2021 – a good gift

my friend cam posted a question of the day on my team’s ‘random’ slack channel yesterday: what was the best moment of 2021. in typical lizzie fashion, i immediately but internally erupted in frustrated cat noises because i was overwhelmed with the amount of good, beautiful, and true moments that God gave me in this year. it was impossible to pick one. so i wrote this. mostly for me to remember and give thanks, but i’m posting here because maybe someone else will enjoy it as well, despite its disjointed randomness and wannabe poeticism.

i.

(in no particular order)

all the first moments of arriving at the ocean or lake

all the joyous meetings and ‘hello, i am so happy to see you’ hugs

all the moments of uncontrollable laughter

all the travel days on the bus and countless random times when i look around and think, smiling to myself, ‘i am so glad that i am here and that these friends are here right now experiencing this very moment.’

all the experiences of outdoor work – whether gathering wood and leaves from the forest at a horse farm in georgia, harvesting and bunching and weeding at an off-the grid farm in idaho, painting the herdklotz house in michigan, or a 15 mile hike in the appalachian mountains

all the evening walks – my field at camp, neighborhood loops, laps in church parking lots, along the edge of the earth

all the quiet coffee-makings and breakfasts

all the amazing flavors and food experiences – ethiopian in nashvillle, falafel in coeur d’alene, japanese in conover, jamaican in ocean springs, barb’s chicken soup and coconut curry that nourished my weak body and spirit, mr. bill’s heavenly biscuits, hiking sandwiches on the top of a mountain

all the moments of quiet existence – on back patios, in my hammock at camp, various balconies and kitchen tables, the deck at buladean, the comfy corners of couches, under my tree

all the sunsets in so many places. many admired alone, but some enjoyed with pleasant company – in my hammock overlooking clear lake, the beach of lake michigan, blair’s sunset field, over the gulf of mexico, the top of the parking garage in covington, the ones over the dollar general in chancellor, the wildflower field, the one time we were on the bus and the whole landscape was glowing

all the moments of warm hospitality – so many homes, so many hearts

all the times music made me feel, worship, cry, and/or smile so big my face could have split.

all the wedding dance parties, evening music jams, and parking lot gallops

all the good conversations over dinners and coffees and walks and drives and in other random places that have helped me know people and be known myself

all the times i thought ‘my foot slips’ but God in his steadfast love held me up and showed abundant grace and kindness to me

all the moments of entering places that felt like portals into other worlds – the plant store in holland, killarney in idaho, the barn at buladean

all the times i made art or played music or tried to write poetry and it stretched my brain, fingers, and soul.

all the first moments of changing seasons

ii.

best new album: pictures of mountains – cody fry (close runners up: departures – jon foreman, interrobang – switchfoot)

best book read: jayber crow – wendell berry, gentle and lowly – dane ortlund, delighting in the trinity – michael reeves, persuasion – jane austen

best concert: i only went to one, but it was amazing – andrew peterson’s resurrection letters tour at the ryman in nashville. live music is truly one of the best things in life.

best sight: the wide expanse of the ocean. the appalachian mountains in autumn. smiles.

best cry: ‘goodness of God’ during seek week

best weekend: the mid-december one at the seaside with my family. it felt like the first time i had truly relaxed and thought deeply in a long time. or the one in july where we visited the melton family. they are a continuous joy to my life and it makes me happy that our families are friends.

best crazy mem: that october friday night in chancellor, alabama, when gracyn and i couldn’t find our host home. and we (along with stuart and cam) tried three houses before we found the right one and met our host mom for the first time at like 9:30 pm.

best prank: in april, when everyone thought i wasn’t coming back for another year on the road, but i had actually changed my mind and decided that i was. but i hadn’t told anyone yet. it was so fun to see the surprise and happiness as it gradually spilled out.

best podcast: the habit: ‘sad stories told for laughs: andrew osenga,’ or ‘sad stories told for laughs: dave barnes.’ i like to laugh and hear people talk about music.

favorite painting i did: the mississippi sketchbook spread with pine trees on a cloudy day and the windowsill of the little cabin in the woods, the two pages of mini landscapes, or my inside out-costumed friends.

best coffee: the first cup i make after coming home. best from a coffeeshop: the pourover from refuge in fairhope.

iii.

thanks be to God, the giver of all good things.

p.s. (if you have things that made you happy this year, please always feel free to tell me. i love to share in your joys)

4 comments

  1. glory be. this is wonderful, lizzie, thank you. i love how you treasured up so many seemingly small things and quiet moments that tend to get lost in the corners at the end of a year. all i can usually remember are the highlights and lowlights, and yet these are the things life is truly made of. i think i’ll go compose my own collection.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. this is wonderfully refreshing and happy, lizzie. i’m working on my own list now and is one of the most healing things i’ve done yet in looking back at 2021. love you, friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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