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The Happiness Dare

I've heard that gratitude is what we should focus on... that joy is better than happiness...indeed, that happiness is founded in selfishness and entitlement and should be avoided at all costs. But in her new book, The Happiness Dare, Jennifer Dukes Lee presents a different perspective.

"Happiness is the feeling of contentment that wells up inside of you when you are at peace with who you are and the life you've been given.
Happiness is a feeling, but it's also a decision. It's a choice we get to make every day, even on our hardest days.
Happiness is an outward expression of inward joy that is found in Jesus.
Happiness is a gift from a happy God.
Happiness is an offer extended to us by the Gospel - an offer of happiness forever, starting with happiness today." -from The Happiness Dare

Although the book released on Tuesday, I've had a copy for several months as a member of the launch team. The opportunity to read this came at a good time (as always) - wrapping up six months of introspection, mental housecleaning, and perspective shifting, direction for outwardly expressing inner revelations was exactly what I needed.

She begins with a Biblical defense of happiness, then launches into the five "happiness styles" (find yours here!) I am almost equally a Thinker and an Experiencer - and while I could have probably told you that without needing a quiz to tell me, I have found that consciously realizing that things like journaling, bright bouquets, knitting, and going for walks make me happy somehow makes me happier. Possibly because I'm appreciating them, instead of feeling guilty about them...

Later chapters cover tips for retraining your brain to choose happiness, with plenty of grace for hard times and deeply-ingrained negative thoughts and patterns. 

This book is definitely going on my "read yearly" shelf - a reminder for my somewhat melancholy nature to look on the bright side. And for daily encouragement, the #thehappinessdare hashtag marks many inspiring moments on Instagram. I signed up for the launch team because this seemed like a book I'd believe in - and, after reading it, I have to say that I unequivocally recommend it!

How do you feel about "happiness"?


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…