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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Word-of-the-Year in Review: 2017.

What did I do with my 2017 word of the year? I've having a hard time thinking of all I have done. Maybe depression made delight rather rare. But I think I tried to honor the word. Here are some little related efforts and blessings in no particular order:
  • I've read some great books, including French lifestyle books (which I can't help but love).
  • I made a list of 1,000 joys, which helped me pay more attention to potential delight.
  • I've purchased issues of Bella Grace, a gorgeous and inspirational quarterly magazine.
  • I've kept a happy schedule of outings with Bruce.
  • I've color-coordinated my journals and inks.
  • I've gone swimming.
  • I've listened to the first half of a favorite book.
  • I've played with stickers.
  • I've worn more rings at once.
  • I've worn more makeup again.
  • I've showered to show tunes.
  • I've gone on walks alone and with Bruce.
  • I've received joyous back tickles from Josh.
  • I've cherished words.
  • I've laughed in therapy.
  • I've exchanged happy E-mails.
  • I've laughed wildly on the phone.
  • I've taken perfect naps.
  • I've received the gift of brief cuddles with Oliver.
  • I've enjoyed cold water.
  • I've received help I desperately needed.
  • I've gone to several shows, including The Little Mermaid and Love Never Dies.
  • I've lost weight.
  • I've discovered flavored water--lemon and strawberry Fruit2O--that I actually like.
  • I've sung to show tunes with James and with Bruce.
  • I've returned to poetry (reading, that is, for now).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Delightful Tasks.

Delight has been my word for 2017. I've been more careful to find delight in the everyday. For example,
  • Getting the mail. Often, it's junk, but sometimes a card, catalog, or package comes. The surprise is a delight.
  • Sorting my pens. I have several pretty pen pouches, and I have color-sorted mugs. When I start a new journal and choose the colors for it, I put the pens in a small gold pouch. Seeing anything organized by color delights me.
  • Putting on makeup. For two days, I used the green eyeliner Mom put in my Christmas stocking. I enjoy matching my makeup to my outfit (colors again!). I try to incorporate as much glitter as I can. There's delight!
  • Stickering journals. When I get a new journal, I decorate the interior with stickers. That way, I have surprises--pretty little images--as I write. It motivates me to turn the pages.
  • Getting dressed. This used to be one of my favorite tasks for my ob. Now, I've started to think through outfits and accessories in a similar way. .I incorporate sparkle and my favorite colors. I'm overweight right now, but I'm not letting that ruin the delightful ritual of getting dressed.

The Princess, the Fairy, and the Mermaid.

How can one choose among such wondrous fantasy creatures? When I was little, I was astonished to find that princesses were real. I saw silks and royal blue and purple brocade. I saw Aurora disguised as a peasant, captivating Prince Philip nonetheless. Now, I love stickers of tiaras and castles, keeping my fascination alive in my journals.

Someone, probably my grandmother, gave me a book of gorgeous flower fairy paintings and poems by Cicely Mary Barker. Tiny creatures with wings? I was hooked. I looked for myself in the pages. I dressed up as one of the fairies and recited her poem to my parents and grandparents. Once, in high school, I saw a fairy. She hovered right over my desk in a kind of pink cloud. I just gazed until the vision faded. Her face was so tiny.

I've always liked mermaids, but I've been more attached to them lately, partly because trends have made the idea of mermaids more available. I like that mermaids are regal and fantastic but also have an edge. They thrive in another realm where humans can't survive. Mermaids are wild. Of course, princesses and fairies can be wild and fierce too.

I love all three. Some of my identity is rooted with these creations.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Delightful Progress.

The year is nearly over, and I have chosen my word of the year for 2018. But before I think about that, I want to think about ways I've touched 2017's word, Delight.

Yesterday, I went to 2nd and Charles with Bruce and sorted through used books of poetry. I've gone through a fair amount of poetry lately, reading all of it aloud. Reading it aloud helps me focus and really experience the poem (even if I don't "get" it). I think that is what warmed me out of a reading freeze. I'm still struggling, but I am making progress.

Bruce bought me a bipolar-disorder-related memoir; now, we're reading it together. I want to be a serious and joyful reader. I've challenged myself to be a bold reader.

I came nowhere near my annual goal to read 52 books. But I did make it half way, 26, despite months of reading trouble. I call that progress. Reading is a delight.

I had trouble with writing too but not as much. I started a new journal on Christmas day. I'm writing in black, gold, and pink. Choosing specific colors for a journal is a delight and a motivator.

I've kept detailed "To-Do Wish Lists" (so called because I don't expect to accomplish everything on the list) to help me focus. Crossing off an item with a pen in that day's color is a delight.

This year, I think my heart has softened. I feel more loving, which is powerfully frightening and delightful. I hope that excess love has delighted someone.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


My husband is an endlessly curious person, and it's one of my favorite qualities of his. Am I curious enough? I'm curious about
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Design for home goods catalogs (especially PB Teen)
  • Native Americans
  • Calligraphy and lettering
  • Francesca Lia Block's life and writing
  • Lives, spaces, and work of my favorite artists
  • People's libraries
  • The evolution of pens
  • The history of public libraries
  • Diaries of my favorite writers
  • The history of journaling
  • Twins
  • Lifestyle blogs
  • What my blog readers want to read
  • Gifts
  • The history of makeup
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Autism
  • My maternal grandmother who died when I was little
  • Beautiful street names
  • Other people who journal as I do
  • Mermaids

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Many Uses of Notebooks.

For me, a notebook is a vital and magical object. I'm always happy to receive a notebook as a gift or to buy one for myself. When I say notebook, I mean any form of bound paper--journals, notepads, composition books, spiral notebooks, and so on. Here are some of the ways I have used or could use my notebooks.
  • Using it as an overall life journal or as a journal on a specific topic such as gardening or reading.
  • Taking class notes. I have notebooks full of gems from my MFA program.
  • Trying it as a grounding or calming tool. When my students wrote in class, I wrote in what I called my "work journal." I poured out my fears and stress and was able to settle myself somewhat.
  • Making grocery lists. I love top-spiral notebooks for this.
  • Making packing lists.
  • Writing down overheard conversations and observations.
  • Recording ideas for stories.
  • Recording lines or images for poems.
  • Scribbling down quotations.
  • Writing down quotations neatly in multiple colors.
  • Working on budgeting and bill reminders.
  • Writing poem drafts.
  • Writing down wishes.

What kinds of notebooks do you use? How do you use your notebooks?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Makeup Memories.

I have many early memories of makeup, one because I was involved with plays. Mom made me up beautifully to play the princess in Aladdin. I looked so much like Mom! She did the makeup for other actors too, which I found fascinating.

At one point, I asked her about eyeliner, and she said she sometimes wore purple or green. I was excited about this: makeup could be colorful and expressive! It wasn't only a tool.

But makeup became an important tool for me when I was 12. I addition to being an awkward preteen, I had terrible, painful acne. I cried about it sometimes. I had a crush on a boy I saw a few times a week through church and homeschool groups. Mom took pity on me and put foundation and concealer on me when I was going to see him. Of course, that washed me out, so she gave me a little color too. I was grateful.

Makeup became fun again when I was 16. My acne wasn't as bad, and I discovered Sephora. Mom gave me a sleek black cosmetic bag from Sephora for my birthday. I remember going on church trips and bringing my makeup bag with me, full of tiny Hard Candy eyeshadow palettes; I felt more confident with lovely eye makeup.

So for half my life, I've been in love with makeup--especially fancy brands with lots of color and glitter. It's like an art project every day, and I won't get too old to sparkle.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Word of the Year 2018 Contenders.

I won't reveal my word of the year until New Year's Day, but I want to share with you some of the words I've considered and may well use for future years. Maybe you'll find the word you need in this list! Feel free to take one.
  • Bold
  • Whimsy
  • Celebrate
  • Grace
  • Cozy
  • Sparkle
  • Grow
  • Reach
  • Gratitude
  • Magical
  • Brilliant
  • Learn
  • Passion
  • Rest

Friday, December 15, 2017

Words I Should Use Less Often.

  • Eventually
  • Have to
  • Can't
  • Should
  • We'll see
  • Gonna
  • I
  • Tired
  • Sleepy
  • Someday
  • Miss
  • Broken
  • If
  • I don't know
I want to fill my words and my days with empowerment, determination, planning, confidence, energy, love, faith, hope, and joy.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Adjectives I Wish People Could Use to Describe Me.

  • Kind
  • Creative
  • Talented
  • Serene
  • Wild
  • Bright
  • Brilliant
  • Poised
  • Gentle
  • Intense
  • Inspiring
  • Beautiful
  • Funny
  • Entertaining
  • Loving
  • Stunning
  • Aware
  • Sparkling
  • Precious
  • Brave
  • Strong
  • Thoughtful
  • Determined
  • Calm
  • Passionate
  • Charming
  • Graceful
  • Unique
  • Genuine
  • Studious
  • Mysterious
  • Attentive
  • Competent
  • Deep
  • Delightful
  • Energetic
  • Enchanting
  • Eccentric
  • Clever
  • Sweet
  • Fierce
  • Generous
  • Slender
  • Quiet
  • Careful
  • Warm
  • Comforting
  • Dazzling

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


If I could do anything, without limits of time, money, responsibility, or talent, these would probably top my list:
  • Follow The Phantom of the Opera across the state (if not farther).
  • Sing in a rock band.
  • Perform one night as Christine.
  • Buy a house and build a savings account for repairs, lawn care, and housekeeping. The house would have a fenced-in backyard, a huge bathtub, and space for a playroom.
  • Play the piano.
  • Pay everything off.
  • Read all the Best American Poetry volumes over a year (30+, I think).
  • Build a book of poetry and try to publish it.
  • Write a book of short stories and try to publish it.
  • Write a novel and try to publish it.
  • Send Josh and his mom to football and basketball games.
  • Take Oliver to outdoor concerts, partly to prepare him for theatre.
  • Lose all my extra weight.
  • Read all my waiting magazines.
  • Walk into Barnes and buy everything I want.
  • Walk into Sephora and buy everything I want.
  • Stay at the Mast Farm Inn by myself for two nights.
  • Use up my stationery on special letters.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Weeks 6 & 7 as a Bold Reader.

I'm still reading Lorca in the tub. I read the poem aloud in Spanish first, which takes a while. I get bits of meaning and high school vocabulary. Then, I read the English (also aloud) and see which images were correct. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book.

I'm about two-thirds through Donald Hall's Selected Poems.

I read Amy Gerstler's new-to-me Scattered at Sea. Gerstler is my favorite poet. I discovered her in a volume of Best American Poetry, so I was excited to remember that I have BAP 2010, which she edited! I've read the front matter (interesting to see her prose!), and I'm ready to start the poems today and see how well Gerstler's tastes align with mine. I'm starting to feel the rhythm of poetry like an extra heartbeat. I'm not sure I've felt that since I was in grad school, reading stacks of poetry books.

I've reader two Christmas magazines! Both are O; one of them has been waiting on my shelf for years. I want to get into the Christmas spirit as much as possible, and magazines intimidate me less now.

All the other books I'm reading (except Ozma) are non-fiction, and I'm hungry for more fiction. I need to start reading a novel soon. But I'm just glad to be reading again.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

On Adventure.

In O Magazine, Oprah's most recent question for her readers was about this year's adventures. I started thinking about my adventures this year. I'm not someone who desires or seeks adventure actively, but I've still encountered that wild mix of fear, risk, and elation.

I've seen perhaps eight shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center this year. Truly, each show is an adventure. Tension and amazement. Lights, smoke, illusion, and stunning talent. How can we train our voices and bodies to work in such wondrous ways? I also get to enjoy Bruce's wonder.

I've been brave seeing scary movies at the theater, and I saw Bladerunner at the IMAX. Whoa.

Recently, I've read a lot of poetry. Poetry is rarely an easy read, and it requires my full engagement. Sometimes, a scintillating string of words will astonish me. Reading is almost always an adventure.

This turned out to be an adventure: my determination to think kind thoughts...and sometimes speak them, even to strangers. "You have gorgeous eyes," I told an occupational therapist in training. "Your hair is beautiful," I told Oliver's ABA tech. "I know you must be stressed, but you look great," I told a cashier at a busy Bath and Body Works. Talking to strangers is not something I do often. But it's been worth that momentary light in the other person's eyes.

And I wrote down 1,000 joys! This goal push me to examine my life and see where the wind-swept petals of joy sweeten my path.

What adventures have you had this year?

Friday, December 1, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 40.

  1. Journals as gifts
  2. Oliver's playing dress-up with hats
  3. Watching The Good Doctor with Bruce
  4. Showing Josh a funny video
  5. Seeing other people reading at the airport
  6. Seeing a good number of people at the library
  7. Almost all memories of roller skating
  8. Buying violet perfume in Asheville
  9. Meerkats
  10. Hummingbirds
  11. Charms. I'd love to sort through a bucket of them
  12. Oliver in the snow
  13. Exhibits on ancient Egypt
  14. Oliver, fresh from his bath
  15. Wet erase markers
  16. Oliver's pacing and singing when he gets home
  17. Tiny white hairs on Oliver's ears
  18. Memories of a plush seal my uncle Chris gave me
  19. My uncle Ross's sly smile
  20. Taxes help from Uncle Jason
  21. Watching a scary movie in the theater with a vocal audience
  22. Memories of traveling in Europe almost 20 years ago with my grandparents
  23. Being open about my obsessions
  24. Wearing green
  25. My silver Tinkerbell ring, a perfect reminder of our fairy-tale honeymoon

Thursday, November 30, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 39.

  1. Kind dental assistants
  2. Unopened pens
  3. Necklaces from Josh
  4. Anna Sui designs for PB Teen
  5. Memories of a box of paper doilies
  6. A used book in the mail
  7. Gunmetal gray cars
  8. Free shipping
  9. A multi-colored pack of cardstock
  10. Polka dot socks
  11. Capes
  12. A new book by my favorite poet
  13. Upcoming releases from my favorite writers
  14. Making lists of my favorite words
  15. Glacier green
  16. Fun fads like mermaids and unicorns
  17. Best American anthologies
  18. Beautifully-wrapped soaps
  19. Sudden darkness in winter
  20. Josh's getting excited about seeing "a cool dog"
  21. Oliver's commenting on the moon
  22. Velvet, especially dark blue
  23. Oliver's expecting praise after completing a puzzle
  24. Black gold-style jewelry
  25. Jane Eyre adaptations
One more list to go!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I Miss.

In no particular order:
  • Lemonade
  • My parents and step parents
  • My dearest Keely
  • My darling Melissa
  • Cherry Coke
  • All the art we've had to take down (Oliver is in a destructive phase)
  • Milk
  • Exchanging letters
  • Playing dress up
  • Deep, detailed daydreaming
  • Playing with dolls
  • My cats
  • Wild violets
  • Sonic's cherry Sprite
  • Apple juice
  • Irish step dancing at a competition
  • Carrot cake
  • Easy reading
  • Writing stories
  • Writing poems
  • Swimming
  • The book Jane Eyre
  • Disney World (especially the Wilderness Lodge)
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Aunt Linda
  • My great grandmothers
  • Kay, our teacher and dear friend
  • My grammy
  • My hilarious brother
  • Directing little plays
  • Watching Next Gen with Mom
  • Watching Next Gen with Josh
  • Dark Stardust pens (discontinued)
  • Aquariums
  • Oliver's blond curls

Monday, November 27, 2017

Times I've Felt Most Loved: Part 2.

  • My dearest friend, Keely, picked me up and ran to the house when I got a bee sting as a kid.
  • On her last visit, Mom took out the trash as she left.
  • When I was little, my nanna told me a long story (with answers to my many questions) about how she would take care of me if I were Thumbelina-sized.
  • I was on a business trip with my parents, and I forgot to bring a notebook. I felt sick without one. Mom and Dad went to a dinner, and Mom came back to the hotel with a spiral notebook from a gas station. I was astounded by the love in that gesture. She didn't have to understand; loving me was enough.
  • Melissa is always a brilliant gift-giber, tuning into my obsessions and wishes.
  • My grandfather used to buy me a book or two for the plane ride home.
  • Nursing Oliver, I felt a pure, simple, and profound form of love flowing between us.
  • Nick used to bring me a giant Frappuccino when I had a lot of homework.
  • Mom put scented gel pens in one of my last Easter baskets.
  • My uncle Chris took me to see Peter Pan and got me Peter's autograph!
  • After I got my wisdom teeth removed recently, Mom got up in the night to give me pain meds.
  • Dad took me to see Sunset Boulevard and bought me all the souvenirs I wanted.
  • Mom came with me to meetings as I tried to get Oliver into Pre-K. She took over when I wore down.
  • Shane gave us a new washer and dryer when ours were breaking down. Oliver was a newborn, and we were doing laundry constantly.
  • Michelle gave me a Q & A for Writers book. I feel great any time someone validates my writer self.
  • Bruce took care of Oliver all day while I was in the ER with lithium toxicity.
  • I taught Oliver to kiss early, and he was a generous kisser.
  • My mom-in-law kissed my check when I was in labor.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week 5 as a Bold Reader.

I forgot to do this post last week. I finished Duende. This week, I finished The Apple That Astonished Paris. I need to catch up on Billy Collins.

I finished the front matter of  the dual-language Libro de Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca. The poems seem a little daunting, especially since I plan to read aloud the Spanish (though I'll probably understand very little, I want to let the language flow over me) and well as the translation.

I've still been reading Donald Hall poems one or two at a time. I'm noticeably past the half way point of his book.

Bath time is poetry time. It's a good arrangement, and I like associating one with the other.

I have a few more books on the armrests of my chair. I hope to spend some time with The Broken Way tonight. I've been reading Girlfriends by Susan Branch. It's light and colorful, and her handwriting is almost as delightful as her illustrations. I've read the front matter of Uniquely Human, which I think I need to read as a parent of a child with autism. Melissa recommended it to me.

And last, Ozma of Oz. Oliver won't let us read to him lately. I read the first two Oz books to him. I'm reading this third on my own, and it delights me. There's that word of the year again! Today, I read three or four chapters of Ozma of Oz.

Magazines intimidate me for some reason, but I hope to overcome that this coming week. Bolder and bolder!

Friday, November 24, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 38.

  1. Watching Oliver eat red grapes
  2. Living room dance parties with Oliver
  3. Rose Petal Lane (it's real!)
  4. Eating holiday cake or pie for breakfast
  5. Bonding with my brother over Little Women and Anne of Green Gables movies
  6. Bonding with my brother over the book Stargirl
  7. Philadelphia cheese cake cups
  8. A short, shallow bath before my shower
  9. The bright yellow tree across the pond
  10. Reading a little poetry each day
  11. Hearing Josh speak sweetly to Oliver
  12. Autumn leaves against a bright blue sky
  13. Drinking Cherry Coke in the bath
  14. Swimming in hotel pools at night
  15. My Jo March doll that reminds me I'm a writer
  16. Reading subscription box reviews
  17. Letting go of a situation I can't control
  18. Oliver's beloved plush dogs, Brr Brr and Radar
  19. Oliver's interest in music and dance
  20. Oliver's hair in the breeze
  21. Learning about poets' lives
  22. Reading aloud well (rare!)
  23. Short Stories stickers on library book spines
  24. The jeweled style of FLB's early books
  25. A pre-ordered book arriving on release day

Monday, November 20, 2017

By Request: Favorite Books.

By request, I'm going to share some of my favorite books with you. I stopped listing when I filled up a journal page. The first four are in order, but the rest are not.
  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
  3. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  5. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  6. Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier
  7. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
  8. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  9. Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block
  10. Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
  11. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
  12. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  13. The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo
  14. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
  15. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  16. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  17. Ghost Girl by Amy Gerstler
  18. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  19. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  20. Blue beyond Blue by Lauren Slater
  21. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  22. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  23. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  24. Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle
  25. Life Is Meals by James Salter
  26. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
  27. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  28. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trivial Quirks.

  • When I'm shopping, and I like an item, I like to carry it around the store for a while. Then, I can easily decide whether or not to buy it.
  • I have three composition books that I'm slowly filling with my favorite quotations, images, poetry lines, and other book bits. I feel like I can keep the best bits of the books I've read. I have a fourth composition book that is full.
  • When I buy a journal or get one as a gift, I usually write when, where, and with whom I bought the journal or who gave it to me. I love remembering, especially if I don't use the journal right away.
  • I use coffee mugs primarily to hold pens, sometimes divided by color. Once, my mom couldn't find a mug for her coffee. I think she washed out a pen mug.
  • I don't generally drink coffee. But I do like iced peppermint mocha. I don't really like hot drinks.
  • I struggle with wearing my clothes backward or inside-out.
  • I use a lot of made-up words in conversation with those closest to me. Some are entirely made-up; many are baby words of mine and my brother's.
  • I like to take baths during the day.
  • When something in a store overwhelms me, I sometimes sit down right on the floor.
  • I can listen to a new favorite song on repeat for a long time.
  • I drink several liters of water a day.
  • I almost always prefer a spoon over a fork.
  • I like to keep on display photos in which I look really happy. It's a good reminder, and it gives me hope.
  • I've never lit a match. I think I'm afraid of burning myself.
  • I can recite segments of many movies, even those I've not seen in years.
  • I write my lowercase A's in two ways, interchangeably. A student once asked me why; I had no answer.
  • I don't put milk in my cereal.
  • I prefer most of my food plain.
  • I know a lot of movie and theatre trivia.
  • I could go to an aquarium every day.
  • I sing and make up songs at random.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Favorite Songs.

Some of my favorite songs, not necessarily in order:
  1. "Hysteria" by Def Leppard
  2. "One Sweet Love" by Sara Bareilles
  3. Title Songs from The Phantom of the Opera
  4. "Stay with You" by Goo Goo Dolls
  5. "Trial by Fire" by Journey
  6. "Melody" by Steve Perry
  7. "If I Can't Love Her" from Beauty and the Beast on Broadway
  8. "The Beauty Underneath" from Love Never Dies
  9. "I Want It All" by Edwin McCain
  10. "There's Me" from the Starlight Express concept album
  11. "Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby
  12. "When Love and Hate Collide" by Def Leppard
  13. "Between the Lines" by Sara Bareilles
  14. "What about Us" by John Barrowman
  15. "Waiting in Vain" by Annie Lennox
  16. "Flying Away" from Fun Home
  17. "Nobody Ever" by Steven Curtis Chapman
  18. "You Must Love Me" from Evita
  19. "Falling Back to Me" by Our Lady Peace
  20. "Out of Touch" by Hall and Oates
  21. "Another Rainy Day" by Corinne Bailey Rae
  22. "Paris Nights and New York Mornings" by Corinne Bailey Rae
  23. "I Don't Let It End" by Styx
  24. "Send Her My Love" by Journey
  25. "Can't Take It In" by Imogen Heap

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 37.

  1. Pens color-coordinated in cubbies
  2. The scent of lilac (partly because my mom likes it)
  3. The character Jean-Luc Picard
  4. Singing Broadway show tunes in the car with Bruce
  5. Oliver's great love for an ivy-print comforter
  6. Our guest room full of books
  7. Giant glass bottles of bubble bath
  8. The rhinestones on the glasses Mom gave me
  9. Emptying an ink cartridge
  10. The quilt my sister-in-law made for Oliver
  11. White or black marble
  12. Well-headed indoor pools
  13. Showing Bruce more about fountain pens
  14. Helping others learn something I know or do well
  15. Thick multi-colored polka dot socks
  16. Unexpected positive reactions to my posts
  17. A royal blue double ribbon bookmark
  18. A memory of a bookmark with baby unicorns at an elementary school bookfair
  19. Cheap Joe's Art Stuff
  20. Buying a fistful of Gelly Roll pens at Cheap Joe's
  21. Mini bagels with honey
  22. Josh's surprising me with Broadway references
  23. Singing silly songs with my brother
  24. American Girl catalogs
  25. My black glittens

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Never Save.

Never save joys for later. New joys will come when old ones expire. Don't miss what is left before you by hiding it in a box under your bed. It may turn to dust. Some form of light is available in every day. We are ungrateful and self-punishing when we don't seize that light.

Here are some ideas to consider:
  • Wear the jewelry. I used to be afraid to wear the ring my parents gave me when I finished grad school. I was so afraid of breaking or losing the ring, so I kept it in its box for years. Now, I wear it often, right alongside my costume jewelry rings. Even if something bad does happen, a little time of actually wearing it is better than a long time of keeping it in the box.
  • Don't save costume jewelry for special occasions. Wear your favorite necklace with jeans.
  • Use your best dishes on ordinary days. I have a beautifully painted set of dessert plates, and I eat sandwiches off them.
  • Don't save the most delicious book. Dive in now and then find another book for vacation.
  • Don't stop using your favorite eyeshadow because you hit the pan. Keep enjoying it; you'll find a new favorite when the shadow is gone.
  • Don't reserve clothes and shoes for work. I was awful about doing this. Enjoy them whenever you can.
  • Go ahead and eat the piece of chocolate. Your future self will find her own.
  • Don't save a beautiful journal for pristine, brilliant thoughts. Your thoughts are beautiful now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stuff I'm a Little Obsessed with Right Now.

  • Leslie Jones. She's hilarious!
  • Dan Stevens. He's the beast prince! Of course I adore him.
  • Transformation and Kiss Scene in Beauty and the Beast--just a satisfying moment on YouTube.
  • Sparkly makeup and applying as much as possible--going over regular eyeliner with gold glitter liner.
  • Using beauty samples--finally using what I've stashed away.
  • Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Grip--my favorite pen of the moment
  • Josh. I miss him intensely when he's away
  • Pink and gold--gorgeous apart and together. I want to add more of both to my life.

I'm not even mentioning all the constant or easily-revived obsessions like seahorses, fairies, mermaids, pens in general, journals, theatre (Phantom especially), necklaces, glitter in general...

Monday, November 13, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 36.

  1. Working on Christmas shopping
  2. Checking someone off my gift list
  3. Dark butterflies
  4. Checking something off my list using a different color
  5. Eucalyptus Tea scent in Bruce's living room
  6. Showing off a new funny video
  7. Mom's getting up in the night to give me meds
  8. My dad's sounding happy to talk to me on the phone
  9. Dropping a bill payment in the mail slot
  10. A cold bottle of water handed to me
  11. Chipping away at a huge book of poetry
  12. Re-reading a beloved book
  13. Sitting up in bed
  14. People who give me pens. Any kind.
  15. Josh's remembering to bring my blanket on a trip
  16. Cold Cherry Coke
  17. The thought of touching a seahorse
  18. Sharing a goal with someone
  19. My hair, new red even without sunlight
  20. Deep conditioning hair masks
  21. Mac and cheese with broccoli--best comfort food
  22. Unexpectedly painless hours
  23. Valentine's Day dish towels
  24. "Accidental" glitter spills
  25. Purple sequin flats

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Week 3 as a Bold Reader.

A few weeks ago, I made a goal to read deeply and widely and not to let fear slow me.

I wish I had more to report. But I did finish Long Division, and I enjoyed reading it aloud in the bath.

I'm still reading Donald Hall's poem aloud, one or two at a time.

I started Tracy K. Smith's poems Duende. I'm close to halfway through it. Again, I'm reading it aloud in the bathtub.

I want to get back to being able to read regardless of what's happening around me. Josh is really good at that.

The apartment is cold, which makes me want to snuggle up with a blanket and a book. I hope that feeling will help me rebuild good reading habits.

I got my wisdom teeth taken out this wee, so I guess I should be more excited that I've read at all.

I am feeling less intimidated when I encounter a book of poetry. That's good because I'm running out of slim volumes at home.

Josh has been reading books of poetry as I finish them. I just place them on his nightstand. I like that we are absorbing the same words and images. That has to keep us closer somehow.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 35.

  1. Kicking through the yellow leaves on the sidewalk
  2. Speaking truth
  3. A nurse who gets my vein the first time
  4. A love note
  5. Appropriately confident doctors
  6. Compendium gift books
  7. Remembering my meds
  8. Fruit 2 O strawberry water
  9. Clicky top pens
  10. Drinking as much water as I want
  11. Slipping in and out of a nap
  12. Being given an order in which to open gifts
  13. The bubble scene in Cinderella
  14. Tiny treasures in stockings
  15. Touching ribbons
  16. Items organized by color
  17. Progress on Christmas shopping
  18. Memories of Cinderella trading cards
  19. My Christmas gifts stacked atop my wardrobe
  20. Purple-striped fleece pajama pants
  21. Buying something for Mom that she would like but would never buy for herself
  22. Sephora Flash shipping
  23. Hummingbirds--impossibly darling
  24. Various forms of chaise lounges
  25. Key jewelry

Friday, November 10, 2017

Travel Tips.

I don't travel much now, but I traveled a ton as a child. I've picked up a few ideas.
  • Bring a notebook. Having a notebook is important for the greatest and the smallest trips. It can be a journal (or a specific travel journal), but it doesn't have to be. You're going to encounter many shops, places, ideas, and objects you'll want to revisit. Write them down--otherwise, you'll get too overloaded to remember.
  • Bring your onw large water bottle to take everywhere. Bring two if you can wash one and use the other.
  • Buy a fold-up cosmetic bag that will hang from a hook or a towel rack.
  • Buy all the travel-sized items you'll need. You probably already have samples like toothpaste, lotion, face wash, and shampoo and condition. Buy fold-up toothbrushes and hair brushes. Always have your bag ready to go without having to remember (and return) your everyday items.
  • Load a makeup bag. Half-used foundation, a brush kit, a small eyeshadow palette...again, make it ready-to-go.
  • Bring a good, high-quality magazine such as Darling and Bella Grace. These will be good when you're stuck waiting but don't feel like a terminal news shop magazine. But of course, go ahead and read those too, and bring at least one book.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Dream Come True.

So many of my dreams have come true. I forget that sometimes; I guess we all do. I do write about my dreams come true on here once. I'll try not to repeat myself with these fulfilled dreams, tiny and huge.
  • Not having to work. The circumstances are not ideal, but the stress of working would probably make me very sick again. But Josh has taken over with a job he loves.
  • I have had beautiful long, black hair like a non-Disney princess.
  • I've got season tickets to the Durham Performing Arts Center.
  • Having seen Phantom 5 times and having tickets for the 6th time.
  • I've become pretty good at putting together an outfit. I never thought that would happen.
  • I live in a comfortable home with good safe spaces.
  • My child speaks more and more.
  • My nail polish is perfect periwinkle with multi-color, holographic sparkle. It may be my favorite polish ever.
  • Dippin' Dots are available just down the road.
  • I've become more deliberate and determined in seeking beauty and filling my life with that beauty.
What dreams of yours have come true?

Monday, November 6, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 34.

  1. Watching ink fill a fountain pen converter
  2. Reorganizing my books
  3. Bananas that open easily
  4. Something wonderful coming tomorrow
  5. Argan oil in my hair
  6. Stickers of hot air balloons
  7. Oliver's gorgeous eyelashes
  8. The air conditioning on my back
  9. Curtain calls
  10. Seeing when and were I bought a journal (when I remember, I write it in the back cover)
  11. The moment when a theatre gets dark
  12. The way Bruce immediately starts reading the program for a show
  13. Bruce's excitement before a show begins
  14. Trading trivia with loved ones
  15. Oliver's eventual willingness to drink Gatorade when he's sick
  16. The "12 Little Chicks" song from Sesame Street
  17. Hot tortilla chips
  18. My mom's drawing for me
  19. The purple fairy pouch Mom made for me
  20. Green glitter hiding in my bookcase
  21. Reliable senses
  22. Wristlets for theatre going
  23. Leggings that actually work as pants
  24. Memories of Dad's buying me Sunset Boulevard souvenirs.
  25. Reading a former professor's book with my cowardly lion sticky flags

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Week 2 as a Bold Reader.

I finished Dream Work. I want to get back to reading The Broken Way and the beautiful magazine Bella Grace. But that will have to happen next week because I've been focused on poetry this week.

While I was organizing my bedside bookcase, I found Long Division, a book of poems by my MFA thesis advisor, Alan Michael Parker. How have I not already read it?

I also found a large book of Donald Hall's selected poems. It was marked about 1/3 of the way through. I decided to read at least one DH poem per day. One more poem and one more poem add up to a book of poems.

Long Division has been my read-aloud bathtub book this week. I read several poems each day as I rebuild my reading muscles. I should finish the book tonight.

When I started the book, I reached into my sticky flag pouch and pulled out flags with the cowardly lion on them. This made me laugh. I've already used six of them (a lot for me) for my favorite images and lines. But I won't tell you what I flagged. You'll have to go get your own copy of Long Division and your own cowardly lion sticky flags.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Love Threads.

"Love weaves itself from hundreds of threads."

David Levithan

This caught my attention. Maybe the initial meetings, the first bright lights of attraction and empathy form the loom. It's not everything, but it's important. Those memories need protecting and frequent polishing. The loom is the beginning of love, the base for growth.

And then, if it's to be, the threads begin to unravel and stretch across the loom. Sometimes, the supply is generous and richly colored. At other times, the thread is pale and thin. But if we keep weaving, even the weaker threads become a part of a beautiful pattern. Threads can be as trivial as a shared love of strawberry jam or as thick and varied as having a child together.

I always want to gather new threads. Josh and I recently celebrated our 12 years together. Our love has many strong places and some that may need bolstering. We both love sunshine naps! Even something like that makes our love stronger and more beautiful.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Kind of Person I'd Like to Meet.

  • Someone who always looks cozy-sweaters, tights, flannel...
  • Someone who is a bit mysterious
  • Someone with scuffs on her shoes
  • Someone who is always reading something
  • Someone who reads 100 books a year
  • Someone who makes what she wants when she can't find it, such as a tote bag in a certain shade of pink
  • Someone who makes paper dolls
  • Someone who makes paper doll art
  • Someone who can do ribbon embroidery
  • Someone who wears boots
  • Someone who often scribbles in an intriguing notebook
  • Someone who never returns pens but always bleeds them dry
  • Someone who seems to spy on people
  • Someone who mixes color strangely in clothes and makeup
  • Someone with a tiny nose stud that looks like a fleck of glitter
  • Someone who doesn't drink soda
  • Someone who has multiple favorite poets
  • Someone who embraces her curly hair
  • Someone who has posters on her ceiling
  • Someone who has a garden

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 33.

  1. Lavender, purple, sage, and mint bowls from Anthropologie
  2. Bowls shaped like giant mugs
  3. Someone saving me from a bug
  4. Josh's offering to take Oliver to school, so I can sleep more
  5. Valentine's Day socks
  6. My quotation notebooks, full of the best bits of books I've read
  7. Good handwriting days (not today!)
  8. Lavender envelopes
  9. Lean Cuisine frozen meals (some of them)
  10. Peach roses blooming on Josh's campus
  11. Oliver's obeying or listening
  12. My light blue cozy shirt with silver threads
  13. Josh's kindness in offering me nap time
  14. Pressure-washed sidewalks
  15. Walnuts in chocolates and baked goods
  16. The shape of Josh's lips
  17. Josh's perfect hands
  18. Running errands with Bruce
  19. Skippyjon Jones
  20. Filled pages
  21. Tiny red leaves on the sidewalk
  22. The intro to "You Raise Me Up"
  23. Hand-me-downs that fit well
  24. Tiny salt spoons
  25. Listening to Chicago while driving as the sun rises

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Week 1 as a Bold Reader.

I've been reading Dream Work, poems by Mary Oliver (Pulitzer!) aloud, mostly when I take a bath. Reading poetry aloud helps me stay with it and helps me experience the feeling and the sound without distraction. With poetry, comprehension is only part of the experience, and I believe one can enjoy poetry even without comprehension.

Though I love the style, I'm struggling with The Broken Way by Ann Voscamp. I can barely pick up the book. This makes me question myself--who am I if I can't read a good book?

Books in general look impossible. But they're not, just like journals are not impossible to fill. I know that. So how do I turn off this fear? I don't even know what the fear is.

But I can be a bold reader. I must be. It's part of how I stay alive. It's a huge part of how I stay me.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 32.

  1. Necklaces that slip over my head
  2. Leaning towers of books
  3. Finding a missing book
  4. Metallic scrapbook paper
  5. Kind nurses who wear rhinestone glasses
  6. Flutter sleeves
  7. Painting my nails before bed
  8. Sprinkling rain during a walk
  9. The red nails on my Cinderella doll
  10. Brief, light naps
  11. Movie trailers
  12. A smaller middle number on the scale
  13. Coordinating clothes and makeup to the show I'm about to see
  14. Reading about horror movies
  15. Sparkly tulle
  16. Velcro on Oliver's shoes
  17. Beautiful mugs I use to sort pens by color
  18. A tall glass of milk
  19. Frosted Flakes
  20. The black and white crown tray on my ottoman
  21. Ishiguro's winning the Nobel
  22. Revlon Color Stay foundation in Ivory
  23. Tap water that tastes pretty good
  24. An empty sink
  25. Josh and my linking our pinkies like seahorse tails (Seahorses mate for life)

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Favorite Artists.

K. Y. Craft: The first journal I completed had Craft artwork on the cover. I think the journal was a gift from my parents. The image drew me in and encouraged me to write. Later, I found books she's illustrated: lovely Cinderella, stunning Sleeping Beauty, and magical Twelve Dancing Princesses, plus more that I don't own. Her work is intricate and luminous.

Bella Pillar: I first discovered her through greeting cards by Papyrus. With spindly limbs and huge eyes, her fashionable, glitter-enhanced girls are unforgettable. I've been lucky to find a couple of journals with her art. I'd love a book!

Tasha Tudor: She is certainly the sweetest of illustrators. So much darling detail! I found her first as the illustrator for A Little Princess and Secret Garden and as the creator of the delightful A is for Annabelle. Those images have been imprinted on me since childhood. Mom and I have been collecting Tudor's other books too.

Ruth Sanderson: I happened upon her illustrated Cinderella. Lovely. Apparently, she also has a Twelve Dancing Princesses I don't own!

Mary Engelbreit: I think I discovered ME because my grandmother had a magnet with ME's art. I think Nanna also introduced me to Home Companion, ME's magazine at the time. I've also bought cards, notepads, and notebooks at Michael's. And we now have our own ME magnets on the fridge.

Maxine Gadd: I discovered Gadd when, about 13 years ago, I saw her Elf Queen print in a shop in Paris. That picture had hung over my bed ever since. Now, I have a book of her art.

Susan Branch: I found SB though stickers and little illustrated gift books. She has gorgeous handwriting and loves sharing quotations and song lyrics along with her tiny watercolors. She also now has three illustrated memoirs; I devoured them.

Josephine Wall: This artist is incredible. I'm not sure how I found her (maybe at the Dancing Moon shop in Boone, NC), but I now have a book of her art and a few journals with her art. I even have one with golden seahorses on the spine! Her work is so detailed, so intricate and colorful. Tiny scenes happen within the overarching image. Her work seems so attentive and alive.

Amy Brown: I discovered her work at a gift shop in Astoria when I was a teenager. I immediately bought two prints. I was astounded by this fairy artist who also creates mermaids and dragons. She is so prolific! Her watercolor wings are gorgeous. On our first Christmas together, Josh gave me a book of her art.

Cicely Mary Barker: I believe my grandparents gave me a book of her fairy art and poems, and I was hooked forever. Barker hooked me on fairies. The fuchsia and willow fairies have always been my favorites. I really feel that I would be a different person without those fairies. I even have rubber stamps and miniature books. I've always assigned fairies to myself or other people. Right now, I think I'm the Rose Hip Fairy.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sticky Flags.

My friend Bruce got me into sticky flags. I used to be terrible about folding the corners of my pages. I got some beautiful flags from Papaya!, and Bruce keeps me stocked, especially with literary character flags. Here are some of the ways I use my sticky flags:
  • Precisely marking favorite passages and quotations from books. I go back later and write the words in a quotation notebook.
  • Marking prompts in my journal, so I can go back and respond in the blank space.
  • Marking responses I want to post on my blog.
  • Marking journal passages that I may expand into blog posts.
  • Marking important lists in my journal.
What reading and writing tools do you use?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Journaling Vacation.

I'd love to go on a journaling vacation, on which the primary purpose is to scribble and have experiences about which I can scribble.

A bed and breakfast maybe. I could describe all the common rooms, write down menus and book titles, and note any local animals or odd guests.

Could I stand being alone? Probably for a night or two.

Maybe I'd start something, a product, but that wouldn't be the goal. I would read by the hour too, check off a book or two.

I'd bring all my favorite pens and follow my whims in using them. Scented candles. Cozy clothes. Bubble bath. But always back to the lines, those I follow or those I make. I would capture the place. I would capture myself--understanding and expressing.

A hotel room would be fine too. I'd close the curtains and sleep as long as I wanted. I'd get cozy with my journal in the middle of a king-sized bed, books, magazines, and notebooks strewn around me. I'd bring my own provisions. I'd dive in.

Monday, October 23, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 31.

  1. A stocked picnic basket
  2. Multiple baths in one day
  3. Johnny Jump Up flowers
  4. A wine bottle full of fairy lights from my mom-in-law
  5. New creative journaling magazines
  6. People who keep fairy lights on in their rooms
  7. Memories of a blue glitter lamp
  8. Stretch bracelets
  9. Memories of improve classes
  10. Glitter on my eyelashes
  11. Glitter on my glasses
  12. Our big living room--good space for Oliver
  13. Shine-proof makeup primer
  14. Sunlight on my journal pages
  15. Google Calendar--keeps us on track
  16. Cold whole green beans as a snack
  17. Butter. Of course.
  18. Hearing someone play the piano
  19. Packages that actually come to the door
  20. Disney T-shirts
  21. Stories with velvety details
  22. Other people's charm bracelets and charm stories
  23. Front-row balcony seats
  24. Black eyeliner with colorful glitter
  25. Pink lines in a journal

Sunday, October 22, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 30.

  1. Ballerina stickers
  2. My green lampshades
  3. Mixing chocolate pudding with Cool Whip
  4. More Flower Fairies in my life
  5. Devouring a good magazine in one sitting
  6. Memories of fairy tales with Aunt Linda
  7. Reading poems aloud in the bathtub
  8. Good stepparents
  9. Love letters and love E-mails
  10. Soup To Go cups
  11. Hugs from my brother
  12. Instant forgiveness
  13. Tree shadows
  14. Love despite all that makes me unloveable
  15. Pre-meal bread at restaurants
  16. Metaphors that work decently well
  17. An old notebook full of pictures and colorful scribbles
  18. Josh's high school spiral notebooks, which I saved from the trash
  19. Watching SNL with Bruce
  20. Discovery of Bruce Hornsby after hearing "Mandolin Rain" in a coffee shop
  21. Transplanting work from my journal to the blog
  22. An unopened water bottle in my purse
  23. Oliver's love of drinking water
  24. PB&J--Josh makes it perfectly
  25. The urge to climb trees

Friday, October 20, 2017

A New Page.

(I'm still working on those Joys lists!)

A fresh page always has a little excitement. Will I dare to scrawl my words over this pristine page? One can't think about that. One must believe that the words are worthy, that the paper is doing its great work by accepting the brilliance and nonsense that flow from mind to pen. If we don't believe that, how will we ever put down a word?

I hear people say that a journal is too beautiful to write in. But how else can we experience that beauty? Carrying it around, scribbling bad poems in it, crying on it, coming to it for solace and a kind of companionship--these actions make the beauty ours. And if it is sturdy, the journal will stay beautiful, even when we weigh it down with the unthinkable.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Bold Reader.

(Don't worry; I'm still working on the "1,000 Joys" lists!)

I greatly admire my husband, particularly for the way he reads. While I'm floundering after only 18 books this year, he's reader 59 books so far. He's done that while working full-time plus extra. I haven't worked about from caring for Oliver, yet I can barely pick up a book. I don't know what strange fears are behind this, but I have certainly been a timid reader this year. I want to turn that around, now and for the rest of the year. I won't change my goal; I'll go ahead and fail, but I will get strong.

I don't think Josh has ever looked at a book and said, "I don't think I can handle that." Lately, I feel that way about most books, from huge diaries to slim volumes of poetry. Josh had a challenging masters program that made him a stronger reader, and he hasn't slowed down. My program challenged me as a reader too, but my reading muscles have atrophied. I want to tackle and savor any book (even magazines are difficult now!) that catches my attention.

I want to be a BOLD reader who says "Sure, I can read that," who stays with a book, and who stretches for more. An expansive, adventurous, and wild reader.

And next year, I'll set my goal for 50 books, and I'll reach it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 29.

  1. Crackling candles
  2. Using a scrap of time to write
  3. Lipsticks in metal casings
  4. Holiday sets (already!) at Ulta
  5. Earrings showing through my hair
  6. Answering creative questions
  7. A smooth new lock
  8. Memories of the Mast Farm Inn
  9. Rare stable energy
  10. A light heart at bedtime
  11. Book lights
  12. Fantasizing about expensive Lollia bubble bath
  13. Anything shaped like a cupcake
  14. Having a good gift idea
  15. Pretty postage stamps
  16. Monochromatic outfits
  17. Pink and silver together
  18. Thick silver ink on black paper
  19. Cherries at the bottom of my Shirley Temple
  20. Miniature bubble bath bottles
  21. A mini gold pen pouch
  22. Wands with floating glitter--soothing!
  23. Marbles
  24. The moment of seeing a snowflake up close
  25. Glowing stars on the ceiling

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 28.

  1. The decision to be a bold reader
  2. Pink office supplies
  3. Cutting out paper dolls
  4. Lawn tickets and a thick blanket
  5. White glitter
  6. Following writing prompts
  7. Madame Alexander's Rocker Bride doll
  8. Pastel chalk on dark paper
  9. Silver confetti--coaches and castles
  10. Floating sparks from a bonfire
  11. Spotify playlists
  12. A little extra alone time
  13. Tiny perfume bottles made of beads
  14. Tiny wooden apples
  15. American Girl doll accessories
  16. Walking under stars with Bruce
  17. Aquamarine--my favorite stone at the moment
  18. A clean, plain white T-shirt
  19. Memories of shopping at Levenger with Dad
  20. Floating hearts glitter in my phone case
  21. Testing nail polish on floor tiles
  22. Snow Babies
  23. People's remembering my seahorse obsession
  24. My old collection of ballet slipper ornaments
  25. Eyeshadow palettes that include brushes

Monday, October 16, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 27.

  1. Books about being French
  2. Scottie dogs
  3. Boiled eggs
  4. Giving my mom a doll
  5. Oliver's saying, "It's pretty."
  6. Shimmery blush
  7. Smooth glitter nail polish
  8. An entire box of one color crayon
  9. Native American Playmobile set
  10. Finding a rare Dodie Smith novel at the library
  11. Wearing too much eyeliner
  12. Reading multiple books at once
  13. Wearing too much glitter
  14. Josh's touch, sometimes all that holds me
  15. Hearing trains
  16. Doctors who listen
  17. When my glitter perplexes people
  18. Anything with mermaids
  19. Cleaning out my Amazon wish list
  20. Reading a whole book of poems in a day
  21. Using Amazon Smile and donating to IBDF
  22. 4-ink pens
  23. Blossoms on water
  24. Wisteria tangled in woods by the road
  25. Ink called Amethyst

Sunday, October 15, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 26.

  1. Writing by candlelight
  2. Lollia hand cream
  3. GPS
  4. Wearing pink
  5. Wearing green
  6. The word abundant
  7. Walking through Anthropologie, imagining myself anew
  8. Edwin McCain in concert
  9. Kind doctor's office staff
  10. Stickers for sale by the roll
  11. Cinnamon mints
  12. Being done with an appointment
  13. Seeing Josh happy or content
  14. Cinnamon toast when I'm sick
  15. Blackberry ginger ale
  16. Finding something Oliver will actually eat
  17. Oliver's singing and muttering to his food
  18. Curly hair
  19. The Good Doctor TV show
  20. Learning more about bipolar disorder
  21. Looking forward to a musical
  22. Brightly colored theatre tickets
  23. Powdered wedding cookies
  24. Free beauty samples
  25. Beauty advent calendars! How can that be real??

Friday, October 13, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 25.

  1. Memories of flannel-lined jeans
  2. Oliver's willingness and ability to take his medication
  3. Memory of a locket with a mirror inside
  4. Flowers pressed in books
  5. Pencils with jewels instead of erasers
  6. Carrot cake without raisins
  7. Looking at Origami Owl catalogs
  8. Levenger's range of ink colors
  9. My sheer polka-dot curtains
  10. Notebooks with spirals on the top
  11. Listening to Elton John while driving at night
  12. Having a whole box of a pen I love
  13. A sudden story idea
  14. Antique books with inscriptions
  15. The charm necklace Mom made for me
  16. Eating chocolate in the morning
  17. Huge water bottles
  18. Recognizing loved ones' handwriting
  19. Memories of reading and writing in the school library during lunch
  20. My mimi's black and gold purse
  21. Releasing a poem
  22. Two blue beads I always see on the sidewalk when I have my morning walk
  23. Francesca's wooden quotation art
  24. Publisher responses, even if they are rejections
  25. Walking to get the mail

Thursday, October 5, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 24.

  1. Remembering, recognizing, and discovering more joys
  2. Love stamps
  3. The carrot cake Mom made for my birthday
  4. Druella, one of the best people I know
  5. Magic Kingdom mosaics
  6. Cherry Coke
  7. Mini soda cans
  8. Natalie Goldberg's books on writing
  9. Brietta's telling me I look happy
  10. Medication that gives me a chance of stability
  11. Mascara that stays put
  12. A 64 box of colored pencils
  13. The huge Adventure Awaits canvas in Oliver's room
  14. Seeing Peter Pan with Uncle Chris
  15. Teal clothes hangers
  16. Pretty labels on shoeboxes
  17. Needle-point pens
  18. Le Pens
  19. Subscription boxes
  20. Being brave enough to answer the door
  21. Making a good new habit
  22. Bates Motel, which I binged watched alone
  23. Josh's vests
  24. A Snow White nightgown
  25. Hearing my name

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 23.

  1. Quarters
  2. Gifts of bubble bath
  3. Gifts of journals
  4. Gifts of pens
  5. Fleece
  6. Unintentional but appropriate naps
  7. Cracking walnuts
  8. Walnuts in oatmeal
  9. Forever stamps
  10. A fairy dust bottle necklace from my dad
  11. Knowing the truth
  12. Soft bath robes
  13. Language-learning tapes playing in restaurant bathrooms
  14. Stretch bracelets
  15. Just-brushed hair
  16. The scent of hot tea
  17. An old issue of YM Beauty
  18. Bruce's willingness to watch any movie
  19. The last unbroken dark blue glass
  20. Fairy wings
  21. Oliver's watercolor paintings
  22. Oliver's working on a puzzle
  23. Tuesday mornings with Josh
  24. Oliver's plush meerkat
  25. Cinnamon rolls

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 22.

  1. Starting a new list
  2. Sharing books with a friend
  3. Dark purple clematis
  4. Yellow jasmine
  5. Chandelier earrings
  6. The chandelier in Phantom
  7. Live-action Cinderella
  8. Live-action Beauty and the Beast
  9. Sealing wax
  10. Painted nails
  11. A gunmetal-sparkle wristlet
  12. Plumeria body cream
  13. Pink and white roses
  14. Freshly dyed and trimmed long, black hair
  15. A scarf in shades of green
  16. Sleeping until 8!
  17. Going to bed early
  18. Audrey Hepburn
  19. Key charms
  20. Warm Vanilla Sugar bubble bath
  21. Candles for Christmas
  22. Josh's cleaning my shoe
  23. Sunshine spreading on the carpet
  24. Oliver's eating grapes
  25. Switching up my rings

Monday, October 2, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 21.

  1. A beautiful pop-up snowflake Melissa made for me
  2. Miniature mason jars
  3. Glitter, beads, and water in a blue mason jar
  4. My never having had a bad car accident
  5. Many years of being comfortable with my body
  6. Memories of lunch in Cinderella's castle
  7. Artists who renew Disney princesses
  8. Compedium inspirational books
  9. Disney Golden Books
  10. A battery-operated lantern
  11. Tiny books
  12. Big, firm pillows
  13. Kissing
  14. Glitter pens
  15. Scented markers
  16. Round soup spoons
  17. Oliver's wearing light-up shoes
  18. Josh's curls
  19. Jonathan Bird's Blue World diving show
  20. Key and Peele
  21. Zipper teeth
  22. Proverbs, my favorite book of the Bible
  23. Snoopy Band-Aids
  24. Fairy roses
  25. Fuchsia

Sunday, October 1, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 20.

  1. My tiny blue iPod from Dad
  2. Feeling walks getting easier
  3. My princess-y bed
  4. Birthday-themed stickers (cakes and presents!)
  5. Decorative faux-book boxes
  6. Journal pages my aunt Brietta illustrated
  7. Pink-lit jellyfish
  8. Pinning reminders of hope over my bed
  9. The slice of time after the day ends and before sleep
  10. Finding a forest green tank top I'd forgotten
  11. Yoga pants from NY&Co
  12. Picnics at the Biltmore
  13. Seeing Oliver eat well
  14. Oliver's "Shark Water" Camelbak bottles
  15. My lavender velvet pillow with icicle beading from Mom
  16. Book lights
  17. Tin foil ornaments
  18. Pink ink
  19. Writing at least two pages in my journal each day
  20. Plumeria body cream
  21. Tiny colored pencils
  22. Lilac roller ball perfume
  23. Empty laundry baskets
  24. Botanical gardens
  25. Prisms

Saturday, September 30, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 19.

  1. Bella Grace magazine
  2. Buying a beautiful magazine with cash from my dad
  3. The perfume from my furious writing period
  4. Fairy-tale retellings
  5. Tiny bells
  6. Watching Oliver walk around Toys R Us
  7. Medical staff who take pity on ignorant me
  8. Old-fashioned bicycles
  9. Anklets
  10. Miniature daffodils
  11. Miniature irises
  12. Miniature tulips
  13. The extra effort from Oliver's OT
  14. The number eleven
  15. Embroidered stars
  16. Low-pressure editing
  17. Violets on antique teacups
  18. High tea
  19. Turning in completed paperwork
  20. Getting past the halfway point in a book or journal
  21. Putting lines through Z's and 7's
  22. Ancient Egyptology
  23. Boiled eggs
  24. Old perfume
  25. Colorful glass bottles

Friday, September 29, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 18.

  1. Purple nail polish
  2. My gray Ariel jacket with teal stitching
  3. Citrus scents
  4. Having already exercised
  5. Pen and paper aisles
  6. Long dessert spoons
  7. Oliver's liking some fruits
  8. My liking some vegetables
  9. Pink polka dot fleece pants
  10. Limoncello bubble bath
  11. The Fuchsia Fairy
  12. The Willow Fairy
  13. Air conditioning in the car--luxurious!
  14. Baby blue mailboxes
  15. Driving through a canopy of trees
  16. Church bells
  17. Books of fairy tales
  18. Faerie Tale Theatre
  19. Ibuoprofen
  20. Sunshine warming my arms in the car
  21. Theatre parking deck tickets on the dashboard
  22. Homemade chips at a restaurant
  23. Pioneer bonnets
  24. Opera glasses with mother-of-pearl
  25. Curtain calls

Thursday, September 28, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 17.

  1. Green lace
  2. Rollerskates
  3. Francesca Lia Block's characters
  4. A ruby red slippers pin from my friend Kendall
  5. Being brave enough to ask for help or a change
  6. The color blue
  7. Fresh sheets
  8. People who are more flexible with everything than I am
  9. Finding perfect backpacks for Oliver
  10. My polka dot lunchbox
  11. My champagne glitter Keds
  12. My mom's drawings
  13. Keyholes
  14. My black polka dot raincoat
  15. Dumpster-diving squirrels and look-out birds
  16. Cardinals
  17. Steam on my face
  18. Extra blankets
  19. My jewelry or shoes splashing spangles on the car interior
  20. Birthday party memories
  21. A wooden brush from Keely
  22. Playing Treasure Mountain with Tracy
  23. Stickering pencil boxes at Leah's
  24. Playing in Harmony's attic
  25. Re-watching a favorite movie and noticing new bits

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 16.

  1. People who ask questions
  2. Oliver's plush seahorse
  3. Hearing, "Tell me."
  4. The planner trend--more stickers!
  5. Sunshine in leaves
  6. A preview of cool fall weather
  7. How, upon entering Barnes, Oliver says, "Cake?"
  8. Plain cheesecake
  9. Memory of Dad playing Chicago ballads on the piano at a former convent
  10. E-mails from Melissa
  11. Little gifts in the mail
  12. My hair, red in the sunlight
  13. Moments of courage
  14. Memoirs
  15. Libraries
  16. Mechanical pencils with good erasers
  17. Pens! They're pretty magical
  18. Frogs on my walking path
  19. The fact that I can write again
  20. My super-sturdy Cinderella purse
  21. Tasha Tudor's corgi obsession 
  22. Singing "Stars" from Les Mis in the car with my brother
  23. Sweet comments from Shane
  24. Oranges
  25. Sea glass

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 15.

  1. A husband who can read anything
  2. A husband who doesn't raise his voice
  3. A husband who doesn't use substances
  4. A husband who only touches me with gentleness and love
  5. A husband who takes in extra work
  6. A husband who will make phone calls
  7. Cheese tortellini
  8. My gold-fringed book/journal bag from high school
  9. Patrick Stewart
  10. Science fiction and dear ones who love it
  11. Star Trek Generations--it doesn't get old for me
  12. Going to Cine Barre with Mom
  13. Absence of pain (after endometriosis and childbirth)
  14. Josh: If you want, I'll tickle your back while you read.
  15. The mermaid Mom drew for me
  16. Noticing the lack of stress
  17. Tiny beads and crystals
  18. Cursive
  19. Oliver's obeying the first time
  20. Liking my handwriting on a particular day
  21. Figuring out what Oliver is telling us
  22. Reading the hope in my old blog posts
  23. Socks with stars on them
  24. The memory of swimming in Lake Norman with Dad, Michelle, and the boys
  25. Oliver's singing the months of the year

Friday, September 22, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 14.

  1. Bella Pilar's sparkly girls art
  2. Oliver's ability to take his medication
  3. Mild guacamole
  4. Bananas that open easily
  5. Sudden writing ideas
  6. Having blogs to express myself
  7. Knowing someone is reading my blogs
  8. My seahorse pillow with clear sequins
  9. Josh's shoulders
  10. The shift into autumn air
  11. Colorful office supplies
  12. Little House books
  13. My old American-Girl-fueled daydreams
  14. American Girl book illustrations
  15. Tasha Tudor illustrations, especially for A Little Princess
  16. Being someone's priority
  17. Doll and dollhouse accessories
  18. The Biltmore Christmas shop
  19. Black Lion store
  20. The old Catz CD-ROM game
  21. The memory of playing Myst with my dad
  22. Trading makeup with Mom
  23. Getting laundry out of the dryer when it's still warm
  24. The sound of coins clinking together
  25. Checking several items off my list at once

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 13.

  1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, one of my favorite books
  2. My favorite teen movie, Center Stage
  3. Mary Engelbreit art
  4. Josephine Wall art
  5. Susan Branch's little paintings
  6. Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies
  7. An E-mail reply from an old friend
  8. Rachel Weisz. She's just so lovely
  9. A couple of hours of just Josh and me
  10. The number 16, the date of both our anniversaries
  11. Sequins
  12. Rosettes
  13. Rhinestones, especially stars
  14. Mermaid notebooks from Michelle
  15. A snowflake scarf from Shane
  16. Oliver's astronaut pajamas
  17. People who just try to be nice
  18. My durable Cinderella bag
  19. Bruce's buying me coffee at Barnes
  20. Playing book games with Bruce
  21. Memories of my friendship with Nick
  22. Our apple slicer
  23. Generous stepparents
  24. Two toilets in one house!
  25. Three sinks in one house!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 12.

  1. Semicolons used correctly
  2. Drinking Sprite and eating Whoppers
  3. An expensive Uniball gold pen
  4. Wild wind during a walk
  5. Writing down a beautiful quotation from a book
  6. Having so much to tell someone
  7. 15 more minutes of sleep
  8. Remembering that I have a master's degree
  9. Pink and gold
  10. Eating movie popcorn with Bruce
  11. The purple eyeshadow Dad bought for me
  12. Memories of Irish step dancing
  13. Remembering our dear friend Kay
  14. Having a Target nearby
  15. Ordering a cheap book
  16. Someone's sort of dedicating a song to me
  17. My blue boots
  18. Oranges, peeled
  19. Seeing someone use something I gave him or her
  20. Pottery Barn Teen catalogs
  21. Betsey Johnson jewelry
  22. Oliver's occasional complete sentences
  23. The Twelve Dancing Princesses, my favorite fairy tale
  24. Songs with lyrics like contemporary poetry
  25. The reprinted fifth reader Mom and Dad gave me when I was ten

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 11.

  1. Fairy tale paper dolls
  2. Josh in jeans
  3. Sunshine in the guest room
  4. The sun hitting metallic gold ink
  5. Literacy
  6. Feeling better than yesterday
  7. Memories of "Little Christmas" with Melissa
  8. The continued delight of sparkling gel pens
  9. Slates and slate pencils
  10. My little red antique trunk from my great grandparents
  11. Browsing in an antique store with Mom
  12. Sunset Boulevard with Dad
  13. Gifts in the mail for no reason
  14. Dippin' Dots
  15. The sound of the dishwasher running--accomplishment!
  16. Slim Jims and sunflower seeds on car trips
  17. Reading instead of something else
  18. Non-ugly tissue box designs
  19. Feeling pretty
  20. Memories of my pink chair and canopy
  21. Alone time
  22. Writing while sitting up in bed
  23. Checking multiple items off a to-do list
  24. Writing a wish list
  25. Bits of alone time with Josh

Monday, September 18, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 10.

  1. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment
  2. A bucket full of crayons
  3. Hardcover books without their jackets
  4. The light pink lining in my purse
  5. Finding something I'd forgotten
  6. No homework!
  7. A seahorse-shaped bookmark
  8. Having kept a journal for more than half my life
  9. Oliver's eating an apple
  10. Big closets
  11. The new World Market that just opened here
  12. Oliver's doing the Hokey Pokey
  13. Tiny seahorse earrings
  14. Having a fireplace
  15. The choice and then feeling of forgiveness
  16. Leaving a big tip
  17. Photos in which I'm clearly happy
  18. Being with someone who loves my nose
  19. Time on my chaise
  20. 100-calorie packs of almonds
  21. Tattoos that are beautiful on other people
  22. Headbands that are beautiful on other people
  23. Mini shopping carts
  24. Oliver in his tiger pants
  25. Silver coins

Sunday, September 17, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 9.

  1. Cold raindrops on a hot evening
  2. The children's book Stellaluna
  3. The soothing safe green walls at Oliver's therapists'
  4. Newly cleaned-out drawers
  5. Finding a good purpose for a lovely decorative box
  6. My mom's saying a piece of clothing is "seasonless"
  7. Levenger catalogs
  8. The sun warm on my back
  9. Unidentified berries scattered on the road
  10. Quill pens
  11. Gift shops at museums
  12. Having the courage to talk to a salesperson
  13. Indoor plumbing!
  14. How much Oliver loved his toy vacuum
  15. How much Oliver loved his toy stroller
  16. Mom's cheerful voice when she answers the phone
  17. Crossing an item off a list
  18. Someone unexpectedly talking about my blog
  19. Seeing new journals at Barnes
  20. Cars that look like happy faces
  21. Talking to Michelle about Bates Motel
  22. Tiffany's blue
  23. Colorful sticky notes
  24. The pop and hiss of opening a soda can
  25. Baby lamb sounds

Saturday, September 16, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 8.

  1. The pop of pen caps
  2. When someone tells me, "No worries."
  3. Afternoon baths
  4. Tiny owls
  5. Sugar Gliders
  6. Gold polka dots
  7. Faux peacock feathers
  8. Finding an unopened package of pens
  9. Finished chores
  10. Rereading A Little Princess and The Secret Garden
  11. Falling asleep before the fire
  12. Pajamas for Christmas
  13. Going somewhere like Barnes and recognizing myself
  14. The memory of Christmas at Pansy Cottage
  15. Anticipating pull-overs and cardigans
  16. Having more than one favorite color
  17. Pictures of cute cupcakes (I need a book)
  18. Heart-shaped glitter
  19. Comments on my blog
  20. The collage of cards by my bed
  21. Josh's short day--a shared nap!
  22. Reading poetry aloud
  23. Josh's chin
  24. Encouraging E-mails from Bruce
  25. Ribbon bookmarks

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 7.

  1. Days of the week mats in hospital elevators
  2. AAA when a tire is flat
  3. Mom's crab dip
  4. The rubbery handles on my water bottles--easy to carry
  5. Cherry Sprite from Sonic
  6. Musical theatre--for me, it's like magic every time
  7. Amtrak daydreams
  8. The colorful drawer knobs on my awesome desk
  9. Surprising help from family members and friends
  10. A sheet of college-ruled paper
  11. Paper Source--the name does not express the shop's whimsy
  12. Papaya!--a gorgeous stationery and accessories company
  13. Tiny treasures in my Christmas stocking--one of the best bits of the year
  14. Someone's saying, "I'll  take care of it."
  15. My precious pink baby blanket, surprisingly sturdy all these years
  16. James Taylor's singing, "River."
  17. Composition books in their many forms
  18. Ice in a beverage
  19. People who are kind on the phone
  20. The fact that I've never wanted to try substances
  21. Oliver's being verbal
  22. Egg salad sandwiches
  23. Front-row seats to Phantom
  24. Grace
  25. Blue markers

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 6.

  1. Rosebuds
  2. Josh's cursive
  3. The snowflake dishes Melissa gave me when I was eighteen
  4. The new tiny freckles around Oliver's nose
  5. Spotting Disney Princess items in stores
  6. Wild violets popping up in the grass
  7. Amy Brown's fairy art--a joyous teenage discovery
  8. The Dancing Moon shop in Boone
  9. Pentel metallic gel pens
  10. Gelly Roll Stardust pens
  11. The fox dress socks I gave to Josh
  12. The fun of choosing and giving gifts
  13. Cinnamon mints
  14. Cinnamon floss
  15. Fringe journals
  16. Honey-scented bubble bath
  17. Honey on warm, buttered biscuits
  18. Cracker Barrel with Mom
  19. TGI Fridays with Bruce
  20. MST3K with Josh
  21. My dad's taping my childhood plays (not that I want to watch them!)
  22. The overpowering scent of cinnamon in stores near the holidays
  23. The word wonder
  24. The word delight. The words taste like what they mean.
  25. Bubbles

Monday, September 11, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 5.

  1. Bubble bath!
  2. Bath bombs, especially those with rings inside!
  3. Unicorn and mermaid trends
  4. The thrill of completing a journal
  5. GoodReads
  6. Discovering that one of my favorite authors has a new book out
  7. The words on my duvet cover: Hope, Peace, Love, Imagine, Joy...
  8. My princess-y bed-white metal with fancy curling
  9. My pink coasters with Audrey Hepburn quotations on them
  10. My inhaler
  11. Uplifting Christmas carols
  12. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"--my favorite carol
  13. My cousins. They're turning out so cool.
  14. Snowflake ornaments
  15. Price stickers that peel off easily
  16. Jimmy Fallon. I love his laugh.
  17. Back tickles from Josh
  18. Oliver's singing songs we've listened to together
  19. Mom's washing my hair after hair dye. Soothing.
  20. Remembering to wear one of my necklaces
  21. The pink velvet seats at the Peace theatre
  22. A kiss on the inside of my wrist
  23. Dangerous Angels, probably my favorite book
  24. Lotion on itchy-dry skin
  25. Checking off a book on GoodReads for all to see!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 4.

  1. The sensation of a clean face
  2. Finding a stray bit of glitter
  3. Hot pink metallic eyeliner
  4. Oliver's team: doctors, technician, teachers, and therapists
  5. Dark denim
  6. Writing in a journal and finding a sticker I haven't had for years
  7. New release bays at libraries
  8. Changing the calendar page
  9. A sudden comment from a Borders friend
  10. The book awareness from working at a bookstore
  11. Memories of stick-on earrings
  12. Sonic ice
  13. Color names--crayons, nail polish, eyeshadow, lipstick...
  14. Memories of tiny blue-tailed lizards
  15. Falling into a reading flow state
  16. Teal file folders and purple hanging folders
  17. Cherry Sprite at Sonic
  18. Having an abundance of blankets
  19. Making my therapist laugh
  20. Writing on a white board with a royal blue marker
  21. Showing silly videos to Josh
  22. Ice and water dispensers on fridges. They're like magic!
  23. A book so good that I look forward to time with it
  24. Seahorses!
  25. Holding hands

Friday, September 8, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 3.

  1. Thunder--when I'm indoors
  2. The fragments of color in a faux opal
  3. Good morning texts from Bruce every day
  4. Colorful cardstock paper
  5. Water on my neck and arms after a walk
  6. Oliver's muttering while he eats
  7. Cold water from the fridge in the middle of the night
  8. Josh's saying, "That's fantastic," when something's really funny
  9. Michael Crawford's voice
  10. Billy Joel's voice
  11. Kevin Spacey in general
  12. Oliver's arranging his shoes and socks just so after taking them off
  13. The memorable texture of my dearest friend Keely's hair
  14. Smelling like bubble bath
  15. Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan--perfect!
  16. A burning scented candle
  17. Having everything in my Google calendar
  18. Pink polka dots
  19. Having a husband who is a super reader (even if I envy him)
  20. Easy left turns--real gifts!
  21. Looking at journals at Barnes
  22. Peter Pauper Press journals
  23. Mermaid stickers
  24. Magic Shell
  25. Red and pink hearts

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 2.

  1. Door knockers
  2. Pretty skeleton keys
  3. Susan Branch's handwriting
  4. Watermelon, a newly discovered joy
  5. Sonic's ice
  6. A vanilla milkshake
  7. My mint green Shabby Chic blanket
  8. Oliver sitting in his school chair with his coloring sheet
  9. Strangers' telling us we're such a cute family
  10. Oliver's slowly spelling his name
  11. Jeans that fit
  12. My Madame Alexander Cinderella doll from Mom
  13. Flowers at the grocery store
  14. "Game of Jones"
  15. Ava Ryan (tiny comedian)
  16. Pancakes with pecans or walnuts
  17. Crab rangoons
  18. Season theatre tickets
  19. Re-watching favorite movies with a friend
  20. Watching Oliver put together a puzzle
  21. Reading a children's book I missed
  22. Amazon recommendations
  23. Baby ducks in our pond
  24. Foaming  hand soap
  25. Testing eyeshadow and liner on my wrist

Monday, September 4, 2017

1,000 Joys: Part 1

I'm reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This is the first book I've been able to read in weeks (okay, months). It's given me new thoughts about the power of gratitude. The author, over time, made a list of 1,000 gifts in her journal. I've decided to try that too, but I'm calling my list "1,000 Joys." I don't know how long it will take me, and I'm sure I'll have repetitions. I'm going to keep the list in my journal and then share it with you. Here's Part 1:
  1. The approach of fall
  2. The blue knit hat that my mom made for me
  3. The black pen that has white ends like a magician's wand
  4. Foxberry Road and other pretty street names I pass
  5. Inks, jewel-like in glass bottles
  6. Puff tissue with lotion
  7. Red seedless grapes
  8. Our washer and dryer--miraculous!
  9. Oliver's singing the chorus of "Just Another Day" from Next to Normal
  10. Oliver's singing anything
  11. Cedar wood
  12. My big pink water bottle
  13. Pretty pouches full of pens
  14. The egret that visits our pond
  15. Turtles sunning themselves
  16. Sesame Street and muppets, which make both my boys happy
  17. Stretchy pants
  18. Sunshine naps
  19. Oliver's teacher's saying, "He had a good day!"
  20. A big cobb salad with lots of avocado
  21. Twice-baked potatoes
  22. Falling asleep right when I'm sleepy
  23. Sticky flags with book characters on them
  24. Lip gloss that sparkles
  25. My faux lavender rose in a glass Dr. Pepper bottle

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Quiet Faith.

I don't write about this to push my beliefs on anyone. I write it because some people have been curious and because I like to write about all aspects of myself.

I don't talk much about my faith. But I think most of the people who know me know it. I remember Facebook asking me about my religious views; I wrote the only words that made sense to me: I can't help but believe.

As a child, around ten, I had deep doubts. Why should I believe all this? Because my mother did? Because almost everyone I knew did? That wasn't enough for me.

The feeling of faith didn't come. So like love, I made a choice. I chose to believe. Blindly. Without understanding all the questions, contradictions, and terrifying Biblical stories. Without believing myself worthy of such a truth as a loving God. Without knowing what I was getting myself into.

And as I stumbled forward, God stepped toward me. At the moment of my baptism in a church camp swimming pool, I felt the impossible peace of the Holy Spirit, and a miracle happened: God transformed my faith. I believe He blessed me with a child's faith-natural, effortless trust. I think that perhaps God gave me this because He knew how sick I would be, and He knew I would need a faith that wouldn't budge.

In Les Miserables, Jean Valjean sings, "My soul belongs to God; I know I made that bargain long ago." For me, it's that simple.

I don't go to church. Even visiting the church I grew up in is a dreadful ordeal (solely due to the shape of my brain). I'm married to an atheist. I don't read the Bible regularly, but its words fall like crystals through the maze of my mind every day.

Maybe God will judge me for these things; I don't know. My mind is so often like an open diary--a prayer. He has brought me comfort through sorrows I couldn't have imagined. He's saved me in terrible struggles. And He accepts my faith, simple as it is.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Kind of Prayer.

I feel perplexed and wordless. But I'd rather say the wrong thing than say nothing.

As a person with panic disorder, I live in great fear every day. I dread what many or most barely notice. And I know how fear cripples my ability to love.

Fear coupled with hate breeds cruelty, violence, and evil. This can splatter far beyond the actual objects of the fear and hate. It can cover everything.

Every person needs to acknowledge his or her fear. His or her hate.

Love has got to be stronger than hate.

Love has got to be bigger than fear.

Love coupled with kindness creates hope.

We need hope desperately.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What I Can Look Forward To.

I'm not feeling my best. Actually, my feelings are ominous. I only know a few ways to combat that, and one is happy anticipation. So what can I look forward to?
  • The mail. It comes almost every day, and even though it's mostly bills and EOBs, I look forward to it. I just recently got a surprise gift in the mail!
  • Time with Josh on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Josh doesn't go to the office every day in the summer, and Oliver goes to ABA (for autism treatment). We might run errands, exercise together, or just nap.
  • The next book. I have so many great books waiting for me. Of course, I have to finish the current book.
  • Seeing family. I try to see my family once a month or so. I can always look forward to so much laughter.
  • Putting on makeup. I do this almost every day, and as long as I'm not too rushed, it's fun. I play around with colors and mix older products with newer ones. I still have samples I've not yet tried.
  • Using my current favorite pen. It's soft and black with a gold clip and a white end that makes it look like a magician's wand. The tip is almost needle thin. I write with it daily.
What do you look forward to when you're in a thick gloom or worse?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Beauty Wish List.

Since I was 16 (half my life!), I've always had a big beauty wish list. I don't know if any shopping is as fun as shopping for makeup. I love it alone and with a companion. I love it in a bright Ulta or a shadowy Sephora. I love the colors and sparks that catch my eye. I love swatching the colors on my wrist, seeing which ones really sparkle like they do in the pan and which ones last on my skin. I'm not doing much shopping these days, but these items are at the top of my wish list.

1. Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Eye Shadow Trio in Peace. These sea glass shades stun me, and they all glitter or glimmer. I have trouble finding blues that shimmer and suit me. But these are perfect. I received a sample of Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Pink, and I've been paying attention to Bobbi Brown ever since. Funny, I used to think she was too grown-up for me! But I'm suddenly 32, and she has a lot of the glitter I love.

2. Too Faced Glitter Bomb Eyeshadow Collection. I like every color! When does that happen? The palette has plenty of pinks, which I'm loving right now, and the sea foam shade with the blue glitter is gorgeous. I'm so glad to see that sparkles are coming back. I can't wait to play with this at Ulta or our mini Sephora in J. C. Penny's. By the way, Too Faced is my second favorite beauty brand (after Urban Decay).

3. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Cruel. This shimmery red will complete my Snow White look! And I love the shiny metal tube. I love UB for continuing with shimmers and metallics despite the matte trend (though UD certainly does matte too!).

4. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Bloom. This is a newish pink shade I want to try. Sugar Lip is amazing--the perfect blend of lip balm and lipstick. I've gotten Mom hooked on it too. I think we both discovered it when two mini balms were the birthday gift from Sephora. The rosy metal tubes are so fancy. At $24, though, I won't be buying Sugar any time soon!

5. Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Stick Eyeshadow in Frannie 408 (white shimmer),
6. Shoshanna 414 (teal shimmer), and
7. On the Verge 412 (grape shimmer). I fell hard for Marc Jacobs Beauty when I tested his Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in (Luna)Tic 64 on my wrist. The color, shimmer, and texture were just perfect. I think I thought I wasn't good enough for Marc Jacobs. Psssh. And right now, I'm so into crayon or stick eyeshadow, so these are dreamy.

8. Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eye Shadow in Silver Lilac,
9. Ballet Pink, and
10. Sunlight. I have a custom Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palette with space for six shadows. The palette currently holds one! It's a pretty purple shimmer, and I'd love to give it some sparkly friends.

11. LORAC's Beauty and the Beast Cheek Palette and
12. Beauty and the Beast PRO Eyeshadow Palette. I don't need to tell you why these are so awesome. I was so happy to see them; I'm still mourning the death of the Disney-Sephora collaboration. The packaging here is lovely, and I love the variety. If I had to choose between these two, surprisingly, I would pick the cheek palette. I'd use the colors for blush and for eyeshadow. I've never had anything by LORAC.

13. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Spandex (dark blue),
14. AMP (light blue), and
15. Junkshow (hot pink). I have this in ACDC (purple). It's fun to use on its own but also looks good over a matte black eyeliner. I love the Cinderella blue (AMP) especially.

Those top the list! What kinds of wish lists are you hiding?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Loving What I Have.

For much of our marriage, Josh and I have been broke. I have plenty of memories of more prosperous points. One of my favorites is of eating take-out Panera every Sunday on our huge balcony in Charlotte. I remember the fun of shopping for work clothes at Loft with my mom and of buying journals wherever I found special ones. Right now, we're leveled because I'm too sick (or would quickly become too sick) to work, Josh can't find supplementary work (and he's working hard already), we all have hundreds of dollars in prescription and doctor copays, Oliver is starting new autism treatment, and more.

I love shopping. To me, it's more like curating areas of my life. I love choosing writing tools and makeup especially. I'm not fixated on clothes or furniture or home goods right now, though I've certainly been there with manic intensity (literally bipolar).

So. I have to focus more on loving what I already have. Only when I'm in a blaze of mania am I likely to buy something I won't love forever. Even then, it's rare. I have a lot of objects, but they are specific to me, chosen for my life or treasured as gifts. They help me be who I am and want to be, or they remind me of that.

I have writing tools to last a lifetime. I have enough journals and pens to last, though special tools will still go on my wish lists. Some of the journals are incredibly beautiful, and most have pages I've adorned with stickers, an easy way to add a little personalized beauty and magic. I have a ton of pens, and I use them. I alternate colors and match them to the journal's cover art.

I also have a lot of makeup. I've loved eye makeup for many years, but I've more recently been interested in lipstick too. Applying makeup is a reliably fun part of my day. Right now, I'm trying to create a different look every time I wear makeup--it helps me rediscover and make good use of what I have. Still, I have a wish list for makeup too, of course! I may even share it with you.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful.

  • Jeans that fit. Even if I don't like the size I need.
  • Unexpected glitter on my skin, such as finding sparkles on my hands after using a glitter gel pen.
  • Dancing, even if I'm just playing around at home.
  • Jewelry. Earrings and necklaces are another way to express my style, and they make me feel confident. Out in the world, I get more compliments on my jewelry than anything else.
  • Displaying photos of myself when I was truly happy. I have one in my living room. It reminds me of how capable I am of happiness and how pretty that happiness can be. It's also just a great photo of Oliver and me, so I see it when I visit family too.
  • Being told I'm beautiful. As I've said, I get this from two men every day and on sweet rare occasions from others. People do need to be told they look great; I need to remember that.
  • Swimming. I feel fluid and bright in the water.
  • Hearing that I'm graceful. A few people have said this (when I was 12, 20...), and it's one of the best compliments.
  • Wearing pink. Pink seems to do what even makeup can't. I feel aglow when I wear certain shades of pink.
  • Wearing rings. Someone complimented my hands when I was 14, and I've never forgotten it. I love adding sparkle to my hands--rings catch the light and adorn my hands, which are precious tools without which I couldn't turn a page.
  • Writing by hand. The pose and movement feel lovely, and I know I must glimmer when I'm deep in one of the actions I love most.
  • Having Good Mother Moments. A good mother is always beautiful. I feel a little of that beauty when I know I'm effectively guiding Oliver or showing him love.
  • Getting eye contact from Oliver. Occasionally, he will smile, tilt his head, and gaze into my eyes for several seconds. I drop everything and feel like I must have wings.
  • Wearing lipstick. I went years without caring for lipstick, but now, I'm enjoying it, especially if it sparkles. I've even started using lip liner! I like having some control over the face I show each day.
  • Wearing eye makeup. I like my green eyes, and I like framing them. It's a way to play and express myself.
  • Good leave-in conditioner. My hair is naturally unruly and tangled. But if it's trimmed and shiny and dark, I feel like Snow White.
  • Embracing my skin. I'm quite pale, but I enjoy the contrast with my hair.
  • Complimenting others. When I notice and comment on others' appearance, for some reason, I feel pretty too.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Current Emergencies.

  • I'm nearly out of mermaid stickers.
  • I don't have enough store credit to buy the mermaid journals at 2nd and Charles.
  • My birthday has passed, and I must live without eating carrot cake twice a day.
  • I can't buy all the sparkly makeup in the world (especially this).
  • I'm not automatically getting thin.
  • I won't see Phantom until March.
  • My black eyeliner is transferring.
  • The Phantom refuses to sing to me through the mirror on my door.
  • Terrence Mann never wrote me back.
  • The Handmaid's Tale is over. Until NEXT YEAR.
  • Rain has soaked the ankles of my jeans. Shudder.
  • I can't find my Beauty and the Beast sweatshirt (edit: Josh found it).
  • I won't be going to Disney World any time soon.
  • Mail doesn't come on Sundays. Mail is the original Chick Fil-A.
  • I look forward to mail, and then, it's bills.
  • I'm terrible at painting my nails.
  • I can't say essential words like giraffe, kimono, and mischievous.