1. People getting bashful when you tell them what you love about them.  We are not actively nice enough to each other.  I say we because this is definitely a reminder for myself.  We take the people that we love for granted and assume that they know how wonderful they are.  Here’s a hint:they don’t know how much we think of them until we tell them.  But because we forget to shower our loved ones in well-deserved praises on a regular basis, they react in the most precious of ways when we do.  It catches them off guard in the best way possible.
  2. When you create a piece of artwork that turns out the way you imagined it in your head.  This is a rare and beautiful occurrence and not one to be taken lightly.  Take a step back and let yourself smile about it.  You have done a good job and you are allowed to feel pretty darn accomplished.
  3. When you create a piece of artwork that doesn’t turn out the way you imagined it in your head.  The human mind is this really cool thing that God has given us that can dream up situations and images that seem real and tangible even though they are a collection of synapses firing around in the gooey stuff sitting above our eyeballs.  So sometimes the way we expect something isn’t the way that it happens is where I was going with that.  And that is a-okie dokie.  Sometimes, the little things that we thought would look just perfect are too indistinct or color seems to dominate the whole thing.  But, far from meaning your art is bad, it means that you ave this really cool interactive and collaborative relationship with real time, space, and matter.  And it also means you can love your artwork even if it wasn’t what you planned.
  4. Going on adventures with my dad.  Today, while the neighborhood got to legally turn into a bunch of pyromaniacs and launch short-lived stars into the sky, my dad and I did a daring thing.  We sat on the roof to watch.  No, we weren’t up there in the thick of it and yes, we were careful.  But it kind of felt like something that only people in movies do as a somewhat romanticized take on real life.  Well folks, it is possible and it is terrifying.  But it’s also really cool.  And the best part was that I got to sit up there and watch it all with my dad.  So that was pretty cool.
  5. Sleep lines.  I love when people wake up and they are still kind of groggy and out of it and there are little creases or bumps on their face from whatever surface it was recently resting on.  It is such a sweet little thing that means they were probably having the sleep of their life.  And it is one of those little things that strips away at our constant poised personality.  There is no trying to look good with sleep lines on your face, you are just a child after nap time.
  6. Trying to sing along to songs with no words.  You know the notes, but you don’t know what to do with your voice so you just start making noises in the right pitch.  Who needs words anyway, right?
  7. Opening the pantry after going to the grocery store.  Suddenly there are so many options, so many possibilities.  Every snack today is going to be a good one.  Each meal lovingly handcrafted of the most extravagant selections to be the feast of the year.  Okay, maybe not, but it does sort of feel like when they open magic boxes in cartoons and light shines out of it and a choir starts singing.  Like finding treasure.
  8. Cool summer nights when you can burrow under the sheets.  I am a snuggler.  I like sleeping in cold environments because I can pull all of the blankets up to my chin and nestle into the comfort of sleep.  In the summer, it is more of a lay spread-eagled and desperately try to keep anything from touching you because it is too hot for that kind of a situation.  Every once in a while, though, it cools down more than expected on a summer night and suddenly I can curl up again without feeling like I might actually melt.  Those are nights when I sleep well.
  9. Seeing friends from far away.  I saw a college friend today which had not happened since I left school at the end of May.  It was so refreshing to engage that part of my life again which I miss so acutely.  I think I understand a little of how Harry felt at the beginning of Chamber of Secrets, even though I’ve heard from all of my friends all summer.  There really is something about being away for so long that makes school feel like a lifetime ago.  It made me all the more ready to go back in the fall, which I suppose is a pretty good thing.
  10. Laughing at old pictures.  My mom had out a box of miscellaneous pictures from over the years today and we were looking through all of them with a fair amount of amusement.  As in, there was mascara all over my face and I couldn’t breathe but it was the best feeling in the world because I got to look at memories and laugh at them, all with the people I made them with in the first place.
  11. When people fall asleep on you.  There is a huge element of trust and vulnerability when someone decides to curl up and let their head droop onto your shoulder.  You become so protective of the precious human who is defenselessly drowsy and nobody can take them away from you.
  12. The confident high-heel click.  Walking in heels is a perilous venture.  Any little irregularity in the ground is a treacherous pitfall to the unpracticed ankle.  When you can strut without a single falter, you immediately become the most confident, competent version of yourself you could be.
  13. Having mature conversations with young kids.  Children pick up a lot more than we think they do.  When we have conversations and they are in the room, they may not seem like it, but oh boy are they listening.  They understand more of what they hear than we give them credit for, too.  For all of the things that seem like consequences that come from that knowledge, one of the benefits is that kids know how to have actually really grown up conversations if you know how to approach them about the subject.  When you treat them like they can understand what you are telling them, you will soon discover that they do.  Ant not only that, but they can respond and carry on an adulty kind of conversation, but they do it from their own, unique, developing perspective, and I think that’s pretty cool.
  14. Putting your stickers from food on other people.  Your brother is now a BLT sandwich.  Your best friend is a peach.  Food comes with stickers.  Use them well.
  15. When babies smile at you in stores.  I know it’s not polite to stare, but I just can’t help myself with kiddos sometimes because I really want to go up and say hi to them.  I love when they smile or say hi to me because it makes me feel like we could be friends, that little chap and I.  Also kid smiles are the best.
  16. Leisurely mornings.  The days when you can wake up and take ten, twenty minutes to get out of bed.  You just snuggle in the sheets, thinking.  Reflecting.  Then you sit up and gently swing your feet to the floor.  Slowly stand up and stretch out a bit, like a cat.  You rub your bleary eyes and pad into the kitchen for a scrumptious breakfast which you savor over a book.  You take extra long to finish your chapter and your coffee before cleaning up.  Then you are relaxed and ready to take the day one thing at a time.
  17. How green everything is after it rains.  There is a vibrant green pigment in man-made colors, but they can never capture just-past-the-rain green.  The world is quite literally alive and it looks it.  The plants seem to be blushing in the pinnacle of health and they are so refreshing just to breathe in.
  18. Petting the top of cats’ feet.  Okay, so you actually need to be really cautious if you are going to do this because some cats really don’t like it.  But it feels cool.
  19. Dressing up for dinner.  I love being able to get all gussied up for whatever occasion, but it makes any meal feel at least ten times fancier if you spent time doing your hair and makeup and picking out a spiffy outfit before-hand.
  20. Going to bed with your head full of ideas.  There are some days when you goto bed and your mind is racing turning over all of the events of the day and spitting them back in your face to remind you what you did wrong or how little someone really likes you.  Those days you fall asleep with a little furrow between your eyebrows and a slight frown on your lips.  It is no fun at all to end the day so disgruntled.  But there are other times when the instant your head hits the pillow, your brain starts blooming.  You are inspired and there are so many things which seem not only like good ideas, but feasible ones if only you maneuver them right.  You could solve all the world’s problems with a mind like that.  Those are the nights you go to bed dreaming.  The morning may put a new spin on your big plans, but it can’t quite dampen the spirit behind them.
  21. Being emotionally invested.  God gave us the amazing blessing of being able to feel things.  Life hurts sometimes and we wonder why we have to put up with so much pain, but in this sinful world, even that is a tremendous gift.  When we try not to feel, we do so much damage to our humanity.  Remember J. K. Rowling’s story about the Warlock’s Hairy Heart?  That is real.  Maybe not in such fairy-tale realistic ways, but it is indeed very real and very scary.  We lose our ability to experience life when we can’t feel it.  So if you are hurting today, or if you are on top of the world, wherever you may be and whatever may be happening in your life, don’t be afraid to feel it.  Thank God for your weaknesses and lean on him for he is your strength.
  22. Finding the strangest fabrics you can at a fabric store.  They print some interesting stuff, let me tell you.  You can find all sorts of prints and textures that you cannot possibly conceive of a use for, but they sure are fun to gawk at anyway.
  23. When people you love come home.  I confess, I am usually the one traveling or gallivanting off to another state for college or what have you, so other people coming home to me is a rare occasion for me. This past week, both my mother and my sister went on their own trips to far flung corners of the continent and when they each came home they had a non-stop flow of stories and experiences and comments to relate to those of us who had been home.  It’s always nice to see someone you love again, but it’s even better when they are all passionate and excited to watch their eyes light up as they speak and listen to all of their stories.
  24. Teaching kids new games.  Kids love games.  They will do just about anything if it is presented to them as a challenge to conquer or a fun thing to discover.  It is really fun to sit and watch their minds work as you give them things that challenge and intrigue them and see how they solve them in their own unique way.
  25. Making plans.  Whether it is getting your squad together for a big hooplah or mapping out the decor for your dorm room or even putting school dates in your planner.  It gives you the sense of looking forward to something and that is when you are a kid on Christmas Eve again.  You just can’t wait to see what happens.
  26. Road trips.  There’s a reason they are stereotypically amazing.  There is so much freedom in hopping in a car, hitting the open road, blaring music to sing along to at the top of your lungs, digging out the snacks ten minutes in, and all of the other shenanigans that are just waiting to happen.
  27. Freckles.  If you have those little sprinkles of charm across your cheeks or your shoulders or if you are just covered with them, be proud.  I don’t know what it is about them, but freckles give a person so much character, so much vitality.  They are absolutely beautiful.
  28. Dew.  It is no secret that mornings are my favorite, but one of the lovely things about them is their freshness.  A new start.  A new day.  If you step outside, the world is still clearing the sleep from its eyes.  And the moisture on the grass is a hopeful little gift for the world to start its day too.
  29. Outdated exclamatory remarks.  Egads!  Groovy!  Nincompoop!  Sure, it feels a little theatrical to start screaming words with little social relevance for the moment, but it is hard to resist a goofy bit of dramatic flair every once in a while, isn’t it?
  30. Seeing positive news.  I don’t know how often you pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening report, but it seems like news sources are constantly flooded with telling us about all of the catastrophes and heartbreak that is happening in this precious little world of ours.  And it hurts to see that day after day after week after month after year.  Because those are real people who are really suffering for whatever reason and we so yearn for the day when people won’t suffer anymore.  But the world isn’t completely devoid of light.  Sometimes, you hear a story that just warms your little heart.  For example:  did you know that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 actually worked?  Researchers were able to make a major breakthrough about a gene that causes ALS and they believe that this discovery could not have been possible without the money donated from the challenge, which was the point of dumping freezing water on the heads of the world in the first place.  It is uplifting to know that, even among all of the suffering and terror in this world, people aren’t sitting idle and merely watching the world burn.  We are getting up and doing things that matter and that can save and better lives.
  31. Being a goofball in public and genuinely not caring that other people can see and hear you.  When you start singing along boldly and proudly to the music in the grocery store or sprint across a crowded room to give a friend the biggest hug of their life.  When you are being your own quirky self, people won’t fault you for being comfortable and confident.  They will probably be encouraged to do so themselves.