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I recently had an interesting conversation with a good friend about the hectic pace of our busy world and the stress it produces. She complained about all the demands on her time, and said she felt like her life was not her own. I explained that although I am always working long hours under tight deadlines, I immensely enjoy what I do, which makes the stress much easier to bear.

We talked for more than an hour, and it once again became very evident to me that all of us want and need different things in life. However, no matter who we are or what we do, we all need to find that thing that makes us not only content, but happy.

"Life by design" is an intriguing concept. We can sit there day after day and complain about what we want and how we don't have it. Or, we can do something about moving forward to turn our dreams into reality.

woman hobbies

Of course, when you take on a new hobby, business or task, it has the potential to create more stress because now you have less time to do the things already in your life. However, the essence of being truly happy is much more important than being stressed or overworked. The sense of accomplishment not only sends adrenaline through your whole body, it inspires you to do other things that will bring you closer to the life that you always wanted.

I recently attended a writer's workshop and found myself surrounded by total strangers. To my surprise, I felt very relaxed and comfortable among a group of people I had never met before. I welcomed their opinions, I was open to their suggestions, and I connected with a lot of what they had to say. I was amazed at how great it felt to step out of my own circle into a completely different environment and be welcomed and at ease.

Two years ago, if someone had suggested that I would be interested in writing or taking a workshop on the subject, I would have laughed. Yet, as I walked out of the first class, I experienced a real feeling of inner joy. Today, I'm looking forward to the workshop as a means of expanding my horizons and connecting with people outside of my immediate circle.

My daughter recently mentioned that I've changed. My husband commented that he loves seeing me so happy. All I can say is that while I'm stressing over deadlines and the long hours that lay ahead of me each week, I feel elated. Happiness Is A Serious Problem.  I have everything I ever wanted, and I know there is nothing that can stop me from setting my goals and achieving them.

After all these years, I finally figured out the formula for success (and happiness)—do what you love, work hard and stay focused. The rest will take care of itself.

Who would have thought that wisdom really does come with age!

To your success.

What makes you happy?

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Yana,

      What makes me happy is seeing my precious baby boy smile...at first the toothless grin...and now with his brand new teeth...His wet sloppy kisses...his chubby arms around me...that makes me happy...

      If anyone would have told me I was going to be a new mum at 40 I would have laughed so hard at them that I probably would have needed to change my undies after...but it happened...

      My husband and I didn’t set out to expand our family when we first met...actually he told me he didn’t want to have anymore kids, money, you know, the usual reasons...

      But last year, just 6 weeks before we were to be married, we found out we were also going to be new parents...our ooops-we-forgot-the-birth-control-baby...Unfortunately that wasn’t meant to be...we lost the baby...‘Bump’ is what we called him/her.

      We both struggled with how to deal with our loss and because I didn’t miscarry the usual way, it was a process we had to undergo...(not a very pleasant thing to have to do)...Needless to say my husband had to take the ‘tissue’ after it expelled, to the doctors office so that they could do their usual tests.

      That whole experience brought us together more than we could possibly have imagined...‘Bump’ wasn’t meant to be because John’s mother needed his company in heaven, was how we got through it. From that experience, we both realized that we really wanted to have a baby together, a part of him and a part of me...

      So, we had the big wedding, beautiful honeymoon...and a few months later...we were pregnant again...We were told that because of the loss and my age factor, chances are I might not be able to get pregnant again, or if I did, I had a higher risk of having a ‘Down’s’ baby..But God....

      What makes me happy?

      Without a doubt it would have to be the love of a beautiful spirited man that I KNOW was God’s gift to me...My children are awesome...all 6 of them...Unique, they sure are...but loving, kind, generous, accepting...just beautiful...This family blended so well together, so fast, so perfectly and that makes me happy...

      I don’t need a six figure job..(it would be nice)..but then I’d have to sacrifice seeing my little boy (and our other children)grow and change everyday...and I wouldn’t change that for the world...

      John and I sacrifice a  lot so that I can be at home with our children...but God assigned me this job to take care of this blended family...AND THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!!!!

      The simple things in life...makes me happy....My family!!!

      Yana et all...I hope this makes sense...(smiles)...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Yana,
      I am still working on finding what truly makes me happy...but for now I am most happy when I know that I have helped someone else to find what makes them happy. It may sound really strange but I love seeing others achieve their dreams.
      I love seeing someone smile and it makes me happy to hear genuine laughter. It makes me happy knowing that when I write something it truly touches someone. The feeling of knowing that someone really gets what I am trying to get across in my writing is happiness to me I guess.
      Come to think of it I think that the thing that would make me most happiest would be lying on my deck looking out at the beautiful Caribbean sea after just reading a thank you letter from a very happy person whom I have helped in some way.
      I am happiest when I inspire others to achieve their best....whatever that means to them.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • A healthy baby is a gift from God and a true blessing. Having a family with six children blend together is not only a gift but an outcome of hard work, love and patience that it takes to make the family unit work. My hat is off to you Denise.

      Almostfive0 (first I just have to say it...does almostfive0 mean you are almost 50) what are you on girlfriend???) You  look like you haven’t hit 30 in this picture.

      If making someone happy makes your day, then you are a special soul, and believe me when I tell you, you too will find your happiness.

      Thanks Ladies.



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      Almostfive0 wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Thanks Yana,
      Yes girl, I will be 48 this December 26th. I have to thank my mom and dad mostly...lol!  

      I have no doubt that when you do what you truly love to do you will be happy and abundance comes from others seeing your happiness, they want to be a part of that happiness and so you are rewarded for it.
      Just look at what has come from your happiness!



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      Feathermaye wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • For me, it isn’t just a matter of finding what I love to do; it’s also about not having to do more than that!! And I’m closing in on that, day by day.  

      I really want my writing to pay enough so that I can write full time. Whether that means the sale of another book or a hit screenplay (I write both), or generating enough of an online presence to become liquid with advertisers.

      This is not to say I’m not happy now, because I’m immensely happy right now. I enjoy my job enough for it to stand for the time being. And, I get to work with my husband, who is my favorite person in the whole world. I am very happy to have that opportunity.

      Lastly, the independence of my children makes me extremely happy. My step-children had more or less accomplished that before we became family, but they’ve MAINTAINED it, which is very cool. My son’s independence, though, is new, and so inspiring that I wake up every day to a wonder of what he’ll grace me with via text message, lol.  

      Have I answered the question? I guess so, in a roundabout way. I guess when you‘re truly happy, it’s hard to put your finger on any one thing.

      Thanks for encouraging us to put some thought to it!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Helping others who are in dire need or who just need some help...makes me very happy.  

      Spending time with my girlfriends...make me happy.  

      Going to church makes me happy.

      Scrapbooking and shopping for scrapbooking stuff makes me happy.

      My motto has always been:

      It’s better to want something that you don’t have than to have something you don’t want.  Now...what does that have to do with being happy????  LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Some things that make me happy:

      Smiles, laughter, jeans that fit, a well-made margarita, sunshine, good advice, time, forgiveness, understanding, honesty and acceptance.



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      Linni wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Happiness for me, comes from inside.. life may really suck at the moment, but with everyday that i can get out of bed, its TRULY a blessing!

      Hearing my children say good morning momita! i love you makes me happy! Looking at them and thanking God everyday for all three of them! i was pregnant with my son when i almost died from domestic violence, and you know, I AM ALIVE! nothing could make me happier! :)

      Loving my job makes me happy! Seeing people come in one way, and when they leave they are changed! they are different people! Telling people about Christ makes me happy!

      Crocheting afgans, and just GIVING them to people makes me happy! making sure people have things they need.. i may not have alot, however, i will give what i have to help anyone out!

      Meeting good women like you all makes me happy!
      i look forward to coming home and sending notes, and answering questions and stuff.. lol

      Blessings to you all!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ejones40 wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • Yana, I just want to thank you for this post.  It is so right-on, and the subsequent responses have really helped me!  I made a life-changing decision earlier this year to leave my job, in order to find out what truly makes me happy...The problem is...I am still on that search and journey, and trying not to be impatient about it!!  Isn’t that crazy??  Here I am, recently turned 40, I have a beautiful family and I know they make me happy, and I truly believe my life’s vocation is out there, but I’m stuck on the fact that it needs to hurry up and get here!  But, almostfiveo, your words rang so clear for me...your first sentence just grabbed me instantly, and I said “That’s my statement...that’s me!”  I am truly happy when I make others happy; when I can help them see the clarity for themselves, even in the midst of my own cloudiness.  I worked as an HR executive for years, so I know my stake is in people.  But, I truly loved my job when I could help someone out of some issue, and they appeared to display genuine happiness that I just listened or offered an objective thought.  I honestly never saw it in this light before.  I’ve always criticized myself for being able to help others ‘see’ their way, and for some reason, I can’t ‘see’ it for myself...but, that has been my light all along, and to all of you, I THANK YOU for opening my eyes today.  It’s a new day for me.  And, almostfiveo...you go, girl!  I want to be just like you when I grow up! :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl Phillips wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • Happy? It’s simple....a great night having dinner with my children and talking. Or just hanging on the couch talking about silly stuff. My children make me laugh, cry and think...life with them is most amazing at the oddest times. I love listening to them laugh. I like that they are such creative individuals. So it all makes me happy...home and family are the center of my world.

      On the adult side, what makes me happy is the wonderful guy in my life...who loves my children as much as his own...and sends me at least one message a day via text that says something original each time...he’s romantic and a man’s man at the same time. I can’t imagine life without him. For sure my soul mate...and beyond.



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      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • What makes me happy-

      When my husband calls me his “duchess”

      My dog snoring next to me in bed

      Spending time with my best gals

      Finishing a complicated crossword puzzle

      Having someone compliment my candles

      Being at peace with my life decisions



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda S Fitzgerald wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • What makes me happy is having found what I believe is my ultimate purpose in life.  That is a source of deep joy. And it revolves around helping to connect women to each other in a way that enriches, encourages & empowers them.  It’s being a resource for women who want to make the 2nd half of their journey the highlight of a well-lived life.  When I see women connecting with each other & growing significant relationships - whether face 2 face or across cyberspace - it makes my day!

      Personally being connected in a significant way with the important folks in my life. . . my daughters & awesome grandchildren. While our busy lives don’t allow for daily contact. . . the connection is never broken so that when we do come together. . . it’s pure joy!

      Linda S. Fitzgerald



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • Ladies,

      All of your posts are heart warming and inspiring. I think it’s extremely important for all of us to remind each other how fortunate we are and to pose such questions from time to time to keep it all in perspective.

      I think it would be great if I can figure it out somehow (need to talk to my developers) how to host a Happiness Hour at least once a month.

      Have a FANTASTIC weekend.

      Yana



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      Feathermaye wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • I love the idea of a Happiness Hour!!!

      What a clever idea!



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      Almostfive0 wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • We all could definitely use that!!
      Peace.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Drjlade wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • “Purpose” is what will fill individuals with happiness.  Read the book “travels with Charlies” the author found that happiness was not to be searched but rather lived! A powerful book.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • I know this might seem petty...but I still get excited about it...and it does make me happy.  

      When you put your hand in a pocket of a pair of pants...or a coat pocket and you find some money.....like a $20...or something...it’s sort of like Christmas....



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      Drjlade wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • Mary - Yeah!
      Finding money in pockets of jeans or coats- I have found 20 dollar bills in my coats, left there from a year ago! : )



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      Drjlade wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • Teeky3,
      There a short film that depicts an old blind man sitting at a town square displaying a sign that reads “help me I am blind” - many pass him by and ignore him. One day a guy wearing a suit stops and takes the sign from the blind man and writes something on the old blind mans sign. After that many people drop coins and bills. Days go by and the same man with the suit passes by and stands near the old blind man, the old blind recognizes the man in the suit by the smell of his after shave, the old blind man takes the opportunity to ask the man in the suit what he wrote on his sign...



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      Drjlade wrote Oct 24, 2008
    • ...“what did you write on my sign?” The man tells him I wrote  “Today is a beautiful day and you are able to see it, I cannot see the day, you are blessed.”



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      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Thanks for what you said Yana...But I really don’t consider what I do to be hard work...It all comes naturally to me...I love all of my children both the ones that came from me and the ones that didn’t...I also have a little Latino ‘daughter’ that I used to care for when she was little...I taught her how to speak english (she’s in the wedding pictures also)...She calls me mommy right along with the other children...That makes me happy...

      I have a nephew whose parents were going thru a tough time in their marriage...They asked if I could take care of him for a while to give them a chance to work on them...I was VERY HAPPY to do that for them...I’m happy to say that they are still together and are expecting their second...maybe third baby soon(yes it might be twins this time)

      One more thing that really gets me up there on the ‘Happy’ scale...When my husband calls me everyday from work to check on us and says..“Hey Beautiful“...Now that’s a winner for me...(smile)

      Meeting a great new friend in this site makes me very happy also...lol



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      Chrissyandcoco wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • Hi Yana,

      I wish more of us were happier! I think a lot of unhappiness comes when our careers/jobs conflict with our lives. Everything feels too much like WORK.  When you find something that you enjoy so much that time seems to pass almost unnoticed...I believe that you've found your passion!  I think we can be happy if we use our God given gifts and talents for God's purpose. God created each of us with a purpose. I think that it is our job to figure out what that purpose is.  And sometimes we think it has to be something earth moving.  My purpose for many years was being a mom.  I felt sometimes that it wasn't enough...I wanted more! We had a business but our daughter had health problems. The fact is, I could never have handled any MORE. Until, now!  We are empty nesters! Look out!

       I think we are hearing that people, who are doing things for others and not just for the good of themselves, seem to be genuinely happy people.  I believe that when we find our purpose, and in the end it helps other people out, we see life and happiness from a different perspective.  We find meaning and we can do what we love and what we are good at.  It took me a long time to figure out how to do what I love/enjoy immensely.  I always made time for doing what I enjoyed but I did not make it my WORK, "my purpose".  I have always felt blessed but I wasn't doing what I needed to do with my blessed situation.  

       When I was headed to college in 1979, I asked my father if I could go to college to study art and ways to use what I enjoyed. He said, "No!"  And "I will not send you to college in a field where you will never be able to make a living".  He wanted me to go into the medical field.  I chose marketing and management... eek. I never finished my degree...I had one class left to get my degree. That is not something I encourage. But what I learned during college did help me in every aspect of running our business.  Art was used in our business too, I created the newspaper ads(that’s commercial art...Right?) designing jewelry and etc. Thank goodness our daughter finished college two years ago.  Our oldest son will be finished in December 2009.  And our youngest son just started college this Fall. I did not want to be a bad example!  School was difficult for me; I had to learn how to learn.  When your husband works in higher education, in an Ivy League equivalent university, not finishing your degree when you are that close, is a SIN!  I may get a degree someday but for now I'm on a mission.  I learned a great deal owning our own business (on the job training!) LOL and it has helped me work on our new business.  And if twenty years from now it leaves behind some legacy,  I hope that others will say that Gayle looked ahead to the future because that is where she would be spending the rest of her life, not in regrets of the past. I'm not a worrier and I have a saying or two or three that I keep around me in my office and throughout our home.  1.) "Don't major in minor things" quote by Jackson Brown Jr., (in our office)
      2.)The Serenity Prayer (in our kitchen)

      God,
      Grant me
      Serenity
      to accept the things
      I cannot change,
      Courage
      to change
      the things I can, and
      Wisdom
      to know the
      difference

      I have other saying throughout our home but those are two favorites!  I hear that the Serenity Prayer is used for individuals with substance abuse.  As the daughter of a Secret Service Agent...I knew better than to try that route!  I had no need for it anyway.  Another blessing I can count! I’m sure that my dad telling me that he would certainly know if I did, deterred me a great deal!
      Don't get me wrong, there are days that I get down and think, God will any of this ever work? Am I doing what I need to be doing? And I may have a dry run for a bit but God always pulls through and gives me another sign of encouragement to keep me truckin'! So I do! If I look back he has been prepping me for what I am doing all along! Everyone needs to find their passion, gift or talent, use that passion to find your purpose and design your own career/job or reinvent yourself (so far I'm in year two). I believe that the payoff can be big in more than monetary value! It is so nice to wake up every morning or in the middle of the night.... LOL...and be doing exactly what you love doing! We are all here to help each other and enable each other to progress and ultimately succeed! Lots of time I still need technical assistance! LOL So, lets agree to be happy, make a plan and ask for HELP when we need it! No.... I don’t have a sign that says.... “Don’t worry be happy“! It just comes natural now!
      I hope that you all have a great day!
      Gayle



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      Bobbi Bacha wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • I wake up happy and go to bed  happy no matter what,  I cant help it.. Im a positive person.. I can have a frustrating day and my cat comes to purr my head, and I smile and go to bed happy and wake up happy.  I guess it comes from inside.  Ive been through so much personal pain, but always am happy and positive no matter what.  Life kicks me in the face all the time though.  

      So I guess, having a chance to be on the planet everyday, and make a difference in life, just existing and living.. makes me happy.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • Hi ladies!

      Thanks for asking a very thought provoking question.  I love reading what makes you all happy.  Here’s a list of what makes me happy:

      my husband, my kids, my family, people watching, losing weight, the beach at sunrise & late afternoon, shopping,
      new clothes, being creative, feeling good, spending time with friends, seeing my kids happy, spending time with my husband, sleeping late, eating something I really like,
      the way I feel after exercise, an admiring look from a stranger, being told I look good when I feel good, getting a gift for no reason, sleeping when it is raining, staying in when it’s cold outside, a clean house, money in the bank,
      traveling, learning something new, babies, puppies, the smell of fresh coffee and leather, bubble baths, driving late afternoon with the windows open and good music blasting, fall weather, sweaters, a great fitting pair of jeans, boots, caramel, warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies,
      a hug, seeing my hubby laugh, melted cheese on just about anything, guacamole, margaritas and chips and salsa,
      accomplishing something, reading, making love, seeing my mom happy, a good hair day, watching an older couple dance,
      a well manicured, landscaped yard, fall colors, looking at pics & remembering good times, seeing my kids grow up into people that I really, really, like, knowing that my daughter loves a good guy, fall foliage, having a good horoscope prediction, being loved, to cook on Thanksgiving,
      painted toenails, massages, when guys wear dark jeans, crisp white button up shirt with a white t-shirt underneath, leather belt and boots, and smell good, water,
      my hot tub at sunset and a glass of wine, jewelry, shoes,
      wearing sexy lingerie and no one knows but me, purses,
      really making a connection with someone, good food, wine and friends.

      Hope you all have a happy week!!!!!



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      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • Living with purpose. Each and every day I count my blessings and live with purpose. Also, and this is really important for me to be able to get out of my own head, I consciously do something nice for someone else every day. Without fail!

      Today my husband and I were at a gas station. A young woman walked up to him, she was a young lady around 25, blond hair in a pony tail, bouncy personality. She told him she was out of gas and asked him for 2 dollars to put enough in her car to get her home. He obliged.

      I walked into the gas station and added some money to the tab so her gas pump would put more in than she purchased. She thought the pump had malfunctioned and went in to tell the clerk. Then she came out of the station as we were driving away. The look on her face was priceless!! That made the whole day for me. That look of absolutely joy on her cute little face!



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      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • All of these answers are great, and reflect things that make me happy too. Helping people brings me the most gratitude. I really love to help people! I also love my family, and being a mom. I am ecstatically happy that horses are back in my life, and I can’t wait to ride with wild abandon, with the wind in my hair. (see the video on my profile!) My new horse won’t be ready for that until next fall at the earliest, but it is a feeling of freedom that to me is almost like I would think an out-of-body experience feels. (strange, I know!) I love the smell of the barn, warm horse breath, and alfalfa hay. I love to cuddle my babies and hear my little Victoria singing herself to sleep with songs she made up. I love being 40 (almost 41) and feeling better than I have ever felt in my life. I love being able to put on a size 6 jeans and feel sexy again. I love catching my hubby’s eye when I walk past. I love fall colors in the mountains, and spring flowers bobbing their sunny heads at you welcoming a new year of life. I love the smell of roses. I love being able to be myself, and I love feeling invincible. I love it that Fab40 is a contributing factor to that feeling!

      Thank you Yana, for reminding us to count our blessings, and for the encouragement to strive to be all we are meant to be!



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      Drjlade wrote Oct 29, 2008
    • I would have done the same for that young girl. I would not want her to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. You are GREAT! Thank you!



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      Chrissyandcoco wrote Oct 29, 2008
    • Dee Dee,

      I lost my horse about 8 years ago, his intestine got twisted and ruptured. I have not ridden but once since he died. If you have ever had a special connection with an animal it was like we talked without words, he was an amazing animal an only four years old. He laid across my lap for hours almost like a puppy dog. We had another horse but I never got back on him. We sold him to a friend soon after Montana die. His name was Smoke he was a beautiful horse but he wasn’t “Montana“.  It made me happy to ride not just a horse but “Montana Moon“.  If you haven’t ridden a horse then ladies you have got to try it where you can open the horse up and let him fly(a beach, a big field or in the woods!) We would ride for hours with a group of our friends.  We now live where I can see fifty or more horses everyday right out of our bedroom window!  Awesome is all I can say. Oh... and they are not our horses. So no mess to clean! And that makes me HAPPY! I’m close enough to just enjoy the barn smell. LOL



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      Coachmombabe wrote Nov 2, 2008
    • I am almost always happy. I love my life. I love my husband...he loves me too. I love my kids and grandkids. I’m surrounded by people I love at work. I love my work. I love my God. What’s not to be happy about?

      I find that when love is my fuel, I can pretty much stay happy. It is when I become selfish and self centered that my happiness begins to unravel.



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