I love making lists.
I love when my slippers match my hoodie and joggers. I love nicknames, Harry Potter, painted toenails, raw cookie dough, and soft skin.
I love the curls of steam that rise from a hot cup of coffee.
I love when he lets me put my cold hands under his shirt.
I love how, when I sit down with a cozy blanket, our dog seems to know and she finds me.
I love that I get filled with the warm fuzzies of fondness and affection whenever I think of some of my college professors. I love that I still keep in touch with a handful of them.
I love vulnerability and authenticity.
I love my youngest daughter’s curly, untamed hair.
I love the freckles on my shoulders and on oldest daughter’s nose and cheeks. (I wish she loved them too.)
I love singing “Amazing Grace” with a room full of people.
I love summer days that are 72 degrees with a light wind and I love autumn days that are 52 degrees with sunshine after a heavy rain.
I love the smell of a library.
I love rainbows that stretch across the sky when rain and sun collide.
I love honesty, even when it hurts.
I love, on the days when I am unreasonably irritable and demanding and emotional, he holds my hands in his own and looks me in the eyes and says, “I love you.” I love feeling seen, known, and understood.
I love forgiveness.
I love to give gifts even more than I love to receive them and I especially love when it’s an over-the-top surprise that they never saw coming.
I love that it’s our policy not to kill spiders in our house. I love my love for animals and that my kids have inherited (or learned?) that kind of love too.
I love massages.
I love connecting with random strangers about random things, like the rain we’re both trying to get out of, or the child who won’t stop screaming, or simply because I did something nice like hold open the door for them.
I love adding songs to my next birth playlist, just in case there’s ever another birth.
I love dreaming, imagining, hoping, planning. Praying.
I love how my oldest son and daughter will do a deep dive into subjects that fascinate them, like Greek mythology and spiders and dinosaurs.
I love grumpy old people and mischievous toddlers.
I love babies in sweaters and winter hats.
I love that strawberry jam, Thanksgiving Day, and Black Friday make me think of one friend in particular.
I love hearing my husband laughing aloud at what he’s watching on YouTube while he does the dishes. (I love that he does the dishes.)
I love birth photography and black and white images and the contrast of shadows and light.
I love stories about second chances, and unrequited love, and overcoming the odds. I love stories that make me weep.
I love when he calls me “babe.”
I love that my kids love the candied sweet potatoes from my childhood.
I love how my heart leaps when I unexpectedly see a Steller’s Jay in our backyard, beautiful blue wings against the backdrop of a forest of evergreens.
I love new friends who feel like old friends and old friends who never feel new, even with years and miles between us.
I love flannel sheets and flannel shirts.
I love how our “baby,” newly walking, toddles around like an unstable drunk man. I love that when he falls down (which he does, often), he gets right back up with a huge smile on his face and just keeps going.
I love the mullet that forms when a toddler’s hair grows faster in the back than on top.
I love roses and how, when the wind blows, you can smell the ones growing in our yard.
I love long, dangly earrings.
I love maxi dresses and sweaters that slip off my shoulder and cute boots and cropped jackets.
I love my 8-year-old’s long lashes, gigantic eyes, and how she’s never met a stranger. She loves everybody and will say hello to anyone and I often think, I wish I could be more like that.
I love buffalo plaid everything – sheets, scarves, oven mitts, slippers, pillows, purses, paperclips. Everything.
I love a fireplace flickering in a dark room.
I love hospitals and airports.
I love Hawaiian sunsets.
I love a British accent.
I love passion fruit and pickles and eating a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips.
I love Indian food.
I love winter sunshine and summer rain, big hugs, sledding with my kids, reunions, hot showers, and the smell of baking cinnamon.
I love the sound of birds singing on an early morning walk.
I love every doughnut ever made as long as it doesn’t have bacon on it.
I love when I put my hair into a messy bun just right and I look cute-messy and not hot-mess-messy and not old-lady-messy.
I love how our 6-year-old is almost always half-naked when he’s at home and how his laughter can’t be contained.
I love when his little sister comes upstairs after waking up and says in her sweet little voice, “Good moaning, Mommy.”
I love people who surprise me, who make me want to do better, who challenge me, who question me, who take no prisoners and get shit done. I love people even though I also really really love to be alone.
I love silence.
I love lines on a carpet left behind by a vacuum.
I love old houses, old cities, and ghost stories.
I love telling people I have 15 siblings. I love knowing I have 15 siblings after nearly a lifetime spent as an only child.
I love hills that are alive with the colors of autumn.
I love being pregnant and the anticipation and hope of a new life, a future that has just barely begun.
I love newborn babies. I really love newborn babies curled and asleep on my chest, their warm weight, their indescribable but delicious smell.
I love nursing newborn babies a few minutes before dawn, just as the sky starts to lighten. I also love nursing newborn babies next to a twinkling Christmas tree in the middle of the night.
I love how a tween can seem so grown up one minute and, the next, she is playing “bad babies” on the floor with her siblings. I love that she still needs me.
I love Philippians 4:13 and always have.
I love laughing uncontrollably, until my stomach hurts and tears pour down my cheeks. I love having someone to laugh with. I love people who make me laugh.
I love how, when my 3-year-old has nothing to play with in her carseat, she makes her fingers or her feet talk to each other.
I love dirty chai tea lattes.
I love dusty rose pink, mustard yellow, and olive green.
I love London and how I always feel at home there. I love Australia and all its wonder and mystery. I think I love Ireland and Africa and one day I will find out for sure.
I love the vastness of the ocean and how I always feel in conversation with God when I stand on the shore.
I love friends who text me randomly to say, “Hey, how are you?” or “I’ve been thinking of you,” or “This reminded me of you.”
I love the smell of onions and peppers cooking in a frying pan.
I love that, even as I approach forty, I am still the apple of my mama’s eye and she tells me I’m her “hero” because I do things she would never even dream of.
I love how safe I feel when I fall asleep with his hand on my hip.
I love a good lens flare. I love buttery golden light and bokeh.
I love reading writing that makes me swoon and feeling inspired to write for the first time in a long time.
I love being appreciated and I love being loved. I love being grateful.
I love that there are countless things to be grateful for and that this list is really just the beginning.