Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best: “It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.”
I don’t know how I managed to read the Little House on the Prairie books a kajillion times as a kid without ever noticing that quote. But maybe it’s simply because I’m older now that I read things differently.
My daughter curls up on the couch beside me, and I read to her. We’re both immersed in our own worlds—her young perspective caught up in wonder of living in a log cabin (like our Lincoln Logs!) and I, thinking how much work the women did in those days. And also wondering if Ma ever felt quite alone there in that little house.
Still, running like a sure thread throughout the entire series, Laura brings us back to the little things. She notes the flowers coming up in spring along with the adventures of moving West.
And it’s in those musings that I realize she’s telling the story of all of our lives. The tiny moments. The I’ll-never-forget-this experiences. The quietness of life. The monotonous parts along with the incredible once in a lifetime memories.
How to Capture the Sweet Simple Things in Life
I make a cup of hot chocolate and fold laundry. Write a bit for my next book and vacuum. Call my sister to see how she’s doing and pull out the vacuum again after a vial of glitter is discovered by my preschooler.
I’ll give her extra creativity points for coming to me, hands full of glitter, and very seriously asking if I had a piece of paper for her to put the glitter on.
Life isn’t particularly amazing on this day, but there is a practice I’ve been doing for several years that brings out the sweetness in a simple day like this one.
In the evening, or if I have a few minutes in the afternoon, I write out what I’m grateful for or better yet, doodle and draw out those simple things in life.
Day after day I do this and soon I have several notebooks filled with my own musings.
But what strikes me the most is not the drawings or stories themselves. It’s the awareness and mindfulness of what is going on in my life. This practice has drawn me back into the moment, when I’ve been apt to be lost in multi-tasking and keeping my brain over-full at all times.
Rather than filling my mind with noise, I’ve consciously made myself dive deeper into the present moment. Asking follow-up questions rather than changing the subject to something I’m interested in. Stopping what I’m doing to listen and play and be. Taking note of the weather, the sky, and the path before me, instead of losing myself in music and radio noise.
I need a lot of practice. I definitely have not arrived.
But this daily happy journal ritual—drawing out the things in my life that make me happy, no matter how quirky or “small” they are—is helping me on my journey.
I’m thinking it will help you too.
So much so, I wrote a book about it.
I have kept a journal since I was a teenager, but most of what I recorded in my journal was negative. Definitely not anything I would ever want anyone to read. After reading Happy Journal, Happy Life, my perspective on journals has changed. I now record positive things from my life. I even let my daughter look at all the pages in my journal. It always brings a smile to her face, even though she sometimes chuckles at my drawings 🙂 If you have ever struggled with finding joy and happiness in your life, you NEED to read this book! – Christy Markley
After releasing the Kindle version of my book about drawing your day—Happy Journal, Happy Life—I decided to create a paperback with a journal at the end of the book, so you could start your own happy journal right away.