As 2014 closes (thankfully!), I'm doing a little retrospective. I'm not going to list my favorite books or best places, because those things can change day to to day, but my favorite things overall.
(In no order of preference)
1- The rescuing of a person or animal. When someone risks his or her life to save a stranger, or an animal in distress, my heart melts and I really feel hope that the human race will ascend to a higher level.
2- Good news stories. These are uplifting both spiritually and emotionally, and I think we need more of these. If news stations had a segment on good things (no, not celeb news, please!) but about and by average people, I think it would make us all more thoughtful people.
3- Music. How can anyone say that music isn't the greatest gift to humanity? It inspires, soothes, excites, incites, and one tune can forever change a life. Everyone can appreciate it in one of its many forms.
4- Language. Birds can whistle a tune, whales can sing; animals have music. Only people have written/read words. Once a bird dies, it's song will never be heard, but books and the printed word can be read over and over for centuries. And everyone has the capacity to read and write.
5- Mother Earth. This planet is a universe of wonder in itself. There are mountains, oceans, deserts, rivers, plains, farmlands, lakes, and caves. There are abundant varieties of people, animals, and plants. Sunsets and sunrises mark our days. Storms and earthquakes and upheavals constantly change our world. And it really infuriates me when companies and individuals treat the Earth as their personal property or garbage dump.
6- Family. Whether they are related by blood or connection (or both), family keeps us grounded, picks us up, works our emotions--and keeps us tied to our humanity.
7- Faith. Whether we believe in one god, many, none, the power within ourselves, or something entirely different, faith keeps us going when we're ground into the dirt, drowning in despair. From within or without, faith is something that I have and it's important and personal to me.
8- Science. What is more amazing than seeing pictures of supernovas from the Hubble Space Telescope? Or learning that some dread disease has a cure? Science is our friend and we must embrace true science, because it will be our lifesaver.
9- Art. When I see Van Gogh's Starry Night, I'm breathless. It's not the most expensive painting, some may argue not the best, nor is it an exact depiction of a starry night. It's Van Gogh's impression and it stirs something in my soul. So does a Pulitzer prize winning photo of firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero. Life without art would leave an empty space within each of us and all the world.
10- An Unforgettable Act. One year for Christmas, my stepdad handed me an envelope. It was big enough to be a stock certificate (nope), a deed (if only), or an itinerary for a tropical vacation (hah, good one). It was a gift certificate, hand-drawn, from him to me--for 40 hours of labor. My husband and I had a lot of work that needed to be done on our first house. We both worked full time and went to school at night part-time. Weekends were spent doing laundry, food shopping, homework, mowing the lawn, etc. It would have taken us years to get everything done. But my stepdad zipped through our list. It was hard work: painting, repairing, cleaning, etc. It was the best gift I ever got because his time was more valuable than a store gift certificate.
And that's my list. What's your favorite things?