Amy Newmark {Chicken Soup for the Soul} sent me her book: signed, sealed, and delivered after I told her I’d love to write about it. This post contains an affiliate link to purchase that book. Using that link provides me with a small commission.


Stories of Joy


Ten years ago I wrote a funny little essay about trying to complete a yoga routine while my then 10-month-old son was in the room.

Me: trying to do a down dog and pigeon. Him: getting totally in my way, drooling and grinning.

Chicken Soup for the Soul published the essay in their book for new moms: a collection of encouragement (and a few laughs) for women new to the parenthood gig.


Reflecting and writing about that evening made me laugh and brought me joy. I hope it did the same for other moms. That boy had two brothers now, and I know those little interruptions don’t bring joy and happiness in every minute. Sometimes parenting brings frustration while bringing out the worst of my traits as a person. But joy and laughter often have to be made into habits. Reflected on. Improved. Practiced.


Simply Happy from Chicken Soup for the Soul


Amy Newmark, editor and publisher for the Chicken Soup series, pulls from the thousands of essays found in those books for a “crash course” with advice and wisdom about the little steps to staying happy in a book released last fall: Simply Happy: A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom She blends in her advice, surrounding many of the essay themes with personal experiences and tips.

Ms. Newmark uses the stories others have told and that she has published as inspiration for regular tidbits of encouragement across the 26 (short) chapters of the book on things like: reducing stress, practicing gratitude, knowing the importance of forgiveness, saying “no,” saying “yes,” using time wisely, and of course…always listening to your mother.


Simply Happy Chicken Soup book

What I like about Ms. Newmark’s ideas and the story highlights she references is that these are simple, not fancy. The steps are doable, not impossible. Each story is about five minutes of reading time, with inspiration to last for much longer. Get your copy (or two) of the book. Keep one, and use one as a gift for a friend.

I ended my yoga routine on that evening. Two more kids + a decade; it behooves me to do as much as I can. Little steps to practice joy, day by day. And sometimes, moment by moment. What little things bring you joy?