1. Paying inside at the gas station.  Every time I fill up my car and pay inside, I ask the same question: Why don’t people just leave?  Honestly, what’s to stop someone from saying they will “pay inside” and them just driving off, theoretically.  I love the integrity that this system runs on.  I’m sure it’s pretty far from fool-proof, but the fact that we have a massive empire built around gas stations and that they run at least a little in integrity is pretty darn neat to me.  It makes the world seem like a more lovable place.
  2. Feeling so overwhelmingly loved that you feel like you might just burst.  God is good.  That is the only concise way I know to say what I want to say.  You know what, you should probably just read my post from today.  It will make more sense.
  3. When servers/cashiers/people working with people all day are super fun and interactive.  I’ve had a few instances of meeting people like this lately.  After our play we went to Village Inn and one of the waiters managed to make our entire group of thirty laugh until we had stitches in our sides by offering a bit of impromptu comedy while we waited on our food.  Then, my friend and I were paying for gas and we met a former speech kid who was so chipper and glad to brighten our days.  I love to see such beautiful souls in my everyday life.  I try to be one of them too so that I can make strangers smile every once in a while.
  4. Doing something on a whim that you have wanted to do for a long time.  I read poetry at an open mic night at a cafe tonight.  I have wanted to do something like that ever since I started doing poetry in speech four years ago, but I had never seized an opportunity.  This afternoon, one of my friends told me that she would be reading poetry at an open mic night and that I should come and read some too.  I decided to go out of the blue and I had so much fun.  The atmosphere of the cafe was so welcoming and listening to poetry was simultaneously soothing and stimulating.  I love that I got to cross that off my bucket list, especially without planning it beforehand.  Life just sort of happened and that is precisely what life does best.
  5. When people say really striking things unexpectedly.  Today in chapel, a guy in my class stood up and gave a testimony of his first encounter with Christianity.  He is from Vietnam and has been a part of my class for the past three years, so he first encountered Christianity here.  I his testimony, he said that his faith really wasn’t growing until last year when we lost two classmates to suicide.  His eyes lit up and he talked about how he had watched God’s work in this place.  His eyes lit up and his fingers splayed in a gesture of hopeless enthusiasm as he ended his speech with the words “how can you not believe?”  Wow.  There are no words to describe that.
  6. Talking to new people.  Sometimes the people you have known forever can be the people you know the least.  It is nice to take time to get to know them beyond just cordial conversation when it is absolutely necessary.  They can be really cool people and you wouldn’t know it until you put in the effort to figure that out.
  7. Falling asleep to the sound of thunder.  Growing up in the Midwest, thunderstorms are a normal part of spring.  As a kid, they terrified me, but I have come to love them.  Thunder, especially as a storm is slowly rolling away, is one of the most relaxing sounds I know.
  8. Being a child.  The official end of my childhood is but a week away and today was a wonderful reminder that, no matter how close I come to graduation, I am still allowed to act like a kid sometimes.  For example, bouncing up and down uncontrollably in a chair because said chair was bouncy.  Or perhaps, pretending I know how to play soccer but mostly just staring dumbly at the ball when it comes toward me.  I think the closer I get to graduation, the more I revert to about the same maturity level as a toddler, but hey, it’s pretty fun.
  9. Singing with my family.  My sister and I are both in choir and were attempting (poorly) to plunk out the notes to our different parts.  My mom came in and offered to play the piano for us, so things started to go a little more smoothly.  It was so fun to have us all in there laughing at our mistakes and blending our voices and talents.  I love my family.
  10. Watching people play piano.  I went to my friend’s senior recital today and I had so much fun there.  Each student that sat down at the piano put a measure of passion and beauty into their piece and it made the music even more captivating.  I loved watching them lean into the piano, coaxing the notes to emerge in just the right way. Yes, music most definitely is an art.
  11. Emotional preparation.  Today is my last Monday of high school.  Ever.  I graduate in less than a week.  It’s still kind of scary, but I think I am finally ready. I’m equal parts hesitant to leave the past behind, excited to see what God has in store for my future, and perfectly happy in living this moment right now.  I think that is a healthy blend, making me mostly just content.  Not lazy content, not settling for less than my potential content, not static content, but simply the knowledge that God has me where he wants me, and I know that is the best possible place to be.  And while time will keep moving, I always want to be here.  I don’t mean in high school or this particular moment, but in God’s arms of peace and joy.  They will go with me wherever my path may lead and they will guide me in whatever is best for me.  I can’t wait!
  12. Replacing bad memories with good ones.  Today was our spring concert.  While the actual date does not line up with the anniversary of my friend’s death, it was the night of the spring concert last year that he died.  But tonight was a good night.  His mom spoke to our class today, thanking us for being there for her and reminding us that we do have happy memories of him.  She talked about the time he got up in front of the class with a speech, tossed his outline in the trash, and winged the whole thing.  That was a good memory.  Tonight, the concert held tears, but they were not all sad tears.  It was a phenomenal concert and the only goodbyes we had to say were ones we already expected.  We went to our usual booth at our usual DQ and laughed about as hard as we ever could.  We do still have the bad memories, but at least now we have good ones with them.
  13. When people take care of me.  I got sick today, which was very much not fun, especially considering the time of year.  We also had graduation practice, so I gathered my strength and went to practice.  That didn’t go so well.  However, everyone was so attentive.  It made remember why I bothered to go in the first place.  I truly do love these people and I know they love me and I’ll miss them a whole bunch next year but I’m so excited to watch them blossom into even more marvelous people than they already are.
  14. Being full.  Full of joy, full of love, full of contentment, full.  It’s a good feeling.  There really aren’t words to describe it, but it’s blissful.  I can think of no more perfect end of my high school career and no more perfect people to spend it with.
  15. Walking out of my last class on my last day of high school.  I am done with high school.  I have done all of the work and now all I need to do is walk across a stage and grab a diploma and I’ll be completely finished.  It’s a pretty rewarding feeling.  And it’s great to know that I now have four wonderful years under my belt ad the support of so many people to take with me as I move on to new and exciting adventures next year.  Thank you to all of you who have been a part of my life and shared it with me over the past four years (and all of the years before that) because you are all wonderful individuals and you have all played vital roles in my life, even if they were little ones.  Trust me, I value them and I am grateful for your presence in my life.
  16. Being allowed to officially be friends with teachers.  In a school like my high school, teachers become friends somewhere along the way.  They all care about us and they are pretty neat individuals, so it is fun to be officially allowed to be their friends now.  There is no longer the professional barrier of teacher/student.  That might sound like a really strange and possibly slightly creepy thing to people who don’t have close relationships with their teachers, but to my class and many others who have gone through this school, it is a rite of passage into adulthood: befriending the people who once seemed like strangers intent on assigning as much homework as possible.  As we grew up, we learned that they are a whole lot cooler than that, and they got to see us become cooler than the obnoxious freshmen who complained about homework.
  17. Graduating.  I walked across a stage today, shook hands with a guy who handed me a diploma.  I gradated high school.  I am no longer required by law to attend classes or be a student.  Now its all my own education.  Everything from here is my choice (theoretically).  And while today was just one day and there is certainly more to come, today was a triumph.  It’s such a surreal feeling that it almost doesn’t seem real.  But it is real, an I’ve go the diploma to prove it.  I’m so excited to see where God takes me from here.
  18. Meeting really cool people.  Meeting people can be terrifying.  Also, really fun.  I love it when I meet people and they end up being just the sort of people that I love being around.  It makes the world seem friendlier when strangers are friendly.
  19. Having good seats at a concert.  Concerts create a certain atmosphere around them.  It’s like a swirling vortex of energy all centered on the stage.  Consequently, the closer you are to that stage the more of the energy you get to feel.  I love sitting right up near the front and feeling the fever pitch running through my veins.  The crowd becomes a living thing and you are a part of its beating heart.
  20. When you just barely stop your oatmeal from going over the bowl in the microwave.  You look up and your oats are ballooning out of the bowl, wanting to take flight.  Time slows as your hand flies to open the door.  The monster settles back into the bowl and you have no mess to worry about.  The sense of accomplishment and relief from that one action is enormous.
  21. Realizing the life you long for is the one you have.  i was out with friends tonight, standing on the top floor of a parking garage, looking down at the city which we had just traversed and I realized that my life is the perfect picture of what life should be.  I long for harmless fun with lovely friends and this sense of being utterly and totally surrounded in peace and completely loved.
  22. Cramming a car full of people and driving around.  There’s a reason that road trips have such a reputation for being enjoyable.  There’s such exhilaration in a full car, radio coursing through the car along with the wind.  It has a way of working its way into your soul and just cheering you up.
  23. Walking around a city that has character.  Cities themselves have beating hearts and some hearts beat more colorfully than others.  I love the ones that beat in every shade because you can feel them seeping into your veins and charging you with this vibrancy that only the saxophonist on the corner or the homemade ice cream store can give.
  24. Eating breakfast on the porch.  It is such a peaceful and elegant setting to start the day with my favorite meal.
  25. Puns.  They may be cheesy but they are also fantastic.  I grin every time I hear one, even if they necessitate the “that was a terrible pun” noise.  There is only one noise for that, so that makes them even better.
  26. Writing with a fountain pen.  It makes you feel as if you wield a great and powerful instrument that could either bring about the world’s safety or its doom.  It’s just a pen in the long run, but of course we all know that it must be hiding secret powers or something.
  27. Changing your hair.  I spent a good portion of my senior year debating about whether or not I should chop my long hair off to my shoulders.  I really wanted to, but I didn’t want to look different for graduation than I had all year.  So I waited.  Then, as soon as I got the chance this summer, I cut it off.  I miss my long hair a little, but hair grows back and I am having so much fun with this length.  I’m glad I just went for it instead of being worried and chickening out.  I probably won’t keep it like this for a supper long time, but I like having it for the time being.  I spent a large portion of my life with essentially the same haircut because I knew how to manage it, but I’m quite enjoying having to work with the unknowns and the changes.
  28. Learning the background vocals from your favorite songs.  Eventually, you’ve heard a song so many times that you can not only belt out all of the lyrics on melody, but you also slip in and sing the random background vocals too.  It’s even more fun when you try to sing them both at once, flitting quickly between the melody and background in the gaps.  That sort of familiarity with a song makes it feel like a little piece of home.
  29. Finding fictional characters who are exactly like you.  I am currently reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and I have found that Catherine is me.  She is a sweet, naive teenager with a slightly awkward streak and a rather extreme penchant for fangirling.  Sometimes, that very fangirling is the only topic of conversation is the only one she can really apply herself to at any given moment and she often feels guilty of breaking propriety even though she’s done nothing wrong.  That is me.  It is so fun to sink into the story because I feel as though Jane Austen has literally written me into a novel where I get to take all of the adventures that I want.  It is marvelous!
  30. When a big life decision reaffirms itself as the right one.  I registered for college today and it was just one more giant proof that I made the right choice because I loved it.  It was such a relief to find myself relaxed and happy on campus because I took forever to actually make the decision and I just really didn’t want to be wrong.  I am so excited for next year and I can’t wait to see what God does with me in that new place.  I know that whatever he does, he is going to make this place good for me.
  31. When babies stare at you.  They have no sense of propriety or social courtesy to look away.  They will simply stare as long as they like.  It’s lovely to smile at them and watch their face brighten as they continue to watch.  To fond oneself an object of fascination is flattering, whether the child means it that way or not.

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