The Happy Movie

While my in-laws were in town over the weekend for Miriam’s birthday, we stayed up late one night watching “The Happy Movie” on netflix. I have been in a very contemplative state lately. I want to live the best life that I can. I have been in a bit of a funk over the last couple of months, and I think that I have been focusing so much more lately on things that don’t make me happy, rather than what makes me happy.

Right after we finished watching the documentary, I felt like I needed to immediately go and start writing all of the random memories/things in my life that make me happy. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was surprising some of the things that made the list, and it was also surprising some of the things that didn’t. Things that I thought were maybe bringing more happiness than they really are. For some reason, taking the time to think and write, really felt healing. It made me realize that I should be trying harder to do the things that make me happy. There are somethings in life I can’t control, and when I am having hard times, I can look at my lists to help me reevaluate my priorities. Sorry if this list is a little too personal, but when my children read this someday, I want them to know all of the beauty that is in my life and that I tried my best not to take it for granted. I would love to hear a few things that make you happy?

  • The minutes after giving birth and sharing it with Chris. There is never a time that I have been happier in my life than sharing those moments with Chris.
  • Running with a friend. Running+good conversation=Kara’s happy place.
  • Honduras—living and visiting
  • Miriam’s cuteness. I feel overwhelmed with the intensity of her cuteness right now. Everything new that she says is so precious. It is hard to be in a bad mood when you are around this little girl for long. She lives with gusto, and it inspires me to do the same.
  • Watching Gabe lost in play always makes me smile. His imagination and worlds that he creates in his play always warm my heart and make me happy.
  • When I pick Sofia up from school each day, I feel happy. I am always so happy the second I see her walking towards us and love to greet her and find out about her day.
  • When I am present with the kids and just soaking in all of their beauty.
  • When I do something hard as a parent that helps promote growth in our children.
  • When I sing, my heart is happy.
  • When we are around family and friends who love and care for my children.
  • When I write what is in my heart.
  • A sunny day after many cloudy/rainy days leaves me feeling refreshed and energized.


  • When Chris comes home from work happy and energized, it makes me happy. Most days Chris comes home ready to jump into our family life, and it makes me feel thankful. Even if I don’t always show it, because I am tired… I really am so thankful for him and his efforts.
  • Michael Franti concert. Dancing with our kids. Watching our kids up on stage smiling and soaking it all in.
  • Going to New York with Sofia.
  • Good friends. I am so blessed with the best friends. Friends who I know would help me anytime, and I would do the same for them. Feeling a sense of community makes me happy.
  • Our early marriage when we didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t know yet that we needed to have a lot to be “happy.” Life was pretty simple and sweet.
  • On our honeymoon, we didn’t have a lot of money to go out to eat in Mexico, so we mainly ate yogurt and animal crackers. Makes me smiles every time I think of it.
  • When Chris encourages me.
  • When I hear my dads chipper voice on the phone it always makes me happy.
  • When Aretha Franklin pandora is playing, I almost always feel happy.
  • When I make healthy meals for our family and everyone eats it all up.
  • When I see our kids getting along and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.
  • When Chris has a hearty belly laugh, it makes me feel happy. This almost always happens when he is around his dad.
  • When I surround myself with positive people, I feel happy.
  • When I have finished a  race, I feel content.
  • When I feel like I have compassion and a want to understand  rather than judge a person, I always feel like I am growing.
  • Most interactions I see Chris having with our children make me happy. Not that he is a perfect parent, but I just know in my heart that my kids know how much he loves them, and that makes me feel so happy.
  • Making music with Chris and the kids.
  • When I feel like I am on somewhat on top of the things that need to be done on my to-do list, I feel happy.
  • When I feel and create balance in my life and in my children’s lives.
  • When I feel peace in my heart, I am happy.
  • Listening and singing along to Ingrid Michaelson makes me happy.
  • When I walk outside in the summer, look at my yard and beautiful but messy garden and listen to our neighbors play the banjo in their yard, I am so incredibly content.
  • When someone calls me or takes time to think of me or listen to me when I am having a hard day. Those are the days when I thank Heavenly Father and know that he knows me individually and hasn’t forgotten me.
  • When I feel like maybe I have done the same for someone else.
  • When I am being silly with my siblings.
  • When I go on walks/hikes with my family and after the first 15 minutes of whining, everyone is having a good time.
  • When I make  dinner out of what I have in my garden, I feel like a rockstar. A happy rock star.
  • Self discipline can be hard for me, so when I am successful with practicing it, I feel proud and happy.
  • When Chris and I playfully tease each other and smile together, I feel happy.
  • When I watch the parents in my baby classes form friendships and sense that they feel supported in my classes, I feel happy.
  • Family dance parties can always lift my spirits.
  • When I push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t feel happy in the process always, but I feel happy when I feel like I am progressing and pushing myself to be better.

I keep adding to my list, but I think that I am off to a good start!


Katrina - January 22, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Family dance parties. An empty laundry basket. Picnics in the backyard. Soothing a child back to sleep. Funny stories that the kids tell. Whenever my husband comes and sits next to me. Starry nights.

Tonya - January 22, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Family dance parties at your house make me happy! :)

Margaret - January 22, 2013 - 7:56 pm

I love this! I’m going to do it. My mind is thinking now of happy times.

I will leave you with one thing that made me happy…the last time I saw you and realizing that we were still friends even though we don’t talk/see each other as often as I like, but still feeling like I could be myself with you.

Love you!

Margaret - January 22, 2013 - 7:56 pm




kara - January 22, 2013 - 9:47 pm

Empty laundry baskets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those, but I’m sure it would make me very happy :). I love your list.
It’s been way too long since you have been to one. Michael Jackson was the artist of the night at our dance party tonight :).
I was so so happy after seeing you too. You really hold such a special place in my heart friend!! So much fun and laughter when we are together!

Lyndi - January 23, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Love you and your beautiful heart!

Sarabeth - January 23, 2013 - 10:02 pm

I’d love to start a list like this, especially if I can really sit down and think about it. But off the top of my head….

Cuddling with my kids. Picking them up from school, for sure. Our “Friday family movie nights”. Hearing them laugh, especially when it’s with each other. My kids are definitely one of my main sources of joy!

The peace I feel after I pray and REALLY give my worries to God.


A hard rain.

When every item on my daily to-do list is crossed off. (this is extremely rare) :)

Me, my piano, with Bach and Brahms.

Fresh flowers, especially when I get to watch them bloom in my own yard.

Time spent with my sisters.

When I have my husband’s full attention and am reminded that he adores me.

Getting rid of stuff we don’t need.

Getting lost in a great book….


kara - January 23, 2013 - 11:57 pm

I really miss you. Some of my very best college experiences were with you my dear. You really are a kindred spirit.
The more you write, the more will flow. This is just part of my list. I could add several of your things to my list too. Thanks for sharing. I like knowing what makes you happy. Any fresh flowers in particular make you happy :)?

Jesse - January 29, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Thanks for posting this!! I have been thinking about it ever since I originaly read this. It is amazing what doesn’t make the list. Our woodstove, quiet days at home with the kiddos playing together, yoga class, the wonderful mama community I am blessed to be part of, not having everything but having enough for what we need, listening to my husband be silly with the kids, listening to a good books on cd while doing a project.