We drive older cars and get clothes usually from a thrift store. Our house is small with a quaint backyard. We have continued to always go to church and work hard at our callings. We have made friends with amazing neighbors. We make it to the temple often and we make our little family first in our lives. Everyday is about the kids and their learning, their growing testimonies, their happiness. We start and end each day with family prayer. We read our scriptures at bedtime as a family despite the chaos- with at least one child crying about something and at least one child if not all not paying attention.
Chay and I always live for the kid's bedtime so we can spend time alone without distractions. We sometimes go on walks at night or sit up on the roof of our house. In the mornings we used to run together. At night we sometimes talk ourselves to sleep in bed as we talk about our exhausting life and our future.
My kids have never been to Disneyland but we go on hikes and walks together. Dad swinging them around in circles by their arms or throwing them in the air makes them smile and giggle just as much as Magic Mountain would anyway. We take them to cheap fun places. Splash pads and parks. Messy picnics and rock collecting by the river. We play in the backyard and go on bike rides. No life isn't always bliss and yes there have been boring days, hard days, and long days. Yes there is contention in the home sometimes and maybe doors and cupboards get slammed once in a while... and yes parents are about to lose it or even do from time to time- and of course I dwell on the thoughts of having a bigger house and going on trips and buying nicer things. I still long for a new kitchen and I almost get grumpy every time I have to cook a meal in my avocado 1970 kitchen- that's falling apart. We have all been sick, ill, hurt, depressed, and achy. And of course we have made poor choices along the way and have felt bouts of misery and opposition. We have felt the pains of repentance and the release of forgiveness. And yes the piles of laundry, messes, and dishes get annoying...And yes, there have been many tears and sadness...
But can I just say, I am living a beautiful rich life. I am experiencing it all--the emotions of life all felt, all endured. I am happy. Chay is happy and the children are happy. We live a life of peace. We have no special formula besides we never give up, we get back on track when we fall off, we look to Christ as the source of real peace, we keep on trying and never stop believing. The joys and the struggles have made it what it is. The waiting and hoping make life come alive and become more real. We are not artificially stimulated with stuff and things that don't last eternally, we are righteously blessed as we endure to the end, serve God, and wait patiently for His blessings.
This is Happiness.