Happiness is a Choice

Well, our first visit to immigration didn’t go the way we’d hoped. We have another appointment in about two weeks. We might be able to extend our stay here, but we might have to go back to the States. We might lose everything we’ve put into this leap of faith move to Ireland. We just don’t know.

But what we do know is that happiness is a choice. We could sit at home wringing our hands, turning on each other, and escaping each other through our computers, phones, etc. We could react to stress by wasting our time here in Ireland. Or, we can let go and trust that we’ll be OK, no matter what happens. We can resent that Brent is between jobs, or we can appreciate that he has time for us, and that all five of us are together.

We have had our bad moments, and our reaction to stress hasn’t always been pretty. There have been plenty of tantrums (mine). But after we calmed down we got it right. The coast is free to visit. There’s no excuse for missing out on the beauty of Ireland. We’re HERE! If we miss it, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We get one life, just one. We choose happiness!

Here we are in Ballinspittle, at Garrettstown Beach, Ireland on Friday, March 11, 2016.

IMG_2824Savannah was thrilled to see the Irish coast! We all were! SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited to finally make it to the sea!!!

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IMG_2830Cassie admiring the breathtaking view – yes it was raining – it’s Ireland 🙂

IMG_2851I’m so happy to be here!!!! (that’s rain on the lens, not snow!)IMG_2852

I’ve lost another button off my trench coat… oh well, no worries.

Natalie Buske Thomas in Ireland March 2016Rain is letting up! It comes and goes – misty. The air is so fresh. I was running in the sand, racing to get to the next view. It was like my eyes were thirsty and I couldn’t drink it in fast enough.

IMG_2854My daughter Savannah and husband Brent

IMG_2856I love this feminine picture of my sweet daughter Savannah, who is growing up into a beautiful young lady – too fast! Can we slow these days down?

IMG_2857Brent took off his shoes. 🙂

IMG_2859Love the sound of the waves, love everything!

IMG_2861Rain on the lens, but still captured this moment – Savannah running in the sand

IMG_2863Brent laughing – I think he got a little too close to the tide coming in

IMG_2865Love this shot of Cassie – her reflection is in the sand

IMG_2867Savannah couldn’t be happier to be at the beach!

IMG_2868IMG_2875IMG_2876IMG_2878IMG_2879IMG_2883Savannah found a heart shaped rock – what a treasure!

IMG_2884IMG_2885My husband Brent and son Nicholas

IMG_2887Nicholas, having a ball! He is taking a photography short course through UCC. He’s been snapping hundreds of photos. We have to watch out for him because he’ll lag behind or wander off, lost in his photography.

IMG_2888Happy, happy! My kids have been through a lot. They helped take care of my mother when she was dying. It was a hard life that we went through. It’s so good to see the big smiles and my kids being kids, making up for some lost childhood.

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IMG_2891The girls are looking for treasures. Nicholas has his eyeball on his camera.

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Stunning views! And we had the coast all to ourselves!

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IMG_2939Savannah and Nicholas exploring the coast

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IMG_2949Brent and Nicholas, Savannah on the end

IMG_2950So many beautiful rocks and shells to sift through

IMG_2951IMG_2952IMG_2953BEAUTIFUL! Ooh, this is the Ireland I longed to see!

IMG_2954Nicholas going as far as he can without falling in – I loved watching my kids exploring as if they were little again. Of course I was doing the same thing. 🙂

IMG_2956Pretty shells… still in use so I better not take them!

IMG_2959IMG_2960There were many striped rocks. They looked like someone drizzled icing over them.

IMG_2965IMG_2966My husband Brent and me (Nicholas took this for us)

Natalie Buske Thomas with husband Brent in Ireland March 2016Keep an eye on the tide rolling in while Nicholas is trying to figure out why my camera won’t focus (lens was wet & giving an error)

IMG_2969Are you watching that tide?

IMG_2971Keep watching…

IMG_2972Wait for it…

IMG_2973Water is already on our shoes/boots…more water coming

IMG_2974RUN!!! Yeah, my legs got soaked.

IMG_2975Cassie with her bag of treasures, admiring the view

IMG_2976IMG_2977Savannah enjoyed running barefoot on the sand

IMG_2978I didn’t know that Nicholas was collecting rocks. He put those in his pocket…I took them out for him later when it was time to toss his jacket in the washer. It was like he was a little boy again!

IMG_2979It’s about time to go, but everyone’s dawdling a bit

IMG_2980This is the view on the way back to the car

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IMG_2989Some of Cassie’s treasures, so pretty! She wants to make jewelry.

Well, our immigration problems are still complicated. Our odds of staying here are probably 50/50. Our finances are still stretched. But we have health insurance now (we had lost ours TWICE in the States and couldn’t afford it)! It feels so good to have that security back! We’re renting a wonderful house, we have a car again, the kids have both finished their applications for UCC, and Brent’s application has been received by the Irish Teaching Council. The food here is less expensive and absolutely delicious!

It’s really up to us whether or not we focus on the negatives or the positives. It’s up to us whether or not we give in to fear and stress, or look for treasures instead. Not everything comes easily and some things can never be ours. We can’t always get what we want, but there are some things that are entirely up to us.

It’s up to us to choose happiness.