Last week, the Oscars, with a stunning performance by Lady Gaga, paid tribute to one of the very best movies of all time, The Sound of Music, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. I grew up loving musicals, and when I tell you that I reenacted Liesl and Rolfe’s dance in the conservatory about a million times in my room when I was a kid, that’s probably understating it a little.
I LOVED this movie, the story, its music…the magic of it all.
Even today, when I start to feel sorry for myself or sad about the state of the world, “My Favorite Things” pops unbidden into my head, and…wait for it…”then I don’t feeeeeeeeellll…..so baaaaaaad!” You’re welcome. You’ll be singing it all day.
Today, as I looked around my home, I noticed several of my own favorite things, and I’d like to share them. (Disclaimer: Of course, my favorite “things” in my home are my husband, my three beautiful children, and our dog and cat. But here, I’m using inanimate objects, just so you know.)
- The Antique Wooden Mantle. I rescued this mantle from a yard sale that my National Honor Society kids from the high school and I used to put on annually. For five years, I saw people’s donations pour in from all over, and this was the first thing that ever spoke to me. It said, “Take me home, Carrie.” And I did. And Jeff was mad because it is huge and we never had a place for it, and so it lived in our garage for about five years. When we turned our never-used dining room into my sewing room, it became a perfect and useful focal point of the room and I never looked back.
- Our Bikes. Jeff and I have the cutest matching cruiser bikes, but I love the story surrounding them even more. When we moved to Arkansas, we knew we wanted to spend more time together outdoors and thought riding bikes would be a good way to do that with small children, but we didn’t own bikes. I asked a local website if anyone was selling bikes and a bike trailer for babies for Craigslist-type prices. Our new hometown came through in the biggest way. Strangers, who later became friends of ours, stepped up and literally gave us these two matching bikes and a bike trailer to pull the boys. It was a more-than-perfect welcome to a new state and new hometown, and one that we try to pay forward with kindness when we meet people who have just moved here.
- The Bride and the Tornado. I can’t separate these things, so I won’t. My cousin Randle is the closest thing I have to a sister, my honest and non-judgmental confidante, and best friend. These favorite things are a picture of us when we were children (a prediction that later came true as we stood together at each other’s weddings), and her painting (we call it “the Tornado”) that hangs in my home. Our home is full of Ran’s artwork, and I know she’s with me.
- My Sewing Machine. It’s a creative outlet, and my mom taught me the basics, but this old gal, a 1964 Sears Kenmore, was given to me by my precious stepmother Sheri and her Dad. It once belonged to Sheri’s mom, and I’m honored that they entrusted it to me. It is always a mess because I juggle projects, get “help” from kids, and have to start and stop a lot. But I get immense joy from creating in this little corner on this little machine that is older than I am!
- A Picture of My Grandparents. In the land of inspiring love stories, this one reigns supreme for me. My grandparents, Keyes and Jim, met each other in August 1941 and married only a few months later, the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed, December 6, 1941. They remained devoted and in love after nearly 69 years of marriage, four children, and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. GrandJim died in 2009, and we lost GrandKeyes last year. I love this particular copy of this picture because it was hers. This picture, this frame, sat on her dresser where she saw it each morning and each night. Their love and this picture inspire Jeff and me each day to do the best we can for each other.
- The Wheel of Fortune Picture. I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes it feels like a dream. Did I really do that? Did the stars actually line up so that I could travel to Hollywood, enter a television studio and win a vacation to Hawaii? Yep. This *unflattering* picture marks the surprise on my face when Pat Sajak put his arm around me and said, “Maui.” But I did it, and it was amazing, and I have this picture of the moment I solved a puzzle that said, “Never in my wildest dreams.” Yep. That’s about right.
- Our Family Tree. I made this for Jeff for Father’s Day several years ago, and it hangs in our bedroom where I see it all the time. Sometimes I walk past it, and other times I study it, wondering about the names on those leaves and how they contributed to who we are. I look at the three little sprouting leaves, our babies, and wonder what their family trees will look like someday. This is uniquely us, and I treasure it.
I challenge you (if you made it all the way to the end of this!), to find some of your favorite things around the house….just notice them. Appreciate them. My favorite things aren’t particularly valuable or special except to me, but that’s okay. I like them much better than, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”