When you think of the word homemade, what comes to mind? It might be your grandmother’s delicious apple pie or a hand-carved table that has been in the family for years. Whatever picture you conjure up, homemade has a positive connotation. It implies hard work and love that has been transferred from the creator to the created. When we bite into that apple pie, or sit at that table, we can sense the love that has been poured out to make something that we could savor and enjoy.

Many times, we are moving so fast and furious that we don’t stop to experience the homemade—to “smell the roses,” so to speak. And more often than not, we grab a store-baked pie rather than bake our own for the sake of time. But something gets lost in translation when you buy a pie that has been made in bulk. You might enjoy the flavors, but the feeling is not there. There is no longer a personal connection.

Think back for a moment to the last time you baked a homemade meal for a gathering. Were you proud to serve it? Did you smile as guests took second helpings? Now think about a meal that was last-minute and pieced together. Instead of serving food that you knew your guests would love, you bought something quickly that would “do the trick.” Did guests have the same reaction? Did they feel the love and time you spent creating something just for them?

It’s amazing how something homemade really makes us feel good and loved—and happy. But could we turn that around? We’ve established that homemade things make us feel happy. But can happiness be homemade?

When we look at our own lives—at our happiness and unhappiness—why does so much of it rely on others? We smile at our children and cheer when our sports teams win; and we complain about our schedules, our bosses, our to-do lists, and our bills. But those things are all external. Yes, they add to the ease or unease of each passing day. But do they make you happy—truly happy? And should they be so bold as to hold the power to make you unhappy?

If homemade makes us recall warm, loving things, can we also relate that to our everyday lives, and to our inner happiness?

Happiness does not come from your neighbor’s garden, your child’s successes, or your partner’s exciting new job. No one else can create your happiness. And in the same light, no one can create your unhappiness.

Happiness comes from within. It is homemade—created by you and for you. It is within your power to create your own unique story. Begin one word at a time. Start with the first word, and then add the next and the next. Build a sentence and then a page. And continue writing until you have a smile from cheek-to-cheek—a smile that begins in your heart.

TCM

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