The Blog is Moving! (For Now)

The Blog is Moving! (For Now)

Hi friends, the year is already flying by and I’ve been enjoying catching up with you all here on the blog.

I’ve been deep in flower world lately and noticing that every time I try to come up with a new blog post, it always has something to do with flowers – ha! Working with flowers has added so much more joy, connection and meaning to my life and I really want to share that magic with all of you.

I know that not all of you are very interested in flower talk, so I’ve decided to blog on my other website: https://www.floweremedy.co/ for the time-being. I still hope to pop back here every now and again, but it just won’t be every week.

Here’s what I’m planning to share on The Flower Remedy blog:

  • Research on how being around flowers can add more joy and happiness to our lives
  • Easy ways to incorporate flowers, plants, and nature into our everyday routines to enhance our well-being
  • How we can connect with ourselves and the earth through nature and gardening
  • Behind-the-scenes of my garden and the flower giveaways I’m doing
  • Flower meanings and which flowers are best to give for each occasion
  • My best tips for growing flowers, giving flowers, pressing/drying flowers, and arranging flowers

Click here to see my my first blog post, where I talk about the flowers I’m growing and a few bouquets I’ve given away so far this year: https://www.floweremedy.co/blog/garden.

If you’d like to sign up to receive new flower blog posts to your email, scroll down to the bottom of this page and add your email there.

Thank you so much for your support!

20 Ways to Connect with Your Friends in 2022

20 Ways to Connect with Your Friends in 2022

I don’t know about you, but over the last 2 years I’ve had to get very creative with how to keep in touch with friends from a distance. There’s nothing I love more than sitting down face to face with my best friends and chatting about life, so it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to maintain a connection during the times where I haven’t had that ability. Below is a list that I originally created for myself when I was brainstorming different ideas for how to connect with my BFF’s. I know we’re able to see each other more now than in 2020, but I still find that I’m seeing people much less than I used to. I hope you find it helpful!

20 Ways to Connect with Friends During a Pandemic

1. Monthly goals

Choose one goal each month and check in with each other once a week to see how you’re doing with that goal via text or with a weekly phone call. It creates such great accountability and it helps you connect, while also doing moving towards an objective. I usually choose different goals than my friends, but you can also choose the same one. Anything goes!

2. Game night

Host virtual game nights for your friends. Some fun games are PlayingCards.io, Cards Against Humanity, and Random Trivia Generator.

3. Cooking club

Choose one recipe each week to cook with a friend. Cook the dishes in your own kitchens, then send each other pictures and rate how each dish was. You can also take it to the next level by cooking together on Facetime or a regular phone call. I’ve heard great things about Cook This Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes to Repeat and you can never go wrong with a Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

4. Work out

Sign up for the same work out class (online) and do it together. A few popular online workout subscriptions right now are Melissa Wood Health, The Class, Sculpt Society, and Yoga with Adriene. Chat about how your workout went afterwards when you’re hydrating!

5. Bake something and give it to friends

Bake something delicious and deliver it to friends. This is a great way to connect with local pals by showing your love and will inevitably lead to more connection afterwards. Two of my favorite things to bake are these amazing chocolate chip cookies and these banana chocolate chip muffins. They are a hit every time!

6. Pen pals

Send each other snail mail. A great place to look for cute “mail tag” ideas is on Pinterest.

7. Share what’s in your garden

Have extra flowers, veggies or fruit? Surprise your friends by writing a cute note and dropping the goodies off at their house.

8. Learn something new together

There are so many courses on sites like brit.co and udemy.com that are inexpensive and fun. Ask a friend if she wants to take one at the same time and compare notes. One of my favorite courses is the free Science of Happiness course.

9. Volunteer online together

There are a lot of volunteer opportunities you can do online. You may not be interacting with each other while volunteering, but you can always call your friends afterwards to connect about how it went. One of my favorite foundations to support is https://www.7cups.com/, where you can volunteer to listen to people who need someone to talk to. If you want more ideas for where to volunteer, try visiting volunteermatch.com.

10. Do Happsters Weekly 3 together

Try out the Weekly 3 and send your entries to each other every week. I did this with my friend Gina for about 2 years and it was the best!

11. Tarot Tuesdays

If you’re both into tarot, choose a spread each week and send each other the cards you pulled. Chat about how you think it relates to what’s going on in your life right now. If you’re looking for a tarot deck, you can search for one you like here.

12. Daily breathwork or meditation

Ask your friends if they want to do breathwork or meditation with you (virtually) every day for a month. There are tons of free meditations on the apps Insight Timer and Calm. I also love the breathwork app Breathwrk (I use the free version). Text each other throughout the week to see how it’s going.

13. Book club

Start a book club and meet virtually every month to talk about the book. You can also mix it up and each read your own self help books and then get on the phone to discuss what you took away from your respective books. Here are 15 of the best online book clubs to join in 2022.

14. Watch party

Choose a series to watch and turn it on at the same time each week. Text throughout the show with your thoughts. If you’re watching on Netflix, try Netflix Party.

15. Sharing circle

If you have a larger group of friends, consider hosting a virtual sharing circle where you lead everyone in asking 2-3 questions like “What’s something you’ve enjoyed about 2022 so far?” and “What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to yet?” Pose one question at a time and have everyone go around and answer without interrupting, then move onto the next question. Then at the end of the sharing circle, chat about life updates and/or follow-up questions you have from everyone’s shares.

16. Weeds & seeds of the week

Get on the phone each Sunday and journal together about the things you need to get done in the coming week (weeds) and the things that would be fun to do/would bring you joy this week (seeds). Journal about it while on the phone and then share with each other your weeds and seeds. Check in throughout the week to see how you’re both doing.

17. Mastermind

If you and your friend(s) own businesses or have side hustles, start a mastermind where you get on a call every month to discuss your business goals, get advice on new ideas, and support each other.

18. Create one thing every day for a month

If you and your friend love to get creative, challenge each other to do one creative thing every day (they can be different from each other) and send each other a picture of what you made every day.

19. Sunday check-in texts

Send each other a text on a designated day each week asking “what was the best part of your week?” to help each other focus on the bright side.

20. Podcast club

Pick a podcast episode to listen to on a topic that you and your friend(s) would enjoy and then schedule a time to talk about it. A few of my favorites are Almost 30, We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle, The Splendid Table, and The Cosmic Earth Podcast with Natalie Holbrook.

How have you stayed in touch with friends over the last few years? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

The Power Social Media Has in Connecting – And Disconnecting – Us

The Power Social Media Has in Connecting – And Disconnecting – Us

I’m so excited to have my first guest post of the year share a little bit about her experience with social media. Amy Weinland Daughters is an author who is coming out with a book on May 17, 2022 called “Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote All 580 of my Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter.” When I first heard about this book, the first thing I said to my husband was “that sounds like my kind of book!” Many of you know how much I love handwritten letters, so I can’t wait to read Amy’s book! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy her post about how social media can connect and disconnect us below.

Amy’s letters to Facebook friends

In 2004 Myspace reached one million active users, a watershed moment that signaled the dawn of the age of social media. Speed forward a mere 18 years later, and Facebook has 2.89 billion monthly active users across the globe. That’s roughly 35 percent of the world population. 

To say it’s transformed the culture of human interaction would be a gross understatement.

While the advent of the telegraph (1844), telephone (1876) and texting (1992) enabled individuals to communicate one-on-one in real time – social media allows us to be connected without deliberately being a part of a conversation. 

Though we can choose to participate via posting, sharing, commenting, and liking for all to see, we can also play the role of bystander – an individual on the sidelines who observes the interaction without contributing. 

The reality is, most people who engage in social media – which is most of us whether we admit it or not – fall somewhere between these two extremes, we are active participants and silent bystanders.

The result is an alternate universe that seems like reality, but it can’t be. Not because it’s inherently “bad”, but because even though it can feel, taste and smell like actual human interaction – like real relationship – it just isn’t.

Before proceeding with the bashing of social media, let’s take a step back and acknowledge the absolute value it offers us as human beings who crave the company of other human beings.

The Connecting Points

The truth is social media allows us to do something that without it would be impossible – interacting with hundreds, even thousands, of people at the same time. 

With it, we can keep in touch. We can know things that otherwise we wouldn’t. 

Armed with this knowledge we can support and encourage one another. While we might not be there “in person” we can be there in a way that has the potential to make a meaningful difference. 

Beyond that we can entertain one another, providing a much-needed distraction from the reality of our world. Then there’s the sharing of information – though often fraught – social media does have value for getting the word out, especially when we can agree on a defined truth.  

It all adds up to a sense of actual, genuine, community that wouldn’t be without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. 

Don’t think so?

Consider the essential outlet social media has provided throughout the pandemic. Despite all its inherent flaws, it’s made people feel less alone when the potent danger of loneliness is as prevalent as it’s been in our lifetimes.

The Disconnect

The other truth is – we can’t be in real relationship with hundreds of people. It’s not that we don’t like – or even love – our on-line community, it’s that we can’t be there – in a real, in-person, way.

Social media doesn’t require us to personally invest in relationships – to sacrifice or to risk something of value to form a closer bond with another person. Instead, it allows us, by its very nature, to dip in and dip out. To show up when we want to. The rules of engagement don’t require us to be deliberate. 

The blueprint of social media – the technological marvel that allows us to share our message with the entire world immediately, is fraught. It doesn’t work for human beings because of who we are. 

Not only do we expect to be responded to, we also desperately need to know we’re listened to. It’s the only way to confirm that another human being cares enough, and that we matter enough, to be heard. And when we’re not, we question ourselves and our message. And since social media doesn’t require us to reply promptly if at all – as a one-on-one phone call would – when we don’t hear back from those who we assumed have read our message, we can feel isolated, unimportant, and alone.

It’s a scenario that seems almost counterintuitive given we’re using a medium that connects us with hundreds of people at the same time. 

No number of likes or comments is ever enough – because someone, or something, is always missing. It’s the sense that somebody, anybody, is here – just for us – individually.  

The good news is while we can’t be in real relationship with hundreds of people, we do have a capacity to solidly show up for, and make a difference to, a select number of friends. And they can do the same for us. The result is having the capacity to care and therefore be cared for. To support and be supported. To love and be loved. Not only is that something, it’s everything

While social media absolutely has substantial value in keeping us connected, it’s crucial that we separate our online relationships from those we do in “real life.” While we care about our virtual community, we also need to cultivate our in-person relationships, not only for our own well-being, but for the well-being of others.

Amy Weinland Daughters is a freelance sportswriter and author. Her second book “Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote All 580 of my Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter” (She Writes Press) is due to be released May 17, 2022. Currently a resident of Tomball, Texas (a suburb of Houston), Amy and her family have also lived in Blackwell, England and Dayton, Ohio. 

A Random Acts of Kindness Guide: Sharing My Favorite Kindness Resources

Thank you for all of your kind responses to my post about giving away 1 million flowers! In line with that post, I wanted to share my favorite kindness ideas and resources with you. It’s almost Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17th!), so hopefully this will inspire you to get out there and help out a friend or stranger 😊

Top Kindness Charities & Organizations:

  • Channel Kindness: A Project of Born this Way Foundation
    • Channel Kindness is a digital platform created by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. It is a safe space for young people to tell their stories of kindness, resilience, and community. By highlighting the people and organizations that are doing good in their communities, Channel Kindness’ audience is inspired to create a kinder and braver world, one story at a time.

  • Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
    • The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a small nonprofit that invests their resources into making kindness the norm. They are rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught. They follow a simple framework for everything we do. Inspire -> Empower -> Act -> Reflect -> Share. Their evidence-based Kindness in the Classroom® curriculum gives students the social and emotional skills needed to live more successful lives. Their workplace kindness calendar shows companies how easy it is to change workplace culture through simple kind gestures. They create a common language between schools, work and home with all their resources.

  • Kindspring
    • KindSpring is a place to practice small acts of kindness. For over a decade the KindSpring user community has focused on inner transformation, while collectively changing the world with generosity, gratitude, and trust. The site is 100% volunteer-run and totally non-commercial. It is a shared labor of love.

  • Kindness.org
    • Kindness.org believes that kindness is an essential ingredient in social change. Through scientific research, education and storytelling, they are making it simple to choose and cultivate kindness.

  • KindnessEvolution
    • KindnessEvolution has been formed to more fully integrate intentional kindness, compassion, and generosity into very aspect of society.

  • The Foundation for a Better Life
    • The Foundation for a Better Life creates public service campaigns to communicate the values that make a difference in our communities. These uplifting messages, utilizing television, movie theaters, billboards, radio and the internet, model the benefits of a life lived by positive values.
Top 6 Kindness Books

Kindness Books:

  • CHANNEL KINDNESS Book by Born this Way Foundation and Lady Gaga
    • CHANNEL KINDNESS: Stories of Kindness and Community is a collection of inspirational stories written by young people as well as personal notes of empowerment from Born This Way Foundation co-founder Lady Gaga. Within these pages, you’ll meet young change-makers who found their inner strength, prevailed in the face of bullies, started their own social movements, and decided to break through the mental health stigma. These storytellers share how they felt, created safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, and embraced kindness with every fiber of their being by helping others without the expectation of anything in return.

  • DEEP KINDNESS: A New Way to Talk About (and Act) with Kindness by Houston Kraft
    • Deep Kindness pairs anecdotes with actions that can make real change in our own lives, the lives of others, and throughout the world. Diving into the types of kindness the world needs most today, this book takes an honest look at the gap between our belief in kindness and our ability to practice it well—and shows us how to put intention into action. Exploring everything from the empathy gap to the skill of emotional regulation, Deep Kindness is perfect for anyone who believes in a kinder world and recognizes that there is a lot of work to do before we achieve it.

  • The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Guide by Sharon Salzberg
    • The Kindness Handbook features a thoughtful collection of anecdotes, stories, and practical tools to inspire kindness for any life situation. This book is your personal companion to explore the rich landscape of kindness―and help you see just how it might shift and open up your life to greater joy, meaning, and compassion.
  • The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life by Dr. Brian Goldman
    • In The Power of Kindness, Dr. Brian Goldman leaves the familiar surroundings of the hospital in search of his own lost compassion. A top neuroscientist performs an MRI scan of his brain to see if he is hard-wired for empathy. A researcher tests his personality and makes a startling discovery. Goldman then circles the planet in search of the most empathic people alive, to hear their stories and learn their secrets. He walks a boulevard in São Paulo, where he meets a woman who calls a homeless poet her soulmate and reunited him with his family; a research lab in Kyoto, where he meets a lifelike, empathetic android; and a nursing home in rural Pennsylvania, where he meets a therapist at a nursing home who has an uncanny knack of knowing what’s inside the hearts and minds of people with dementia, as well as her protege, a woman who talked a gun-wielding robber into walking away from his crime. Powerful and engaging, The Power of Kindness takes us far from the theatre of medicine and into the world at large, and investigates why kindness is so vital to our existence.

  • The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World by Jamil Zaki
    • In this groundbreaking book, Jamil Zaki shares cutting-edge research, including experiments from his own lab, showing that empathy is not a fixed trait—something we’re born with or not—but rather a skill that can be strengthened through effort. He also tells the stories of people who embody this new perspective, fighting for kindness in the most difficult of circumstances. 

Top 4 Kindness Podcasts

Kindness Podcasts:

  • The Kindness Podcast by NPR
    • The Kindness Podcast is on a mission to teach the world about the transformative power of kindness! The host, Nicole Phillips is a champion for using kindness to overcome all of life’s difficulties, including her own battle with breast cancer.

  • Kind World Podcast
    • Kind World is a show about how a single act of kindness can change someone’s life. In each episode, hosts and reporters Yasmin Amer and Andrea Asuaje search the world for good news stories that will restore your faith in humanity. A production of WBUR.

  • The Daily Smile Podcast
    • Everyone needs a reminder about just how good people can be. On Wondery’s The Daily Smile, host Nikki Boyer brings you stories that will make you feel good each weekday morning. With interviews, inspiring clips, and chats with special guests and passionate friends, The Daily Smile takes you on a journey into goodness, gives you all the feels, and will leave you with a smile on your face.

  • The Kindness and Happiness Connection Podcast
    • The Kindness & Happiness Connection is hosted by Dr. Elia Gourgouris – The Happiness Doctor and Randy McNeely – The Kindness Giver. Join them weekly with invited guests as we share actionable kindness and happiness tips, insights, and inspiration to promote personal and professional well being.

Important Kindness Dates:

November 13, 2022: World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world. The purpose of this day, celebrated on November 13 of each year, is to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us all together. This understanding has the power to bridge the gap between nations.

February 17, 2022: National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day was first created in Denver, Colorado in 1995 by a small nonprofit organization, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. National Random Acts of Kindness Day falls within Random Acts of Kindness Week, which is February 13-19, 2022.

Top Kindness Quotes:

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Brad Melzer

“You’re never too important to be nice to people.”

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – The Dalai Lama

“A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day.” – Unknown

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and more underrate agent of human change.” – Bob Kerry

“The world is full of kind people. If you can’t find one, be one.”

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana

See more kindness quotes here.

2022 Kindness Calendars:

  • My Kindness Calendar
    •  Premium-quality reusable wall calendars by My Kindness Calendar that inspire families to practice daily acts of kindness together.
  • 35 Random Acts of Kindness Calendar
    • A free printable by the Pragmatic Parent that has 35 simple tasks that only take a few minutes, don’t cost a thing and can instantly turn someone’s day around.

Top Kindness Hashtags to Use:

#MakeKindnesstheNorm #bekindtooneanother #kindnessmatters #actsofkindness #kindnessquotes #gratitude #loveothers #bekind #kind #kindpeople #actofkindness #compassion

Kindness Activities for Kids:

Inspiring Kindness Stories:

Kindness Activities for all Ages:

I know this was a lot of information to get through, so if you made it this far thank you!! My hope is that you can bookmark or “pin” this page for future reference. Have a great rest of your week!

A Pen Pal Friendship Story

A Pen Pal Friendship Story

Have you ever opened an envelope that says “Magic Inside”? It’s something my pen pal friends and I write on the back of our letters to each other to signify that something exciting has just been delivered. The most recent letter I received from my pen pal, Makenzi, had that phrase neatly written on the back bottom corner and I gasped when I saw it. I ripped it open and the first thing that fell out onto the kitchen counter was a crystal oracle card that she enclosed. This is the second crystal card she’s given me and it made me smile. The first was a carnelian card (to stimulate creativity) and this one is a turquoise card (for when you want to express something).

I then found a note from her about what’s been going on in her life in the past month. She also included a patterned piece of paper with “Mail Tag” questions like “Favorite holiday?” and “What are your moon and rising signs?” Astrology lingo for those wondering!

Makenzi’s letter to me

There’s something about hand-writing a letter, putting a stamp on it (I recently bought these flower stamps), and sending it off into the world that feels like a warm hug. My friends call me “Mabel” because I’m like an “85-year old trapped in a 33 year old body”. Don’t get me wrong – I love technology as much as the next Millennial, but old-fashioned stationary and markers are really where my true love lies.

Back in 2015, I started a pen pal program called Happsters Mail on this blog and had the best time matching up readers with each other. One of the people I matched up was one of my childhood best friends, Maggie. She and her pen pal, Kylie, are still writing to each other to this day! I’m always so curious to hear the ins and outs of their pen pal friendship when Maggie brings up their letters, so I wanted to share the interview below featuring Maggie and Kylie. I hope that it inspires you to mail a note to a friend or family member soon.

First up, my interview with Maggie about her pen pal friendship with Kylie:

  1. Where do you live?

San Diego, California

  1. How long have you been writing pen pal letters to each other and how often do you typically write to each other?

We have been writing to each other since the beginning of 2015. We used to write to each other monthly, but the turnaround time has gotten longer as life has gotten more complicated. I would say it’s maybe 4-5 times a year now.

The first letter Maggie received from Kylie
  1. What do you think it was that helped you continue to be pen pals after all of these years?

I think we have stayed pen pals for so long because we have truly become friends. When we first started writing to each other, I had just gotten engaged. Now we are both married with kids! We have also supported each other through job changes, personal/family life events, and of course the pandemic.

  1. What’s one or two of your favorite things that Kylie has sent you?

Kylie sends really thoughtful birthday surprises! She sent me some cool beeswax wraps that I love, and always nails it with the snacks. But my favorite part of every correspondence is just reading what she has been up to in her life.

  1. Have you met in person or are you ever planning to meet?

Since we live so far away, we have never met. I would love to meet her someday! We started following each other on Instagram a couple of years ago, so it allows me to sort of see what her world looks like.

  1. Do you ever have themes for letters depending on the time of year (i.e. your birthdays, certain holidays, etc.)?

We definitely have themes depending on the month/season of the year. I love getting Kylie’s Christmas card every year (and sending her mine when I have the energy to make one)!

Holiday snail mail
  1. What’s something you love about having Kylie as a pen pal?

I love having a friend that I haven’t actually spoken to in person. It’s unique and old timey and cool! I never would have crossed paths with Kylie, and yet she is a really supportive person in my life. It brings me a sort of grade school nostalgic joy when I receive her letters in the mail. Then I get to be creative and tactile in return, which is wonderful too.

I hope that we always continue to write to each other. Maybe our kids can be pen pals someday!

Here’s what Kylie had to say about writing to Maggie for all of these years:

  1. Where do you live?

I live in rural Southeast Iowa, just outside of a very small town, Keosauqua.

2. Had you ever written to a pen pal before? What made you want to sign up for one this time?

The only time I’ve previously written to a pen pal has been through school assignments growing up and those were always short lived. This is my first real, long term pen pal. I decided to sign up because I was just fresh out of college, had a lot of time on my hands, and was looking to add something new to my life. I thought having a pen pal could lead to some fun experiences and hopefully a new friendship!

The first letter Kylie received from Maggie

3. What kinds of things do you typically include in your letters to each other?

Our letters vary depending on what’s going on in our lives but it’s usual a general update of what’s been happening in our lives since the last time we wrote to each other, holiday or vacation plans, books we’re reading, and often small seasonal gifts, stickers, trinkets, etc.

4. What’s one or two of your favorite things that Maggie has sent to you?

My absolute favorite thing Maggie has ever sent to me was for my birthday a few years ago. She sent me the cutest tin seed organizer (I’m a big gardener). Not only was it super cute, but it’s super useful and I still use it to organize my seed packets and keep track of my gardening!

The tin seed organizer Maggie sent Kylie

5. Do you have any tips to give someone who is just starting a pen pal relationship?

My tip to someone who is just starting out with a pen pal is to be open and playful. I loved that Maggie and I started out with exchanging an “about me” card that asked silly questions we wouldn’t normally think to ask but really helped us get to know each other. By being open to answering questions (especially silly or playful ones) you can find things you have in common or maybe find out something about them that you want to learn more about.

6. Where do you come up with ideas on what to include in your letters? Do you look online, at Pinterest, or just come up with them on your own?

When we first started out I initially looked to Pinterest for inspiration but have found that I don’t really need to anymore. Our letters are pretty intuitive anymore and we always include a “mail tag” card that asks different questions that don’t flow in our letters, seasonal things (what Summer foods are you enjoying right now?/ Any New Year’s resolutions?/ What are you dressing up as for Halloween? etc)

7. What’s something you love about having Maggie as a pen pal?

I love that Maggie and I live very different lives (Iowa and California are very different in lots of ways!) but we have SO MUCH in common! I almost feel like Maggie and I are the same person in some ways and we could definitely be best friends that hang out every day if we lived near each other. Her letters are so warm and she feels like someone I’ve been friends with my whole life so I have no problem opening up to her like I would with any of my other close friends. I love that I have made a lifelong friend out of being her pen pal!

I’m so grateful that I signed up for a pen pal and that you set me up with Maggie. She was definitely the perfect choice for me and has brought a lot of joy to my life! To anyone contemplating getting a pen pal, you should do it! It’s so much fun!

Thank you Kylie and Maggie for sharing your pen pal friendship with us today!

If you’re interested in getting your own pen pal, here are some organizations that match you up:

I’ve been considering opening up the Happsters Mail Program again soon as well. Send me an email at happsters@gmail.com or comment below if you’d be interested in being matched up.

Have you ever had a pen pal? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

A Christmas Miracle & Lessons Learned in 2021

A Christmas Miracle & Lessons Learned in 2021

Happy 2022! Welcome to my first of 50 blog posts this year. Thank you for reading! I can’t tell you how excited I am to connect with you all on a regular basis again.

At the beginning of each year, in addition to making goals for the coming year, I like to think back to the previous one and write down the lessons I learned. A few lessons I learned in 2021 include:

  • Wait at least 2 weeks before making a large decision about anything in my life. I will probably change my mind.
  • Always have a book next to the bed that I’m really excited to read. Right now I’m reading A Year of Loving Kindness to Myself: & Other Essays.
  • Use Notion to organize my entire life (trust me: it’s free and easy and this is not an ad!)
  • Get dressed even if I don’t leave the house the whole day (work from home life). People told me to do this throughout 2020, but my stubborn Aries came out and I didn’t do it. I get it now.
  • Decorate for all holidays. It’s worth the hassle and makes me happy.

One of the biggest lessons I learned is to release expectations and go with the flow. Easier said than done, right? While this is going to always be a work in progress, it came up big time at the end of 2020 when my husband, Billy, and I got our first dog. He was the cutest, sweetest puppy and we couldn’t have been more excited! Once we got him though, we quickly realized that I was allergic to him. There were many tears and conversations about whether or not we could keep him, but we ultimately decided after a week that we couldn’t. We ended up finding the best family to give him to whose son had been wanting that type of dog and they were able to pick him up on Christmas Eve and give him to their son on Christmas morning. A true Christmas miracle!

Very soon after we released our expectations of what we thought our lives would be like as dog parents and gave him to his new family, a neighborhood cat started coming around every day. I grew up with cats, so this was a thrill for me. We quickly found out that he’s an outdoor cat who has an owner a few houses down from us. His owner loves that he comes over to our house and it now feels like we share this amazing kitty with our neighbors! He’s brought such joy to our lives and even my husband, who did not like cats previously, is so in love with him. We call him Peaches and he spends so much time at our house that we got him a cat bed (among many other things), where he watches TV with us every night. Releasing expectations allowed us to bond with Peaches (Instagram video of him being adorable here) and now he’s truly a part of our family. We feel like he adopted us and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Peaches thinks he runs the place…(and he does)

In addition to my own lessons, I asked others what their biggest lessons this year were. First, I want to share a beautiful heartfelt answer from Kirsten Allen, who said her biggest lesson was:

“Don’t take anything for granted. Be a good person and live each day in a way that brings you joy.”

When I asked if she would elaborate, here’s what she said:

“Ok, the short answer is that my dad suddenly passed away in May. He was 59 and healthy. It was a shock to everyone.”

“The long answer… I’m incredibly fortunate because we had a wonderful relationship my whole life, and especially in the past few years. He was big into rock climbing – a pioneer in the southeastern US and climbing wouldn’t be what it is today in this region without what he and his friends did to establish access in the 70s and 80s. He also worked until the day he died to ensure proper mentoring in the younger generation. He and I were climbing partners for the last 5 or so years. He taught me a lot through that and I learned even more about him as a person. I was so lucky to take a 3 week road trip with him out west in sept 2020. We lived in the van that we built out and that I have now inherited. On that trip, we had many conversations about life and death and I know without a doubt he left this world with no regrets. I feel like because of that time, I have more closure than others around me do and I’m so grateful for that…”

“Basically, he was a really good person. If you met him, you were a friend, and friends were considered family. I’ve tried to emulate that in my own life. I’m working every day to go to bed with no regrets and to make sure the people in my life know what they mean to me. I’ve learned to be more open about my feelings and gratitude than ever before. We aren’t promised tomorrow.”

Kirsten and her dad

Thank you, Kirsten for sharing your profound lesson with the Happsters community. Sending you and your family so much love during this difficult time.

Other powerful lessons that were shared include:

  • “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I need to advocate for myself in all aspects. You need to ask for the jobs you want, the love you want, the things you want. I used to wait and wish they would just happen to me. Once I took charge of that, that’s when the magic happened!” – Steph Clark
  • “In order to learn and grow, I needed to put myself first for the first time ever! Even if that means letting go of relationships that didn’t serve me any longer.” – Mary Maheux (Instagram: @bigmommamare)
  • “I think the biggest [lesson] I have learned was patience and to truly live in the present. I lived my whole life worrying about the future and sitting too much in the past. It always really put a toll on my mental health. Once I realized that and practiced being more patient and truly living in NOW, and accepting sometimes things can’t be changed and just work with what life has thrown at me, my mental health and mood has gotten so so much better.” – Hannah Albert (Instagram: @flowitoutcreations)
  • “I have learned that finding the humor, absurdity, and silliness in a situation is the easiest way to dispel any feelings of frustration, irritation, or anger. I’ve embraced not having control in the best way. All I can do is be present, be loving, and do my best and what will be, will be. Que sera, sera!” – Annie Kell
  • “If you believe in your dreams, you have to do something about it and not wait for them to show up! Loving yourself will allow more to flow in.” – AnnaLynn Waterman
  • “You do not have to hold any guilt for other people’s actions and priorities. Helped me so much in dealing with my relationship with my dad (or lack thereof!)” – Anonymous
  • “It’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to feel all of your feelings.” – Anonymous
  • “It’s okay to set boundaries and stick to those boundaries regardless if it’s family or friends. It’s okay to walk away from things and my absolute favorite “No” can be a complete sentence!” – Anonymous
Life lessons quote

What’s a lesson you learned in 2021 (big or small)?

Happsters Weekly 3: Monday Intention // Wednesday Gratitude // Friday Joy

Happsters Weekly 3
 
 
Hi Friends!
 
 

Today, I’m talking about a ritual I’ve created called the “Happsters Weekly 3.” I’m a huge fan of rituals because I find that they ground me and keep me focused. The Weekly 3 is super simple and effective.

 
Here’s what I do:
1. Every Sunday, I pull out an index card and divide it into 3 sections: MONDAY INTENTION // WEDNESDAY GRATITUDE // FRIDAY JOY
 
2. On Monday mornings, I write what my intention is for the week under “Monday Intention.”
 
3. On Wednesday mornings, I write 3 things I’m grateful for in that moment.
 
4. On Friday mornings, I write a simple thing that I’m looking forward to that day. It’s always something that I think will bring me joy. Sometimes it’s more than 1 thing!
 
5. (OPTIONAL) At the end of the week, I snap a photo and text it to one of my friends and she sends me hers.
 

Happsters Weekly 3

This practice helps me because it:
 
  • Gets me in the right frame of mind on Monday morning. I’m able to start my Monday off with an intention that I keep in mind every day that week.
  • Helps me appreciate what I have instead of focusing on things that are going “wrong” in my life.
  • Encourages me to look for the little things that make life fun and joyful.
  • Starts my day off on the right foot since I keep it by my bed and do it first thing in the morning (before looking at my phone!).
  • Keeps me in the loop with what’s going on in my friend’s life and gives us a reason to connect every week.
 
Want to do it with me? If you want to do the Weekly 3 on your own index card and share it on social media, tag me @happsters and use #HappstersWeekly3 so I can re-share on my story!

Happsters Gratitude ABC’s Challenge

WELCOME TO THE (2)

Raise your hand if you’re in for a gratitude challenge!! It’s all going down August 15th-September 9th.

Why gratitude? Here are just a few reasons. Gratitude:

  • lowers stress levels
  • helps you sleep better
  • improves self esteem
  • and can even help you manifest your dreams. 

Will you join me in giving thanks?

All you have to do is write down one thing you’re grateful for that starts with a different letter of the alphabet every day. That’s what it’s called the ABCs challenge :).

This free challenge starts next week! Every day I will post a new prompt with the letter of the day and ideas for words that go with each letter in case you can’t think of anything. You’ll also have the support of the Happsters community to help get you through the challenge.

Fill out this form if you’re in so I can send you all the details:  https://goo.gl/forms/d3orTpZifQ6jI3H43

Marie Coté on Gratitude, Coaching & Loving Yourself

marie
Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m excited to introduce you to Marie Coté, an inspiring holistic coach who uses her natural intuition to help others transform their lives for the better. I’m so excited to share her interview with you today – I think you’ll see her genuine soul shine through! Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me would be to wake up feeling grateful for another day of life! I did not always feel this way, but I truly do now. It is not because my life has gotten so much better, it is more about my perspective being changed on life. I wake up early to meditate most mornings because I have two young boys, a dog and a husband. A quiet house for my morning meditation is amazing! I try to always get exercise and eat a healthy, protein rich breakfast with lots of water. I choose to take excellent care of myself everyday because I believe I am worth it. That does not mean I do not have indulgences like chocolate, bread and wine, but it means I try to have balance. Typically I am then busy getting my boys to school and working on my business. The day ends with a simple dinner and some tv or reading. Unless I have fun plans, I typically enjoy relaxing at night!

2. How did you decide to become a holistic coach and how do you describe what a holistic coach is?

The call to do the work I do came to me at a very young age. I observed so much suffering around me and within myself that I knew deep down there had to be a better way to live. Through much of my studies over the years, I have grown and changed so much, but the lasting changes came when I saw my own anxiety and depression leave my life completely. I came to discover that my suffering came from my thoughts and beliefs about life. Once my perspective changed my whole life changed. My mission with holistic coaching is to help guide others to find their own freedom from suffering as well. Holistic coaching is a powerful form of life coaching that approaches every aspect of a person’s life – body, mind, and spirit – in relation to the whole. It can help you access your full potential and make transformational changes.

 
3. What book have you suggested the most to friends and why do you love it?

Loving What Is by Byron Katie and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle would be my two favorite books of all time. They both teach you to love and accept this moment as it is. If you can love life as it is in each moment, you can do anything!

marie3

4. What has been the biggest learning experience in your life?

Becoming a mother made me feel more vulnerable than ever before. It was terrifying to love someone so much and know you could not ultimately control their future or keep them always safe. It really opened up some big questions for me and helped me learn how to trust life on a deeper level than ever before.

5. It’s often said that life is about enjoying the little things. What are the little things that you appreciate?

I really appreciate laughter, sunshine, exercise, good food and good company simply because I didn’t always appreciate these things. To say that I do now, feels really good.

6. What gives you energy? What depletes your energy?

It gives me energy when I do something positive for myself and others. I am depleted of energy when I am being negative towards myself or others and when I say “yes” to something that I wanted to say “no” to.

7. What is your favorite mantra right now and why?

“I love myself.”  If I love myself, I can truly love others. Life also finds a way to love you when you love yourself. It is simple, yet it can be so challenging. It just takes consistent practice!

8. Do you have any upcoming retreats or courses coming up that you’d like to share?

You can go to www.miraculouslyyou.com to find more about what I do and how to work with me! : )
___________________________________________________________________________________________

You can follow along on Marie’s journey on Instagram at @miraculouslyyou and at her website http://miraculouslyyou.com/.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s almost the new year. Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for yourself? Below are a few of my resolutions for the year. What are your resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

For more happy inspiration, join over 89,000 other Happsters on Instagram here: www.instagram.com/happsters

Today’s Happy Quote (New Year’s Resolution Edition)

2015 New Years Resolutions - Happy Quote

P.S. If you’re reading this at the start of 2022, come on over to my newest blog post about lessons learned in 2021 here.