Happiness Is…

What brings you happiness? Today, this precise moment? Won’t you go ahead and jump down to the comments to share? Then come back up here and let’s visit.
I stood out in the middle of my new garden this morning, surveying the result of lots of sweat, hard work, and frustration. A wave of happiness came over me. This garden, with its new picket fence around it, makes me happy.

And that got me thinking: why is that so?
Why does this little garden make me feel happy?
Well, for starters: I did without a garden for several years, so I appreciate this patch of dirt in which I can plant seeds. I think when you’ve done without, you reach a new appreciation level for what you have.
And. We did the fence ourselves. I knew that I couldn’t harvest what I planted, or reap what I sowed, with all the hungry wildlife around. Deer and rabbits are my main foes. So I called a fence guy. He came and gave me a quote for a fence. I had sticker shock. I became fueled with self-determination when Brenda sent me a link (found here) showing me the garden fence that her husband had built. (Here’s Brenda’s impressive garden fence AND garden!)
I sent the link to my husband, with the subject line “I think we could do this.” And we did. It took us a long time. I hate to admit it, but it took us an entire weekend JUST to lay it out. I finally asked my Daddy to come up and help us because we were having such a hard time squaring it up.

And then we hit some big obstacles. One of which was hitting our water line. Oops.

But then my brilliant husband came up with the idea of making the broken water line into a outdoor faucet inside the fence. Perfect! You talk about making lemonade out of lemons. We would never have been able to do that because we had no idea where the line was. Until we accidentally hit it.

Yep, building that fence wasn’t easy. But we did it; and we’ve got a garden to show for it.
And you know what else? We had fun in the process. We worked together and smooched as much possible. Thinking of those times makes me happy.
Next came garden planning. That step in the process made me happy as well. A study showed that people get more happiness out of planning a vacation than they actually do going on vacation. I wonder if that’s the case with gardening? I can tell you this: I had a lot of fun planning this garden. I poured through the seed catalogs and drew diagram after diagram of how I might set it up.
I think my happiness also comes from me liking to be outside and in the dirt. My fingernails have always revealed the truth that I like to play in the dirt. I was one of those kids who didn’t mind getting dirty. (And I still don’t.) I remember coming home covered in mud from a very fun neighborhood-wide mud fight. It was in my hair and my ears, just everywhere. I also remember that my mom didn’t scold me. She just helped me off with my filthy wet muddy clothes and sent me off to the bathtub.
Another reason I find happiness in the garden may be that I like the way the earth smells. Dirt. I even take pictures of it. Like when I was so excited to find bags of composted horse manure at the local farmers’ market. If you lived in Georgia, with all the orange clay, you’d be thrilled with manure too, I bet.
My dirt.

The manure I found.

See what I mean?
Happiness in a bag.
There is another smell I like when I garden. I also like the way the tiller smells when you crank it for the first time. That smell takes me immediately back to Grandparents’ farm. I’m pretty sure that is one of the reasons I like to play in the dirt. Memory association.
I also felt happy when I headed out to my garden and saw, for the first time in the season, the seeds sprouting. It’s as though I didn’t really think it would happen. I get so excited and thrilled with the whole miracle of that seed. I planted a dried old piece of corn in that hole and now it is a tiny plant. And one day it might produce more corn. With more seeds. I mean, come on. That is a miracle. It’s an encounter with the holy, the infinite, the source.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude,” so says Denis Waitley.
And I have to agree. Love, grace, gratitude. That is what I was feeling in the garden. Yes, that’s where the surge of happiness came from.
Since I started this post, I found confirmation of something that I’d long suspected. Happiness is good for your heart.
Yep, a study found that that the happiest people were 22% less likely to develop heart disease over the 10 years of follow-up than people who fell in the middle of the negative-positive emotion scale. Happy people tend to sleep better, eat better, smoke less, get more exercise.
Another study showed that money does NOT make us happy. Again, I’m not surprised. At all.
I found a study estalishing another one of my suspicions: happiness is contagious.
I’m not surprised by that either. Haven’t you found that to be true? Like, when you are around someone who is happy, you feel good.
The study showed that knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3 percent more likely to be happy yourself. But what about this? A happy friend of a friend increases your odds of happiness by 9.8 percent. And a happy friend of a friend of a friend increases your odds by 5.6 percent. Pretty cool.
So maybe we owe it not only to ourselves to be happy. But also for our spouses, our kids, our friends, parents. For folks we love. For the people we work with. Don’t worry, be happy.
Enough about me. Now won’t you leave a comment and spread your happiness?
What are you happy about today?
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

(I compiled lots of happiness quotes—you’ll find them at www.rebekahteal.com. Like this one from Wayne Dyer that I really should write on post-its and post on my mirror and on my forehead, “You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.”)

  1. Toni says:

    Happiness is a two-year-old boy and the toy tractor he just received for his birthday. 🙂

  2. Sherry says:

    Love this post…..I too have discovered that the garden and playing in the dirt evokes much happiness in me. The smell of dirt….the satisfaction of eating something that started out as a little seed. It is wonderful. Love your fence…..I need to do that too, although my problem critters are the chickens that I keep. Thanks….for the reminder that happiness is contagious…..heres to catching it all over the country!

  3. Right now, today, what brings me happiness is sitting on the beach with my husband and our daughter (who turns 20 tomorrow), just enjoying each other and the beauty of God’s creation. 🙂

  4. Janice K. says:

    I know that you are quite a bit younger than me, but you are on the path of finding the best of life in your quest for happiness. Working with the earth is a wonderful, relaxing, fruitful endeavor! Like I always remind myself ‘Even on the worst days, the sun still shines, and the birds still sing, and the garden still grows…’. We are truly blessed to find happiness at home!

  5. Lindsay says:

    Happiness is knowing the world will keep turning and the sun will come up tomorrow regardless of what happened today; and going to my parents house and just looking at nature after surviving this rat-infested city 😉

  6. Kristen W. says:

    Today I’m happy that we get another sunny, warm day in Seattle! That I will be able to work in my garden when I get home (and get plenty of dirt under my nails). I’m also happy that I get to go home to my house and see my hudband and pets – all happy to see me!

  7. Just finished reading your post. I’ve got gardening in my blood, from my grandfathers on both sides. Unfortunately, I lost one when I was only 9, and the other just 3 years ago. But I learned early on how special it is to plant a garden, weed it, water it, watch it grow with so many delightful offerings, and then harvest. A lot of work, to be sure, but the rewards are immense. I feel such peace when I’m in my garden. I’m on vacation right now, but still wondering if my strawberries have finished, wondering if my herbs survived the heat wave I heard we had last week, and, anticipating planting the veggies we temporarily potted so a family member could water them for us at their house. I’ll have much weeding to do before I can plant them.

    Thanks for sharing. A garden definitely can make one very happy.

  8. Pam says:

    For me … happiness is waking up in my newly rebuilt home after losing our home and all of our worldly possessions 30 months ago due to a raging fire that swept thru our town. I feel very blessed to be HOME again … and HAPPY beyond belief!

  9. Brenda says:

    Happiness is having a MaryJaneFarmgirl mention my garden and blog on your post. Giddy. Really. My hubs does so much of the work in the garden I cannot take a lot of credit for how pretty he keeps it. He is a worker and I just try to keep up with him half the time. But he is one of those mostly happy people and keeps me feeling younger than I am. And my grandchildren make me happier than I think possible when they are about. What a wonderful post I will have to go read your happiness quotes. And the water faucet what a smart man you have, just perfect!

  10. Jana says:

    Happiness is knowing that I have the freedom to work in my sewing room creating a quilt for a grandchild, son or daughter. Knowing that I have the freedom to walk through my vegetable or flowers gardens and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Knowing that I can work in my kitchen to prepare something special for someone in need or to just share with family. Happiness is knowing and feeling just how good life is!

  11. Nicole says:

    Off the top of my head- homeschooling my kids. A close second, how they say thank you, even for things like driving them to music class or taekwondo.

  12. Leslie says:

    Right now, Happiness is the peace of having my mom on the mend from a broken hip, finally finishing school and now having the time to play in my little pots of dirt on the patio. It’s so lovely to sit out there at night in the summer.

  13. Cindy Rush says:

    Spending quality time with my man
    Laughing with friends/family
    Being creative..whether it’s attempting to arrange some flowers or herbs in a vase, making a jam, a new recipe, thinking of ways to save money, sewing, knitting, gardening…anything creative.

    Cindy Bee

  14. diana says:

    Hearing the Lord speak to me early in the morning, and bringing peace to my spirit.

  15. Jackie says:

    Happiness = my kids, their music, a daughter who graduated with honors, listening to the music my kids play, a son that was hired fulltime and a boyfriend that makes a world of difference in my life and to take a ride on the motorcycle. Yeah, right now that is happiness to me.

  16. bobbie calgaro says:

    Happiness is always spending time with my husband, daughter and son-in-law any time I can. And also, at this time of year sitting on the porch with a glass of tea or Cheerwine and a good book or magazine watching my flowers grow.

  17. Rene Foust says:

    happiness is finally having running water to a small bathroom sink and toilet in my 190 year young home that I just bought and am trying to make livable! No more driving to the corner gas station!!!!!

  18. Sarah says:

    Happiness is listening to my three year old jabber about the new book I got him yesterday. 🙂

  19. Barbara Lavell says:

    Happiness is teaching my 5 year old great-grandaughter to enjoy gardening & nature as much as I do. It is also watching her plant her flowers & vegetables with her pink gloves & pink sunhat on as well as using her pink gardening tools. After gardening we sit & have a glass of tea & cookies while she’s sitting in her little pink lawnchair & sipping tea out of her pink glass. It doesn’t get any better than that. I also bought her a gardening book for children so that when she’s not actually gardening, she’s reading & dreaming about gardening — just like Grandma.

  20. Carol in NC says:

    A moment ago I looked into the sweet face of my ‘garden’, my middle child with Down Syndrome, and surveyed the result of lots of sweat, hard work and frustration. And JOY! She leaves us little notes all over the house with a big smiley face and the word HAPPY written below. What a hoot.

  21. Brenda says:

    what makes me happy? good question. I guess there are alot of things some day it is a just sitting in the swing just swinging.I too like the smell of dirt when it is just turned and fresh cut hay but the first tomato still warm with the salt shaker can bring a smile too.

  22. gwen Quon says:

    Oh yes the garden!! I am in my garden for at least an hour a day. I love the birds singing
    and the sun and the colors. It makes me happy and joyful and above all grateful. I am a
    happy person and I make it my job to stay that way. I never want to waste time in any
    negative state. Thank you for your post, it made me Happy!!!

  23. Correen Drake says:

    Living on a farm makes me happy, always… But today as I mowed the pasture on my new Kabota…I was happy to see that I was winning my battle on the cheat grass…less each year. And the ‘good’ grass was thicker and taller this year… that is what made me happy today 🙂

  24. Merrie Jayne says:

    It’s so fun to read all of your happiness posts. We just returned from a beach house vacation with kids, sister and her family. She was evacuated from her little mountain town due to raging wildfires in AZ and yet we found happiness in each other. Although she may lose her home, her family is safe and we were surrounded by beauty. We know we have one another, love and an understanding that happiness surpasses what we own on the outside. We will continue to look for the beauty around us and to strengthen the love between us.

  25. Susan Ruff says:

    a sunshiney day, a gentle breeze through the window, little kids giggling, holding hands, sheets dried on the clothesline….

  26. Connie says:

    Farmgirl friends! That’s what happiness is to me!!

  27. Jady says:

    Smack-dab what I was looinkg for-ty!

  28. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the share!

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