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In an effort to try and think outside the box, I asked Reagan to make me a list of topics to choose from for this weekly feature. It should keep me busy for a while. I’m also open to your suggestions, so let me hear from you if you have an idea and I’ll consider incorporating it at some point. 

When I think about places I love to be, it usually involves certain people. But there are just actual places that I enjoy spending time no matter who is around me. I tried to include some of both.

10. My house

I’m becoming more and more of a homebody the older I get. I pull some long days at work. I drive a good distance to my church. So I tend to get pretty selfish with my free time anymore. 

My house is a place of no pretense. It’s not a castle. It’s not magazine worthy. But it is a place that I’m proud of and do my best to help maintain. I love my patio, views of pasture and some killer sunsets. 

I love my cozy den, the kitchen where I’ve prepared hundreds of meals, dozens of cakes, helped Reagan with more projects than I can count, and the dining room table where I turn from Collections Officer or mom or wife to writer.

I love my home. It’s where I rest after a weary day. Where I greet each new morning. Where I’ve recovered from sickness and grief, celebrated joy, cared for my family. It’s a home because the 3 of us made it so. 

9. My other home

They say you can’t go home again. That’s a lie. I do it all the time. When I’m at my breaking point, sometimes it’s the only place I can find my feet again. 

My mama’s kitchen, or in front of one of my dad’s crackling fires, or curled up on my mawmaw’s comfy sofa – I can find solace there. 

If not indoors…..

8. The woods

I spent the majority of my childhood out of doors. On the prairies of Oklahoma or in the woods of Mississippi, I did my growing up as an outside kid. And as much as I loved Oklahoma, I have to say that my personal preference is pine trees and creeks and “hollers”.  I picked berries, waded through cold, rushing falls, rode my bike more miles than I can even remember.

Especially in the woods near my childhood home, it’s a world away from how most people live. There are few places as peaceful, as restorative to my soul as nature itself. And my woods are near the top of the list.

8. The beach

One day, one day I will have a condo or house on the beach. I could listen to the waves for the rest of my life and never grow tired of it. 

The ocean itself absolutely terrifies me. There seems to be no end to it. No control. It can turn on you. But it’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring and I love how small it makes me feel. I find comfort in the thought that the world does not, in fact, rest on my shoulders.

7. My church

I can recite our services now almost verbatim. I know many of the prayers and creeds with increasing familiarity and memorization. But it’s new every week. There is a comfort in the repetition but also inspiration in how it takes on something different and unlearned for me every time I participate in a service. 

The people are so special. All as different as you can imagine, but all unified with a common love.

The music heals me. The sermons challenge me. The prayers calm me. The Eucharist nourishes me. And the people….the people fill my heart with their love and compassion and acceptance. 

6. Bookstores

New or old. Chain or independent. I don’t care as long as there are books and lots of them. 

5. With my friends

I don’t mind groups of people, but I’m better in a small circle of close friends. I look forward to my one-on-one time with my friends and with my book club. This is where my introvert spirit actually branches out some. These people don’t exhaust me. They recharge me. 

4. In a book

If you don’t think you can travel via the written word, I don’t think we can be friends. Books have taken me to times and places I’d never be able to see otherwise. Escaping life through a book is one of my favorite things to do. One of my favorite ways to unwind. And if I can’t read…

3. In my writing

I generally write from my kitchen table or my bed. Sometimes, my patio. But where I actually am, physically, doesn’t matter.

Writing is a supernatural experience for me. It does the same thing for me as reading, but in a different way: it takes me out of my own head and into my imagination. I’m not paying an overt amount of attention to my sentence structure or my punctuation or my “theme” most of the time. I’m just creating. And make no mistake, it’s an actual place as much as it is a process.

2. Snuggled

With my daughter. With my husband. Holding them close to me.

1. In the moment

I struggle with always looking ahead. Or back. I always have. 

I’ve been through enough, watched people I love go through enough, that I should know better. I should realize just how much the only moments we’re promised are the ones we’re experiencing right now. But I still try to get ahead of myself. And I still look back and wonder about the “what ifs” sometimes. 

I’ve noticed though, that if I can make myself really soak up the present, it calms my anxieties. It cures me of having to have any answers except for whatever momentary questions might be. 

I try to make mental notes of how Reagan looks right now. The things she says. I try to appreciate the way my husband’s eyes crinkle up when he smiles and the way his hand feels in mine. I try to appreciate every bloom on my plants. Every perfect sunrise. Every sip of wine. Every laugh. 

Life is a gift. Our world is a gift. And right now, I’m in my favorite place of all. 

Here. 

Now. 

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