Quotes and colors are 2 of my favorite things

quote our job is simply to embrace who we truly are - Gouache painting Debbie Happy Cohen Art
My 2 Passions: Quotes & Colors, Colors & Quotes Artist: Debbie Happy Cohen, Mentone, AL


Inspirational quotes changed my life. They helped me live deliberately and intentionally. They validated my deepest beliefs about what was truly possible for myself and others.

I began collecting great quotes at age 16, in a light blue 3-ring binder, on school-ruled paper. When I got older, quotes on sticky notes took over my apartments. Then I became an index card aficionado. These days, I pull out index cards while friends and coaching clients are speaking and write their nuggets of wisdom. For these very special people, I stamp the cards with this year’s mascot (a grasshopper). Then I text them photos of their quotes and coaching assignments. Blue, fine-tipped, Pilot gel-ink pens and Blackwing 602 pencils are my go-to writing instruments. You see an example one of my Coach Notes here.


I remember being in first grade and always having my box of 8 fat crayons in rainbow order. My bedroom was always messy, so an outsider wouldn’t know what was truly important to me unless they looked closely enough to see what was intentionally organized. A 10th grade English teacher introduced our class to journaling. Once I started, I never stopped.  To this day, I journal with the same level of enthusiasm that fitness buffs have when they go to the gym. It never gets old.

My journals quickly evolved to include watercolors, markers, watercolor pencils, and acrylics. From 11/11/11 to 12/12/12, I painted and posted one painting every day on Facebook. On this journey, I discovered 2 new loves: smooth birch wood and gorgeous Golden paints. And I learned that the simplest line can communicate a thousand words. My dearest friends understood my most abstract scribbles and communicated them back to me in words. I’m still amazed.

The Joy-Based Living Building Block Village unites my passions (and is taking over my house)

In 2016, I Kickstarted Joy-Based Living (our online self-actualization coaching community) where we learn and grow and expand our joy together. A few months ago, I began collecting wooden blocks that were left over from a new house that was being built down the street. My beautiful Pyrenees, Hiro Nakamura, had just died of old age, and I think I needed something to fill huge space that he left behind. Something that would bring me joy. I started writing quotes on the blocks and arranging them in pleasing ways. Friends joined in by gifting me with art, cards, and even 2 dragons! These gifts infuse the Village with a ton of love, friendship, and joy.

Joy-Based Living Building Blocks Village

Only the juiciest quotes make their way to the JBL Building Block Village. A block of wood is chosen for a particular quote and the edges are sanded and smoothed. Then the quote is written on the block using a Ticonderoga pencil. Finally, the block is painted and added to the village. Sometimes I use the blocks as a bribe an incentive for a client to get them to complete a coaching assignment. Occasionally, I sell them. (Okay, I’ve only sold one so far.) The Village is currently the backdrop for my YouTube videos and this makes me feel a little bit like one of my childhood heroes, Mr. Rogers.

I wonder about you . . .

What are some of your passions? What are some of your favorite things that inspire you or bring you joy?


Happy D!

3 thoughts on “Quotes and colors are 2 of my favorite things

  1. The pastel rainbow palette you use to pleasingly present that righteous quote is wonderful, Debbie! Yay, Colors & Quotes!!! 🙂

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