In My House

There’s Magic in the Ordinary

A couple weeks ago I ordered a new comforter set from Bed Bath and Beyond. I was excited to take advantage of the January linen sales and to replace our decade-old, tattered duvet. My daughters were excited that the new set happened to arrive in a gigantic cardboard box.

As soon as they spotted it on the dining room floor their eyes lit up. They waited anxiously as I made sure the comforter was the appropriate size for our bed. I wasn’t about to let them start turning it into a castle or a car or a theater stage before I ruled out the possibility of needing to return the bedding set.

As soon as I announced that the box was theirs, they cheered with delight. They immediately began drawing, bedazzling, and turning the box into something resembling a retro Volkswagen van. They pushed each other around in the van, then turned it into a kindergarten classroom for stuffed animals. The box has since served as a bakery, a school bus, a cottage, and a science laboratory.

I watched them play and wondered if there is anything that brings me as much joy as they’re experiencing by playing with a cardboard box. Then I realized that yes, there is. Watching their happiness unfold over something so ordinary yet so magical brings me that joy. Listening to their laughter and observing their creativity fills my heart.

We all know disappointment very well right now. After nearly two full years of fear, uncertainty, cancelled plans, and lost loved ones, what can we do except strive to find joy wherever it hides? It might be in the smile of a friend, the calmness of a brisk winter sunrise, or even in an empty cardboard box. Where will you find your magic today?

In My House

To You, SBHS Class of 2001

We haven’t talked in a while, but I wanted to let you know I’m happy for you. It seems like we graduated five years ago, not 15. Still, I am thankful when I see you are doing well.

Last weekend I was perusing Facebook and one of you posted about “another wild Saturday night cleaning up diaper blow-outs and bathing babies.” Things certainly have changed for us now that we’re in our thirties. It is no longer acceptable to wear a bandana as a shirt, and trucker hats aren’t cool anymore. Jay-Z is pushing 50. People have calmed down about Y2K. Surge soda is no longer available.

Still, I would say life is pretty great. It makes me smile to see you enjoying the same simple pleasures in life that I am enjoying, too.


(Photo by Mist and Moonlight Photography)

If there is one really great thing social media has given us, it is the opportunity to celebrate each other. I truly enjoy seeing posts of your wedding days, career successes, and adorable children. I love seeing you happy.

To those we have lost, I think of you often. To those struggling, I pray for you.


(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

It is funny how time seems to freeze. I remember many of you at age 18, on our graduation day and in the days leading up to that. Sometimes I forget you’re in your thirties now. Sometimes I forget I am in my thirties now.

This is a shout-out to all of you. I think we’re doing alright. Keep posting the positive things and not dwelling on the negative. Keep working hard and enjoying your beautiful families and exciting careers. Keep striving to make the world a better place, even if only in your own little corner of it. Above all, feed off each other’s joy and be glad for one another. (Even when your Limp Bizkit cd is scratched beyond repair and you’ve just realized it might be time to deactivate your MySpace account.)

In My House

10 Things Making Me Happy Right Now

I feel like I have been in my usual January/February rut the past two weeks. Old Man Winter and his partner-in-crime Captain Work Stress have had me feeling a little down. However, I think I have turned a corner, because today I have a lot of reasons to be happy.


10: A healthy girl after a sick day this week.

9: A couple of work obstacles crossed. Without going into detail, there were some tasks hanging over my head that I completed this week.

8: The new Barefoot Contessa special premieres this weekend. I can’t wait to see what kind of delicious meals Ina and her adorable hubby Jeffrey eat while in Paris.

7: My daughter’s Jeopardy dance. My husband and I are long-time Jeopardy fans. We watched it in the hospital while we awaited our daughter’s birth, and she watched it the very first day of her life. She now does a really funny dance nightly to the song they play during final Jeopardy.

6: Planning a beach vacation. It is still four months away, but thinking about the beach always gives me a jolt.

5: Two hilarious cards from friends in the past two weeks. I love it when people truly understand my love for hand-written correspondence and witty stationery.

4: Good books. I am nearly finished with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and I have two other intriguing books waiting in the wings to be cracked.


3: Beautiful Valentine’s Day flowers sent to my office from my dear grandmother. She has sent me flowers at school or work every Valentine’s Day from the time I was a little girl. I love that tradition and I love her.

2: A much-needed date night this weekend with my husband to include Zoolander 2 and a romantic dinner.

1: Spring is near. OK, so it is still more than a month away, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What is making you happy this week?