Happy Is Not A Four Letter Word

by Katy on December 19, 2008 · 17 comments




Mrs. Green, over the pond at myzerowaste.com tagged me with a challenge to write about six things that make me happy. This was a few weeks ago, and I kept putting it off as I actually recently wrote about 50 things that make me happy. The official rule is to tag six other people with the same challenge. I grew up in the era of chain letters, so I’m going to risk her zero-waste-ire and list my happiness without actually paying it forward.

So here it goes, six things that make me happy in no particular order:

  1. I love my thick cotton knit thrift store skirt dubbed my nightgown skirt. I delude myself into thinking that this skirt is dressy looking, but how dressy can it be when I wear it to bed? I think I may have invented a new garment, as I’ve never seen an official nightgown skirt. Wear it with a cute T-shirt, and you have the comfy benefits of a nightgown, without the stigma of looking like you spend the day in curlers smoking cigarettes and watching my stories.
  2. I love that my kids don’t bat an eye when we use the checkout line at the supermarket staffed by the sweetest transgender woman. I’ve never allowed the boys to use the word “gay” synonymously with “stupid” as many of their friends do, and something appears to have sunk in. It warms my heart to see that what is a big deal to others doesn’t even faze my sons. 
  3. I’m happy that I can be a good friend without having to run a pristine house. I used to feel like I couldn’t have people over without keeping my house 100% spic and span. I still like the house to be tidy looking when people are over, but I’ve come to realize that nobody comes over to look behind my toilet, they come to spend time with me. This has been a freeing concept for me.
  4. I’m happy that my husband finally got his dream job at age 43. This particular career is a perfect fit for him, and is also pretty much recession proof. I would say he is lucky, but he worked very hard to get where he is.
  5. I’m happy that I have a incredible community of people in my life. Yesterday, the father of my son’s best friend towed my mini-van out of the driveway so he could jump the battery. (This involved lying down in the slush!) Also, one neighbor brought pizzas over and ate with us, while another spontaneously brought over a 9X13 pan of  delicious vegetable pasta because she’d made too much. 
  6. I’m happy that  snow has been forecast all week, but I live in the ultimate walkable neighborhood. I didn’t have to join the panicked mob in filling their cupboards with disaster supplies. There’s nothing I can’t walk to. And when I do, I almost always end up running into a neighbor and enjoying a nice conversation, which would never happen if I were cloistered in the car.

So what makes you happy? Please share your bounty in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs Green December 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

I love your list; thank you for sharing it and I totally understand about not wanting to pay it forward – I too stall at the gate often!

Number 3 is particularly special because it’s the space that I am getting to as well. People come to see us, not judge the amount of dust on our mantlepieces 🙂 Thanks for the reminder; especially at this time of year when there are enough stresses without worrying about pristine houses.
Yay for your hubby getting his dream job and what a wonderful bunch of friends and community you have. Combine that with your caring, non-judgemental kids and no wonder you’re such a happy bunny!

Mrs G x


Caroline December 20, 2008 at 2:13 am

Travel makes me happy, in so many ways. The excitement, the smells, the reminder of how kind people generally are, how we all share a sense of humour and the same worries and can communicate no matter how different our lifestyles and languages are. I love the sense of perspective it brings to my life, how nothing is what I expect it to be, how exciting, wonderous and terrifying it can be, how it makes me tingle and feel truly alive.

other happiness makers? a hot shower, clean sheets, a clever joke, friendship, an obstacle overcome and a good book.


Jess December 20, 2008 at 3:17 am

hopefully not creepy stalker sidenote: I think I know which supermarket cashier you’re talking about! She’s a wonderfully sweet woman, and asks about my roommates every time she sees me.

Ok, my list:
1. I’m happy that my family’s dog is doing a lot better, and that they can afford to take care of her in her old old age.
2. I’m happy I got to spend this week cooking up a storm with friends, even though the snow meant I couldn’t work.
3. My friend’s adorable kitten makes me happy.
4. I’m happy that I have friends who care about me as much as I care about them, even when I’m trying to not care as much about them.
5. I’m happy that I am making an impact on my students’ lives, even though I’m only with them for a few hours a day.


Cheryl December 20, 2008 at 3:20 am

My favorite thing in the whole world is A “pajama day” with my son. We announce it to each other…”Today is a pajama day!” We then read, cook, watch a movie etc all day long with out going out…


Jan December 20, 2008 at 3:24 am

It’s hard to pick one thing, but I am grateful for each day that I wake up and alive. I never know what the day has in store for me & I have 2 choices when I wake up – good mood or bad mood. I choose good & then wait to see what unfolds!


Heidi December 20, 2008 at 4:40 am

What makes me happy?
A good cup of coffee and a good book, and an hour to myself.
Browsing the library.


Kassie December 20, 2008 at 5:42 am

Sleeping children makes me happy. I love to see the peaceful sleeping faces of children and I love the quiet time that follows it!


Shymom December 20, 2008 at 6:51 am

Right now what is making me happy is I have 2 weeks off work for winter break!!! All my Christmas shopping is done so I have been doing little reorganization projects that I keep putting off. Last night it was the sewing basket.

I am also deeply happy when we sit down nightly, as a family, for dinner. The siblings who squabble in the morning before school have great conversations at the dinner table. My oldest will be off to college in a few short years, so I want to make the most of this time.


Julie December 20, 2008 at 7:03 am

Having a 7 year old son who’s not “too cool” to still love snuggling with me…who makes up games involving us snuggling under a down comforter on a cold day—and while he plays, I doze off. Naps make me very happy! And hearing my son laugh.


Karen December 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm

What makes me most happy right this moment (and I’m trying to stay in the moment more often) is packing the car to spend Christmas with our newly adopted 6-year-old granddaughter who lives 1200 miles away. The trip through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington state seems like an adventure to me, rather than a “scary winter road trip”. It’s all in the attitude.


Heather December 20, 2008 at 4:20 pm

1. My beautiful, loving daughter and husband. We are a close and happy trio!

2. Seeing a child learn something and the look on their face when they realise that they “get it”.

3. The smell of fresh coffee brewing!

4. Sitting down to a home cooked dinner together with my family at the end of the day.

5. Getting together with friends for a BBQ or dinner.


esther December 21, 2008 at 3:22 am

yes, she got me on her tag list too…and actually I found out that, just making the list with 6 happy thingd, made ma happy too! Love your list and yes, you have a lot of reasons to be proud of your kids!!!


Marj McClendon December 21, 2008 at 6:48 pm

It made me so happy to see my hubby passing out the candy, we made together, at church this morning.
I am happy to have 2 wonderful children and 4 grandchildren even though they live in another state.
Those 2 cups of coffee each morning.
Talking on the phone to loved ones.
The reason for this wonderful season.


Magdalena December 22, 2008 at 10:37 am

I, too, have nightgown skirts, which means that I can put on an apron over shirt and skirt, and be ready to face the morning. I don’t kid myself that they are presentable off the front porch, though.

what makes me happy: The beautiful, ancient expressions of our faith; my husband’s new job which means a little more generosity to those in need this year; a small but decent house shared with family; too many dogs for that space but always a source of love and amusement; living in a neighborhood right on the water; the anticipation of cooking up a storm on Christmas Eve! (And then eating all the yummy things we denied ourselves this month.)


Amy@freakishlyfrugal December 22, 2008 at 8:20 pm

What an awesome list! Thanks for posting this.

What makes me happy?

My husband who supports me in whatever I want to try, regardless of how many times I know he may secretly roll his eyes.

A certain five year old who leaves me a note on the Christmas tree that says “The most most thing I want is for you to be happy”.

A certain four year old who is so absolutely taken with music that you can’t hardly get his attention when he’s listening to something. He reminds me so much of myself at his age, and it makes me smile because I know how he feels.

A good book and a strong cup of coffee, too!


Kelly December 23, 2008 at 5:58 am

Love, love your list. Especially #2, as I have raised my chickens (children) to be the same. We are now in rural Indiana (which is way too cold for me!!) and they crave diversity and individuality! We did it!! We raised children to be open-minded!!

My happy list right now are the simple things: my sweetie of 21 yrs.; my coffee mug; my blankets; the hats I crocheted for everyone; the cats who have destroyed our Yule tree once and for all; my kiddos who adore different, family, language & art…and doesn’t bat an eye to a hippie Mama who is an activist, who loves God & Goddess, forgets to do dishes & laundry, and honestly had no idea that the cats ran out of food!!

Happy, happy winter to you!! Thanks for sharing your life!!


Kelly December 23, 2008 at 6:01 am

oh, and my puppy, Tank.
Who thinks that sucking on candy canes is the next best thing to Milk-bones!! God help him if he pulls that again!! *smile*!!


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