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14,000 things to be happy about ~Barbara Ann Kipfer


I am changing a Habit  – yes another one!  This one involves pencil and paper, so I when I received a small set of notebooks that would fit into my purse recently, I decided to move forward on this change.

When one of my daughters arrived at the teen years she was having trouble with depression and anxiety.  I was in recovery from Ovarian Cancer treatments.  She found this book for me 14,000 things to be happy about and purchased it for Mother’s Day.  When I would sit down to write in my journal, I would think about how my daughter wanted me to feel better and I would read a page of this book and find some things to make me feel happy.  I wish I had thought to pull out this book when the journal page was filled with rants and anger, it would have pulled me back into the moment as a good cleansing benediction.  The book has held a spot right at eye level on the shelf so that I would not miss it when I needed it.

The habit I am changing is that I am now going to fill my little notebooks with things that make me happy.  It is my turn to add to the words found here.   I do have my gratitude practice but this is a bit different – more of a happiness journal.

I was delighted to see that the book is now available on Kindle and has recently been revised.  I have the 1990s edition.

14,000 things to be happy about THE HAPPY BOOK by Barbara Ann Kipfer has the following short introduction:

“This book represents 20 years of recording all the little things that make me happy.  Beginning in the sixth grade with a tiny spiral notebook, I graduated to larger notebooks and finally to a personal computer that today contains more than a million bytes’ worth of word-pictures.  Words, and the images they create, can be a great source of pleasure and inspiration.  Sometimes, on a gray day, I flip through this collection to cheer myself up; often I use it to get ideas about what to cook for dinner or something fun to do with my son on the weekend.

“As you read through these pages, give yourself time to conjure up your own images – to reminisce, wish and dream.  I hope you will find, as I did, that happiness comes from noticing and enjoying the little things in life.”

So now I am going to take note and write down the little things that make me happy.  Here are my first 5 entries:

  • The little finches doing acrobatics in the apple trees
  • Reading Laurie’s fun yoga gone to the dogs post
  • How the sun breaking through the rain makes the drops on the fir trees rainbows
  • My neighbor coming to the door with a sweet treat and thank you
  • How much Zip loved the dry off after the walk

Now it’s your turn, what would be your first entries in your notebook towards your 14,000 things to be happy about.    Looking forward to reading your list

This book was from my Library and no one paid me or sent me anything in return for my words found here.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading:
Habits
Ten Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
The Brevity of Roses
Camel Pirouette

18 Comments on “14,000 things to be happy about ~Barbara Ann Kipfer”

  1. #1 Talon
    on Feb 6th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    It’s amazing how if we look for the positive, we quite often find it and, of course, the opposite is true.

    Hmmm…my happiness journal would start with “I’m happy there is no wind today and that the sun keeps pushing through the clouds…” and the next one would be, “I’m happy I made some stew in the crockpot so I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner”… :)

    Thank you, Patricia, for reminding me that there are little bits of happy things all around us just waiting to be noticed and recorded. :)

    Patricia Reply:

    Talon,
    So wonderful to find you here again – sweet. That makes me happy right now – get me the book!

    I think this is an amazing project and there are simple little illustrations too.

    I saw a mom and toddler in the store today and I just had to stop and write down the cuteness factor in their play as they shopped…
    I am really liking this new habit.

  2. #2 Chris Edgar
    on Feb 6th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I think happiness for me tends to manifest when I give myself permission to be honest about what I’m feeling with the people around me. Authentic expression gives me a sense of lightness in my body and restores my capacity for compassion for others.

    Patricia Reply:

    Chris,
    Lightness, compassion, honesty – wow such good statements – Thank you…I am smiling your direction.

    I have had a major headache for the past 7 days and this new habit has given me some solid relief…and brought me more mindfulness – even when vacuuming with a headache.

    I just do not feel like cooking – yet!
    Thanks for your comment

  3. #3 Laurie Buchanan
    on Feb 6th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Patricia – Can you fathom the momentum this kind of thinking would generate if we ALL did this? Oh my gosh, the world would be a very different place, indeed.

    THANK YOU so much for including “Yoga gone to the dogs” in your first five entries. I’m honored :)

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    In over 20 years of using this book, it never fails to help me smile or diminish a problem – I just forget about it. So far taking an active role of writing my own happy things down has definitely added to my being in the moment

    You are welcome…it is a great post – hope folks will pop over to check it out and enJOY it also

    The world would be a very different place

  4. #4 Hilary
    on Feb 7th, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Hi Patricia .. it’s essential to have that positive in life … we should all take a few minutes each day to reflect on what we have, the comfort we feel, and how life could be much worse – than it actually is.

    Now – I’d always start with I know I’m generally fortunate – things work out – and when I remember this .. the really troublesome times I’m coping with/coped with go away or at least are manageable.

    I smile and remember to laugh ..
    I am positive – if someone is negative or ‘off’ I think they’ve got a problem of some sort … and I leave it …
    I offer to help as much as possible, but I remember me too
    Smell the air, remember nature ..

    and today we have sun beaming in … bliss!!

    Cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Curiosity Killed the Cat – Overcoming Adversity BloghopMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    We have sun today too Hilary and may have it for a couple days if we are lucky – I think that the ground hog’s prediction for Spring being on it’s way just feels like it might be true!

    I am on my 6th day of writing down happy things and I am finding that I am not so complaining about the virus that is giving me a headache for 8 days now and some other not so pleasant side effects – I can still find happy things.

    I think I like your idea that because you have coped before you recognize that things turn out okay – and go well, maybe that wisdom comes with age?

    I put your Cat post up on facebook a couple of times now and I saw that it has been shared 5 times…hope that is a happy ending post also

  5. #5 susan
    on Feb 7th, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Hi Patricia,
    It really makes me happy today that it is rain outside and not snow that I would have to shovel! I am happy that my daughter called me this morning, expressing understanding for me altering my life.

    That’s not a bad start for today considering where it might have gone!
    hugs
    SuZen
    p.s. I really needed this reminder to find the happy today, thanks!
    susan recently posted..Absolutely Perfect!My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I have to tell you Susan that I have one child that is a wee bit upset that we have the next several days of sunshine. Her kids at school are so excited that she thought they all could use a SNOW day!

    Whenever we are going through trying times and ID changes I think we all need reminders that we will survive this and that we can be happy in process – the event does not need to control our wholeness of being It is just a part of the process.

    I pulled this book off the shelf because I came down with such a severe headache and eye infection with other side effects, I just thought I could not cope without being able to read and write and get through the tasks that needed doing….The ache is going and the eyes are weepy now and I still have a list each day of things that just make me happy – an easy counter balance

    I am so happy your daughter heard you and that that conversation went well….It will all work and turn out just right = I am sure of it

  6. #6 Sara
    on Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Patricia — I have that book in my library and there are many times I’ve pulled it down and just read from whatever page it opened to. I always found something to cheer me up.

    five things….

    my cat dragging her toys into the bedroom so when I get up in the morning they, and she, are waiting for me to play

    watching the birds eat from our feeders on a cold wet day

    reading a book while eating my lunch

    landing on posts that make me feel good, like this one

    laughing at a BBC “walk on the wild side” video…

    Thanks for making me STOP and think of these five. It’s good to remind myself of my happy moments:~)

    Patricia Reply:

    Oh Sara it is always such a delight and a boost of happiness to have you come by – Oh that we own the same book and keep it close at hand.

    In the last book that I reviewed and after watching the documentary THIS EMOTIONAL LIFE, I am become extremely aware how in our culture we need to find someone to stop the negative. For every negative comment or idea that we focus on it is scientifically shown that we need to counterbalance that with 20 positives or happy comments or ideas. How wonderful it would be if we all had a journal/ storehouse of happy thoughts written down – we could call upon them all the time. That is why I like the little notebook in my purse idea…I can certainly dwell on the negative ones…
    ZIP brings me his “COW” toy ever night from his crate when he wants me to play and tuck him in for the night…It is so much nicer than his throwing the bones on the hardwood floors …although both bring me a smile

  7. #7 Alien Ghost
    on Feb 7th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    It seems really difficult to name things to be happy for because when thinking about it, it becomes like an avalanche of great things! So to name some of them:

    -The wild rabbits that visit my back and front yards. I can spend a long time just watching them with a smile in my face. Their presence always lights my day.
    -The sun shinning in the sky; which shows me it’ll be a warm day.
    -The rain that helps me remember sad things from the past, which allows me to experience a wider range of emotions (I don’t see sadness as a bad thing but rather as a sign of humanity and as a healing tool).
    -All the new technology that I don’t understand and have to fight with, but at the same time makes my life a lot easier than it used to be in the past.
    -The marvelous existence of potato chips!
    -The invention of plastic, which in my opinion is like the second wheel. Just look around and see all the things that would disappear if plastic didn’t exist!
    -The gift of life, that even though some times it becomes tough, it is also such an amazing challenge and entertaining trip.

    And so many more…

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Aspie World 1 – Perceiving the WorldMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you Raul for commenting on my post today – I just so enjoyed reading your wonderful post and catching a glimpse of your perceptions of the world – such wonderful writing as once again you have shared here.

    I have been fighting with a headache and technology today – I truly need to find a happy idea to focus on and yours are a great place to start…Did you know that February 14th is National Potato Chip Day?
    Well it is!

  8. #8 Sam Juliano
    on Feb 10th, 2013 at 11:20 am

    This is precisely the kind of positive energy that everyone whould avail themselves of, especially those who need that pick-me-upper here and there. My wife indicates she will pick up a copy! Wonderful piece here Patricia!

    Patricia Reply:

    Sam,
    I appreciate your good words….I am sorry I have not been over to read your site YET, but I have a virus which is attacking my eyes and reading has been very difficult. I am on the mend, but still being careful

    Yes I think this is a very positive practice and we have a teacher in our elementary school nearby who uses this practice at the end of each classroom day…she says the kids leave with a better attitude each day – I think that is worthy to note too

    Thank you for your good words
    Patricia recently posted..LOL Loving Pie, Pie IIMy Profile

  9. #9 Galen Pearl
    on Feb 10th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    This reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s book “1000 Gifts.” I have started a list of 1000 things to be grateful for. The next item on my list will be the reminder from your blog to go back to my forgotten list and add to it!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Arrows into FlowersMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Galen,
    Your words of going back to your gratitude list is just why I thought I would work this into a habit so it just becomes a part of my daily experience.

    Just a super little book and I loved yours story telling on Arrows into Flowers
    Patricia recently posted..LOL Loving Pie, Pie IIMy Profile