What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Off the top of my head I’m not sure what I think excitement is. There is an element of anticipation to it that kind of scares me. When I think of anticipating something, especially something good, I am afraid that whatever I’m looking forward to happening won’t happen or won’t happen the way I hoped it would. So it’s hard to get excited about something that is going to happen in the future.
However, maybe I can learn to be excited about things happening right now. One definition of excitement is enthusiasm. If I can do something with enthusiasm maybe the feeling of excitement will exist also. I can see how if I’m enthusiastic about something, I might be excited about it, too. Is enthusiasm an emotion? I’m not sure. I always thought that enthusiasm is something I decide to pursue something with. So can pursuing something with enthusiasm lead to excitement. I think so.
Another aspect of excitement is adventure. When I think of the times in my life when I’ve planned for an adventure, whether it was backpacking in the Rockies or exploring different towns with my family, there was definitely excitement. But there was disappointment when the planned adventure(s) didn’t happen. I remember one year when we planned a camping trip to the Boston, Massachusetts area. Before we were able to leave on the trip, which included several days in upstate New York and a trip to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, our van’s transmission failed. We could not afford the trip and the transmission and since we couldn’t pull the trailer at all without the transmission, the trip was scrapped. I don’t know if I’ve ever let myself get excited over possible trips since then. I’m not sure I’ve let myself feel excitement over any adventures since then.
Excitement also has the element of passion with it. I sometimes have the passion to do things, a drive, a motivation that maybe resembles excitement. One of those things is Bible Study. I usually enjoy Bible Study and can get excited over reading the Scriptures and the commentaries and figuring out how God wants me to apply His Word to my life. Another passion I have is to write. I get excited when I have an idea and that idea can be put down in words in such a way as to convey understanding to someone else. I often get excited about writing my blog articles for instance. Today is one of those days.
The opposite of excitement, for me, is apathy, boredom, and dullness. I could not identify those emotions without the help of a dictionary. I can see now, after having looked it up, how excitement is the opposite of those three things. I can also see that by not planning adventures in my life, I’m opening myself up for the boredom and dullness that I dread. I don’t want to be apathetic about the things happening in my life. I want to be excited. So I guess I better plan an adventure. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as big as a trip to Boston. I can start small and plan an adventure to someplace nearby or for an activity I might enjoy doing.
I could maybe plan to get out my scrapbooking materials and continue a project I started a while ago but lost interest in. That could be an adventure in a way and I don’t have to go anywhere to encounter it. Can I experience excitement in a situation like that? I think so. Even a little excitement would be nice to feel.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Is peacefulness an emotion? If it is, it is definitely a positive one. I sometimes think of peacefulness as a state of mind as in “peace of mind.” One definition of peace of mind is having mental freedom. That’s a state of mind in my opinion, but having that as a state of mind can lend itself to be emotionally freeing from the consequences of anguish or agitation.
Another aspect of peacefulness is being calm. Calmness is an emotion in many ways. It’s being tranquil and serene and at peace with the world around me. When I think of the opposite of calm, I think of agitation and unrest. Chaos comes to mind, too. When my thoughts are chaotic I definitely feel not at peace, not calm. So if being agitated is an emotion, peacefulness can also be an emotion.
I’m not used to thinking of peacefulness as an emotion. I want it to be something that just is . . . an objective, non-emotional type of thing, kind of a state of mind type of thing. If I can keep it in my head it seems less scary for some reason. But, peacefulness should not be scary. Maybe I’m just afraid that if it’s an emotion I will never feel it but if it’s a state of mind I can will myself to think it into being.
Another way of looking at peacefulness is serenity. Serenity is defined as calmness, peacefulness, but it means something deeper to me. Serenity has a sense to it that all is ultimately right in the world. For me serenity comes when I focus on God and knowing that He is ultimately in control of everything in the world. I have fleeting moments of that in my life . . . but they are fleeting.
The whole idea of peacefulness is baffling to me. I think I tend to feel more contentment than I do peacefulness. Maybe that’s because there always seems to be something I can be worrying about. When I’m worrying, I’m not experience peacefulness. Worrying goes along with the chaos, unrest and agitation. And, I worry a lot. So peacefulness is not an emotion I’m easily able to feel and as a result it is hard to identify it when, or if, it happens in my life.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Another positive emotion, a good feeling emotion is contentedness, the state of being contented. One definition of this is being satisfied or showing satisfaction with things as they are. Another definition said it’s being satisfied with your situation in life.
I have a hard time with this emotion. It’s not that I’m discontent or dissatisfied with life. It’s more that life as it is, is not all that I want it to be. I want more. It reminds me of the AT&T commercial on television with the little girl saying that having less is not fun because “we want more, we want more.” I want more. More is illusive; I’m not sure what I want more of. I generally have an uneasy feeling that if this is all there is I’m missing out on something else.
One alternative meaning for contentment is complacency. I guess I don’t want to be complacent and accepting that things are the way they are, and they won’t get any better. However, I don’t think contentedness has to mean complacency either. It can mean being satisfied, for now, with the way things are. Maybe it is something that’s temporary and it’s meant to be. I guess the key word in all of this is satisfaction. It means having a job or a situation be as good as it can get for the time being. It doesn’t mean having to stay in the same place all the time. Change is possible and often good, and can lead to a new place of contentedness.
Another way of looking at contentedness is thinking of it in terms of gratification. For instance, doing a job well can lead to gratification for the effort and results of the project completed. In a sense it’s saying it’s good enough for now. It’s saying it’s a job well done and good enough until next time when I can do something again or different and better.
I feel like I don’t really experience much contentedness the way I’ve described it here, but when I’m journaling my emotions, I often put content. Maybe I’m more satisfied with my life situation than I think I am. Maybe the emotion of contentedness is present but fleeting. Maybe I need to think about it more when I write it down. Maybe I should ask myself if that is what I’m really feeling.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Sometimes emotions are hard to figure out. Good feeling emotions are often hard to identify. I was asked if I take them for granted. I don’t think I do, but I do have trouble identifying them. So I’m looking into some of those this week and trying to come up with words that describe the various good feelings a person can have.
Happy is obvious. But what does happy mean? I looked up happy in a thesaurus to see if I could get a better idea of what happy means. Some of the words were helpful but others were not. For instance, is feeling blessed the same thing as feeling happy? I don’t think so. I think feeling blessed goes along with being joyful, the sense that all is right in the world even if everything seems to be falling down around me. Blessed is more than happy. Ecstatic could have its roots in happiness but I think it goes beyond mere happiness to something bigger. So ecstatic might be too much to just be labeled happiness.
However, cheerful seems to fit with happiness a little better. Cheerful, in my view, means to feel happiness in a way that shows on your face and in your actions. Cheerful means being of a jolly disposition like something funny could happen at any moment. Cheerfulness is being good natured and easy to get along with. That’s also true when I am happy. I am easier to get along with.
Another word that happy brings to mind is light. Happiness is light compared to the heaviness of sadness. Happiness makes me feel light and like I’m walking on air. Everything is soft and easy when I’m happy. Everything seems sunny when happiness is present. So light can mean the weight of happiness and the brightness of happiness at the same time. Other words the thesaurus mentioned were peppy, perky, and playful. I can see feeling those things when I’m happy. When happy I have more energy and am more alert. Those things are associated with peppy and perky. It’s certainly easier to want to play when I’m happy.
So now I have a sense of what it’s like to be happy. Maybe I do take it for granted a little bit and forget to notice happiness. Maybe by writing out some of these ideas I will be more aware of happy feelings when I’m having them. Maybe I’ll notice when I’m happy more of the time. We shall see if that happens.
Other good feelings I’m going to explore this week include contentedness, joy, peacefulness, excitement, thankfulness, confidence, and hope. Maybe I’ll write a series of articles about each of those things.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

No Ideas

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an idea for something to write about in my blog. I don’t have a boring life, so the fact that I can’t think of anything to write about kind of irritates me. Life does have it’s routines and maybe I get caught up in the routine a little too much and forget to notice the unusual or the extraordinary.
One thing that is going on in our lives is that our son will be moving to Chicago. His first real, post-college, job begins June 19th. That means we have to move some of his stuff from our home to his current apartment (or to a storage unit near his current apartment) so the movers will be able to move all his stuff at once. This has been a big project. The logistics of it are still being worked out. While it is somewhat frustrating and a bit overwhelming to deal with all the details, it is also an exciting time. We are very proud of him. He is trying to finish up his graduate studies, look for an apartment in the greater Chicago area, and plan his move. All we have to do is get his stuff to him. I don’t know why I’m feeling so overwhelmed by it.
We also have our daughter home from her first year of college. It was a good year as far as her studies went. We are very proud of her for all she accomplished during her freshman year of college. We’ve been able to have some good discussions about a wide range of subjects. I’m cherishing these conversations and times together. However, it would also be good if she could find a job for the summer. That is proving a hard thing to do. She may end up doing some volunteer work for a local Christian organization. Whatever she does it will be nice to have her around for the summer.
So, there are eventful things going on in our lives. I should be able to come up with even more interesting items to write about, but for this week this is the best I can do. Hope you are having a good week.