I have been struggling with writer’s block lately. I know I need to get back into a regular writing practice. I’m making progress with my dissertation, but it too needs me to just get comfortable with putting words on the page – getting past that block.
Today I decided to search for writing prompts. At first I was looking for prompts to help the digital storytelling class that I’m facilitating, but then I decided I wanted to try something for this blog too. I’m not really in an intellectual mood this afternoon, so I needed something more reflective. One of the prompts I came across was to write about “30 things that make you smile”. I decided that 30 was daunting and I wouldn’t even start if I had to start that big … so I figured 10 things, in no particular order that make me smile.
- My garden. I feel content with the Mona Lisa kind of smile way whenever I go into my garden. At different times of year, it has different crops. Right now it is piling high with snow peas. I had planted a bunch of what I though would be sugar snap peas before going on vacation. They appear to be snow peas – and they are delicious. I also have lettuce that I can harvest daily – enough to make a side salad to go with dinner each day.
- A bike ride. It doesn’t seem to matter how far I’m biking. I often have to fight a lot of inertia to get myself organized and then finally get on the bike – but once I’m on the bike, my whole body smiles. It doesn’t even matter what kind of biking. I have a folding bike that I use for most paved trail riding, a recumbent, and a mountain bike. With any of them, after a few strokes of the pedal a smile creeps across my face.
- Views. I love to look out over a valley. I love views from the tops of hills (or mountains). I love hiking up a hill/mountain (small mountain) and seeing the view of the valley below. Unlike biking, I do not immediately smile when I start a hike. It is usually a good 20 minutes before I start seeing things that only slow modes of transport can show you – and then I start smiling.
- Walking on a sandy ocean beach. I don’t generally like walking in the sand, unless it is at the seashore with the smell of the ocean and the sound of waves crashing by. I can walk pensively along the ocean beach, and when I look out at the waves watching the sea birds playing in the wind – that makes me smile every time.
- Swimming with sea turtles. I love to snorkel and I love snorkelling in Hawaii in particular. It is why, when I wanted to something as a breast memorial that I was drawn to swimming topless with the turtles in Hawaii. There is something magical when you come upon a sea turtle while snorkelling. Moving my arms in a way that echos the graceful strokes of the sea turtles front flippers (do they call them flippers?). It is pure magic.
- Laughing with friends. I don’t do nearly enough laughing. There has been a little too much seriousness in my life lately. The lack of laughter in my life makes me that much more aware of it when it happens. I have learned to really appreciate those times when we laugh together.
- Cuddling with my husband on a cool night while sleeping in our “adventure van”. I sleep so well in our van. In part it is because when I’m sleeping in the van, it means I’m out in nature somewhere. I’ve done trips alone before, and I still sleep well, but it isn’t the same as cuddling up with my husband on a cool night – feeling his chest rise and fall with his breath. It is pure magic.
- Serving a good meal. I love to cook – but especially love it when the meal that I prepare turns out well. I don’t generally follow recipes so my cooking is not typically consistent. I do, however, especially enjoy it when a meal comes together and is especially good.
- Eating a good meal. I am a bit of a foodie. We used to enjoy going out to nice restaurants – ordering the 5-course chef surprise. Unfortunately, since my celiac diagnosis this has been a lot harder. I can rarely order the chef surprise as I cannot guarantee it doesn’t have gluten. In most restaurants, I only have a couple of choices, as almost everything on the menu has gluten. However, every now and then we find a place where the food is really good and I feel like I can relax and enjoy it. That makes me smile. I wish there were more places like that.
- A lesson well received. In this case I mean that when a lesson that I designed in one of my online courses is well received by students. More specifically, when my students surprise me with what they do. I try to keep the instructions open enough so as not to stifle that creativity and inspiration in my students. I smile when an activity causes my students to produce something that is well beyond my expectations.
And that was 10 thinks that make me smile. There are more. Writing this post made me smile – at least 10 times. As I reflected on each of these things, I felt the echo of a smile.
What are 10 things that make you smile?