Twelve things


"For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness."

  Andy Rooney

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         Friday morning, 9:08am. I'm sitting at my desk eating french toast with sliced strawberries and a few strips of bacon, hastily grabbed before I left the house. My walk to work this morning was drenched in the bright spring sunshine and dare I say I felt positive? 

         In an effort to keep my spirits up,  I've been meaning to start including three gratitudes in my nightly journal ritual. Because I keep forgetting to do so when the time comes, I will start here instead. Cliche as it may seem, actively chronicling things for which you are grateful has been shown to exponentially increase positivity (along with meditation, exercise, random acts of kindness--there is a fascinating science behind happiness). Lately it has become so easy for me to focus on all the things I long for, wishing this season away in a self-made miserable fog. Staying positive takes more work in the in-betweens and routines. There are some things that we as humans wish for so badly that it almost seems good and right and rational to let ourselves dwell in sadness while we wait for those things to come to fruition. I am guilty of this as much as anybody. So, a compilation of good things both big and small:

1. Coming up with ideas for photographic projects, actively pursuing them, and seeing all the hard work pay off in the form of a cohesive set of prints that I'm proud of. 

2. Similarly, my work being accepted and shown in a juried art exhibition at my university

3. Mornings waking up feeling refreshed, light flooding through the eastern windows, pajama shorts and my favorite Alaska sweatshirt and birkenstocks, quiet coffee rituals, familial warmness

4. Professors that genuinely care about their students' success and being pushed by them in every way possible

5. The lightness, closeness, and peace after honest, hard but necessary discussions, and the knowledge that I am being given an opportunity to learn patience

6. Sunday mornings alone before church with Lord Huron and Gregory Alan Isakov and Eddie Vedder for light-hearted reminiscing of past adventures and adventures to come

7. Giving several presentations this month to a wide variety of people on missions and better ways to carry it out, a topic I am passionate about

8. On a similar note, the opportunity to return to Kenya next month as a communications intern (would be so grateful to have your support)

9. Reading my journal from two years ago and seeing how much I've grown and the relationships I've been blessed to have been given since then. I'm not sure why I continue to be surprised by the change a few years can bring about.

10. Editing the excess from my wardrobe and streamlining to just a handful of pieces that I love

11. Perfecting the homemade americano and fledgling freckles

12. Grace for myself, practicing self-discipline, prioritizing, and being okay with stepping back to allow myself some quietness and rest