Happy Birthday, Happy Life: 15 Photos of Living and Loving

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust

Earlier this week, in the first of a two-part post, I commandeered my partner Kathy’s blog, publishing a version of The Proust Questionnaire as a way to provide insight to my soul mate – who will soon celebrate 50 years of living.     As a follow-up, I want to share how grateful I am to Kathy.  While she may think of happiness as an overrated virtue (see Questionnaire), I cherish the fact that my birthday girl makes me so amazingly happy!

Let me count the happy ways:

1.  She is a charming gardener.

Working in our Lexington back yard--

 2.    She is a great travel companion.

On Halong Bay, Vietnam--

3.    She is a dedicated writer.   

Lucy gets bored with the constant revision--

4.    She is a hard worker.

Kathy and Sara, volunteering with Lexington Habitat for Humanity--

5.    She is a relentless seeker of beauty. 

Beachcombing in central Vietnam--

  6.     She is a joyful participant in life.  

Volunteering, along with Lucy, at a training session in Ke Sat, Vietnam--

7.     She is an animal enthusiast, loving creatures great and small.  

Ready to take an elephant ride in Chang Rai, Thailand--

8.     She is a caring friend to folks around the world.  

Visiting a home in the slums of New Delhi, India--

9.   She is a creative and inspiring artist.  

Upcycling a tabletop into art--

10.     She is a chum to children.   

Spending time with young boys and girls in Cabaret, Haiti--

11.    She is a noble daughter.  

With her mother in Kathy's University of Kentucky office--

12.   She is a loyal big sister. 

With her “baby” sister Lynn--

13.    She is a reasonably bold foodie. 

Dining with Lucy at the famous Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam--

14.    She is a great teammate. 

Working with the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project staff in Vietnam--

15.    She is a darn-near perfect partner.  

With me, forever--

I hope that I bring as much happiness to Kathy as she brings to me.  May we share a life-time of happy birthdays together.

Who or what makes you happy?

103 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Happy Life: 15 Photos of Living and Loving

  1. Oh Sara, this post made me SO happy! When I see people who care so deeply, as you and Kathy obviously do, my heart leaps with joy! These photos are amazing…did you take most of them? Some of them look as though they have been captured through the “lens of love”. And I love Lucy’s little hat she is wearing in Vietnam!

    There are so many things I could name that bring me happiness, but the ultimate? My four children, aged from 14 years through to 26. They make my heart sing!

    Happy, happy birthday, dear Kathy. 🙂


    • Thanks so much Joanne. I love it that this post itself makes you happy. Sara took a number of the photos of me, though others took some, as well. For example, the one in India was taken by one of my students, etc. I bet your children bring you much happiness. Happy Spring to you, my friend!


  2. What a lovely gift for your partner, Sara. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see two people so much in love. (I might have teared up a bit but don’t spread it around.) And what great photos. Happy birthday, Kathy!


  3. This is so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye. Would that everyone could know that depth of love. Happy Birthday Kathy, and thank you for this labor of love, Sara. Hugs to you both.


  4. It makes me happy that you and Kathy found each other and you’re sharing what looks like a lovely life together as you travel far and wide. It would make me even happier if laws change in my lifetime while I can still stand relatively upright and every state in this union, including your Kentucky, allows same sex marriage and the Federal government gets its act together and overturns DOMA. Happy birthday Kathy!


    • Ditto here … it breaks my heart that we are still TALKING about this, instead of already seeing those that could benefit from the laws being changed living a life filled with all the benefits of true freedom. I also hope that in my lifetime, I finally see every state of the union allowing same sex marriage, and I see the Federal government get its act together and overturn DOMA. As November approaches, I know the compass point on which I choose my candidates. It may only be one vote (in a conservative and wrong-colored state), but I’m still getting out there in support of same-sex marriage. If we keep raising our voices long enough, eventually someone has to hear us. Amen.


      • Isn’t that the damn truth? Someone is bound to listen–even here in Kentucky. At least in Lexington we have an openly gay mayor, but it’s not legal for our friend Jim to marry. Isn’t that nuts!


  5. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite out of all the delicious photos you’ve shared. Bored Lucy, and getting ready for the elephant ride are right up there, but the piece de resistance is the final shot, “With me Forever” — exquisite!


  6. Happy tears are streaming down my face. What a wonderful gift to you from someone who obviously loves you, Kathy. If I had two wishes in this world they would be (1) that every zealot and bigot in this world could read this post and see how terribly wrong and foolish the are and finally get off their high horses and legalize gay marriage–the fact that this is even an issue angers me and is indefensible and (2) that my children may know even a small portion of the love that you and Sara share with whomever they choose to spend their lives with. That would truly make me happy………Happiest of birthdays to you, Sista! And a huge THANK YOU to Sara for sharing this small sliver of the love she has for you. How truly blessed you both are!


    • Okay, this is about the most precious comment I’ve ever read. It is this kind of comment that makes me want to meet you, Sista. I wish the same for your children, my friend–and adore your whole gay marriage rant. It’s perfect! Hugs to you, my dear!


  7. WOW — with me being relatively new to the Kathy world, this post was a fabulous way to get to know you (and Sara) through all those gorgeous photos. Such adventures, and diversity, and love! It’s impossible to see all this LIVING OUT LOUD without feeling happy!

    My personal favs had to be #9 (creative and inspiring artist), and # 1 (charming gardener), and #7 (animal enthusiast), and # 2 (travel companion), and #6 (joyful participant in life – with Lucy’s hat), and of course #15, (darn-near perfect partner). Shoot, they are ALL so fun, and filled with the essence of of the person I’m getting to know, and speak to how much depth of character and compassion you obviously carry in your soul, Kathy. So this is what it looks like when you embrace life and live out loud? That also makes you a teacher, Kathy. And a generous gift to those that cross paths with you.

    Happy Birthday, Kathy, and I hope that life will bring you even deeper levels of happiness, and more smiles, and more love than you can imagine. I hope every birthday marks another year filled with adventure, and beauty, and love. Happy Birthday!


  8. Reblogged this on scatteringmoments and commented:
    This is a post written for a friend of mine by the one person who loves her most in the world. May we all be so lucky to share even a small portion of the love these two feel for one another!


  9. There are many people and activities that make me happy. But what I’d like to share with you… is that after reading this post it makes me want to be a better person.

    What a beautiful woman (women!)!


  10. A lovely tribute for a lovely woman! It’s so nice to when there is someone in the world who appreciates you as much as you and Sara appreciate each other.

    All of the photos are wonderful, especially the one of your garden, but the photo of Lucy using you as a pillow is priceless.

    I hope you had a special birthday.


  11. Great photos! They really showcase Kathy’s love of life and adventure. I think my favorite is “beach combing” but the one with Lucy pretending to be a cat on Kathy’s shoulders is a close second. Happy Birthday, Kathy! (((Hugs!)))


    • Oh, I had forgotten about the beachcombing one for a minute. That had always been Sara’s favorite photo of me. But now the one with Lucy just makes us laugh and laugh. Can’t imagine your Lucy on my shoulders! LOL


  12. My favorite picture was the one with your beautiful sister! Can’t wait to see you on Saturday! What a lovely tribute to you, Kathy. I hope someone will love me that much someday…


  13. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous post … I’m overwhelmed with joy for you both. If everyone could have someone love them as deeply and as fiercely as this, wouldn’t the world just be better?

    Can’t get past Lucy’s conical hat – hilarious!

    I saw this story today and I instantly thought of you … Canada legalized same-sex marriage 8 year ago. Sometimes, there are more things than family that I miss about the Motherland …



  14. What makes me happy? THIS POST. Oh, man. I am all kinds of weepy in this here Barnes & Noble cafe, and it is so right.

    Happy birthday!


  15. LOVE this!!!! Wonderful photos and excellent testament to the beauty that is you. This truly warmed my heart… especially the photo of the dog behind your head while you write.


      • It is so cute, and the smile on her face is priceless. 🙂 Is she your pillow? On another note, I noticed in all your photos that you really are a beautiful person. I don’t see the weight issues you’ve been writing about.
        Have a great weekend!


      • Actually, Lucy likes to sleep next to my head on my pillow at night. Kind of spoiled, I know.

        Thanks for the kind words about my appearance. Actually, I have often not looked at heavy as I am, since I workout a lot and am well-toned. But actually by this past fall I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. There are no photos here from that time. The closest one is of me painting the table top–taken late last summer.

        You are a sweetie, Currie. Thanks again.


  16. I am crying right now. This is the most beautiful birthday tribute. Ever. Thank you, Sara. Happy pre-birthday, Kathy. I trust you will be celebrating for at least 50 days, if not the whole year?


  17. I’m not much of a Facebook fan, but was delighted when a reminder of your birthday popped up. You have much to celebrate! I’ve thought of you and Sara often recently….wondering if a BC trip is forthcoming in the fall and where…and who will be able to gather. The bonus with your birthday reminder is the terrific, loving accolade by Sara. So enjoyed the photos, cutlines and sentiment. Hugs to both of you!


    • Great to hear from you, Sue. I know–didn’t Sara do a beautiful job? I haven’t heard anything about a BC trip, but would love another one soon. Widbey (spelling?) Island was so, so fun! Hugs to you, too, from both of us!


  18. The love that you and Sara have for each other just radiates out of this post! What a wonderful way to start my Monday morning– touched by the warmth of true love. 🙂


  19. Wow! I nearly cried I was so touched by this post. What a love you two share! Thanks for sharing!

    On a complete sidenote, I noticed you mentioned Lexington–my entire extended family is from KY, mostly Louisville and most of my cousins went to UofK. Small world!


  20. Your journey is overflowing w/ excitement, love, humanity, purpose, poetry, elephants, & hope.
    I loOOOoooove ALL of the photos. I dig the one with the straw sticking out of your diet coke covered w/ lipstick! Xxxxx


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