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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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last Day of 31.

Every year on the day before my birthday, I take some time to write about or at least ponder all that I've done in the previous year. I feel like I should earn the next year. Thirty-one has not been an easy year, so I'm going to do my best with this.
  • I've adjusted to being a stay-at-home mother--not the best one, but a functional one.
  • I spent the entire year trying to get Oliver set up in ABA therapy. And tomorrow, on my birthday, Oliver will meet his own ABA technician who will work with him one-on-one for 20 hours a week.
  • I got Oliver into pre-Kindergarten--much paperwork and plenty of meetings (with help from Mom).
  • I recovered from my first broken bone.
  • I embraced stability when I had it and didn't despair when I lost it. I'm scraping along.
  • I watched my blog exceed 100,000 views.
  • I read 39 books.
My list is usually much longer, but some of these are especially impactful or took an especially long time. So, do you think that's enough?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Unrealistic Wish List!

  • Always-swift reading ability.
  • A box of each Sunburst Metallic Gel pen color.
  • A sudden ability to play the piano.
  • A sudden ability to play the bass guitar (or at least the bass for "Money for Nothing").
  • A large collection of all the discontinued Dark Stardust Gelly Roll pens.
  • A long visit to English with lots of walking about.
  • Perfect pronunciation.
  • A night or two alone with Josh in a fancy hotel.
  • A week at Disney World with a happy Oliver (and money for souvenirs!).
  • Quick travel to visit Melissa.
  • All the books on my GoodReads want-to-read list.
  • Perfectly painted nails at all times with no action or effort from me.
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries always in  my fridge.
  • Always having room (and spare calories) for dessert.
  • A small collection of 10-inch Cisette Madame Alexander dolls.
  • Blue Moon Cafe's chocolate and brie croissant paninis always available.
  • Clothes that put themselves away (by color!).
  • Regular massages with oils that don't give me a rash.
  • Pretty, practical storage for all my jewelry.
  • To read a magazine every day and then donate it (unless it's really special, of course).
  • Frequent roller skating.
  • Never needing to wake up before 7.
  • Being in control of when I fall asleep.
  • A sugar glider.
  • Seahorses...and someone to take care of them.
  • A collage in my room of all Bella Pilar's greeting cards.
  • Endless Target gift cards.
  • Spreadable brie any time (it's often out of stock).
  • A sudden appreciation of hot and cold tea.
  • Tickets to Phantom  in surrounding cities.
  • Precise makeup application with my own flair every time.
  • Hair that stays dyed and trimmed.
  • Lollia bubble baths.
  • That Bruce and I will always live near each other.
  • A full-size Sephora in our city.
  • A Paper Source in our city.
  • A Papyrus in our city.
  • Reaching and maintaining my good weight.
  • Unlimited funds to buy other people gifts.
  • An annual mountain trip with Keely.
  • Easy, present storage of my journals.
  • Free access to beauty and stationery subscription boxes.
  • The return of the faux marble pens I loved in 6th grade.
  • The sudden ability to play the clarinet.
  • The ability to see a whole room in one color.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Kind of Girl.

I want to be the kind of girl who
  • Sips hot tea while watching the sunrise.
  • Feels pretty every day.
  • Wears makeup just for fun even if staying home.
  • Buys a book and immediately reads it.
  • Always uses Love stamps.
  • Uses wax and a seal.
  • Plays piano and clarinet.
  • Writes letters every week.
  • Forgives everyone, even if she doesn't reinstate everyone.
  • Doesn't ever find books intimidating.
  • Always knows when to trust and when to question.
  • Is perfectly slender but not too thin.
  • Is a very patient mother.
  • Has better instincts and capabilities if someone needs help.
  • Is good at stuffing maximum meaning into every minute, especially when alone.
  • Isn't afraid of lighting a match.
  • Likes her own feet.
  • Isn't afraid of simple conversations.
  • Speaks French. Why not?
  • Is good at painting her own nails.
  • Is skilled at appropriate discipline.
  • Is not afraid of Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Can trust her own mind.
  • Always finds time to read and write.
  • Walks gracefully without losing her balance.
  • Can earn a living by reviewing notebooks/journals and writing utensils.
  • Sings a little, draws a little...a whole sampling of talents.
  • Likes coffee and other hot beverages.
  • Still writes poetry and stories.
  • Feels comfortable with dogs.
  • Keeps up with her blogs!
  • Is more girl than woman but knows how to be both.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Best Bits of Christmas Songs.

Some Christmas songs are so joyful and hopeful that I want to keep them with me all the time. These are two of my favorite lyrics.

"Tidings of comfort and joy." I feel I could wrap these words around me like a fleecy coat. Do I pay attention to such tidings? Do I let myself rest in comfort and joy? Often, I don't. I don't accept comfort when people or circumstances offer it. I back away from joy, perhaps because I'm afraid of losing it. But these lyrics are so hopeful that they remind me to let comfort and joy wash over me.

"All is calm; all is bright." I gave this to one of my journals as a title. I have loved these words for so long. I waited too long to buy a Pottery Barn pillow with these words in chalkboard style on the cover. Calm and bright are so perfect. That's how I want to be. That's how I want to see the world--not just safe but thriving. That's how I want to see myself. Not knowing these were favorite lyrics, Bruce gave me a black box with these words in gold letters and gold polka dots. It's on my nightstand where I see it night and day.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Favorite Objects.

Of course, this is a just a sampling, and it's in no particular order.
  • A pouch my mom made for me. It's purple with a pale pink zipper and tiny fairies! I use it for the pens I'm using in my journal. Right now, it's full of blue, gold, and purple.
  • My blanket. I don't know where it came from, but I've had it since I was a baby. I'm still attached to it, and I sleep with it under my head.
  • My current journal. I form an attachment to the journal I'm using. It's full of my thoughts, serious and trivial. It travels with me.
  • A beautiful charm necklace my mother made for me. My favorite things seem to have come to protect or encourage me--snowflakes, seahorses, fairies, words themselves.
  • My past journals. In a way, these are my life's work. I worry about what will happen to them when I die. They are starting to grow past their boundaries on my shelf. My encapsulate whole seasons and such details of my life.
  • A rhinestone Tinkerbell necklace. Josh bought it for me on one of the darkest days of my life. Now, it reassures me that I can be okay.
  • My fountain pens. They are beautiful, amazing. I wanted one so much as a child. To satisfy that child, I have a white pen and a hot pink one. 
  • My music on Spotify. It helps me when I do chores and get ready.
  • My makeup. It gives me something to play with every day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Exceptional Friends.

I've not had a great many close friends in my life, but many of them have been amazing and still are.

The Tennessee girls (Keely, Kendall, Leah, Tracy) and I share so many precious and ridiculous memories. "Murder in the dark" and a winking card game come to mind. We have so many laugh-until-you-hurt slumber parties. We went to church camp together. They often embraced my obsessions and let me direct wild plays. We all cried the last night I saw them before moving out of state.

Harmony was older than us, but boy did she and I have fun. Riding a Wave Runner, jumping into the lake, crawling around in various forts in the attic, under the stairs, and under the house. We played hide and seek in the dark. She always made me feel loved.

Keely specifically was so clearly my best friend from birth that it seemed predestined. She was there, in person or on the phone, for most of my growing-up experiences. She (along with my mother) was my original definition of beauty.

Melissa and I met when we were 14. We became friends immediately. So many notes, letters, chicken sandwiches, shopping trips, and shared secrets. We have walked through such terrible things together. And we've shared so much laughter and outrageous gift giving. We often kept each other going.

And I'm so blessed now to have a relatively new friend who lives in the complex next door. Bruce and I met at work, and we carpooled for a long time. He has read books about my illness to help him understand and know what to do. We've read books together--a tiny book club. He has helped me sand down the edges of my most painful memories. We laugh so much that Josh says we'll get kicked out of stores. Bruce takes an interest in all I do. I know I could trust him with the worst.

I've been so lucky to have these precious friends.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Delight: February and March.

Delight is my word of the year. Am I seeking it enough? Creating it enough? Giving it to others enough? Absorbing it and celebrating it enough? I hope so, but I'm sure I can do more. Here are some tastes of delight from the past month.
  • Gold pens that are expensive but write forever.
  • Using trendy planner stickers in my journal.
  • Only need 5 out of my 20 Amazon subscriptions.
  • Looking at an entire magazine. More than one!
  • A new "how to be French" book--my guilty pleasure. Some are wonderful; some are terrible.
  • Drinking iced mocha in the evening.
  • Getting Oliver to eat broccoli (he loves it!).
  • So many sticky flags that are characters from books (Thanks, Bruce).
  • Watching Oliver dance.
  • Oliver's singing Tears for Fears in the bathtub.
  • Buying a birthday gift for my mom.
  • Josh found vanilla Dippin Dots at the nearby gas station. He came home with 5 pouches.
  • Finding Rags and Bones (fairy tale retellings) for $2.50.
  • Looking at books with Bruce.
  • Taking photos of Josh and Oliver cuddling in their sleep.
  • Putting stickers in a teal journal that says, "She leaves a little sparkle everywhere she goes."
  • Thinking about what Josh and I will do during his spring break. which will give us time alone at home while Oliver is at school.
  • Asking for a love note and getting one.
  • Not being too lay to go to the gym with Josh.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Joy and Hope.

Where joy is, hope is nearby.

I remember being 9 or 10 years old and feeling scared and guilty about the fact that I was not joyful. I was shy and sullen without my team of friends and sometimes even with them. I decorated a binder with the theme of joy. I wrote down scriptures, hymn lyrics, and sermon notes related to joy. I meditated on these, and I prayed.

What was wrong with me? I felt happy when I played and sang to showtunes endlessly. I felt a tremendous energy when I bossed my friends into putting on plays and lip-sync musicals. Nothing really turned off the deep-seated, quiet terror that something was wrong with me, that I was somehow bad or broken.

I learned to cling to joy as I grew up. The fear in me was still present but was not a stomach-crushing boulder. I fell in love with Irish step dance after seeing Riverdance with my friend Kendall. I took lessons and competed for 3 years. I felt joy--using my energy well, discovering a talent.

This gave me hope--joy could exist for me, safe places existed, and safe people existed and could perhaps handle the emotional and mental weight of me. I could be or become okay.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I'm Looking forward To...

  • Giving Mom her birthday gift. I love giving people presents. Mom and I have great fun exchanging gifts.
  • Seeing Beauty and the Beast with Mom and maybe getting McDonald's spicy Coke and DP afterward. Eh, Mama?
  • My next bath.
  • Catching up to my reading goal pace. I will make it happen!
  • Reading more of Tell the Wolves I'm Home.
  • Reading a magazine I got on the evolution of the Beauty and the Beast tale.
  • Seeing The Bodyguard in Durham.
  • Seeing Phantom for the sixth time next year.
  • Spending next week with Josh--he's on spring break, but Oliver will be in school!
  • Having my hair dyed black again.
  • Watching Documentary Now and the recent episodes of Bates Motel.
  • Some kind of traveling.
  • Magic time to read all my magazines.
  • New books from Francesca Lia Block, Marisa de los Santos, Amy Gerstler, Sarah Addison Allen, Jennifer McMahon, and others.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Relationship with Green.

I don't remember much about my relationship with green while I was growing up. Maybe it reminds me of Girl Scouts. I also remember a forest green knit skirt and matching top. It made me feel grown up. From ages 12 to 15, I was a competitive Irish step dancer, so I formed a connection with kelly green especially.

Green didn't really make my list of potential favorite colors. The shift may have happened when I was an older teenager, and my mom bought a gorgeous, silky green button-down top. It was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen. She let me wear it for my public reading for my MFA, and it boosted my confidence. Fairly recently, she gave me the shirt. Amazing. I need to wear it to the theatre.

Anyway, I was a purple girl, Mom was a pink girl, but we both fell in love with green. When I started teaching, I had to figure out what to wear and how to wear it. I had almost nothing that was work-appropriate, so Mom and I often tried on clothes together at Loft. We found this beautiful emerald short-sleeved cardigan and loved it so much that we each bought one.

We also found a gorgeous moss green crushed velvet jacket, which Mom said I deserved. When Mom thinks I deserve something, I take it seriously.

Green makes me feel awake and alive. It empowers me, whether it's a shirt, a pen, or some awesome green eye makeup.

Monday, March 6, 2017

More about Pink.

I wrote about pink recently, but I want to write some more about it.

I can see more of it around the house today. Two finished journals on the ottoman, one with a lollipop tree and one with hearts. The back of my phone case. My baby pink coat on a hook. A pink legal pad with endless to-do lists. The back of an inspirational pillow. A dish towel with a bead-sprinkled cupcake on it. A board book called I Like Myself.

I don't own a lot of pink clothes and such, but they always make me feel pretty. It's a confidence boost, and I feel more serene. I've probably written about the awesome hot pink ombre pants I had as a high school junior.

Actually, our bathroom is all pink and purple polka dots. Josh is such a good sport. However, he says he likes the way I decorate.

Levenger used to make Pinkly, a gorgeous hot pink ink. It shone in a glass bottle. Luckily, I still have some.

Pink reminds me of my mom, who has always loved pink. I think of her roses and of Aurora, her favorite princess, in her magical pink-blue dress.

So far, I have resisted a beautiful pink one piece from Old Navy. I did not, however, resist the Sephora brand Diamond Eyeliner, which is black with pink glitter. Perfect.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Times I've Felt Most Loved Part I.

This is just a small selection.
  • My dad took me to see Phantom when I was 8. I had been obsessed with it. He validated and participated in that Phantom (and theatre in general) obsession.
  • My parents gave me tickets to Phantom (I promise these aren't all about Phantom) for my...22nd birthday. Mom even decorated a gift bag with a still from the show and lots of black and silver ribbons. I have that pinned to the wall by my bed.
  • My dad sent me the song "Comfort You" by Erick Baker. The lyrics show acceptance and validation for a daughter's mental or emotional struggles.
  • My mom told me about Edwin McCain's song "I Want It All," which also made me feel accepted and valuable. I feel better every time I hear it.
  • A high school teacher seemed geniunely sad that I was switching schools. He said, "We haven't hurt you. We've helped you." Now, it makes me wonder what he noticed. He also wrote great recommendations for me. He described me as introspective, a kind word to sum up my personality and some of my flaws. 
  • Bruce told me about Alanis Morisette's song "Guardian." Noticing a pattern? I'll write more about these kinds of songs soon. 
  • When I was 15, I had a terrible break-up aftermath issue, and my friend Jamie stayed up with me as I cried for hours.
  • Josh encourages me all the time. He always seems happy and even surprised to see me, even if I were just right around the corner.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Unlimited Time and Funds.

Let's go ahead and add unlimited courage. Now, what might I do?
  • Earn my M.A. in children's literature
  • Take several classes in Egyptian art and culture
  • Join regional theatre, even for silent roles
  • Follow a Phantom of the Opera tour and explore the cities
  • Take a writing class with Francesca Lia Block
  • But a set of high-quality, matching white bookcases
  • Make collages again and put them on etsy. 
  • Join all kinds of subscription boxes
  • Pay someone to paint my nails properly with my polish (I have a good collection)
  • Visit all my old friends in Nashville at least once a year
  • Expand my Madame Alexander doll collection just a bit
  • Focus on writing stories and then sending them out--see what happens! I'd do it like a day job
  • Send care packages regularly to people I love
  • Try a support group
  • See more ballet
  • Get a texture treatment for large, lazy curls
  • Have seahorses and someone to take proper care of them
  • Take courses in handwriting analysis
  • Take Keely and Melissa on some kind of road trip
  • Go to shows in Vegas with Bruce
  • Get all my teeth fixed up and sparkly white
  • Pay everything off--student loans, medical bills, etc.
  • Always be in a creative writing class or group

Friday, February 17, 2017

Don't Be Afraid of a Book.

This isn't so much about my giving you advice and a challenge. It's more like my coaching myself.

My husband will pick up any giant old first edition from the library at the college where he teaches. He never questions his strength as a reader. I do think that some of this comes from his wide interests--the books do keep his attention.

But if a book seems too long or dense, I usually don't give it a chance to fascinate me. I have several partly-read books in GoodReads limbo because putting the books down completely would feel like failure.

Recently, I spent forever on one book--I couldn't take the style. But now, I'm about 3/4 through it, and it was a gift. I need to learn to push through if I insist on finishing a difficult book.

I'm 4 books behind on my reading goal! But I can overcome that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sparkle.

Right now, on little jewelry dishes and big wooden, painted signs, I see words about sparkling---leave some sparkle behind, don't let anyone dull it...I wonder why.

Often, when people have looked me in the face, they have commented on glitter around my eyes and falling to my cheeks as if a craft session went wrong. They don't exactly look happy when I say it's on purpose, but they seem to change gears in their thinking. So I do think something as minor as makeup can influence people. It influences me too--I look sparkly, and I start to feel sparkly too.

Early Francesca Lia Block books make me sparkle inside--all those spun-sugar details and mind-opening ideas carried inside the characters.... They change my approach to the world.

I think laughter makes me sparkle too. And the people to whom I'm closest are hilarious.

Even blogging brings out some shimmer. I focus, often on something beautiful or life-sustaining. And I remember why I want to be here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seeing and Creating Symbolism.

When I taught, I often discussed symbolism. I told my students that symbolism wasn't just something they had to dig for in a literature paper. I talked about how they recognize, whether consciously or not, symbols in their daily lives both in the moment and in later reflection. We talked about simple objects, such as a wedding band, and how the meaning is probably different for each of us when we go deeper.

We use symbols to remind ourselves and show others who we are. I want as much meaning or memory as possible in whatever I surround myself with.

My parents gave me a beautiful ring for my graduation with my MFA. To me, the ring didn't just represent their love for me. It showed me that they accepted and supported my passion for writing, that they were proud of it.

The symbols around us can change our lives in so many ways.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What I'd Take Home to Mars.

Two movies I've loved lately are Passengers and The Space between Us. In the latter, a handful of astronauts go to Mars to live. I guess new supplies and people would arrive, but that would be after months or years. So, assuming obvious necessary items would be in place, what would I bring or request? I have to imagine it as if I'm single and childless--it's terrible otherwise. Some items won't be realistic, but just go with me.
  • Hair ties
  • Sticky flags
  • Access to favorite movies
  • Lots of working writing utensils
  • Fresh Sugar lip balms
  • Fun makeup, depending on gravity
  • My blanket, of course
  • Some beautiful silk flowers: violets, mini daffodils, mini tulips, white and pink roses
  • My Disney graphic tees for PJs
  • Natalie Goldberg books
  • Francesca Lia Block books
  • Fleece pants
  • Nail polish for hidden toes
  • Some pretty postcards for my quarters
  • A pretty calendar--Papaya, Susan Branch, K. Y. Craft...
  • My most beautiful journals--plenty of them. The finished journals would have a safe home on Earth.
  • A good glasses-cleaning cloth
  • Cute socks
  • The ultimate hair brush
  • Letters from people I love--I'd ask in advance.
  • My Ariel jacket
  • Access to so many books, some of them concrete
  • My Madame Alexander Cinderella doll
  • Icebreakers Cinnamon Mints
  • A few of my most beautiful fairy tale books
  • Laminated photos
  • Puffs with lotion
Most of the items I chose because they would help me remember my self and feel like myself, if only for a little bit of time.

What's on your list?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

So Much Joy.

I get so much joy out of

  • The faux opal and silver ring that came out of a bath bomb.
  • Cheap ballpoints that write beautifully.
  • Anyone telling me that Josh and I are doing well with Oliver. We need all the encouragement we can get.
  • Eye contact and hugs with both arms from Oliver.
  • Forgetting how silly my laugh can sound.
  • A kind word about my blogs from someone I never would have expected the posts.
  • Liking every nail polish in the set.
  • One of my parents saying or writing, "I'm proud of you."
  • Putting on sweats after a cold swim. 
  • Finding out that my brother liked the book I sent him for his birthday.
  • Figuring out what to wear to a show.
  • Just cinnamon toast for dinner.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Delight! in January and February.

Delight is my word for 2017. So I want to check in and make sure I'm seeking, creating, and noticing it. Here's a small list of delights:
  • Writing in a journal with hearts all over the cover. 
  • Glitter stickers that make a delightful mess. 
  • A large, golden Beauty and the Beast journal I plan to use in March.
  • Passengers, a romantic sci-fi movie I loved.
  • The Space between Us, also a sci-fi romance that I look forward to seeing again.
  • Using a pen with an unexpected shade of pink.
  • Seeing a wild musical with Bruce.
  • Making plans to see Mom.
  • Finding the gorgeous green earrings I'd lost.
  • Receiving my first $10 Birchbox so quickly.
  • Ibuprofen's immediately wiping out my jaw pain.
  • Finding my black top with black beads and gold sequins.
  • Allowing myself to watch funny videos on YouTube.
  • Watching trailers for new movies I might actually go see.
  • Wearing my pretty scarves.
  • Oliver's singing and dancing with me to showtunes every morning as I get ready.
  • A massage from Josh that can distract me from pain.
  • Seeing fewer bills in the mail.
  • Two dudes telling me daily that I'm beautiful.
  • Dressing up for a show with a black and gold brocade jacket I found for $16 at Old Navy. 
  • Josh's putting up tiny glowing stars on Oliver's ceiling and, at bedtime, Oliver's telling me to "Look at the stars!"

Monday, February 6, 2017

At My Age.

I've recently seen two great movies. One made me feel older; the other made me feel younger.

And I'm thinking that I should never ask to be older or younger. I should play with what I have. Anyone older than I would say I'm still young, but I also have a massive responsibility to keep myself well. Gathering wisdom, gathering peace, and gathering delight (There's that word of the year!) are incredibly important tasks. Fill the attic and the basement. Fill the freezer in the garage--not to hoard but to keep a steady supply on the rough days.

One of my favorite quotations (I may be paraphrasing badly) is from Iris Murdoch: "The secret of a happy life is continuous small treats."

The texture of the towels you use every day.
A pair of just-right earrings you haven't worn in months.
A postcard to send--touching someone's heart with about 3 minutes of effort.

The treats, the delights, don't have to be new. They don't have to be concrete objects. Notice the look on your best friend's face when you can tell that you've made all of his or her worry and stress disappear for those moments.

Even now, I don't have a great many moments free from fear, but I cherish them. I keep them.

As for wisdom, it just suddenly appears nose-to-nose with me.

And I'd better pay attention.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Someone Keeps Buying Them.

I love going to Barnes and looking at the journals, especially when I find one I've never seen before. It's a thrill even if it's not a journal I would buy. It means people are still buying jounals and gifts to themselves or others.

And that means that to some degree, people still believe in the power of scribbling. They must believe that a person can heal inner damage, develop a writing talent, spill secrets, or just pass the time pleasurably in a book waiting for the person's words. Something pretty and sturdy and completely one's own--what object could be more soothing?

I used to think I'd never be able to fill up a journal. Now I've done it 163 times over the last 17 years. Filling a whole notebook or journal with one's words (and drawings, quotations, or anything) is such an empowering experience. It always feels awesome, whether it takes two weeks (as it did when I was a manic 16-year-old) or two years.

Journaling has kept me tethered to Earth. It has helped me when my hold on reality was weak. It has calmed my anxiety and accepted my grief again and again. It changes the way I look at and experience the world because I'm thinking of how I'll describe it in my journal, which will enhance my delight or soften my fear. Journaling is one of the elements that may have kept me alive this long. And I've held onto it instead of pushing it away. It is one of the strongest, purest loves of my life.

Someone knows some of this intuitively (or maybe from experience) and wants that help (and that joy!) for himself or herself or for someone else who just might be open to a journaling life.

So I'll keep going to the journal section, greeting the journals I'll never want to buy, the ones I'll never think I can afford, and the twins of ones I've already written in or that are waiting in a green polka-dot box under my bed. And sometimes, I see something new and feel glad that whether or not people are scribbling, they are seeing a journal's potential and buying it as a gift or as a gift to themselves.

Friday, February 3, 2017

"Mixing Paints on Dinner Plates."

--Jennifer McMahon, Dismantled

This book was thrilling and confusing, but the memory of this image is clear. This moment in the book captured, for me, an important skill that an artist (and I include writers in this, as well as many other artists that I know too little about) must have or develop. These girls managed to get the paint but apparently couldn't afford or justify wooden palettes. Yet the palette is such a strong image representing the artist, perhaps as much so as the easel. But artists are also, supposedly, resourceful, irreverent, and unpredictable. I also notice the symbolism in the objects, intentionally or unintentionally stating that basic human needs (like food) are inferior to the demands of art.

Writing is different in that it doesn't require the same kind of physical labor (okay, that's up for debate), and the tools are simpler. For scribbling (writing practice), I just need a notebook and a couple of pens. I upgrade those supplies because I prefer hardcover journals and a rainbow of pens in many forms. When I want to do product writing (a poem, a story), I go to the laptop, which most writers have or have access to.

But this mixing paints on dinner plates is an image that still grabs me. I like to search for common threads among all kinds of artists.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Stamps and Stickers.

Some of my favorite memories are of shopping for stickers and rubber stamps with my Nanna. I'm not sure how old I was...10-14? Scrapbooking was so popular then, so a lot of related shops popped up. One shop we visited was in what seemed like a cute little retail village.

I think about those outings whenever I put stickers in my journal. The ones I bought (I remember saving up sometimes) or that Nanna gave me are long gone, following the narrative of my life through their corners on old journal pages. I do, however, still have a lot of stamps from that time. They live in a hot pink box and in a pink tin with black chandeliers on it.

Stickers are my favorite, but I do love stamps--beautiful, reusable. I even got some in my stocking last Christmas! And last night, I tried using stamps instead of stickers in a journal. Most of them turned out well.

I remember the wonder of all those designs. Nanna gave me another source of beauty and creativity, and my life has some more bright-bright spots because of it.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Seasons.

Some years ago, I was trying to write short stories and realized that I had actually read very few volumes of stories. I love those I'd read at Queens, but I knew I was far from prepared to write my own.

So I decided to have a "short story summer." I read lots of different books, but I focused on short stories. I bought them used and checked them out from the library's new releases. Josh bought me a volume for my birthday and wrote in it: "For your short story summer."

So now, I realize that I've not read many short stories lately. So I want to bring back the short story summer but also add
  • The Children's Lit Winter
  • The Young Adult Spring
  • The Memoir/Diary Fall
I won't limit myself to these, but they will be my focus. I should be reading novels and poetry all the time.

The Children's Lit focus starts now!

Friday, January 20, 2017

About Purple.

Purple was my first favorite color before I learned that pink was the more acceptable color. So my favorite color was pink. Then, I decided to rebel and love blue best. I was nearing adulthood when I went back to purple and added green as a close second. You see, colors are so very important.

When I'd been teaching for a while, I was amazed to find beautiful plum dress pants. I had a new way to wear my favorite color.

I remember shopping with Mom at Francesca's. I saw a violet jacket with puffed shoulders, asymmetrical buttons, ruffles at the wrist, and a striped cotton lining. It was a necessary jacket, and I should wear it more.

Grape Jolly Ranchers. Mmm.

Purple hanging files and a purple glitter inbox on Josh's desk. Luckily, I love purple and teal, and I have a lot of both in the house, and those are the colors of Josh's favorite sports team.

I love writing in purple. It often seems like the right color for my words.