What’s Awesome Today?

I am feeling weary and exhausted lately.  The world in the last few weeks has become noisier, harsher and less kind.  And in the quest to have opinions heard, the media and people are making themselves louder and more extreme.  At the end of the day I come home feeling wrecked and tired.  Are you feeling this way too?

A few months ago I switched the radio station I listen to in the morning.  My previous station hired new morning hosts that grate on me and I was fortunate to find a new station with the music I enjoy and hosts that are entertaining.  During the lead-up to the election, the hosts started a weekly segment called “What’s Awesome Wednesday” to put some positivity in the world.  Listeners call in with what is awesome in their life at the moment.  The awesomeness does not have to be anything momentous but can be a witnessed random act of kindness or something that brought a small smile.  It has met with such success that they have found that teachers are using it in their classrooms to help their students feel more positive and less anxious and have now made it an almost daily segment.

So in my personal quest to spread some positivity, joy, love and peace in the world, here is my list of What’s Awesome Today.

The sunshine.  On Monday, we saw the sun in Chicago for the first time in 8 days.  It has been a dreary month and the sun was such a welcome sight.  The warmth and the light improved everyone’s mood and made me smile.

The start of a new month.  January, the wickedest of winter months, is now in our rearview mirrors.  While February is no walk in the park (and in fact is my least favorite month of the year), we are that much closer to March, when spring officially begins.

New paint colors.  We have lived in our house almost ten years.  That means the last time we had the interior of our house painted was almost ten years ago.   We have decided it is time to freshen up the house and get rid of the dingy marks from handprints and dog slobber.  So I am having fun picking out lighter fresher paint colors and envisioning what our house will look like with a new coat.  If you have any favorite paint colors, let me know, I’m still in the browsing phase.

New niece.  My husband and I are an uncle and aunt again.  Tom’s sister had a baby girl who surprised everyone 5 weeks early.  Because she was early she can use some prayers that she will be able to go home soon.  We cannot wait to meet her and enjoy some of that sweet baby smell and cuddles.

Spring catalogs.  The spring catalogs have been arriving in my mailbox.  I am far from buying anything because it will be months before it feels like spring in Chicago, but they are nice to look through and admire the warmer weather clothes.

The Bachelor.  I admit this show is ridiculous and I probably kill brain cells while watching it, but it is a perfect Monday night guilty winter pleasure when all you need is silly entertainment.  There is not one redeeming cultural thing about this show and it so far from real life, which is why we watch it every week.

Books.  In the last week, I have read 2 great books that I cannot get out of my head.  It has almost ruined me from starting another book (not really because if you know me, you know I always have to be reading something).  The first was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  It gets off to a slow start and the Russian names are a little confusing, but it is so worth it.  After the Bolshevik revolution, the Count is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest.  Luckily, for the Count he lives in a hotel.  While he is captive, his life changes in ways he could never imagine through the people that come into his life.  The story is full of humor, spectacularly written scenes, interesting and delightful characters and an ending that, a bit unexpected, but so satisfying that I smiled through tears at the end.

The second book I just finished and cannot stop thinking about was All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  I cannot describe this book because a lot of what happens to the main character, Wavy, is absolutely horrible.  This story could have taken such a different turn but it ends up being a hard-fought love story.  A love story that could very easily been extraordinarily ugly but ends up being so beautiful that you cannot put it down.  And I can doubly attest to that because this book is so overdue at the library right now that I must pay many overdue fines.

Pink.  My neutral winter wardrobe of blacks and greys seems to fit the weather but often make my mood similar to the weather outside.  So lately I have been trying to add a pop of color to my wardrobe which usually means my favorite, pink.  I got a great bright pink little cashmere poncho when I was visiting May a few weeks ago.  I can add that over a long sleeve neutral tunic and legging and add a little fun to my outfit and warmth to my face.  I also have this fun necklace in pink that adds that same pop.  I have worn both several times, and am surprised how many times I get complimented.  Maybe everyone needs a little pink in their life too.

Remembering the beach.  When I visited Charleston 2 weeks ago, we went to the beach for a short time before the storms moved in.  I am remembering the feel of the sand between my toes and the treasures from the sea.

Comfort Dogs.   I fell in love with the LCC Comfort Dogs several years ago.  The Comfort Dogs are a ministry of the Lutheran Church Charities.  The dogs are all golden retrievers who are trained as therapy dogs with the sole purpose of giving comfort to people.  The dogs and their handlers provide local services at schools and nursing homes but also often travel to disaster areas such as Newtown after the shootings, Orlando this past summer and Joplin, Missouri after the tornadoes there several years ago.  The organization has a presence on Facebook and Instagram but even better each of the dogs have their own social media accounts as well.  It brings me much joy and peace to open my social media accounts and find amid all of the bad news, posts and pictures from various Comfort Dogs providing comfort to others.  Also, they have some Comfort Dogs in Training right now, so there is a lot of puppy cuteness going on.  If you need a little joy and comfort of your own search for LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and like some of their pages.

So what’s awesome today for you?  Help spread some good cheer and joy in the world. –June

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Buddha

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