Tis a Gift

When I was a kid, my family took many road trips. The epic “National Lampoon” kind of road trips. In retrospect, I really love them, though at the time it felt akin to being trapped in a vinyl-covered prison with two other sweaty inmates (i.e. my siblings.)  Not only has this provided my family with some hysterical stories, I also got to see a lot of the country in a more intimate way than hopping from one airport to another.

On one of these trips, we went to a Shaker village. They have some great ideas, like the belief that god is both male and female, which leads to more equal leadership in the church.  The Shakers also have some crazy ideas like no babies (Hm… maybe I’m Shaker…)

Anyway, there is  Shaker hymn that I’ve always loved since that trip, “Simple Gifts.”

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free…  To come down where we ought to be, not where we want to be. Damn you, Shakers! If it weren’t for that whole celibacy thing, I’d join up right now.

In an effort not to sink deeper into crabbiness while I wait to move on to IVF (because I WILL MOVE ON TO IVF, DAMIN IT!), I hereby decree this the “Gift” post. These are gifts in my life, big and small. I will make every effort to be thankful for them. In no particular order:

1) Breathing, the act of filling my lungs up with air.

2) The sparrows I saw on my walk this afternoon.

3) Sweatpants. Come to think of it, any pants with elastic waistbands.

4) My cat yawning.

5) Holding my mom’s hand.

6) Napping. I have never woken up from a nap unhappy. EVER.

7) Cheesy grits. You can take a girl out of the South, but not the South out of a girl.

8) Spending a day at the beach.

9) Red lip stick.

10) Running. I honestly believe it is the closest we humans get to flying.

11) Summer. Even the stinking hot parts.

12) Singing loudly, and in my case poorly.

13) Watermelons.

14) Listening to my dad tell jokes about drunk priests. REPEATEDLY.

15) Friends who know which circumstances call for pizza and which ones call for beer.

16) Meditation.

17) Fall in New England. I swear there is no more beautiful place on earth.

18) Waking up to the sound of birds singing.

19) Iced coffee.

20) My dear Mr. Ostrich. Almost everything about him. 

21) Good writers.

22) The National Park system.


24) Live shows. I do love an excuse to be loud and rowdy.

25) Thunder storms.

26) Croissants.

27) My hair. Seriously, I have great hair.

28) Pencil skirts.

29) Human kindness.

30) My belief that every day starts fresh.




  1. julieann081 · August 28, 2014

    I love that song and I love your list! 🙂

  2. My Perfect Breakdown · August 28, 2014

    I love that you also took epic road trips as a family. We did the same thing – the longest I remember is 4 weeks in the car virtually drawing a circle around the US and Canada. Now, I just wish I was a bit older at the time so that I could have better memories of them.
    And, I love the list. I loved learning more about you through this list and I love the idea of the list. I may have to prepare one of my own. 🙂

    • thecommonostrich · August 29, 2014

      I really loved these trips too. We took a few out west which were several weeks long, and a few along the east coast which were shorter. I feel fortunate to have seen so much of this country. (Watch out, or I might start singing “God Bless America.”)

      The list was actually a lot of fun– you should do it! It reminded me that there are so many delightful things in my life, even if IF is making me a sad sack sometimes.

      • My Perfect Breakdown · September 2, 2014

        After just getting home from a 4 day road trip with my husband through Washington, Idaho and Montana, I can understand why you might break out into song. It is such a beautiful country!

  3. bionicbrooklynite · August 30, 2014

    You really do have amazing hair.

    • thecommonostrich · September 2, 2014

      It may be my third best trait, behind charm and wit. Of course.

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