A Cheerful Heart

“God bless the cheerful person – man, woman or child, old or young, illiterate or educated, handsome or homely. Over and above every other social trait stands cheerfulness. What the sun is to nature, what the stars are to night, what God is to the stricken heart which knows how to lean upon Him, are cheerful persons in the house and by the wayside. Man recognizes the magic of a cheerful influence in woman more quickly and more willingly than the potency of dazzling genius, of commanding worth, or even of enslaving beauty.”
-The Royal Path of Life, 1882


I’m a firm believer in making your days interesting, productive and cheerful. Yes, I know not all days go that way, but it’s my goal when I wake up to find happiness, make our day interesting and be productive.

I suppose what is interesting to me is not interesting to others. What makes me happy does not make others glad. My productivity may not be the same as others, but it is nice to cross something off a list.

It brings great joy to learn something new, create or bake, grow or even just find some time to watch nature around me. [When is the last time you watched an ant carry a pine needle across your grassy yard? They are such funny little insects.]

I often tell the girls they cannot come to the breakfast table with a sour face. Everyone must be cheerful, or at least, gracious and polite if not feeling overly joyful that moment. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be if six daughters -and a grumpy wife/mother – showed up at the breakfast table in a cloudy disposition? Last week, we struggled with some unhappy moments (including my own) so this week, I am focusing on having a sunnier disposition despite the circumstances.


“We always know the cheerful man by his hearty ‘good morning.’  Don’t forget to say it … say it to your parents, your brothers and sisters, your schoolmates, your teachers – and say it cheerfully and with a smile; it will do you good and do your friends good. There’s a kind of inspiration in ever ‘good morning’, heartily and smilingly spoken, that helps to make hope fresher and work lighter. It seems really to make the morning good, and a prophecy of a good day to come after it.”

Well, on this particular day, I woke the children up and told them, “Good morning!” and announced we were going berry picking. This was, in fact, our third time to go berry picking – no one grumbled. In fact, they were all excited to go berry picking again –  that made us all happy. While we picked, little ones feasted on berries to their delight and enjoyed a healthy breakfast of fresh strawberries straight from the patch. We were done picking within an hour (so great to have big helpers!) and then headed home so the little one could nap and we could begin our regular day chores.


I suppose this is our productive and happy part of the day …

Our third visit to the local and family friendly strawberry patch …we just love it there … many of these strawberries will go into the freezer, but some will also be put into jars and turned into ruby red preserves …


It’s so wonderful having daughters willing to help me along the way!



… while they were helping hull the juicy berries, I organized the chest freezer [one of three freezers] to make sure there was a space for the new berries and I made up dinner – Shepherd’s Pie. It was nice and cool in our old basement, a blessed relief from the July humidity. One could complain as the basement is dark and dingy and not quite the nicest place in the world to spend an hour – but, again, we can choose to be cheerful about such things, can’t we?

Earlier that morning, during breakfast, I had peeled the potatoes and put them into the crockpot. They cooked while we were gone to the strawberry patch. This made things simple when it came time to make up the dinner. The meat mixture (ground beef, carrots, corn, spices) was already made from the day before. Thinking ahead makes meal making easier for me – and makes it easier for me to be cheerful!  I am always delighted when I can stretch our meat, as well. This 2 lb. of ground beef served us for dinner two nights in a row, simply by adding in extra vegetables and a loaf of homemade bread.

While I was prepping the dinner, I also mixed up the bread dough for dinner. This is my regular recipe but I added a bit of olive oil and made sure there was steam inside the oven when the loaf was baking (the steam creates a crustier outside: simply pour a cup of water onto a baking sheet in your already hot oven). One loaf will be for dinner and one for breakfast of lunch.

[Regular Bread Recipe]

~ which can be used for so many bread products!~

Six cups of flour of your choice
4 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of warm water
*I added a dollup of olive oil, just for fun*

A dash of salt to flavor

Let the yeast rise in the warm water until bubbly and frothy. Add to flours and knead until the dough is stretchy. Oil the dough so it does not dry out and let it rise in a warm spot until it is doubled in size. Form into loaves. Let it rise to shape. Bake at 350 until it sounds hollow when you tap it. I brushed butter over the top of the sandwich loaf when they is was finished.  I did not do this to the French Loaf as I wanted a crustier outside and it was dusted with flour before baking.



The smell of homemade bread is the best smell ever for a home!
It will always lift my spirits!

Now, the creative part of the day …

My comfrey patch is huge – so I picked a large collection of leaves for comfrey oil. This will do well for salves and any injuries at any point in the year. The oil is now sitting on the hutch in the kitchen – it will steep for a few weeks. Having herbal remedies in my Medicinal Cupboard is not only a blessing, but I love to learn about the healing properties of these herbs. God is so creative and wonderful! His plants can teach us so much!



Walking around the property to check on our flowers is always a joyful activity. The girls & I are delighted when we see a new flower bloom in our garden, especially one that has taken a while or grown from seed. Here, this lovely, vibrant foxglove steals the attention of us all when we pass by. We have three of them in our garden and we just love them. Isn’t it beautiful? The best thing is this is a perennial. We worked on planting mostly perennials this year as they return and bring more joy in future summers.



A good portion of my morning is spent in the vegetable garden, which is growing and coming along nicely now, after a wet and cold spring which left gardeners everywhere a bit anxious and worried.

I always have cute, little helpers following me around.

“The cheerful are the busy; when trouble knows at your door or rings the bell, he will generally retire if you send him word ‘engaged.’ And a busy life cannot well be otherwise than cheerful.
Frogs do not croak in running water.
And active minds are seldom troubled with gloomy forebodings.
They come up only from the stagnat depths of a spirit unstirred by generous impusles or the blessed necessities of honest toil.”
-The Royal Path of Life

While working in the garden is productive, I believe it also provides peace and serenity in a busy, noisy world. I love to get into the garden and just weed or hoe. I’m hot and sweaty afterwards and will need a shower, but it is good healthy work and it gives me plenty of time to pray and think (if my garden helpers find their way to the sandbox and leave a few minutes of silence in their wake).  I can be cheerful about that, can’t I? Weeding is no longer a “chore” to me.



Now, there is a side porch that I call my Peaceful Porch. I love it there – it is perfect for an afternoon rest or read, tea or chat with a friend. [I shall do a little post on it soon… I hope]. A few years ago, my brother in law gave us this screen door as it did not suit his house. Oh, I was delighted! Wooden screen doors are so dreamy and old fashioned. It needed painting but I just left it … I’m not sure why. Well, sitting on my Peaceful Porch, staring at this could-be-nice-wooden-screen door finally motivated me enough to just paint it. [I absolutely love having a can of fresh paint around at all times. You never know what could be freshened up with just a quick coat of paint?! And you will feel so great afterwards, looking at that newly-painted item!]

So, on a quiet afternoon last week, I got out the paint brush and paint can and painted that beautiful screen door. I listened to an audio book while painting and before dinner, it was finished.


Here is the before …

And here is the after. I have since painted the little step that needed a freshening up.







Little things can make your day cheery. Perhaps we just have to look for them and make the effort to find that ray of sunshine in our path. Maybe we need to step out of the way of the shadows and find that golden patch of joy and cheeriness – but it certainly can be found, even in every day life.

“Look at the bright side. Keep the sunshine of a living faith in your heart. Do not let the shadow of discouragement and despondency fall on your path. However weary you may be, the promises of God will never cease to shine, like the stars at night, to cheer and strengthen. Learn to wait as well as labor. The best harvests are the longest in ripening. It is not pleasant to work in the earth plucking the ugly tares and weeds, but it is a necessary as sowing the seed. The harder the task, the more need of singing. A hopeful spirit will discern the silver lining of the darkest cloud, for back of all planning and doubt, with its attendant discouragements and hindrances, shines the light of Divine promise and help.
Be cheerful, for it is the only happy life. The times may be hard, but it will make them no easier to wear a gloomy and sad countenance.”
-The Royal Path of Life


July 31, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Gigi I do that, too, Amy! Great tip!

July 30, 2019 - 4:46 pm

Amy I throw lentils in my ground bewf to make it go farther

July 29, 2019 - 11:38 pm

TERESA @ Simply Farmhouse I get lost in all the photo’s and words…lovely post of your sweet life. Thank you for sharing!

July 27, 2019 - 9:03 pm

Gigi Claire, your home shows this so well – I think you may have inspired me to be a better homemaker, back in those days of our random playdates. Your home always was so clean, but welcoming, cozy but tidy and your always had something homebaked and fresh coffee. Your sweet gentle spirit was also so very refreshing.

July 27, 2019 - 7:01 pm

Claire This post cheered me up, we share many interests from cooking to gardening, to making home a special place. Sometimes I feel other friends find this mundane but it is what makes me happy. So nice to hear I’m not alone. Thanks for posting xo

July 20, 2019 - 11:42 am

Sue This is a great post Gigi, i always enjoy your gentle reminders towards gratefulness. And, i also have one of those screen doors that’s been needing painting for years! Thanks for the encouragement

July 20, 2019 - 8:02 am

Brenda Clair (Gigi’s Mom) Gillian, you have always had a cheerful heart. As a child, you were always happy and bouncing around, enjoying life. In grade 1, you won the most bounciest award! 🙂 Love your attitude and so proud of the Momma you are. xoxo

July 19, 2019 - 9:43 pm

Monica Lovely, Lovely, ALL of it! Loyal is SOOO cute and your foxgloves are gorgeous!! I will add that to my list of flowers to try for next year. Yes, always working to be cheerful. God is so good and has blessed us so much, when we aren’t cheerful I’m afraid it reflects our selfish hearts. May I work and pray to be cheerful in my day-to-day mundane (wonderful!) activities.

PS. You are lovely in your dress and bonnet!