1. When the whole world is muffled with freshly fallen snow.  Nothing interrupts the gentle white blanket that tucks the world in and wishes it goodnight.  Each hushed breath feels slightly magical as the cool air swirls around your cheeks.  Snow may be inconvenient, but every time it snows, I am utterly in awe of the beauty that God can sprinkle in this earth.
  2. Snow days.  Not much to elaborate there; the joy of these lazy little paradises speaks for itself.
  3. Writing in cursive.  There is something calming about the grace of one letter swooping into the next.  It forces me to slow down and think about each letter as I gently lay it out on the page.  It also makes me feel a little like a princess, if we’re being honest.
  4. Quiet breakfasts.  This is my chance to sit and stare into the distance while stuffing food in my face each morning.  I am always lost in thought before I wake up all the way, so I get a lot of my good thinking done in the wee hours of the morning.  That also tends to be when I do a decent chunk of praying.  I read a devotion every morning and then head down to eat with all of those thoughts swirling around in my mind.  I like the idea that God doesn’t mind my bleary eyes, my unruly hair, or my lack of finesse with cereal.  He doesn’t care that my topic jumps are as wide as oceans because the thing He really cares about is me.  Not my appearance or my fumbling words, but simply me: His precious child.
  5. Snuggling up in a warm, cozy sweater.  The closest sensation I can think of would be wearing a coat of sleeping kittens.  Which sounds pretty comfortable to me.
  6. New, crisp, absolutely perfect books.  I almost feel guilty pulling the cover open in case it curls.  I gently ruffle through the pages, inhaling the beautiful new smell.  It is a story that no one has yet made their own.  No one has put a piece of their soul into it yet, so it is all yours.  You get to be the first one to leave a tear stain or crease the spine.  You buy a book in a perfect little block that is just waiting to come alive as the pages crease and the edge of the spine wears.  It is a beautiful canvas.
  7. Finishing a huge project.  I am writing a play for my class to perform and today I was able to type the words “End of play.”  You have no idea how good that felt.  Of course, there is still the massive editing project ahead of me, but there is an entire show there that could conceivably be performed tomorrow.  That is super exciting for me.
  8. Getting up your courage.  I have a tendency to talk myself out of things that require any sort of bravery from me.  I love the feeling when I shove all of that away and simply go for it.  You never know what adventure you’ll find.
  9. Remembering the one thing that probably inevitability demands you forget.  I have a tendency to have one thing that I need to do.  Not three, not ten, not thirty.  Just one.  And I usually forget to do it.  It might be to grab milk on the way home or to take a form to someone for them to fill out and I remember it until the instant it actually needs to happen.  The days that I do remember are extremely happy ones.
  10. Getting up on the right side of the bed.  It sounds cheesy, but when you wake up happy the rest of your day has a knack of following right along with it.
  11. Little God moments.  I have really been angsting about a big decision I need to make and God has been right there the entire time, nudging me in the right direction.  Now, I’m not claiming that every little gust of wind is a sign from heaven, but sometimes in hind sight it is obvious to see that certain little tiny things had to have been acts of God.  Miracles are not gone.  He may not walk around earth and heal the sick with a word anymore, but he puts those who are ill in the care of capable doctors and nurses.  Jesus may not look me in the eye and tell me that he loves me – at least not in this life – but he loves me all the same.
  12. When people make you genuinely laugh when you are feeling down.  It is actually quite the feat to distract someone from their darkness.  It circles in their minds like vultures that they can’t stop watching for fear the birds will swoop in if they stop watching for on second.  But it is the greatest feeling to take your mind off of the vultures.  When people manage to do that, the sensation is incomparable.
  13. Curling up with my cat for a nap.  Purring is actually an incredibly soothing way to fall asleep.  Plus, annoying as it may be, stepping all over me keeps me from sleeping for too long.
  14. Showing your loved ones that you care.  I know it seems cheesy and cliche, which is part of the reason why so many people don’t like Valentine’s Day, but it feels great to have tangible proof that someone else cares for you.  My choir goes every year and does Singing Valentines around town.  People can buy one and write a note to their loved one and then we come sing to them and give them the note.  So many people cry when we do it because it may be embarrassing, but it is an obvious gesture of affection.  It’s like the song from Enchanted: How Does She Know?
  15. Chocolate-covered strawberries.  My taste buds thank me quite a bit when I eat this particular delicacy.  Something about the taste of ripe strawberries and any kind of chocolate just goes together so well.
  16. Inside jokes with my sister.  No one else has ever grown up with me.  No one else has the same parents or came from the same womb or lived in the same situation as the two of us have.  We have a few inside jokes.  My parents will be sitting at the dinner table discussing engineery things and all I have to do is look across the table and catch her eye to burst out laughing.  I can’t even describe to you the number of times that the two of us have been dying laughing so hard and everyone else around us is utterly lost.  I can tell someone else a joke the two of us just can’t get over, and they will give me a skeptical look, seeing zero humor in it.  I don’t work out with my sister, strictly speaking, but my abs are usually in the best shape of my life when I spend a bunch of time around her from all of that laughing.
  17. Finding little things that you forgot you left for yourself.  I’ll place inconsequential little things all over my house, my car, my locker, anything that no one else really gets into.  They aren’t things that I need to have on me; it’ll be something like a drawing or an idea for a story.  But I’ll completely forget that it is there until weeks, months, even sometimes years later and it inevitably makes me smile.
  18. Finding out that penguins have knees.  They do.  And then finding out that they essentially squat their entire lives.  And then realizing that of course they waddle if they stand like that.  And then thinking about what would happen if they all stood up and started walking around. Just think about it for a second.
  19. When someone is paying attention to you so attentively that you almost can’t pay attention to what you are doing.  Not in a creepy way.  I just know that it is a rare occasion in today’s multitasking environment when someone has their full attention on you, and not just because they have to but because they genuinely care about what you have to say.  That is a beautiful experience.
  20. When you angst about something forever and it doesn’t go as you planned but it is perfect anyway.  I am extremely good about planing out specific scenarios in my mind, but I kind of love when they don’t turn out the way that I was expecting them to.  I don’t like it when they are complete disasters, but when everything seems to be unraveling and instead it simply falls into place.  Today is a good day.
  21. Being genuinely proud of my little sister and how grown-up she is.  I am incredibly close with my little sister (if you haven’t figured that out yet) and she is my best friend.  However, she is still my baby sister.  I feel older as she grows up than I do as I grow up.  Today, her dance team won state competition in one routine and placed runner-up in their other routine.  This is the first year she is on the team and she danced before then, but never too seriously.  Most of the other girls on that team have grown up taking studio dance classes, but my sister never has.  It is an impressive team and they win state because they strive to keep it fairly elite.  So naturally, I was proud of my sister from the moment she made the team.  She has worked so hard this year and I definitely cried when I gave her a hug after they won.  She’s my sister and I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world.
  22. Meeting new people from different cultures.  I have a few Norwegian friends, so I’ve been marginally introduced to some Norwegian culture over the past few years, but I still don’t know that much about Norway.  Today, I met another young woman from Norway and she had some incredibly interesting things to tell me about her country.  They were just facts, such as the fact that Norway has two official languages, but she had a love for her country that made them all the more interesting.  She was so excited to be in America, but it was obvious that Norway is where her heart is.  It is easy to forget how big the world is when we only ever see people from our own culture, and a new perspective makes you feel connected to a whole new group of people.
  23. When your favorite people get their happy endings.  Be it fictional characters or my very best friends, I love to see life work out for people.  I cannot wait until Christ’s second coming when all of those happy endings will be permanent.
  24. Winging it.  Life isn’t something that we can prepare.  Sure, we can plan and hope for the best, but we cannot assume that all of our plans will magically fall perfectly into place, but let’s face it: that’s boring.  Life is a fantastic place to try just winging it.  Don’t plan every minute detail of your life, just do what needs to be done in the moment.
  25. Intense debates about things that don’t matter.  I had a twenty minute… conversation with my choir director today about the merits (or lack thereof) of the fifth Harry Potter book.  It was all in good fun, but we both came up with some completely legitimate points.  After that, my friend pulled out a game called Super Fight.  The premise of this game is that each player chooses a character and a super power and then discuss who would win in a fight.  It was glorious.
  26. Seeing grown people acting like children.  Not being whiny or throwing tantrums, that is no fun.  I’m thinking more along the lines of flailing wildly around a room or building a blanket fort as if it were completely normal.  That is fun.
  27. Baking things for people you care about.  There is something so fulfilling about baking.  I don’t know what it is, but I genuinely enjoy being able to feed the people who matter to me.
  28. Being a little awkward.  I am an awkward human being, and I do not see anything wrong with that.  It gives me an opportunity to be a little more myself around other people because they get that or nothing.  And also, awkwardness often ends up making really good stories in hindsight.

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