The Return

After a long blogging hiatus, I’m back! We recently moved to my hometown, a place that feels both familiar and new. It’s been an uncovering of old haunts and childhood memories. And it’s been a process of rediscovering a city that’s transformed over two decades and seeing it through the fresh eyes of my kids.

So, consider this my return. A return to this blog, to my hometown, and perhaps on some level, to myself.

In the interim, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and a way to cultivate a more regular writing habit. I admire people who have dedicated practices — the stalwart early morning exerciser or crack of dawn writer, the daily meditator. After lots of abandoned practices and experimenting, I’ve learned that for me, starting small is better than not starting.

In that spirit, and inspired by #onegoodthing on the profoundly beautiful Commonplace blog (and a similar practice detailed in Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s brave book, Option B), last month I started writing down one good thing from each day. It’s my attempt at writing a few words daily and perhaps more important, of identifying and naming those moments of goodness.

There are those great days where it’s hard to pick just one good thing and there are other days where I have to dig deep to find the bits of joy. But the practice of recording them in the slivers of solitude each night has taught me a lot. It reminds me of the Where’s Waldo? books, where the reader has to find Waldo in his striped shirt and hat on each page. Some pages are more difficult than others, but over time, it gets easier to find Waldo since your eyes get accustomed to looking for him. In that way, I’m building my joy muscle. Going through my day I’m primed to see those gems, those “thin slices of joy” as Chade-Meng Tan calls them. And when I find them, I hold them up to the sun and watch them sparkle.

May 2017

  1. Cherry blossoms cover my windshield like snowflakes 20170503_071746
  2. Cutting veggies, a glass of wine, and the wistful notes of Billie Holiday
  3. An impromptu dance party
  4. The sweet, deep slumber of a child
  5. Discovering the self-serve carwash with a 7-year-old
  6. Getting lost in the best bookstore
  7. A meandering hike in a new place on a sunny, spring day
  8. Rosé in a can and leftover pizza
  9. Falling asleep with a good book
  10. Overhearing my kids tell each other silly knock-knock jokes
  11. Noticing the countless shades of green outside my window after a rain on a spring evening
  12. Sharing candy corn, giggles and music that’s probably too loud (and questionably inappropriate) with my kids
  13. Savoring a lazy morning
  14. A poem by my son, lots of family time, and a game of tag at dusk
  15. A mug of tea on a rainy night
  16. Master of None: season 2
  17. A kind call from a stranger
  18. My daughter witnessing her caterpillars transform into chrysalides. Pure joy and wonder
  19. Discovering a hidden mural20170518_170717
  20. A cathartic talk and cuddle after an argument
  21. A Sunday night dinner outside on a warm evening, complete with a watermelon seed-spitting contest
  22. An unexpected moment of stillness and connection in the midst of a tough, sweaty workout
  23. A sweet bedtime conversation
  24. Full belly laughter
  25. A mini-lesson on sketching from an inspiring artist
  26. Watching my youngest try something new and difficult, with determination and grace
  27. Creating and building something with my son
  28. Mountain vistas on a cloudless day
  29. A picnic and romp in a little waterfall; walking along my favorite bend in a river
  30. Discovering a lovely new children’s book
  31. Releasing butterflies into the world

 

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7 Comments on “The Return”

  1. Mary Laird
    June 8, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    Glad you are back with your Alphabet Scramble “jewels”!! Thank you. 😊 We’ve missed you and your “words of wisdom”!! Love, Mom

    On Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 10:38 AM, Alphabet Scramble wrote:

    > hlspain posted: “After a long blogging hiatus, I’m back! We recently moved > to my hometown, a place that feels both familiar and new. It’s been an > uncovering of old haunts and childhood memories. And it’s been a process of > rediscovering a city that’s transformed over two d” >

    • hlspain
      June 8, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

      Thank you, Mom! Thanks for being my first reader. xoxo

  2. Candy Puterbaugh
    June 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    Reading your blog once again is like welcoming back an old friend. It was a “thin slice of joy”. On this cloudy day, it still sparkled!

    • hlspain
      June 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

      Aww, thank you, Aunt Candy, for always reading and your poetic words of encouragement. Just enjoyed another piece of your lasagna — a thick slice of joy! xo

  3. Dina L. Relles
    June 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    I am deeply touched by this, Heather. So happy you’re writing again and that now I’ve discovered you so I can follow along. And *yes* to everything you’ve said here about the #onegoodthing practice: some days, it comes easily, others, it’s like squeezing water from a stone. But it *is* a practice, and like you, I’ve come to appreciate mining over the minutiae of my day in an attempt to extract morsels of goodness. I love your list from May and look forward to more…

    Here’s to seeing the good! xox

    • hlspain
      June 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

      Dina – thank you for reading and for your thoughtful reply. So lovely to be connected to you and your words through this crazy, electronic web. It is indeed a practice and I’m very curious to see what others learnings I’ll glean from #onegoodthing. Look forward to reading more of your lists, too! A heartfelt thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Eric Earle
    August 22, 2017 at 7:48 am #

    This was incredible. You are such a strong writer, Heather. I love your blog! Thanks for writing this. I also liked the book “option B” and reading your list of 31 positives was a lot of fun. I hope to start blogging again soon, too. Way to go.

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