What a Wonderful World

It’s March, the month of a million concerts. It’s the month when I don’t have time to do laundry but I have to do laundry because if I don’t do laundry, we’ll run out of black clothes. It’s the month when other kids’ parents bring flowers or take them out for ice cream after a performance but when our kids ask for a reward, we just laugh and tell them to hurry and take off their pants so we can wash them for the next performance. So no, I didn’t have time to try something from my list of things I hate this week.

I’ve written before about how much I love BYU’s Off the Map Festival, so if you didn’t listen to me the first four or five times I urged you to check it out, you really only have yourself to blame for missing the play Every Brilliant Thing. Although it deals with the serious subjects of depression and suicide, the play is warm and light-hearted. It’s the story of a boy who responds to his mother’s suicide attempt by compiling for her a list of “Brilliant Things”. Although he’s not sure it makes any difference to his mother, the list of everyday pleasures becomes something he returns to throughout his life, adding to it until it reaches thousands, and then a million items.

It was a lovely play, and I left the theater wanting to make my own list of Brilliant Things some day. Since I’ve been complaining about a lot of things lately, and because I’m in the middle of March Music Madness, now seems like an awfully good time to get to it. You might notice that I mention food a lot, but I promise I was actually showing great restraint in that department.



Pink Lady apples

Fleece sheets

Songs in a quick ¾

Grey Sweaters

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Wearing earrings and remembering where I was when I bought them

The tactile pleasure of feeling the curving indent at the end of my turn signal lever every time I turn

Beating my best time on Sudoku

Modern medicine

Health insurance

Popping my son’s toes

Popping my back

Finding and eradicating the source of a mysterious odor in the house

Kids in hammocks

New Yorker cartoons

Watching toddlers concentrate as they try to balance puppets on their heads

Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas albums

Our local Taco Truck

Metronome charts

Post-it note graph paper for metronome charts

Lemon bars

Silicone grabbers for pulling quilting needles out


Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

Mint chocolate chip ice cream where the chips are really just flakes of chocolate that melt on your tongue

The memory of my fit grandpa holding on to a tree and pulling himself up to a perpendicular position while in his 70s

The memory of my grandma making me a strawberry milkshake for dinner

White mountains framed by a bright blue sky

Vegetable Samosas

Fake mustaches


Elephant and Piggie books

The smell of sunscreen

The sound of Fritz’s giggle as he wears headphones and watches The Muppet Show on road trips

The way the dimples on my knees look like faces and I can make them “talk”

Mercy Watson books

My Hello Kitty Snuggie

Getting too competitive during a card game

The feeling of fresh-from-the-dentist-clean teeth

Red pepper jelly

Jon Klassen books

Chicken kebab pita from Aladdin’s on the Erie Canal

Head massager (for the first thirteen seconds)

My mom’s flower pots

My dad’s seer sucker suit

The way a baby arches his back when he stretches

Tetris and Tetris dreams

The kind of quiet that only happens after it snows


Listening to my husband “ungrouch” our kids


A precisely loaded dishwasher

Squeeze’s “Tempted”

Perfecting my Utah accent

Sticky rice with mangoes

The smell of tomato plants

Remembering the way my boys used to dance to the Newsies soundtrack

No-bake cookies the second day

Never losing the ability to French braid my own hair

Never losing my muscle memory to succeed at Super Mario Bros.


The smell of rosemary

A root beer freeze

BBC Dramas

Korean Dramas

The pair of matching freckles on my husband’s lower eyelids

The feeling of completing a workout you totally didn’t want to start

The smell of bread baking

The happy buzz in my brain after eating Indian food

Quoting Strictly Ballroom and A Room With a View in their entirety with friends

The way making raspberry trifle makes anything feel like a special occasion

The dress I bought in Mexico and wore constantly in college and still can’t bring myself to throw out, even if it was obviously made for someone shorter and wider

Homemade breadsticks

Dancing like Ed Grimley

Cinnamon toast

Having a pile of “to-read” books waiting for me

Real butter

The first bite of a stick of gum

Introducing a new group of toddlers to the “Sticky Bubblegum” song

Our “Compliments” session at the beginning of Family Night each Monday night

Impromptu dance scenes in otherwise non-dancing movies

Face swaps

face swaps

Oh’s Cereal

Finding a friend who’s just the right balance of weird and nice

My kids finding a friend who’s just the right balance of weird and nice

Fresh squeezed orange or apple juice

Playing and singing old Gershwin and Cole Porter songs by myself 


Pulling a weed out without breaking off any of the roots

Peaches and cream

The rare moment when I get the choreography right in Zumba class

A well-crafted candy gram message

The extremely warm temperature in rest homes

Sons who cook for me

My family’s Christmas Eve “Sleigh Ride” performance

The moment when my family finds out the pancakes I made are not just regular pancakes but actually my much-loved lemon sour cream pancakes


Walking into the bedroom each morning to see the bed freshly made by my husband

Checking off all the boxes on my to-do list

Ignoring all the boxes on my to-do list

Cadbury mini eggs

Buying ugly prescription glasses just for fun because they’re only $8

Nailing a performance

Messing up in a performance without anyone noticing

Waffle Luv waffles

Clearance racks

Watching my kids play drums

Karaoke singing with family

Going to Relief Society and feeling connected to women 20 years younger and 20 years older than I am

When a song comes on and everyone in the car knows all the words and sings loudly with all the same inflections

A warm, sunny day melting all the snow from the storm three days earlier

Cool High Fives


You can see how this list could become a lifelong project. Since I started thinking about all the brilliant things there are in the world, I found myself adding to the list in my head everywhere I went this week. I realize it’s pretty much the opposite of my blog List, and maybe that’s why it’s such a refreshing change of pace. I’m getting so tired of being told the world is a scary place. I enjoyed being able to step back and remind myself that the world is as lovely as I decide to believe it is. Feel free to add to my list or to start your own.  


2 thoughts on “What a Wonderful World

  1. Since I no longer have the sense of smell I have to appreciate the sight and taste of freshly baked bread the way my Grandma Robertson used to make, baptized in her home-made raspberry jam

  2. Great list.
    Have you considered going to the thrifts stores in the two month before the concerts start, and picking up several extra cheap pants for all? It might make it easier. Miss you lots! But not enough to want to move back. Come visit some year!

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