06/05/2012 01:03 pm ET Updated Aug 05, 2012

When Ordinary Moments are Extraordinary

The elusive pursuit of happiness is certainly a tough task. What is more reasonable and certainly easier to accomplish is capturing the small moments of happiness and joy in our daily lives. As I walk through each of my days, I stumble upon some moments that I have to recover from, but I try very hard to focus more intently on those lovely moments of brief joy and connection. I've been spending this past week sort of outside of myself, as an observer looking in, and here is what warms my heart, bathes me in good feeling and provides me with small moments of joy that make me want to linger in the moment.

First, let me start where many mothers start -- with an interactive moment with a child. Sometimes my young adult daughter will call me and say "Hi Mama." There is just something about being called mama that gets to me in the best possible way. The term is just so endearing. It is certainly different in tone from ma or even mother. Next, it might be something like going to the gym and having the trainers and their sweaty clients all seem happy to see me. I know this because they smile at me warmly and all know my name. Maybe they are just happy to get a two-second break from their grueling workouts, but I think not. I think that just as they are happy to see me I am happy to see them. It's just a fleeting moment of a lovely energy exchange, but it nonetheless feels so good. Maybe then I'll go to the carwash and the man who always seems to linger over cleaning my car just a little bit longer than usual looks at me radiantly. Why does he do this? I am quite sure that it is because I always inquire about his kids and he beams with pride about what good students they are. This is a win-win situation. He is happy. I am happy to provide him with this moment and my car gets an extra special bit of attention. Sometimes, I'll have a work-related appointment and I can just tell that the people that I am meeting with are so looking forward to our appointment. How do I know? I feel it. I see it in their eyes. They've laid out a little feast even though they know by now that I'll usually sip some water or have a little coffee, but the treats that they have put out speak volumes.

Sometimes, I'll get a call from a friend who will say "Barbara, please spend some time with me this week. I'm badly in need of some Barbara time." This makes me feel so good and so necessary. Somebody needs me and will benefit from my company. I just love this. And along the same lines, sometimes a relatively new friend or a dear older friend will be so delighted for me to meet their new love or even their spouse or partner. They want to show off their good fortune and inherent in this is that they want my acknowledgement of their good fortune and good choice. I consider this both a compliment and an honor. And, sometimes, one of my fellow writer friends will want to run a piece by me. I just love that. Isn't it a high form of flattery that a colleague values your input?

In between the different sorts of work I do -- and yes I am a workaholic -- I will take a break and go for a run to clear my head and get my endorphins going. I'll pass by other runners and we'll smile and acknowledge each other. I consider it a sort of high-five that says look at us; we are both out running and isn't that cool? Maybe I'll carve out some time to get my nails painted -- well I have to admit I frequently do because colors make me happy and several of the manicurists then invite me over to their chairs. This is a sweet moment, even though I usually gravitate toward my favorite manicurist, Laura, who always makes me laugh with her wit and very silly sense of humor, all while making my nails look perfect, sophisticated and oh-so-lovely.

At night, when I'm starting to wrap it up for the day, I'll get a text that just tickles me with a cute and connecting message. I just love that. These are just some of the moments that I delight in. Let me tell you that focusing on these upbeat moments certainly makes the day something to look forward to. I am very well aware that we don't have peak moments on a daily basis, so I'm happy to settle for mini-peak moments.

Tomorrow, I will start again with an early morning trip to Starbucks for my usual drink and even though it has no sweetener in it, it tastes sweet to me. I am convinced it is because the sweetness of the woman who usually makes my drink -- I just love that she always calls me sweetheart. That's really nice to hear before I've had my one cup of coffee.

What small things make your day a little bit sweeter?