By TMoM Team Member Rachel Hoeing

I wrote the following blog almost 8 years ago, but thought it would be an appropriate time to update it and run it again. Many people are struggling with finding happiness right now. Some of my ideas below are things that will have to wait until our social distancing time is up, but I can also improvise with Zoom, face-time, and other ways to connect. I encourage you to read today’s blog and then reach deep down to find out what makes you happy!

Out of the blue my 8-year-old son asked me, “Mom, what makes you laugh?”
“I don’t know. Why?” I asked.
“Because I haven’t seen you laugh in a really long time.”

I sat in silence. This hit me like a ton of bricks. Was he right? Had I really not laughed in a long time? This past year was a rough one for me, as I had lost both of my parents within months of each other. In the midst of my anger, sadness, and anxiety, had I really not taken the time to laugh?

My son’s comment reminded me that although life gets tough, we need to remember to do things that make us happy. In the grand scheme of things my problems are minimal and although I realize that, it isn’t very often that we stop to think about how blessed we really are. As moms, we rarely take time for ourselves and we hear over and over again how important that really is!

Just for today, I encourage all of you to take a few minutes to think about what makes you happy. Share those items with us by commenting below and then go do those things to make yourself smile!

I began to think of what really makes me smile, warms my heart, and makes me laugh. One thing that makes me happy is making lists. So here you go …

Things That Make Me Happy

– Walking into Mexican restaurants like Mi Pueblo Mexican or La Caretta. There is something about the upbeat music, smiling waiters and smell of fajitas.

– Sitting at Reynolda Gardens. I don’t do this often enough, but I love to walk around the gardens or just sit on the bench alone and soak in the sights and smells.

– Oil-popped popcorn with my family. We pop kernels on the stove a few times each week and gather around our huge bowl of popcorn.

– The smell of Strawberry Shortcake dolls. My daughter has one of these dolls and when I smell it I am taken directly back to my bedroom as a child. Pure innocence and happiness.

– Smelling my mom & dad’s perfume and cologne. When my parents passed away last year, I took a bottle of mom’s perfume and dad’s cologne. They sit on my dresser and I often walk over and pick up one at a time. I close my eyes, inhale, and can almost feel their arms around me. The feeling of comfort is amazing and I never walk away without a smile, even though it is often through tears!

– Reading on my screened-in porch. Spring is the perfect time of year when the birds are chirping, you smell the freshly cut grass, and it isn’t too humid yet!

– Family game night. We have had so many laughs over a game of Blokus or Uno. I love hearing my daughter shout, “Get off my property!” while playing Monopoly.

– Everybody Loves Raymond. Every night on TV Land you can catch re-runs of Raymond. My husband and I agree that the show gets funnier and funnier as we get older. Debra and Ray seem to be living our lives!

– Reconnecting with someone from college or my childhood. Good friends who are lifelong friends are irreplaceable. It is amazing to sit down with someone who knows everything about you and just laugh, make fun of yourselves, and talk about old times.

– Ice cream. Any kind of ice cream will do, as long as it has chunks of something in it! Milkshakes, soft serve with sprinkles, banana splits. I can tell you just about every sweet shop in the Triad area and attest that I have visited pretty much every one!

– Belly laugh with girlfriends. The girls’ trips I have taken lately have reminded me why I love my friends so very much. Don’t you love just being absolutely silly and laughing so hard that your stomach hurts and tears are coming from your eyes?

– Clean sheets. If I had the time I would wash my sheets every day.

– Big Macs. Are you catching on to the food trend here? I bet I only have a Big Mac once every three years, but the last time I had one … God it was GOOD and I couldn’t have been any happier at that very moment.

– Watching Ellen Degenerous. What an amazing lady with an amazing heart. She makes me laugh harder than just about anyone on television. Her sense of humor is the best!

– Riding my bike. As I’ve stated in previous blogs, I’m not one for strenuous exercise, but a nice ride on the Greenway can do a body good.

– Any song by Nelly, Ciara, Usher or Missy Elliot. Can’t listen without dancing.

– Sitting by the water. The beach, the lake, a pond … doesn’t matter. It always soothes my soul. Taking out a paddle board or kayak makes it even more enjoyable.

– Talks on the porch with my husband. No distractions, no electronics. Just me and my hubby and our thoughts.

– Extended family. I am still very close to my parents’ siblings and their children. Family is so important. There is something to say for time spent with those who know you so well and share so many of your same values and traditions. I am lucky to have an amazing set of in-laws as well and the time we spend with them is always treasured.

– Having a picnic with my family and lying in the grass looking up at the trees.

– My sister recalling a childhood memory I had forgotten about. No one remembers the good old days better than your siblings. I love chatting about growing up and rehashing all the fun times we had.

– Watching my kids at a carnival or Disney World. I never understood why my mom liked going to Carowinds but would never ride any rides. Now I get it. Seeing the excitement on my kids’ faces is just as fun as enjoying the rides myself!

What makes YOU happy?


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