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