Audio books

Friday Favorites

October 16, 2020

My favorite dog

If you subscribe to the Happy Little Thoughts newsletter (and if you don’t, why not?! It’s free, contains material not found elsewhere on Catching Happiness, and I promise I don’t share your email with anyone else! Click here if you want to subscribe.), you’re already hearing about some of my favorites, otherwise known as Happy Little Things.

But you know, once a month isn’t enough for sharing good things. If there was such a thing as a happy IV, we need it now. So from time to time, I’m going to start posting “Friday Favorites”—specific simple pleasures and happy little things that are helping me to survive what passes for life in The Year That Must Not Be Named (2020).

So here goes. Here’s the first edition of Friday Favorites—a few of the happy little things that are boosting my mood right now. Get your thinking caps on, because there will be a homework assignment at the end of this post!

The Goes Wrong Show. My husband and I laughed so hard we cried. My favorite episode was “The Lodge.” Stream on Amazon Prime (no affiliation). 

As You Wish—Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes, on audio book (borrowed from my library). Though I don’t often listen to audio books, I heard this one was a fun listen and The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. Elwes reads it himself, and a few of the other cast members (as well as director Rob Reiner) join in. 

Planting herb seeds. I prefer gardening in Florida in the fall/winter—it’s cooler and less buggy. I started by planting parsley, basil, thyme, cilantro, and lavender—herbs that technically should grow for me this time of year. If my seeds don’t sprout and thrive (which past experience has shown me is likely—but I keep trying), I’ll go to a local nursery for plants. I WILL have an herb garden, one way or another. (Do you hear me, seeds?)

Playoff baseball. First, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup. Now the Tampa Bay Rays are one game away from going to the World Series.

A real, not in-memory-only, Field Trip Friday. Masked up, I’m going on an outing with a friend to a craft store. I don’t need anything—except inspiration.

Now it’s your turn. What book knocked your socks off, what podcast inspires or entertains you, what movie or TV show helps you escape from your worries? Are you baking something delicious? Painting or quilting or drinking pumpkin spice lattes?  Please (I beg you!) share a simple pleasure, everyday adventure, or happy little thing with us in the comments. If you’re reading this post in your email, hit reply to share a favorite or two. If I get enough responses, I’ll do a round up post of everybody’s favorites. We need all the happy we can get.

Dawna Markova

Each in Our Own Rhythm

February 23, 2018

Photo by Iulian Pana on Unsplash

“Most of us and our organizations still follow the old mythology, where we are thought of as perpetual motion machines, working at one speed—fast as can be, productive as possible—like stair-climbers in a gym, up, up, up, asking us to exert more effort but getting nowhere very quickly. Ascent, ascent, higher and higher. Never descent, never darkness or a plateau for regeneration.

“As a consequence, we become imprisoned in our own rigidities. What if, instead, we realized, like Ram Dass, that we go through many incarnations in this one life? What if we realized that instead of ‘things’ getting better and better if we work harder and harder, that, like a seed, we will each in our own rhythm, go through endless cycles of gestation, birth, growth, death, and renewal?”
—Dawna Markova, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

Everyday adventures

Planting Hope

September 22, 2014

Is there anything more optimistic and hopeful than planting a garden? 

This weekend, my husband and I prepared our largest garden bed for fall planting. We had to dig out the old soil, pull up the tree roots creeping into the bed, put down cardboard to slow their return, and refill the bed with a mixture of the old soil and a good helping of fresh soil from our compost heap. It was hot, drippy work, but we were left with a beautiful, ready-to-be-planted bed.


After and ready for planting
We’re also growing our garden from seeds—another hopeful and optimistic endeavor. Can you imagine sweet sugar snap peas coming from these:

Or carrots from these:

That’s what we’re hoping for, along with a few other Florida cold season crops.

There are many garden-to-life metaphors/parallels/life lessons, such as: in gardening as in life you have to get your hands dirty if you want things to grow, or gardening and life both have “seasons,” and so on. One of my favorite lessons, however, is that beautiful things can come from unprepossessing beginnings. Tiny, dead-looking seeds produce luscious tomatoes, beautiful blooms, crunchy carrots, and aromatic herbs. This makes me feel hopeful that when I feel parched and withered, with the right care and nurturing I can produce something beautiful and delicious, too. Even though each seed contains new life, it will not sprout unless its growing conditions are met. The spark of creativity and life within me must be nurtured as well. All I need to do is look around me for the nurturing I need to grow and bloom. And, sometimes the hardest part, allow myself that nurturing, whether it is a delicious meal, an afternoon nap, a coffee date with a friend, or half an hour spent daydreaming and listening to music.

I’ve been feeling tired, parched, and withered lately. While I have been allowing myself time for dormancy, for just chillin’, I’m ready to leave this stage and move on to the next. My favorite season—fall—is coming and with it, the cooler, drier air that always gives me an energy lift. I want to feel that spark of creative energy wake up inside me, and I want to grow and bloom the way our garden will (I hope). While I’m waiting, I’m going to pay careful attention to my growing conditions.

In what ways can you make conditions right for your own blossoming?