A few days ago, a friend posted a list of things that made her heart happy on Facebook.
She noted that the list hadn’t really changed over the years, calling that a “lovely consistency.” (Yes, she is a writer, too.)
That got me to thinking: What makes my heart happy?
It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of my own.
The Blue Ridge Mountains – I was driving home from work one day just after Bob and I moved to Virginia, when I crested a hill. The Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park stretched out before me.
The color of the sky, the way the light from the setting sun outlined each and every ridge, and the change of colors of the mountains from bright green in the sun to deep blue, almost purple in the shadows, took my breath away.
It doesn’t matter how many times I travel that road and crest that same hill. I always think, “I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful place.”
The beach – I grew up just a few miles from the ocean and the beach has always been one of my favorite places.
The Shenandoah Valley is hours from the shoreline.
The first time I went to the Virginia coast was for work, in the middle of February. I rolled down the window and sucked in the salty air as soon as I could. Who cared if it was 32 degrees outside? Maybe my co-worker, who was driving, but she understood.
My huge extended family – My immediate family has dwindled over the years, but that sometimes overwhelmingly large extended family that came with Bob moved in and filled those gaps without being asked.
That first Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law’s family was, well, different. I’m an only child, so having six at the dinner table for Thanksgiving was a crowd. There were more people than I could count. Names and faces blended, but it didn’t matter. They welcomed this “damn Yankee” into the family with open arms anyway.
When Bob died unexpectedly, and my brother- and sister-in-law were hundreds of miles away, that huge, raucous family showed up with food and hugs to get me through it all.
We may not choose our family, but sometimes we really luck out.
My friends, the old-timers and the new-timers – They have driven me home when I am too shattered to take the wheel myself.
Taken time off from work to accompany me to a scary doctor’s appointment.
Provided below-cost editorial services to ensure the text for my book was tip-top perfect.
Granted my wish to cuddle a koala.
When it comes to friends, I lucked out again.
A good book – I love books. I always have.
Books transport me to another place. Through the magic of words I can be anything, live anywhere in any time in history, without leaving my comfy chair.
I get to try out new occupations, look at the world through different eyes, and expand my horizons.
Books never fail to inspire me on one way or another.
My cats, past and present – If I need a morale boost that is cheap and immediate, I only need to think about my cats and their crazy antics.
Samantha loved to lead our dog on a merry chase around the outside of the barn.
Hercules, Sunshine, and Midnight lived by this motto: Why chase each other around a 16-acre farm when you can tear through the house and maybe take out a human in the process?
Brillo rivals her late brother Bailey in her love of bags.
Last Christmas, my stepdaughter and her family were visiting from California. We were having dinner before opening gifts when were interrupted by what sounded like the Christmas tree falling over.
It wasn’t. Brillo had jammed her head in a gift bag and gotten the handles stuck around her neck. Terrified, she ran around the house, bag bouncing on the floor and leaving a trail of small gifts behind her.
It is a slow process to untangle a cat and a gift bag when you are laughing so hard you are crying.
A great meal, flowers, stars, baby animals, and the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree make the grade too.
It is good to remember these things. Too often we are caught up in the craziness of everyday life. Remembering what makes our hearts sing helps us cope with the madness.
What things make your heart happy?