All These Things

This has been and continues to be a scary time. Uncertainty, hidden threats around any and every corner, so many things to remember. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, remember what you did touch and sanitize all of it, everything, all the time, stand 6 feet away, wear your masks, don’t go out but when you do go out be safe, stay apart, and on it goes. Scary, uncertain, our new normal, whatever that means.

I was thinking about all of this this morning, as I’m sure most of us are doing multiple times a day, and it occurred to me there are still things in life I love. There are still so many positives in my life. I don’t think I’m the only one who tends to lose track of that fact on the daily. I tend to be, or at least try to be, a positive person so this losing track of the positive is unusual for me. I decided I needed to sit down and go through the motions of actually writing down those things I love, those things in my life that remain positive, no matter the circumstances or the damn pandemic constantly knocking at the door and my conscious mind.

So here it is… more for me than for you. If this resonates, try making your own list. I think it’s going to help center me, if only for a small bit of time.

Me at Morcambe Bay, U.K.

And a one and a two…

I love when my dogs look at me with the face that says I love you, Mama. I love you more than anything. I love when Weston lays on my chest. I love when Riley lays on my lap. I adore our dogs.

I love how excited my honey gets about planting flowers or fixing something or going for walks and throwing balls on the trampoline with the grandkids.

I love the light that is our grandchildren and that I get to witness it growing as they grow.

I love Sebastian’s kindness.

I love Dominic’s mischievousness and wit.

I love Tessa’s use of words.

I love that all of our grandchildren are generous of spirit, genuinely sweet, caring, kind-hearted beings. I love that I get to be in their lives.

I love the relationship I have with my Mom.

I love the rain. It’s raining today and this Oregon girl realized, looking outside at the trees dripping and the water on the grass and plants that the rain means renewal and life and washes everything clean.

I love my first cup of coffee in the morning and all the cups that come after it. I love it so much I sometimes think about it before I go to bed at night, already looking forward to it.

I love making photographs

I love street art, and weird mixed media, and cartoon art.

I like the wind through the trees. I like it so much we bought our first house together because I was standing on the deck listening to the wind blow the big firs around.

I love the smell of the ocean. Salty and pungent and sometimes almost fishy.

I love cookies. No raisins, but pretty much any other kind of cookie, I’m down.

I love the smiles on the faces of my friends, even from a distance, in photos, virtually, whatever. I adore those faces.

I love small things in nature, the tiny world all around us. Plants just coming up, weird seed pods, tiny flowers.

I also love big things… the world’s largest whatever it is. There is a town near us called Casey where they have many world’s biggest objects. I love that town. It was made for me. I’ve made my honey stop on road trips to journey off the path just so I could find the world’s largest fork or whatever. Along with this I love weird roadside art.

I love finding new music. Music is huge in my life, has always been, and I love discovering someone new. I love when friends share what they are listening to and I love when I can share something I’ve found with someone else.

I love my huge, far-reaching, very diverse, beautiful family.

I love that I’m cool in a totally uncool way. I’m a dork. I can be shy and awkward but am sincere and genuine and interested.

I love truth and sincerity and genuine interest in the people around me as well. I love listening to stories and thoughts and ideas. I love ideas.

I love the sound of my honey sleeping.

I love techie stuff. New apps, phones, smart devices, computers, etc. I’m never afraid of learning something new in regards to technology and in fact embrace it fully. Did I mention I’m a dork?

I love words. Written by others, crafting them myself. There is nothing better than a great sentence. I love quotes.

I love peanut butter cups.

I love the light through the trees in the afternoon, or the morning for that matter.

I love the quiet and stillness of snow.

I love large bodies of water. Living sort of near Lake Michigan is incredible.

I love rivers. I grew up with them all around, water everywhere. I miss that a little living in the Midwest. The lakes and rivers here don’t seem quite the same and there are not as many of them, but we make the most of what we have. We find the water when we can. It soothes my soul.

I love travel and adventure. I love being somewhere I’ve never been. My honey and I share this, the adventurous spirit. Whenever we are somewhere we’ve never been we always high five and say, “New!!”. It’s hilarious, and our thing.

I love movies. I always have. From the time I was a little sprout. Mom used to take my brother and I to the drive-in in our truck. We’d sit in the back with sleeping bags and hot chocolate from the thermos.

I love road trips. This is obvious to anyone who knows me. They can be short or really long. I just love having the music on, singing, talking, listening to an audiobook, watching the scenery, seeing nature and unfamiliar cities and wildlife and fields of nothing and everything roll by. I love getting to put the window down when we can. I love road snacks. I love moments of long silence, road whizzing by under the wheels. I love the movement of it all, and then the stopping at the end. I love that too.

I love walks.

I love sports. I used to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I was younger. Every week, without fail. I loved that show. Probably my favorite show when I was kid, if I’m honest (I also loved Land of the Giants and Star Trek… which makes me think of something else I love and will put down here as well). I liked all the usual sports, but also the weird ones they would highlight. I liked watching bowling and golf and track and field events. I liked the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I still love sports. Live U of I Volleyball, live baseball, football on TV, the Olympics when they are on, all of it. I sometimes cry when I’m watching it. I’m just always so happy for an athlete when they achieve what you know is the thing they always imagined themselves achieving. Again, in this regard, I will say I’m a dork.

Speaking of which, I love that I’m emotional. I am overly emotional. I cry at everything. Happy stuff more than sad stuff. I just feel things deeply and for that I’m grateful.

I love, as mentioned above, anything sci-fi and fantasy. I always have. I read this book when I was a kid… The White Mountains (the first book in the Tripods Trilogy) and just loved it. I loved all the books in that trilogy. I loved the Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I loved Star Trek (thank you dad) and Land of the Giants and Lost in Space. I loved Star Wars when it came out when I was 11/12. I loved Journey to the Center of the Earth with Pat Boone and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Sinbad movies. I still love those things and will pretty watch nearly any sci-fi movie old or new. I loved the Matrix. I loved The Martian, book and movie. I love other worlds and alternate realities.

I love when my honey and I go for a bike ride. Wind in our faces, masters of our own universe.

I love my short hair. My hair used to be long. It used to be a mane. It’s been short now for several years and the ease of it all is worth all the times I’ve gotten called sir because of it.

I love flip flops and tank tops and shorts. I also love jeans and layers of clothes and bundling up for those freezing Illinois winter days.

I love getting our deck furniture out in the spring, planting flower pots for our deck, and finding cool perennials to add to our garden. I also love fall when we put away the deck furniture and everything gets quiet and still and is cleaned up.

I love campfires.

I love the sounds of the birds in our backyard, watching them at our feeders.

I love conversations over fences and driveways with our neighbors.

I love looking at all the years of photos we have in Google Photos and marveling at the incredible life we have. We really do. It really is. It’s incredible. Which leads me to this…

All of this craziness might still be going on, and the anxiety and stress that exists on the daily is still there, but so is all of this other stuff. This great stuff. The stuff that makes up who I am, what this life is we’ve built together. And I need to take a moment, more often than I have, to remember these things, all these beautiful, wonderful things.