Happiness in a Bag

By my bed, I keep a little bag of happiness, tied up with a faded, frayed ribbon of palest blue.

Happiness in a Bag

Happiness in a Bag

It was given to me, many years back, by a special member of our extended family. Her name was Barbara. I am not sure if she made it or if she bought it, in aid of one of the many good causes she supported. It matters not; it is a lovely hand-made gift of home-spun wisdom, which always makes me smile and remember the giver.

So of what does Happiness consist?

Happiness Kit

Happiness Kit

Very little, it seems; an eraser, some cents, a marble, a rubber band, a piece of string,

Makers of Happiness

Makers of Happiness

 

and a kiss,

A Happiness Kiss

A Happiness Kiss

to remind us that someone always cares about us.

The kiss in the kit bag was originally a Hershey’s Kiss but it disintegrated long ago. ( I didn’t eat it, truly I didn’t.)  The little kissing rabbits belonged to my mother, and, before that, to her three maiden great-aunts. They have been loved for generations but not yet  been loved quite as much as  the Velveteen Rabbit, it would seem.

And that is all there is to it; my little bag of happiness. Simple, isn’t it?

© silkannthreades

Advertisements

132 thoughts on “Happiness in a Bag

  1. Pingback: A Toast with Thanks | silkannthreades

  2. cindy knoke

    This explains everything! I never got a bag like.
    This why I lack cents (sense?), lost my marbles long ago and still can’t find them, am unable to stretch (without pulling a muscle) and everything always falls apart, since i don’t have any string.
    At least I still get kisses……..
    But seriously, can I have your bag??????? You don’t seem to need it.
    😉 😉 🙂
    In all seriousness, this is so lovely and explains partly why you are too. Keep your wonderful bag. You earned it.

    Reply
  3. Juliet

    What a beautiful bag of happiness. I love the kissing rabbits too. Have been very busy but am enjoying catching up now with your lovely blog.

    Reply
  4. Britt Skrabanek

    That is so great!

    One of my girlfriends made me a really sweet gift when I was going through a rough time right after high school. It was a little medal made out of blue and yellow construction paper that said “Woman of the Year”. When we reconnected as adults, I showed it to her and she was shocked that I kept it after all these years. I told her it was one of the best gifts I had ever received.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a lovely reminder of many things and people too. When I remember the giver, I remember many people associated with the giver and how we were all important to her and loved by her.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Simply special….exactly so. Now I have been paying it so much attention, I am wondering if I should restock it with chocolate kisses…..then I could imagine I was in a luxury hotel where there is always a chocolate placed on the bed, or by the bed, for a night time treat. 😀

      Reply
        1. Cynthia Reyes

          Great that chocolate has now been deemed a healthy food! I imagine a new complex superfood made of chocolate and quinoa-coated asparagus, served with blueberries and avocado and a slice of wild salmon coated with oatmeal quickly sauteed in coconut oil. (Did I miss any of the ‘new” superfoods, pray tell?
          I think I’m going nuts. And that reminds me: I missed almonds.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Crumbs! I think you’ve just given me a bout of indigestion. Grabs a piece of ginger (chocolate-coated) to restore equilibrium.

  5. Pingback: The gifts of a lifetime | silkannthreades

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sheri for your confidence in my artistic eye. You have reminded me that I come from a long line of artists/artisans; bootmaker, blacksmith, carpenters, stonemasons, milliners, dressmakers, bakers, cake decorators, basket weavers, toymakers, window dressers…..that is my family history. I was the first female in my immediate family to go to university, the first who had the opportunity to be ‘academic’, but, in the process of education, I became divorced from my ‘artistic’ heritage.
      I am happy to imagine a little bag of happiness, like this one, keeping you company on sleepless nights. 🙂

      Reply
      1. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

        Gallivanta – A night such as tonight when sleep eludes me I’d be reaching for my “Bag of Happiness.” My computer clock refuses to remain set at the correct time. It’s actually 4:09a.m. and my alarm is set to go off at 6:00 a.m. I can easily visualize my bag, drawstring with tassel and perhaps a ribbon woven in for good measure. I love the soft colors of peach, pale blue, soft earth tones and on and on. Many of your blogs contain those colors and those are the colors I see for my bag.
        I too was the first woman to attend university. I was the youngest in my family and all of my brothers went. My father never doubted that I would go. His question to me was always where was I going to go and not ‘was I going to go.’

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It is some time since this comment came through ,so I expect the 6 am alarm has now forced you from your bed. What an early start. 🙂 I often don’t get to bed till 2 or 3 am, but on the plus side, I can usually sleep in for as long as I wish.Which is lovely on cold, dark winter mornings. I don’t remember whether my family actively encouraged me to go to university or not. I think I just decided that if my brother was going to university, then so could I. At the time, we had free university education in New Zealand, so there were no worries about whether my family could afford to send us to university. How lucky we were.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Sending you lots of sleeping dust…….
          I always felt very grateful to the Government (via the taxpayer) for my university education. It was a privilege to be able to go. My mother’s parents could only afford to educate her as far as the first year at secondary school, after which she had to leave school. We were the lucky generation.

  6. lensandpensbysally

    I adore this concept. It’s similar to my Gratitude Book. It’s the book, my thankfulness and a pen. These small yet poignant reminders of the jewels in everyday life are significant, Wonderful post as usual.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your Gratitude Book sounds wonderful. I think you keep a Gratitude Lens as well. So many of your photographs express wonder and delight, and gratitude for the beautiful world around you.

      Reply
  7. Boomdeeadda

    Oh, isn’t that so clever and dear. True, it’s not the size of a gift but the intention that we treasure and the giver we remember. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  8. Clanmother

    This is what I call an “investment in happiness.” The other day, my sister and I were reflecting on my father’s legacy. He had no worldly possessions, but he had treasure stores of happiness. Your friend, Barbara, had a profound insight – one that she shared with my father. It is all in our choice of how we respond to events in our lives.

    Reply
  9. shoreacres

    Some friends just had portions of “The Velveteen Rabbit” read at their wedding reception. It was a first, late marriage for both, which provided an even more touching than usual context for the reading.

    I smiled to see your reference to recipes for happiness, life, a good marriage, and so on. My grandmother had a “recipe for a happy life” posted in her kitchen. Of course I can’t remember it now in any detail, but there’s no question its tone was much the same as your bag filled with happiness.

    I had to smile at the inclusion of some cents, so you’d never be broke. It reminded me of about the third year of being in business, where I’d pretty much run through my savings, was just on the edge of beginning to make a profit, and occasionally would rummage around for change to put some gas in the car.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely to have some of the Velveteen Rabbit at a wedding service. It is a book for all ages, and, it seems, for all times.
      I laughed about your cents. I am always stashing coins and notes in the car, as a sort of emergency cash reserve. The only trouble was that when our son was at home he knew my ways and was very helpful (NOT) at cleaning up the loose change in my car when he was short of cash. 😀

      Reply
  10. KerryCan

    Your little sack of happiness is so pretty and so simple and so perfect, really! I like how it would always help you to pause and think and remember the giver. It’s a good practice to keep it by your bed–night time is when I tend to start worrying about things. If you do the same, you have your “toolkit” close at hand!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, it’s a great ‘toolkit’. But thinking about keeping worry away, perhaps the string should be a little longer so that one could keep busy with cat’s cradle. 🙂

      Reply
  11. restlessjo

    What a lovely thought, Ann 🙂 I read about a similar bag somewhere but I can’t think where. The rabbits are gorgeous. I must go and read about the velveteen variety.

    Reply
  12. Alexander Lautsyus

    Your writing about things surrounded you all the time rising your followers emotions. It is interesting to read comments on your posts which show how much people touched by your writing. Thank you for writing and sharing.

    Reply
  13. Tiny

    A beautiful post Gallivanta! A nice (and timely for me) reminder that we need so little to be happy. I trust that you didn’t eat the kiss. I had a chocolate Oscar statuette many years in my book shelf at work and the same happened to it…Oscar just fell apart 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I should have eaten the Kiss but I couldn’t bear to; it seemed too special, at the time. And I do remember your chocolate Oscar! Maybe a lesson here for both of us…eat your chocolate whilst you can. 😀 Even though it was a sad occasion, I gathered a lot of happiness reading about Christine’s funeral. I am sure you did, too. Here’s to happiness, chocolate and kisses. And an extra kiss for Bumble. x

      Reply
      1. Tiny

        I was so grateful Stuart shared with us the celebration of Christine’s life. It was sad, but also so very beautiful. Thank you for the happiness, chocolate and kisses! Bumble is sleeping already…I saw his head was almost on my pillow, so he’ll get his kiss tomorrow 🙂

        Reply
  14. Mrs. P

    What a great idea. I love it and I’m stealing it for my favorite family member who could use a bit of happiness right now. Love your bunny kisses too. I don’t think I’ll send a Hershey’s kiss…don’t want it to melt … she loves chocolate and might eat it…then there would be no kisses,,,that wont do, I’ll find something appropriate I am sure. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I really didn’t. It melted all over the eraser and the money and I had quite a job getting everything clean. 😀 The eraser still seems to have a bit of chocolate on it.

      Reply
  15. Steve Schwartzman

    How good of you to gather the items mentioned in the Happiness Kit. Although the original has sentimental value for you (as does the figurine of the rabbits), I’ll bet you could get a kit like this mass-produced and marketed. When you think of the less-worthy things that have caught on over the years (e.g. pet rocks and hula hoops), you might well have a hit on your hands.

    Reply
      1. Gallivanta Post author

        I really don’t know the origin of the Happiness Kit; seems like something that may have been around for a long while, like the recipes one finds in traditional recipe books eg; a recipe for preserving children; a recipe for brides; or a recipe for happiness.

        Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        That illustrates my point. I’d never even heard of loom bands—in fact when I saw the term “loom bands” in your comment, I assumed they were a type of musical band—and now I find out there’s a craze for them.

        Reply
  16. Just Add Attitude

    I love those kissing rabbits: it;s wonderful that they have been passed down to you having been loved by previous generations of your family. I hadn’t come across a happiness kit before, I find that one of the joys of blogging and reading fellow bloggers posts is discovering new things. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The little rabbits are very cute, and I am very happy that they survived the earthquakes unscathed. Quite an achievement for little china bunnies. 😀

      Reply
  17. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    This is sad, cute, wise, lovely and glorious beyond what I can bear.
    This is 3D poetry.
    I LOVE IT!

    Reply
      1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

        As coulda woulda said: great Christmas present! And can be personalised almost endlessly. (My favourites are the marble, the string, and the the coin ;))

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Endless personalization possibilities! I can SEE your creative mind already processing them and making them eco-friendly and sustainable. 🙂

        2. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          a pacifier (“for when everything sucks”)
          a bell (“to ring your BS-detector”)
          😀

  18. mmmarzipan

    That is incredibly sweet! ❤ Such a lovely little bag and such cute kissing rabbits (my favourite animal, despite their pest-like status in Australia and many other places, no doubt).

    I have some sad news to share. I hate to do it here. I don't know where else to do it though. And I don't really know how to say it, but I wanted to let you know as I know you had some contact with her and she would have wanted you to know. My Auntie Catherine, the author of http://caiteile.com, mother to Cullen, Kirrily, Chad and "forever-baby" Jarren, ballet dancer in her youth and avid genealogist in later years, passed away on July 7th… very suddenly. Apparently cancer was discovered just days before. I had not seen her in person in many years. I saw her daughter around Christmas time for a family lunch when we were back in Aus, but my aunt was largely estranged from the family due to a long and complicated history of "stuff" between her siblings. In any case, I reconnected with her around a year ago by chance via a Google address search, during which I stumbled across her blog. As I read, I uncovered a wealth of family history, almost all of which was completely unfamiliar to me… much of it deeply painful… My uncle being in an iron lung as a boy being one thing. The death of Auntie Catherine's baby Jarren being another… one that haunts me to this day. I am bawling as I type this. And I know you don't know me in person. And that this might seem "dramatic"… but I feel like you may have gotten a glimpse of her heart, as I did, through her writing. And I know for a fact that many in the family didn't know this side of her. And it TRULY breaks my heart… for everyone. I keep thinking of all the things that were left undone, the reconciliations that never happened, the woman whose heart never healed as a result of the loss and trauma in her life… and my Aunt being reunited with her precious Jarren after all these years of loving him and grieving from afar… and I can only hope it's true.
    Her death has really rocked me.
    My dad told me the news in the car on the way out to the archipelago. 3 year-old L was concerned that I couldn't stop crying. I explained to him in a gentle way what had happened. He said "But she is dancing with baby Jarren now… they are together… and they are dancing with us too. They are happy. And I am happy about that…"
    I reflected about what L said later that night and realised something…
    that he never knew she'd been a dancer.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dearest MM
      I am so glad you told me because Catherine has been on my mind a lot lately. I felt something was not right and I was wondering, just yesterday in fact, if I should ask you if you knew how she was. She was a good blogging friend and I was missing our communication. It’s very sad when families are estranged; if only we could all see the truth of a situation through the wise eyes of a child….most problems would dissolve. I love your little L’s response to your tears. Hopefully, Catherine’s heart is finally at peace and she can dance again. Perhaps the time may be right for you to watch the Velveteen Rabbit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s-XHuue6vM It is about loss and love and there is dancing and hope. 🙂 Take care and enjoy every minute of your time at the archipelago.
      Hugs and happiness
      from Gallivanta.

      Reply
      1. mmmarzipan

        Thank you so much for this lovely response! I actually passed this onto Auntie Catherine’s daughter. I will definitely check out the link too. Your words really did make me feel better. Thank you again ❤

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am glad you introduced me to Catherine. I was looking again through some of her blog. She has left a wonderful legacy, just as she intended, for her family. Kirrily seems to carry some of her mother’s spirit. 🙂

        2. mmmarzipan

          Oh, she does indeed. She was Catherine’s “rainbow” and Catherine’s spirit, intelligence and tenacity definitely lives on through all her children. They are also very close and supportive of each other which is always lovely to see, but especially at times like these 🙂 (((hugs)))

  19. thecontentedcrafter

    Dear Gallivanta – I love that! I would like to steal that idea away and re-invent it for a very dear friend if I may?? Those so cute kissing bunnies will be hard to duplicate but I shall start searching immediately! Just lovely – thank you so much for the inspiration!

    Reply
      1. thecontentedcrafter

        Thank you 🙂 And for the link – so cute! [I decided to follow her I liked the bunny so much!] It will be the perfect project for me at the moment with my time so curtailed for painting. I will post about it when done 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It’s a great site, isn’t it? I haven’t tried to make the bunny yet but I have lots of knitted squares around the house waiting for some sort of action.

        2. thecontentedcrafter

          I’ve just rummaged through my yarn stash and found some left over mohair – which I just knew would come in handy one day – and am about to sail bravely forth while puppy naps and see if I can create a tiny bunny or two….I can think of nothing better to do on a grey cool winters day!

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Excellent! I am sorry, for your sake, to tell you that we have sunshine today. But what a lovely change after days of dreary rain and cold.

        4. thecontentedcrafter

          Well, I know your area had it worse than us with that last wind storm that went through – so I am happy with cool and dreary – the sun will come back soon enough 🙂 Enjoy, enjoy!!

        5. thecontentedcrafter

          🙂 Orlando has scarcely moved from his nest today, but Siddy is most intrigued. This is the first time he has seen and heard the clicking of needles. One bunny is ready to be stuffed tomorrow – the shaping is a tad more fiddly than I expected but we are on track. I’ve been thinking about how to create the ‘happy’ goodies while knitting and some ideas are forming. Have you started?

        6. Gallivanta Post author

          Knitting needles + wool = puppy fun! No knitting or bunny making for me today. I have been good, catching up with routine health checks and various other items on my to do list.

  20. leapingtracks

    What a gorgeous treasure this is to have by you. Perhaps you could make one to send one to your daughter? I hope she is doing well, by the way. Sending you both lots of love as usual.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am sure she could do with one! She has hit a bump in the road, as I expected she would; that is the way of all chronic conditions…there are good times, and not such good times, and some completely horrible times. In fact those are the conditions of anyone’s life! I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will bounce back soonish. Thanks for your loving support.

      Reply
      1. leapingtracks

        I am so sorry to hear that. As you say, none of us have a straight path through life. I have read (cannot remember the source, sorry) that we must endure the bad times to understand and recognise the good ones. That does not really help when one is at the bottom, but the hope has to be that one can at least know that there is a glimmer of light to pull one through to the other side. Here’s hoping your daughter can see such a glimmer – I know that your love and support are shining a light for her. X

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Our good thoughts must have worked. Not long after I sent that comment I had a lovely skype with my daughter in which she shared this Isn't it gorgeous? Have you seen the ballet? I have not. My daughter sometimes manages to read my blog, so, when she does, she will see that the happiness kit is nestled on the lovely silk scarf she gave me one year.

        2. leapingtracks

          It is indeed utterly beautiful and one of my favourite ballets. We were lucky enough to see a classical version in London’s Royal Opera House one New Year’s Eve. More recently, we saw the magnificent Mariinsky Ballet company (formerly the Kirov) perform a new version, though still using Prokofiev’s iconic music, which was wonderful. You might like to see the sublime Sylvie Guillem dance the excerpt sent to you by your daughter here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R61RNSd2Fs You can also see the whole ballet from which this is taken here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6G0WG6YwBo The amoroso comes in just after 2:00. Have a look at the section at 1:52 also – this is where the ugly sisters try on the glass slipper – always very funny. Your daughter has excellent taste and the pictures which accompany the music which she has selected match perfectly don’t they. I am so glad she felt well enough to pick this out and send it to you. xxx

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          It was a real treat! And lovely to have your video selections too. Happiness in a ballet. 🙂 And happiness in a good, happy-ending story.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      GP, you are so right. Simple and thoughtful, like the lovely friends who came to my house this week with a most beautifully prepared meal. They brought so much that I didn’t have to cook again for 2 days. How happy was I!

      Reply
  21. The Hopeful Herbalist

    Twice in one day! Listened to “with Great Pleasure” and they were reading “the Velveteen Rabbit” family favourite… Nice reminder that small things bring great happiness. Thanks for the thought 😉

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s