Every day I wake up with my partner Ken Holmes and my dog Belle.

They are my favorite people in the whole world, and I wake up every morning telling each of them what I think is especially special about them, how much I love them and how thankful I feel to spend every day with them.

Belle is easy. She is my favorite girl! She is fluffy and you just want to hug her all the time. If she falls asleep, she snores so loud you look around for the big dog but see this little dog instead. As a rescue girl, she has had a lot to overcome, but even the gentleman at the Pet Gallery says she is the sweetest dog he has ever groomed. Everybody loves her! As one of my best friends says, she brings a smile to your face just looking at her! Her main fault is that she is completely obsessed with cookies. But then on the other hand, who can blame her? You can get away with a lot when you are cute. I always say I never want to have a dog smarter than me, but then on the other hand it obviously isn’t that hard to wrap me around your front paw if your name is Belle.

My partner Ken is the most well-read human being I have ever met. He used to teach A Course in Miracles and can explain complex spiritual concepts in a way anybody can understand. He beats me at Rummikub because he has the deep strategy of a Jedi master. He is a very safe driver and has helped me overcome my terror of riding in a moving vehicle down I-75 in Atlanta rush hour traffic. Even though he is now 65, he had the guts to go to a yoga teacher training to learn how to heal his back naturally. His hair is so great that once, when we were at a model train exhibit, the woman sitting behind us said to me, “It was all I could do to keep my hands out of his hair!”

I am somewhat well-read also, but I feel like I know when to read about something and when to experience life instead of reading about it.

For about 10 years before he and I got together, Ken holed up in the dark basement of his then-beautiful home, reading every spiritual book that he could. In a nutshell, he was trying to figure out how to be happy.

Then he met me.

Long story, now we are together.

Ken believes that the true measure of success is happiness. In other words, the happier a person is, the more successful that person is in Ken’s eyes.

We spend a lot of time talking about happiness and also about spiritual growth – two of our favorite topics.

I try to explain to him – from my perspective – the secrets that I have discovered about how to be happy.

One of the secrets to happiness I have discovered is what I call the “WOW” factor.

If YOU woke up every day and thought and FELT “WOW!” and recounted to yourself how blessed you are – in all the many ways you actually are blessed – you would be a very happy person also.

If YOU woke up every day and contemplated and FELT how much you love the favorite people in your life, thinking “WOW” how lucky you are to be with them, you would be very happy also.

Ken once criticized me for thanking other people too often. I thank waiters and waitresses and anybody who does me a small kindness. “You thanked that waiter seven times,” Ken once told me.

I believe that when we feel thankful, we need to express that, as many people have jobs where nobody really notices.

I also believe that when we feel love for others, we need to let that fact be known in as many ways as we can possibly communicate that feeling. The more we let other people know how much we love them, the happier everybody is.

I realize that I am very corny and simple with all this thanking I do and all this telling everybody how much I love them stuff.

But I think I may be on to something as I am one of the happiest people I know!