I found the process of naming the little things in my day that are bringing the joy to be incredibly helpful. It reminds me. It points me to the blessings all around me. It grounds me. Naming the ordinary joys I interact with on a daily basis grounds my head and heart from the ever-present temptation to complain and grumble. And let me tell you, I am an excellent grumbler. Instead of grumbling, I am doing my best to name the small joys. So, here are 5 more:
Just like running, I am finding a deep sense of comfort in the repetitive nature of knitting. I am no master, literally just beginning. I have already messed up a handful of times, and I am pretty sure the hat will likely have a few random holes, but still, I am doing it. I am a knitter.
This is actually my second time picking up yarn and knitting needles. The first was my sophomore year in college. One afternoon I had the sudden urge to knit, so I drove myself to the closest Joanne’s near LMU. I knitted on the 20-minute van rides over to the track for workouts. Amidst the blasting music and chatter of how painful the intervals would be, I kept my hands and mind steady on the stitches. During that season of sophomore year, I had fallen into a bit of a slump and picking up knitting brought steadiness that I desperately needed.
Nothing really came from these van rides of knitting on the way to the track. I quickly put it down as I became again distracted, but that season planted a seed. And I sense it pulling me back in. This time around, I have an actual pattern I am following. I have a clear goal of creating a hat. I even semi-figured out how to cable. I love re-entering this phase of knitting because already in this beginning stage, I sense a deep commitment to actually figuring it out. I sense a deeper maturity and patience. I sense progress, even if the outcome is an oddly-shaped hat.
7. Memory Keeping
Scrapbooking is that thing I always want to do, but it never seems to fit in my days. Now it does. And not only does it feel nice to catch up on Hudson’s first year scrapbook, it feels nice to look back at happy times. Not that these are not happy times, but most of our current pictures are within our backyard. It feels refreshing to see all the places and people and things that our lives a few months ago held. I am enjoying this process of not only looking back, but preserving all these memories by cutting out, taping in, and making a little remark with my pen about that particular moment. This work seems important, valuable, and I often picture my grandkids and great-grandkids flipping through and enjoying it. And that brings me a lot of joy.
On a quick tangent, most of my photos are all on my phone, but the process of scrapbooking actually forces me to get certain photos printed. There is something about actually being able to tangibly hold the memory. To me, it is like actually reading a book. The act of flipping through pages simply does not compare to reading the words digitally.
There is something about actually being able to hold that 4×6 moment in your hands. The smell of ink. The way they come shipped in those little paper envelopes. I love this process. It is also fun to slip a few of the extra copies into a card and send it the people in the photos. There is nothing quite like opening mail with a beautiful memory carefully placed inside.
8. Running Through Sprinklers
I woke up last Thursday feeling uninspired and unmotivated. And then, we turned on the oven, made delicious cookies, and ran through the sprinklers in our backyard. And things were good. I was hit with inspiration, and motivation came crawling back to me. Isn’t it amazing what some cookies and a little bit of water and laughter will do?
Also, walnuts, oats, and chocolate are my new fav cookie combo.
9. Trash Trucks
Beep! Beep! Trash truck! These have been Hudson’s words all last week since two amazing trash truck drivers honked and waved at him. This made such an impression on him. He has been talking about the beep, beep all week. And let me tell you, it has brought some major perspective.
These trash truck drivers have no idea the positive impact they made on a little toddler boy that dreams about trash truck Mondays. They have no idea that the simple act of honking their horn has made them seem magical and heroic all at once. This is making me want to honk my metaphorical horn a bit more often & not be afraid of doing the small and simple acts of kindness.
I want to mother and live my life in such a way that embodies the trash truck drivers.
10. Earl Grey Tea
Afternoons are really hard for me. I have my most inspiration and motivation right around 6 am. In this place of silence and caffeine and scripture my mind is sharp and my heart is open. From 6 am to 1 pm, something happens. Maybe it is the loads of laundry. Maybe it is that careless driver that nearly hit me as I was running. Maybe it is the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy.” Whatever it is, by 1 pm I feel tapped out. Even more so since quarantine.
So once Hudson is down for a nap, I go to the kitchen, turn on the tea kettle and I make myself a cup of earl grey tea. I let the tea bag steep a bit and then a splash in some almond milk and shake in a spoonful of sugar. There is something about earl grey tea. I am a fully committed black coffee drinker, but when it comes to earl grey, I always add some milk + sugar. Kind of like the burnt marshmallow situation I mentioned last time, it just tastes better.
Then, I bring my cup of earl grey tea to my little desk and begin to write. And every single time, the words come easier when I have my friend earl grey next to me.