A Happy Card


It’s snowing. It’s January, and in West Virginia, that means it’s supposed to snow or it wouldn’t be January in West Virginia. It would be July in the Bahamas! (Or January in the Bahamas, for that matter.) For some reason, I’m finding this winter more difficult than previous winters.

Or I have just forgotten how I felt in previous winters, thus magnifying in my mind the hardship of this winter.

It’s cold, and cold is so tiresome. The skies are drab and clouded. The woods stand barren, branches draped in white. Snow smothers the ground. I have trouble driving in snow. I hardly go anywhere. Buckets of feed feel heavier when they have to be carried through the snow in gloved hands. Ice has to be broken for the animals’ water. (We do have a de-icer for BP’s new bath tub water now, and the chickens have a heated water bowl now, too! Just need to get some heated buckets for the goats and donkeys…..) I could go on and on. Winter and hardship shiver hand in hand.

I have to remind myself, almost daily, that winter’s hardships are no reason to be down. There’s no reason to be bleak just because the weather is bleak. There are hardships in any season, and there are even hardships in the Bahamas. To be happy only when everything is perfect is a circumstantial sort of happiness.

And not very well-earned.

There’s always something, and in fact, life is never perfect. There are always annoying people and annoying situations. There are jobs we don’t like, or no job at all. There’s not enough money. There’s illness, or even death.

Sometimes there’s poop everywhere you look.

One of the happiest people I know is a woman who has the most miserable husband on the planet. He puts her down, tells her what to do, picks on her ceaselessly. Until recently, she had a job she didn’t entirely enjoy, yet when she left, people cried. She was the happiest person in the store. In her life, she’s experienced divorce in a previous marriage, death, miscarriage, childhood abuse, and an assortment of other everyday difficult experiences. She doesn’t wait for life to be perfect in order to be happy. She chooses to be happy every day.

One of the surest paths to unhappiness is waiting for life to be perfect. Another sure path is to think other people should make you happy. If my friend waited for her husband to make her happy, she’d never be happy. Other people can’t make you happy, make you comfortable, or make you much of anything.

My mother was one of the happiest persons I’ve ever known, and she also had many difficulties in her life, including the loss of a child, which is surely one of the deepest pains known to humankind. She had a happy attitude every day.

Maintaining a happy attitude is a challenge. There are all those difficult everyday circumstances to overcome, and even sometimes those difficult people who are unhappy themselves and want to bring you down. Don’t try to make them happy–it won’t work. Trying to make other people happy is about as doable as waving a magic wand and transforming winter into spring. Most often, the trouble with unhappy people is that they want you to make them happy in some way. The only way this works is if you are in customer service and can give them a refund. Some people will never figure out that they are responsible for their own happiness. They choose to spend their lives blaming other people for not “making” them happy, comfortable, satisfied, etc. The only thing you can do about that is choose differently for yourself.

Several years ago, for a period of time, I went to see a counselor. She was a cognitive therapist. While this is in no way an exhaustive description, in short, cognitive therapy is a method of developing skills in identifying and changing negative thinking patterns. In other words, training your mind to think positively so you can have that happy attitude. People who are constantly miserable are people who are focused non-stop on everything they don’t like about their lives. Training your mind to focus on the positive is all about giving you the strength to deal with those downsides in your life without dwelling on them till they eat you alive.

Just to repeat–focusing on the positive won’t make hardships or problems go away, but the happiness gained from a positive attitude will make you a stronger person so you can deal with hardships and problems constructively without sinking into misery.

And while this little tip I’m about to give is incredibly simplistic, it’s also one of the most helpful things I came away with from the therapy experience, and is helpful no matter the circumstances surrounding a (non-clinical) depression–whether it’s winter’s hardships or a negative person in your life, a job you hate or trouble with money, or just about anything else. (If you think you are seriously, or possibly clinically, depressed, you should see a doctor or therapist.)

Make a happy card.

Take a 3 x 5 card and write down at least 10 things that make you feel joyful. If you have a hard time coming up with 10 things, then make yourself write 20 because you need extra homework. Whenever you find yourself focusing too much on life’s troubles, whip out your happy card and reread every word. Keep it in your pocket, wallet, or purse so that it’s always available.

I still have the first happy card I ever made, creased from folding and well-worn from being carried around in my pocket. It has things on it like baking bread, canning with Georgia, watching the kids play ball in the meadow bottom, and so on. Whatever you put on the card should be things that bring warm, happy feelings and images for you. The point of the card is to train your thoughts away from dysfunctional over-dwelling on negatives that fix your mind in misery. It’s like a reset button to remind yourself that life is beautiful. (Many happy people do this automatically, subconsciously, but sometimes we need a happy card to jump start the mind in the right direction. Unhappiness is a habit–break it.)

A happy card for me today includes things like this brand new baby:

These crazy kids:

This bad calf:

Cookies at the gate:

Making cheese:

Costumes on Clover:

Ducks in the rain:
Sheep who think they’re dogs:
Chickens, just chickens:
And writing this website.

Don’t wait for spring, money, a job, or other people to bring you happiness. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Trust me, nobody else will. (Nor should they.)

What’s on your happy card today?


  1. lizzie says:

    Clover the Christams Queen, brings a smile to my face everytime I see it!!!! Amen!!! to the above post!!! there truly is joy in the simple things in life! one does not have to look to far to find them! so I will make my happy card!!! and dream of spring! :fairy:

  2. lizzie says:

    Oh no, I really should proof read “Christmas” :bugeyed:

  3. Blessings says:

    Every Sunday I post on my blog “Attitude of Gratitude”,an idea a dear friend told me about from her church. It makes you think about the many things to be thankful for that happened during the week…Keeps me centered..Keeps me Happy…Makes me realize how Blessed I am…
    All I ask for those who would like to participate is to link to my blog…

    Michigan Winter Wonderland

  4. MJ says:

    Chickens in the Road is on my card for sure. Thanks for the joy you bring by sharing your world with your readers each day, Suzanne. Happy New Year.

  5. marybeth says:

    Thank you Suzanne. This is the hardest time of the year for me, weather-wize. It helps to keep a perspective, and remember the gloomiest time of year is really very short, and to look for the happy!

  6. Nona says:

    Well seeing new baby goats was near the top of my week!
    I am happy that my college grad got some well deserved work in her field! It sure is hard to be a teacher these days.
    I have decided to start making my wieght problem tops on my list.
    I am going to try Zumba!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Let’s see, on my happy card so far are: CITR, my furbabies, the love of a good man, classical music, gardening, seed catalogs, early-blooming jasmine, scented candles, cooking, seeing a few more visits to my tiny blog, seeing genuine smiles on a friend’s newly adopted troubled children, getting mail (I think that’s more than ten). Thanks for being on my Happy Card!

  8. Urbanite says:

    At work we were asked to keep a daily gratitude journal for six months. The goal is the same – to focus your attention on the positive things in your life, which improves your attitude so you can operate from a positive mindset when dealing with life’s negatives. This really works! Within a couple of weeks I noticed myself actively watching throughout the day for positive things to record. They could be major items, or something as simple as snuggling into bed on fresh clean sheets. When you actively look for things to be grateful for/happy about, it is amazing how many there are, even in the midst of other problems. I love the idea of a happy card – it is even more direct!

  9. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Bravo! Something I dearly need to do. I can’t think about it now, but I would put at the top of my list: Henry! My beautiful, always smiling 14-month old grandson!!!

  10. bonita says:

    Amen! and thanks Suzanne–sometimes we each need a reminder of just WHO is in charge of OUR lives. Pity parties are sooo much a waste of time.

  11. Rose H says:

    Yes, this blog is certainly on my happy card, πŸ˜€ without reading the lovely words the photos make me feel VERY happy! :sun: Thank you Suzanne :happyflower:

  12. Plano Mom says:

    My mom sent me this link. I’d say that “cookies at the gate” is on my Happy Card today.

  13. Johanna says:

    What a lovely reminder, Suzanne! Thanks for the focus on the positive!

  14. Tracey In Paradise Pa. says:

    Great idea.I love it!

  15. Miss Judy says:

    Sometimes we have to work at happiness, it doesn’t always come easy.On my happy card would be Sunday dinner with family, 2nd grade jokes,snow, seed catalogs, CitR and Suzanne’s animal pics, cookbooks, hot tea,old friends,and sleeping under a handmade quilt.Strange as it may sound I love a rainy day.Thanks for reminding me …life is good.

  16. Barbara at AtLast says:

    There is a 5-7 min walk from the parking garage into work and most days I spend it listing my blessings: eyes that can see, all of creation, so forth. Then, when I have a physian I find difficult to work with, I weigh their 2 or 4 week rotation against eternity. I have to say this one is the most helpful for me when dealing with a person or situation I find unpleasant. Of course I have also found myself muttering, “Even now, come Lord Jesus.” Some folks just bring out longing for the rapture, right?

  17. glenda says:

    This is a wonderful subject. Count your blessings! We all need to do that on a regular basis.

    Here is just one of the blessings of my simple farm life:

    Up early before the world has started. Sitting at my new computer, enjoying CITR with my first fresh cup of coffee.

    All the things on my happy card are just very simple.

  18. MMHONEY says:

    Start each day “Let me be a blessing to someone today”
    We are pilgrims on a journey.
    We are travelers on the road.
    We are here to help each other
    walk the mile and bear the load.

  19. glenda says:

    One thing I meant to add is regarding winter or very bad weather and farm life. It complicates life ten fold! People who haven’t experienced taking care of animals, or crappy heating systems, or having to drive a distance to shop, buy feed, etc. can’t really appreciate this.

    I sympathize with you Suzanne! We are having zero weather here. That means water dripping in the house, breaking ice on the pond where the heifers live, watching for early calving (they love to pick the worst weather of the year for this!) Checking everything twice a day. Keeping hay put out for the cows. Then there is the constant gray, overcast days, 30 mph winds….We live with an ear tuned to the weather station. Weather is the driving force on a farm.

    Sloughing through snow or on treacherous ice (thank God for those Trax things!) carrying 5-gallon buckets of water or feed is very tiring.

    Just wanted you to know….I feel your pain.

  20. Mim says:

    my happy card varies from day to day but always includes my husband, kids and grandkids…had to retrain my husband to think positive…if something doesn’t come about then there was a good reason…. :sun: :happyflower: :pawprint:

  21. kellyb says:

    I sent the link for this post to my youngest who is having a tough time right now. Couldn’t have been better timing. Thank you Suzanne. When I was at home and whined or complained about not having something my mom would respond by saying “Count you blessings”. Many times, I didn’t think there was anything to count. With age comes wisdom, sometimes. I try to see all the wonderful things I’ve been blessed with. Family, hot water, soap to keep me clean, it’s amazing what you can be grateful for.

  22. Peggy says:

    I love this post and live it daily. One of the current things on my card…..which I keep in my head is the Chickens in the Road blog. I always find something to make me happy when I read your blog. Great work Suzanne

  23. Maria says:

    Suzanne, this is great. Thanks for such a post. I needed this king of reminder I think (am currently without a job and was feeling sorry for myself). I have written 12 things on my card!

    Also, in the midst of your wisdom you cracked me up with the line about making other people happy – “the only way this works is if you work in customer service and can give them a refund”. LOL

  24. Mary Kellogg says:

    What a great, relevant post, Suzanne!

    I had a terrific man-friend who was 95 at the time of his passing. He always said “you have to make up your mind to be happy” and that is great advice I use to this day!

    Happy breeds happy, I’m convinced!

    Mary K

  25. Yankee In NC says:

    Visiting this website daily is on my Happy List.
    Thanks Suzanne.

  26. Kelly says:

    You and your crew are on my list as well as many others, I’m sure. I have kept a gratitude journal for years that has helped keeped me focused on the great things in my life and not the disappointments. Also, I try to live by rule # 1 – “Never wrestle with a pig; you both get dirty and the pig likes it!”

  27. Carol Langille says:

    What a neat idea! Not only will it make us happy to read what makes us happy but it will remind us of what does make us happy.
    Quite often, when I go to bed, I do a mental list of five things that I am grateful for during my day. Things like not getting into bad traffic on my Dallas commute, making a great pan of cornbread for supper….or deeper things like hearing that my sister is feeling better after surgery or having a husband who is such a blessing in all ways.
    Professionals call it “Cognitive Therapy”….I call it having a Grateful Heart. Thank God, I do have one.

  28. Diane says:

    I am glad to be living in PA toay!!! It snowed school is closed but yet its ok. The plows are out and doing their job and we are prepared to stay in for the day. I know if I had to I can get out. I can drive on these bad roads!!! That makes me happy. While I dont like to do it unless I have to knowing that I can helps.
    I have friends down south that have been in for days and not doing so well. They are not used to this bad weather like we are. I am just glad I get prepared and can weather out the weather.

    Thanks for all the photos. Love seeing your animals everyday and all their stories. Its what starts my day and keeps me going as well. If I had all those cute faces to look at daily I would also bundle up and put all the work into taking care of them. How can you not. πŸ™‚

  29. Amy says:

    Reading this site with my breakfast each morning! πŸ™‚ I love your philosophy; too many people in the world think they have no option but to be unhappy. Thank you for writing this blog even when you’re struggling – I really enjoy living vicariously though you, even down to the chicken poop on the snow. πŸ˜‰

  30. lavenderblue says:

    Oh, I needed this lecture. I’m one of the 20 item people, I’m afraid.Of course,this blog is right up there.

    My biggest “I’ll be happy when…” is, of course, when I get some land to farm. I need to be reminded of poop and dead chickens, but like I tell my husband “I’ve always been in charge of everything that poops; cat litter, dog yards,bunny pellets and baby diapers. But not a one of them has ever given me an egg.”

    This year it seems like everyone is having a hard time with the snow. I live in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, you know, The Blizzard of ’77. During that time people who got stuck on our “thru way” turned it into almost a party. It was hard and awful but people shared with each other or took care of themselves and survived. My sister and I stayed in her house with no heat or electric for 3 days until we could be transported to a neighboring farm where the electric had been restored. Those people took in two or three families and kept us all warm and fed.

    This time it wasn’t even as bad and people just seemed whiney-er. I can’t explain it, it was just different. Most people were just helpless, waiting for someone to save them. I think we are all just weary from something, I don’t know what.

  31. brookdale says:

    Suzanne, Thanks for a great post! And thanks for reminding us in a gentle way to “smarten up” and enjoy and appreciate what is around us. CITR will surely be on my list. Going to make one right now.
    Love the animal pics, especially the new baby!

  32. Melinda says:

    I needed to hear (read) this today. Thank you!

  33. Mary Hall says:

    :sun: , :sun: , :sun: , :sun: , :sun: , :sun: ,
    Here’s a little sunshine for your day!
    Mary :shocked:
    PS…think chocolate something…LOL

  34. Robyn says:

    What’s on my happy card today? Reading your blog…..thanks!

  35. MaryLou/TX says:

    CITR with my first cup of morning coffee will top my list. It’s the way I start my day. The “title” will be, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I think my index card will have to be a large recipe card with plenty of room to write on the back…maybe two cards. Thank you Susanne.

    Piggy backing on the index card idea…I would buy sets if printed recipe cards from CITH. Just an idea I’m pitching out there.

  36. Annette says:

    My best friend, turned adopted sister, always says “Make your own sunshine!” The thought rings true to me & I’m in the process of teaching that to my 9 year old son. His dad is not the easiest person to deal with, he is a “you need to make me happy” type person & when my son does something wrong & apologizes for it Dad always responds with “those are only words, they don’t mean anything”. I always ask my son “Did you mean it when you said you were sorry, or were you only saying it to get out of trouble?”, if his reply is “I really meant it” (as a mom you can tell if he’s being truthful) then I simply say “Then your responsibility is done, now it’s up to Dad to choose to accept the apology or not. You can not be responsible for how Dad chooses to react.” Hopefully my son can avoid the personal guilt & obsession with needing to make everyone happy that I think so many of us have entertained in our lives. It took me until college to figure out the only happiness I am responsible for its my own. You can’t make other people “be” happy.

  37. 4jsMOM says:

    I start every day with CITR and love everything you post, but this is one of the best. Thanks for giving us an easy way to change our attitude toward the positive. I feel like I will be getting a bill in the mail for a counseling session.

  38. Lisabeth Olson says:

    Suzanne, I am on the list of BLESSED because of your blog. I don’t actually have a list, but two of my blessings are asleep in my bed. Bo and Ellie (the dog). She sleeps in our bedroom because she barks when something happens in the chicken house in the middle of the night. She saved the chickens again 2 nights ago. I’m with you and every other farmer here. I deal with great mounds of poop, water, then freeze, more frozen water and a couple of weeks ago I wouldn’t let me dairy cows go to the upper field for a few days because it was to icy for them to climb the hill (they have no traction devices and it isn’t a big hill, but one slipped once and that was enough). Then I had to clean the milking parlor in the cold, but BO always brings me more fresh hog fuel (ground wood bark). Now every time I go into the parlor I see another blessing and I know even then I have more blessings than lots of people. CitR is definatley one of my get up and gos as I get up at 5 and milk at 6:30. I don’t like to step into clothes and go to the barn still sleepy, so CitR and I have a cup of coffee, and read the word and pray before I go. My animals get a more calm momma then also.
    My list if I had one would also be on my sewing room wall in the photos of everyone I get photos of. I pin them up and have them to look at when I want to. They are constant reminders of BLESSINGS.

  39. Amy I. says:

    We all need to remind ourselves that every day is a gift. Find joy in the simpliest of things and live each day to the fullest. Sounds easy, but usually is not. When you have lost people in your life that you love, you realize that you are living each day for them as well as yourself. Wake up every day and smile …..ok…after you have hit the snooze button a few times πŸ™‚

  40. joycee says:

    Possibly the best post you have ever done! Sharing the “Happy Card” was selfless on your part, sharing another piece of Suzanne…a private one, so that you could help others. Right now the counrty is hurting and people are feeling their deepest down. I wish this could be on the front page of every paper in America. I’m making my Happy Card today and it’s gonna make a difference in my life, Thanks Suzanne!

  41. Jane says:

    Can I just say, I LOVE YOU! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I do :heart: You touch my soul with your words. They’re so beautiful and moving – THANK YOU!

  42. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    What an awesome post! Thank you!

  43. windspiritwhimsies says:

    Always refreshing…thanks so much for the reminder! :hug:

  44. Stacy says:

    Your blog is on my happy list!!!! I love you and I needed that today.

  45. Alanna says:

    Suzanne- This is one of the best articles that you have ever written- Happy Cards! I was at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh yesterday with my hubby and we saw so many people who were fighting to live. And yet,alot of us take things for granted. I tell my hubby if you have your health you have everything! Love your article and all of your precious animals! Congradulations on the newest little furbaby! Alanna

  46. CindyP says:

    What a great way to look at the beautiful things in life–everyday simple things are beautiful and taken for granted.

    Love your pictures on your happy card…brings a smile to my face this morning, putting me in a “smiley” mood for the day. Thank you!

  47. Deni says:

    I agree with what so many others here have said, your words today were just what I needed. On my card of course are my children, grandchildren and maybe even my fiance not to mention CITR. A couple others are that things around here just might be looking up and as of today there is only 67 days till Spring!

  48. Kelly in TX says:

    What a perfect post for this time of year. I think most of the people who know me would describe me as that “happy” person and I think I usually am, but winter can get me down, too. (And I live in Texas! I can’t imagine living somewhere where I would have to endure a REAL winter!) I believe happiness is a choice, too, and thank you for these encouraging words.

  49. Tammy says:

    Reading CITR is on my happy list!

  50. sophanne says:

    CITR is always on my happy card. Really.

  51. Linda Segerson says:

    Thanks for sharing this, very well written. This is a great idea for everyone, especially this time of the year. I am ready for … :sun:

    You can find me at: https://www.nothinbutcountryliving.blogspot.com
    or https://www.lindasphotofarm.blogspot.com

    Have a Great Day!

  52. Linda Distlehorst says:

    This is a great reminder to me that I need to consciously do this every day. Just so you know, checking this website everyday would count as one of my ten. Every time I see the newly born goat, I smile. Thanks.

  53. Naomi says:

    What a great idea! My happy list would include:
    1. my hubby, shoveling snow right.
    2. my kids, one sleeping in and the other shoveling at his house.
    3. our furry kids hanging out and watching the snow.
    4. reading your posts and realizing that my farm dream can come true if I work hard enough.
    5. a job that allows me to work from home.
    ….and lots more.

    Thanks for the idea and letting all of us know that we’re not alone in “winter blues”. Now I’m going to work a bit then go read some seed catalogs and dream of spring!

  54. pattyb says:

    What a wonderful post, Suzanne! I’ve been needing something like this for a long time. I do have a lot of things to be happy for but I seem to dwell on all the negative things. Even though I don’t get to see my grandsons very often, I still think back to their visits and there sweet little voices. They make me very happy. You are a very wise woman Suzanne and Thank you for letting me part of CITR.

  55. rileighsmom1 says:

    CITR pulls me through my mornings sometimes and I thank you so much for it. I have been having somewhat of a difficult time with things lately and I needed to read this post. Thank you so much.

  56. marymac says:

    Thanks Suzanne!!!!!!

  57. ML says:

    This is one of my most favorite posts ever! (And I’ve been reading your blog since you were in the old farmhouse.)I even stole your words (One of the surest paths to unhappiness is waiting for life to be perfect. Another sure path is to think other people should make you happy….Suzanne McMinn)and reposted it on my FB. You make a difference in so many people’s lives and this is just one example of how you do it.

  58. Susan says:

    Awesome post Suzanne! Thank you for sharing your story, the “Happy Card” is a terrific idea. :woof:

  59. Ramona says:

    I luv your happy card. Great photo’s. Luv the blog.

  60. Linda T. says:

    This is a very well-written, powerful post…and something I need to be reminded of often! Thank you! This morning, though, all I can think about, and be grateful for, is the safe arrival of my first grandbaby last night….Nicholas David, 6 lb. 14 oz., and perfect done to his tiniest toenail.

  61. Nancy K. says:

    What a wonderful post, Suzanne! :snoopy: I’m going to pass it along by making a similar post on my blog today. :sheepjump: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, even for just one day, everyone focused on the things that bring them happiness? πŸ˜‰


    Have a Happy Day!


  62. Shelly Messier says:

    About a year ago I came across a book at a garage sale called 1001 Things to be Happy About. I bought it and loved it. I laughed then made my own list and all that day I kept thinking about more and more things. A year later I still think about them. One of my favorites is the sound of windchimes and CITR of course! I like how you are so open to everyone and share almost everything in your life with us bloggers. I really appreciate it everyday! I think I will go kiss my dog and go shopping now. I am on Vacation, yah!!! :happybutterfly: :happybutterfly: :happybutterfly:

  63. Miss Becky says:

    Thanks for lifting me up Suzanne. This is such a beautiful post. Reminders like this are awesome. I was thinking about this last night, about how my life could be better, but it could also be worse. And that’s all I needed to get into a better frame of mind. I’ll be making a happy card later today. But I’m certain that one of the items on my card will be CITR. Your photos have already put me in a better mood. thanks a bunch. :hug:

  64. Nancy Stickler says:

    As I sat here miserable about the nearly 3′ of snow in the driveway I clicked to your blog….I should have done that sooner! Thank you Suzanne for the reality check….I’m warm, there’s food and water and that blasted snow will indeed melt eventually! I’m going to post this to FB because I know ALOT of people who could use a happy card right now here in CT!!

  65. Linda Goble says:

    I want to thank you for this post. I have been very upset about my children and between you and my long talk last night with my sister I know I can let go of them and let them hit rock bottom and mom is no longer going to pick up the pieces for them. My sister told me last night just hand every thing over to God that I can no longer carry the load or I will be in a early grave. I am also very depress that I lost my very best friend 1 1/2 years ago and I am not over that. But making a card and when I feel blue I will rip that card out. SO again Thank You, I really needed it.

  66. Diane says:

    Today, I am happy that snow covers up sheep poop! Shovel? Shovel what? I don’t see anything to shovel!

  67. melinda mclane says:

    Actually YOU are on my happy card today. You do not understand just how important, this very minute, it was for me to read this post. I just had a very difficult situation here at work and ended up crying like a baby. I am sitting here still bawling my eyes out, and decided to focus on my computer screen so no one could see me crying. (but they all know I am) I pulled up my list of *favorites* and came here first. AND! This was your WONDERFUL post today..Did I ever need this!!!
    Im going to make a happy card today….

    How many ways can I say thank you today??? :heart: :heart: :heart: :wave: :woof:

  68. Carmen at Old House Kitchen says:

    Mmm…so many things for my happy card. My husband, my seven children, being able to teach my children, my friends and family, Facebook as a way to keep in touch with others, reading blogs (like yours!), crafting (making cards, embroidery), cooking and baking (and blogwriting to go along with that), our goats and chickens, and most of all the Lord who ultimately gives me my strength and joy. “Oh, the joy of the LORD is my strength. He gives me living water and I thirst no more!” (a song that’s in my head right now!) :snoopy:

  69. Marion says:

    Happy card stuff…cat purring in my lap, CITR, Mama waking up a little “sounder” than yesterday, a car that runs, two horses that always nicker hello when they see me, the clean white expanse of the snow shining in the sunrise, a landlord who help shovel :-), 3 acres just waiting for spring, heat, hot water and a well in the barn that rarely freezes even when it’s cold outside.

  70. Cindy H. says:

    Great idea! I have been told by my husband and kids that I tend to dwell on the negative. And it seems I’m rarely happy. I am going to do that RIGHT NOW! Thanks!

  71. BrendaE says:

    Wonderful post today Suzanne. I think we all tend to get down and depressed from time to time and I always try to cheer myself up by thinking positive and be thankful for all the things I have that a lot of people would die for right now – like a job. We have so much to be grateful for if we could only move past and quit dwelling on the negative. I made my new year’s resolution this year to be more upbeat and always look at the positive side of things. Thanks for the reminder.

  72. Melissa Marsh says:

    And this is why I love your blog, Suzanne. I needed this post today. Thank you!

    Why I’m happy today: I have a good job, good friends, a beautiful little girl, a wonderful husband, good health (first mammogram came back normal!), a car to drive, a cozy apartment, the ability to walk and run and exercise, the gift of writing, and oh, I could go on and on and on.

    Thanks for the reminder, Suzanne. I’m smiling already! :snoopy:

  73. Sarah says:

    Just wrote my own Happy Card. I really loved this post Suzanne. It’s always good to remember the things you’re most greatful for when you’re feeling your worst. Thanks so much for sharing.

  74. Roxana says:

    Tangerines, the twins with ADHD got an A on the test.My house is clean. And foremost-my love for my husband and how he looks at me.:)

  75. ChristineD says:

    this made me smile

  76. Angela P says:

    :heart: God has Blessed us with you! Thank you for all your posts, especially this one.. I recently made a choice for happier times. I offically stepped down from board of directors for a “club” I was asked to join. It was a constant battle of gossip, hate, and assumptions for the worse. I just could not take another moment of the lude and inappropriate comments. I made a choice to stop it, with me. I am for the most part upbeat and would much rather look for the possible/possibilities than banishing ideas and people to heck! I learned that I am only responsible for me, myself and I. I chose to be alone and healthy, than sick with someone. You are so right, life is full of unexpected situations, its how we choose to deal with them that matters.Not all blessings come in a warm, fuzzy, blanket . Some, come to us uncomfortable, stressed and what seems unbearble. When you get through it all you look back to see you were sheltered in love and because of the choices you made no matter how difficult were for the better.No matter what, blessings are all around us. We have to learn to look for them, no matter how small. Thank You Suzanne.

  77. Beth Brown says:

    :chicken: My chickens always make me smile. And the way my little chihuahua stands on his front paws in the snow because he really doesn’t like it!

  78. Blyss says:

    Thank you, Suzanne. I can’t put into words how much this has made my attitude change, made me re-think, and most of all helped me in ways I really needed! :hug:

  79. Susan says:

    Oh how I wish more folks would figure this out! We ARE what we think. Sometimes it is that easy. I get up every morning signing that song from West Side Story, I Feel Pretty. It doesn’t make the problems go away but it makes me feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.

    Then I check out what CITR critters are up to. They can always be counted on to bring a smile. Everyday, look for the blessings.

  80. andrea pierce says:

    What an uplifting post. And here I was in a cruddy mood and hating every single person I have to talk to on the phone. Maybe it’s time to make a happy card…..

  81. LDF says:

    Yes, being happy is a choice and we are all capable of making it. Reading positive blogs is one way that I start my work day off on a happy note (I read faithfully but seldom comment). My cat makes me laugh and that makes me happy (she was busy and vigorously “killing” a dry ballpoint pen when I left this morning). Being creative makes me happy. Over the Christmas break, I started a “Grateful Heart Sampler Quilt” with each different quilt block representing something that I’m grateful for in my life. I invite y’all to check out (and comment on) the first few squares on my blog http://www.amberandamethyst.blogspot.com Oh, and new visitors to my blog make me happy too! Thanks so much Suzanne for reminding us to think about this!

  82. ScreamingSardine says:

    I wrote a similar post a week or so ago on my blog: https://prairiepatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/gratitude.html .

    In part: “My life hasn’t changed one bit, but I have. And that is the key to everything. How you view what happens to you determines if you’ll be contented or not.

    Service to others and an attitude of gratitude go hand in hand. They’re now in my hands…holding each other warmly.”

    I hope everyone can make a happy card everyday and find something to always be content about!

  83. Kathy says:

    Thank you for this….I so needed to hear it
    today. I am going to work on my Happy Card

  84. andrea pierce says:

    Well, I apparently really did need this, more than I thought. I started to write my list and could only come up with 1 thing – Thunderstorms. So then I figured I would have to write out 20, but then I got mad at the index card people, because there was only room for 18 items if I made 2 rows! So I made myself turn it over and fill up the card….lol. Talk about needing an attitude adjustment! Thank you!

  85. catslady says:

    Add me to the list of those who really needed this today. My resolution for the year was to be less negative (I came from a family of worriers and nay sayers so a hard habit to break). I am going to do the 20 or more because I need it. My biggest challenge is not letting another person in my life constantly get me down. I love the pig quote by the way :pinkpig: And CITR is definitely going to be on my list.

  86. Helen says:

    I am one of those with a pessimistic attitude. This attitude of mine is a learned one. But since I learned it, I can also un-learn it. This site and the CITR forum are helping me un-learn my pessimism and are teaching me how to be optimistic. This old dog is slowly learning a new trick :woof:

  87. Bev in CA says:

    We have just returned home after spending several days visiting a family member who recently went into rest home. I am sure everyone who read your post felt that you were speaking to them personally. I sure did. What a wonderful idea. So I am making a “Happy Card.” I am thankful for so many blessing, including Chickens in the Road.

  88. auntie julie says:

    Miss Suzanne…you just dont know how much I needed this…thank you

  89. lilac wolf says:

    2 gorgeous kids and a husband who doesn’t let my crabiness bug him.

  90. Rosemeri says:

    Thank you Suzanne for the great post. I will also start a Happy Card. I found a quote the I put on my Facebook profile that I find meaningful. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” The storms will always be there, it’s how we deal with them that counts.

  91. DarleneS says:

    Being in a bad mood or grouchy is a habit some people keep at it every day. I really believe you make your own happiness. I feel like I am an optimist. It just happened to be in my personality. I am not a Pollyana I just prefer to think of the glass as half full.

  92. Patchkat ~ Susan in TX says:

    Something that comes to mind for a quick mood change…

    LOOK UP! Say a quick prayer and keep on moving! Go pet a baby goat, cuddle a kitty or hug a child πŸ™‚

  93. whaledancer says:

    This is one of the wisest, most succinct descriptions of the key to a happy life that I’ve ever read. I agree that happiness is a skill that you can teach yourself, and make it a habit. Yet all of us, from time to time, can use a little reminder. I like your suggestion of making a “happy card.”

    CITR is on my happy card. You bring a little joy into my life every day.

    What I love about my life is that when I stop to think about things that fill me with warm, joyous feelings, the list goes on and on. I could probably list 20 every day without repeating. (In fact, that might not be a bad exercise.)

    Words that sound like what they mean, like lugubrious
    Leaves backlit by sunlight
    The smell of tangerines when you peel them
    The way a crow walks like the self-important mayor of a small town
    Old denim
    Oatmeal boxes
    The smell of fresh-turned dirt
    A hot shower
    The way shoulder blades look on a six-year-old’s back
    A stack of new books to read
    Planting seeds
    That moment you lie down in bed, when you’ve found a comfortable position and everything relaxes
    The smell of asphalt when it first starts to rain
    Words that are fun to say, like persnickety
    Fresh-cut grass
    Quail mamas trailing a line of chicks

    See??!! Once I start, I can’t stop myself. Like eating potato chips (oooh, that’s another one…).

  94. Deni says:

    Suzanne, after reading the reaction to your post, one of the things on your happy card must be the amount of people who love and care for you and what you do!

  95. Jim in Colorado says:

    Wow! Love your post for a happy card. I also love the comments of everyone. When I wake every morning, I say to my self, before getting out of bed, That it is going to be a good day. And that I am blessed and thankful for all that we have. And am thankful for the people in our lives.
    My list for a happy card is way to long. I would need a three ring binder to put down every thing. One thing I would add though, is your blog, and all the people that follow our blogs. It always brings a smile to my face. Plus I like to make people smile when I can. Try it, when you are in the store, just smile while you shop. People look at you and wonder what you are up to. Plus, people smile back. And when you smile, it seems that everything is more on the positive side.

  96. Darlene in North Ga says:

    Wise words, Suzanne. Having an attitude of gratitude goes a long way to making us happy – no matter what our situation.

    I’m afraid most people don’t even WANT to know what’s at the top of my list of things that make ME happy!

    S N O W!!!!! And boy, has north GA had a LOT of it this year. Even as we speak , it’s still snowing! :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: I have about 6″ on the ground that will take a while longer to meld. Every little while, I go open the door and stand there for a few minutes just looking at it. The BEST view is at about midnight. Snow softly falling, lights shining through it, all is quiet. Yeah! :snoopy: :snoopy:

    And then there’s the snow ice cream. Yah, good stuff and so easy to make. Clean snow, some sugar, a little vanilla and any milk, canned milk or cream that’s in the house. Even powdered milk, if you reconstitute it would work. Mix it together and eat. Drizzle chocolate over it is good too. lol

    On one of the sites I read, we were having a discussion about how so much of the US had snow on Christmas day. We’ve decided it was a blessing from God. Most of us rejoiced at having a white Christmas – especially those of us in the South that don’t normally get such a treat. It’s been since about 1883 or so that it last snowed in Atlanta on Christmas day. So, yeah, even though I live farther north, we still rarely have snow stick on the ground and not on Christmas. It may not ever happen again in my life-time, so yeah, I’m thankful for it.

    Am I homebound because of it? Yes. Have the skies been gray? Yes. Is it cold not only outside, but inside my house as well? Yes. Am I out of money? YES! Do I have another job yet? No! Do I even have any “prospects” for another job? No. Am I happy anyway? YES! Because I choose to be thankful for what I DO have!

    Thanks for the great post! I think the card is a great idea because all of us get down sometimes. It’s a good resource to have written down the things we DO have.

  97. Donna Mc says:

    Happiness comes from things outside. Joy come from within. A Happy Card is a great way of reminding yourself of the things that bring you joy. Lovely idea, Ms S.
    Despite the many difficult situations in my life right now – 2 teen boys (one a Senior), hubby unemployed for 2 yrs, a beloved dog beginning to show his age, and a toothache…and no $ for the dentist, I refuse to let it get me down. One of my personal favorite quotes is from our Pastor…”Faith is not denying reality….Faith is refusing to be discouraged by reality.”


  98. JoyS says:

    I saw an Ag seed bill board today… a sure sign SPRING IS COMING!! :yes:

  99. Becky says:

    On my happy card today????? This post!!!
    LOVE IT!!!!

  100. Yvonne says:

    WOW!!! This was a powerful and much appreciated post by so many of us….you’ve had a ton of comments, and think of the ones who read and didn’t leave a comment. I’m sure they were just as touched by it.

    We all get down in our mood from time to time, but you really have had a lot more on you this winter, not only with the nonstop snow, but more chores…with BP and GB and new babies, on top of all the taking care of the other animals and family that you do every day. Bless YOU for all that you do, and I thank you for being a part of my “Happy Card” every single day (multiple times a day!) :heart:

  101. jane hill says:

    Thank you Suzanne! I love your happy card. I hope you keep your happiness up. I love being with you everyday! Hugs, Jane

  102. Vicki in So. CA says:

    Beautifully put, Suzanne!
    And a huge thank you :hug: for passing on this little cognitive therapy (I’m a big believer in that) tool. What a lovely, caring gift to all of us. I’m off to make my Happy Card…

  103. judyh says:

    Bless you, Suzanne.

  104. rain says:

    Thank you Suzanne, Rain :heart:

  105. trish c says:

    I needed this blog this morning.I was let go from my job yesterday and I have been visualizing all my joys to try to keep the grief away. Trying to stay calm and positive is sooo hard sometimes.
    My joys are
    my daughters new heart
    my grandaughter (so much joy comes from her)
    a wonderful husband (after 27 yrs I take that for granted too much)
    my son
    this blog
    jill shalvis blog
    the friends I left behind at my job
    my girlfriend Anne
    my wonderful home
    facebook (crazy, but it keeps me in touch w/people I would not otherwise be able to keep in touch with)

  106. andrea pierce says:

    I love this post – I just wanted to show my work. What a good teacher you are! My happy list includes the following:
    New seeds coming up
    Chocolate Orange See’s candies
    Fishing with my dad and step dad
    Birds singing in the morning
    Daydreaming about my future cabin/farm
    Pretty jars on shelves
    Finished scrapbook pages
    Kittens playing
    Fresh sheets
    Smell of cut hay
    First tulips of the season
    Sleepy Izzy kisses (my chihuahua)
    Having my feet rubbed
    Talking to my sister
    Chai latte
    A clean house, quiet, late at night
    Spring rains
    A day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich
    The Beach Boys Christmas album
    The color lavender
    Playing board games with family
    Hosting dinner for friends
    Coffee on the porch early in am during summer
    Fresh peaches in season!

    I guess there ARE a lot of things that make me happy. Who knew? Thank you Suzanne for encouraging us to take stock. It took me all afternoon to come up with my list, but I think it was a very good excercise.

  107. Voni A. says:

    This post of your about the happy card is great. I’m going to try it; I usually can ‘jumpstart’ my mind to be happy but it’s hard during the winter. I may need to do a happy card today because we’ve been stuck at home do to ice on our hill and were running low on food. I feel I’ve been creative with meals this week. I’m ready to go back to work also.

  108. Barbara W says:

    Thanks Suzanne, I needed a little pep talk. This blog is one of my favorite things. Make sure I visit everyday.

  109. AnnieB says:

    What a great post! For sure, one of the items on MY happy card is reading your blog, Suzanne. Happy New Year to you!

  110. Sherry says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am going to create a happy list, Linda pointed us over here with her blog and Iam so grateful!
    I promise to daily find a new reason to be happy

  111. Wendy Baird says:

    Cookies at the gate made me smile. Goats are adorable.
    My happy card is my chickens and bringing eggs to my neighbor with one very warm 3 minute old egg. It made them happy. Made me happy.
    Off to put Edith, my house hen to bed.

  112. princessvanessa says:

    That has to be the happiest duck I have ever seen. I swear it has an ear to ear grin. I couldn’t resist using Mr. or Ms. Duck as my wallpaper so that I can smile each time I turn on my computer. I remember reading, in another post, that you don’t mind if we use one of your pictures for wallpaper on our personal computer….not to sell or reproduce or publish, of course.

  113. Farm Dog Mama says:

    I truly believe that happiness is contagious;our attitudes and actions do effect those around us. When we choose to have that positive attitude in the midst of chaos all around us, others do see that, and they also find themselves re-energized and in a much better frame of mind. In fact, finding your website, and being part of a simpler life community as this, is on my happy list. CITR is a reminder to me of the things that are TRULY important. I take much joy in not being so tied to “stuff” and being able to dream of one day having my little farm. I can sympathize with your friend, for my husband is in a constant state of blaming everyone for what is wrong, but I have refused to give in to that. It takes far more energy to moan and whine about his attitude than it does to look at what I have to be thankful for and keep moving forward.

  114. Alyce Shane says:

    I found two old and cherished photos over the weekend that made me smile. My old Quarter Horse, Koty, was as gentle and kind a horse you’d ever want to know. One of the photos was of my son, Scott, (at that time he was about 2 yrs old)BUTT NAKED, petting gentle Koty on the nose. The other was of my daughter, at the time she was about three, laying on Koty, who was bareback, and she was singing to him. He had his head down, eyes half closed, basking in the love and harmony. I miss him dearly, but those memories always make me smile!

  115. Maura says:

    Such true words! Chickens in the Road would be on my list too like so many others who have posted comments on this. Seeing my little Shih Tzu play with our huge Akbash (a livestock guarding dog) makes me smile and coming home to our farm after being in town always feels wonderful. Thanks for the reminder Suzanne. πŸ™‚

  116. joycee says:

    I’m still thinking about this great post and have shared it with everyone I know! Here’s my list:
    1. My family, definitely my family. Even with all our faults and quirks we are an interesting bunch. We lean on each other, we confide in each other and we know for certain that we love each other.
    2. Home, it makes me very happy to be inside these four walls, safe and warm/or cool. Secure knowing I have enough of everything. What a blessing that is.
    3. Love, I have true love in my life. The kind that comes once in a lifetime, the kind that grows with each day, each year. I have the love of a husband and children and parents, still. My dog even loves me, I know this cause he lets me clean his ears without complaining, everyday of his life! He’s a Cocker Spaniel…
    4. The sun and the moon and the stars and the clouds all make me happy and joyful. It just makes me smile to look around and see green grass or blue sky or the stars up above just like they’ve been put there just for me.
    5. A clean house makes me joyful. I love everything in it’s place and a place for everything. Thank you Aunt B. for encouraging this in me years ago!
    6. Cold milk with a piece of chocolate cake.
    7. Baking bread or cooking for the ones I love.
    8. The Past, I love reaching back for wonderful memories and the things that have been passed along to me.
    9. The Future, I look forward to each stage of my life. At 58 I have to say it’s pretty good right now!
    10. The Security of knowing the “Best is yet to Come!”

  117. Mary Dunton says:

    :butterfly: “Think pretty pink and blue thoughts!” Remember??
    You are definitely responsible for your own happiness!!! πŸ™‚

    My short happy list consists of:

    My daughter Maddy
    Hearing Maddy singing in the shower or just in the house
    Watching her play on her trampoline
    Going riding anytime
    My friends
    My pets
    My warm house
    The gorgeous beauty that surrounds said house
    All God’s creatures
    My blooming paperwhites
    My perseverance
    My business in the works
    My fave cheese on special, which I’ll have later
    Propane back in my stove!!!!!!!
    Oil in my furnace
    Knowing I’m living in a house where history happened
    Having only very little snow so far
    Getting all my bills paid and out of my life (Until next month)
    Knowing I have no commitments this weekend other than a basketball game
    Knowing my girl Suzanne is a totally awesome lady and rocks the blog!! <3

  118. Heather says:

    Well said. People waste their lives waiting for happiness to come to them and finding fault in everything. On my happy card? Chickens, baking, my two bostons, a husband that works so I can stay home, and a God that love me enough to provide forgiveness for my sins.

  119. Leann says:

    One thing that makes me happy is seeing the picture of your animals looking through the fence waiting for a cookie. I laugh every time I see that picture! Thanks for the reminder Suzanne. These gray, snowy, mostly housebound days can make us forget any reason we have to be happy!

  120. Billie says:

    I’ve hooked my daughter on your blog. Only fair, she hooked me into Dooce. She read this post before I had, and said she had a hard time thinking of 10 things, then read on and laughed when she saw your note to do 20, homework was needed. She asked if I had a happy card, and I told her no, I have a hard drive (head) full of happy thoughts/moments/things. Old and new, and the opening of one unleashes so many more. She asked me to name one, and immediately the memory of that same beautiful daughter came to mind. She loved WonderWoman as a child, and her life was complete when she received a pair of WonderWoman underoos. We lived in South Florida at the time and her favorite perch was in our guava tree, wearing her underoos and guarding those things near and dear to her..our dogs, her horse collection, her daddy, the avocado trees, her bike. She allowed that it was indeed a happy thought.

  121. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’m late replying to this Suzanne, but, “Thanks, I needed this!”

  122. TeaCup says:

    This is a great post. Sorry I misseed it in Jan!


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