Thursday, January 14, 2010

happy 101!

if you try picking 10 things that bring you happiness, you will realize just how amazingly blessed you are.
i thought about my top 10 all morning long. what to include, and if there were any loop-holes i could use to cheat my way into loading a few joys into one answer. and yes, i found a few. :-) 

these are 10 things that make me happy:

this photo makes me happy every time i look at it. it was summer, i was fit and freckled, kiki and i were enjoying an instant of pure joy, and my husband was there with us to record the moment. it combines so many things i love, like kiki, my husband, and nature. nature has proven itself to be the greatest healer, the biggest inspiration, and the most sacred church. i visit with nature every day, explore her, and simultaneously explore my own thoughts and my own self. i have had most, if not all, of my aha! moments while lost in thought walking through nature. i hope i am always blessed with the gift of living where nature is abundant and welcoming.

in february we will have been in love for 11 years. i still have to pinch myself sometimes, because i can't believe how lucky i am to live with the person who is perfect for me, who thinks i'm funny and pretty, who takes me as i am and yet inspires me to become a better person. plus, he's gorgeous.  
you can read a little piece of our love story here ,
and little bits of married life here .

this picture was taken the day ramon and i went to the breeder to choose a puppy. when we walked in and saw three adorable puppies, playing clumsily with their squishy paws and button noses, i told ramon, "i don't think i can on earth can we choose?"
so i sat and watched while ramon horsed around with one of the puppies. as i watched, one of the puppies ambled up to me and, with great effort, crawled up into my lap. she nuzzled her body against my arm and fell asleep. "this is the one," i thought, feeling the fast, tiny heart beat against my skin. i looked over at ramon and said, "i think this is kiki." soon after, she opened her eyes and looked up at me. her look told me: "i'm her, i'm kiki!" ramon took this photo, which we've named 'the look,' because that's what she was giving me: the look of looks, the one that let me know that this sweet being wanted to come join our family and live with us. and she makes me happy. she makes us happy. i cannot imagine life being half as fun and enjoyable without her. there's a whole lot of kiki to be enjoyed on this blog; for photos and stories, click here .

since discovering her books a few years back, i have been inspired to paint and write what i love, because that's what she does. before i knew her work, there were these things bubbling inside of me, almost unknown to me...a love for baking, nature, good people, and creating little bits of beauty....and when i first held her book 'autumn' in my hands, it was like i finally saw a huge part of me i hadn't ever let exist before, because i didn't know it existed in the world at all! we met one day, and to my great pleasure, she is quickly becoming a good friend, someone i love being in touch with, someone who is every bit as funny and sweet as the pictures and words she shares with everyone. she is a bright light in my life. i am so glad she is here in the world, uplifting hearts and spreading joy. you can follow her through the seasons here on her beautiful website , where a warm fuzzy feeling is guaranteed.

yes, blogging makes me happy!!! happier than i ever thought it would. initially i blogged as a way of keeping a journal which included photographs. i liked looking back over a week of blog entries and seeing myself, my life, reflected there. over time, people began stopping by and leaving little comments. (ya you!) a whole new dimension of blogging was introduced to me...Oh, there are people out there, nice people, who are reading what you are writing and looking at your world through your photographs! i may not have the biggest following, but i appreciate each and every one of you, who have been here in good times and heartbreaking times, who cheer me on in your own sweet, subtle ways, and make me feel like i'm not such a loner after all. :-) blogging is definitely one of my favorite parts of the day. it's like a grown-up (or not so grown-up) version of show-and-tell. yes. blogging definitely makes me happy.

i don't want to live a life without sweets. i love sweets. sweets make me happy. they make me feel like a kid, like a kid doing the jig, like a kid licking a wooden spoon of cookie batter and picking sprinkles off a tower of frosting with their teeth. i love visiting someone and being offered something sweet. i get very excited, but keep a cool exterior...because grown-ups aren't supposed to jump up and down or yell 'yipeeee!' when they are presented with a cupcake or a plate of cookies. i smile and say thank you on the outside, but on the inside i'm doing cartwheels. and i still find it deliciously delightful to have a stash of sweets i can snatch something from any time i want. ha-ha, i feel like chanting...i'm a grown-up and i can eat candy whenever i want!

i am homesick for it even though it's never been my home. just the words, new england, make me happy. the buildings, the autumn woods, the bucolic towns and hearty meals. i hope with all my heart that my husband and i will grow old together in new england. you see this amazing is-that real-or-a-painting place in the picture? that's shelburne farms in vermont. click here to read about it and see more photos. they have a working farm, an inn, and a farmstore. talk about dreamy.

i love love love opening my mailbox and seeing a letter or a package with my name on it! letters mean i get to enjoy a mixture of lovely things: friendship, pretty cards or paper, and the thought that someone thought of me. writing letters has become somewhat of a lost art to the majority of the world, so i am grateful to know a few people now who enjoy writing and receiving letters and parcels as much as i do. i think my love for letters is one of the reasons i enjoy your comments so much. they are like little reminders that there are kind and like-minded people out there. i feel less alone in this great big world. and it's always nice to know someone out there thinks you are an ok gal.

i don't care, i'm not ashamed to say it...pumpkins made it into my top 10 happy list. they are plump, humble, delicious, fragrant, beautifully varied, and magical. 
they really have the ability to make me smile just by sitting there, being their fat little selves. my love for pumpkins is very evident here . 
by the way, this photo is courtesy of country living magazine , which definitely makes me happy every time it appears in the mailbox.

as many of you know, my life isn't always pure joy. it isn't always laughter, and it isn't made up solely of the things that make me happy. but i love it. i love my life. i love getting to know who i am; i love living in the austrian countryside, surrounded by nature which feeds and inspires me; i love discovering talents i didn't know i had; i love meeting kindred spirits, people who are like twinkling lights glowing their goodness around the globe; i love being a wife to a man i adore; i love those moments when something which brought me so much pain changes in front of my eyes into something that was absolutely perfect and meant to be, something i learned from and now understand; i love having the years ahead of me to look forward to, the seasons upon seasons, the days just waiting to be filled up with beauty and laughter and lessons and adventure. i love being me. being me makes me happy. 

these bloggers make me happy. that's why i have chosen them as the next 10 recipients of this fun award.

i hope they will take part...wouldn't we all like to read their lists?

1.   lovely blaire @ b-mused
2.   warm-hearted johanna @ birds on a wire
3.   charming rachel @ lovely clusters
4.   courageous katrina @ kat's cradle
5.   creative silke @ metamorphosis
6.   thoughtful courtney @ scattering lupines
7.   enviable emerson @ emersonmade
8.   hilarious mette @ the muffin blog
9.   passionate lauren @ cat of curiosity
10. delightful heather @ a day in the country

they are to copy the 'happy 101' picture at the top of this post, and include it in a post all about their 10 happy things.

p..s. i was awarded this opportunity by my dear friend morwenna. if chickens, the english coast, optimism and generosity of spirit make you happy, visit her blog bluebells and butterflies.

hope you enjoyed reading my list....hope it made you happy! :-)

xoxo country girl


  1. Oh, how I enjoyed that! Thank you for including me! I'm VERY honored indeed!

  2. Hey! Funny little world where we both think of one another! Brings a smile my face! I love your list - I want to pinch some - pumpkins, nature and new england should definitely go on mine too...maybe I need to create a mega extensive list! :) I so want to live in New England one day too!!!! And sweets! I'm a sugar sweet girl through and through...I just can't resist them! Just earlier I felt my mood dipping so I popped to the canteen and bought a cadbury's cream egg to cheer me up!

    I love your story about Kiki and I am off to read your stories about your husband... when I read about your love together, it inspires me to find something better for myself. I still wish my last love had been something of that way...I wish that when we hit this wall - that we managed to climb over it, but the problem is that it is me who wants to scale it and he doesn't want to...even if I offer a helping! But whilst now I'm sort of sitting there, at the top looking back and down at him...I'm also looking over the over side and thinking...well, there might be someone else just perfect on the otherside somewhere... who knows... your relationship seems to be how love should be...I'm not sure if that was what I had anyway... but I hope I find it one day soon! And maybe a little kiki of my own too! :) xxx

  3. oh! I've read your husband story already! Silly me! Though I'd love to hear how you met and your first date etc etc...but maybe I'm being too nosy! xxx

  4. Oh how I loved this post. I must say- I have tears in my eyes after reading your Kiki story. You two definitely have a bond, the picture says it all.
    Thank you for including me in your happy 101 blog award. I am excited and honoured. Now...must get to work.
    Happy day to you! xox

  5. Oh and I just wanted to say that I full-heartedly agree with you when you say that by recognizing the things in life that make us happy- we will see how blessed we really are. Thanks Country Girl! xox

  6. Oh, you sweet woman!! I loved reading your list of 10 things that make you happy - you did is so beautifully with those gorgeous photos. May I just say that you are stunning!! And your husband so handsome. And your puppy the cutest ever!! :-)

    And I feel honored that you chose me as one of the 10 to pass it on to. I feel the same about your blog - makes me happy when I visit! Thank you! I'll pass it on...

    Hugs, Silke

  7. What a wonderful post! It was really sweet and I enjoyed it. I adore Susan Branch books too and like to display one for each change of the season.

  8. Oh GULP, I was VERY touched by what you wrote. You are really something very special in this world. I think you have the "OPTIMISM GENE" (that's what I call it) that our pal Sue has. On the morning that I found out 238 of my irreplaceable illustrations had been thrown into the trash by a custodian, well, I fell apart. As I sat out in my studio sobbing I thought, "who would be up this early to hear my tale of woe and offer comfort?" I plopped down on my stool and wrote a quick e-mail to Sue. In about a split second the phone rang and there she was. Just being able to talk about the loss with someone who understood made me feel so much better. She kept saying, "let's think of what positive can come from this." Later in the day the old iron bell by my gate rang. When I stepped outside there stood a HUGE bouquet of white lilies, white roses, and fern. I didn't even need to look at the card to KNOW who had sent thses.

    I wrote an answer to your post on my blog so that others could see who you were talking about. So, check the answer on my comment page.

    Jeff and I LOVE New England too. Beyond words, but our grandchildren are here in California and so we MUST use this as our base camp. I love Vermont and a few years wrote and illustrated a story for a magazine about beautiful Shelburne Farms, which I love. I would live in Vermont IF it had a coastline like Maine's. You KNOW I love our little cottage by the sea more than anywhere on earth.

    Love, Love, and lord, I've never had a good photograph taken. You are beautiful...inside and out.

  9. Can I just add that Sharon makes me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY?

  10. Hey Girls....this makes me feel like i am at a tea party with all my best friends..we're a lucky bunch..and we know it....

    My sweet, dear Dawn.....I loved all your "HAPPY". I guess I don't have to even list is the same....your picture of you and baby Kiki..reminds me of me and my sweet Buddy...and New England, and nature and our husbands, and pumpkins...and...and..and...

    more later my sweet friend...

    Love You,
    kary and Buddy

  11. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful :) So happy that I passed this on to you my dear friend xoxo

  12. Hey Dawn,

    Thank you for passing this on! Your blog makes me happy as well, so I may just pass it right back to you :). Your note about sweets made me laugh! Wouldn't it be great if we were actually able to dance around and get super excited on the outside, every time we were given a cupcake? That's the biggest difference between children and adults; the filters that we sometimes have to use. It is refreshing reading your blog though, because you know how to see the world 'through the eyes of a child', which is such a gift- it's something people seem to lose. But not you! And if everyone were that way, there would be no wars or any other horrible man-made problems in this world, so thank you for spreading good cheer.

    I share many of the items on your ‘happy list’, which is probably why I adore your blog so much :). As for your love of New England, it’s always been my home (so I’m a bit partial) and I just find it to be one of the most beautiful places. I’ll have to post more pictures for you, if you promise to post more pictures of your lovely countryside (you’ve inspired me to start planning a trip to Austria, something I’d never have thought of, had I not stumbled across your blog). It looks and sounds absolutely stunning!

    You, your hubby and Kiki make a lovely family. Thanks, once again, for sharing your lives with us. Life isn’t always flawless, as we all know, but meeting people, such as yourself, who experience and see the beauty and bliss in the little every-day moments, is a reminder of how amazing it is, how blessed we are, and how it is the perfections, sprinkled with the imperfections, that make this life so perfect.

  13. wow, thank you! How very flattering to know I make you smile. I will have to put some thought into this and I'll work on it over the weekend. I could do ten things on my daughter alone. All of your loves, are also mine, but I'm trying to learn to live without so many sweets.

  14. I'm glad you discovered my blog cos now I know about yours, it's lovely!

  15. i am flattered! :D
    Of course I'll make a list in my blog, I just need some time to digest this and figure out what I love more: watching my 4 month old niese make faces or curling up in front of the fireplace with a muffin and a cup coffee. Hum hum.

    I had fun reading this, though. Fun getting to know you a little better. :)

    Have a great day, country girl!

  16. I loved reading this! Especially the choosing your puppy part...or rather, how she chose you. Beautiful post, and you also have a gorgeous blog! Lots to look at...

  17. hi beautiful! this is just a lovely list! waving at kiki! : )

  18. love seeing what make other people happy, it seems we have a bit in common.

  19. How favorite is (paraphrase) "...the moment when something painful reveals itself as the guide to new understanding...."
    Makes me happy too.
    Must be a family trait.
    Love to you Sunshine...



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