Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Happiness

Via Haverford House

Every time that I
leave my parents,
I go through a little
grieving process
a little boo-hoo
a little pity party

We live 1500 miles
apart, so I only see
them three, maybe
four times a year.

I was very fortunate
to visit them this
fall.  As I was reading
a magazine on the
airplane flying home,
trying to distract myself
from my usual
"parting blues," the
flight attendant brought
me my diet Coke.

And the Coca-Cola
message on the little
napkin caught my eye.


My breath caught in
my throat as I considered
this directive, which 
almost seemed aimed

Open Happiness.

And I did.

I opened the joy of
not only having parents,
but parents who love
and encourage me ~
Who have always
always been there
for me, despite our
geographical distance.
Parents who, through
the grace of technology,
I can connect with any
time that I want to,
in a myriad of ways.

M&D Summer 2010
Imagine this distance
100 years ago!  There
was no telephone system
reaching the West Coast
until 1915.....We would
be exchanging letters and
maybe seeing each other
once a year, most
likely by train.

Open Happiness.

I still have that little
napkin, creased and
rumpled, pinned to
my bulletin board.
Each time it catches
my eye, it makes
me smile.  It makes
me feel happy
and grateful
and blessed.

As someone who
loves words
I do recognize
when they appear
in my life as signs.....
Small flags or
beacons reminding
me to pay attention
and love this life
I've been blessed
to receive.

At Christmastime 
these messages don't just
speak to me....

They roar.

I have included a link to
a short Youtube video
at the end of this post
that opens my happiness
every time I watch it.

From the video
Please view this.
 Please, please.
Be sure to turn your speakers on!

Today it is my gift
to you.  When you watch
it, not only will you be
opening happiness,
but I believe,
opening your heart.

Big Christmas hugs
as you make your way
through this wacky,
wonderful world, today!


I would like to dedicate this post to the memory of
Steven Russell Berrell, who died 22 years ago, today,
over Lockerbie, Scotland on Pan AM Flight 103.  He
was 19 years old, a student at Syracuse University
and the brother of a dear friend of my family.  My
wish for his family is that when they think of Steven
this Christmas, they only open 
the happiest of memories.

Please click here to watch this 
brought to you by Youtube!  

Flickr: 2-3, 6, 8-9 {click for talent}
Privet and Holly:  4-5, 7, 11
Youtube:  10


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning beautiful one. Wow. You have an insightful and lovely spirit, and I think that I too, loving words as well, would have been taken back by that message....your parents, are S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G!!! No wonder you are the beauty that you are...and I am sure that the impression that they have made on you is the reason you are the mighty woman that you are and continue to strive to be. I am so blessed to have met you Suzanne, and may every encounter with your parents, brief as they may be, continue to build in you the fondest memories. I miss my parents so much; embrace all you can.

Happy day, as we embrace yet another snow-filled Midwest winter...Anita

Jill said...


Another fabulous message! Happy Tuesday my dear. Are you ready to travel? On my list today, laundry and more laundry but I am feeling ready and anxious to go "home". See you on Thursday bright and early!

traci said...

Sweet post Suzanne. That would be hard being that far from your mom and dad. Have a happy day.

Dianna said...

I was so blessed by the tender ways you shared your love of your parents. Reading your post reminded me of just how blessed I am to only be 30 minutes from my mother. I'm grateful that I can visit her as often as I want. But it also encourages me to make these visits as special as I possibly can for her, as well my ability to enjoy her presence.

"Open happiness"...two words with a world full of possibilities. I, too, love words, Suzanne. It seems as of late that I've been almost obsessed with the word "word" as I've been praying for a word or phrase for 2011. I look forward to "words of praise" as I enter 2011 in just a few short days. Somehow I have this idea that as I go through the year 2011 speaking words of praise that I will at the same time be opening happiness.

Thank you so much for sharing your heart...your precious words.

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

What a great way to start my day!!! Everything about your post today made me cry- but, they are Happiness Tears!

ENJOY those wonderful parents of your and Thank You for sharing that video.
Love, Joyce

Laura said...

Oh Suzanne, this post is really close to my heart (as you know)... I too have to remind myself that I have two beautiful healthy children and a wonderful supportive husband... My parents are 3000 miles away and I miss them more than words could ever describe... My Dad (who lives with a terminal illness and so unable to visit me here in the States), always tells me to concentrate on the positive things in life... so you are right, I should look at the fact that my family are all celebrating Christmas this year... this is a gift in itself! Lx

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Jeez..............you made me cry this early morning! A Beatuirful gift to your readers. Wishing you the most magical Holiday and many, many hugs. XO

Haverford House said...

Hi Suzanne, This is so beautiful ~ I feel so honored that you used my pic! Isn't it amazing that we are given the smallest signs from above, when we need them the most! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! xo ~Marcy

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Big sniff!

Beautiful~ in any language.

Yesterday I had to run several errands. Much to the chagrin of Sweet Boy now home.

I don't talk about it but he has sensory deprivations issues due to arriving a month early~ hates crowds, get overwhelmed, etc.
But I brought out the Santa hat and said "Do you think we can spread Christmas cheer while we're out?" And so my boy opened the door for countless people hands full of packages while I stood in a 35 minute line at the post office, did not pass up on Salvation Army kettle and generally was merry and bright.

Hallelujah indeed.

hometown girl said...

oh my gosh, that is the sweetest thing, thanks for the cry in a good way. does restore your faith in mankind doesn't it? thank you my thoughtful friend, merry Christmas to you and your family! hugs, susan

Claudia said...

A wonderful video - a wonderful, thoughtful message from you. The right word at the right time can be a priceless gift.

I live very far from all of my family members. It's hard all the year, but especially at Christmas.


Lisa said...

Suzanne, how wonderful to receive that sign on the plane. I truly believe that there are signs everywhere if you open your eyes to them. I have to check out the youtube video, but first I just need to comment on how sweet that photo is of your mom & dad!! You are certainly blessed with a wonderful family. Hope you are enjoying this week!

paige said...

amen & amen
i love that reminder to open happiness.
i love your words & how you make grand the simple events....even though time with family 1500 miles apart is indeed grand!!
you are a blessing & a delight suzanne
merry chirstmas

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Suzanne,
You are one thoughtful soul...I feel blessed in so many ways that I found your blog. You have touched me over and over again with your beautiful words and thoughts.
I watched this video and sat here and cried. I wish our world had more hugs...as the new year approaches and I figure out new ways to improve my life and ways to touch others, hugs will be foremost on my list.
I wish you the happiest Christmas full of blessings and peace, my friend! Thank you for being such a beautiful person and opening our eyes to so many fabulous things ~

Farmgirl Paints said...

You know I get this...I really do. Thanks so much for the inspiring words. It's all how we look at things isn't it. Love that video. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy:)


Very Lovely. I to will open Happiness into my life this Christmas. Enjoy your folks you are very lucky to have them still. I lost mine so long ago that it still pains me to think of it, but I know I will be with them again. HUGS MARY

A Vintage Chic said...

I'm going to open happiness today, Suzanne...thank-you for reminding me to do that! I don't think I'll ever forget it...

My parents will be here with me in two days, and I'm so excited...a little girl's excitement...and I'll cherish each and every moment.

That video was wonderful! I have a tear in my eye as I write...thank-you for sharing such a lovely gift this morning!

Wishing you and your sweet family the most fabulous Christmas this year, dear friend!


lisaroyhandbags said...

Lots of happiness to you Suzanne! Great message and what a lovely pic of your mom & dad.
I love this video - makes me just want to run out and randomly hug people! oh, wait.... I'd better bring a sign with me so they can read it before I come in for the squeeze! xo

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

I love your napkin!
It's so nice you get to spend time with your parents even if only a few times a year. I'm so fortunate to still have my mom and cherish every minute spent with her!
Merry Christmas friend!

Olive Cooper said...

Jubilant post lovey. My parents are gone and Eternity has a sweet meaning for me♥

Beatnheart said...

Your very lucky to have such wonderful parents and to be able to visit them so often..relish and enjoy this! Thanks for the vid...fabulous...

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

Absolutely beautiful, Suzanne!
This time of year can be so bittersweet, but I realize too just how incredibly blessed I am.

What a lovely video, thank you so much for sharing!

Love you, my wise and wonderful friend!


Debra@Common Ground said...

I remember when I was young and living 800 miles away from my parents, each time I'd talk to them on the phone, I would cry for hours afterward. So glad you get to see them frequently!
That video really did bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing it. Have a wonderful Christmas, dear Suzanne!

pollydove said...

My daughter sent me that video a while back and it really is the sweetest thing. Those hug givers are the best! It made me smile all the way through.

Your parents are just darling! (I love your dad's hair!) It is wonderful that you have such a close relationship with them even though miles separate you ... it is one of the blessings in my life as well!

Happy last-few-days-of-getting-ready-for Christmas!!

Linda said...

Thank you, Suzanne...your posts are the sweetest gifts! My parents, brothers, and sister all live in California 2000 miles away and I don't get to see them often either, so I am grateful for the other ways I can visit them, too. The video DID touch my heart...hope you have the most special Christmas XOXO

Blooming Rose Musings said...

I am sitting at work with tears streaming down my face. This is a beautiful post. You are such a gentle, beautiful soul. I feel blessed to have you in my life. Your parents are gorgeous and I'm sure that is a reflection of their
lovely, kind spirits...which you have inherited. My parents are gone now and I miss them very much but I am blessed to have sweet memories of two wonderful parents that I loved very much and were always there for me. I was so very fortunate.
Beautiful, beautiful post.

Ms. Bake-it said...

Hello Suzanne,

I hope you know just how special you are! I have to admit that when I first started reading your post it sounded like you were describing me. I have the same feelings when parting from my parents after a visit. What a touching video! Thank you for the wonderful gift!

~ Tracy

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful hug you sent my way today. I have enjoyed it so much and sent it on to many people I love. I can't write more because the (happy) tears are falling into my keyboard!

Rachel said...

Wow such an amazing and touching post~*And a wonderful dedication to Steven~*Merry Christmas wishes~*~Hugs,Rachel
*French Farmhouse 425*

Kate from Party Resources said...

Your posts require Kleenex! Thank you for the reminder of what is truly important!

Rene said...

Another moving post. I think it's great that you kept that napkin as a reminder Suzanne. It would be hard for me to live far from Mom and yes, I cry when we say good-bye (we only live 30 miles apart).


Acanthus and Acorn said...

Smiling...tears streaming.

Suzanne, I adore you. Sending you my biggest hug complete with a giant red bow!

Low Tide High Style said...

Such a moving and touching post Suzanne, family really is everything! And like you, I listen to that little voice that makes itself known on a napkin or wherever it happens to appear!

My heart goes out to the family of Steven Russell Berrell...may his family find peace this Christmas.

Merry Christmas my friend!

Kat :)

pretty pink tulips said...

That was like opening an early Christmas gift. Every time I stop by your blog is opening happiness!
xoxo Elizabeth

Carol Bass @ A Bird in Hand said...

What an incredibly beautiful post!! Buon Natale, Joyeux Noel, God Jul, Merry Christmas!!

Tricia - A Rosy Note said...

Oh my, that video sends such a wonderfully happy message. The song that played with it was so perfect too :)

I can't imagine how hard it would be to live far from family. Me, my sister and my mom all live within five miles of each other. I am so blessed ♥

Tammy said...

OK so I'm wiping the tears away so I can type this...that video is amazing! and this post equally so!
Have a Beautiful Christmas!!
You are such a blessing!
Tammy :-)

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I'm a 'hot-mess' after reading your post, seeing your adorable folks and seeing that inspiring video. I seriously need to invest in waterproof mascara. I had someone wise once tell me that I put my heart-ache on a shelf & that is how I cope. I have always thought about it since but such things (such as leaving your parents) are better there so we can move forward. We who grew up with tremendous parents are so blessed; I try to never forget. The video made me realize that a hug is something that is not only free, but stays with you throughout your day.

Thank you for the email too. It was really great to hear from you.

Sending you much love for a glorious Christmas Suzanne. God Jul!

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

Ah, Suzanne! Being happy certainly is a choice, and one that I try to be conscious of every day. I too, see words as sign posts to teach and guide me through my day, and your words today are the perfect example of how I choose to live my life! Thanks for your creative and loving spirit who is able to make words speak so clearly and beautifully. My daughter lives far away, so I understand how you feel about your parents and how leaving tugs at your heartstrings. I am grateful for any time we get to spend together. Have a lovely Christmas, dear friend!

La Maison Fou said...

Great post, and a wonderful time you must have had.
Happy Holidays

Amy Arnaz said...

Suzanne~ Let me dry my eyes. That was the BEST video ever. Thank you! Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas to you. Lots of love ~ Amy

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

All I can say is WOW! Such a sweet post and loved that video with that powerful song and message!!

Merry Christmas!

Linda in AZ * said...

* Dearest Suzanne~

PLEASE, the NEXT TIME you see your beautiful parents, will you give EACH of them a GREAT BIG HOLIDAY HUG from me... please??? I have missed that for soooo many, many years, as both of my parents died waaaay too young, & my MOM was my best friend in the whole world, besides my Jim (husband)... You are SOOO BLESSED to have them... (but it's wonderfully obvious you already KNOW that!!!... and they UNDOUBTEDLY feel the same about you, sweet friend.)...

One more thing... of alllll the people I remember in my prayers DAILY, as WELL as during the holidays, maybe you & other readers will add 2LT. John Curtin, US Army, to their prayers... I adored him, as did my Jim. He was such a good friend to us both (we were verrry young newlyweds)... He died there... in Vietnam... we STILL have all his LP records with us after 42 years... classics... that he left with us for "safekeeping" til he returned... He never did. He died there... somewhere in Vietnam.

I was so very blessed that my Jim made it home. I have NEVER forgotten him after all these many years, and think of him, MOST ESPECIALLY during the holidays, & ofen think about how we would STILL be friends... with grandikids, etc, and get together & "hoist one" for old time's sake. It brings tears to my eyes still, but many are happy ones because in many ways, he is "still with us"...

Sending you very special, warm, sincere hugs...

Linda in AZ *

Joanna Jenkins said...

Stopping by from Ms Bake-It to wish you a wonderful Christmas.

This post hit home for me as I feel the same way when I leave my parents who live 2500 miles away. "Open Happiness" will be on my mind the next time I'm homesick or saying good-bye to them. Thank you.

Merry Christmas, jj

paperbird said...

HUgs to you dear Suzanne.
I loved the video it warmed my heart.
No matter where we stand in life, we ALL have SO very much to be grateful for.

Loved this post!

Morning T said...

Thank you for your endless support and inspiration this year Suzanne! You are one special lady and I'm glad to know you.
Big hugs and Merry Christmas!!

Alicia said...

how sweet...open happiness. i love that! i think i take my relationship with my parents for granted sometimes because they live only an hour away...thanks for the reminder :)

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

Oh I can certainly feel you pain. This will be the first year my middle daughter will not be home for Christmas. You see she decided to move to Boston, which seems like a million miles away since I am in California. I so enjoy your observations and attention to the small details in your life. You inspire me for sure. I loved the video.

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

Such a great video :) Similar to you, I've been thinking a lot about refugees and immigrants leaving their homes, friends, and family into the great unknown. We are so blessed to be able to connect with friends and family (almost) whenever we like! And know that our family's home is always open and waiting for us

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, Suzanne! I am so glad that we have met through our blogs :)

Jean said...

Suzanne, your post has spoken to me. Thank you. I'm left in tears, but feeling so blessed.

Anonymous said...

Chrismas love and joy - you have such a special way of sharing it with us, Suzanne! :)

Wishing you & yours much joy this holiday season,

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

As another who loves words, I notice them and revel in them. Let's 'open happiness' together, shall we? My heart actually ached while reading about your parents. You are very blessed indeed. As the year closes, may you & yours be open to all God has for you! Merry Christmas!!!

Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne, I am a lover of words as well.
Lovely post. My children are in other states and this is my first Christmas without them. It really doesn't seem like Christmas to me this year.
I see it more as a quiet, peaceful time.
XO, Cheryl

Lili said...

Christmas blessings to you Suzanne. That was truly uplifting to watch that video. I love your music on here too. I can relate to the distance traveled as we live our lives far apart from our loved ones. After many years of flowing tears during departures I am blessed to be in the same State again with my Mother. However, the long distance from our kids is now there. So physically far apart, yet so close in spirit. I love that photo of your parents, they sure raised a beautiful daughter. Sending Christmas blessings to you and your entire family Suzanne. xoxo ~Lili

Marie said...

Just beautiful Suzanne, as always. I know the way you feel when you have to say goodbye to your parents. Mine live over 2000 miles away and I always feel the same way as you do. I make it a habit to cherish all the little things each day that come my way, instead of waiting to only celebrate the big ones. You are the same kind of person. I cherish you and all that you write!