Happy Monday! August reigns and it’s National Happiness Happens Month! Additionally, #TGIM – because I happily look forward to Mondays; as they are my #52Chances a year, in which I can share memories of my mom with all of you!
For the whole month of August, one of the subjects of focus and celebration is HAPPINESS! Thus, as Elbert Hubbard said: “Happiness is a habit – cultivate it!”
Likewise, Mom said, of true happiness [as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; January 2018, p. 304)]: “If [it] is acquired through persistence and patience, it would be like the fable of the Chinese profit who asked for a needle… when none could be found… somebody offered him a crowbar and a file. He was pleased… that it was only a matter of time before he could produce the needle he wanted.”
Mom used to tell me, whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated about all of the tough challenges I was facing, in life, that happiness is not found in what I think I want or in the stuff I attain; but, rather, in who I am. Mom would insist that true happiness came from within all of us. It is not about the things you have in life. It’s more about what you learn from life, that counts. After all, it’s the journey, not the arrival, that matters the most.
Surprisingly, or not, there are still those who truly believe that their level of happiness is in direct proportion to their level of success and financial worth. Nevertheless, “success levels” (if such things can really be measured) have no real correlation with how many things nor how much money one acquires.
Mom thought that real success was found in how well we lived our lives – for the good of ourselves and “our maker”, as well as for the good of others. Thus, she also trusted that we should always DO something that will make a positive impact on others.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, pages 1 & 4)
GOOD SAM, GOOD EXAMPLE
One thing among many that I have learned from Good Sam, our national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.
Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose. You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed.
Try a little enthusiasm! …Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated.
The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever!
We all expect life to be good to us – at least, some of the time. But, when things don’t work out the way we plan, or hope, there’s an overwhelming tendency to feel down, as if all Life ever gives us is lemons. Yet, we all know the old adage for that (another quote from Elbert Hubbard) is to “make lemonade” with it.
Remember, though, that you need a lot of sugar to make a good lemonade. From wherever the sweetener comes – whether it’s self-love, inner-happiness, or something else – we need to pour all of it, all over it!
Mom always believed that the best learning experiences that Life gave us, often came out of our biggest disappointments. By simply turning “let-downs” into “set-ups” for something else – something better, some happening out there, through the window that God opened after the door was shut – we would then overcome and conquer.
In addition, Mom also taught me that every new day was a turning point for each and every one of us and that each experience, good and bad alike, eventually contributed in some way to our own personal growth and inner-happiness. For that, I am continuously grateful.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 61)
THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF GOOD
Whenever our best intentions are carried out for the good of all concerned, only good can result. How could good possibly produce something bad? It’s often just the still small voice of wisdom that turns us in the right direction. When it does, how silly it is of us to give credit to coincidence or chance. The purpose of something good is, of course, to bless, to enrich and to comfort and why, then, does even knowing this makes so many folks feel uncomfortable?
Having more doesn’t necessarily make us better-off, and most people limit their definition of good to an increase in more THINGS. Sometimes the good is not material, nor the least bit tangible, but instead is a feeling – a comforting and reassuring confidence – that, yes, everything can be all right, after all!
Moreover, as Mom once wrote: ‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ [as seen on the front page of the 128th issue of “Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter” (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sep-Oct 1987)].
AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 8)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Being able to get a handle on life by not letting it get the best of us, when the lemons outweigh the levity in our relationships, is a recipe worth having. Resolving the problem with recipes in the kitchen is something we’re all willing to accept, because cooking is an individual and very personal experience – a creative challenge for some, a positive involvement for others.
Yet, we accept the risk of failing at what we attempt with foods, more readily than we will with our relationships with other people. It’s a puzzle to me that we are willing to endure such a paradox, that we’ll put more effort into the table we set than into the examples we could set – and/or choose to follow.
Another wise bit of advice, of which Mom once wrote, is that… “the opportunities available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity, or rejection, or weary from over-work…” Continuing on, she also said, “You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers.” [As seen in My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)].
Thanks to the happiness that Mom taught me to find within myself, first, I can also enjoy the happiness I find in other things like the colors of a rainbow after a storm, or the happy-go-lucky smile of my grandson, or the nuzzles and purrs from my cats (and my husband), or the sun sparkling on the magnificent blue waters of The Great Lakes, or the cheerful sounds of the birds and other wildlife in my backyard, or the aroma of a Crock Pot© Sunday meal – slow-cooking throughout the day – things that don’t have a price tag attached them! Where do you find your happiness?
STILL, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 92)
GOING IT ALONE
ONE OF THE BLESSINGS of being your own boss is that you can enjoy the freedom of discussing…subjects in your own publication, where you wouldn’t dear if someone else were publishing it, and you were subject to total agreement between you and them over all material published.
PEOPLE EXPECT US TO BE BETTER.
Whenever somebody has mentioned to me that they are surprised that the newsletter or the recipe books include non-recipe material, I usually replied, ‘I’m surprised that you’re surprised!’ Food for the table and food for thought should, and often do, go hand-in-hand. In our publications there will always be room for the kind of material that is humorous and uplifting – as the case may be.
I respond easily to the unusual, if it has a beneficial influence on others and find it a joy to share such information. The response is always encouraging. I am still hearing good comments on the little book we sent out in the fall of 1988, entitled ‘Good Thoughts And Things To Smile About’, which we did not sell, but GAVE to those people we felt we should express appreciation for their kindness and attention either to our work or to our family.
The little acts of overcoming the annoyance, impatience, indifference, apathy, that sometimes seem to be so much a part of our day – can make an enormous difference in the quality of our lives. This may not always seem easy, but each false tendency can be detected and rejected because it is wholly without foundation. Genuine love, caring, alertness and patience replace annoyance, indifference, apathy and impatience.
AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 94)
EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE
Every day, in our office and our home, because it’s hard to separate the two, is the fact that things here are quite unpredictable! The layout of the newsletter is done – as I described it before – like a patchwork quilt, [as] are the books, at best, for there is not enough ‘quiet’ time in which to carry out a major project. Mostly, it is a day filled with pleasant interruptions – such as the grandchildren dropping by to see us for a few minutes – or a radio station calling and asking me to fill in at the last minute!
There are visits from the rest of the family, a phone call from my mother once in a while, when she needs somebody to talk to… and I am always a ready listener. There are the discussions over how to handle a particular problem with a shipping order, or how a dish should be coming out that doesn’t! Countless things occur in this office (and/or home) that contribute to the overall picture.
This is what I tried to describe recently to Julie Greenwalt of People magazine, when she called and asked me to think about those typical things that happen here which they could be photographed to accompany the story she was writing about us. It will be interesting to see how it comes out, as this book [cited above] will be ‘going to press’ before People does with their story… [which came out in their May 7, 1990 issue].
I love the attitude of George Burns, who was always an inspiration to everyone, of every age! Doing what we like best, whether we succeed or not, is what keeps us going and keeps us happy. I cannot imagine doing something badly that I enjoy doing. So, of course, we do our best at something we enjoy, because that is part of the satisfaction of doing it – seeing the good that results from our efforts.
[Paul and I,] both, take time during the week to enjoy something completely unrelated to our work and even our family. I bowl on a wonderful women’s league every Wednesday morning and Paul bowls with the men’s league on Friday nights.
For the past four or five years, I’ve driven to Algonac, about 40 miles round-trip, to participate in one of the nicest groups I’ve had the privilege of belonging to; and while I have yet to have that 200-game, whether I bowl badly or splendidly, I drive home all smiles, happy that I went! Paul, on the other hand, bowls just down the street from us here in town. He bowled so much when we were dating, I tell people we were married by an ordained pin setter!
In honor of…
And, since some people find happiness in chocolate, I’d like to share with you Mom’s imitation of Big Boy’s Chocolate Pie. Happy cooking!
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…