I am so excited to be tagged by Kate and Jenny in the Happy 101 Award.  Thanks, also, to Joanne for the Sunshine Award!  I found my mind wandering all day, thinking about what makes me happy and it’s been difficult to pick only ten things, but I’ll give it a try!

1.  My family:  I have an adoring husband of 21 years.  The day he met me he told his mom he met his future wife….He, and my four kids don’t always make me “happy”, but have provided me with a sense of meaning and connection to each other that is the source of deep contentment.  The same can be said for my siblings, parents, in-laws, cousins,…..it makes me happy to have people adore me just because I’m family.

2.  Music:  It moves me to the core.  It can be Mozart, Chopin, traditional church hymns, Harry Connick, Jamie Cullum, Earth, Wind and Fire, George Winston, musical soundtracks, the Beatles….If I find myself feeling down, I have only to remember to listen to my favorite tunes and my spirits are instantly lifted.  Of course, with some musically talented kids, I also love to hear my kids play the piano, sax, guitar, clarinet, trumpet….(everything but the drums…they don’t make me happy!)

3.  Friends:   Friends from grade school, high school and college, mom friends, church friends, blog friends, neighbor friends, old friends, new friends,….they all make me happy because they care for me, they listen to me, they cheer me on, they lift me up…..

4.  The beach:  I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with Lake Erie as my playground or if it’s the way we begin our journey into the world, but the water makes me happy.  The sun, the wind, the sound of the waves, the beach glass, the boats….Growing up, we swam, skied and motor boated on the Lake.  Later, my husband-to-be and I enjoyed sailing with friends.  I simply love being out on the lake or by its shores for hours.

5.  A good book:  I love the timeless peek into human nature offered by Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskells.  I love thought-provoking books, inspiring biographies, and survival stories.  I enjoy a good novel – something with twists and surprises….but, sorry, Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks…your books are too depressing anymore and don’t make me “happy.”

6. Food on my table and my family all around it:   Someone once told me that the single thing most Rhodes Scholars had in common was that they ate meals as a family.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can tell you that my kids learn plenty from a lively conversation around the dinner table.

7. Creating:  I don’t think this will come as a surprise to you, but I’m not happy unless I’m creating.  It can be knitting, sewing, crafting, making slide shows and movies…anything in which I can find a bit of my creativity.

8. Wool:  This is something I’ve come to appreciate as I age.  I love the feel of it on my skin, the warmth of wool socks on my feet, the play of it in my hands when knitting….it’s my savior in Cleveland winters!

9. Other happy people:  It seems obvious, but I think it’s important to surround yourself with happy people.  It’s contagious!

10. The little things in life: an uplifting movie, sunshine, chocolate, an invigorating bike ride, a good cup of coffee, the first warm day of spring, the smell of the library, crisp, clean sheets, the brilliance of autumn, the cool, invigorating air of a snowy white day, Notre Dame football games, my teenager saying “I’m home”, an unabashed hug from my 10 year old son, reading to my kids, a glass of Cabernet, the energy of the big city, the quiet of the early morning….

OK, I cheated on #10, but this exercise made me realize that there are many things that make me happy.  I’ve selected some of my fellow bloggers to join in the fun – your choice, of course!

Marie – Permission to Unwind
Gabrielle – icraft@beewise bags
Joanne – Ready, Set, Craft
Sarah – Memories on Clover Lane
Sondra – Positive Energy, Hope and Change
Michelle – PDXKnitterati
Suzannah – Adventures in Dressmaking
Stacy – Golden Bird Knits
Rachel – BMore Crafty
Angie – Angelina la dawn tomato