Category Archives: Positivity

More Positivity: More Snow

We went out to dinner on Friday night, when the snow had just started.  We ate and watched it from inside the noisy restaurant, warm and filled with laughter, with our precious girl sitting beside us in her high chair.  I loved the picture it all made, especially my daughter’s reaction as we headed for the car when we were finished.  She rode high near my husband’s shoulder, her little smiling face upturned to the snow, her hood falling back as she called, again and again, “Rain!”

I’m so grateful to get to see snow through her eyes, to be a part of her excitement as she discovers the world.

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Positivity Day 6: Gilmore Girls

I don’t really like television.  I pretty much never watch it, unless it’s Good Morning America or random shows on the Food Network, and I generally just leave both of those on for background noise.  I don’t have time anymore to plan my life around when something’s going to be on TV, and I don’t have DVR, so I never pay attention to any of it.

But I really love TV shows.  They’re fun and funny, and if you have them on DVD, you can watch an episode in the time that it takes to eat lunch, or walk on the treadmill (haha–like I do that).  So I’ve started collecting seasons of television shows that are good enough that even I have heard of them.  I got a season of Friends for Christmas several years ago, when we lived in Louisville.  I still remember lying on my old couch in the sunny living room a couple of days after Christmas and pressing play on the first disc.  Before the end of the episode, I was hooked.  It began an obsession which spread to my sisters and led us to fanatically collecting all the seasons, playing trivia games, and texting quotes to each other.  The show hadn’t even ended then, but I didn’t watch while it was on TV.  I waited until the tenth season came out on DVD and caught myself up, and then watched all the episodes in order, from the first season to the last.

I’ve done this with other shows too (The Office, Seinfeld, King of the Hill) but none have inspired a Friends-level obsession like Gilmore Girls. I love, love, love the Gilmore Girls. My sister used to watch seasons of it in Asia and insisted I’d love the wordplay of the show.  So last year for Christmas, I got a season and again, was immediately hooked.  The episodes are longer, but when I was up in the night rocking a baby to sleep, that didn’t seem so important.  My daughter and I went through all the seasons in no time, and to this day, she loves the theme song.  No other show relaxes her and helps her drift off to sleep with quite the same level of effectiveness.

Even though Lorelai acts way too much like the daughter for pretty much the duration of the show, I love the mother/daughter relationship, the coffee consumption, the French fry habit, and  yes, the dialogue is absolutely fantastic.  And the love stories make me happy too, especially since I can switch discs to skip over the sad stuff and just get the good parts.  All of which adds up to a supremely satisfying show.  I just wish there were more seasons!

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Positivity Day 5: My daughter

Today is a snow day, which means that my daughter and I get to spend the entire day all snuggled up together in the house, watching Elmo and  reading books and playing.  Nothing sounds better to me.  My daughter is one of the most fun people in the entire world.  I love listening to her tiny sweet voice trying out new words, and watching her chubby little face as she stands in the middle of the room, uncertain whether she is going to actually move her feet and walk, or just drop to her knees and resort to her time-honored speedy crawl.  I love the way she cuddles close as we read, her small dimpled hand reaching out to turn the page, and her high-pitched “Again!” when the book is finished.  I never get tired of just looking at her, and I am always amazed that here is this whole little person, whom God entrusted to me.  Everything about her is wonderful, and I can never thank God enough for putting her into our lives.

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Positivity Post 4: Snow

As I write this, I am lying on my couch, watching the snow fall.  It drifts to the ground in tiny flakes, or whooshes by in huge bursts of wind.  It frames my pretty Christmas tree standing in front of the window, and there aren’t enough happy words in the whole English language to describe just how much I love it.

I know, I know–it’s wet and messy; it makes roads treacherous; it causes runs on milk and bread; it traps people in their houses; it basically causes problems galore.  I had to leave Louisville last night at 8:30, instead of on Sunday morning, and bring a busload of kids back home so we could beat the storm.  Believe me, I know snow is trouble.  But none of that matters on a cozy Sunday afternoon, my sweet husband and daughter snug with me in our own little house, watching the world outside transform itself into a Christmas card.  Our very own winter wonderland.

This is the kind of day I’ve waited for during the past long, difficult semester.  I could not be more content than I am right now.  Let it snow.

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Positivity Day 3: Faith

I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how to approach this post.  My faith in Christ is definitely the most important thing in my life, but when you’re writing about something so big, how do you know where to start?

I’ve been a Christian for almost my entire life.  I was raised in church and Sunday school, and when I was eight years old, I made the decision for myself that I believed in Jesus and wanted to be like Him and to follow Him forever.  I talked to my parents for several weeks before walking down the aisle at our church and kneeling to pray.  I will always remember that as soon as my knees touched the floor, I heard a wild thumping and shuffling as my parents set my youngest sisters down in the pew beside Kristi and headed down the aisle after me.  They prayed on either side of me, and when I finished praying and stood, it seemed that half the church had joined them, many with tears streaming down their faces, praising God for the decision that I had made.  A life of faith is also a life in church community, and because people are imperfect, churches are also imperfect.  But I never had any doubt that those people loved me and prayed for me.  They were my second family.

Faith is such a touchy subject today.  The second you begin to talk about it, some people will begin to tune you out.  But when faith is central to who you are–faith, in fact, is your main identity and source of joy–how can you not talk about it?

I claim faith as my main identity and joy, but the truth is that I don’t always live that, which is probably why so many people are bothered when Christians begin to talk about faith, and why they think we are hypocrites.  I believe what the Bible says, that all people are sinners, that sin separates us from God, who is perfect, and that Jesus, His Son, came to earth in human form and allowed himself to take on our sins through His death on the cross, allowing all people forever to be saved and reconnect to God through belief in Him.  Jesus is the only way to God, the only way to salvation, the only way to heaven.  He is also the only way to true peace and contentedness and love, and He desires that His followers share His love with others.  I believe every bit of this–and yet most of the time I fail at sharing that love with others.

It’s often awkward to try to figure out how to bring up faith, when Jesus often isn’t a subject in everyday conversation with strangers, except as the object of profanity.  I try to love people; I pray for them; I try to help when I can.  But I want people to know that I do it because of Jesus, and too often that part of the message just sticks in my throat.  And I’m so ashamed of that.

I have gotten a little off topic here in this positivity post.  What I really want to share is that Jesus means more to me than anything.  God is so much bigger than my worries and frustrations and joys, and He can handle anything.  As the children’s song says, “God can do anything but fail.”  When I have hard days, I pray.  When I found out I was pregnant, I prayed.  When I lost my sister, I prayed a LOT.  I pray when I’m happy, sad, excited, or just need someone to talk to.  Jesus is a true friend.  He lightens loads, brings peace, guides me through life.  Every good thing in my life is from Him, and He has helped me through all the bad ones.  I wish I was better at sharing His good news with others.  But I have faith He will help me with that as well.

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Positivity Day 2: Books

I am writing these posts in no particular order, in case someone was wondering why today’s post comes before one about my daughter, or any of the other important people in my life.  Although, if I’m going to be honest, books are as important to me as many of the people I know, and much more important to me than some.  Anne Lamott wrote, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you,” and that pretty much perfectly fits me.

And it always has.  My parents say I have loved books since I was tiny, memorizing them and “reading” them aloud to other people, and demanding that books be read to me by the hour.  I devour books.  My husband complains that my collection takes up a disproportionate amount of space on our shelves, and he’s right–three of our four bookshelves are almost totally taken up by my books, and that’s not counting the boxes in the attic, those still in storage at my parents’, or the ones I have sold to make room for new ones.  I read and re-read and am constantly on the lookout for new things.  My husband teases me about the giant bags I carry, because books are also like a security blanket for me, and I always have at least one in my bag, tucked in right beside my notebook.  You never know when you are going to have a few seconds to fly through a couple of paragraphs–waiting in line, stopped at stoplights, during stupid commericals.  My books ensure that I am never bored.

Despite my constant hunger for new books, I have become more selective about the ones I’ll buy.  Even on Amazon, books are expensive now (and I thought my Baby-Sitters Club books were expensive at $3.95 when I was a kid–ha!), and I am unwilling to spend the money unless I’m sure the book will be good.  So I tend to collect authors–Silas House, Joshilyn Jackson, and Pat Conroy are a few fiction writers on my mind right now.

Fiction has traditionally been my favorite, but I’m also finding a lot of nonfiction capturing my imagination lately.  I read quite a bit of travel writing, biography, and Christian inspiration, but mostly it’s books about writing and teaching–or both together.  Don’t Quit Your Day Job is a collection of essays I’ve been reading as quickly as I can.  It’s about writers and the jobs they had before becoming full-time writers (it has essays by Pat Conroy, Joshilyn Jackson, and Silas House!), and is absolutely beautiful, with essays both touching and hilarious.  It’s been keeping me good company while I’m sick, and too tired and weak to move off the couch. For teaching books, I like Tom Romano, Ralph Fletcher, Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, Donald Murray (the link is to the NWP’s tribute to him) and too many others to name.

I could go on all day about books and authors I love and who have touched me and changed me, and I’ve tried to start keeping up with them on my goodreads page.  They are my long-time companions and friends, and I have no idea who I would be without them.

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So, I’m back again…maybe.

Recently, I’ve been seized with the urge to start blogging again.  Since I was never very regular with it, I make no guarantees on how long this will last, but I will guarantee that I’ll do it for as long as it seems fun.  Sounds fair to me.

Not long ago, my husband started a series of positivity posts on Facebook.  A few of them made it to his blog, and I loved them so much that I am at least going to start my own series here.  Today seems like an appropriate time to start this list, as I am all pitiful on the couch, eaten up with strep throat.  I feel the need to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for, and I’m going to start my list with my husband.

Joe is amazing.  He works all day, every day, including some nights and weekends, and still comes home ready to play games with our daughter, listen to my day, do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, and he covers a variety of other household tasks that are too numerous to mention.  He’s never too tired or cranky to do anything that needs to be done to help our family, particularly while I’ve been a crazy person finishing my masters, and I never thank him enough.

I love how he’s thoughtful in everything; he is never rash in his approach to any decision.  He slows me down, as I tend to be too quick-tempered, and he makes me laugh; he cheers me up, and he always knows just what to say to tip my mood back in a positive direction.  Maybe most importantly, he reminds me that I’m not alone, that he’s always on my side.

I think on some level I knew I wanted to marry him way back in college, when we first met and he was into my best friend, and he announced that the two most important goals of his life were to be a good husband and a good father.  He is indeed the best of those, every day of his life.  Love you, Joe.

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