number 1 & number 21

Slowing down is really, really good. We live in a world where it's become a talent, a lost art, something we have to relearn: Slow down. -- Heather Sellers, Chapter after Chapter

Ever since the week of Christmas, my brain seems content to move at half-speed. I'd like to blame Kristen's winter vacation... I think the idea of "being on break" is completely contagious.

Or, maybe I'm just staggeringly lazy.

But even as I acknowledge that, I have to admit this too:

I am so unworried.

Maybe it comes from spending so much time recently with my niece.

There's something about hanging out with a little sixteen-month-old girl. You start to notice the tiny things: the very important yet very small.

The way her hands move. The new words, even new syllables, that she says. Her little dance moves.

And then the even smaller things that she notices: the speck on the carpet, the microscopic tear in a piece of paper.

And I think her attitude may have spilled over, because I feel content to celebrate the small and beautiful things that I'm seeing everywhere: like the icicles growing beyond our kitchen window.

The snowflakes catching on my scarf.

And, too, the little victories in my writing day. The slow progress that is still progress. A handful of sentences that make me laugh. A touch of good dialogue.

I'm content to write this chapter of my book slowly. I don't need to whip myself into a writing-wonderwoman frenzy. Maybe I can let myself savor every decent sentence, every bit of description that's, somehow, just right.

... I've been savoring other things too: Kristen's amazing sugar cookies, still warm from the oven (swoon). Knitting an insanely fun hat for the store (helloooo cabling needle, how I've missed you). Organizing and neatening my writing desk, until I can find those wonderful sentences I had, somehow, mislaid.

Which brings us to Number One from this list: yes, I finally did the much-needed book purge. There they are, facing the wall in a neat little stack, awaiting further judgment. Poor things. I guess it's not their fault that I don't need them anymore... but it's a relief to keep only the books I want. Goodbye, extra baggage!

And what else is good already in 2011? The long wonderful conversations with family and friends. Tromping through the snow until my toes are so cold they hurt, and yet not really wanting to go inside.

And then, most definitely: Number Twenty-One from the list. I love greeting at church! I love seeing the friends and the new faces, and I even kind of love getting blasted with icy air every time the door opens.

Wakes me up quicker than coffee...

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