1. Restaurants that stay open late.  It is so much fun to hang out with a bunch of friends at a restaurant after an event.  We are all at least a little bit tired so the conversations never lack some sort of interesting content and breakfast food tastes supreme at 11:00 pm.
  2. Hideous kitten paraphernalia.  For something so cute, kittens certainly inspire quite a bit of terrifying merchandise.  There are sweaters, plates, socks, blankets, china, you name it.  Everyone needs a good old kitten staple that makes the rest of the world cringe.
  3. Hanging out after performing a concert.  My jazz band spent over an hour and a half at Dairy Queen just being silly after we performed.  It is a really nice way to wind down after the hype of playing our faces off for a while.
  4. Finishing a really big project.  I have spent the last two months writing a full length play and it has been so much fun, but it has been a ton of work.  I just finished my final draft of it and now I get to direct a performance of it.  (I’m a little excited!)
  5. The wisdom of a child.  It is amazing the things that kids can say that will completely catch you off guard.  Sometimes, God uses the smallest people to say the wisest things.
  6. Casually cosplaying.  I definitely wore a blue dress today with a red scarf, tan cardigan, and boots with buckles on them today to look like BBC’s Merlin.  The greatest part is that I still looked like a human being and no one questioned it.
  7. Watching movies with friends for the sole purpose of narrating them.  My friends and I are not quiet people, which means that simply sitting down and watching a movie is rather difficult for us.  Lately, I’ve really enjoyed watching movies with them just because we all gather in someone’s basement and commentate on every little detail of the movie.  It makes for a good deal of laughter.
  8. Unexpected support.  I know I am talking about this play a bunch (and this won’t be the end) but it just makes me so happy.  I had auditions today and some really talented actors showed up to be a part of it.  Most of the people there were the usual theatre kids, but there were a couple of people that I had forgotten enjoy being on stage who seemed enthusiastic enough to be there.  It was fun to see people take my story and put it in their own personalities.
  9. My high school’s annual dance show.  Hang on, what?  This is so cheesy and specific and why am I posting something like this, etc.  I have been to this dance show for the past eight years every year without fail.  I was actually a part of that show for three years, but my dancing days are long over.  But I’ve always had friends in it and reasons to go.  This year’s attractions include the following: a. One of my best friends, who has been on the team the past four years and is now team captain, is having her last show tonight and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. b. My little sister is on the dance team this year and I still tear up a little when I watch her dance because she is supposed to be just a little girl but she’s all grown up and I am immensely proud of her.  c. The highlight of the show every year is the section where the senior boys dress up in ridiculous outfits and dance around without much finesse for a while.  It is always hilarious, but I have spent eight years watching that and thinking “one day that will be my class.”  This year, it is my class, so it will probably be the most entertaining one I’ve seen yet. d. The dance team is genuinely talented and watching them perform is really fun. The End.  I am so excited for it!
  10. Unadulterated reading time.  I am the kind of person who sinks into books without much trouble at all, and the longer I read them, the more immersed I become.  I love when I get to sit in silence for hours and watch as my world dissolves into the world of the pages.
  11. Being able to drive with the windows down.  The weather here has been absolutely beautiful lately, and I have been able to roll my windows down for the first time since fall.  I love the fresh and all of the noises.  It makes the car feel like it is entangling with the world as it whips by, like a bunch of ribbons.  During the winter, a car is such an isolated place, but rolling the windows down makes a car ride feel like a million intimate interactions in the world, each less than a millisecond long.
  12. Feeling free to talk about God and tragedy.  My Christian Ethics class had a really good discussion about suicide today and it was a really bonding experience.  I didn’t come out of it feeling depressed or discouraged, but rather like I was growing together with my classmates again.  Over the past year, we have all kind of retreated back into our own little groups, but that helped to diffuse some of those barriers, at least for a little bit.  That was definitely the hand of God gently nudging us together and I think it did everyone a lot of good.
  13. Putting kids to sleep easily.  If you’ve never taken care of children before, you probably do not understand the magnitude of this miracle.  Tonight I was babysitting two kids (aged 3 and 5) and they went to bed in under fifteen minutes.  It was glorious.  Usually, with any kids, there is protesting, stalling, crying, and all number of things as the tired munchkins try to fight sleep.  Tonight, I put them in bed, sang them a few songs, and they were out.  No getting up fifteen minutes later to go to the bathroom or tears when I stopped rubbing their backs.  Only deep, peaceful sleep.  Success!
  14. Pie.  Today is pie day.  But not just pie day.  No, it is a once in a lifetime occurrence where it is not only 3-14 (March 14) but it is 3-14-15 and we gain four more digits at 9:26 and 53 seconds.  Yay for math!  More importantly, yay for pie!  The edible kind mostly, but the other kind too, I guess.
  15. Listening to my dad tell stories.  My father is quite the animated storyteller and he really gets into it when he does tell stories.  He does great impressions of people and he always reenacts his own reactions flawlessly.  Dad’s stories usually leave me laughing so hard there is a stitch in my side.  Those stories are the perfect way to end a meal.  Satisfied, happy, and laughing.
  16. Doing random sporadic things with your friends on a school night.  As a kid, school nights were absolutely off-limits for actually doing much of anything.  Sure, I might get to read a little or maybe play a game with my family, but for the most part the most exciting thing I ever did was go to bed.  Tonight, in contrast, a bunch of my friends and I went to DQ for free ice cream and piled ten of us into my little sedan afterwards.  We were only out for 45 minutes max, but it was so much fun.  And it felt kind of daring because it was on a Monday and there was school the next day.  Growing-up points achieved.
  17. Speech.  I know I talk about speech all of the time, but today was my last speech meet ever.  Ever.  I have been doing this thing for four years now, totaling about 32 meets over the years.  If I had to guess how many hours I’ve spent on speech since I began, I would definitely put it over the 500 mark, maybe even close to a thousand.  I’ve had early mornings and late nights.  I’ve competed in four different events over the years and, though I wish I could have done more, I put my whole heart into these.  Poetry will always hold a special place in my heart after four years of working with my little black binder.  I have made so many new friends and grown immensely closer to all of my teammates.  I learned to be confident in myself and to use this voice that God has blessed me with.  I’m going to miss speech next year, but I’ll always carry the things that I learned with me.  This has been one of the most defining things I’ve done throughout my high school career and I am so grateful for the person that God has made me through it.
  18. When life is inspiring.  Sometimes things just happen that make me want to do things with my life.  I love looking around me and seeing possibilities and opportunities everywhere.  Life is full of them.
  19. Catchy songs.  Okay, okay, I know you really aren’t fond of it when it’s been stuck in your head for the past seventy-two hours straight, but they do that for a reason.  They’re really catchy and kind of fun.  So don’t sorry about singing along, because I’ll be right there singing it with you.
  20. Doing work somewhere new.  Whether it’s moving from the desk to the floor or your bedroom to a local coffee shop, it’s nice to do do work somewhere you don’t usually.  I know I get stuck in the rut of sitting in the same place slaving away all the time, so it is very refreshing to slave away somewhere else.
  21. Getting to know people that you’ve been around for a while but only as a casual acquaintance.  Lately, I’ve spent a whole lot more time around some people than I ever have.  It has been a really neat experience to get to know these people who for all the world might have been strangers just a few weeks ago.
  22. Feeling dapper.  Sensible heels, a flattering but simple dress, a long beaded necklace, hair twisted up, and yeah maybe a smudge of lipstick.
  23. Great conversations with good friends.  Some conversations don’t matter.  They are fun, but they don’t accomplish much in the grand scheme of things.  I love deep conversations with friends, where we all learn a little about ourselves and each other in the process.
  24. Using girl scout cookies as tea biscuits.  I especially recommend Thanks-a-Lots.  The cookie melts in your mouth and the chocolate tastes like it just came out of the oven: heavenly.
  25. Putting your best foot forward.  I woke up feeling very much awake this morning, which does not happen often enough for my taste.  Anyway, I curled my hair, wore a blazer, and felt insanely confident all day.  It’s nice to have the energy to do that every once in a while.
  26. Refusing to let life steal your spark of childhood.  Every single human being was a child once.  Life tries to trip away all of that joy and wonder, but clinging on to it is a beautiful thing.
  27. Parties where everyone is too tired to actually do anything.  We had a “party” tonight where we just sat on the couch dozing for an hour.  It was surprisingly really fun.  We didn’t need to do anything crazy – or anything at all for that matter – but we still enjoyed ourselves.  Not to mention we got some really hilarious drowsy conversation going.
  28. Throwing your shoulders back and putting your classy face on.  I was prom dress shopping today and I was having so much fun with the dresses.  I love the confidence that I can exude when I really try to.  You would be amazed what confidence you can gain from straightening your posture, lifting your chin and pulling out all of the stops on your classy reserve.
  29. Singing with other people.  There is a unity gained from intertwining your voice with those of the people around you that is almost magical.  There isn’t anything quite like it.  I’ve said it before, but God gave us a beautiful gift when he gave us voices.  There is power in those things, and singing can tap into that in such a way that you can’t help but be moved by it.
  30. Kid hugs.  Little kids give the best hugs sometimes.  They have this intuitive knowledge of how to pour a lot of love into a big, beautiful, bone-crushing bear hug and that is such a blessing!
  31. When flowers start popping up.  That.  That is the beginning of spring.  It starts with a little shy shock of green before the hyacinths and tulips start bursting up everywhere.  Winter’s tones of sepia are suddenly shocked with color everywhere.

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