Off The Deep End

When I was a kid, I liked to journal.  I started when I was 8.  I recently located a box of my old journals, and read through some of them.  I started by reading the journal I kept at age 8, in 1980.  It is a blue spiral notebook that has “KEVIN – DO NOT  REED!!” written all over the front in black marker, which is ironic because my brother was 5 and couldn’t read anyway.  I would also assign each day a letter grade.  For example, the entry for September 22, 1980 reads:

Sept. 23, 1980 – 19th day of school.  Went to school.  Went to soccer practice.  Kevin went to the fair with Little George.  Rhonda came over, then she leaved.  B+

The following year, I acquired an actual diary, with a lock and everything, because my brother was starting to sound out consonants and I feared that he might be overcome with curiosity about the ins and outs of my days.  Which went as follows:

April 19, 1981 – It’s Easter.  Mom hid eggs.  Me and Kevin found them.  A+


As I got a little older, my journal entries became a little more detailed:

January 8, 1982 – I went to school and got my name down in the hall for talking.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m talking.  We did an art project with tissue paper.  Missy spent the night tonight.  We played Operation.  We let Kevin play too, but he buzzed the buzzer every time.  Then we did a treasure hunt.  We made it up.  Then we played Atari.  Atari is so fun.  It’s really late now and everyone is asleep.  But I’m awake.  B-

Then 7th grade rolled around, and my journal entries began to reflect the dramatic highs and lows of a 13-year-old pre-adolescent girl in all her glory:

January 22, 1985 – Today was soooooooooooooo good.  Tim asked me to go with him.  I said yes.  I don’t know his last name but he is the nicest guy in the whole world!!!  See, yesterday I told Leanne that I thought he was cute and she said that she would talk to him because they are in the same Texas History class.  Then, Leanne called me tonight and said that Tim wanted to talk to me, and so we called him on 3-way.  Then Leanne had to go because she’s grounded, and Tim and I talked for another 20 minutes!!!!!  Just the 2 of us!!!  A+++++++

(Tim and I broke up 2 days later.  I never learned his last name.)

All this to say, that I have been a journaler (made-up word meaning “one who journals”) ever since I was a young child.  I journaled throughout my high school, college, and young adult years.  But somewhere, around 15 years ago, I stopped journaling.  Life got busier, or I got lazier, or both.  I journal intermittently, but have not really stuck with it like I did when I was younger.  And I realized, as I was reading through this box of old journals, spiral notebooks, and Hello Kitty diaries, that I miss it, and that I’m sad that I don’t do it regularly anymore.

Enter this amazing book that I have recently started reading.  It is called One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and if you have not read it, you’re going to want to stop reading this and RUN to the bookstore and get it.  It is a beautiful, life-giving book about gratitude.  Basically, in the book, the author is prompted to list one thousand gifts that she encounters in day-to-day living (but she describes it in a much more beautiful and poetic way than I just did.)  And as I read the book, it occurred to me, “Oh my gosh.  I’ve sort of done this!”  And back to the journal box I went.

When I was in college, I had a dear friend named Eric.  Eric and I lived in the same dorm, and became close friends our first semester at TCU.  We would stay up late at night and talk – about deep stuff, not just surface-y college student stuff.  Eric didn’t really have time for surface talk.  He had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and had already outlived his life expectancy.  So when we talked, he wanted to go deep.  And one time, in the fall of 1992, we each made a list of all of our great memories, and our favorite things, and the things for which we were most thankful.  And we talked about our lists. And added to them.  And talked about them some more.  I kept my list, and continued adding to it over the years.  After Eric passed away.  After I finished college.  And then, I forgot about it.

Until now.  Now, I have unearthed The List of All the Greatness and am activating it again.  But I’m going to add to it on HERE.  Because I now have terrible handwriting.  Because typing is easier than writing.  Because we live in 2013 and it’s all internet these days, kids.  But also, because people occasionally comment on this blog, and MAYBE someone might comment and share some of THEIR most awesomest things and OH MY GOSH HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE.

So, here are my first 35 things, taken from The List of All the Greatness (from 1992, except it wasn’t called that then):

1)   Late-night talks with Eric in his room

2)   Pez

3)   Riding in the back of a pickup as a kid

4)   Rain against the window, but not too hard

5)   The first hot day in spring

6)   The first cold day in fall

7)   Jumping on a trampoline with the sprinkler under it

8)   The smell of my grandmothers

9)   My bed at home

10) The rose I got from David after losing that semifinal doubles match

11) The parachute we played with in elementary school

12) Mom’s banana pudding

13) Doing gymnastics with Rhonda in the yard as a kid

14) My father’s hands

15) Chocolate chip pancakes

16) Diving off the high dive

17) Being at the lake

18) Soccer tournaments

19) Jumping off the basement stairs as a kid

20) Singing at FCA

21) Riding in the car late at night

22) The sore feeling in your muscles after you’ve worked hard

23) Chips & queso

24) The good stuff Rhonda and I found in the dumpster when we were little

25) Going back to bed after 6:00am workout

26) My purple Converse hi-tops in 7th grade

27) Banana popsicles

28) Cheering in the dugout

29) Evenings in the summer

30) Hot chocolate

31) The ocean

32) A fire in the fireplace

33) The day I got baptized

34) Getting a new racquet

35) Swinging on a swingset

Ultimately, there were 114 things on my 1992 list.  These are just a few of them.  But I’m now going to start the 2013 version.  Basically, I don’t want to miss any awesomeness, or any chances to be grateful for all the awesomeness, just because I’m not paying attention.

If you are a commenter (one who comments on blogs and such), what are a few of your Favorite Things in All the Land?


I love to laugh.  There’s really nothing I’d rather do than laugh – especially with a group of people, who are also laughing.  (It’s generally not as much fun if I’m the only laugher in a large group of non-laughers – it tends to elicit those “looks” that I try so hard to avoid.)  There is something healing about laughter – physically, spiritually, and emotionally – and there really is nothing like it.  It is one of the great joys in life.

In addition to loving laughter, I also love to make other people laugh.  It feels like giving them a gift, and it is so much fun to watch them “open” it.  I don’t mean this in a cocky way or in an “oh, wow, I’m funny” kind of way.  I just mean that being goofy is sort of my thing that I do.  I can’t sing, or cook, or dance, or stand on one foot, or plant flowers that live more than 2 days, or wash clothes without shrinking them, or refrain from eating carbs late at night, or draw faces that look even remotely human.  Or a thousand other things.  But I can occasionally make people laugh.  And that’s fun.

In addition to loving to laugh, I also love to write.  I’m rusty at it – I used to write a whole lot as a kid and as a college student, but adulthood came around (chronological adulthood at least), and life got busy, and it just sort of faded into the background.  I had teachers in elementary school who encouraged my love for writing, and I will be forever grateful to them, despite the fact that I think they probably encouraged me to write because it kept me sitting in my chair for more than the customary 5 minutes I could usually maintain inertia.

So last summer, assisted by my cousin Jill, who is much more of an expert in all things world-wide-webbish than I am, I decided to do a blog, and to combine two things that I loved – making people laugh, and writing.  And I did it.  And it sucked.  And that was that.  I didn’t enjoy it – it felt “forced,” and I had to make myself write, and then I found myself wondering if other people thought it was funny.

Over the past six months, God has been teaching me much about who I am in Him.  It has been a time of growth for me – a difficult time, but I am learning that my identity is based solely on who I am in Him, and not on anything I can do – including make people laugh.  And I have found myself writing again.  But this time, it’s different for me.  I feel the desire – actually it’s more like a need – to write, because there are things on my heart that I want to write about.  And I’m not so much concerned about whether people think it’s funny or not – because I’m not sure it’s always going to be funny either.  It probably will be at times, because there is just way too much bizarreness out there to not write about it – I don’t think I can help it – plus there’s light and fluffy stuff to write about too, and I’ll have to do that sometimes – but it is probably going to be a bit deeper at times too.  And if people want to read it and chime in that’s wonderful.  If not, that’s okay too – they can always go to  (Hee hee hee that’s not really a website…)