Happiness Is . . .

By Kate Riley January 30, 2011

The excitement of a trip across the country to see your friends and learn something new!  It’s arriving at a grand hotel in a faraway city, and the first thing you notice is the beautiful light fixtures.

light fixtures


It’s enjoying regional cuisine, like fried green tomatoes . . .

fried green tomatoes


. . . and wanting to bring home even more of the local specialties.  

shelves at cracker barrel


Happiness is meeting up with old friends you’ve missed so much, who just happen to live way too far away from you.

rhoda layla and kate

Rhoda, Layla & me


It’s sharing a long lunch with the nicest ladies . . .

ladies who lunch cracker barrel

From left: Ashley, Rhoda, Myra, Beth, Chris, Sarah, Shaunna, Traci, Layla


It’s making new girlfriends, but then acting like old ones. 

ashley and kateAshley & me


Happiness is when other creative people share your sense of humor . . .

complaint department


. . . and discriminating thrift store hunting with the very best thrifters.

thrifting from bethme, Chris, Myra, Rhoda & Sarah, pic shamelessly stolen from Beth


It’s goofing off in antique stores with the funniest friends.

antique store friendsTraci & Rhoda

sodas ashley traci myra laylaAshley, Traci, Myra, Layla


Then spying a pretty find at that same store . . .

carnival glass bowl


. . . and bringing it home to make it part of your home.

blue compote on mantel


Happiness is crossing over the Sierras in a plane which means you’re almost home.



It’s waking up to the best surprise from a husband who missed you: all the plastic lids matched to all their plastic mates and organized into separate baskets.  Just because he knew you’d appreciate it so much.

organized lids in basket


It’s watching your daughter craft a new masterpiece . . .   daughters valentine

. . . and your son build his next of many skyscrapers.

little architect


Happiness is the realization that an orchid is actually reblooming in your home for the first time in your adult life.  And the tenacity of that lone flowering plant in your kitchen window that completely ignores the fact that it’s winter. 

orchid and flower


It’s starting a new project over the weekend, one you’ve been meaning to get to for awhile. 

closet project


Happiness is not a coveted ticket to the Academy Awards, but instead it is receiving a much more exclusive invitation:  a 5 o’clock picnic on your staircase landing. 

picnic on stairs


Happiness is realizing that when you wonder what you should write about, all you really need to do is count your blessings. 


swirl snip


And because we should take Nothing for Granted, I received a touching email from the mother of Christie, a reader who’s third unborn son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called truncus arteriosus.  The newborn will require open heart surgery in his first month of life, and several surgeries after.  Please take a moment to send all your thoughts and prayers to Christie and Jonathan during their troubled times.  


What makes you happy lately ?




  1. Blissdom was a blast – I had no idea you were there. I must be pretty out of it. It was my first blog conference, and it was great – but what really made me happy was coming home. And getting to room with (and meet IRL) one of my first blog friends!

  2. i’ve been a blog stalker of yours for a bit, now, and while i’m not much for leaving a comment, i had to this time. this post was delightful. beautiful. poignant. sweet. simple. thoughtful. and so appreciated. made me think and gave me inspiration for my own blog of sorts. thanks!

  3. It’s too bad you didn’t get to see the hotel with her Christmas fanciness. It really is beautiful during the holidays – even more than what you saw, I promise. I grew up in Nashville – and still go home every holiday and make a special trip to the Opryland Hotel with my kids to see the lights.

    Looks like you had a blast! But it looks like you had more fun after you got home. :D Enjoy this time – they grow up too fast.

  4. I love my life…36 years married, 3 grown children and 2 grandgirls, family, friends, and I’m also happy when I read blogs and and that includes CG. And tonight I’m tickled because it’s nearly time for our annual cruise…Caribbean, here we come!

  5. Kate your posts never cease to amaze me!! So much fun and a super cute family!

    Kate, come and join my new amazing giveaway by Splenderosa!

    Art by Karena

  6. What a beautiful post! My happiness is in waking up each day, having the gift of creativity and the funds to see my ideas through, all my loved ones, solitude, shelter, food, warmth, and health.

  7. What a sweet post, Kate. I will keep Christie and Jonathan in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Kate, love seeing the pics from Blissdom… you all look like such fun ladies, can’t wait to go and meet you all in person someday :)
    My thoughts are with that little baby who needs heart surgery.

  9. My thoughts and prayers are with Christie and Jonathon. I can’t imagine what that couple must be thinking. :(

    A great post…I love to see little glimpses of bloggers’ lives. LOVE the pic of the kids and their picnic. Looks so much like what goes on at my house. Crown and all. :)

  10. Precious post, Kate! I love your pictures.
    You definitely have so many blessings to count!
    And I count you as one of mine! ;)

  11. Wish I could have been there with you guys–looks like you had a great time together! And I have to say that a husband who organizes the Tupperware and lids is a keeper. :-)

    P.S. Have you mentioned when your segment with Nate will air? I don’t want to miss it!

  12. Kate, I’d say your husband is a keeper. And that means he’s an excellent match for you, because you’re most definitely a keeper. What a beautiful post you’ve written here. Thank you for the timely reminder to count our blessings. And thanks for letting us know about Christie’s urgent need for prayer. I appreciate your willingness to use your platform with such kindness and generosity of spirit.

  13. YOU make me happy. Seriously had a blast with you, and your hilariously sweet, fun, awesome self. Your children are adorable, love your carnival glass, and so glad you had a safe trip back. Praying for that family and their unborn child.

  14. Blast Kate! You got me all teared up first thing in the morning! I live in those Sierra mountains and I have three sons, so those two REALLY got to me. Lovely post and I will send a prayer out to those parents.

  15. Great post. Made me miss those late afternoon “picnics”. Happiness to me is when my grown daughter actually wants to talk to me about her new boyfriend, working in my husbands office and we havent killed each other yet (in fact we enjoy it, who knew?) and a casual Mexican dinner out with friends. That pretty much sums up a perfect weekend. Its good to force us to think about the good things every once in a while…thanks

  16. What a great post Kate, I guess this means you are not going to LA Feb 28 since you were already at this one? I’d love to meet you at some point. I did not know about this blogger conference. . .
    Your kids are so adorable!!

  17. Kate – it’s alwasy nice to see people reflect on what is really important. And our family will be praying for the unborn and their parents. God will be with them, whether they notice or not.

    As for what makes me happy? The full sprint and jump on dad “Hello” hug and kiss when I first see them in the evening after work and their school. Takes all of the stress away, even if it doesn’t last too long.

  18. What a lovely post! And a good reminder of the important things in life – like our little people.

  19. What a fun trip, I love seeing everyone’s pictures!!!
    I think your hubby gets the award for the week!!!
    Prayers for the little one, we have two friends that have gone through this, I’ll stop by her blog!
    Take care

  20. Beatuiful Post! I also have the goblet looking glass that you placed on your mantle. Mine is in the a really bright turquoise-ee blue. Glad you had fun at alt!

  21. Wow, it looks like you had a fabulous time and have much to be thankful for. Seeing your kids hanging out, playing, picnics at 5pm…I can’t wait to do all those things once we have a family one day. Your home seems like a cozy one where all are welcomed.

    Thanks for sharing your joy with us! :)


  22. Looks like you all had a fabulous time!! But, there’s still no place like home. Happiness for me lately has been my hubby coming home early to help out because he knows I’ve been a bit stressed lately!

  23. A great post indeed! I was thinking the same thing earlier- how we post all of these fun and helpful things each day- but there are so many things that are musch deeper and more meaningful- thank you for taking the time to share and reflect!

  24. Such a lovey post…I stopped the other morning and actually found myself counting my blessings..something I don’t seem to do often enough. I am truly blessed with 2 boys that I adore…a wonderful husband, friends who make my world go around…the list goes on…my home is evolving to feel more like me and that makes me happy as well…

  25. Thanks for sharing Christie’s story. My third child, also a son, has a CHD. He was not expected to breathe his first breath, but he turns 2 on Feb. 19 so I guess he proved them wrong, huh?! I checked out Christie’s blog and left her a comment that we other heart moms are out here for her… and BTW, I love those light fixtures too!

  26. Your white scarf from the first few photos is making me happy :) Where did you get it? It’s so true that you can’t take anything for granted. Life works in such mysterious ways, that I just have to take a second to be grateful for what I do have each day.

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