seeking the story in the ordinary

It was the last day of the year, when I always try to make time more tangible, pin it down, make sense of its passing. When I grapple with what it means to be alive at this place, in this moment.

The kids were playing in the basement—the younger two still battling a cold—and I’d tinker on Twitter from time to time, marveling at how everyone, everywhere was processing the same year end. When I stole away for a midday shower, I thought of a meager way to counter the distressing uncertainty in our broken world and in my buzzing mind. Starting January 1, I would record one good thing every day. I would tweet it out with the hashtag #onegoodthing, I promised, both to hold myself accountable and to bring others in.

For these small snapshots, these shared sentiments, are the same everywhere—bare feet under a cold comforter, freshly fallen snow, a favorite song on the radio, a train platform farewell. Tiny touch points that tie us together across time and space with their quotidian truth. It’s in the commonplace that we find common ground.

I seek what I always do with this space—to doggedly, perhaps foolishly, chase the good, and shed light on all we share.


1 the smell of outdoor air in winter
2 a quiet drive on rainy back roads to meet an old friend
3 an interview with @Lin_Manuel on @nprfreshair during afternoon carpool chaos
4 afternoon coffee

5 antique books of poetryc1b7hsmxgaestue

6 early morning snowfall outside the kitchen window
7 an hour to write

8 the smell of wood burning

9 family time around the fireplace
10 communal moments of laughter & levity (also, puns)
11 hearing your child read a book for the first time

12 the long way home

13 farmland as far as the eye can seec2el6fpxeaexpwn
14 This quote from my youngest son: “You have to look. If you close your eyes and you miss things, it’s sad.”
15 the unnecessary kindness of a local store merchant

16 neighbors who look out for you

17 sitting safe and dry inside a car while rain splatters the windshield
18 the rumble of a train passing in the distance

19 a house quiet with kid sleep

20 nostalgia pangs
21 walking, marching, the way humans come together
22 the warm weight of a baby settling to sleep on your chest
23 your poem in print

24 getting swept up in a song that takes you back

25 striking up conversation with a stranger in the waiting room
26 wrapping your hands around a warm cup of tea
27 climbing under cold covers

28 an airport embrace

29 date night
30 the courtesy wave between fellow motorists
31 late-night conversations


13 thoughts on “good things

  1. Tami Astorino says:

    Wow this is so beautiful. Made my morning. This line!!!! Tiny touch points that tie us together across time and space with their quotidian truth. I just want to say it out loud, like it feels good in my mouth! You are amazing.




    1. you’re the best reader a girl could have…love you. xox

  2. Good things, indeed. You could pick 28 of these and write a post everyday this month with a story or reflection about them. (Sorry, can’t help it!)

    1. ever the promptress!! love this idea…you’re getting my wheels turning…as always. thank you, love.

  3. Nina Badzin says:

    I love this idea, love the list, love the new font (so cool), AND love Jena’s idea.

    1. ha! thank you, thank you for ALL the love. xoxo

  4. bam says:

    this is a poem, a beautiful poem that breathes light into each and every day. a practice i too might take up, in my own quiet way……beautiful. i love the simplicity of so many of the very good things……

    1. thank you, thank you…and i love the thought that you, too, may be out there doing the same. i have found that somehow it is the simplest things that are the most sustaining…xo

  5. Jennifer Zitron Suomi says:

    This was so relaxing to read, Dina. It brought me to a place of peace, familiarity and comfort on this busy morning. These reflections would make a wonderful published calendar or datebook. Even though somewhat obsolete, your sentiments just may bring back their popularity!

    1. aww, what a kind thought! a lovely idea, Jennifer. for now, i plan to continue the practice & see where it leads…

  6. I’ve seen these on your Twitter timeline. Beautiful. Hope you’re doing well.

    1. Thank you for reading! I hope you are as well. xo

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