1. Horses, Dogs, Elephants and Otters.
Sometimes, when I am sad or having an especially hard day, I Google various baby animals and gush over the adorable photographs and videos. Usually I feel considerably better after a little dose of cuteness. Who can resist a baby elephant throwing a tantrum in a mud puddle, or an otter who can't fit the stackable cups together? :) I also recommend ducklings and big cat cubs... these photos and videos also pacify cranky toddlers, and I am speaking from experience here! :)
Lately God has been teaching me about Grace. It blows my mind that the God of the universe, (the God who created the universe and all it contains with only his breath!!!!!) chooses to complete his work through imperfect, flawed, selfish creatures like us. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, by Grace you have been saved... and not that of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Eph. 2:4-5 God chose us. God chose to create us knowing what choice we would make. We rejected God, exalting ourselves, and He, in his infinite and overwhelming love, mercy and Grace, reached out to us and provided Salvation through the brutal, horrific death of his Only Begotten Son, laying his plan for Salvation before the very foundations of the world were set into place.
"My Grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
He chose to pour his love and grace on our weak souls, and his power and plan is perfected through us because he is GOD.
God's grace blows my mind everytime I think about it, but it makes me want to scream for pure joy at the same time. The God I serve is full of love and Grace. I just discovered that my middle name, (Anne-with-an-e) means Full of Grace, and it just became more special!!
I am a big fan of littles! From babies learning to smile and chuckle to toddlers and their endless questions and energy, to six year olds who amaze you with their sheer brilliance... children are unexpectedly witty, and serious, full of life and laughter and surprises. Life is never dull with a child/baby/toddler around. ;)
4. Coffee (and Ice Cream) (and Food)
You want to know the tried and true way to improve my mood and make me 110% more happy with you and any given situation? Bring me a mug of coffee. Especially if it's anytime in the morning before 10:00. I will love you for absolutely forever, and probably longer. :) The same sentiments also apply for ice cream and food. (as long as it's not fish or peanut butter... just throwing that out there.) I am not a morning person, and coffee turns mornings into a much pleasanter (is that a word?) experience for my family and I. In fact, sometimes my brothers have it made for me before I even come downstairs!
5. Books, Bookstores, Libraries, Conversations about Books, Smelling Books, Touching Books.
My mom always encouraged reading, and when my older brothers and I were younger Mom had us complete a speedreading and comprehension course... and accidentally created bookaholics, (mostly just in my case, the Boys don't really have the time anymore.). Now I could get through reading material two or three times as fast, but totally still understand it! Mom took to punishing me and Andrew by withholding reading privileges instead of other things because it was so devastating. :) Now books are my constant companion, and are always spilling out of the corners of my room, packed into my purse and taken everywhere.