Happy International Day of Happiness!

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Happy International Day of Happiness!

 

Enjoy your day with people who make you smile and laugh. My family is lucky to be spending a fun day celebrating a special friend’s 5th birthday!

 

I am sharing the following from Action for Happiness which is a movement for positive social change.

“We want a society that prioritises the things that really matter. Join us and help spread happiness – at home, at work or in your community.”

Source: Let’s put the things that matter first

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Have a great day! ūüôā

Happy Book Launch

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Ringing the singing bowl to focus our hearing

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patiently waiting

 

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

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My friend, Margit has supported every step of my happiness journey and made these cookies for the book launch. She hand did each face!

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smiles

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I think these cookies stole the show! ūüėČ

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Happy drawings!!!

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Getting to write special messages was so fun!

 

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Margit’s cookies made everyone smile

untitledThis photo was taken at the next reading I did for story time at our library during vacation week. We used masks to act out the story. So cute!

 

 

We had a very happy book launch at my town’s library, thank you to all the librarians and a special thank you to Lindsey and Becky! Celebrating with my family and friends always makes me happy.¬† I always know I can depend on them to be as happy as I am to come together and celebrate, especially for something they know means so much to me. ¬†A number one priority to creating your happiness is to strengthen your social connections. I hope they know how much I appreciate their support, especially at my happy book launch. Sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and making Happy Rings with¬†my family and friends was truly one of the happiest days I have ever had.

Twenty-five families attended and listened to the reading of “That Makes Me Happy!”.¬† All the children were terrific listeners and participants. The event was also attended by¬† Alison, a reporter from our local newspaper.¬† I look forward to reading¬†the article¬†and seeing the pictures. There was so much going on and I wished I could have chatted more and been able to talk to each child about their drawings.¬†During the book launch children made their happy thought circles and then added it to a Happy Ring to take home. My friend Kim shared with me that her son’s¬†happy thought was me! I was very surprised and almost cried! How sweet was that!James and Tiffany

It was also¬†very heartwarming when one friend shared her enthusiasm for the “Happy Rings” and how her sons have¬†been able to have fun using them for calming strategies. She was very kind to post this comment on “My Happy”:

“That Makes Me Happy! was read in my son‚Äôs preschool class and he loved it! He was excited to share with the family the Happy Ring he had created. To this day, I use the techniques described in the book and the Happy Ring as calming strategies for both of my boys. They always end up smiling and laughing with each other. Tiffany, I am so happy to share in your special day tomorrow as you launch the book. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!” Amy

It was also important to me to explain some of the great research that led to my motivation to write “That Makes Me Happy!”. First, I explained the work of Richard Davidson. Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist and emotional specialist. At a recent conference hosted by The Mind and Life Institute, Davidson talked about his center’s work in the field of contemplative neuroscience.¬† He says one of the most important insights this work is leading us to is: we can train for well-being. “It is the neuroscientific evidence particularly which shows us that the circuits in the brain that are important to underlying well-being exhibit plasticity–it changes as a consequence of experience and as a consequence of training.¬† We know that the brain is constantly being changed, wittingly or unwittingly.”¬† “We can all take responsibility for our own brains and we can shape our own brains in ways that are more positive and can lead to the cultivation of well-being.”

Read more about Richard Davidson’s work at: http://www.centerhealthyminds.org

Next, I¬†shared the information about the course given by UC Berkeley, “The Science of Happiness”. Not only does this course cover all the latest research in positive psychology, it also teaches students happiness practices to cultivate well-being. ¬†Although it is a 10 week course, if you are not taking it to earn credit, you have the materials for six months and may take it at your own pace.¬† Between the discussion groups and Facebook page there is opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Simply hearing the stories of others looking to learn more about positive well-being is very uplifting.

Read more at http://www.greatergoodsciencecenter.org

Local organizations that support SEL in other ways are

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http://www.friendshipconnectiononline.com/

http://www.artfullifecenter.org/

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http://www.mindfulschools.org

 

Lastly, I organized a “Happiness Bundle” for my town library. I have pictured the books I included below. I tried to think of everyone, whether you are an avid reader, a magazine flipper, a movie watcher or a parent looking for children’s books about happiness. I feel like this is the best grouping of books that I have read in the sea of new happiness books. If you live in my area, I hope you get¬† chance to borrow some of these finds. ūüôā If you are not, your own library may have some of these titles. If not, you can ask them if they could get them in.

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As you can see I have a lot to share! The title “That Makes Me Happy!” truly describes what all this is about, Creating My Happy! I hope that it also Creates YOUR Happy!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so HAPPY! ūüôā A special thank you to Olivia for taking pictures at the book launch and Lois for taking pictures at the story time. Thank you to Margit for the delicious custom cookies and¬†to Alex, my excellent assistant¬†at the launch.

 

That Makes Me Happy!

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As soon as I began learning¬†about the latest research in positive psychology, I wanted to share that knowledge with children. “That Makes Me Happy!” is¬†aimed to reach 4 to¬†9 year olds with a story of animal characters and an ending with a “Happy Ring”. I wanted to give children an easy,¬†fun way to practice being more positive! Just like learning any new skill, we can practice to be a more positive person. I have recorded a video to explain my thinking behind this story. “That Makes Me Happy!” is available at http://www.amazon.com

Please share your experiences if you purchase the book and read it with your children or students. I would greatly appreciate feedback!

You can e-mail me at thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com

Let’s Show Our Children We Value Their Happiness!

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“That Makes Me Happy!”

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Will you please join me in showing our children we value their happiness? ¬†We value their happiness as much, or more than their academics and achievements.¬†The day I shared a story and happy lesson with my children’s class (see I Did It!)¬†, I knew I wanted to share it with as many children as I could.

After positive feedback from their teachers, parents, and other classmates, I went back to the drawing board (literally), drew every picture again, had help with editing and rewrote the story.

“That Makes Me Happy!”¬†was written to share 3 simple ways¬†children can boost their own happiness. Take a walk with Tucker, a sweet puppy, and Penny, a kind fairy to learn how everyone can help themselves to be happy. At the end of the story use Penny’s idea, a “Happy Ring”, to practice these happiness strategies every day!

The following is a link to purchase “That Makes Me Happy!”.¬†¬†createspace¬† It is also available at http://www.amazon.com ¬†I’m excited to do readings of “That Makes Me Happy!”¬† in my community and surrounding communities. I’m¬†looking forward¬†to sharing¬†this story, it is my hope and dream to teach children how they can help themselves to be happy. You can help by purchasing a book and sharing this post with your friends and families.

To learn more about “That Makes Me Happy!” go to the book link and come back to “My Happy”¬†soon,¬†as I will be creating¬†the “That Makes Me Happy!” page. I am grateful for¬†those of you who¬†take time to read “My Happy” and I appreciate your help sharing¬†this book.

Happy Regards!

Tiffany

Tiffany’s Picks for Holiday Giving 2015

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I can’t believe it has been a year since I wrote Happiness for the¬†Holidays.¬† Now that I have a year under my belt, I revisit old posts. Since I covered ways to bring happiness to¬†the holidays, I thought sharing gift ideas in this year’s post would be fun!

One of my favorite things to give is a good book. Stop, don’t yawn! I know what you’re thinking, but there are so many good ones that I can think of. I, myself, love to read and my children LOVE to read, too. They are just as happy to get a new book as they are with a new toy. You are not just giving a book, you are giving an experience, an inspiration, a laugh, a cry, a mind opener, a comfort.

Okay, before I go overboard, here are Tiffany’s Picks for holiday giving:

Raising_Happiness_ This is one of my favorite books for any parent, caregiver, or anyone who works with children. This is an easy read by Christine Carter, Ph.D. She includes the latest research in positive psychology and she gives examples from her own life, raising two daughters.  I found it to be very inspiring.

9780785832874_p0_v2_s192x300¬†My friend Kim, brought me to have a medical¬†test recently.¬† When she returned to pick me up, she had bought me one of these adult coloring books. I really appreciated her help that day and was glad she brought my attention to these coloring books. Yes, it is fun to color and did you know it is being compared to meditating? ūüôā For the many who cannot seem to find a meditation practice¬†that feels comfortable (including yours truly), try one of these books or give one to someone you love. The benefits of getting into a creative “flow” are being compared to the benefits of meditating. To learn more about the benefits of meditating please see my post:¬† ‚ÄúMeditation is Concentrated Happiness¬†Training‚ÄĚ

9781416957768_p0_v2_s192x300If you saw this book in my children’s room you would think it was ready to be recycled. I have read this book so many times it is literally falling apart. Sean Covey and Stacy Curtis create 7 animal characters in 7 stories to illustrate habits that help kids to be happy. One of my favorite stories is “Lily Plants a Garden”. Lily really wants a garden, but her mother tells her it is a lot of work. Lily¬†writes her mom a letter and explains how she will work hard and share what she grows. It will be a win/win for the family.¬† Learn more about Sean Covey at¬† http://www.seancovey.com

9780594560975_p0_v4_s550x406Now I know this is not a book. I found this Buddah Board at Barnes and Noble while shopping for books. ūüėČ Love this! It is relaxing to use, inspires creativity, environmentally friendly, and of course, fun!

Good luck finishing up your to do lists!

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Happy Holidays to all of you, may it be filled with peace, love, and joy!

 

 

A special thank you to Ramona Crisstea http://www.ramonacrisstea.com After viewing her fashionista post on holiday giving, I used her formatting choice for this post. Please visit her blog and see the SAMMYDRESS post for unique gift ideas.

 

 

 

 

Dear My Happy Readers, Thank You

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IMG_20151123_080218039This is an example of a “Gratitude Letter”, one of many happiness practices that I have been learning about in the¬† “The Science of Happiness” course, UC Berkeley.¬†¬†(I included a typed version at the end of this post.)

We were asked to write a gratitude letter after viewing a video of people who were asked to do the same. We were also asked to read the letter to the person we were writing to. Both the act of writing and reading the letter have been shown to improve health and happiness in the writer of the letter and the recipient. The people in the video were only told to write the letter at first. After they wrote the letter they were given a phone to call the person they wrote the letter to. Most everyone reacted very surprised and a little embarrassed. Sometimes we are less reserved when we write to someone as opposed to speaking to them directly. It was a fun video to watch, also very touching.

Gratitude is something my parents felt very strongly about. Both their families had faced many struggles including the Great Depression. My mother and father¬†instilled in each of¬†us how lucky we all were and that we should always be thankful. Thankful we were together, thankful we had a warm home, thankful for our loving extended family, thankful for our clothes, and thankful for three meals a day.¬† As an adult, I see what a gift this was. Although we faced some very difficult times, we were happier than we would have been if we didn’t appreciate what we had. I think this is why I found this happiness practice to be enjoyable, natural feeling, and of great value.

I appreciated learning about¬†this happiness practice and¬†thought you might like to give it a try. The letter to all of you is not exactly what the instructors had in mind.¬† ūüėČ I did write another to a long time friend.

The following were the guidelines given to us:

Choose a person who you feel grateful to. Someone who made an impact in your life, but you may never have expressed your gratitude.

Write them a letter explaining why you feel that way (putting pen to paper feels better, somehow, than typing it).  Include how they helped you and how it still means so much to you today.

Try to meet in person to read the letter to them. Notice their expression and their emotions as well as your own.

If you cannot do this in person, you can try skyping, facetime, or like the old days, a phone call. You can still hear their responses.

 

I also learned another way to strengthen gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal.¬† Researchers have found that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness. After conducting¬†additional research in this area researchers discovered that the¬†people who wrote in their journals once a week as opposed to three times a week were happier. Sometimes more isn’t better. The best happiness practices are the¬†kind we enjoy, we can do without stress, and you believe it can make a difference to your happiness.

Simply telling people in your life why you appreciate them is a wonderful way to increase your happiness as well as theirs. I know many of us are not only thankful on Thanksgiving, but all year long.

Let me know if you try the Gratitude Letter, I would be very grateful! ūüôā

To learn more about how gratitude improves health and happiness or to learn more about¬†“The Science of Happiness” course ¬†visit:

http://www.greatergood.berkeley.edu

Look for “Core Themes” and go to “Gratitude”

“The Science of Happiness” will be re-launching on January 5th 2016 “A free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life, Co-taught by the GGSC’s Dacher Kether and Emiliana Simon-Thomas. Up to 16 CE Credit hours available.” Greater Good Science Center

 

Typed version of my letter to you:

Dear My Happy Readers,

Thank you! I am so grateful you take time from your busy lives to read my blog posts.  I am so fortunate to have learned through writing comes healing, gratitude, learning, growing, connecting, and so much more.  It is an amazing feeling when you read, comment, share or like something I wrote! Thank you again for reading and being positive.  May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you are in the states) or a wonderful week if you are not.

With Gratitude,

Tiffany

 

 

Keep Calm and Growth Mindset

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Growth Mindset

I couldn’t believe it when I found this! Yay! I need this on a shirt, now. ūüôā Are you or your children back¬†in school? Maybe you are beginning a new job?¬†Maybe you are¬†managing or teaching others? If you haven’t learned about¬†having and encouraging a growth mindset¬†yet, please read on.

The concept of growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck.¬† In recent years, many schools and educators have started using Dweck’s¬†theories.¬† Carol Dweck explains “In a fixed mindset¬†people believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They also think talent alone creates success, without effort.” Alternatively, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point.¬† This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

When you embrace a growth mindset you realize that your effort and perseverance will lead to learning more and becoming smarter. You will also¬†view challenges and failures as opportunities for your learning and growth. ¬†I can only speak¬†of my own experiences with this. I can say for certain that I have made¬†positive changes in my life¬†by having a growth mindset for myself and my children.¬† In fact, I typically had a growth mindset for my own children, but not for myself. I really kept myself from new experiences for reasons like I’m not that smart, I can’t learn that at my age, I don’t want to fail…It also made me realize that I wasn’t being a good role model for my children thinking that way.

As¬†I tried to keep this mindset when encouraging my children, I found it difficult not to tell my children they¬†were smart! I think It’s okay to still say those things as long as you explain to them that their hard work and effort help them become smarter. My children love to draw and color.¬†When I praise their work I try¬†to be specific about what they did. Instead of just saying “What a beautiful picture”, I would say “Wow, I really like the way you used all those different colors!”, or “I can see how much time you took coloring in that background so carefully.” Another point I have made with my children is that it is okay to make mistakes or even fail at something. It helps us to learn and grow. My older son was pursuing his black belt in karate and at one of his tests he failed. He did not earn the next belt. It was a very difficult experience for him and myself, to be quite honest. It is difficult to see your child struggle, but it is a learning experience. He learned that he needed to practice more and not give up. He did both of those and did go on to receive his black belt. ( Let‚Äôs Talk about¬†Karate¬†)

After¬†reading about Carol Dweck’s research regarding¬†growth mindset, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s with Kristina Tracy Unstoppable Me 10 Ways to Soar Through Life came to mind. This is a wonderful book to read to your children to encourage them to have a growth mindset and of course, it also¬†ties nicely with ways to cultivate happiness and mindfulness. ūüôā

unstoppable me

What’s Inside…

  1. You’re Great-No Matter What!
  2. Persistence Pays Off!
  3. Welcome the Unknown
  4. You Have a Choice
  5. Farewell to Worry
  6. Peace Begins with You
  7. Enjoy the Here-and-Now
  8. Healthy Me!
  9. Creativity is the Key!
  10. What Can You Give?

Each point includes an example and an illustration showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. Dr. Dyer also includes questions at the end of the book to help begin conversations.  My children have been captivated by the stories and illustrations.  Great book to share with your children or children you care for.

I also found this simple chart that explains the two ways of thinking:

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

Older children will appreciate this simple chart to encourage their understanding of the concept of having a growth mindset.

Again, having a growth mindset encourages a love of learning and resilience. It helps us to connect with others in a positive way and gives us all the opportunity to reach our full potential.  If you are interested to learn more I have a more detailed chart and a video on my Happiness Page which is currently my home page. You can also go right to the source at http://www.mindsetonline.com

Stay Calm and Growth Mindset….

Stop Learning, Start Thinking, and Create!

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“Stop Learning, Start Thinking, and Create!” Jacob Barnett

Below you will find a most inspiring Ted talk by a teen, Jacob Barnett! I am often searching through Ted talks¬†in areas of my interests. I happen upon Jacob Barnett’s talk and was truly amazed.¬†While most people¬†will be¬†amazed by this young person’s genius, I am amazed by his enthusiasm, humor, and happiness! Jacob lives his life focused on his passion, not his grades, IQ, or achievements. He is focused on what he loves, yet he’s not even sharing that subject (quantum physics), he is inspiring us to stop learning, think, and create. My writing would never do this talk justice, please watch it below.

If you haven’t heard of Ted talks…….

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After watching the video you have¬†learned that Jacob has autism. He speaks of the difficulties his parents encountered because of his developmental delays which included¬†an inability to¬†communicate and interact¬†like a typically developing¬†child.¬† The Barnett family refused to accept that their son would never learn or speak. Kristine Barnett’s book “The Spark” shares her story of staying focused on her little boy’s “spark”.

Whatever drew Jacob’s interest would be what she would use to try to connect her son to her world.¬† With that focus, much love, ¬†creating childhood memories (in the midst of therapies), and carving a new path¬†to educate her son, Jacob grows into an amazing child¬†and¬†has gone¬†on to create an original theory in¬† astrophysics. ¬†Jacob’s talk and his mother’s book¬†speaks volumes to parents who might be struggling with¬†similar problems¬†and¬†to all parents, no matter the situation,¬†who want to see their children happy. Jacob’s message to us all¬†is to stop the learning, take time to think about your passion, and use your unique perspective to create!

After reading “The Spark” I wanted to share the story and Jacob’s message to take our passions seriously no matter what they are. To recognize the passion in your children and encourage, no more than encourage, to give them opportunities to do their passion. Kristine Barnett worked with many children in her daycare and always found success when she focused on the children’s “sparks”.¬† She did not trust that her son’s school would do the same.

I do not know what their school’s¬†plan would have been for Jacob, but I do know what systems are in place today. I¬†appreciate¬†Kristine Barnett’s positive message to focus on¬†our children’s¬†“spark” and to trust our intuitions (especially about our children), however, I would also like to support all the incredibly dedicated people¬†working with or¬† parenting children with autism by offering a sense of what help for children with autism is like today.

Today there are caring professionals and parents who use a variety of approaches to bring out the best in children with autism. Schools support these children by educating their social and emotional smarts, as well as supporting or challenging them academically.  Parents also use outside resources to add to those efforts, such as play therapy and social skills groups.  Children with autism are of course, all unique individuals and may require a  balance of doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, teachers, besides their main support system of family and friends. The needs of each child is not the same as another, some need more support while others need less.

In fact, ALL children need to be educated, supported, or challenged in academics, social skills, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness to bring out their best!

If I¬†might add to¬†Jacob Barnett’s¬†encouragement, I would also encourage families this summer to spend some much-needed mindful family time along with a focus on your passions.

Stop learning, start thinking, be mindful, create, and be happy!

Summer Reading

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Have you been checking out your children’s summer reading lists and preparing them with¬†a variety¬†of¬†great books to read? Have you been sitting on a beach wishing you had something for yourself to read? Maybe, you have a lunch break to sit outside and eat with a good read? Well, please take a look at this!

Livehappy

This is livehappy! I received this as a birthday gift. Perfect for me, right? Sometimes I feel like my kids when they get obsessed with a toy or subject and that’s all they want for Christmas! I’ve been that way about this subject. I guess, I don’t have to tell you that. ūüôā¬† Whether you love this subject like I do or you have a more typical interest, this magazine will keep you living happy!

I’m holding the June 2015 issue which has the Good Morning America Celebs on the cover. This issue shared GMA’s workplace well-being.¬†¬†livehappy columns include Work, Home, Health, Mindset, and Self.¬† Many positive pictures, ideas, and quotes throughout¬†inspire a¬†positive mood. You will find in the June issue¬†a Happiness Library (latest books on happiness), discussion of happiness in education (my all time favorite), pictures of Happiness Walls across North America (#happyacts), how happiness improves business, and heroes all around us.

This is one of my favorite articles that took place at Castle Hills Elementary School in Lewisville, Texas. If you look closely at the picture you will see “nearly 800 students and faculty braved the cold and rainy weather to spell out the word “Happy”. The school took time to learn about happiness and then¬†took the #HappyActs challenge. Kindergartners all the way through fifth graders created a happiness wall featuring happy acts. The students participated in this to celebrate March 20th, the¬†United Nations has chosen March 20th as International Day of Happiness!

School Spirit

After you enjoy reading livehappy, pass it on! If you are interested to learn more about happy acts visit their website at http://www.happyacts.org.

Find livehappy online at http://www.livehappy.com.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

I Did It!

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Happy Rings

“Happiness is not something ready made.¬† It comes from your own actions.”¬† Dalai Lama¬†

I did it, with help, support, and encouragement but I did it! I had an idea for a story to teach children (preschool through 2nd grade) how to help themselves to be happy. The story also concludes with making a personal ring of pictures. Using the ring will help children practice 3 happy habits deep breaths, smiling, and thinking a happy thought.

Each small step I¬†took towards a happier me made a difference.¬†No matter how big or small the¬†differences¬†were, it is still a positive difference. I want to be¬†a person¬†who creates change for the better. If you want greater good, you have to be the good. The following paragraph¬†includes¬†the strategies I have been writing about that helped me this past year, and more specifically with¬†writing the children’s story.

Not letting excuses get in my way, leaning on friends and family, listening (with my ears and heart), using a Growth Mindset for myself and others, taking risks, not allowing negativity in other areas of my life get me down, keeping my working materials ready and available, visualizing, deep breaths, meditating, using everyday bravery, focusing on the positives, taking time to be creative, being mindful, being thankful, not giving up, and of course, blogging.

I am grateful that I had this opportunity to focus on this project. I am thankful to the teachers and children who welcomed me into their classroom, listened to my story and created their “Happy Rings”. The pure joy I feel teaching in itself is rewarding. Seeing those sweet faces and bright smiles! Admiring the¬†teachers who work diligently to create a loving, supportive, and comfortable¬†environment for each of their amazing students to then be open to new learning.¬†¬†Wow! The only thing that made this experience truly amazing for me was¬†sharing my ideas and teaching about my FAVORITE subject, HAPPINESS! Wow! Wow!

These have been some of my actions. I would LOVE to hear about yours, big or small! You can comment below or e-mail me to share your information privately.

This¬†has been¬†the perfect way to conclude my first year of blogging. ¬†Today is the one year date of my very first post “Lead By Example”. Thank all of you for reading “My Happy, ¬†Creating Your Happy” and giving me positive feedback. Thank you to WordPress for designing a user-friendly site and for sending¬†me this congratulations¬†for “My Happy’s” 1st anniversary! I look forward to expanding my blog with a page for kids!

Achievement

1 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com one year ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!