1. Celebrating the littlest things from home when you are far away.  Today is my cat’s birthday.  She is eight.  I have told everyone I know.  Why?  Because while I would not care if I was home, it is something I could remember and talk about from my hometown and that made me feel a little closer to my obese little furball.
  2. Going to theatre as an honored and respected guest.  My friends and I went to a high school show and had the opportunity to give them some feedback afterwards because we are college students (ooohhh, aaahhh).  The show itself was actually incredibly fun and beyond impressively done, so that made the whole experience a million times better than I was expecting (and I was expecting to love it).  But then it felt so powerful to be able to give comments and know that my feedback was taken as treasured advice.  It made me feel pretty neat.
  3. Crossing the hug threshold.  That point in a friendship where you have come to know someone well enough to hug them upon sight.  You can feel free to crush them in a love grip and show affection in a blatant and unrestrained way and know that they will give the affection right back.  That’s when they feel like a real swell buddy.
  4. Finding the cutest little places in your hometown and spending hours meandering through them.  You know the places, where you walk in and it looks like Pinterest  exploded everywhere.  And everything is the kind of thing that you want to immediately decorate your home with, but you know you will never use a little marble pig if you are being honest.  Doesn’t stop it from being cute though.
  5. Waking up in the morning to find the room absolutely freezing and then curling up in your fluffy covers and going back to sleep cozy and warm.  It seems like a simple thing, but it is such a blessing to have the resources to be warm and comfortable.
  6. Wearing bright colors when it is gloomy outside.  You become a ray of actual sunshine, painting color back into the world with every step.  Just dropping gorgeous paint of happiness all over the ground.
  7. Night noises.  When you can finally open your window to go to bed and listen to the cars and dogs.  The people out in the evening.  I wouldn’t have though about it, but hey even the bugs.  As long as they stay outside.  I guess I just feel a little closer to everything if I can hear the smallest noises as I drift off to sleep.
  8. Reading poetry out loud.  There is something mesmerizing about stringing beautiful words together and lilting them along in sequence.  God gave us language and sounds and all of these things for a reason because he knew that beauty comes in more than just sight.  Our ears can hear a whole collage of loveliness and that is a reason to thank the Lord.
  9. Gentle rain.  I don’t necessarily mean when the sky is just barely dripping every so often.  No, gentle rain can be just as soaking as a torrential downpour.  But the difference is that a downpour feels like a downpour, do you get me?  It is heavy and cleansing, which is a good thing for the earth, but sometimes a little overwhelming for the average human.  Gentle rain is the kind that feels like a neighbor that is just checking in to see how you are doing.  “Hey there pal!  Whoops, sorry to get you wet, just been sent to give the ground a little drink.  How have you been?  Say, that was some parade last weekend, don’cha think?  Golly, if you don’t think it too forward of me to say it, you are looking exquisite today.  I hope your day is spectacular, friend!”  That kind of rain.
  10. Celebrating friends’ birthdays.  Any reason to celebrate is a good one, but birthdays are special occasions.  They don’t actually make the birthday person more important for the day, but the day is an excuse to show them specifically how much you love and appreciate them (maybe using a budget that you couldn’t do on a daily basis).  To the rest of the world, it is just another day, but for you that is a day to treat your incredible lovely friend like the royalty that they are to you.
  11. When you are reading a book and you watch the left half of the book get bigger and the right half get smaller.  Sometimes, you become so engrossed in the story that you look up and realize a whole inch has miraculously shifted from one side to the other.  Every time you turn that page, you get a little closer to knowing the whole story.  Each paper width is a success.
  12. Laying your head on somebody’s shoulder.  Comfort, affection, coziness, security, all sorts of things to feel when you snuggle up and rest your noggin on somebody else’s clavicle.  Granted, I am basically a cat, so it would make sense that I love the sense of trust involved in giving someone my head, but that doesn’t make any of it any less comforting.
  13. Theatrical lighting.  I don’t know how many shows you have been to, or how often you see pictures and videos of stage productions, or maybe even been on stage yourself, but let me tell you stage lighting is neat.  There are an impossible number of colors that they can use and and impossible number of ways to use them to create entirely different places without any actual physical things changing on stage.  They can “inflict the feels” as our lighting designer puts it in a million different ways and he audience won’t even realize it is happening.  The scene is secretive and intimidating, lots of blues and maybe some reds and suddenly a person standing on stage doesn’t look like a person.  They become a shadow dripping pools of crimson off of their shoulders into the terrified darkness around them.  There is magic in theatre, and lights are a pretty big ingredient to the potion that pulls that off.
  14. Crescendos.  Sounds tumbling forward, rising, boisterous, impatient to be heard.  They grow and soar and lift the entire story into flight, swooping over the earth like a phoenix.  Louder isn’t the point, simply more.
  15. When the stereotypical college scene is real life.  The weather warms up and all of a sudden the quad is covered in blankets with students valiantly attempting to stay focused on their work despite the sunshine calling.  There are clusters of people standing around on the sidewalks with backpacks draped carelessly across their shoulders and their conversations are relaxed and animated.  A group tosses a frisbee around, someone is skateboarding, hammocks and slacklines appear between every tree.  As much as it sounds like a movie set, that is the actual college experience sometimes, my friends.  And I can’t deny that I love it.
  16. When dresses have pockets.  Um, do I need to elaborate on this one?
  17. Unplanned shenanigans.  There are some days you are all set to go hang out at a coffee shop for a few hours and chat after a long day, but someone has an idea which leads to another idea and all of a sudden you decide to do something crazy like play mafia all over a building until midnight.  It may not have been the activity you were looking forward to, but it ended up being the best.  Kind of like Batman or something.
  18. Learning an instrument on a whim.  Music is a pretty powerful thing and randomly deciding to take up a new way of making it feels pretty powerful too.  Who knows, you may even end up being good at it.
  19. Seeing people you love in unfamiliar situations.  You might be used to running into your co-worker in the break room every day and have a chat about their tie every day, but it is a pleasant surprise to see them in a t-shirt and jeans at Target.  The element of surprise can be a smidgen scary, but it also makes for a fun new sort of interaction.
  20. Outrageous makeup.  Sometimes, you just feel like reinventing your face for the fun of it, and it feels pretty darn powerful when you do.  Wear such bright colors that people look at you and think you are actually glowing.  Draw in age lines until you might as well be eighty-five years old, even if in reality you are twenty.  Relish in the questioning stares you get from the world.  Enjoy your moment of quirkiness because why not.
  21. Laughing at your mistakes later down the road.  Sometimes, you do something and it is too embarrassing or devastating to even pretend to joke about in the moment.  But later, even if it is a year later or ten years later, you look back on that moment and find it in you to laugh at what you did and move on.  That right there is a testament of strength and growth and I’m proud of you for doing it, friend.
  22. Words that start with the letter “q”.  Quick, quip off a query to quell the quails in the quarry!  I don’t know if that actually makes any sense, but it sure sounds cool.
  23. Light.  Okay, so maybe this has been ingrained into me by virtue of my electrical engineer mother, but is light not just the coolest thing?  The way it plays off of objects and creates patterns and the ability to see and whatnot.  Coming through a forest canopy, it is dappled and shy, but out in the middle of an open field it is bright and daring.  And then there are candles which whisper sweet nothings in you ears and fireflies that make the whole world seem like magic.  And don’t even get me started on what it can do with shadows and reflections.  Needless to say, light is pretty gosh darn neat.
  24. Fingernails.  Hear me out on this one, okay?  God created humans with a billion different details from the way that sound travels through our ears to the ability to wiggle our toes to the thickness, color, and texture of out hair.  And he gave us fingernails.  I am no scientist and I couldn’t give you any sort of satisfying evidence as to why particularly we have them, but a friend told me that they protect the ends of our bones from chipping and general wear and tear.  I’m pretty glad for all of that because I would never have even thought about the bones in my fingers needing protecting, but I can definitely envision fingers without fingernails and I can say that that thought really freaks me out.  So thank you God for the insight of making fingernails.
  25. Show week.  If you have ever been in any way involved with a theatrical production, you know that show week is a blur of stress and things going wrong and desperately trying to do everything that needs to be done to put on a great show.  It is infamous for being basically awful, sleep ceases to be a thing, and generally the amount of stress that we endure is beyond what anyone would ever call healthy.  But it is also one of my favorite parts of a production because show week is the time when all of the endless rehearsing and preparing finally comes to fruition.  The instant that the stage becomes a real performance space and the house is full is the instant that theatre has a purpose.
  26. Getting the opportunity to show off your home.  I had the immense blessing of getting a dozen visitors at school over the course of this week from as close as an hour and a half to nine and a half hours away.  Most of them came to see my show, but there were a couple that came to campus just to visit and see me.  Every time someone makes the voyage way up north to school, I can never believe how blessed i am that they would want to take all of the time and effort and gas to drive all the way up here just for me.  If that doesn’t show me how loved I am, I would be pretty blind indeed.
  27. Free t-shirts.  Yes, I would like an extra comfy thing to clothe myself in, thanks!
  28. Doing the scary things.  Some things in life are scary.  Like, really really scary.  There are things you have to spend days, weeks, maybe even months psyching yourself up for because you are so completely terrified of doing them.  Your heart runs in the other way and you think about following it, but you stare it down, take a deep breath, and take one more step toward it.  Your hands are shaking and your stomach is twisting.  But, love you can do it.  You press on and the blood is pounding in your ears and then all of a sudden it is done.  You have conquered the biggest scary thing you could possibly have on your plate in that moment, and darling I am so very proud of you.
  29. Late night car talks.  There are several different types of late night talks, but the ones that happen as you roll down the road can come from the strangest places.  Insane ideas latch on while you travel and they sneak in to join the conversation.  Soon you are talking about the most practical way to train a giraffe to be a world class cosmonaut and it seems entirely logical.
  30. Knowing that the people you love have amazing things to look forward to.  One of my closest friends just found out that she gets to go to Hong Kong for a month on a missions trip and I know that this experience is going to be so wonderful for her and that she will eagerly and more than adequately step up to the plate to serve and be God’s light in that capacity.  I am beyond excited to know that she is going to grow so much this summer and I can’t wait to hear all about it when it is finished.