I kept a “happy list” in high school and college. It was a numerated list of things that made me happy. Back then it was things like Nilla Wafers and smiles from cute boys and the giddy feeling you get after wandering about at all hours of the night with friends.
I’m a grown-up now (kind of… if I have to be… I guess). Now I get that the things on those lists were little places where God was saying, “I love you, Val!” People like Ann Voskamp have reminded me of the value of counting those things that we’re grateful for. As a grown-up girl going barefoot I’ve found that happiness is fleeting, but joy is the quiet current that keeps you floating forward.
This then, is my Barefooted Joy List. I add to it from time to time. It’s growing slowly because I’ve done a lot of counting on paper as well, but little by little I’ll count these little love notes.
So here I go:
1. Starting the morning with a hot cup of tea, drinking in the word, and the truth of He who loves me.
2. Bouncing curls running up and down our hallway for just one more hug, kiss, snuggle, and noggin.
3. The single dimple in my baby girls face and the way her eyes light up when it flashes.
4. The sweet, sore feeling of muscles well used
5. Working through a recipe written by my mother, remembering her hands mixing in the flour, or spreading on the sauce
6. The ability to choose whether or not to do my laundry each and every day; Enjoying the accomplishment of a finished load, and enjoying the luxury of waiting until tomorrow
7. Giggles that bubble up from little girl toes
8. Kitty cats purring
9. Finding a few stolen moments to read a good book just for fun
10. The way my youngest giggles when I kiss her feet and belly and chin.
11. Connecting phone conversations with Husband when he is away
12. Even though I’ve gotten tired of the frequent dull greyness this year, I am thankful for the rain. Especially when the drops are big and weighty and cleansing.
13. Little girls in polka-dotted sundresses
14. Learning to feel.
15. My oldest daughter’s green, green eyes.
16. “Hug, Kiss, Snuggle, Noggin, c’nI have a butterfly kiss?”
17. The aliveness I feel during and after a good workout. Not to mention the endorphins.
18. Mommy friends–who drop pretenses and show up real.
19. The feeling of friendship growing
20. Hot Cocoa on a cool night
21. Warm Campfire, S’mores, Friends, Stories
22. Baby scribbles
23. Littlest One’s new skills–head nods, words learned bit by bit
24. Hearing stories of those who’ve ‘been there, done that.’
25. Missing my Mama fiercely–The intense depth of my missing her shows just how incredible she really was.
26. Crossing days off the calendar–getting us one day closer to Husband being home
27. Falling in love with new music.
28. Dancing. To feel the desire of it welling up through my body: Evidence of joy
29. Breathing in the smell of my children
30. Warm, snuggly, comforting clothes on cool, lazy days.
31. The sunshine finally breaking out of it’s confines–and my spirit lifting as a result.
32. Little Miss giggling during bedtime story.
32. Sharing one of my favorite movies with my little ones. They’re too young to ‘get it’ but they seem to enjoy it anyway.
33. The kindness of a friend who sent *ME* a gift of pampering. How incredibly thoughtful.
34. Sometimes, yawns feel kind of comfortable. Curling up into the sleepiness is a nice thing, no?
35. My children like to run around barefoot. I thought it might be just my example, but as it goes beyond what I do these days, I think it must just be hereditary. My Mom and her Mom loved it too.
36. My kids getting excited over splashes of sunlight on the couch in the morning.
37. The reflection of Fall on Pass Lake
38. Kittens without fleas.
39. Friends who call out of nowhere.
40. Reminders that being real isn’t whining.
41. The smell of apple anything baking
42. Warm Apple Cider
43. Lisa Welchel’s book Creative Correction
44. Causes that inspire me.
45. Projects that energize me.
46. When my babies play together.
47. The excited look on my youngest daughter’s face when we go to pick up my oldest at Preschool
48. Settling fully into Husband’s hugs.
49. My Mother-in-law and her care for all of us.
50. My sister-in-laws. Both of them in different ways.
51. That should have been two items.
52. Coming back to a started list.
53. Babe who slept long through the night
54. Waking up to sunshine coming through the shades
55. Anticipating the arrival of friends
56. God who doesn’t give up on me.
57. Children who love me as I am without the burden of expectations
58. Baby head waggle
59. Long awaited babbles
60. Long black eyelashes over beautiful pools of daughter-eyes
61. Nose wrinkle and dimple
62. Getting excited about projects again. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited in a forward thinking way.
63. Nursing noises.
64. Cat lounging on his back, tail barely twitching
65. Returning to a run
66. Footsteps upstairs–my girls are awake!
68. New pictures!!!
69. Blue sky and puffy clouds all I can see in the four-pane window above me
70. New potential of every day.
71. Trying again–the privilege of a do-over
72. New books that sync with the soul
73. Hum of house around me
74. Baby Thunder Thights
75. Feeling encouraged.
76. Baby Squeals
77. Sweet enigmatic little smiles when baby is discovering something new
78. Showing kids science and then relating that science back to the love of God.
79. Dancing popcorn kernels
80. Friends who rescue you
81. Baby dropsy game.
82. Finding community even in rarity.
83. Having a difficult experience come back and be useful in encouraging someone through a similar experience.
84. Three varieties of little girl hugs.
85. Slap, slap, slap of baby hands crawling
86. Encouragement. Seeing some of the good in me through someone else’s eyes
87. Not being defined by my failures
88. letting my kids own their own mistakes
89. Words coming
90. New paintings in the clouds each morning
91. That sweet moment when Andrew is home for the day
92. Baby latching on. We fought so hard to continue nursing. 9 months on and going strong even with all the hospital stuff
93. Knowing the feeling of needing to return to gratitude and heeding the call.
94. My husband calling me Elmer
95. Finding freedom in new disciplines
96. Baby hair starting to curl
97. Being reminded to really look at my kids
98. Puffy clouds over blue water
99. Moments of quiet to breathe
100. Friends who help me laugh at mortifying situations
101. Drudgery being turned into fun.
102. Stretching my legs and getting out of the house.
103. Six year old snuggled up to me.
104. Blowing bubbles.
105. Not perfect, but they’ll work eating days
106. Emails back and forth to Andrew during the day
107. Teasing out the bounty when it doesn’t feel like it’s there.
108. The feeling of being part of something that you know will make someone feel so loved.
109. The way the air smells different when thigns start to cool down.
110. Baby claps
111. The University of Washington Medical Center
112. Really good doctors
113. Walks on the beach with my family.
114. The amazing ways that Abigail’s subtle personality sneaks out surprises me.
115. Lainey’s hands slapping on the floor as she crawls.
116. The little smile on Lainey’s face that she gets when I come home after being gone.
117. Daddy working with big girls on bike-riding without training wheels
118. Kiddos playing together outside
119. Sore, but not too sore, leg muscles
120. Lovely long sweaters
121. God showing me ways I can overcome old patterns of defeat and taste victory
122. My friend, Denise
123. Consecutive numbers
124. Unexpected naps
125. Warm oatmeal
126. Hang-me-down furniture
127. Andrew on leave
128. Family loving me through my grumpiness
129. Water colors on the wall.
130. Lenticular clouds
131. Feeling victory in areas that have been so long defeat.
132. Sermons that soak deep into me even when I can’t be in church to hear them myself.
133. Quiet, but humming house
135. Patient, patient servant husband….. May I be as much a blessing to him as he is to me.
136. Books to get lost in.
137. Black cat insisting on attention
138. Breathing deep in quiet blessing
139. Neatly made bed
140. Friends to take on cleaning with, if only virtually!
More to come…’