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Happiness Holding Out

How can this NOT make you happy?

As I gathered with my best friends last night at our favorite hangout (umm…The Cheesecake Factory) where we laugh over Adam’s Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple cheesecake among other decadent delights, my friend made a comment that stuck out to me. She said, “I’m so much happier when I have something to look forward to.” Now, since I’ve been writing this blog, I always keep my ear out for the word happiness and this one was put in interesting context. But it totally makes sense doesn’t it—are you happier when you’re holding out for something?

Whether it’s the holiday season (I already can’t wait to start playing Christmas carols) or awaiting a reunion with a best friend or boyfriend, having something to look forward to can make all the difference. The trick is to carry out that happiness once the experience has ended. Do we need to find something new to look forward to? Life is always a delicate balance between enjoying the moment and hoping for a better and brighter future.

Today, I’m encouraging you to write down five things you’re looking forward to. And then, once you get there, be sure to have fun and have a happy time! Here are my five for now:

1. Seeing Puss n Boots: I am exceptionally excited for this movie to come out. Being the little cat lady that I am, I couldn’t be more ecstatic to see little Puss in his boots.

2. Presents Date Party: Coming up this Tuesday we have a date party which I can’t wait for. I love dressing up and hopefully I can convince my boyfriend to come along even though he has two midterms two days later…that’s not so bad, right?

3. Halloween: One of my favorite holidays. This year I am going to be Cinderella and even though we college kids don’t go trick-or-treating anymore (well, actually some of them do) I’m so excited to get in costume! To be honest though, we get in costume about once a week with our raids. Still, Halloween is a class of its own.

4. Disneyland: I will be going next week! Going to the happiest place on Earth makes me the happiest girl. I cannot wait to go with 60+ of my Chi Omega sisters.

5. My book being published: Somehow, someway. There have been some recent twists and turns but I am hopeful and confident that someday soon I will soon my book with a beautiful cover and hardcopy pages to follow. Keeping the faith!

What are you excited for? I’m sure there’s something—please share!

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Happy Birthday Auntie Nette!

Today is an extremely special day because it is one of my favorite people’s birthdays. You’ve probably seen me mention her here before, as she has been such an integral part of my life and I want to take this time to celebrate just how wonderful she is.

So, Auntie Nette, I hope you have an amazing birthday! I love you SO much!

You know I love Sunny Sets, so here is a set of six reasons why I love my Auntie Nette:

1. She gives the best hugs: No matter how long we’ve been apart, the embrace is always so comforting. When I was three years old and now as a 20 year old, I love getting hugs from Auntie Nette.

2. My call companion: I talk to Auntie Nette on the phone probably more than anyone else. Whenever I walk somewhere, she is the first one I call. I love to update her on the college scene and she always gives me the best advice. She’s a guiding light.

3. Her bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches: With butter. Auntie Nette, can you make another one next time you visit?

4. Walking down memory lane: We love to go down history road. Even though I don’t remember, my Auntie loves to retell the stories of my younger years. I feel like I was there! Wait, I was there…but I wish I had the memories that she does.

5. She takes amazing care of me: Whether it was when I was a toddler or recently this summer when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, Auntie Nette was always there with a handhold and a bowl of homemade tapioca. Mmm.

6. She loves me: And she always tell me. We tell each other how much we love and miss each other every day. Even though it’s been over 10 years since we haven’t lived in the same area, Auntie Nette has been and always will be a tremendous part of my life. I love you with all my heart!

Happy birthday dear Auntie Nette. You mean the world to me—from our daily conversations, our barley soup (remember the song?) and just sitting and talking while I took bubble baths (lol) you bring more happiness than just about anyone else. I wish I could be with you today but I’m so glad that I got to see you last weekend—I pray for you every day and I hope that today is an especially happy day.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Having Big Talk Rather than Small Talk

I’ve recently been attending a Bible Study in my sorority and ever since I’ve felt so much happier. I have a renewed sense of peace. No matter what you believe, I think meetings of this nature where you have conservations that are bigger than small talk are so important. It’s so nice and necessary to have real conversations with people that go beyond classes, crushes, and the like. It’s so nice to check in with my spirituality every week (not that you shouldn’t everyday!) but having that community creates so much happiness and contentment. I’m hooked!

One thing we do each week that I particularly love is our “highs and lows.” Everyone in the group shares something that made them exceptionally happy and they also say something that was a challenge. This always creates a greater sense of camaraderie and feeling that sense of support is so encouraging.

I invite you to think of your “highs and lows” of this past week. It’s always good to focus on the positive, but admitting the challenging times and hoping for something better is a good thing as well. We need to acknowledge what we can improve in our life rather than deny or ignore it.

Also, like I’ve said before, no matter what your faith, I encourage you to have conversations that are meaningful, at least once a week. Sure, the everyday small talk is a part of life but talking about life itself is a whole other experience that is so entirely bonding and building of connections.

Have a happy day!

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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