Happiness is…

By Charles Schulz

When I was young, I had the book Happiness is a Warm Puppy by Charles Schulz. I was remembering it lately with all the charming little moments it caught:

Each page captures a delightful, sweet, innocent, but meaningful, moment in the life of a child. Each attempting to capture that ineffable notion of happiness. I thought it would be fun to start collecting my own when I feel that surge of happiness, that feeling that all is right in the world, and I’m incredibly lucky and content.

Here are a couple of mine:

Happiness is…

The finches discovering their feeder.

Happiness is….

The cat keeping you company while you work.

Happiness is…

Being unable to move because the cat picked your lap.

And the list goes on. We each have moments that fill us with happiness and wonder. They slip away quickly because they’re ephemeral. But if we capture them somehow, in a gratitude journal, with a photo album, a list, we can turn to them later and smile. These are our ‘moments’

Schulz recognized that for each of of us, those moments will be unique and personal.

What are some of yours? If you feel comfortable doing so, I would love it if you shared them.

Dog commentary

In challenging times, there are always bright moments of light to lift us up. People singing from balconies out onto deserted streets in Italy, others joining together to amplify the voices of the unheard, and, in one of the most delightful examples, an out of work sports color commentator putting his talents to use to give people a glimmer of cheer during dark times. Sidelined by the coronavirus and the consequent shut down of sports, Andrew Cotter has been making videos providing the color commentary for his two dogs’ adventures. Meet Olive and Mabel as you make way for a bit of delight:

Through the eyes of a child.


Sometimes it is liberating to see the world through the eyes of a child. They come at things fresh, point out odd inconsistencies we’ve come to not even notice, and make surprising observations and connections. We adults come to expect the reality we encounter day to day. The child is able to point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes.

Take a minute to grab a piece of ‘gubble bum’ and delight in these expressions coined by children for everyday things. It is guaranteed to help you see the world in a new way.




Tickling the funny bone.


They comfort us, love us, trust us, understand us and make us laugh.We chuckle when they scratch at the door only to steal our seat when we get up to let them out. Sometimes their funny little ways can brighten our days. But what can we do to make them laugh? How can we amuse them? In a blast from the past, very young comic Steve Martin answers this question in a way that is sure to brighten your day.

Mom wisdom.


Did you know that just the sound of your mother’s voice can be soothing, eliciting chemical reactions in your brain? For a heartwarming example of a baby reacting to her mother’s voice for the first time, watch this video:

Over the years, our mothers are there for the ups and downs of life, offering their advise and comments. Mothers help us to make sense of things, comfort us when we are blue, and prepare us for the future.

What are some pearls of wisdom you learned from your mom? Please share them in the comments.

To get you thinking, consider this delightful list of motherly insights.


Tickle someone’s funny bone.


We need to periodically take time out to laugh– for self-preservation and to enhance the quality of our lives. Things can easily get too heavy, too fraught, too dire. A good laugh can release the tension and help us to regain our balance.

To assist in the laughing department, take a look at this BBC clip ascribing voices to odd animal behavior. It’s a good one. 🙂


A tip


Apparently, one day in 1922, Albert Einstein was caught short, unable to leave a tip on his lunch bill. Instead, he scrolled:

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”

Einstein hoped his words would prove valuable to the young waiter some day. Ironically, that scrolled message recently fetched over a million dollars at auction. More valuable, indeed.

But, setting humor aside, isn’t Einstein right? What are the moments that bring us joy?

Are they in the hustle and bustle and endless striving, or are they in life’s quiet moments, those moments with no posturing, no striving, no achieving? Just being.

Smile! :)


When its water boils, a teapot lets off steam. What do we do when we feel like we are boiling over?

One good choice is to laugh.

In this delightful photo series of funny animal shots, it’s going to be impossible not to crack a smile. Don’t even try. 🙂



Laughter is good for what ails you. Studies show it improves your immune system, relieves pain, helps you connect with others, and improves your mood. In stressful times, laughter can cut the tension and increase cooperation.

But, make sure what you’re laughing at is good, clean fun. If someone is the butt of the joke, you might just be adding to the stress rather than getting a much-needed break. There is a line where funny videos inspire more concern for a victim than laughter. Racist or sexist jokes may well feel more like a weapon wielded than a funny bone tickled.

So, start with a smile and then, let her rip. Laughing at jokes, a situation, yourself… may just well be what the doctor ordered

Spread some joy.


Have you seen the video of Chewbacca mom? It is now the most watched video of all time. That laugh! That joy! After this video went viral, Chewbacca masks flew off the shelves. They were virtually unobtainable, with prices going into the tens of thousands of dollars online. Candace Payne became an overnight celebrity, featured on talk shows and invited to Facebook, Kohls, and the Star Wars show. There is even a Chewbacca Mom doll available now.

Why was there a stampede for the masks? Perhaps when watching her unbridled joy, people wanted some of what she was having. And the masks are funny, no doubt. But the joy is in her as you can see by the beautiful video she made in response to the Orlando shooting.

In the second video, singing Michael Jackson’s, Heal the World, Candace Payne invites us to “Make a better place, y’all. Fill it with joy, not hate. Come on.” The lyrics are something we can draw on every day:

If you want to know why
There’s love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares of joyful giving
If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear of dread
We stop existing and start living

Today, follow Candace Payne’s lead, not in buying a Chewbacca mask, but in spreading the joy and making the world a better place.