What makes you happy?

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By Nancy Kennedy

I listen to a weekly podcast on NPR called “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” four people discussing movies, TV, music and other pop culture topics.
At the end of every show they go around the table and say what’s making them happy that week.
The rule is that they share something in the pop culturesphere that other people, such as their podcast listeners, can participate in so they can be happy, too. They might mention a new (or old) book or movie, an upcoming event, a fun Website. Sometimes they share something personal, which is always fun because it’s a chance to get to know these people a little better.
Besides, there are enough not-happy moments in life and this is a great way to end their show each week. So, I thought I’d try that this week and tell you what’s making me happy.
•Mad Men Season 6!
•I make a really good baked eggplant dish that’s tomatoey and sweet, and it makes my husband happy, which makes me happy.
•When I leave for work in the morning I have a view of a lake between some trees. Sometimes when it’s cold out there’s a layer of mist on top of the water. Sometimes the sky is yellow and orange and lavender. Sometimes the water is bright blue, depending on what time I leave the house. Whatever time I leave, that view always makes me happy and I thank God that he allows me to see it.
•A week or so ago I was bothered by something that I’ve since forgotten. At the time a friend suggested that I go shopping — she knows how much I love shopping. It made me happy to tell her that I hadn’t bought anything other than groceries in weeks, and that I hadn’t wanted to. It made me extremely happy that I was happy without shopping. It makes me happy when I realize that Jesus is better than even a sweater that’s 60 percent off.
•There’s a certain color palette of grayish blues that makes me very happy. It’s the color of winter or maybe the ocean on a cloudy day. It’s soft and soothing, and restful to my eyes. A few years ago I found a duvet cover the exact shade of this grayish blue, so I go to bed and wake up surrounded by this restful color.
•Being near water renews and restores me. One day at work I was having a tough day, so I finished early and went and sat on a bench in the sun by the lake near my house. I sat for maybe an hour, not thinking about anything except how water renews my soul.
•My laptop makes me happy.
•The giant manatee out in front of our local wildlife park makes me happy. Every holiday someone dresses it up — bunny ears for Easter, Santa hat for Christmas — and I take a photo of it to send to my daughter, who loves manatees. When she was a kid she painted a dinner plate with a Nativity scene, and baby Jesus looks a lot like a manatee. We call it the Jesus Plate — and that also makes me happy.
•I have an apple green iPod that accidentally went through the washing machine about a year ago. It took a while to dry out in a bag of rice, but it works perfectly, which makes me happy. My husband and I listen to downloaded sermons sometimes when we’re out driving. A good sermon makes me happy.
•Having someone say, “I prayed for you today,” makes me happy. I know of one person who prays for me every day, and just thinking about that makes me smile. Lord knows I need all the prayers I can get.
•Romans 4:7-8 says: “Happy are those whose wrongs are forgiven, whose sins are pardoned.” To know that my past is wiped clean and so is my present and future, to rest in the security of God’s mercy and grace, to trust that his forgiveness is without limit, to know that in Christ “there is therefore no condemnation,” well, that makes me happy.
What’s making you happy?
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.