Sunday, September 26, 2010

Living a Happy Life

It's been said that Walt Disney World is the happiest place on earth, and I think that much of that statement is true. Underneath the imagination and magic of Mickey and Cinderella, are simply some very happy people. Truly.  Pleasant, kind, smiling, happy people. And they are employees.

It's kind of annoying. Well, not really. But, just a little.

How can these people be so happy?

I've been think about that quite a lot since our trip . . . the whole idea of "happiness". When starting my blog I chose a title that ended in "happiness" because I truly do believe so much in living a happy life. I try. I'm not always bubbles and ponies, but I try to BE happy. I'm wondering what makes others happy? Not the "Oh, I just won a million dollars" happy. I'm talking about just day to day happiness. The feeling of complete contentment with the life we are living and the things we are doing in it.

While wandering through Magic Kingdom last week, I lost the rest room. The happy Disney people give you these handy dandy maps with the little icons on them to show you where the rest rooms are located, but at one point I was so turned around that I couldn't figure out which way was up. So, I looked around for the closest Disney happy person, and asked for directions. The first employee I found was a young man, probably in his mid-30's, who was sweeping up popcorn, empty food wrappers, gum, and whatever else some not-so-happy people dropped on the ground for him to clean. I approached him expecting to really annoy him with such a question (I had a map in my hands, after all), and said, "I'm sorry for interrupting, could you possibly tell me where I can find the nearest rest room?"  To my surprise, this young man lifted his head and with the brightest smile and happiest eyes ever, and routed me to the location I requested with such enthusiasm and pleasantness, you would have sworn he was a cartoon character. I was taken back by his happiness. Really. And he knew it. I think I said, "Wow. .  " or something like that, and he said, "Have a wonderful day, Ma'am," with a wink and a smile, and returned to picking up garbage.

On the way back from the rest room, I passed my friend as he moved on to another area of the park to clean. As I passed him, he looked up, smiled, and gave me a salute with his index and middle fingers. I've thought about him a few times since then, and now as I write this post. I wonder how he, in the middle of picking up the garbage of an theme park, is able to be . . . happy.

When was the last time you really thought about what makes you happy? It's been a while for me, so today I'm making a list and reminding myself of the things in this life that bring me joy, that bring me contentment, that make me happy.

In case you were wondering, here are some day to day things I came up with that really do make me happy, in no particular order:
  • seeing my PG's cell phone number on our Caller ID and knowing that when I pick up the phone, I'll hear his voice
  • the smell of Johnsons & Johnsons baby lotion
  • flowers . . . any color . . . any style
  • the moment my husband comes home after a long business trip or a day at work . . . just knowing that my family is together in our home makes me completely and totally happy
  • coming up to the window in a Starbucks drive-thru and smelling the coffee . . . seriously . . . happy
  • the smell of freshly popped pop corn
  • hearing either of my daughters say, "I love you, Mommy"
  • thinking of the movie "Staying Alive". . . seriously . . . there's no Oscar wins for this movie, but just thinking about it brings a smile to my face . . . John Travolta dancing like a bad Solid Gold Dancer . . . HAPPINESS!
  • peace
  • knowing that all the laundry is done and put away
  • listening to my daughters be especially kind to one another
  • reading comments from dear blog friends 
  • the hour of quiet time I have in my family room at night when the children and hubby are sleeping and I have complete and total alone time . . . happy
  • the first snow fall
  • when I step out of the shower in the morning and find that PG has left a cup of coffee right there on the bathroom counter all ready for me . . . bliss
  • freshly painted tootsie toes right after a pedicure
  • snuggling with my daughters at the end of a long hard day
  • being alive . . . really
Recognizing that happiness is different for everyone, I asked Katie and Ella what makes them happy. You might get a kick out of their replies.

This is what makes Katie (age 7) happy . . .
  • ocean sounds
  • playing with friends
  • McDonalds
  • silly bands
  • chasing Ella
  • when Daddy is home
  • swimming
  • one on one time with Mom
  • being tickled
This is what makes Ella (age 3 1/2) happy . . .
  • Katie makes me happy when she eats funny carrots (side note: I have no idea what she is talking about!)
  • juice
  • when Katie draws a 3 (side note: Again, I have no idea what she is talking about!)
  • when Mommy goes like this (Ella starts tickling herself) and I get tickles that make me laugh
  • playing Super Mario on the Wii
  • hamsters (side note: we don't have one, but my neighbor does and Ella is obsessed with it!)
Today, I challenge you to focus on the good in your day. The little things. Not the big problems that weigh you down, but the freedoms and little luxuries that make us smile. Take note of the things that are around you that bring you happiness, and remember that you make a choice to live the life you live . . . today, let's all be happy.

I know I will.

While you're at it, feel free to share some of the things that make YOU happy in the comments. I'd love to know (and maybe I won't feel so bad about my silly "Stayin' Alive" happiness after I read some of your list!)

Have a wonderful day, friends!


  1. Stayin Alive is seriously the coolest movie in the world. I can quote it (and do) all the time. Most people I know have no idea what I am talking about. SOO - with that being said - knowing someone else out there gets my love of J.T. in Staying Alive.

  2. Knowing you're out there makes me happy. I'm going to work on the rest of my list....I feel a scrapbook page coming on...or at least a blog post. Thanks for always inspiring me! (Oh, and next time we meet, I need some of that wine...the one we had at dinner...that'll make me happy)

  3. I love that photo of the balloons. Isn't it such a testament to how, if we all treated each other kindly, our world would be so different?

  4. I love the idea of a happiness list. I am generally a content person, but there are certain things that make me spontaneously grin....I am going to keep track of those this week and come up with a list. Your Staying Alive note made me smile as I loved seeing John Travolta dance in that movie also:)

  5. Ah, I love when your posts put a big grin on my face!
    Happy to me (to name just a few)=
    grandkids' smiles,
    losing weight after a week of really trying,
    finishing a creative project.
    I think Cindi's right...this calls for a blog post. Gotta get more comfortable with lists!!

  6. I think true happiness eludes a lot of people because they are looking in the wrong places. You have found many of the right places to look; right there in your own home.

    I always wondered about those Disney it a cult? Are they always being watched?

    Great post! Something we all need to pay more attention to.

  7. Having a rough day today. Actually having more of them than I'd care to admit. I think i'll go work on my list right now

  8. First, let me say WELCOME HOME! Your guest bloggers were magnificent, but I'm happy to have you back in one piece!
    In high school my bestie and I had what we called The Glad Pad. It was a list of a couple THOUSAND things that made us (and our friends) happy. I read out of it when I gave my MOH speech at her wedding. But here are a few of my current happy things:
    ~ apple cider and donut holes
    ~ brand new juicy markers
    ~ reading on a cold, windy weekend day when J has the girls for daddy/daughter time (their time alone also thrills me to no end)
    ~ the little noise my phone makes when I have a text- weeee! Someone love me!
    ~ surprise parties

  9. I am a new follower. I found you when Nicole guest posted for you. Cooler weather. I love fall. Sitting on the back porch and reading a good book. Throwing the ball for my dog (she loves that so much she could do it all day). My love isn't quite that high for it. Dancing it out. Singing it out. Writing, particularly when I know it is good. Grey's Anatomy. So glad it's back. Same goes for Smallville. Sleeping on clean sheets. Getting great comments on my blog. That always makes me smile. * Glad that you are back from vacation and that I finally get to start reading the woman behind the blog. It is lovely to make your acquaintance. Great post.

  10. Happiness is being with my hubby. I don't care what we are doing, I could hang with him all day and have fun.

    I love your list and the girls that's awesome that they participated in you blog!

    Your amazing Leanne and I love reading your post!

  11. Not a great time to ask about what makes me happy...facing quite a few things that will not. But I am happy my awful neighbors are moving out, even if it is taking them 3 days so far. I am happy for the red hat I bought yesterday, even though I know I should not. I am very happy that hubby may come home early tonight and take over so I can just veg on the couch with wine, and I am happy that my Mom, after all these years suddenly wants to be a real Mom to me...though it is a bit freaky and unnearving. OH and I am happy you are back!

  12. Hey Leanne, this is such a great post! Happiness is something we all want to obtain. I think we forget sometimes or don't notice that happiness is all around us! I love your lists here. I have to laugh because as I read through this I thought I saw that the guy picking up garbage saluted you with his middle fingers and I had to go back. Ha! For a second I thought to myself, maybe that is how they all keep that cheery smile. He, he, he! No I am just kidding! I think it is nice to go someplace and see people smiling for a change. I smile at everyone I can and I try to be happy towards others. I love this post! When can you get a post done for a feature? Let me know! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen

  13. I love your "happy" list. I think that happiness is a choice on so many levels. Let's this very sister's new little kitten..the one I so kindly picked out for her at the grocery store and am now keeping until she moves in to her cuddled up right next to me...purring a little song...yep...that is making me very happy!

  14. The crazy-smart things my 5-year-old nephew says. I don't have kids, but everything that little guy says and does just cracks me up and makes me forget that life isn't perfect.

  15. I am on my way to Seminary so I have so much more to say....HOWEVER...before I go I had to say this one thing....

    I STILL have my Staying Alive John Travolta poster from HS...TEE HEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I will be back with more to say...;)


    PS...I am always happy when I leave here....

  16. It's good to find tiny bits of happiness every day...something we forget that when we are bogged down with the hassle of daily life.
    Happiness...getting into bed with crisp, fresh sheets; a walk in the fresh air after a day chained to my desk; the smell of roast chicken; sinking into a hot bubble bath on a cold evening....

  17. Been thinking about this a lot today...if you don't mind I'm gonna do this on my blog then link back here:)

    So many things make me happy...

    fall days
    my family
    reading the Scriptures
    your blog
    my blog
    so many blogs :)

    I am gonna write a post to share more. As always I LOVE your blog, girl. I love you, too. I truly can't wait to see you in person (i am planning a trip so get ready for the ACKMANS!!-LOL!!!)

    Have a wonderful day. Oh and I adore your girls list and yours, too.


  18. Hi, I'm visiting from Mama's Nestwork. I love your list of things that make you happy. I'd have to add "bridge mix" candies--they're kind of like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates--you never know just what you're gonna get! And fresh baked anything that fills the house with wonderful aromas. Comments from my fellow bloggers make me happy, too.

  19. Love the picture and all the small day to day things that make you happy. It really stops to make you think...


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