inspiration

30 Good Things that Happened in November

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in.

1) This whale sculpture in the Netherlands caught a metro train that went off track.

2) This woman shared her incredibly detailed sleepover plans

3) Vice released a list of things to do besides stress about the election—that I think could help in the aftermath as well.

4) This dog played with its ball

5) Veteran combat divers helped restore ocean health.

6) These two brothers put together a beautiful shot

7) Business Insider made this fun video to show how cranberries are harvested in preparation for the holidays

8) This man made an incredible mashup

9) SpaceX’s Crew-1 successfully made it to the International Space Station

10) And they brought Baby Yoda

11) Veteran’s Day

12) This lost hiker was brought back to life in the ER.

13) This photography group existed

14) This restaurant in the Bronx turned into a soup kitchen to help the poor.

15) Ziggy took his turn

16) The International Landscape Photographer of the year was named.

17) This cat did its civic duty

18) Immigrant families paid tribute to Alex Trebek for helping them learn English.

19) This man hid a short story inside signed copies of his book

20) Zippia released this list of the most popular Thanksgiving sides by US state.

21) This:

22) The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as the first female MLB general manager.

23) This 8 year old stayed prepared

24) This compilation of funny moments from Leta Powell Drake interviews went viral

25) This 21 year old became the first man with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.

26) Thanksgiving

27) Missy Elliot paid for a fan’s wedding dress in full.

28) This owl was rescued from the Rockefeller center Christmas tree.

29) This woman shared a heartwarming story about comedian John Mulaney

30) And finally, these kids left messages for their dads deployed overseas

Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

Let Us All Give Thanks to Our Grey Sweatshirt

If you look at almost any picture of me from high school, I am wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.

It was nothing special. Just a plain, thin, cotton hoodie that was probably from Target, and did absolutely nothing for my figure or for fashion. But somehow, for some reason, I wore it every. single. day. Even when it got frayed and old. Even when there was a slight toothpaste stain on the pocket. Even when it had been washed so many times and the inside had been so stripped that it was barely comfortable.

I wore it and I loved it and I hid all of my insecurities beneath its thinning, grey fabric.

You might have had something similar in your own life. A pair of jeans, a headband, bright eye shadow, a daring haircut, shoes you wore with every outfit, a jacket you wore far past its prime, an accessory that people knew you by, etc., and if you’re like me, pictures of this thing might make you cringe now. They might make you wonder, WHY? Why did I think that was a good idea?

But then if you look deeper at those pictures, and at yourself, and at all the things they can only show you, you might feel a little different. You might remember what you were going through, what you were worried about, what felt like the biggest deal in the world. You might see the insecurities trying to be hidden, the confusion of self identity, the immaturity, the loneliness, the trial and error of being genuine, the safety net that this thing provided, and how, for some reason, the day, the outfit, the moment, the you at that time just didn’t seem right unless you were wearing or carrying or within reach of this one thing.

I don’t have that sweatshirt anymore. But sometimes I look for it when I’m shuffling through the hoodies in my closet for something to cozy up in. And while I’m glad I grew up, grew into myself, grew out of the part of my life where I’d rather cover up and hide than be seen and known, I’m thankful to have had that sweatshirt to give me time to get here.

So today, on a day when we often talk about all things we’re thankful for, I wanted to say thank you to you, grey sweatshirt, for all that you did for me in those hard four years of high school (and probably a few too many after.)

Thank you for acting as my security blanket. As something that I could put on and not think about, even when I felt so insecure in my skin that I wished I was invisible or thought I wasn’t worth looking at.

Thank you for staying together, for surviving the hundreds of washes, both late at night and early in the morning; and for those times I probably washed you on the wrong setting and rolled you around in the drier over and over when I was too lazy to take my clothes out and fold them.

Thanks for giving me time to develop my own sense of style. For allowing me to buffer inside your thin cotton lining and hide inside your loose-fitting hood.

In many ways, I am as far removed from that hoodie as I am from who I was in high school. I have grown and changed so much since then. I have learned to appreciate myself, learned about myself, learned to accept where I’ve come from and how to work towards where I want to go. But I could never have gotten here if I hadn’t started there. None of us could.

So let’s all give thanks to the awkwardness, the confusion, the struggle, the WHY, and the things that helped us get from there to here. It might not be easy over here on the other side of those struggles, but it’s comforting to realize how far we’ve come, and inspiring to think about how much more we have ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

200 Day Time Capsule Blog #6

It should come as a surprise to no one that this time capsule is a little grim, mostly because it’s been 200 days and things are not exactly radically better than they were for our last letter.

I started the letter with, “I can only hope things are good, because they are a little rough right now.”

Oh, past Kim. You poor, naive thing. You just had no idea, did you?

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Tuesday April 28th, 2020

2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): At this very moment it is 73 degrees, but it is expected to get up to 91 today. So apparently we are diving headfirst into the heat. RIP to the reasonable DWP bills. 

RIP indeed. Don’t worry though, you’re having a super fun Southern California November, where it’s 43 degrees in the morning and 85 degrees by noon. You are handling it great and have only worried a few people by continually asking for “rainy, cold weather I can be sad to.”

3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Well, it’s only 10:00 a.m. so I haven’t done much, and to be honest, with quarantine still going strong I probably won’t do a ton later. But I have been trying my best to keep busy with creative projects. Right now I’m working on a rally towel blanket and a cross stitch for [my cousins] Spenser, Ashlynn and (upcoming) baby Easton. I can’t believe that when I get this letter back he will be here, in the world! Can’t wait to meet you, little guy. 

Baby Easton is indeed here and is one of the best and cutest things to have arrived in 2020. You should also know, past Kim, that you haven’t made any more progress on that blanket but you did make a robot out of soup cans, so that’s something.

4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Holding Out for the One by Tennille Townes and Hard to Forget by Sam Hunt, but I’ve also been listening to a lot of Lilla Vargen & Lady A.

I suppose another good thing about 2020 is we’ve had a lot of time to find a lot of new music. As you were writing this letter you were about to hit the jackpot on some good music finds.

5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): My family and I watched Knives Out about a week ago and it was SO GOOD, and then Natalee and I have been on a Disney kick. I think the most recent one we watched was The Princess & the Frog which I’d never seen but thought it was so cute! Also, how dare Disney make me get so attached to a bug. 

We’ve never fully recovered from Disney making us get attached to a bug.

6) Who did you last text and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): I texted my brother about a German movie on Netflix called “Isi & Ossi” that he should watch, especially because he just recommended the show “Dark” to me, which is also in German and, according to him, will “BLOW MY MIND.” I am currently 15 minutes in to Season 1, Episode 1, and am already invested, so we’ll see how well I’m able to control my binge instincts.

It’s safe to say you threw all binge control out the window and went into Dark very HARD. Seriously, you wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks. It was fantastic.

7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Hmm. That’s a little difficult because the world is kind of on hold right now. But I suppose I’m just trying to keep busy, stay motivated, and write. 

We love an attainable goal unaffected by COVID restrictions! We are still doing just that. 🙌

8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Meeting baby Easton. ❤

Still true. And soon this will finally happen!!

9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Oh boy, there is a lot of worry on my plate right now. Most of which I don’t like talking about because I don’t want to make it anymore real than it already is. To be honest I’m very scared of what lies ahead, but I’m trying to stay positive and pray in the hopes that there is good. 

I recently came across this article that I bookmarked a while back and there is a quote in there that a girl shared from her therapist that says, “you don’t have to feel hopeful about the future, it’s enough just to be curious about what is coming.” I think this year has made a lot of us lose hope and expect the worst, but I’m trying to think of this quote in the context that while there still might be some bad up ahead, I’m curious to see what good comes alongside it.

10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from the last time capsule (4/28/20): Read the room, girl. 

I’d like to officially change this question since I sincerely hate it every time it comes up. I’m thinking, “what is the best thing you’ve eaten in the last 200 days?” Because who doesn’t like reliving something delicious?


You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: Friday June 4th, 2021


Stay curious, there is good ahead!

Keep Hold of Your Elephant

I recently read former SEAL and current Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s book, Fortitude, which talks a lot about how to live a more balanced and controlled emotional life, especially in this age of “outrage culture.” In one chapter, I found a metaphor that really stuck with me and I wanted to share.

It comes from psychologist Dr. Jonathan Haidt, who described the human mind as a rider on an elephant. The conscious or logical mind is represented by the rider, and the unconscious or emotional mind is represented by the elephant. By all accounts, it would seem that the rider is (and should be) in control, but in certain situations, that elephant can pull and steer the rider in a direction they didn’t expect to go, and that won’t benefit them in the way they hope.

I loved this visual, partially because elephants are my favorite animal, but mostly because I felt like I’ve experienced this pull or sudden loss of logical mindedness in favor of a larger, more overpowering emotional response. And the harder I’ve tried to pull back and fight against that emotional reaction, the harder it’s fought its own fight, leaving me either frozen and at war with myself, or headed in a direction I don’t want to go. So the advice here is to realize that you are still in control. Your logical mind will always be that rider that can calm the elephant and steer her forward. But it is up to that logical mind to decipher—not ignore or belittle or wish away—whichever emotional reaction is trying to lead, and weed out what is true about it and what is not. What will benefit you (i.e. dealing with grief, mourning failure or rejection, etc.) and what won’t (i.e. worrying about things you can’t control, spiraling into self hate, tossing blame/anger onto other people).

In today’s society, we are told to react instantly. To immediately know our opinion, and, especially, to immediately be offended, angry, hurt, afraid, ecstatic, etc. I know I’ve felt the pressure to know exactly how I feel in only a matter of seconds—even if I’m not exactly familiar with what I’m seeing or talking about, and even if I don’t have all the facts or context that might help me form my own opinion. I know I’ve reacted to things based solely on the pressure to react, and the fear that if I didn’t, I’d be rejected, cast out, or left behind. I’ve looked on from my metaphorical elephant as a herd went running in one direction, and worried about the fact that we were still standing here, processing.

But the point is: that is okay. It is okay to process. It is okay to take your time. It is okay to go in the direction of the rest of the herd and it is okay to go in your own direction, as long as the rider is in control.

Don’t let hate steer you.

Don’t let fear steer you.

Don’t let doubt or greed or jealousy steer you.

Feel your feelings, listen to your feelings and then take the time to figure out which are telling you the truth and which are lying to you. Lead that elephant forward and do it on your own terms.

31 Good Things that Happened in October

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in.

1) Twitter held an unflattering dog photo challenge contest…

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2) …and an unflattering cat contest.

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3) This dog shelter found a clever way to help its older dogs get adopted.

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4) This man shared his cousin’s hilarious misstep

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5) Mental Floss released this fun list of lesser known inventions.

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6) This Twitter prompt made for some hilarious fake 2020 slogans.

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7) This 2350 pound pumpkin won a California pumpkin contest.

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8) This man drew terrible portraits of people’s pets and raised money for charity.

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9) This boy made a great shot.

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10) Tasmanian devils were reintroduced into the Australian wild for the first time in 3,000 years.

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11) This elephant had a snack.

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12) This dad made desks for students still schooling at home.

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13) This couple was reunited after 200 days.

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14) This girl shared her unique love story

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15) This boy was admitted into the English National Ballet School after only four years of training.

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16) This veteran saved a couple from a fire.

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17) This man sheltered 300 dogs from Hurricane Delta.

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18) This woman shared her incredible Halloween costume.

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19) This engineering student built a giant water slide to break a world record.

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20) This:

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21) This couple found a clever way to get married.

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22) These ballerinas put on an incredible show.

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23) This story was published about an epic tale of man who lost his surfboard and the man who found it 5,000 miles away.

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24) This man donated his baseball card collection to a 9 year old who lost all of hers in a fire.

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25) Harry Styles left a superfan a nice note—and fed her fish

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26) IKEA announced its “Buy Back” program which is aimed to promote recycling.

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27) This boy taught us the ABC’s.

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28) The Dodgers won the World Series (I realize this isn’t good news for everyone, but being a Dodger fan myself, I couldn’t help but share it!)

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29) Buzzfeed collected a bunch of good things that happened to people during quarantine.

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30) This man started a master’s program

View this post on Instagram

You got this 💪🏼

A post shared by Good News (@tanksgoodnews) on

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31) And this boy danced with Jack Skellington

View this post on Instagram

Killed it

A post shared by FUCKJERRY (@fuckjerry) on

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

Finding Focus with Your Senses

With so much going on and so many reasons to both worry about the future and get lost thinking about the past, it is easy to lose sight of the present.

I know I have a tendency of focusing on the if/when’s of the future or the “if only’s” of the past, and at times I can think and worry about them until I spiral down to a point of near paralysis. As a result, I often look for ways to reconnect to the present moment, as it’s the only thing I have any control over.

Recently, on an episode of the podcast The Next Right Thing, host Emily P. Freeman shared an exercise geared to get you back into the present moment by focusing on the senses. She said, “senses bring us back to the present moment, reminding us what is rather than what we are afraid could be.”

The exercise asks you to notice and/or write down the following:

Five things you can see

Four things you can hear

Three things you can feel

Two things you can smell

One thing you can taste

As I write this blog in a low sitting chair on the beach, this is how I would go through the exercise:

Five things I can see

  1. The waves moving in and out
  2. A ship far off in the distance
  3. My brother’s sandy feet
  4. The freckles on my knees
  5. A feather stuck in the sand

Four things I can hear

  1. The ocean
  2. Kids playing and laughing
  3. An airplane overhead
  4. A seagull squawking

Three things I can feel

  1. A slight breeze
  2. The sand between my toes
  3. The heat of the late morning sun

Two things I can smell

  1. The ocean
  2. Fresh (non smoky) air

One thing I can taste

  1. The bagel I ate for breakfast

What I love about this exercise is that it can bring you into the present both to diffuse a stressful or anxious situation, or to magnify a good one. It can bring good things into focus so you can appreciate them and it can bring negative things into focus so you can move away from them. It can also act as a good distraction from intrusive or anxious thoughts, and give you something to do for a few minutes besides just breathe—which sometimes just doesn’t cut it.

This exercise can be a great go-to on anxious days, long trips to the DMV, stressful family gatherings, slow moving traffic, mornings when it’s hard to get out of bed, nights when it’s hard to fall asleep—really any time when your mind needs something to focus on…other than what it’s currently focusing on. Or, on good days, it can be used to focus and perhaps memorize the things around you that make this moment perfect so that you can remember it forever.

My 500th Blog Post

Almost seven years ago, on a random Sunday night, I posted a rambling blog post, which to this day has only been viewed eight times. I didn’t tell anyone I posted it, and I didn’t know what to expect from it. I wrote it because I could—because I couldn’t seem not to—and because I wanted to know what it felt like to click publish. More than anything, that post was a dare to myself, fueled by late night confidence, to give blogging a shot. And even though I didn’t post another blog until almost seven months later, this dare hung in the air, it crawled into my thoughts and it wiggled out the tips of my fingers. Write, it said. Until eventually, I did.

Thinking back to the beginning, I won’t deny that I was dreaming big. Fresh off a semester abroad, during which I wrote weekly posts (on a different website) to update those back home, I had a pocketful of compliments from friends and family that gave me a big head and an expectation to turn my talents into a career—fast. You can hear it in my early blog posts. The I am so funny tone. I am so casually hilarious and knowledgeable and relatable. Feel free to make me famous.

Reading through some of my old posts, I cringe at the way I wrote, the way I rambled, the way I *clearly* didn’t proofread as well as I should have. I didn’t have a schedule, didn’t have a direction or a defined voice. I was very much just posting to gain a following, to get attention, to get numbers, and to move forward into what was sure to be a lucrative career. I spoke as a knower, as someone who was here to teach you something or to make you laugh or to change your life because of things I could tell you.

But then, little by little, I started to shake off that identity—as it didn’t fit very well—and started to write from the much more honest perspective of a learner. As someone who doesn’t know it all. As someone who is just trying her best and learning what she can along the way. And in finding that authentic voice, I found a much more comfortable, fun, and co-beneficial blogging process and experience, and grew a very genuine and caring audience that allows me to write without a defined theme—something every blogging advice columns suggests you find (#rulebreaker)—and who learns and grows right alongside me.

So as I write this post, my 500th post if you can believe it, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far and who is strapping in to see where we go from here! This blog is a safe place for me, something that is consistently fulfilling and comforting—even amongst the craziest and scariest of times. So thank you for helping me create this space! And if you’re new, welcome to this space! We’re happy to have you.

To celebrate the big 5-0-0, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite blog posts, but first, in case there are any other data nerds out there, here are some fun facts:

  • I have posted a blog on every single day of the week, the most on Monday (178) and the least on Saturday (9).
  • My total word count (including this post) is: 390,606 words, which is the equivalent of almost five books.
  • My blog has been read in 165 countries
  • My best day ever for views was December 15, 2015, when I posted this blog about Gina Rodriguez and she shared it on social media.
  • My most viewed blog of all time is this one about How to Recreate the Princes Diaries Painting.
  • The most used search terms that helped people find my blog was “things that happened in 2018” which led them to my All the Good Things series.
  • The first post I ever had published on another website was this one.

Now to name a few favorites. This was nearly an impossible task, because narrowing it down to a reasonable number leaves so many behind. But in a quick scroll down the list, these ones jumped out at me:

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1) The Mt. Whitney series

This is slightly cheating, since it refers to five posts that cover my experience of hiking Mt. Whitney, but this was the first series I ever wrote for my blog and the first thing that made me feel like a “blogger“. I was so thankful to have a place where I could document what turned out to be a big turning point in my life.

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2) The Simplest Kind of Happy

This post gives me the warm fuzzies. It was such a simple moment of an ordinary day, but it was pure and it was happy and the song I mention in the post can still take me back to that day.

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3) A Literally Sick Rap Song

I wrote this post when I was on day 3 or 4 of being home sick with the flu and it was one of the only things that made me feel better. I spent almost an entire fever filled day rewriting the lyrics to Tupac & Dr. Dre’s “California Love”, renaming it “Day&NyQuil Love” and I laughed so incredibly hard. I will never not think of this post when I’m sick.

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4) To My Fellow Tough Eggs

Some of the hardest blogs to post are the ones that feel like I’m sharing my journal or the innermost workings of my brain. This post was meant to be encouraging to all but especially to myself. It also stands out because shortly after posting it someone mentioned it to me by name and thanked me for posting it and that meant the world to me.

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5) A Lesson in Love from Mr. & Mrs. Day

This is not only one of my favorite posts on my blog, but one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. In 2015, my Grammie was moved into a nursing home, where we met Mr. Day and his wife, Mrs. Day, who was in the bed next to my Grammie. Their love story will inspire me always.

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6) The Year of Give

This was the start of a series I do at the end of every year where I recap the word that defined my year. It put me out of my comfort zone to post, but I’m so glad to have shared it because I love having a place to go back and read what I’ve learned from each year and each word.

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7) The Butterfly

In late 2015, my Grammie passed away, and I wrote this post, which ended up being distributed at her funeral. I felt very lucky to be able to honor her, and I think about this post often.

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8) I Ran a Damn Marathon

This had to be on this list because I still can’t believe it actually happened.

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9) This Blog Was Written By My Dog

This was such a fun, silly post I wrote from the perspective of our family dog, Laycee, who was the cutest, most loving dog I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, only about a year after I posted it, Laycee passed away, but I’m so thankful to have this encapsulation of what an important, special member of our family she was and always will be.

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10) Just Live the Day

I have written many posts describing a struggle of staying present, but I feel like this one really hit straight to the point. It was inspired by The Grapes of Wrath, and offers advice that I try to carry with me at all times.

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Thank you again for all your support through these 500 posts, here’s to 500 more!

30 Good Things that Happened in September

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in.

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1) This Kroger employee helped a woman turn her life around

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2) This rat won an award for detecting landmines in Cambodia

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3) This man helped save a baby swan

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4) A treatment that slows the spread of ALS (and was partially funded by the Ice Bucket challenge) was announced.

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5) This:

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6) This rescue dog adopted three rescue kittens.

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7) Steve Martin solved a pressing problem

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8) The founder of Jelly Belly announced a Willy Wonka type treasure hunt.

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9) This man raised money to give a huge tip to his favorite 89-year old pizza delivery man.

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10) This cartoon:

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11) The finalists for the comedy wildlife photography awards were announced.

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12) Zendaya’s costar on Euphoria had an amazing reaction to her Emmy win.

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13) This incredible story was shared about 9/11

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14) This man got an amazing surprise

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15) This fourth grader’s drawing about kindness won the Google Doodle contest

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16) And the winners from other states and territories showed some seriously impressive work.

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17) This five year old gave a special gift to hardworking firefighters

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18) This Wisconsin farmer planted 2 million sunflowers to spread some happiness to his customers.

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19) The 6th annual Fat Bear Week began.

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20) Dodgers infielder Justin Turner got his cleats decorated by a very special artist

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21) This postcard was finally delivered, 100 years after it was sent.

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22) This man was able to play the piano for the first time in 20 years

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23) This boy got a huge surprise from his favorite garbage truck drivers on his third birthday.

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24) This:

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25) This man played music on a speed bag

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26) This nun ran a marathon on a treadmill in her basement to raise money for the poor.

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27) This dog gave out hugs

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28) This girl swam with a guide dog to help her prepare for the Tokyo Paralympic Games

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29) This kid made solved a math problem

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30) And finally, this toddler made a new best friend: a five foot tall skeleton.

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what October brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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91 Birthdays and Now I’m Counting Too

This past weekend we celebrated my grandpa’s 91st birthday.

It was a happy day filled with good food, lots of sunshine, and a big reminder of the many good things (and especially good people) I have in my life.

The most important person of the day, the ever handsome, ever lovable birthday boy, pulled up to the party in one of his most stylish (and one of my favorite) Dodger themed button down shirts, some nice pants, and a pair of shades. Throughout the day, I couldn’t help but look over at him, sometimes catching him looking at me, maybe to wave or stick his tongue out, and wonder how he was feeling.

When asked how he is doing, his go-to answer most days is that he’s doing okay. He says he feels old, and on some days, on especially good and sassy days, he’ll slick his hair back and tell you he feels oh, just as wonderful as ever. And while I know there are lots of hard layers to his answers—that he’s tired, his knees hurt, he misses my grandma, he’s not sure how much longer he wants to stick around—there are also good ones—he’s proud of the family he’s built, he’s always excited to hear what we’re up to, and he’s curious to see what another day holds. Still, I can’t help but feel like there is so much I don’t understand and can’t understand until I (or IF I) am lucky enough to reach the age of 91.

It’s hard to believe that I’d have to live the life I’ve lived twice more to reach my grandpa’s age. And if I do, it’s hard to comprehend how much I will see and learn and experience in that time. Not to mention, how different the world (my world and the world at large) will look in 61 years. It’s startling and overwhelming, but also inspiring because it makes me realize how much life my grandpa has lived.

I would consider myself very lucky to be sitting in a backyard on a Sunday afternoon 61 years from now, looking out at a family I built, and eating a cake they made just for me. And I’d like to think in that moment I’ll think of my grandpa. I’ll think of how perfect the weather was at his 91st birthday and how lucky I felt to be a part of it. I’ll remember the sound of the excited chatter and the laughter and the clinking of drinks. And then maybe I’ll look over at a certain granddaughter or grandson who I catch looking at me and I’ll stick my tongue out.

Find the Things that Fill You Up

At the beginning of the year I set out on a quest to find a morning routine. And while that process has been and might forever remain a process, I have recently found myself in need of an afternoon routine as well.

Seeing as many things are still closed and many activities are still limited, I often find my afternoons and evenings in need of filling. Unlike my morning routine however, I can’t necessarily say, “oops, I overslept, guess I’ll try again tomorrow.” I often get home at 4:00 p.m., and while occasionally a nap seems necessary, I’m not looking to become nocturnal and/or nap off the possibility of a great night’s sleep.

Still, it’s hard after a long day of work to find the motivation to do a lot. Sometimes I want to take a nap. Sometimes I want to watch a movie. Sometimes I want to clean. Sometimes I want to exercise. Sometimes I want to talk to friends. And sometimes I want to stay cooped up in my room and ponder the state of my life and/or the world.

In this mishmash of wants and hopes and goals and laziness, I have found that the number one thing to remember when setting yourself a routine—for any time of day, really—is to find things that fill you up.

Emphasis on the you.

For a long time I was putting so much pressure on myself to be productive, to be active, to only do things that would drive me forward. I was trying to check off boxes of successful people, and do things that would in turn make me (or at least make me sound) successful.  And sometimes I felt so overwhelmed by this pressure that I wouldn’t know where to start, and so I would just scroll on my phone for hours and do nothing, which made me feel worse, and would make the pressure to do “big” things the next day even greater, thus making the chances of me laying on my phone even greater.

It was a vicious cycle.

And so, I decided that my only goal for every afternoon and evening was to do things that make me feel good. Things that filled me up. Me. Not those I saw on social media. Not those who might ask me how my day was. Me. What made me feel like I had a good, enjoyable, and productive afternoon?

As of now, this:

When I get home from work, (time willing) I give myself about an hour to decompress on my bed. That might mean scrolling on my phone. That might mean taking a nap. That might mean finishing an episode of a podcast or TV show that I started earlier in the day. Then I will get up, roll out my mat, and do some yoga.  Then I’ll sit down at my desk and do a section of my prayer journal (right now I’m working through The Between Places by Stephanie May Wilson). Then I’ll grab whichever book I’m reading (right now it’s Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw) and I’ll read one chapter before heading into the kitchen to make dinner.

During dinner, I’ll watch an episode of a TV show (right now I’m watching The Boys on Amazon Prime) and then I’ll take a shower, get into some comfy clothes, and sit down on the couch to do some writing, or work on my counted cross-stitch (don’t come for me and my grandma ways).

Again that’s:

  • Decompress
  • Yoga
  • Prayer Journal
  • Read 1 chapter of a book
  • Dinner + TV
  • Shower
  • Write and/or counted cross-stitch

Obviously this isn’t carved in stone. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for everything on this list, sometimes I’m in the mood for none of it, sometimes I’m in the mood for more. The point is, each of these things fill me up. Each of these things provide me with a little boost of something good. And so when I have the time, I am motivated to do them because I know I will enjoy them.

So if you’re in need for some structure in your day—be that the morning, the afternoon, the evening, weekdays or weekends, look for the things that fill you up. Look for the things that make you excited to do them. Look for the things that help you pass the time rather than allowing the time to pass you.