The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 9, 2011

The joys of life ... and lemon cake

Enid News and Eagle

— Is your life filled with joy?

I make it a point to let nothing take away my joy. I do not depend on others to manufacture nor bring me joy. It is such a part of who I am.

I feel sorry for the few people who do not see joy in their lives. They must have a very unfulfilled life. It must be terrible to walk a day in their shoes. How sad and depressed they must be.

Writing my weekly articles is a way I share my joys. The positive feedback I receive tells me others like sharing my joys, too. The most joyful people I know are not necessarily those who have no problems, but those who conquer their problems or accept them. Joy has little to do with what we have or don’t have or what we do or don’t do. Most joyful people I know are Christians, so have so much to be happy about. They exude that joy and love and count everything a blessing.

I am grateful to my readers who tell me they appreciate the positive remarks about my family’s attitude of a pioneer spirit of hard work, positive attitude, Christian beliefs and joy. They tell me it brings many happy memories back to them of their childhood and growing up in more difficult times.

I have always felt those traits were passed on to me from my determined, wonderful parents who persevered during the Great Depression and World War II, raising seven children during those tough times. My grandparents showed great stamina and faith by settling in this great pioneer country during the run. I feel I would be letting all my ancestors down if I don’t convey to my readers their living lessons of great devotion to hard work and positive living.

I have always kept in mind that sorrow remains for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Whatever it is, this too shall pass.  So I do not waste my time being down and dreary.

For Christmas, I received a “joy jar” from my dear friend. Helen had typed a joyful reminder for every day of the year, and placed them in a pretty jar for me to pick one at random every day and think about it. Some are funny and some are thought-provoking. Every morning, my day begins with a tiny sermon and I feel revived and full of joy. This column is not long enough to tell you all the wonderful thoughts, but here are a few:

“Hope never abandons us, we abandon it.”

“Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.”

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”

“Advice is like castor oil, easy to give but dreadful to take.”

“Love not only makes the world go around, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

“Use the talents you have. The woods would be silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

“Love can never be repaid. It can only be passed on.”

“Having the courage to live within one’s means is respectability.”

“Do not mock your elders. Much too soon we will know how it feels.”

“Before you give someone a piece of your mind, make sure you have enough to get by on.”

“Never keep score in the game of life. Live happily.”

“A garden uncared for soon becomes smothered in weeds.”

“4 steps to achievement: plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, pursue persistently.”

“A joy that is shared is a joy made double.”

“Family is the most effective form of government.”

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

Those wonderful daily sermons fill every day with joy for me. This is only a small part of them. Each item could be a column within itself.

The things that bring me joy are my friends, my family, my home, my God, my health and those who keep me healthy, my writing, my daily activities, my philosophy of life, my memories and my thoughts. Thinking back to my youth and the hard work and fun we had brings me great joy and a chuckle. I have been so blessed in my lifetime. My cup runs over. It is now bushels and barrels and still counting. I think I have used this little poem before, but it bears repeating:

“I have found such joy in simple things; a plain clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,

“A cup of milk, a kettle at it sings, the shelter of a roof above my head,

“And in a leaf-laced square along a floor, where yellow sunlight glimmers through the door.”

“I have found such joy in things that fill my quiet days:  a curtain’s blowing grace,

“A potted plant upon my window sill, a rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,

“A table cleared, a lamp beside my chair, and books I long have loved beside me there.”

As you wonderful readers know, I love to cook and share my recipes. They come up in almost every conversation. I have used this recipe before, but it is the time of year that it just sounds good again.

Jean-Ann’s Lemon Cake

1 box lemon cake mix, prepared by directions on box, baked in 9-by-13-inch pan

1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate

3⁄4 cup powdered sugar

1 can lemon frosting.

Bake cake. Cool 15 minutes. Poke holes in cake with fork every half inch or so. Mix thawed lemonade and powdered sugar and pour over warm cake. Cool completely and ice with frosting. This is better the next day or so. Keep refrigerated.

Don’t let anybody take your joy away.

Think about it.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.