Cultivating Happiness

Cherry Blossoms by my daughter, Michelene
Magnolia Blossoms by my daughter, Michelene

Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast. Norman Vincent Peale

I love this optimistic quote. I’m into happiness these days because even though we still have some snow on the ground, I am thinking, dreaming of magnolia trees!

Their beautiful pink color, guarantee of spring and summer, and magnificent beauty bring a smile to my face. I think I first laid eyes upon a magnolia tree when I visited my godfather John in Charleston, South Carolina as a little girl. I remember their huge blossoms and heady fragrance. I probably fell in love with them on the spot.

Around here in SW Pennsylvania, the magnolia trees will bloom if it gets warm and stays warm. I am keeping my fingers crossed this year for no late frosts!

Magnolia 2

Magnolias seemed a fitting entry flower for this first post on my new self hosted website because they make a bold, beautiful statement. Yes, I am wearing my big girl bloomers and hoping, praying that my email subscribers and my blogger friends are viewing this post. Can you please let me know? A quick comment below or an email to me at will do much for positive reinforcement!

After this long and challenging winter, I am patiently cultivating happiness. Dreamy images of digging in soft soil with a warm sun bring me closer to nature and to God. I can’t wait to make my first backyard campfire and hear the crackle from all those random branches that have been laying around my yard for months. My New York cousin made her reservation this week to come with her daughter for some quality time during April’s spring break. This makes me very happy. Lent has begun with its great promise.

How are you cultivating happiness? My daughter Michelene is an avid gardener and she shared her seed wish list with me the other day. Squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, heirloom tomatoes were all there and more, and I could see the twinkle in her eye. She is ready for her own garden, at her own place and I bet she’ll share her seed extras with Jim and I. This is cultivating happiness.

If we are not defined by our problems but by our gifts and talents, life becomes a canvas on which we can paint the world we have always dreamed of. The challenges of the past will not matter. We can move forward, confident of our God given abilities, and with appreciation for our own beauty within.

As one of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit would say- “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

What is your favorite way to cultivate happiness?

Join me on my graceful journey.

27 Replies to “Cultivating Happiness”

  1. Good Morning, Joanne! Beautiful uplifting post! The sun is shinig brightly today to compliment your post. I even heard the birds tweeting loudly this AM. Spring is about to shiw it’s beauty.

      1. Hi Joanne, Iam about 5 weeks out now….thanks for asking. Still alot of discomfort, but making progress . I will be glad to get back to normal. I feel like my wings are clipped haha. However, alot to be grateful for.

  2. I am so excited for spring and of course I will share my seeds with you! They’re going to be planted in the basement within the next two weeks. We will all share in the seedlings and their bounty.

  3. I got your post, Joanne. It’s lovely, as usual. I’m ready for spring, too! Crocuses are poking out from beneath the leaf mold, now, nearly ready to bloom. Tulips are nearly four inches high. 🙂

    1. Tulips are four inches high? I am so jealous!
      I am watching for snow drops; they will come first. Tulips probably by the end of March.
      But thank you Peg for stopping by! I truly enjoy seeing your smile!
      Joanne xo

  4. Lovely post, Joanne, and no problem receiving it through email. I like what you said about being defined, not by our problems, but by our gifts and talents…I’ll take that with me today.

    Have a blessed day full of Spring images.
    Marianne xo

  5. Reading your beautiful blog cultivates the beginning of happiness to my day & just being grateful to God for all the beauty in this world! I am seeing sunshine, hearing the singing birds & enjoying the day with my hubby! Have a beautiful one, Joanne!

    1. Hello Linda!
      Thank you for ALL of your encouragement! God has certainly blessed me with your friendship and I feel truly lucky to have met you that grand day in Ligonier!
      xo Joanne

  6. Your words carried me along for a lovely ride this morning. I adore how you weave your words and I found myself smiling.
    On a housekeeping note, your site opened super fast with no wait time. The old way, I usually opened through fb because I had some trouble through email. Today, it was seamless and a pleasure.
    Your words were uplifting and timely.
    Thanks for sharing your heart and soul.

    I have a card on my desk that I am looking at smiling. I think of you.
    “You are exceptional, share it with the world!”
    Hugs from the left coast,

    1. Hello Daleen,
      It seems I (thankfully!) have all of my email subscribers but seem to have lost my WordPress followers (via the Reader). Not sure what is going on but I am ok with it after a somewhat frustrating week.
      It is good to hear that my site loaded quickly and even better to hear that you thought of me today in such an exceptional way!
      Thank you truly, for your kind words! I am so blessed!

  7. Joanne, this seems to be a widespread theme right now, and your response to cultivate happiness is a wonderful affirmation. “…If we are not defined by our problems but by our gifts and talents, life becomes a canvas on which we can paint the world we have always dreamed of.” I dealt with this in my post, too, but not as well as this!

  8. Bloom where you are planted…wonderful advice…..and I received notification of your post as usual. The magnolia is a sure sign of spring. Always so beautiful.

  9. Joanne, we don’t have magnolias here in Maine. Instead, we anticipate the bright forsythia. I have two that I let drape to the ground and I am so looking forward to having the snow melt and seeing these beauties. Hopefully by Easter this year!

  10. Like a commenter ahead of me, I look forward to forsythia in my area. Soon! But your images of magnolias sets my heart to dreaming! I thought I’d joined the email list earlier, but am glad I did it again today as this time I had to confirm through my email. Now I know I’m on the list and will get email notification of your new writings. I don’t want to miss a thing! Hugs, Gina

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