Baking cookies wasn’t easy for me, but a vision of pleasantly surprised colleagues savoring each bite kept me going when times were tough. That, and my wife walked me through the entire process (smile).
After carefully measuring the dry ingredients, I was about to mix them together when she suggested that I spoon the sugar into the trash and try again. Apparently, granulated sugar isn’t quite the same as the powdered sugar the recipe called for. Oops!
While beating the butter, it flew in every direction. My wife patiently showed me how to hold the hand mixer at the proper angle, and the butter behaved. When I left seeds floating in the lemon juice, she handed me a teaspoon, and I carefully removed them.
After all the ingredients were mixed together, I rolled the dough and gently placed it onto the sheets. While the cookies baked and then cooled, I made frosting and spooned it into pastry bags. I squeezed some strange shapes onto the cookies, but I assure you, whatever they lacked in appearance, they made up for in texture and taste.
Dreams Really Do Come True
You can have all the ingredients for a wonderful life, but such dreams only come true when we combine each into a wonderful whole. While I baked my batch of Lemon Meltaways, I thought of ways we can do just that.
1. Follow the written recipe
People have been living great lives for thousands of years, and many have shared their experiences with us. Teachings from around the world, both ancient and modern, reveal principles and patterns consistently associated with happiness. Many of these “recipes” can provide valuable frameworks for finding fulfillment.
Of all the wonderful people who have told their stories, who do you admire most? How did their values help them live well? Follow them in ways that work for you.
2. Make adjustments as you go
If you’re clumsy at kindness, hapless in humility or imperfectly peaceful, it’s OK. A wonderful life is about who we become more than what we have done. Even if you’ve been below average or even awful in the past, you’re free to be wonderful right now.
Occasionally ask yourself, “Am I living a wonderful life?” If so, keep it up. If not, do something else, or do whatever you’re doing in a more wonderful way.
3. Listen to those who know
Some may attempt to help us in ways that hurt instead, but there are almost always folks nearby who know better (they’re usually the ones who don’t presume they do). Even when no human voice is helpful, a divine voice whispers to us whenever we’re willing to listen.
Who are the truly happy people in your life? Ask them how they face their challenges and listen. Of course, you can always ask God. He wrote the original recipe for a wonderful life.
I'll tell you about the benefits of living a wonderful life (and reveal contest results) in Part 3.
John Brailsford is our newest contributor. He studies the lives and teachings of happy people and shares what he learns with others in powerful, meaningful and uplifting ways. He's a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified family life educator, and a speaker and writer, with a Ph.D. in Family & Child Sciences from Florida State University. He has been married to an amazing woman for over two decades, and they are the parents of four wonderful people. You can learn more about John and his approach to finding fulfillment at drjohnbrailsford.com.