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September is proving to be a busy month. (But really, what month isn’t busy in this post-COVID era that has us all overeager to do all the things in our enthusiasm to reclaim some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy?) I don’t now about you, but when my schedule fills up I can start to feel stressed. . . and as the stress-o-meter inches higher, my appreciation for life can start to waiver. And when THAT happens, I know it’s time for some mental reframing.

Instead of wallowing in overwhelm or dwelling on to-do-lists in these overextended moments, I like to channel my inner Fräulein Maria by dedicating a little time and brain space to some GOOD things. In the spirit of Philippians 4:8, here is a look at a few things I find truly excellent and praiseworthy.

1) The first slightly brisk morning after a brutally hot summer.

2) Waking up in the middle of the night and thinking it’s time to get up, only to look at the clock and realize I still have several more hours to sleep.

3) When a friend or acquaintance casually drops their Enneagram number into a conversation—especially when their declaration confirms my typing suspicions.

4) The magical feeling that descends on me every time I step onto Disneyland’s Main Street, or sit beneath a strand of twinkle lights, or come across a scene that looks like it’s straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie.

5) Real-life redemption stories that display God’s handiwork in all its glory.

6) The relief of changing out of “fancy” clothes and into a fuzzy robe and slippers—particularly when it’s early in the day, and I won’t have to change again until the next morning.

7) Fun Fact Friday texts from my Mom, and the banter that inevitably follows in our family chat.

8) Pumpkin spice everything (including, but not limited to, non-food things: candles, lotions, etc.).

9) Dresses and leggings with pockets, porches with swings, microwavable mugs with lids, purses with storage compartments and zippers, cars with plenty of cupholders, and extra large fountain drinks without ice.

10) Overhearing my children encourage, comfort, or teach one another.

11) Seeing Kali and Sully grab each other’s hands when they walk into Sunday school.

12) An alphabetically organized spice rack.

13) Roasted marshmallows that are burnt but not charred.

14) Double rainbows, shooting stars, full lightning bolts, and billowy white clouds.

15) Opening up Overcast to see a loaded queue of new podcasts waiting for me.

16) Very early mornings, very late nights, and very long afternoon naps.

17) When one or all three of my kids casually snuggles up with me on the couch.

18) Holding hands with Luke on date nights or in church.

19) Bear hugs from friends (and sometimes from strangers who will soon become friends).

20) The nail technician who throws in a few extra minutes of foot massage during a pedicure, just to be nice.

21) Snail mail that isn’t spam or bills.

22) Long-form podcasts involving healthy, respectful debate.

23) Finally finding purpose or meaning in a situation that had felt helpless and hopeless.

24) Leaders who model kindness, generosity, and humility.

25) Party games involving words or puns.

26) Antique furniture and vintage clothing with a story.

27) Discovering the answer to a problem or question that has always bothered me.

28) The moment when the idea threads of something I’m writing finally fall into place, and the sense of satisfaction that comes over me when I click “schedule” on a blog post.

Why 28 things? Well, it has always been my favorite number—making this list in and of itself a truly wonderful thing! And you know what else is wonderful? Lists! (You had to see that one coming.) Because list-making is one of my most treasured hobbies, I’ve decided to make “28 Things” a regular blog feature. Each month I’ll share a list if 28 things from a new category. Perhaps you will join me! In October I will be countering today’s Wonderful things with a list of 28 Kinda Crummy things. Get your mental wheels churning now because you know I will be wanting to hear from you about some non-favorite things in your life.

In the meantime, I am eager for your additions to the list of Wonderful things; leave a comment with a thing or two (or 28) you find wonderful.

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