Friday, May 7, 2010

Happiness & Other Tidbits

So, better late than never, right?

A few months ago (okay, more like seven months ago) I was honored to find I had been tagged by Joanne ( of Joanne's Cottage Garden) in what is apparently called a meme. The idea is to list 10 things about yourself you think your readers may like to know, then ask other fellow bloggers to in turn do the same.

Much thanks also to Dominique at 4Walls and a View , Forgetful Girl and Lisa at Sundog Tales who all (fairly) recently nominated me for a Happiness Award. The concept there is similar, too: list 10 things that make you happy, and then nominate others to do likewise.

So, while it took me awhile to finish it, here are my lists! I'm combining the two awards into one entry. I think that's allowed, right? :)

Here are 10 tidbits about myself you may or may not be interested in (insert drum roll here)....

1. I was named after mountain laurels, a flowering plant abundant in New England (where I grew up). I was not named after Laurel and Hardy, though I get that question a lot.

2. I was born a blonde, and stayed fully blonde until I was about six years old. I'd say that explains a few things about me, but I don't want to insult my blonde friends.

Me, age 4-ish.

That photo was taken at Storyland in N.H. I cropped out the freaky looking clown behind me so as to not scare anyone.

3. I grew up in a small town with quite a few dirt roads, no street lights, no banks, no gas station, no restaurants and just one small general store.

Okay, so that's not an actual working road in my hometown. It's a small path off one of the dirt roads, but you get the idea. :) One of my favorite memories as a kid is riding my bike to the small convenient store with friends. We would buy candy or ice cream treats for 25 cents... which I think officially makes me sound old.

4. I have always deeply yearned to be a mother. It's something I've dreamed of since I was a little girl, and I continue to hope that I will still someday have the chance to experience all the joys of motherhood.

5. I studied abroad in London for a semester my junior year of college, and backpacked through Europe with a friend during spring break. After college, that same friend and I drove across the U.S. for almost 2 months. I love to travel. Some of my favorite places include Hawaii, Bryce Canyon, and Italy. Here are some photos I took of said favorite spots:

Venice, Italy

Kauai, Hawaii

Bryce Canyon, UT

6. I have always wanted and would still love to take karate classes. I would also love to take dance lessons of all kinds, as well as photography, drawing, painting, watercolor, film, cooking, sailing, yoga, and a dozen or so other classes.

7. I consider it a great honor to be my nephew's godmother, and I absolutely adore both my niece and nephew. I wish so much I could be more active in their lives.

8. The day my fiance proposed to me was the happiest day of my life. I am so fortunate to be engaged to my best friend.

9. I would love to spend some time in Kenya or Nepal or some third world country and volunteer to work with poor women and children there.

10. Illness has taught me a lot about patience, forgiveness, gratitude, hope, humility and grace. In the process, I've also learned that your life is not defined by circumstances, but by how you respond to those circumstances. I dream every day of how glorious it will be to someday get my health back.

As for 10 things that make me happy (insert more drum rolls)...

1. My fiance. Everything about him makes me happy: his friendship, understanding, humor, intelligence, strength, kind heart and his love. He makes my spirit fly, even if my body is stuck in bed.

2. Family and friends. I feel grateful to have a healthy family, loving parents and so many wonderful, loyal and life-long friends.

3. Books. I love learning, getting absorbed and being transported to distant places with a good story. I am so grateful for audio-books which regularly allow me to do so.

Me listening to an audio-book

For Christmas this year, I finally entered the 21st century when I received a little mp3 player so I can download books online, which also makes me happy.

4. Music. I enjoy all forms of music, from rock to classical to almost everything in-between. Music can immediately transport me back to healthier times and memories, as well as to new places I've never been. I love music that touches you to the core, takes you on a journey, and expresses what words alone cannot.

5. The internet, which allows me to keep in touch with friends and stay connected to the outside world in ways I otherwise could not.

6. The rare but sweet chocolate indulgence.

7. Nature. I love nature and am grateful for all the glimpses of it I can still experience from afar... from the bright blue sky out my window to the comforting sounds of bird song and the soothing, earthy smell of a soft rain.

8. Simple daily blessings like good food and clean sheets, a nice breeze from my window, or a surprise email from an old friend.

9. Dreams. I have amazingly vivid dreams. It is in dreams that I can still walk, talk, run, shower, sing, dance, work, travel, visit with friends and family, meet new people, laugh out loud, have a family of my own, paint, draw, swim and even fly.

10. Envisioning my future and all the millions of things I hope to do when well. I am ever grateful for the strength and endurance of hope.

Photo from

Thanks to all for the nominations! As for passing them on, I think anyone who hasn't already done so, is able and wishes to participate should make a list as well. It's a good way to stay mindful of your blessings, which can sometimes be a challenge when chronically ill.


  1. Really enjoyed reading all this and learning more about you Laurel...Hope you are having a good day!

  2. I loved reading your two lists, Laurel. You are so wise. I agree that it's not our circumstances that matter but how we react to them. To understand that at such a young age will serve you well, believe me!

    Your happiness list reveals that we have a lot in common. I, too, love music of all kinds, from classical to rock. I love books but, like you, can't read and so am so thankful for audiobooks. The Internet has been my savior -- connecting me to others. And nature soothes my soul. Well, I could go on.

    It's been great to get to know you better through this post.

  3. Laurel You are such an inspiration with all your writing.

    I shed a little tear for you because life is so unjust that you have had to suffer so long and yet you still see so much to celebrate.

    I note you also follow Jamie's blog it will be very interesting to see how she progresses on her anti retro viral medication. Her daughter like you has also got Lyme Disease in the mix of infections, I suspect many more also will be found to have both.

    I always loved the Mountain Laurel flowers and often thought to plant one in my garden but suspect it would be a little large for my small plot.

    I hope soon you become as vigorous and strong as your namesake.

    I just posted about my trip to Monet's garden a treat from my daughter. Who would have believed a few years ago I could do such a thing all that walking and all those steps.

    How amazing that IDSA/HPA would have denied me my treatment that returned my good health, thank goodness my doctor ignored HPA advice.

    I am hopeing the fact that you posted this is a sign that your long crash is lifting a little.

    Hugs Joanne

  4. I have actually been to that storyland many, many times! Ha!

    My daughter loved going there when we lived there. We lived in Conway and Bartlett up in the White Mountains.

    Amazing how small our world really is huh!

    Thanks for sharing. It is obvious to see by your responses that you are an amazing woman!

  5. Wonderful post Laurel! Loved reading the little tidbits about you. I enjoyed reading this very much.

    Big hugs, Lisa

  6. Yes, I enjoyed reading this too, and looking at the photos. I'm sending out a little wish that your dreams come true!

  7. Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful comments! It reminded me of something else for which I am grateful -- my fellow blogging friends!

    Dominique -- how funny we both grew up in NH! I grew up in a small town near the Nashua area (about 20 miles away). I'd tell you the name of the town, but I'm certain you never heard of it. Most people in and around Nashua don't even know where it is. ;)

  8. I liked your list! Loved seeing the photos.

  9. Love this list. Thanks for letting me know about it on my blog. Enjoy the rest of the weekend :)