Over the summer, one of my favorite podcasts featured a series in which host Tsh Oxenreider asked her guests to share four things they were loving from four categories: a thing, a habit, a work of art, and a philosophy. I love this idea, so today I’m taking my cue from Tsh to share a Good List of my own, with four things that are currently sparking joy for me.
Thing ~ Our New House (Especially Our Playroom)
We’ve been living in our new house for nearly three months, and now that we are settled in, I can’t imagine a more perfect home for our growing family. I’m slowly adjusting to living a little further out in the country: I’m making the most of the drive time to catch up on podcasts, and I’m learning how to group my errands and daily activities to minimize daily trips to town. And I love the layout of our home, especially the storage we’ve built in and the single-story floor plan. My favorite room in the house is our playroom, which is at the center of our home, making it easy to keep an eye on Charleston (and eventually the twins) while I’m in the kitchen, office, or kids’ bedrooms. We managed to make space for all of Charleston’s toys, with plenty of room to grow, and we are all thrilled with the colorful wall décor and easy access to toys, books, and art supplies.
Habit ~ Gifting books at birthday parties.
As every parent knows, life with young kids involves an endless string of children’s birthday parties. A couple of years ago I made it my personal policy to stick to books as our go-to gift for these parties. If I know the child well, I select books I know he or she will enjoy or that fit with something the child is currently loving (such as trucks or dinosaurs or unicorns). If I’m not especially close to the child or his parents, I pick books that Charleston loves or that fit with the party theme. Books might not be the most popular gift to open on party day, but nearly every parent who has received books from us has thanked me for not contributing to their family’s toy infestation and for giving a gift that will last longer (and will eventually be more appreciated) than some cheap plaything.
Work of Art ~ Charleston’s Sweet Drawings
Charleston has really been into coloring and drawing lately, and I love the care and intentionality that goes into his artwork. Whenever inspiration strikes (and that could be any time, day or night) he asks me for paper and his box of crayons and pencils, then gets to work, and he is always so proud to present his final creations. His favorite things to draw are hearts (he always draws me one when he’s sorry about something or feeling particularly loving) and pirate treasure maps. He’s also mastered his sun-and-earth illustrations, which I find particularly impressive because we never showed him how to draw this. I’m so glad we now have a dedicated spot in the play room to display his masterpieces.
Philosophy ~ “This isn’t for forever; it won’t always be this way.”
When life is hard, it’s easy for me to fall into thinking that things will never get easier. This is true when Luke and I are going through financial hard times, or when I’m in a bout of depression, or when I feel physically ill. I’ve especially suffered from this pessimistic thinking during pregnancy. But lately I’ve been reminding myself that none of these circumstances, feelings, or ailments are permanent. Life WILL get happier/easier/more comfortable again. Even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can know that it’s there.
It’s also been helpful to remember this in the happy moments. I regularly remind myself that I won’t always have a precious four-year-old who wants to hang out with me, that I won’t always possess a young and healthy body, that these young family years are fleeting. Keeping the transience of these life stages front and center in my mind helps me to savor them now, before it’s too late.
What’s on your good list this summer? I’d love to hear about the things, works of art, habits, and philosophies that are bringing YOU joy!