From the time I could read, summer has been all about reading; whenever I wanted, as long as I wanted. I am a reader, to the core. As I got older, that became laying in the sun, reading by a body of water, drinking a nice glass of wine.
Then I had kids.
The body of water became a mini pool and the glass of wine a glass of tea. But reading is still at the core of my summer time enjoyments, so as the school year wound down this past month, I got a slew of new books to read by my kids pool and set out for a summer getting through them.
The first book I dove myself into was I’m Happy For You (Sort of….Not Really.) by Kay Willis Wyma. Wyma is a blogger and has written two books, I’m Happy For You and Cleaning House. After thoroughly enjoying her novel I’m Happy For You, I full intend on buying her second book and seeing what she has to say on ridding your home of entitled children!
Wyma writes in a way that feels as though you are sitting right next to her, having a conversation on the topics she’s discussing. Her style is free flowing, humorous, and most importantly for a mom like myself-real. After checking out her blog and subscribing to it, I’ve found that is a common denominator in everything she has written-it comes from a real mom! It also helps me to identify with her; five kids is a rarity and when others have five and teens, I finally have found a person whose experiences I can share with!
I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really) is a book about finding contentment in an era saturated with comparison. When I got this book, I glanced at that secondary title and huffed a little. I used to *pride* myself on how content I was-I didn’t think I needed any help getting rid of areas of comparison. But it was still a book, one sent to me, and I still needed something to do with my summer, so I sat my tush down and began to read.
Then as I was about 24 pages in and giggling at Wyma’s style, I got a Snapchat. A friend, who will probably recognize who she is after this, sent out a story picture of her sitting next to a beautiful in ground pool. I paused and stared, thinking with envy how lucky she was to be there and with peace and quiet at that–my kids were jumping in and out of the pool, screaming for me to look at them every chance they got.
I sent back a quick “Wow, I am so jealous of you” and turned back to my book and the excerpt I was on hit home.
“I’m happy for you” (if you mean it)breathes life into tense and uncomfortable situations. Being preoccupied with how we measure up personally leads to either pride or humiliation, whereas choosing to focus on and congratulate the other person lifts us both up.
It works with kids and grades. It works when a Facebook or Instagram post makes your stomach ache with envy or disappointment.” (page 24.)
Oh. Had I said I didn’t need this book?
After that incident, I was hooked. Wyma guides you through looking at life with compassion instead of comparison, at seeing beyond the “Glimpse” of perfection we all get when simply walking by a home or scrolling through a webpage. She captivates with stories from her own home and her children, some that seem wise beyond my own years-and as Wyma jokes about, wise beyond hers.
There’s a lot of truth behind the idea that the four words, I’m happy for you, when being said by someone who truly means it, does a lot of good for the soul. As I finished the book, I was leaving my parents camp on Lake Champlain. My father, true to his usual self, was jabbing at me, reminding me he gets to spend more time on the lake and in the water while I had to return to our usual boring and overwhelmingly busy life. I was hit by the green monster. But I remembered back to Wyma’s words, and simply told him I am happy for you. It’s true, I’m happy he is up there enjoying life. And praise Jesus, simply trying to mean those words helped me truly mean them.
The book discusses that as well, in detail, how comparison culture is destroying us, one Pinterest DIY at a time. As a mama who is pretty Pinterest-y, I appreciated calling out how comparing ourselves destroys the sense of self. It was a reminder to live authentically, something I try to partake in religiously, but don’t always succeed. It was a kind reminder that we will also come out on top when able to genuinely say “I’m happy for you.”
“Being able to say “I’m happy for you” is not merely about celebrating someone else, but about escaping the prison of dissatisfaction built by the bars of self-centered thinking. As we deliberately pursue compassion rather than comparison, we find our lives enlarged. Contentment isn’t something yet to be found out there; it’s right here with us, ready to be enjoyed.” (page 206.)
I would recommend this book to others and rate it about an 8/10. It does include Jesus stuff in it, something I was excited to see, but it a book that is very much able to be used by anyone, as long as you don’t mind arts being related back to stories from the Bible. It’s also very focused on parenting and children, another thing I was very excited to see, but if you don’t have kids or are not amused or privy to stories about childhood hardships, that may be a reason you will probably not enjoy this novel.
However, if you are a mother out there, looking at all the accomplishments of other women and their children, feeling like you just don’t live up to expectations; be it in lunch box treats or do it yourself projects, in the after baby mom bod or where you are “supposed to be” in life-this book is for you. It was not all I expected it to be, but Wyma has a a few words on expectations as well; ones we have for ourselves, our marriages, our children, and our lives.
“White-knuckle gripping our unmet expectations tends to ignite frustration, fear, sometimes even anger. By contrast, acceptance of those unmet expectations, and actively noting the good things we enjoy in spite of life’s shortcomings, fosters happiness.” (page 196.)
I received this book from Blogging for Books in order to give this review.