Guest Blog Post: “What is Happiness?” in Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s exact words

Happiness is different for everyone. Blogger Catherine Townsend-Lyon tells how she defines it…

Author/Columnist Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author/Columnist Catherine Townsend-Lyon

A simple question?

What is Happiness?

What does it mean to you?

The meaning listed in the dictionary is – hap·pi·ness: noun, “the state of being happy.”  she struggled to find happiness in her life. “synonyms: pleasure,
contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment  .  .  .

Miss Princess one of my three cat’s.
Miss Princess is one of my three cats.

Everyone’s “Happiness” comes from many places and things. I know my new blog friend Daal receives much happiness from her doggies, just as I get much happiness from my three Cat’s named Simon Peter, Miss Prissy Princess, and Mr. Boots. Having animals love and affection make many people happy. There are many things I do each day in my life that I draw much happiness, as it seems I have become a multi-faceted person. I live life in recovery from gambling and alcohol addictions living with mental health challenges, and I advocate proudly on my Recovery Blog, but that is another post for another day. So, my kitties bring me much joy and purpose taking care of them.

Cover of Catherine Townsend-Lyon's book
Cover of Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s book

Besides being of recovery service to others, I am also a freelance recovery article writer, a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine” and published author. Happiness for me is also reading good books and helping new authors learn how and where to promote their books on my blog called; “Cat Lyon’s Reading Den.”  I have a “pay it forward” blog page where authors can visit and learn what you need to do to effectively promote your books throughout social media and it is FREE.

Helping others is what I enjoy doing and is a passion of mine. I have learned in my recovery journey and life that helping people along the way is not a hard thing to do because I “Walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT.”

And THAT my friends, is what happiness to me!

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the bestselling TKG author of her memoir “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” She is a freelance recovery writer and columnist for “In Recovery Magazine” and writes for several addiction/recovery publications, “Keys to Recovery” and is an expert recovery blogger of gambling addiction recovery for She was a contributor to a major media article published by and magazines titled; “Addiction to Anticipation: what goes wrong in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict,” By Maia Szalavitz, a journalist for

She writes a blog about gambling addiction and recovery called; ” Recovery Starts Here: A Sober and Bet Free Blog” An avid advocate, Catherine lives in Glendale, Arizona via So. Oregon with her husband of 27 years and three cats. She is currently working on her next two books due late 2017.

A Question for Everyone

rsz_q_tightHi dear readers,

In the interest of ensuring the greatest reading pleasure here, please comment below on what type of device you read these posts on (i.e., laptop, iPad, smartphone, iPhone, iMac, PC, etc.).

While you’re at it, do these blog posts load up easily for you?

Thank you!

da AL

Oops! Ugh! A Facebook lesson

ooops- close cropKind friends, followers, and visitors:

Only now learned  that each time one thanks others for commenting on their Facebook profile picture, Facebook re-sends the profile photo to everyone’s news feeds as ‘an update.’


Wishing each of you a healthy happy day!

da AL

2017 Kindness Challenge Sign-up!

Reblogging this wonderful challenge from

Sign-up is open for the 2nd annual Kindness Challenge! Click on the photo to be redirected to the sign-up page! Last year we had over 80 participate and focus on kindness for 7 weeks. Source: 2017 …

Source: 2017 Kindness Challenge Sign-up!

I’ve been tagged! this or that Book Tag

this or that Book Tag logo

What fun! Shaymâ, an evocative poet who writes the blog, Shaymâ Deep Thoughts, Spilt Ink.., nominated me for “this or that Book Tag,” created by Ayunda at Tea & Paperbacks. Check out their lovely sites!

Thank you, Shaymâ and Ayunda!

4 Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag.
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you!
  • Answer 10 questions.
  • Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

10 Questions

  1. Reading on the couch or in the bed? More like anywhere and everywhere! As a writer, if I have time to sit, I feel like I should be writing. At the same time, books are my lifeblood. The answer? I listen to audio books a lot. Driving, and via a boom box that I plug and unplug from one room to another. When I’m brushing my teeth, sweeping the floor, or chopping veggies, my essential little player is either on ‘play’ or ‘pause.’ Even when I’m working out to an exercise CD that I’ve already listened to!
  2. Main male character, or main female character? For a great story, who cares? For anything lesser, probably a main female character is more interesting to me. Partly because I can relate, and partly because already the odds seem to be stacked higher against women.
  3. Sweet snacks or salty snacks? Bitter or sweet, nutty, fruity or plain, chocolate!
  4. Trilogies or quartets? In the style of Isabel Allende’s books, I like when they’re ok as stand-alones, but can fit together too.
  5. POV: 1st person or 3rd person? Without consciously selecting them that way, most of what I read is in First Person.
  6. Reading at night or morning? With breakfast, driving, lunch, making dinner. Meaning all day, not at night.
  7. Libraries or bookstores? Both are among the very best places in the world!!!
  8. Books that make you laugh or that make you cry? Both! Somewhere I read a quote that the best stories make one laugh and cry, and have agreed ever since. Wish I knew who coined such a great concept!
  9. Book cover: black or white? Colorful is my fave. If black or white are my only choices, then white, so the black lettering of the title stands out.
  10. Character-driven or plot-driven? My fave stores are a combination of both. Strong interesting characters amid a story with an arc and tension. Fine writing can make anything come to life. I love anything that’s not formulaic, that leaves me feeling better for having read it, in that I either know more or can empathize better.

this or that Book Tag logo

10 Nominees

  1. At AncientEgypt2016, teacher Sajda Afifi is a European woman living in Egypt. She writes candidly about her views, as well as about Egyptian food, history, and teaching.
  2. OfficiallyThyda is an inspiring young woman who describes what its like to be recovering from a coma.
  3. LittleDogLaughed takes the best dog photos! My fave, no surprise, given that he looks like my furry loves, is of Steve.
  4. ShashaSelfLove keeps me thinking optimistically.
  5. BreathMath’s Ashoora Arif helps me in an area that I need a lot of help in.
  6. MusikKenya teaches me all about Kenyan music.
  7. Marije, De Gans in both English and Dutch, encourages me to, “Live a beautiful life in a beautiful world,” “Leef een mooi leven in een mooie wereld.”
  8. Jean-Noel’s photographs of people, architecture, and graffiti are lush.
  9. An author from England Suzanne Rogers shares insights into the writing life, along with sharing about her hobbies.
  10. Norah Colvin writes fiction and poetry, plus she discusses her teaching experience.

“A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote

Writing can be an x-ray into the soul. Truman Capote led a troubled life. Oh, what sensitive gorgeous stories resulted!

His “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn.

Breakfast at Tiffanys Poster from Wikipedia
Photo thanks to, Wikipedia

That photo, along with Hepburn at the prime of her iconic gorgeousness, are the best part of the movie. What drivel that movie made of Capote’s genius novella! It boiled Capote’s nuanced character study of love between a straight woman and a gay man into nonsense — a chain of cliches, the worst being Andy Rooney’s bigoted portrayal of a Chinese landlord.

Ah – but now I’m getting off track from telling you about Capote’s succinct mini-masterpiece, “A Christmas Memory.” The short story, featured in numerous short story anthologies, premiered in 1956, in Mademoiselle Magazine.

An early photo of Truman Capote, thanks to Wikipedia
Capote at 23, thanks to Wikipedia.

The essay is Capote’s gift to us about his own childhood experiences, after his parents divorced and gave him up to live with relatives. Capote makes me feel better for the very reading about his lush-hearted somewhat simple distant cousin, and how the two of them celebrated a handful of Christmases together.

Truman Capote, four years before his too early death. Thank you Wikipedia
Capote at 55, four years before his too early death. Thanks Wikipedia.

The video at the start of this post features a bit of Capote’s own uniquely southern narration. As well done as the production is in terms of following Capote’s writing, nothing rivals how his printed version earns residence in one’s heart.

Each year, Christmas stories become exponentially abundant, churned out at an equally increasing rate of smarminess. In contrast, Capote’s holiday story is populated by realistically complex characters. Capote forgoes easy one-dimensionality. He shows how holidays are neither good nor bad. People, their everyday generosity of spirit, are what comprise a celebration-worthy life.

Homemade artisan bread even easier! My review of Jim Lahey’s “My Bread”

A re-posting of a review I wrote for wonderful fellow blogger Jeyran.

"My Bread" by Jim Lahey book coverSurely there’s a place in heaven for bakers who have worked out the kinks of no-knead bread baking, the ones who share their secrets. No-knead recipes are yeasty home baked goodness — within a fraction of the time.

Jim Lahey’s “My Bread” raised my no-knead loaves to Everest heights. Bread genius and angel to home bakers that he is, he does the rest of the no-knead cookbooks one better. He does away with the need for pizza stones and steam via his simple radical solution: baking in covered pots.

Recipes are for me starting points to be fiddled with after my first try, not destinations to be rigorously followed. Lahey’s recipes, all easy, forgive my deviations unconditionally. A straightforward writer, he encourages such experimentation!

2 loaves of no-knead breadThese two loaves are loose renditions of his “Pane Integrale/Whole Wheat Bread,” the ones he mouthwateringly illustrates and describes on pages 60-62. For brunch last Sunday, I baked them together. The smaller is a whole recipe. The larger one, a double recipe, needed a bit longer to bake thoroughly.

At the beginning of the book, Lahey discusses how long dough should be left to rise. Two hours is the minimum, yet more patience is rewarded with more fermentation. I’ve left my dough out for as long as 24 hours before baking. Every longer-rise loaf steams with tangy sourdough excellence.

Crock PotsAlong with messing with the ingredients (I added oatmeal to the smaller loaf, more whole wheat flour and less white flour to both of them) my personal innovation is to usually use crock pots in the oven, not the electric part of course, instead of other types of pots. That way, I don’t risk ruining yet another non-metal handle.

Whatever I use, I line with parchment paper for easier extraction. The paper embosses intriguing creases.

Parchment paper makes things easier
Parchment paper makes loaves slide out easier, plus it lends fun creases.
How to cut no-knead loaves
Scissors help with the last bit of slicing.

Forget about Wonder Bread or anything akin to grocery store texture. My loaves come out dense and crusty, a handmade delight to be experienced only by the truly fortunate. In the interest of not squashing the lofty goodness when I saw into each loaf, I use an electric carving knife that my mom gifted to my husband. To not risk mangling my already uneven slices, I use scissors for the final bit of cutting.

Dough, just like baked bread, can be refrigerated for a week or so. Freezing makes it last much longer, but allow it to thaw to room temperature before baking.

Non-book note: Initially, when baked at Lahey’s recommended 475º, my oven emitted an offensive metallic odor. An appliance repairman set my qualms to rest. He advised me to run the oven at 500º for a couple of hours. The oven has since been odor-free.2 loaves cooling in window

Jim Lahey’s “My Bread” page

cut loafJeyran’s book review blog