1. Pomegranates.  There is no fruit I’ve ever tasted quite like pomegranates.  We like to give pumpkins credit for being the food of fall, but I look forward to October and November because that means pomegranate season.  So super yummy.
  2. Well-timed messages of encouragement.  There have been multiple times when I’ve been really down on myself and God has used someone in my life to send me just what I needed when I needed it.  A friend of mine sent me a letter today, just as I was feeling completely frustrated with everything, that simply melted my heart with its sweetness.  I teared up reading the words she sent me because they showed such care and effort to send something so sweet to me.
  3. My wonderful dad.  He’s such an amazing father and I’m so glad to have been raised by him.  He is an excellent chef, quite the comedian, always helpful with homework, forever fixing all of the things I break, coming up with creative solutions to problems, and loving me no matter how crazy I get.  I can’t thank God enough for him.
  4. Watching a production come together.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been a part of a theatrical production, but there is inevitably a period of time when you panic and think it isn’t going to happen and that the whole thing is crashing down around your ears.  Then, when it seems that it is too late to pull off a halfway decent show, everything falls into place.  Maybe not neatly, but it gets there always in the nick of time.
  5. Watching roses unfold.  You see the roses start as tightly wound blooms, each petal clinging desperately to the others.  Gradually, the flower grows, the petals fan out, and color infuses itself in the bloom.  Each step seems impossibly more beautiful than the last.  I don’t know how a detail such as that could have been on God’s mind when He created roses, but his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and his ways are higher than my ways.  As it is, I am extremely glad for God’s amazing attention to detail because it results in a beautiful world.
  6. Sittting in stillness with God.  It has become something of a morning routine for me to take ten minutes before I leave the house to sit, read a devotional, and pray.  It isn’t much, but even that provides me with an infusion of God’s peace and grace for the day.  It starts my day by setting my focus where it belongs for the rest of the day.
  7. Finally letting your head hit the pillow after a long day.  There are ties when you are so weary that you honestly don’t know how you are still alive, but you still have things to do.  You know that you can’t go to bed and let the bliss of sleep wash over you until you push through that tough essay or finish baking food for the event in the morning that you forgot about.  When you finally trudge to your bed, it is the most satisfying feeling possible to sink under the covers and place your head on the pillow.  Within seconds, you register how soft the pillow is, and how warm the blanket is and without further ado…
  8. Looking up play scripts.  There are some really interesting ones out there, I promise you.
  9. Cardigans.  You can wear them with almost anything and they make me feel so adorable.
  10. Watching your face emerge from underneath a mask of stage makeup.  Putting on stage makeup is fun, but it is almost relieving to take it off later.  Stage makeup can completely change your face so that you aren’t even recognizable.  Sometimes you don’t even look like a real person, and sometimes that is the goal.  So, as enjoyable as it is to be able to look like that every once in a while, it can be a little unnerving.  After a show, I love to come home and look in the mirror at that other face and then slowly, methodically scrape the layers away until my own face emerges.  It may look plain after all of that extravagance, but it looks alive, which is an insanely  relieving feeling.  It can almost be scary to see your face looking so foreign, but the return to normalcy is a return to comfort.
  11. When the bridge of your nose is cold.  There are a bunch of mornings when I am driving to school and my car is jetting warm air at me, but it always somehow misses the bridge of my nose so it is chilly.  I don’t know why, but that feeling makes me feel cozy.
  12. Eating soup while it is snowing.  Especially when it is that picturesque snow falling softly and the world outside seems a little muffled.  Then the indoors feels just a little bit warmer, but you still place your hands around the bowl of soup so that the heat will radiate through your hands.  Then you take that first sip and the warmth of the soup makes your heart feel like it is glowing.  Perfect.
  13. Having someone else brush your hair.  It is so frustrating to brush your own hair, but so relaxing when someone else does.
  14. Old people holding hands.  For some reason, that is so much sweeter than any other couple, heartwarming though the newlyweds or the little kids may be.  Old people holding hands just shows loyalty and a long life of love.  There is also such a beautiful simplicity and intimacy about it that I can’t help but admire.
  15. My sister’s random snarky comments.  My darling sister is quite particular about words, so she ends up making hilarious comments about the way people say things.  She also has a prime talent for mishearing people in the most humorous of ways and then incredulously repeating what she thought she heard.  It makes life interesting.
  16. Opening night of a show.  There is a frantic flurry of last-minute attempts to make the show perfect before everyone circles up to warm up, pray, and sing a chorus of the Doxology.  Then everyone scatters between backstage and that magical world of the stage behind the curtains.  Before they open, whispers of “break a leg” float around stage and the lights set themselves.  There is an entire world beyond that curtain, but the one behind it is a snow-globe frozen moment.  Finally, a chink appears, tearing away the visible fourth wall and simultaneously creating its invisible counterpart.  The show begins.  It probably isn’t flawless, but it is always amazing how it managed to come together when even a week ago you might have doubted that possibility.  At the end, everyone congregates to chat and congratulate and you can’t help but smile.  You are exhausted but exhilarated because tonight has made all of the work and all of the stress and all of the hours spent practicing instead of sleeping finally worth it.
  17. Putting a pencil to paper.  I don’t think I realize just how fortunate I am to be able to take out a piece of paper and transform it with words or doodles or something else without any qualms.  Paper isn’t a rare commodity to me, but a part of my life.  Not everyone has that luxury.  But aside from that.  There is a magical feeling of connection as soon as the tip of the led settles onto the paper.  My thoughts stream down my arm and pour out onto the paper, all through this tiny utensil in my hand.  There is so much power in something so simple and much of my favorite creations come from the marriage of a sleek rod of graphite and a slim square that was once a tree.
  18. Ruffling the pages of a book to smell them.  If I’m not mistaken, this is the reason that there exists a perfume designed to smell like books.  It sounds strange, but the smell of a book gives it character.  Crisp, new books often cling to vestiges of the store that was their home, but they also smell clean and fresh; ready for a brand new adventure.  Old books smell musty and familiar.  They give much the same sensation as walking into a home where you have experienced immeasurable joy and taking a deep breath.  The scent is the same as that of your closest friend when you bury yourself into one of their hugs.  Either way, it is a smell that worms into your brain and you can never quite dislodge the pleasure of it.
  19. The first snow of the year.  When those brave entrepreneur flakes begin to meander down from the sky, the child in your heart laughs joyfully.  They may be a nuisance soon enough, but they retain a sort of magical quality nonetheless.  The whole world hushes when it is snowing, and the world hovers on that place between awake and sleeping, like a child desperately fighting the peace of his mother as she tucks him into bed.
  20. When song lyrics somehow mange to say something that you have been struggling to express.  For example, I recently found a line out of Rend Collective Experiment’s song “Second Chances” that has become the new prayer of my heart: “Please don’t stop creating me.”  It is such a simple line, but it packs a huge punch.  I didn’t even know that my heart was straining for words to focus it, but God sent them to me and I can’t help but give them back to him.  God has created me, but he is still working in me and creating me.  Those are some deeply beautiful things to know.
  21. Joy.  I discovered Rend Collective Experiment a few days ago and initially saw their thought process behind the album The Art of Celebration. The idea behind it is that there is an “irrepressible laughter in the heart of God” and that joy is not a feeling but a lifestyle of worship to God.  How amazing is that?  God truly is a God of celebration and of joy.  There are so many of Jesus’ parables that equate God’s kingdom with a feast or a wedding.  Celebrations.  God has given us this beautiful gift of joy to fight the darkness in this sinful world.  Joy is this constant source of buoyancy for us as we travel through this world and that is the uncontainable light that shines from us to this dark and weary world.
  22. Eating a meal with extended family.  I love my family.  We have such a beautiful community between us and food does nothing but enhance that.  We have a tendency to gather in the kitchen before a meal because everyone is helping and enjoying the rich conversation and laughter there.  When we all sit down to eat, that richness only intensifies.  Good food fills our stomachs and good family fills our hearts.  I know its cheesy, but it is also completely true.
  23. Spontaneously bursting into song.  If there is a single day where a tune doesn’t escape my lips, I probably don’t have a voice.  Somehow, singing brings an extra sense of beauty to the world.
  24. Being able to communicate with someone based entirely on looks.  There are a few people in my life that I don’t even need to speak a word to in order to know exactly what they wanted to say and they understand what I want to say to them.  Sometimes, a friend and I will start talking what appears to  be mid-conversation because the first bit of it happened entirely between our eyes.
  25. Getting home from school after the last day before a break.  There are times when you simply need everything to stop so that you can catch your breath.  The home stretch when you know a break is coming may be the part that zaps the most of your energy.  But finally, blessedly, the last day ends and you know that you have a few long leisurely days or weeks to rest before all of the hustle and bustle starts back up again.  No early alarms, no tests to crunch for, only blissful freedom.
  26. Waking up Thanksgiving morning to help start preparing the food.  I love cooking and being in the kitchen and I especially love doing so on a day where food is so central to the occasion.  Something about Thanksgiving food is so comforting and cozy and it is a ton of work to make, but it’s the fun kind of work.  You get to spend some quality tie with your mother and feel your mouth water in anticipation to consume everything in sight.  It’s a good life.
  27. Thanksgiving dinner.  There is nothing quite like remembering all of the beautiful blessings God has placed in my life over the year with a bountiful meal and a lovely family.  We may outdo ourselves with the food, but God never fails to outdo even that with His blessings in our lives.
  28. Zippers.  Isn’t that a super satisfying noise when you pull a zipper tab?
  29. Watching fire.  Candles, campfire, fireplace, I’m not picky.  It is just so beautiful, especially when I’m sleepy and happy.  I love to snuggle up next to someone and just watch as the flames dance and crackle.  It is a lively lullaby for my peaceful soul.
  30. The Christmas season.  Not the excess of commercialization that magically crops up, but the beautiful time when we remember the extremity of what our God did so that we could live the life we would never be able to earn on our own merit.  There is always an increase of love and gratitude.  Coziness and hugs.  Giving and sharing.  Belting carols and rolling around in the snow.  That is the beauty of the Christmas season.

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