Monday, January 16, 2012

My Favorite Things

It doesn't take diamonds, or fabulous trips to exotic locations, or anything expensive in terms of worldly possessions to make me happy. Mind you, that's not to discount my travels or my pearl and diamond ring. It's the memories I have, the memories I'm making, and the things I'm looking toward in the future that make me content. And the older I get, the more the concept of simply being content makes me happy. It's not a feeling of "settling," but a feeling of knowing I've run the race and fought the good fight. I'm secure knowing I'm where the Lord wants me at this point in my life. Lest you worry, no, I'm not ill, but with the dawn of this new year, I am perhaps being retrospective. It's not so much the "things" of this life which make me happy or content, of course, but the memories associated with them that give me incredible joy.

What started me thinking along these lines? I bought a Hallmark Christmas ornament at 75% off the other day. It's a replica of the famous "Cheers" sign used in the TV show of the same name. There's a little button on the side, and when pushed, it plays the theme song. It brings a smile every time I hear that song: "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came..." I'm going to leave it on my desk year-round for when I need a little pick-me-up. Other things that make me smile: the report card with two A+ grades my 15-year-old Asperger's Syndrome-diagnosed son earned in two tough subjects (biology and algebra); my daughter's smile as she finally got her braces (she's 19); the way my husband looked at the photo on my third book and said, "I really love this photo of you." Those are memories I'll always treasure. Other things? Mountain Spring Tide and Downy. Wow, they sure are expensive these days, but they're the best at stain fighting and smelling fantastic, so I spring for them and skimp on other things. The taste of a cake from my favorite bakery or a homemade chocolate chip cookie also make me smile. The sight of the first daffodils of spring pushing their way through the ground hardened by winter's snows, and the scent of honeysuckle on the there anything quite like them?

When I was a kid, buying three Nancy Drew books with my $5 weekly allowance made me happier than anything (I'm showing my age here, but I'm actually beginning to love and appreciate my current age. It's where the Lord has brought me at this point in my life, and I'm not complaining). Being presented with a doll house made with loving hands by my grandmother and dad filled with me with a sense of pride and family. Going to an antique doll convention with Granny when I was seven and being called "A Living Doll" in a write-up in the Louisville Courier-Journal was exciting. Now, every time I look at that doll, my heart swells with love for my grandmother (the inspiration for Lexa Clarke's Nana in Awakening). She took the doll head I got at that convention (called "Miss Kentucky") and made her into a doll for me, dressing her in a beautiful velvet, beaded dress -- complete with a matching handbag -- and I adored her (still have her, too). Granny always fussed and regretted the doll wasn't "prettier," but to me, she's gorgeous, and is my most prized heirloom from my beloved grandmother.

As a writer, I cherish my book contracts and holding my books in my hands for the first time. There's not much like it. I hope all of you know, or will know, that unique and unbelievable blessing. I always said that even if my books weren't "officially" published, my prayer was that someone reading them (and I had a lot of ladies read the early versions of Awakening) might be somehow touched with the seeds of spiritual truths. You never know how your words might impact someone, so keep writing as He leads you.

What are the things and associated memories that make YOU smile? I'd love to hear, if you'd care to share. Blessings, my friends.


  1. Nice post.

    I find joy in the simple things - the smile on my husband's face, a sunset, when my dogs greet me as I return from work, writing a great line...those joyful moments are few and far between. I'm going to "simply" let flow.

  2. I heard recently, I think from Beth Moore, that memories are always in present tense. That's so true...some things, when you remember them, are happening again RIGHT NOW. Of course, that can be a not-so-good thing, but when they are beautiful, well, they are beautiful all over again.

  3. Unfortunately, food! I miss Christmas fudge and goodies as if they're departed friends.

    But holding a book I wrote rates pretty close to the top, too :-)

  4. what an encouraging post, JoAnn! I love finding joy in the simple things as well. That's a beautiful picture of you!

  5. I agree with Rachael on food! Especially chicken dishes. I love chicken parmesan and kung po chicken and general tso's chicken.

    One of my favorite things (I don't know where it is now) is a placard I got at a pre-season rally for the Indiana Fever. They had a card with all the players pictures on it, and the players were there to autograph it. Not catching on, I missed some signatures, but I got one from Kelly Schumacher, who was my favorite WNBA player at the time (and still was a few years later when she won her ring playing for the Phoenix Mercury), and one from Jenni Benningfield, who shares my birth day (though she's almost young enough to be my daughter. Neither were with the team a year later.

    Another favorite thing is reading a handful of comics daily, which include the two by Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft), Rose Is Rose, and Mallard Filmore. I also like Gary Varvel.

    Just a side note. Yes, I'm a tardy commenter, and I read this after reading the two blogs that came after this: one on signatures (like Kelly and Jenni's) and one on humor (like the comic strips). No, that wasn't intentional!

    May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you.