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Daily Happiness Journal #81
13th November 2020

In this email:

  • Food for thought: It's not only children who grow
  • Picture of the day: Yellow and Turquoise
  • Daily Funny: Nobel Prize
  • Daily Happiness: Grandfather's Pin
  • Daily Quote by Soren Kierkegaard
  • Writing Blog: Mud-brick Palaces

    I hope this little email will uplift and encourage you to see the good things all around you. (I will post these during weekdays between Monday-Friday when I have to time to write them from my MA studies and day job)

    Food for Thought

    It's not only children who grow

    "It's not only children who grow. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself."

    - Joyce Maynard

    This quote is about following your dreams (yes, I love quotes about reaching for your dreams). I have a good example in my own mother who is writing her Phd thesis at the age of 81. 

    I have also seen people who stop reaching for their dreams even before they are 50. They think they are too old. "What's the point?" "I won't make money out of it." "I'm too old." When they meet someone who has committed to long-term effort towards their goal, they either don't want to talk with such a person, or they try to make the other one understand it is futile to waste their time. 

    So what's the point? It is your own satisfaction in life. Money isn't the wisest thing to measure your success with. In the end your happiness is. 

    It is never too late to reach for your dreams, to grow towards that sun.

      Picture of the day
      Yellow and Turquoise

      Finland is definitely colourful during the winter. Namely the colours are more or less black, grey and... well, more grey. Unless the snow falls. Then we can add white to the mix.

      I took this photo some years back on a cruise ship on the Baltic Sea. In November. When all was dark, wet and grey. Seeing such beautiful colours feels almost like a physical relief. 

      We are actually celebrating tomorrow the Grayest Day of the Year. We drink grey drinks, wear grey and hope it will be foggy so it would be grey.

      Yes, I know. We Finns are strange.

      Daily Funny
      Nobel Prize

      Why did the scarecrow win a Nobel prize?

      Because he was outstanding in his field.

      Do you have a funny story you would like to see published in this letter? An event, what someone said? If so, send me your funny story in an email 

      (I especially love the funny things children say!). 

      My email  for this is daily email is

      Today's Happiness

      Grandfather's Pin

      My grandfather Johan Anders Pekkalainen was an experienced sailor at the ripe old age of 17. He had been orphaned at 12, and after that had to work for a living. He became a carpenter and built several boats, working for a Viborg merchant Harry Wahl. Mr Wahl was rich - among other things he owned six genuine Stradivariuses. 

      Mr Wahl and his Swedish-speking gentlemen friends decided to take part in the Olympic games of Stockholm in 1912 and needed one crew member (one who could speak Swedis). Mr Wahl walked to his young apprentice, my grandfather, and promptly ordered him into the crew of the sail boat Nina. 

      And they sailed to and in Stockholm with success - they won silver in sailing in the 10 m class. My grandfather got this pin from this trip and valued it so much he carried it in his wallet until his death. 

      My grandfather was the youngest Olympic medal winner in Finland - he was 17 years, 2 months, and 2 days old when they won the silver medal.

      My father had this pin until his death, and after that my mother gave it to me. It is a family treasure, not for sale.


      What made you happy today? Send a note and tell, if you wish to share your little happy moment with others.

      The email address for this daily post is

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      Daily Quote

      "You live life

      looking forward.

      You understand life

      looking backward"

      - Soren Kierkegaard

      Writing Blog / Mud-brick Palaces

      Writing books that happen in ancient Egypt isn't easy. Every day I need to check something. From the shape of water jars to structure of houses or medical treatments and magical spells (which were often considered to be the same thing).

      In my MA studies I am now concentrating in ancient Amarna (where Tutankhamun was born) and the lives of ordinary people.

      One interesting thing are the royal palaces in Amarna - where Akhenaten and Nefertiti and their six daughters lived. When we hear the word "palace" most of us probably think of a big stone structure. This was not the case in ancient Egypt, though. Only the temples were built of stone. The palaces had some features made of stone (lintels, pillars...). The rest was built of mud-brick that was then plastered over and painted with bright colours. 

      One of the reasons was that the king / pharaoh did not stay put in one palace. He traveled up and down the Nile with his closest people and had several palaces all around the country. Often these palaces were built on purpose when the king announced where he was going next. The local governor was expected to take care of the comfort and nourishment of the royal retinue. And when the king left, these palaces were not kept in good condition.

      Also the king had several "harem" palaces. His minor wives, female reatives and other dependants lived there. But not in a life of luxury. They were put to work - mostly they wove linen which was a big source of income for the royal house. These kenerets could be relatively modest buildings as well - and yes, made of mud brick.

      Of course there was a "main" palace in what the king considered to be his capital - in Memphis, in Amarna, in Luxor. But even these were eventually abandoned and dismantled. Stone structures were taken and used elsewhere (in antiquity and in modern times as well). A whole pyramid was dismantled so that only its underground structures survived. 

      What people did not destroy, nature did. Nile inundations turned the mud bricks into mush. The villages were on top of hills (Tells) that were actually the remains of previous houses / villages. During the inundation the Nile valley was one big lake with the villages on their little islands and water was a real threat to the houses.

      (Below is a picture of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their daughters. I took this picture in 2014 in Berlin. It was most likely a private stela, an object of worship. Akhenaten demanded that he and his Great Royal Wife were to be worshiped, as they were the only ones who could directly approach the god Aten. They took the roles of the first children of the first god, Shu and Tefnut. Akhenaten and Nefertiti then, in turn, worshiped the Aten as intermediaries between the ordinary people and the god.)

      More about my books - click to read

      I sell my books directly too. The ebooks are cheap to buy and the big e-stores don't share much of the price with the authors. That is why I have downloaded my books to Payhip - they don't take a commission which makes it easier for me to pay my editor, proofreader and cover designer.  

      Leenasbooks on Payhip
      Leenasbooks / Leena Maria

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