I love a "top ten" list and have often asked my own guests for their own "top ten"... so... when it came to writing my own, I jumped at the chance and here's what I came up with.
Things That Make Me Happy
1. My family
My family makes me happy for so many reasons… They are a constant pillar of support, we consider ourselves a team, and we have fun together. When everyone is well-rested and fed and the boys aren’t fighting – ah, sibling love. My oldest loves Lego and he goes to sleep talking about it and he wakes up talking about it, he probably dreams about it. We just saw The Lego Batman movie, which was awesome btw. He is also an expert on all things dinosaurs and wants to be a paleontologist. My youngest still likes to snuggle. We read together and play a lot of board games. At six, he’s already a great strategist. My husband is my high school sweetheart and I’ve known him for over twenty years. I truly believe I was fated to meet him, a series of events – a school closure and a relocation – brought us together, and he’s my soul mate. We’ve been through a lot together, devoted to each other in sickness and in health. He’s an amazing father who puts his family first.
Anytime is the right time for a coffee – a steaming dark roast, with a dash of cream and sugar. I enjoy my morning coffee in my light blue Disney’s Cinderella mug which states “It’s hard to wake up when you’ve been out past midnight.” The act of drinking coffee is soothing. Each pleasurable sip gives me a semblance of peace. And it’s the perfect beverage to share with a friend.
I keep my cards close to my chest. My husband is the first to comment that I don’t share my feelings. He’s always available to listen – and dispense advice – but I don’t always have the words. Writing gives me the words. I “think” better on paper (or on a computer screen now). Writing is a way for me to process information and make decisions.
I have always enjoyed writing creatively. I have a box full of scribblings, that I keep meaning to sort through, from my younger years. My lifelong dream – ever since I was a little kid – is to be a writer and I published my first book in 2014. The cliché “dream come true” completely applies. Being a writer is more than just the act of writing. Since publication of my first book, I have been actively involved in constant promotion of my work and myself. I have a blog, an author website, and a social media presence to maintain.
I wouldn’t be a writer today if I hadn’t been an avid reader all my life. Book were, and still are, my friends. I experience books with all senses, literally absorbing the words. I have always loved libraries and bookstores. My boys are budding readers. We encourage them to read. A lot. We read to them, and with them, in the hopes of fostering a lifelong love of reading.
A happy list would be incomplete without music. So many things I enjoy – rock concerts, live musical theatre, karaoke – involve music. The radio is always on in the background at my house, set to a “new” rock station, but they play a lot of ‘90’s music which I love. Music from the ‘90’s has a special place in my heart… it was my “coming-of-age” and the songs I listened to then are still favorites. Bands like Live, Pearl Jam, Offspring, Green Day, The Tragically Hip, and Our Lady Peace were on my mixed tapes. Live’s album “Throwing Copper” (from 1994) is still my go-to CD to sing-along with. I’ve added a few new favorites – like Rise Against and Toronto’s Billy Talent – to my list too. And I recently completed my concert bucket list!
I am a HUGE Disney fan. I love the stories, the movies, the songs, the games, the store, the World (Walt Disney World, that is), and pretty much everything about Disney… Winnie-the-Pooh and Mickey Mouse decorate my house. I have two boys or there would be Princesses everywhere too! Disney has the golden touch when it comes to commercial success – they sell happiness and fantasy to children (and big kids too). I went to Disney World twice as a child and loved it. When I got married, I told my husband we had to go to Disney World before we had kids. We had an awesome time… It’s a magical place. Three years ago, shortly after Frozen came out, we took the boys. It’s different going with children. They don’t have the stamina to traipse around the park all day and stay for fireworks each night. We did park stuff in the mornings, hotel stuff in the afternoons and evenings. We saw the fireworks one night from our hotel and my youngest fell asleep during the show. We still had so much fun. With the acquisition of Marvel superheroes and Star Wars… We can’t wait to go back!
My favorite princess is Cinderella. My favorite Disney movie? That’s a more difficult question, but I really loved Enchanted.
7. The Internet
I remember a time without the Internet. I grew up with computers, although nothing like we have today, but the Internet wasn’t a “thing” until I was in high school. Now, I can’t imagine life without it. Have a question? Google it. Who was that actor/actress in that movie? IMDB. Need to talk to a friend? Facebook, email, iMessage… Then, there’s online shopping, Netflix (more on that later), and social media. It’s incredible. We even have “portable computers” like laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Wi-Fi everywhere. You can always be connected. This is something my kids just accept, they have grown up with it.
The Internet created a hospitable environment for the publishing industry – increased access for authors and publishers (both traditional and indie); editors; book promoters; beta readers; book reviewers. It essentially made it easier than ever to publish a book. Research potential publishing companies. Send query letters. Sign book contracts. Review edits. Promote published works. Monitor book sales and sales rankings. Before the Internet, I may not have had the opportunity to publish my books. With the advent of eBooks – the ability to read on virtually every device out there and online vendors like Amazon… books have become more accessible – for authors and readers.
I was initially resistant to getting Netflix. We had cable. We had a PVR. But we also had two kids and an incredibly busy life. After a few months of a 97% full PVR and watching just the right amount of shows so that there was enough room to record the next lineup of scheduled shows – which was extremely stressful – I agreed to try Netflix out. It’s an amazing system, we’ve been able to catch up on our favorites shows (on our schedule) and we’ve discovered some Netflix originals that have become new favorites. Binge watching – no more waiting a week for the next installment – and the ability to continue on where you left off on any device? Yes, please. I’ve even watched a couple of documentaries… something I never would’ve done before. And it’s a great source of entertainment for the big kids when the little kids have gone to bed.
9. My family room
Summer 2015, our goal was reducing stress, getting away without getting away, so we put in motion a plan for converting our backyard into an oasis. We purchased a covered gazebo, wicker furniture with big, comfy red cushions, a fire table, and a cedar table and chairs set. We called it our family room. An outside living space to relax, read, watch movies, and play board games. I do a lot of writing out there so the room is a happy space for me for that reason as well.
Definitely my favorite season, I love spending time outside in the sun – going to the beach and water parks – storing up my vitamin D. When the sun shines, I’m just feel better. Winter sun is good too and pretty when it makes the snow sparkle, but it can’t beat the warm summer sun soaking into my skin (I enjoy in moderation and I wear sun block every day).
These things make me happy… what makes you happy?