Posted by: christinelaennec | March 16, 2011

Accepting Happiness

A few weeks ago, the talented and witty Scruffybadger nominated this blog for an award – a Stylish Blogger award no less!  Clearly Scruffybadger has never seen me in my gardening togs!  The game is to write 7 things about yourself, and pass the award on to 7 other blogs.  I’d been mulling all this over (having not long ago revealed a few things about myself here), and was about to step up to the podium when the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and also my poor mother’s house in Oregon being badly affected in a landslide, made me feel that accepting a blog award was frivolous to say the least.  I’ve been feeling guilty about enjoying so much in my life – simple things that have been brutally taken away from so many.

Mischka (left) and Tinker (right), fall 1986, New Haven, Connecticut. Tinker had double paws.














And then I remembered Tinker.  Although a cat, Tinker was in fact my “first child” – and his brother Mischka was Michael’s.  Tinker died at only 10, of an inoperable tumour.  In the last months of his life, while I mourned him in advance, he taught me the importance of enjoying every moment you can.  He knew he was dying, and he knew that we knew.  But he played, he lolled in the sun, he purred, he loved us and he loved life unreservedly.  So in the spirit of remembering that we are here to enjoy life – despite loss –  I thought I would make a list of 7 things that make me happy.

1.  Cats! Just like Tinker and Mischka before her, Tilly reminds me every day to enjoy the here and now, and to have fun.

Sleet on Saturday (12 March 2011), Aberdeen.

2.  The seasons. This weekend, gardening was out of the question.  The weather was very wintry, although so close to the sea we didn’t have any snow.  But we had a great weekend.  We all got spring-cleaning fever, and gave the house a good tidy, and then on Sunday we had friends over.

Forced to stay inside - and eat carrot cake!

We gathered around the fire, ate carrot cake, drank tea and coffee (and juice).  It was just so great to relax together while the weather raged outside.

3.  The love of my family

The Dafter and her Dad gave me this charming plate and mug for my birthday.  I am so lucky to have such a loving family:

I really enjoy using this Portmeiron mug and plate, from my "nearest and dearest".

Tulips from our friends

4. &  5.  Flowers, and friends.  These tulips were given to us by the friends that came over on Sunday.  I love the reminder of their friendship, and the flowers themselves are so beautiful – especially the yellow at the centre of the pink.  Flowers make me very happy.  They never stint – they give us their all.

Me-made 1979: Diane Populus on the left, and a young Christine on the right.

6.  Creating things.  I am so fortunate to have the time and resources to knit, write, and try my hand at various creative efforts.  I’ve been blessed by encouragement from others along the way.  In this photo I’m 18 and with a dear family friend, Diane Populus.  I’m wearing the first jumper I ever knit, and a dress that I designed and stitched by hand.  In those days I designed and sewed almost all of my clothes, and often without a sewing machine.  I also did a lot of embroidery, cutwork and tatting.  It was Diane who started me on the tatting, when I was 13.  We were in a craft shop and I discovered a book about it.  She bought it for me, along with a shuttle and thread, and said, “I want to see results in 10 years!”  That night, I struggled with making the knots until I mastered turning them – and went on to make yards and yards of tatted lace (and a few doilies and collars too) in my teenage years.  Tatting got me through high school.

Now when I’m under stress, I think of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s advice to “knit on, through all crises, with confidence and hope”.

7.  Music.  As a friend recently said, “If angels do exist, their language must be music.”  I don’t play my violin much these days, but I love to sing, especially at church with others.  There’s nothing more calming and grounding than forgetting yourself in music, especially music that you’ve known all your life.

And now for the 7 blogs to pass this award on to.  It’s so difficult to choose because there are so many worthwhile blogs out there (and I have been meaning to update my blogroll for ages).  I will say that in some cases, although this is a Stylish Blogger award, I have opted for Substance as well as Style.  In no particular order, I nominate:

The Barefoot Crofter – Jacqui and her family are in the process of moving to croft full-time on the Isle of Lewis.  I’m always interested to see what she’ll be posting about, and her photos are gorgeous.

Occasional Scotland – Another Scottish blogger, based in Edinburgh but reporting from various parts of Scotland.  Linda’s blog is witty, varied and has beautiful photographs.

Lovely World – a very creative person who writes about a variety of things, and whose watercolour paintings and reflections on life inspire me.

Plain and Joyful Living – insights into the life of a self-sufficient family in Vermont.  Tonya is expecting her seventh child; she and her husband homeschool their children.

Purlpower – based in Paisley, Scotland, this entertaining blogger writes about knitting, quilting, gardening and Scottish goings-ons.

Asplund Knits – a Swedish knitter (male) who is extremely creative in his designs and approach to knitting.

Journeys to Scotland – this North American blogger has a dream to travel to Scotland.  In the meantime, she posts about the things she’s discovered and places she might like to go when she gets here.  She should be nominated as an ambassador for the Scottish Tourist Board!

Thank you, Scruffybadger!



  1. I’ve opted for an award-free blog, but I’m so glad you’re accepting them here. If you didn’t, I would have missed out on this post. It’s not only a refreshingly thoughtful list, but each of the seven things serve as a reminder of what’s really important. Thank you, Christine.

  2. Christine – I know what you mean about these awards, so I am really glad that you went for it afterall. I have smiled all the way through reading your 7 things – perfect, & as Martin said, thoughtful and what matters in the end. I think these 7 things come through in your blog through what & how you write. Very interested to read about your crafting roots! And also for your nominations – I shall check them out, having a love of Scotland 🙂

  3. Christine, I loved reading about your seven things. Sitting inside eating carrot cake with special people on a wet, wintry day sounds lovely to me!

  4. Thank you, Christine – I’m honoured!

    I enjoyed reading about your seven things very much; those things make me happy too, which made me think of a Swedish saying I like: “två själar, en tanke” (two souls, one thought). And I love the photo of the cats.

  5. Dearest Christine,
    as always you warm my heart with your stories and I feel honoured to know you. Thank you also for being such loving supporter of my own adventures.

  6. What a thought-full response to the award.
    Must investigate those other blogs…
    Hope your mother is OK?

  7. Thanks for the lovely peek into your life and the reminder to remember the things we love.

  8. Dear All,
    Thanks so much for your comments. I’m glad that my list didn’t seem frivolous to you!
    Roobeedoo – at 81, and after 41 years in her house, my mother is striking out to forge a new life in a new place. Just like her granny May, except I think she will not be needing to haul so much wood. She says it will be a “new adventure”. So she seems to be doing amazingly well. God willing, I will be there myself in just over two weeks’ time, and will have a chance to see for myself.

  9. Thanks for the link Christine and also for highlighting a great bunch of blogs that I hadn’t come across before.

  10. Christine, thank you for your thoughtfulness. i am among excellent company in this list and it was great to read your 7 things. i am glad your mum is doing okay and i hope that you have a good trip across to see her.

  11. I’m late in thanking you, Christine, but no less honoured for that. I love visiting your blog, for your thoughts and also glimpses of Aberdeen, a city where I spent some of the happiest years of my life. I am shamefully bad at doing all the follow-up to awards, but I will really try this time (once daughter’s 17th birthday party is out of the way, probably!).
    Meantime I’ll enjoy visiting the other blogs that you’ve nominated.

  12. Thanks so much Christine. I am honored to be on your list. I will have to contemplate a post of my own now. I like the tidbits you have revealed about yourself here – I relate to so many of them.

  13. Dear purlpower, ajb, Linda and Lovely World,
    You’re all very welcome. Thank you for your blogs – they enhance my life! I look forward to reading about you all, when you have time and inclination.

  14. […] remiss in replying to a wonderful privilege awarded to me by my new blogger friend Christine from Writing from Scotland.  She has graciously nominated my blog for a Stylish Blogger […]

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