The greater part of our happiness or misery
depends on our dispositions,
and not on our circumstances.
We carry the seeds of the one or the other
about with us in our minds wherever we go.

[Martha Washington]

I receive an email every Monday from the Story Circle Network. It offers three journal writing prompts for the week—it helps get the creative writing juices flowing. The quotation above is one from this week. It struck a cord with me.

Martha lost a young daughter to epilepsy. She lost a young son to disease when he served in the Continental Army at Yorktown. She spent years rarely seeing her husband since he was leading the patriot forces in the Revolutionary War. There were ample reasons for her to be sad and lonely. She shows us that, just because there is a reason, you don’t have to cave in to misery.

Some folks see life as something that happens to them. Other folks understand that they have far more control over their lives than one might think. I find that I am happier when I guard the door to my mind. I filter information. I refocus my thoughts when they go awry. I try to follow Paul’s advice:

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
—Philippians 4:8