Posted in about me, connections, gifts, mindset, thoughtfulness

Delight in small things

“Hey, you got a card from someone,” The Climbing Daddy said one day last week when he brought in the mail.

There wasn’t an occasion or anything attached to it—just a card that said, in sum, “I’m glad our paths crossed” from a relatively new friend.

It was lovely. It made my day. I have it standing up at my little workstation in the living room.

Ten days ago, I injured my foot. I thought it might be broken with a small or hairline fracture. X-rays indicated otherwise, but I couldn’t put weight on it for several days, couldn’t walk on it normally for a week, and still have a limited amount of walking I can do before it complains.

A friend lent me a pair of crutches and a kneely scooter so I could get around better. The crutches she had handy but the scooter was a bit of a pain on her end. And she delivered both to my house.

The dog was already here and did not go back in the basket. He wasn’t a fan.

A few weeks ago, a friend gifted me a copy of a book she had told me about that sounded really interesting. (I finished reading it last week! It was as good as I’d expected.)

All of these incidents made my life better.

We underestimate the goodness we can bring to someone else’s life through small gestures. One of those cost nothing but time and gas money. The next cost a card, a stamp and some time. The last cost a paperback book.

Most people are delighted by happy surprises (though many prefer not to have an audience for said surprise). Mailing a card or ordering a book or giving/lending something you don’t need right now (or ever) can be a bright spot in someone’s day.

And also—the other things on my work station?

One was a box that a paper crafting friend of mine made for me for my birthday that I keep there because it’s lovely (the lead photo is a close-up of the front) and sums up where my professional life is right now.

The other is a LEGO minifigure that Rocket Kid made of me with a camera. The hair is more generous than mine, but I love the camera detail. (The other LEGO is a critter he made. We disagreed about whether the two black pieces are antennae or legs.)

All that to say—sometimes, things are not only nice in the moment, but they stick.

Take a bit of time to do something for someone, whether it’s someone in your house or not. (Imagine the surprise someone in your house would have to receive a card in the mail from you!)

Do something not electronic. Make a phone call, send a card or a letter or a small token gift, see if you have something someone else can use. Make someone’s day. It’ll make yours, too.

Who are you going to delight?


If sending a card is a great idea and you don’t already have some on hand, you can find beautiful cards that come with stamps already affixed here.

Posted in about me, audience participation, differences, ebb & flow

Seven pandemic questions

Austin Kleon had written in one of his newsletters his answers to seven pandemic questions. I asked my newsletter people their answers. Here are their responses, my responses, and Rocket Kid’s responses.

Question 1: What’s one thing you made this year?

I asked people to upload a photo, but the few brave enough to answer the questions in the first place didn’t share photos. Which is fine.

  • I’ve made a physically more fit me. I have exercised WAY more this past year than ever before and am in the best shape of my life.
  • I made a classroom of 3rd graders giggle hysterically (by being a guest reader)
  • I made a lot of music
  • I made a board game!
  • I made a table with my dad

Question 2: Did you have any bad ideas this year?

  • Probably! 😂
  • Too many to list, most pointed is not making a plan for self-improvement
  • Eating so much.
  • I think I more just didn’t think of good ideas (or any ideas) when I needed them.
  • I tried to build a catapult and ended up hitting myself because I put it together backwards.

Question 3: What is a moment from this year you’ll always remember?

  • The first glimmers of normal — first time I saw my daughter in marching band again, my other daughter returning to dance, visiting with my parents.
  • Early on family bike rides, family joy in spoils of the garden, camping with my boy
  • The first time we went swimming in our pool
  • Not a moment. Just the new habits we had—baking, doing puzzles.
  • When we got dogs!!

Question 4: What art have you turned to this year?

  • Music, books, the distraction of Netflix depending on what I needed.
  • Music – blues, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, punk
  • Drawing
  • Making music, taking photos, drawing
  • Reading!

Question 5: Did you find a friendship that helped you in this time?

  • It’s not so much one person, but due to circumstances beyond “just” the pandemic, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about who my real friends are.
  • No
  • None that were helpful more than regular times
  • I became friends with someone I knew very casually and it’s been excellent!
  • Friends that I could connect with brightened my day

Question 6: If you’d known you’d be isolated for so long, what would you have done differently?

  • I don’t know that there is much I would change except visited my grandmother more often.
  • Looked for better options to travel – RV, set up office sooner
  • Nothing. I was OK.
  • I might have spent time with different people before shelter in place.

Question 7: What do you want to achieve before things return to normal?

  • Healing from emotional wounds totally unrelated to the pandemic.
  • Ensure clear boundaries with work, improve my relationship with my family, better manage my emotions
  • Figure out what I want my post-pandemic life to look like.
  • Have my book accepted by a publisher

What about you? How would you answer these questions?