Things that make me happy

I felt like a making a list of things that make me happy. Random, huh? Mainly because I think I need a reminder. Here are several things that make me happy, in no particular order:

Chocolate. I think I eat a little bit of chocolate every day. Usually dark or semisweet, rarely milk or white. But recently, my father got some chocolate as a present from the church for Father’s day… it’s some really sweet milk chocolate that has strawberry yogurt as filling. It’s rather too sweet for me, but I love the strawberry yogurt. It’s a very nice touch.

I have many fond memories associated with chocolate. During my freshman year of college, some kind person left a box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate truffles on the table in the student lounge of the music department. According to the chair of the department, food left unattended in the music lounge is fair game. Apparently, whoever left it must have meant to leave a small treat for the hardworking musicians and professors, because no one ever came to look for it.

Lots of other people in the department are chocolate lovers, as evidenced by the speed at which the chocolate disappeared. I had several truffles myself, and became really hyper.

Picture from Google

Books. Especially authors who have the power to use their words to inspire, encourage, and captivate readers. My favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction, and I greatly admire the imagination that goes into really good world-building. (Star Wars, anyone?)

I also have a special softness for retold fairy tales. A new favorite is the German fairy tale Maid Maleen (princess is locked up in a tower for refusing to marry the man her father wants her to marry because she loves someone else) as retold in Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days. The characters are well drawn, and Hale puts an unique take on the story by setting it somewhere in Mongolia instead of Europe. The story is told from the viewpoint of the princess’s maid, first person, and set in diary entries. Shannon Hale illustrated the book herself. The ending has a unique twist.

I enjoyed this book very much, even though I wanted to wring Lady Saren’s (the princess) neck throughout it. I loved Dashti, the maid’s, practical outlook on the situation, her loyalty to Lady Saren even though her lady was a much weaker person, and her courageous efforts to remedy Lady Saren’s depression and discouragement. And the romance? So perfect.

Good food. Recently, my mom has been trying to make me learn how to cook. I’m all open to it and everything, but I feel so dumb and clumsy. A few years ago, I badly cut my pinky finger when trying to chop broccoli, and the trauma was enough to make me avoid big knives and vegetables for a good, long time.

I have cooked two full meals, and I am happy to say that I have been successful. I have not cooked myself, cut myself, or spilled anything on myself. My family has eaten my cooking, and they have not died. In fact, they have enjoyed it, without the aid of any extra “sauces” or “seasonings” to enhance the eating experience. (Hey, this broccoli actually tastes awfully good with this mustard!)

I like eating good food that has been prepared well.

I just hope that my family does not get tired of eating chicken.

That feeling of getting something right after struggling over it for a long time. When I write or play the piano, I occasionally run into blocks. My fingers cannot play a complicated passage of music, or I cannot find a way to say something so that it doesn’t sound stilted, and I get frustrated. However, if I keep trying, I might just get it right. It might take me a few days or a few weeks, but the feeling when I finally get it right is wonderful. It might take simply leaving the piece or the essay alone for a while, or it might take reading it over and over again and practicing it over and over again. Either way, whichever works.

Hot chocolate on a cold day. Ahhh…

What makes you happy?

To be continued…

CC license on flickr – click photos for photographer credit

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10 thoughts on “Things that make me happy

  1. Mmm…I LOVE those Trader Joe’s truffles! I used to have a much bigger taste for chocolate when I was younger. I still love it, but I lean more towards salty snacks now. They say your taste buds change, so I guess mine did.

    Books – obviously, I’m totally with you. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like a good book. The kind you don’t want to end. The kind you want to read every word slowly to absorb every meaning. Or the ones that are so good, you can’t read fast enough.

    Let’s see…a clean sheet of paper and a pen. I love it. A clean notebook, just waiting to be written in. I have to type my manuscripts, but there’s something about the written word that I love.

    My stepdaughter – her smile, the light in her eyes, her random funnies, her intelligence, her way of looking at things that is so unjaded and curious, so unlike mine…

    My soft blanket – I know I’m too old to have a security blanket, but I kinda do. It’s so soft and small enough to bring it camping. I just need it against my face when I sleep. I’m weird.

    A bath and red wine….ahhhh….

  2. Like you, good books. Always.
    And good movies.
    And chocolate.
    And clean rooms. No, really. If I cleaned them, then I feel both accomplished and relaxed. If I didn’t, well, I still feel relaxed.
    And, of course, my family. Most of the time. 🙂

  3. Things that make me happy…hmmm.

    My husband and the comfort I have in knowing it’s him, and only him, until God brings us home. I often marvel at what God was thinking putting us together. We are so different, but I cannot, CANNOT, imagine my life with anyone else.

    Photography. And the one REALLY awesome shot out of a batch of hundreds.

    Creating, in general. I crochet, knit, take pictures, used to do handmade cards…I just like to try and make new things.

    Laughing until I cry. Those moments come around far too infrequently.

    Special needs children & adults and the smiles on their faces. They are the most genuine smiles and I just can’t help but want to run to them and hug them like crazy. I love their unadulterated joy and unabashed expression of happiness. Sometimes I wish I could see the world through their eyes.

    Perfect summer days, much like the one described in the opening scenes of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I had many days exactly like that when I was younger and remember them to this day. I used to feel like I’d burst out of skin because of how perfect the day was!

    Remembering my grandma and grandpa. God has blessed me with being able to remember certain smells associated with them, like my grandpa’s pipe tobacco and the way my grandma smelled as the aroma from dinner clung to her skin.

    Writing. This makes me very happy. And being able to respond with these things has inspired me today and filled me with a lightness, whereas my day started with me being very bogged down by the irritations of adulthood.

    So, thank you. 🙂

  4. I’m totally with you on all of these but especially good books and hot chocolate. I like reading retold fairy tales, too. I like the Gregory Maguire books for that reason I think. I’ll have to check out the Shannon Hale book.

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