding eggs on the balcony

finding eggs on the balcony

If you can’t be with loved ones for the holiday, flip through those old-fashioned photo albums and savor the memories of past celebrations.

Attitude is about gratitude.

One never has to look far to feel grateful.

Happy Holiday!