Finding Happiness (and a contest!)

It was July 2008. My two girlfriends and I were on an afternoon sail in Key West, my favorite place on earth (thus far, anyway…). Our buddy Jarred perched easily on the mast playing guitar while we soaked up the sun and floated over the blue water, passing Christmas Tree Island and Mallory Square.

It was beautiful, and peaceful, and easy.

Sometimes, this is life.

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We sailed out of the harbor and into the open waters of the Atlantic. We picked up speed. We bounded over the waves. It was choppy. Jarred easily navigated while we feisty little Southern girls got quiet and turned a little green. I will neither confirm nor deny whether there was actual seasickness involved.

It was uncomfortable, and awkward, and we were ready for the rough spots to all be over.

Sometimes, this is life.

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We turned back towards the island, and immediately the Carambola sailed more smoothly, the wind seemed less angry, we were relaxed, and the sun began to drop towards the horizon. The worst had passed, and we were all the more grateful for the blue of the water, the sparkle of the sun’s rays on the waves, and the laughter of our free-spirited friends. (Who totally had their sea legs.)

Sometimes, this is life.

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As we sailed back into the calm waters of the harbor, Jarred helped me to the bow of the boat. I sat here, leading the way into the sunset, with my toes dipping into the warm waters every time the sailboat bobbed over a wave. I had finally broken ties from a tumultuous relationship that just would not end; my family was adjusting to the fact that my precious grandparents were becoming more dependent on my parents and me; I worked really hard to find peace in my life, but I still hadn’t relaxed enough to let myself be happy again. Until that moment. In the orange Key West twilight with my toes still in the water, I turned to Jarred and to my college friend Brandy, and I said six words that redefined my life:

“I am so happy right now.”

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Always, this is life.

Sometimes things are peaceful, sometimes they are rough, and sometimes you just feel sick and awkward. But after you turn yourself around and lift your head back up, there is peace. And then, you find happiness.

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CONTEST!!

So tell me: where is your happy place? Where, when, with whom do you find your greatest contentment and happiness? Leave a comment below to share your story. You will be entered to win either an iTunes gift card or free prints from ACP…your choice! You have until 7:00pm EST on Saturday, July 9 Monday, July 12 at 10:00am EST to enter the contest. I can’t wait to read about your happiness!

8 Responses

  1. Chrissy Lancaster says:

    Amy, Once again your God given talent and this time your words have amazed me! You are so, blessed and I am so thankful that God is beginning to bless you in a new way! My happy place, or I call it my soft place to land is of course anywhere Michael is! He is my joy, my peace, my comfort, my laughter, and in his arms is when I feel I am home… that warm, safe, favorite blue jeans, good music, totally contented and protected kind of feeling that cannot be duplicated any where else! Because to me he is home. Love you girley!!!! chrissy

  2. Robyn says:

    OK- so right now at 10:55 pm when I should be in bed getting some sleep- I am sitting in front of my computer…crying. I’m not writing this to win your contest- I am writing because, you, my friend, are happy! For that I am so thankful and grateful. I have truly prayed for you and your happiness- the same happiness that I have found. The one we used to sit around and talk about as middle school girls, the one we talked many late nights about as roommates, the one we talked about the night before my wedding, and most importantly the one we talk about weekly while on the phone because our lives are so busy to sit down together often enough. I cherish all of those talks with you, each and every one. My true happy place is one when life slows down just enough to sit with Burton by my side and hold Ella Jane in my arms. It is truly a wonderful thing: Love and peace, and the feeling of having somewhere to belong. Somewhere where only I can fit- with anyone else it wouldn’t be the same! I love you girl- without all of our talks I am not sure that I would fit as perfectly as I do in my happy place!

  3. Mom says:

    Dearest Amy,
    Our greatest happines is having a sweet, beautiful, vivacious, caring daughter who has been blessed with so many talents. We are so proud of you and are so glad when you are happy. We continue to pray for you and reassure you that we are always here for you.
    We love you,
    Mom & Dad

  4. Carrie Reger says:

    My happy place is when it rains (and I mean pours rain), Jeff and I go to the front porch and sit in our rocking chairs. Most of the time we each have a kid in our lap. We talk about the rain, hear God’s works on the roof of our house, let the kids run around the front yard to feel the magic of nature on their faces, and sometimes sit quietly in silence. It is my happy place. It always reminds me that the world it right, and I am right where I have always wanted to be…in my simple ordinary life.

  5. Jessica says:

    Hey Amy! My happy place just started recently. We have started family movie night on Saturday night. Chris and I both sit with the girls on our oversized couch and watch kid friendly movies. Some old, some new. The old ones take me back to that time when I was a kid with a vivid imagination and no care in the world and we are all just kids sitting on the couch watching a movie! We also get great family time together and get to talk about things we might not have time for otherwise.

  6. Kathy says:

    I have found my greatest happiness in the last three years since moving here from Atlanta where I grew up. It wasn’t leaving Atlanta that made me happy. And it wasn’t being in Greenville that has made me happy. My happiness comes from following the Lord who lead me on this journey. I learned to have faith when the circumstances around me were difficult. I learned to trust when I couldn’t make it on my own. And in return the Lord from whom all good things come, let me in on a secret. There is something better than happiness. There is JOY! Joy transcends all circumstances and brings peace in the fiercest storm. My joy is in the Lord. He knows all my needs and he richly provides. And on this journey to Greenville, he has provided the deepest desires of my heart – a family of my own, precious friends, and a place to worship and serve him fully.

  7. Stacy Tapp says:

    I have found on this journey of life that sometimes what you think is “happiness” is only happiness until something else “wow’s” you out of nowhere. This has become evident in my life a little over three years ago when I ran into an old high school acquaintance. Previous to this encounter I had thought that I had been somewhat happy with my life. Though there had been some “bumps and bruises” and mistakes along the way from jobs to relationships, I thought in my early thirties I had turned out okay and this is what life was supposed to be – a learning process towards “happiness.” Little did I know that running into one person unexpectedly would change my life forever. This is the moment I knew without a doubt I was truly happy. Three and half year’s later, I am now married to that person who makes everyday, no matter where we are or what we are doing…the happiest place I have ever known. I never realized that life could be so easy and the simplest of things that were once taken for granted are now life’s treasures. I wake up each day and am thankful that I have been blessed with a husband that is also my best friend. It may have taken me over thirty year’s to figure out this thing of “happiness” of life but it has been well worth the wait! I look forward to the future and all of the goodness it holds.

  8. Amy Clifton says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your stories! You have all made my heart smile and my eyes a little moist. I am so happy for your happiness! 🙂

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