Willa Cather on Happiness

Photo by Lila Cheekytree

I’m currently reading the book My Ántonia by American writer Willa Cather. Written in 1918 it depicts the early American push to expand westward.  I came across this beautiful passage and dog-eared the page so that I could come back and read it again:

The earth was under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermillion, with black spots. I kept still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.

I had not heard of Willa Cather until recently when I listened to this CBC podcast on Ideas with Paul Kennedy, it’s worth listening to. She was an exceptional woman and a great American writer. If you’re already familiar with her, here are 10 things You Probably Didn’t Know about Willa Cather according to Publisher’s Weekly.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays from Lila Cheekytree

Looking back at 2013 I realize I’ve been very sponge-like this year. I’ve spent most of my free time reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, people watching and (rather unusual for me) a lot of listening. But despite this absorption of new ideas and experiences I haven’t had much I wanted to SAY; instead this influx of new is just percolating. In short – that’s my excuse (or understanding of) why I’ve only shared a few things on my blog this year.

I have been drawing in my sketchbook throughout the year and wanted to share this Christmas card I designed and mailed to a few of my closest friends and family. I love sending old-fashioned snail mail, and especially love to receive it during the holidays.

Recently, I was walking past a local bookstore and there was this little blue book with a silver acorn that I was drawn to in the shop window (I love acorns and have a real one sitting on my desk). I only had to flip through a few pages of this book written by Yoko Ono and I knew I had to own it.  Here’s one of her  “conceptual instructions” that  I’d like to share with you.

Watch a butterfly dance.

Watch the fireflies dance.

Watch the lights on the water dance.

Let you heart dance with them.

I hope you have a magical Christmas and a New Year that’s filled with peace, joy, love, kindness and laughter. Wishing you all the best in 2014.

Embarrassed to be seen trying

“Sometimes the biggest secret women keep are what they really want to do with their lives.”

“Aren’t we all secretly aware that there are things we’d like to try, and might actually be able to do, if we weren’t so damned embarrassed to be seen trying.”

— Kelly Corrigan

I dare you, watch this inspiring video clip of best-selling author Kelly Corrigan read an excerpt from her April 2010 Glamour magazine essay.

The Lumineers make me happy

The Lumineers

February may be the shortest month of the year, but the cold weather and grey skies seem never-ending and leave me feeling blah. Fortunately I recently discovered an antidote: The Lumineers, a folk-rock trio out of Denver, Colorado. Their music literally puts a spring in my step.

I’m in love with all 12 songs on their self-titled album (which you can preview on iTunes here), but my favourites are Stubborn Love, Flowers in Your Hair, Submarines, and Ho Hey.
Enjoy the video.

Fitter Body = Fitter Brain

If you don’t have a New Year’s resolution to be more active in 2013 this infographic should give you some inspiration to get fitter. Working out doesn’t just affect the body, it affects the brain by stimulating brain cell growth.  A fitter body = a fitter brain.

Maybe it’s time they renamed exercise weights “smartbells“.

How Working Out Can Make You Smarter Infographic

Graphic courtesy of OnlineCollegeCourses.com

Stay Curious with Skillshare

SkillshareWant to stay young at heart? The secret is to never lose your sense of curiosity or wonder. Why not start the year off by learning something new? I’ve just enrolled in this 2 week course with Skillshare – a global learning community where you can learn real-world skills from real people. If you don’t already know about Skillshare then click here to check out the classes they are currently offering. You can learn anything from meatball making to logo design at affordable prices (my course was only $20).

I hope your 2013 is filled with curiosity and wonder. Happy New Year!


Need a little inspiration? Click on the image above to watch this short video on staying curious.

Happy Holidays!

Cheekytree Let It Snow Christmas Card 2012It’s hard to believe Christmas is only 1 week away! We just brought our tree home yesterday and the house smells wonderful. It’s always a lot of work stringing the lights and hanging the decorations but so worth the effort. I can’t wait until I can sit back and gaze at my little twinkling tree (while sipping a little rum & eggnog) and then it will truly start to FEEL like Christmas.

I hope all of you have a magical holiday season and a 2013 filled with love, good health, and happiness. Merry Christmas!

Yum Yum makes me smile

Source: yumyumlondon.com via Yum Yum on Pinterest

I discovered these awesome vinyl toys by Yum Yum on Pinterest.

Source: yumyumlondon.com via Yum Yum on Pinterest

We make happy things to make you happy” says Beth and Jonny, the London based creators of Yum Yum.

Source: vimeo.com via Lila on Pinterest

Watch their animation ‘Happy Food’ during your lunch break if you need a smile.

Happy Thursday!