Bring on the Happiness

   Where is your happiness found? Is it in your fur babies kiss or the look in your children’s eyes when they see their presents under the tree?  Is it found in seeing the light in your loved one’s smiles when you bring out the long array of food items lining a decorated table such as turkey or Christmas Feast?
   For many, the idea of happiness isn’t found in presents, Christmas trees and family feasts. Think about where you are and how fortunate you are in your life. Not many can say that. Many people live under the poverty line so a present is precious for them and so is a hot meal. Many people can’t afford to feed themselves nutritionally rich meals and therefore their idea of a Christmas meal is perhaps a canned item heated up or a sandwich. If I had known my housekeeper or her family didn’t have a holiday feast as I did as a child, I would have insisted she and her relatives come to our table. I am all about giving away. Sometimes to find happiness, you have to get out of yourself.
   My happiness is found in helping those who are less fortunate during this holiday season. I know of one man right now who can’t afford food everyday and he has cancer, congestive heart failure, and lymphedema with cellulitis. He is a former veteran who served our country and it is as if the country has forgotten him.  A woman named Beth just lost her job, has problems and can’t afford electricity. Then there is Debra who has only one lung and cannot work, yet she is full of love. With the cutting back of so many social programs for those truly in need, many people are being shoved to the curb.
     When was the last time you actually visited an orphanage and gave the children new clothes or presents? The disabled children need just as much help as the able-bodied children. Do you donate for such charities as the ASPCA or Toys for Tots? Consider taking old blankets, towels, unused food and toys to local animal shelters. Even better happiness can be found in adopting or fostering old dogs and cats. Everyone wants a new kitten or puppy, but unfortunately, the old are discarded or overlooked for the cuteness of the young. Consider adopting or fostering an older animal. They need just as much love and their happiness in their final years is finding a home that will love them.
    Shelters can always use old towels, blankets, but always check with them beforehand before you drop off anything.
   Also before you donate to charity, be sure to do your homework. I always check to see how much of the money I donate goes to the actual recipient and not to the charity itself for paying the CEO and their lavish expenses. Be sure it is a .org organization and is a not for profit.
Instead of handing out money to the homeless, consider other avenues such as buying them a hot meal or calling local authorities to help them get into a shelter during the really cold winters.
   Meals on Wheels is experiencing large cutbacks, but they don’t offer meals to people under a certain age. There is nothing available for a younger people who are experiencing medical issues and can’t cook for themselves. One idea is to have you and a bunch of friends get together one night and put up meals that can be reheated later on and distributed to the neighbors that truly need a helping hand.
   Another idea would be to plan a community get together to do one large cook out and invite the surrounding neighborhoods to participate, and feed the homeless, shut ins, medically ill and mentally ill people. All it takes is a little bit of effort in locating the people who are in need and cooking for them.
   I have found my happiness and it is found in helping others. What is your true happiness?


Mary Beth Johnson, CEPC, CCC

"Chef Mary Beth creates delicious and elegant culinary works of art that should be in a museum, as described by E. Oppenheim. She is a professional chef who has made her career as a private personal chef in the luxury field for over 25 years. Chef Johnson is the recipient of numerous culinary and visionary awards in her field and is often in the media for her expertise as well as appearing on television and she is an author  to writing for major media publications.

Comments Join The Discussion