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When I decided it would be fun to use my blog as a contest venue this past year, I had no idea how rewarding it would be.  Not only did many of your participate, I had the good fortune to read all your entries, as did my assistant, the Marvelous Marna, who collated all the answers for us.  Your task was simple, and not so simple.  I asked you to comment on any blog with “happiness” in the title and tell us what made you happy.  Simple because you only needed to write a few lines.  Not so simple because isolating what makes us happy isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I suppose it’s not surprising that there were many similarities in your wonderful responses.  I think it’s fair to say mostly women read this blog, and mostly women responded.  It’s also not surprising that readers who stop by here have lots in common.  If you want details of aerospace engineering or hikes in the Himalayas, this isn’t your blog.  If you want to read about books and an author’s personal journey and interests, you’re in the right place.

We do share interests, you and I.  We are made happy by many of the same things.  Looking over the list, I found three birdwatchers, a hobby I’ve yet to take up because I can never find anything with binoculars. King Kong could be panting and drooling right in front of me, and I’d have no success locating him.  So until I overcome this obvious handicap, the birdwatchers and I will be happily celebrating different joys in life.  Otherwise, please know that I nodded along.

Above and beyond everything else, you mentioned good books–often mine in particular–and reading.  Of course you know this thrills me no end.  Seventy-three of you responded this way, and I salute each and every one of you.

Fifty-one of you mentioned children and grandchildren.  Mother of four and grandmother of one here.  I understand.

“Family” was happiness for thirty-one of you.  Combined with the above, that’s eighty-two, and if we add husbands (twenty-three) who figured just below pets (I’m not making this up) at twenty-six, we have one hundred and five people who mentioned someone in their family–not including Fido and Fluffy, who are, in my humble opinion, family members, too.

Crafts and creative endeavors of all kinds were important.  Twenty-eight of you mentioned them.  Since I spent last night blocking scarves and sweater pieces, and will today finish my block of the month quilted stockings, I can only say “you bet.”

Friends were important to your happiness, just as they were important to the women of Happiness Key, whose search for happiness started this entire blog series.  Eighteen of you mentioned them.

Water destinations (beaches, rivers, lakes) were important to thirteen of you.  Again, the women of Happiness Key would tell you they agree.

On more serious notes religious faith was important to the happiness of many of you, as were health and surviving serious illnesses.  Helping others featured prominently.  Leisure time activities like traveling and vacations, music, gardening, swimming, make you happy.  Saving money, eating well, chocolate (amen!), and a clean house found places on the list.  Sunshine received seven votes, but rain got three, running and dancing in it and just listening to it fall.  I love those images.

Are you nodding along?  If you were one of the commenters, are you saying to yourself, “I meant to mention that one, too?”  Because it feels that way after reading your responses.  Even with all our differences, we have so much in common.  You spoke with many voices, but your responses were of a kind.  The simplest things make you happy.  No one mentioned expensive jewelry, a twenty bedroom mansion, dining with the stars.  We love our family, our pets, the pleasures of a good book, the friends we’ve cultivated.  We love sunshine and even rain, the feel of yarn running through our fingers, the pleasures of tiny quilting stitches.

Thank you, every one of you, for taking the time to share your joys here.  I wish continued happiness to all of you, but I’m not worried.  You find happiness in the things you already possess. I am sure that whatever your futures hold, that will continue. 

16 Comments

  1. Carolyn West on October 21, 2009 at 5:19 am

    So how could you write so many books and I haven’t heard of you? Sorry, but you are on my list now and I will dip in and test the water so to speak. Guess you are out of my genre for the most part I read Christian fiction a great selection these days. I was sent your way by Suzanne from DearReader.com and I love the authors she introduces us to and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed in you as well.
    Carolyn

  2. Gram on October 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Family and friends it is for me, too. I also include the family of DearReader in that group as Suzanne makes us feel like we are family.

  3. Nancy Austin on October 21, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Emilie,
    I was just introduced to your writing on Suzanne Beecher’s Dear Reader.com where you have written guest column.
    As I began reading Suzanne Beecher’s Dear Reader column this morning, my first reaction is: “Boy, this guest can really write and what a style! I could read this author’s books anytime. I wonder if she has written anything. I hope so.” I’m a little embarrassed at admitting that as it turns out, according to Suzanne, that you have written 60 books???!!! Ok, I didn’t get to that until much later at the end of her column.
    I’d truly love to be a winner of your new book (or any of your books for that matter!)
    I loved, loved, loved your column on the treasures. What a great imagination you have. Thanks for the pleasure of adding to my list of my favorite new authors.
    Warm regards,
    Nancy Austin
    Canton, Michigan

  4. Karen Fellenstein on October 21, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I just read the DearReader column today and enjoyed your column. I also am a quilter and was surprised to come across all your beautiful quilt patterns on your site. I downloaded the free pattern and hope to make it for my Granddaughter soon. I am planning on reading your books as well.
    Karen

  5. Ramona Young on October 21, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Loved reading about your experience with growing potatoes and the lesson of finding treasure wherever you are or in the least likely places. I must admit that I have not read one of your books yet, but after reading your column at Suzanne’s DearReader.com, I will definitely be picking up one of your books to read. Your books look like my type of book. I would love to be a winner of one of your books.

  6. Mary Healey on October 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Potatoes! who ever thought they could give me the chance to read an article containing such a wonderful writing style , humor and much “food”for thought. (Excuse the pun.)
    Your article today on DearReader.com entices me to read your many novels. Thank you.
    Mary Healey

  7. Nola Nanna on October 21, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Hi Emilie: I read your column at Suzanne’s Dear Reader.com and it made me want to read more of your writing. I’m definitely going to look up your books. I’m a late comer to your happiness blog but reading is one thing that makes me happy. Either reading on a balmy day on my front porch swing or reading to my 3 year old grandaughter just like I read to her Daddy and his siblings years ago. Those are among my happiest moments.

  8. Deb Parker on October 21, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Hi Emile! I just started getting the posts from DearReader.com today and I am already excited for the next installment! I loved the rich description of planting and growing potatoes. You do grab the reader! I look forward to reading your books…what a great writing style you have. Thank you and blessings, Deb

  9. Jean Brady on October 21, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I love your blog. You really care a lot about your readers as is evident in all the time that you took to add up all the things that make “us” happy.
    After reading your list, there was not one thing on it that I would leave off. All of the things mentioned are part of my “happiness” picture.
    Thank you for filling in for Suzanne at dearreader.com on Wednesday, October 21st. She is a wonderful lady whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person and I read her blog as the first thing on my computer each day.
    Now, I would like to sign up to read your blogs, Ms. Emilie, so that is where I am heading right now. Plus, I will add your books to my “must reads” list, especially the mysteries! Have a great day.

  10. Joyce on October 21, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I was so happy to see you on DearReader today. I have just finished reading Happiness Key and it was a book I could hardly put down. Such insight to different women. Thank you. So happy you filled in for Suzanne.

  11. Lisa G on October 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Emilie! I’m here from the “Dear Reader” site! Thank you for your potato story! I am glad you mentioned your website and blog. I love your blog! I have bookmarked you so I can look you up on a daily basis. Today is my day for book shopping so I have you down on my list to pick one up. On your thoughts about what makes people happy, I have added mine in. If I had to sum up my thoughts of Happiness it would take the whole page and then some. A few of the things are: My kiddos, all five of them, my granddaughter, my non-human kiddos,a great book, the sunshine, the ocean, the smell of spring rain, the smell of a christmas tree and so much more. Thank you again Emilie! I have also bookmarked your quilt site. That’s one thing on my todo list!

  12. Pat on October 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Emilie
    I am also a new reader of your blog! I read your lovely “Dear Reader” today as you filled in for Suzanne Beecher. I love my husband, children and grandchild, and they all make me happy, but I wonder if anyone mentioned the following two things that make them happy: their city and blogging? I live in New York City, and whenever I need a happiness boost all I have to do is take a subway ride somewhere new and walk around and explore. I love to learn new things about my city and when I do I blog about them. Blogging has introduced me to so many nice and interesting people from all around the USA and the world!
    I enjoyed reading through your blog posts today. I’m going to try your variations for oatmeal bread ..they sound so good!
    Regards, Pat

  13. Debra Guyette on October 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Emilie, I came from Dear Reader . com as well. I enjoyed your column. What makes me happy is when my family is happy because then we are all happy together.

  14. mazie mayes on October 22, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I enjoyed your column through Suzanne Beecher and the online book club. That’s what I love about Suzanne. She exposes me to so many new authors I would not know were available. I love reading the excerpts and sharing the books with my personal book group. Loved your colorful blog.
    I’d love to win one of your books to add to my collection.
    Thank you.

  15. Afi on October 22, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Hi Emilie, I just read your column at Dear Reader.com and enjoyed it a lot! I’m sorry to say that I have never read any of your books before. I checked out your beautiful and interesting blogs and wrote down some of your recipes. I do love your writing style and would love to read your books. I hope to win one of your books to begin my journey in that direction!
    Thanks a lot!
    Afi
    Tallahassee, FL

  16. Penny Tuttle on October 22, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Emilie – I’ve been a fan of your “ministry is murder books” ever since I discovered them, but I enjoyed reading a little more about you as a person in Suzanne’s DearReader column. Of course I’d love to win one of your books. Keep up the good work.
    Penny
    Oregon

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