1. When you almost trip but you manage to catch yourself.  There is a moment when you think there is no escaping it; you are going down.  Everything hangs in the balance.  But then your inner ninja that nature put there for your benefit kicks in and saves the day.  And you get to escape face planting.  Thanks inner ninja!
  2. Breaking out the watermelon.  There is no more festive a fruit than watermelon.  No other fruit can dribble delightfully down your chin and taste like the season.  Like summer.  Like backyard celebrations and firing up the grill.  Like flying kites and hopping in the pool.  Where there is watermelon, there is perpetual sunshine and laziness.  Celebration and giggles.  Watermelon is the embodiment of the summer season.  So go ahead, dig in.
  3. Playing with sparklers in the dark.  Who doesn’t love flinging around a stick of fire?  Something about having twirling them around just encourages laughter and smiles all around.  People’s faces light up so beautifully too with sparklers.  They are constantly being thrown into shadow and then sharp relief by the colorful glitter erupting around them.
  4. The fact that the United States of America actually exists.  Of course, this nation is far from perfect.  There are so many things here that I would love to see changed.  However, the USA is undeniably an unprecedented nation.  I am free to be a Christian and to get a thorough education and to speak up for myself or for others.  I am protected by a freedom that allows me to live without fear of my leaders and authorities and with the trust that my safety from outside threats is protected by the US military.  They constantly put their lives on the line to keep mine safe because those are the principles that this nation stands on.  Liberty and Justice.  Happy Fourth of July!
  5. Watching my cat fall off of things.  She is rather fat and also not the brightest crayon in the box which means she spends more time falling off of and out of things than the name of “cat” really allows for.  But her wounded pride sure is entertaining for the rest of us.
  6. When all of the songs on the radio are songs you know every word to.  Because the real reason for the radio is to turn it up, roll your car windows down, and belt the songs like it is the last thing you’ll ever do.  And when you can sing song after song after song, you start to feel like a pretty cool kid.
  7. Treating yourself to a nice restaurant.  It’s not an everyday routine, it’s a special day.  As wide-eyed at the menu as a kid in a candy store.  The moment of hesitation before confidently attempting to pronounce the item of choice.  The food arrives and you inhale gloriousness.  Every bite is a symphony of excitement and wonder.  Yes, you deserve this.
  8. The first time you wash your hair after getting it cut.  The first thought is one of panic, the what-happened-to-all-of-my-hair feeling.  Then you remember that everything is okay and marvel at how few tangles there are and how healthy it feels and everything is a-okay again.
  9. God’s sense of humor.  The platypus is a legitimate animal.  Enough said.
  10. Browsing through all of the weird food at the grocery store.  Strange fruits, experimental chip flavors, really unnecessary sauce flavors, and the like.  A trip to the grocery store usually is anything but boring, that’s for sure.
  11. Slightly crispy sunburn.  When your skin accidentally gets a teensy bit roasted because outside was unavoidable.  Whether it was just too much fun to go in or you were hard at work, the slight sunburn is a testament to your time in the great and wonderful place called the outdoors.
  12. Eating garden-fresh food.  As in, walking outside, plucking food from the earth, washing it, and eating it.  Something so simple and natural has become a rarity in the world of ultra processing, and it is an indescribable sort of refreshing to bite into something grown by the sweat of your brow.
  13. Drinking ice-water when it is cu-rahhzy hot outside.  You can feel it seeping through you, strengthening you even as the sun and heat zap the strength from your body.  When you honestly think you might melt, there is nothing in the world that tastes better.
  14. Looking through old stuff and finding golden little surprises.  Innocently cleaning out the closet or digging through a pile of childhood that has lain untouched for years, you stumble upon a ten-dollar bill of a coupon for a free milkshake that has no expiration date (the coupon, not the milkshake) or perhaps it is a relic from the past: your favorite childhood stuffed animal, a secret message from your younger self.  The lovely little surprises make exploring fun.
  15. That moment when you are watching a really strange movie and you turn to the person next to you to ask “What on earth are we watching?” and they just shrug.  Then you both laugh about it and enjoy yourselves more for the oddity of it.
  16. The ability to chew food.  Honestly, what kind of a miracle is that?  Every bite gets munched up and swallowed and that keeps people alive.  It’s just a natural thing but a beautiful one nonetheless.  God could have had us eat via osmosis or something, but he chose chewing instead.  I for one am rather happy he did.
  17. Putting lotion on your hands when they are super dry.  It’s like a boost of youth to the wearied soul.  That may be a bit dramatic of a description, but it certainly is not incorrect.
  18. Snappy planning.  Sometimes it can take an arsenal and a year to plan a simple outing and all of the hassle almost zaps the fun out of the event itself.  However, there are the contrasting times when all it takes is a few words and a little exchange and suddenly a date is set.  Those are the outings that feel like adventures and victories.
  19. Finally doing the thing you have been putting off for ages.  Fixing the trim around the door, finishing the letter to your grandma, saying sorry for an old offense.  There is a sense of release in finally getting it done.  No longer hanging over your shoulders.  On to the next bit of life that might be even better than this one because your little slice of freedom is thrown into the mix and that can make all the difference.
  20. Lemonade stands.  Every summer, without fail, at least one will crop up somewhere.  Despite the lack of general financial success, this age old tradition continues to thrive year after year.  And there’s a reason for that.  A group of brave young entrepreneurs locks the legs of their rickety card table on the lawn and forges through the ridiculous heat to provide nourishment for the small price of a quarter or two.  Not many stray wanderers will likely make it to their stand of sugary goodness, but those who do receive a little bit of lovely.  Sipping that lemonade can brighten any day because, let me tell you a secret: It was made with the hands and hopes of childhood so it is infused with just a little bit of magic.
  21. The way the earth looks so healthy and refreshed after it rains.  The entire atmosphere is charged with energy.  The ground eagerly drank the nutrients from the sky and is now so very much more alive than it was just a few hours prior.  The leaves smell crisp and fresh like they are ready for an adventure.  The whole world has just gotten a little younger and a little wiser.
  22. Important Stories.  Histories that remind us of the past and teach us lessons about ourselves.  Fantasies and dreams that become a part of us because they resonate so clearly with the world we hope to build.  Tales that move us to tears or laughter.  Any story that has ever made a mark on another person is a priceless masterpiece.
  23. Actually being able to snuggle up under blankets in the middle of summer. Generally, summertime makes cocooning oneself inside of warm and cuddly things extremely unpleasant.  However, there are a few lovely unexpected evenings every summer when it is indeed possible to sleep under the covers.  No more struggling to wrap up in one sheet without boiling to death.  No more desperately wishing the fan would go just one speed faster.  Just a peaceful, cozy rest for the night.
  24. Brushing your hair after it has been up all day.  Better than a massage.
  25. Pushing down all of the buttons on a soft drink lid.  They are far too addictive to press just one.  And the satisfaction of denting them all inward is generally quite a bit greater than it really has any right to be, but it feels fantastic nonetheless.
  26. Calling someone just to say hi.  No reason really, you just want to hear their voice.  For some reason the novelty of such a simple thing never wears off.  Even if you just saw them the day before, a phone call can be such a precious little gem of time.
  27. Cute insults.  My favorites at the moment are “useless paperclip” and “lumpy loaf.”  They are not actually particularly offensive, but they are extremely fun to say.  A little like a modern version of Shakespeare’s random insults.
  28. Untangling yarn.  There is something so soothing and satisfactory about taking a lump of snarly yarn and slowly watching the knots unravel into a single strand.  It feels like such an accomplishment to make useless chaos into something that can be used for any number of projects to create a myriad of things.
  29. Seeing how long you can hold a note when you are singing.  Eight beats, twelve, twenty, twenty-four, twenty-eight?  Gasping for breath afterward, but feeling so excited that you lasted another count before wavering and dropping off the pitch.  You can almost hear the blood pumping through your veins and feel the oxygen tickling your lungs again.
  30. When a cat willingly wants to snuggle with you.  A marked badge of honor and seal of favor.  Cats do not snuggle with just anyone.  They choose only the best person for the job.  The human slave that is most worthy.  It is the highest honor a cat can bestow to allow, nay encourage, you to pet them and hear them purr or even fall asleep.
  31. Looking at old pictures of your family from before you were around.  Hearing stories and piecing together an idea of the lives of the people closest to you way back when you were not yet born.  Seeing how tremendously much life they have really lived and how beautifully different it is now.  Life is constantly changing and sometimes a perspective of just how much it does is the most wonderful thought.

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