1. Overalls.  I just bought a pair of stylish skinny jean overalls and they make me feel like the best sort of child.  It’s a complete throwback to the languid fall days of my youth, I can’t wait for another fall of those laid-back autumn seasons.  Overalls bring it all back.
  2. Sleepy towns.  Nebraska has quite a few of those.  The phrase is so accurate, because the towns really do seem to be in that state between asleep and awake.  Everything moves at a leisurely pace, and there isn’t any bustle to get somewhere.  The entirety of the town seems content to simply meander and mingle, no real goal and none needed.
  3. Roses.  Hands-down my favorite flowers.
  4. Leadership.  I’ve always been a little afraid of taking the lead.  Sure, I’ll be the leader’s right-hand-man, but I have a tendency to not be the one everyone looks to for guidance.  More and more, I’ve found myself needing to take leadership or watch something dissolve.  To be honest, I love the work.  It’s so rewarding to see my work come to fruition
  5. Eating outdoors.  When its nice outside, my family likes to eat meals on our back patio.  It’s such a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere.  For some reason, the world seems to slow down when we simply sit and soak up the sunshine while we enjoy the good food and good company before us.  Blissful.
  6. A million volleys in volleyball.  There’s nothing so exciting in a volleyball game as when the ball stays in the air for improbably long stretches, each side making shocking passes and saves.  Eventually, you begin to wonder if the ball will ever make it to the ground.  That’s the best kind of volleyball.
  7. When summer just begins to give way to autumn.  The leaves are still green, but a chill is just starting to seep into the air.  The football fans are still frying under the sun, but they can wear a sweatshirt while they are at it.  The cicadas are out in full force in the evening, but they aren’t annoying anymore, just background music to the still-sun-drenched evenings.  It seems like everyone is grilling and tailgating and the air is rich with the scent of hamburgers and the camaraderie that develops around the tailgaters.  Every weekend is an opportunity to snag as much time as possible at the lake or taking a walk because it won’t be too long before it is much too cold for that.  School is settled into motion, and the rhythm that will continue until May has found its regular beat.  Although it’s a transition between two seasons, it feels like time has slowed to the point where it almost isn’t moving because I am so content.
  8. Grinning like an idiot for no reason.  Sometimes, it’s just a really good day, and no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot stop smiling.  It’s a feeling of fullness.
  9. Interspersing intelligent words with things I’ve completely made up.  I can sound so intelligent sometimes.  That is, until I start spewing poppycock about who-knows-what.  I am a child and a scholar at the same time.
  10. Encouraging and supporting people.  I love attending my friends’ events and activities because I get to see them in a whole new element.  I’ve never actually been to a bunch of different activities, like cross country or show choir, but I really want to go experience them.  Not just because new things are fun and exciting, but also because I get to cheer my friends on and gratify them in what they do.  Everyone likes to be appreciated, and it’s a nod toward your friends and their value to you to encourage and support them in the activities that they enjoy.  Who knows, you might even find that you have fun in the process!
  11. Togetherness.  This day is always a day of tears in America as the victims of the 9/11 attacks are remembered.  It’s also a day that gives me a great pride in my country because we band together in a unique way of September 11th every year.  Everyone who lost a loved one is surrounded and uplifted by fellow countrymen who are sharing their pain and thanking them for their sacrifices.
  12. That feeling when they’re so happy that you feel like you can’t possibly refrain from bursting out in song and skipping around in glee.  There is that feeling when your heart honestly feels like it is attempting to escape your body because it is so elated.  That is when life feels so intrinsically, perfectly right.
  13. Spending all day with people you love, doing the things you love.  I woke up this morning to cheer on the participants of a race; I spent an hour making di-cuts frantically with my sister; I met with my biblestudy group and ate some of the best pumpkin bar things I’d ever ingested; I spent hours at my friend’s house with all sorts of people from my class and it wasn’t at all a clique-y event; I went on one of the more wild shopping trips of my life with a couple of really spazzy fun people; I went to a different friend’s house for an evening of roasting marshmallows, doing spit takes into the fire, trying to make each other laugh, and playing the most insane board game that exists.  Needless to say, I was a little exhausted when I got home, but it was completely worth it.  God blessed me with a day to live every moment to its fullest potential.
  14. Unexpected camaraderie.  Humans are uncannily skilled at forming first impressions, and sometimes we think that someone will act a certain way and we won’t like them, but it is so nice to be proven wrong on those occasions.  That is when some of the strongest friendships are formed.
  15. Doing something a little bit childish that you’ve always wanted to do but always been too embarrassed to try.  I played a Careless Whisper saxophone solo in the mall today.  It was probably unnecessarily gratifying.
  16. Seeing friends laughing with abandon.  It’s one thing to laugh, and an entirely different thing to laugh with everything in you.  When I see my friends spilling so much joy, it is inevitably infectious.  I love to see them so beautifully happy.
  17. Songs that are a massive source of healing.  My church choir sang In Christ Alone tonight and I’m not going to lie, it was hard to sing.  It was such a reminder of all of the hardship of last year, but it was also a source of healing.  One more layer peeled off of that hard shell of grieving.  God knows how to do stuff like that and I’m so thankful for it, otherwise I don’t know how I’d ever learn to heal.
  18. Snail mail.  Snail mail is quite possibly the most heartfelt way to send someone a letter.  You have no choice but to put effort into getting it to the person, and it makes a warm little glow in the recipient’s heart to see a personally marked letter come amidst all of the less-than-satisfactory things people usually receive.  Today, I got a handwritten letter that was infused with sweetness and thoughtfulness and it made my day.  If you ever feel like doing something like that, I can assure you that someone would be happy to receive your caring package.
  19. Feeling treasured.  It takes such a little action to make someone feel like they are the most important person in the world.  Treasure the people in your life!
  20. Going on adventures.  Life is intrinsically memorable.  So many little things happen that we will never forget, and we won’t forget the big stuff either.  Living life to the fullest means that there are even more memorable moments in your lifetime.
  21. Being asked to dance.  Yes, I would squeal with delight if you gave me a fancy-as-all-get-out ball with ballgowns and dance cards and orchestras and the like, but I realize that’s a rather unrealistic dream.  Fortunately, I at least get high school dances where I get to be all gussied up and go dancing.  When there is a slow dance, the people who came without dates (read as me) tend to wander around awkwardly not quite sure what to do.  When someone asks me to dance, I feel super special and appreciated.  Call it shallow, but it really is fun.
  22. Being listened to.  I was feeling down today, so I spent over an hour talking with one of my biggest mentors today.  She waited patiently while I unloaded all of the things that were weighing me down, then she gave me a few precious jewels of wisdom to carry with me along with a great big hug.  It was such a nice feeling to know that I was being really and truly heard.
  23. Battle scars.  One of my friends makes an annual trip to Poland every year and she has brought back a game for us that has earned the motto “If you haven’t bled, you haven’t played.”  The other day, we were playing this game and both gashed our hands open trying to win.  It may have hurt a little, but it was funny more than anything else.  We’ve both been wearing our crazy patterned bandages with pride and telling the story to anyone who will listen.  And in case you’re wondering, I won.
  24. Cookies made out of confetti cake batter.  These childhood food staples were absent from my diet for far too long until I tasted one for the first time in years today.  I forgot what bliss they are.  Me thinks I will be needing come cake mix soon.
  25. The band Oh Honey.  They only have four songs at the moment, but they are such gems.  I highly recommend them.
  26. Late-night excursions with friends.  I spent the majority of my evening bouncing from place to place.  My friends and I went to a production, a cafe, several houses, and generally roamed the neighborhood.  We weren’t doing anything bad, simply walking, talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’ company.  It doesn’t take much in the presence of friends to get laughter and good-will flowing.  I doubt I could have more fun if I tried.
  27. Finding new places to love.  I went to a restaurant today which several people had recommended to me.  It was such a quaint little place and it reminded me so much of Europe that I couldn’t help but love it.  Oh, and the food didn’t hurt that opinion at all.  I had croque madame which I’ve only ever eaten before in Paris, so it felt like a trip down memory lane.  Not to mention the espresso chocolate chip muffin I had that was absolutely sublime.
  28. Giving my sister one look and completely knowing exactly what she’s thinking and knowing that she knows what I’m thinking too and that she knows I know what she’s thinking and we are thinking the exact same thing.  It happens almost uncannily often, but it’s fun to be on her wavelength.
  29. Silences that are not at all awkward.  There are some people with whom it is super easy to just sit there.  You don’t have to talk, and you don’t feel like you can’t talk either.  It isn’t a constant struggle to keep the conversation going because you know that if it lapses into silence, the other person will be okay with it and you will too.  Not talking sometimes spurs the deepest friendships and conversations.
  30. Birthdays.  Your birthday is basically a massive excuse for people to compliment you on the art of being alive fro an entire year.  They let you eat whatever you want and practically force feed you cake.  There is n end to the well-wishers and their singing.   So congratulations on another year and have a good one!

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