Be Happy (A Giveaway)





This morning when I stepped out on the porch with Bonnie, a flock of geese cut through the newly born blue of the sky above—honking the day into awakening. They were so low I could hear the swoosh of air pushed underneath wings, almost feel the breeze of the passing. I spun around to watch their flying V move across the sky, until they soared out of sight. I could hear them long after they disappeared over the horizon, cradled the memory of long-necked grace amidst receding trumpet blasts.

On Tuesday we saw our son off to his second year of college; drove for hours, helped him unpack and organize all the stuff of life, and then left him in his dorm room. This was an easier departure than last year’s, for we all knew a little more what we were doing. Last year we drove away from him with a sinking feeling, fear in our gut. This year his roommate had driven down from New York all by himself—no parents, no entourage. The young man’s confidence in his solitary travels gave me pause. When we pulled away I wondered aloud if this would be our last year of dropping our boy off in this way. We’ve talked about sending him with a car next year, and if that’s the case, it’s unlikely we will tag along. This thought added a new dimension to my musings and I studied the landscape more intently as we drove toward home.

A century ago, the Anglican Bishop, Phillips Brooks told his ministerial students to study three “books”: the book of books, the book of the Bible; the book of nature; and the book of mankind. I find this sound advice for the span of a life—both for the college sophomore and the mother driving away from him. Life itself is the best of schools if we pay attention. I know I cannot hold all of his life in my hand. There is only One who can do such a thing.

This is the natural way. Kids grow up. Life changes. We roll with it. But every once in a while something inside of me rises up and says, “hold on, things are moving too fast here.” I want to memorize the moments, hold on to them as they pass.

Somehow I think driving away from our boy will never be easy. It has been a long, hard summer, with his grandfather’s illness, and he was a big help on that front. The memory of his face lighting up when his friend came into the room lingered with me on the trip home. I could still see his smile long after we were gone. He was happy. Happy to be back in school, to have a purpose, to see his friends.

And because he was happy, I was too. I am learning that happiness doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. In her book, The Happiness Dare Jennifer Dukes Lee says,

“You are the imago dei. You carry the DNA of your happy and holy God. … God is the inventor of happiness and the chief spreader of it. When you desire happiness, you …  are responding to something built into your soul. Your desire to live happy is not a flaw. It is your soul’s memory of the original paradise, etched and alive in you.”

I think I would add that your desire for your children—for all of your loved ones, in fact—to be happy, is a God-designed thing. Opening the hand in this way requires a trust I don’t always feel. There are so many things in life that pass out of our vision but still remain strong in our hearts and minds—the trumpet calls of love.

Last year, in honor of Teddy’s first year of school I hosted a giveaway of some good reads I’d been enjoying. I think this is a nice tradition. This year, I did a little shopping at the school bookstore (one of my favorite things about the campus). In this happy giveaway package, one reader will receive a copy of Jennifer Dukes Lee’s new book The Happiness Dare, one pair of Natures Precious Gems hand embossed natural brass earrings, one pinkhouse handmade scarf, and a sweet little Be Happy bag from

Just leave a comment by Sunday 8/28 at midnight for a chance to win! Winner will be announced on Monday 8/29.


  1. says

    You are so right. Happiness is a choice we make, even when life seems difficult. Leaving your child at college and watching him grow up is such a mixture of emotions, both happy and sad. He’s happy, so you’ve done your job well, Mom!

    Currently, I am recuperating from a stress fracture in my foot. Sitting around with my foot elevated for most of the day is not my idea of fun. Daily I’m choosing (sometimes very reluctantly) to choose to be happy and productive. Easy, no. Character building, yes.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.


  2. says

    Sweet friend, I just love anytime you blog. Your words and pictures are so beautiful and so poetic . They bring a sweet stillness about them. You write in such a way that makes me feel like I was there. I love the way you described how you would picture your son’s smile. That is beautiful. Makes me ponder what pictures I will hold in my heart today.

    Praying for you friend

    • says

      Jenn! So nice to see you here :). I do so wish you could be here–if only just for a cuppa and a hug! I hope you are doing well. Praying for your ministry and all the blessings you bring into this world.

  3. Heather Edwards says

    I needed to read this today, Laura, with MacKenzie’s senior year in full swing & other life obstacles in front of us, so I Thank you.

    • says

      Heather, I know, right? I can’t believe they are seniors. Next year, we’ll be doing the drop off with them! Gahhh! At least I know where to find some friends to listen and boo-hoo with as we journey through this last year together: the band concession! Hugs to you, sweet friend. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Randi Payne says

    Makes me realize just how fleeting this time really is… high school is the last real stage of childhood,and I really need to enjoy it more. …
    Thank you.

    • says

      You are right, Randi. It goes so fast! But as for the last stage of childhood, I know some band dads who might contest that! LOL. And some band moms too, for that matter (grin).

    • says

      It really is, Michelle. I love how much thoughtfulness Jennifer put into this book. When I read the section on my happiness style, I actually teared up a little. It felt like someone really understood me! Good luck!

  5. Vickie says

    Lovely, as I sit in the ER yesterday I was trying to find something to be happy about! I would Love to win the book 🙂

  6. Debra S says

    You brought back memories of when we first dropped our son off at college. Oh the joy in hearing his voice over the phone or reading his texts, about all the things he was doing. Spreading his wings and learning to fly on his own. We have one more son at home and it’s getting close to empty nest time and I’m not sure what the next season will be like with out them.

    • says

      Yes, I hear you, Debra. My youngest is a senior this year, so we will repeat all this again very soon. Ted texted me tonight to tell me he forgot to pack his calculator. So I’ll be mailing out my first care package a bit earlier than planned, LOL. Hugs to you as you journey all these stages of mommy-hood.

  7. says

    Sweet, Laura, what a beautiful and generous giveaway! This: “There are so many things in life that pass out of our vision but still remain strong in our hearts and minds—the trumpet calls of love.” I will be pondering for a long while today, my friend. I’ve added it to a collection of quotes I hold dear. Thank you for these words. May God tenderly squeeze your heart today.

    • says

      Thank you, June, you are the kindest friend. Last year, when we drove Teddy for his freshman year, at the very beginning of our journey we were met by a flock of geese too. It was a foggy morning and they came upon us as we drove up an interstate ramp. It was so beautiful and shocking and it made me cry. There is something so wonderful about all that honking! Like a parade in the sky :). Love to you, friend.

  8. Anne says

    I was at a craft store today and saw a sign that said……Glitter makes me happy. This past week has been a really rough week for me but I know that next week I will sparkle as I return to college. The Happiness Dare has opened me up to the possibilities to find happiness in the simplest moments in my life.

    • says

      I’m so sorry for the hard week, Anne. Yes, you will sparkle, my friend! It was hard for me to leave my boy, but seeing his shining face made it a little easier. Much love to you as you begin a new year, friend.

  9. Julie Dodson says

    You had me at “honking the day into awakening”, a favorite harbinger of autumn.

    In all honesty when we left our oldest at school for the first time I blubbered like a baby and also our second, God help the third when she leaves, I proceeded to get teary eyed every time he left…… for 5 years; I think he started to enjoy it. 🙂 I have now stopped wearing mascara. As our kids find their footing in life and fly the coop I find myself on unsteady grounds. I have thought the Happiness Dare would be a good nudge for my new direction…..where ever that might be. Thanks for the good food for thought.

  10. says

    Beautiful post, Laura. It evokes feelings I know well but have never put to words so eloquently.
    Our youngest is a high school senior too! And this was the year our second child graduated college AND got married, which are just more, new flavors of letting go. All those letting gos are hard but I just had the funny realization that even the letting gos become things we’ll miss some day! Oy vey. I’m doomed to be wistful for the remainder of my earthly life. 🙂
    I’ve been hearing great things about the book. Thanks for offering such a fun, generous prize.

  11. says

    Laura — as I’ve said before…I love your words. And while I may not take the time to always leave a comment the posts I read always touch my heart, make me think, often with a smile as I so relate to much of what you share. I love the Happiness Dare idea. And your happy gift package is so sweet! Practicing happiness is something I strive for but don’t always attain. This post was full of good reminders…Blessings to you.

  12. Nancy Kourmoulis says

    Laura, I too am wanting to hold on the the fast moving moments. Love your writing and Jennifer’s. Would so like to have her newest book. Much love to you as we hold on to mothering and the moments.

  13. says

    Just lovely. Your writing always just resonates with me. I love the contemplative nature of your life and appreciate the opportunity to walk with you through your writing. Thank you for sharing yourself with the blogosphere. 🙂

  14. says

    It’s that time of year again. Bittersweet. Happy and sad. School starting. So glad it was easier this year. Keep looking for those moments of happiness. And keep telling us about the nature you see when you step out the door.

  15. Laura K says

    This was so beautiful to read that it made me feel happy! I remembered my own feelings going away to college not knowing anyone… oh so long ago! I love watching geese flying in their v formations and just learned how supportive they are of each other just as we should be to others. “Our desire to live happy is our soul’s memory of the original paradise etched and alive in us”. This quote is mind boggling!!! I would like to start following your blog, (the blue flower reminds me of my sweet grandmother, but that’s another story!) Have a very happy day! 😊

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