Taking note of one good thing, one beautiful thing, one thing to be thankful for each day.

1 pepperoni pizza and a sub sandwich all rolled into one and eaten with good friends from far away

2 my youngest playing piano songs she wrote herself

3 listening to my girls rummage through storage boxes of their childhood treasures

4 touring my alma mater with my son and slipping each other handfuls of Swedish Fish to keep energized

5 a quail, startled up from the brush between the dirt road and the wheat field, on my run of seven cool, cloudy miles in new trail shoes

6 picking raspberries while rain rolls in from the north

7 hiking Hurricane Ridge and teenage boys who run ahead just to fill more water bottles and bring them back for younger sisters

8 waterfalls that thunder and waterfalls that tumble and flow

9 free samples of tayberry jam, fresh cheese curds, jalapeno pepperoni jerky, and blackberry honey

10 Mount Rainier and swimming in chilly mountain lakes and teenagers, comfortable in the city and in the wilderness

11 sunset walks and hunts for seashells along the Puget Sound with in-laws and giggling nieces

12 early morning run with a Djibouti friend, in Seattle

13 my daughters trying on my mom’s old dresses, my prom dress, and my sisters’ prom dresses

14 a meal and conversation with a friend who has survived cancer, and the sound of our kids hanging out in the basement, like family, loving each other from the time of diapers to the time of university

15 a deep, vulnerable spiritual conversation with a generous friend able to hold all my questions and doubts

16 digging through photographs from high school and sending them, with giggling emojis, to old friends

17 family and friends from around the world, some who have known me for 39 years, gathered around barbecue ribs and Rice Krispie bars and eager to see photos from Djibouti

18 clean toilets that I vomited in while sick and a large and clean enough bathroom to allow me to sink to the floor until the shakes and sweats subsided

19 the county fair: cheese curds, free ice cream, turtle races, carnival rides, farm animals, grilled pork chops, free Tootsie Rolls (and a quick recovery from sickness so I could enjoy it all)

20 golf! The last time I golfed was 17 years ago, I was pregnant with twins, I didn’t do well. I did a bit, a teensy bit, better this time

21 my daughter accomplishing her swimming ‘rite of passage’ – a 1-mile open water swim, and doing it alongside her

22 10 suitcases packed, 49.5 pounds a piece. 5 roller bags packed, I don’t want to know how much they weigh. 4 backpacks packed. 1 satchel packed.

23 my husband’s dragon war drawing on the paper tablecloth at The Macaroni Grill in the Chicago airport. We are flying home.

24 meeting up with our two teenagers in London – all planes arrived on time and we go onward to Kenya together. Even on airplanes, I sleep better when we are all under the same roof.

25 Kenyan coffee

26 one girl who slept straight through jet lag and woke up excited to start her first year of boarding school

26b watching my kids love each other and make courageous choices without even realizing they are doing it

27 a hike through Karura Forest, Nairobi followed by lunch with Minnesota friends in Kenya and conversations of laughing until we cry and then talking about grief and crying again

28 home again and warm greetings from Djiboutian, Ethiopian, Somali, French, and Nigerian friends as we ran errands all over town

29 wind and rain rendered the morning thirty degrees cooler than usual, a two-hour refreshing respite

30 feeling proud of my cousin, a Houston firefighter, as he spends days helping rescue people

31 three loaves of honey whole wheat bread, baked and delivered to newly arrived staff, and the yeasty aroma that lingers in my kitchen

 

Good Things, the First

 

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