Exactly 400 Words About What Lights Me Up

A while back, I tried to make a list of my “favorite things.” I mean, Oprah Winfrey came up with a fantastic list every year, right? But for me, the task was harder than I thought. A few things came to mind, of course….but then the ideas just stopped.

So when my friend Amy Oscar posted this invitation on her website, I wasn’t sure what would happen but took it as a writing challenge. Exactly 400 words, huh?

Here’s my list….I am curious about what would be on yours. Please share in a comment! (And no, you don’t have to use 400 words unless you want to!)

 A cashmere turtleneck.

Wigwam socks.

A workout with loud music and good sweat.


Summer solstice.

Sliding under a down comforter on a winter night.

Live music.

The melody of words read aloud.  

Books. I cannot be without books.

The fleeting moment when spring trees blossom.

Cowboy boots.

Remembering the details of a dream.

Lanz flannel gowns.

An uncrowded beach.

The steady breath of sleep. 

Throwing a tennis ball and watching my dog run for it in delight.

Neatly trimmed nails.

My writer friends.

Contented quiet.

Being amazed by my children as adults…the ways they are better than me.

Holding hands with my grandchildren.

Little Violet deep in sleep on my chest.

Fresh snow on evergreens. 

Lake Michigan

Buttery leather.

A flat-ish belly.

Eating well.

Beautiful cookware.

Reading poetry out loud, slowly.

A clean house. Organization. Space.

Days when the air is so clear it sparkles.

Dancing to Motown.

Patsy Cline. Cat Stevens The Beatles.

Theatre, more than the movies.

Radio, more than TV.

Early morning, more than late night.

The breeze off the Gulf of Mexico.



Careful listening before speaking.

An open mind and heart.

A conversation where I learn something from my mom.

Someone who calls me “friend.”

Friendships that go way back. Friendship that is new, growing.

The smell of a campfire.


 The North Star.



 Art in unexpected places.

Ann Arbor.

Christmas carols sung in German.

Good tears.

Being asked, “What do you think?”

Real calligraphy, with ink from a bottle.

Wading in the Gulf holding my husband’s hand.

Road trips. Good music on the radio.

The iPad.

Christmas cards.


Sunday nap.


Words flowing from a fast pen.

The deep satisfaction of seeing our children’s children living in joy.

Singing the Hallelujah Chorus and realizing I know all the words. 

The moments when life feels just about perfect.

Stars in the Vermont winter sky.

Time to write, and really writing. 



Fresh bread.


The Continental Divide.

Full moons.

Pitching in, and knowing that even a small service bears great gifts.

Following through.

Being invited.


New understanding.

Winnie the Pooh.

Feeling strong and healthy, confident and capable.

No cavities.

Giving a gift that hits the mark.

Good memories.

Old photographs.

The words, “You’ve done a good job.”

Traditions that live.

Faith that runs deep.


Knowing when I have done the right thing.

Staying calm.

Counting my blessings.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Exactly 400 Words About What Lights Me Up

  1. 1coffeedog says:

    Wigwam socks! they rock


  2. aviva rubin says:

    My dear friend and fellow traveller in words, I love this list! Love the greatness and smallness of it, love “new understanding” two away from “no cavities.” xo

  3. Deanne Lucas says:

    How beautiful! I think you covered it all. Mom.

  4. Maureen Thoma says:

    fun to read….

  5. kathy says:

    Interesting list. I’m going to have to check out wigwam socks, i have never heard of those. I love cowboy boots also they always remind me of my dad.

    You’ve done a great job! (“good job” just wasn’t good enough!)

  6. dkzody says:

    Many years ago I took a photography class at Stanford University. The instructor’s first assignment for us, on the first day, was to list as many things that make us happy in just one minute. Somewhere I still have that list. Guess I’ll look for it and perhaps share on my blog. I need some happy about right now.

  7. Pingback: Favorite things | Dkzody's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s