Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

When Sarah over at Pink of Perfection suggested, as a July project, creating a "happiness list"--an exercise in remembering what happiness is for each of us (and hopefully an inspiration incorporate more of those things in our lives)--I thought it was a lovely idea. A little cheesy perhaps, but just the thing to counteract the big city cynicism I've been feeling lately.

I made a mental 'note to self' that at some point in July I would sit down and make a list of happy things. Really, I would. Then I promptly forgot all about it. Until this past weekend when I took a few days off and went to visit my grandparents. And what should I find on my grandpa's bookshelf but a book I loved when I was a little girl (and perhaps a cosmic reminder that it's time to devote a little thought to happiness).

The book, just a little booklet really, is called Happiness is a Warm Puppy and was written and illustrated by Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip. And though it is ostensibly written about the little joys of childhood, its sweet statements and charming pictures still strike a chord with me. After all, who doesn't love a brand new box of crayons?

I was re-inspired. Reminiscing as I paged through the book led to more happy thoughts, and all of a sudden I had the beginnings of a list. So, in addition to warm puppies and new crayons, for me happiness is . . .

  • a really, really good book (like this one)
  • coming home to my wonderful husband
  • summertime
  • a tidy apartment
  • old photographs of family
  • jasmine, lilacs, sweet peas, and gardenias
  • dancing
  • studying Farsi
  • sleeping in
  • trying out a new recipe, successfully
  • the smell of snow in the air
  • swimming
  • Ariana smiling at you
  • a great cup of coffee, and the time to enjoy it
  • riding roller coasters
  • picking fruit off the tree and eating it right then and there

  • spending time with my brothers
  • seeing the mountains
  • planning a vacation
  • going on vacation
  • basically anything to do with vacation
  • popsicles
  • eating something you have grown yourself (even if it is just herbs)
  • reorganizing
  • going for a walk with my camera simply to take pictures
  • a packet of wai wai
  • the smell of basmati rice cooking
  • flying over terraced fields into Kathmandu Valley
  • family
  • seeing other people happy
Even though it is late in the evening and I have just returned home from a trip, I find that now I have begun my list, it is hard to stop. But it's time for bed, and I think the project has already worked its happy magic on me. I know I'll be going to sleep with a smile on my face. In my own bed.


evan said...

I would add going to the cinema and playing a musical instrument (in my case, the keyboard). Otherwise, not a bad list.

maya said...

excellent list!

i remember that book. :)

amy said...

aaaaw! i feel all warm and fuzzy inside! it is such a great idea to remind ourselves of how lucky we are - because we have SO many reasons to be happy!

Thank you elizabeth! you made me happy today too!

Ashkon said...

Happiness is having a Number One Fan

Angry Asian said...

your list is wonderful. it made me smile.

alexandra said...

i love this post!!
thinking of all the things that make me happy is by far the best remedy for sadness!

Sabrina said...

I had this book as a child and LOVED this book. I think there is a battered copy at my parents' house still. And thanks for the reminder to make a happy list...I've been meaning to do this. Your list brings a smile to my face.

ann said...

i love the title of this post and the scans! thank you for sharing :)

Hooked on Houses said...

What a wonderful post! I loved those old Peanuts books when I was a girl. It made me happy just to see them!

Also enjoyed the idea of making a list of things that bring a little joy into our lives. You had a great list. Now I'm inspired to make one of my own.

-Julia :-)

bee said...

thank you for a happiness-inducing post.

limonana said...

aww! i love your list! & i love wai wai too!! ever since your bro introduced it to us years ago...such a nice book too, so adorable.

cookiesandcabernet said...

Nothing beats the aroma of jasmine, gardenias, and sweet peas...Except for maybe the smell of snow in the air (who doesn't LOVE a snow day?)! Thanks for sharing!

Bethany said...

Elizabeth, thanks so much for reading my happiness list. I love that book too, and I have to say that I find it funny that our happiness lists include jasmine. I'll add you to my favorites after reading that list!

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

I love this post - I sooo agree with your list..!
We take so much for granted and forget to appreciate how priviledged we are in the northern hemisphere (if only to have our health and good fortune...far from famine-ridden countries run by dictators..!)
I'd just add dancing in the moonlight on a secluded beach (to great music) with your loved one..:)

Maggie said...

What a fantastic list! I looved that book, so thank you, thank you for reminding me of it!

Anita said...

Elizabeth - wonderful list. I love the images from the book you found. And I just requested the Oscar Wao book from the library!

Nap Mom said...

great, great book. Happiness is ALSO a brand new box of crayons!

Chessa said...

happiness for me these days, other than just going out to take pictures "just because" is spending the weekends with my husband with no plans, holding my new niece, vacations and New York City in the summer time. Yes, we have SO MANY reasons to be's great to remember that. thanks:)

Elizabeth said...

Evan - Playing a musical instrument is a good one. I might add that if I hadn't forgotten how to play!

Maya - Thanks! Isn't it a sweet book?

Amy - I'm glad, and yes we do!

Ash - Good one. Happiness is also being someone's Number One Fan.

Angry Asian - Thanks!

Alexandra - Yes, it's such a great exercise. I wish I could remember to do it more.

Sabrina - I'm amazed how many people know this book. Glad to make you smile.

Ann - Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed.

Julia - I can't wait to see your list.

Bee - I'm glad it was happiness-inducing for more than just me!

Limonana - Yay, someone else who understands Wai Wai!

Cookies - Mm, yes, those are the best smells!

Bethany - Thanks for visiting, and for the add.

Here, There - Dancing on a beach sounds like a great one to add.

Maggie - I can't believe you know the book too. I had no idea it was so well known! Glad you enjoyed.

Anita - Enjoy Oscar Wao, it was fabulous.

Nap Mom - Yes, I STILL love a new box of crayons.

Chessa - Weekends with no plans is the BEST. I'll have to add that one.

samantha said...

flying over terraced fields into Kathmandu Valley? what a beautiful image!

Elizabeth said...

Samantha - It is! One of the prettiest things I've ever seen.

Tahirih said...

This is a lovely post Elizabeth. Thanks for encouraging us to pause and think about the things we should be grateful for.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Tahirih!

Me said...

Oh this is a wonderful exercise! Such a great list. I have done this many times over the years and like to save and revisit my lists.
Ps...thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I have been having a peak at yours for a while now and think your photo's are just wonderful.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

i loved this book!!!! what a beautiful list--i want to begin every day with one..very inspiring and sweet.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for your comment Bonbon Oiseau. I'm sure beginning every day with a list like this would do wonders for my mood in the morning!

LizzyHouse said...

Charlie Brown is one of my very favorite things. I have this book!

I am really enjoying your blog!

keep up the good work!


Elizabeth said...

Charlie Brown is the best. Thanks for visiting Lizzy!

agp said...

what a lovely list, its got me listing off the things that make me happy too** your blog is beautiful! and i love looking at your photographs! hope youre well ~akia

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