Happy List

Sunday, March 2, 2014
Did you know I was a Mormon missionary for 18 months? It's true. I was assigned to the Peoria, Illinois mission, which covered most of central Illinois and small parts of Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana. One of my very favorite areas I served in was Kirksville, Missouri. The people we taught, the members of the church, my companion...they were all fantastic. FANTASTIC. 

For most of my time there, my companion was Sister Tangitau, an absolute beauty goddess from Tonga. We got a long SO WELL and were able to teach several outstanding people. (Does it surprise you that every morning as we were getting ready to go do service projects or knock on doors we'd repeat our motto, "You gotta look good."?)

I think back with fondness on the day Vince was baptized outside in a lake, on the poems Rob O'Brian used to write for me, on the crisp fall air and the apple pie I made that spilled all over my skirt, and our early morning walks around the track at Truman State University. I made some life-long friends in that wonderful little place. 

One thing Siser Tangitau and I used to do was create "Happy Lists" every few weeks. We loved the way our neighbor, Donald, had rigged a special horn for his car that was an entire 8 measures of some clown-like melody. We loved the delicious vegetarian dishes that Vince and his roommates would feed us. We loved the Raish family and their adorable little son, Noah. We'd create bullet point after bullet point of all the things that made us happy. 

So that's what I'm doing today. A Happy List. 

-Les Mis. I am so grateful I'm in this show right now. Everything about this experience is exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It is almost too perfect and poetic. 

-Elliot Yamin. You know? One of the runners up on American Idol a long time ago? He has this one song that comes on the radio occasionally and every time I hear it I think, "I love Elliot Yamin...and I don't care who knows it." 

-The sunshine and warmer temps. This goes a little beyond happy. 

-When I come home late from my show to a clean house. Vic has been a rock star during the run of this show so far. I recently read an article that said one of the first things you can do to help someone with depression is get rid of clutter. I SO appreciate a clean home. 

-That Peter had his first dental appointment and they discovered ZERO cavities. I mean...talk about dodging a bullet. (His sweet tooth is something to be reckoned with)

-Zoë June. It is impossible to not be happy when you look at her and nibble her and squeal with her and swing her and watch her dance. She is too much! 

-Peter's gymnastics class at TumbleKatz and his "Let's Play Music" class. Especially his "Let's Play Music" class. INcredible. He is learning music theory, rhythm, sulfage, pitch--all in musical play. I am so proud and amazed at his growth and understanding. He'll be starting piano next year and I can hardly wait. 

-Naps. I'm approaching the one year mark of being Ambien free! Can you even handle it?? I never, ever feel guilty for taking a nap or sleeping in. I only feel proud. 

-The "Happy Song" by Pharrell Williams. You've probably heard it, but if not, google it. Please. Or click HERE

-Babies. There are a few people in Les Mis with little babies and occasionally they are backstage in the green room. I cannot get enough of them. 

-Comfortable and practical yet stylish clothes. They make me happy. 

-Kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, humility, vulnerability--it makes me happy when people in my life are this way. I try to be this way, but I can be better. 

-Compliments. Even the smallest of compliments. 

-A good book, movie, or TV show. (It is rare I see a movie I love. But I love almost every book I read and there are several TV shows that I really like.)

I'll stop there for now. Except I just remembered one more--Happy Lists. They make me happy. So do you. 


  1. We saw you in Les Mis on Friday night. It was amazing! I was hoping you would be in the lobby so I could say "hi"...maybe another time :)

  2. How fun to hear you talk about Kirksville! We lived there for 2 years while my husband was in medical school and it will always have a special place in my heart!

  3. Reading your happy list made me happy! Thanks for sharing. Oh and Les Mis was incredible! Great job!

  4. I need to do this! Spring clean my mind out!

  5. I don't know you, but I love your optimism. Your list is great. You mentioning kindness and compliments reminded me of this great little movie on YouTube. When you have a few minutes check it out. We used it for FHE and it has such a great message. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ER908wHRzbk

  6. This post reminded me of a book I picked up at a garage sale years ago called "14,000 things to be happy about." It is one BIG happy list! My favorite part of the book is that it appears several people (with different marking styles) had spent time thumbing through the pages, marking things that made them happy too. As I read through, page by page, I highlighted hundreds of things that also make me smile and wondered about these strangers and the "happy" things that we had in common. We have moved many times over the years, but I can't seem to let this book go. It makes me happy!

    When I find myself in a funk, I make a point of writing down 5 things I am grateful for each day. It seems to make me more aware of the random little tender mercies present in my mundane days. I think I need to make a happy list today too!

  7. I love your Happy list....I'm going to make one pronto. Pharrell sang "Happy" at the Oscars last night..me and my little grandson danced to it (you gotta dance, right?). I usually watch about the first 10 minutes of Oscars and then get bored. But last night....it was so awesome with Ellen, pizza, selfies, the talented winners...made me happy to watch this particular Oscar show. Jen is right, be grateful each and every day for something. Sometimes we wait on the sidelines, hoping, praying, that someone....something will help us be happy. In reality it is up to us to become happy, to do things that will help us to be happy and then when we are happy, it is easier for those around us to also be happy. Thanks Molly for helping me see things that could help me in my life...especially remembering and being thankful for things that make me happy.

  8. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness 3 years ago and live in daily pain. It can get very discouraging to have this disability day after day after day... One thing that has helped keep things in perspective and prevents me from dropping down the slippery slope of depression is my own "happy list," except I call mine "My Gratitude Journal." Every night, I write some things I'm grateful for or that made me happy that day. Somedays, it's only one thing (and it could be totally superficial). Somedays, I fill up pages. I don't set a limit for myself; just whatever I'm feeling that day. I try to write right before I go to bed so I go to sleep with happy thoughts. Since doing this, I have seen such a difference in my life and in my ability to cope with this illness. I have such a different perspective and can constantly see the goodness of God in my life and in this world.

  9. I live in your mission area (Charleston, IL - Mattoon ward), but the entire mission changed 2 or so years ago. Now it's the St Louis Mission and the boundaries are different...If you ever served in the Champaign Stake and there are any members you're wondering about I can let you know...lynnesoatyahoodotcom

  10. You are amazing! I love your honesty and style. You are a beautiful soul. Keep on keeping on!


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