Having been tagged by a good friend at her LiveJournal blog, I hereby comply with the obligations of the latest "five-things" meme:
Name 5 things you like most (with a brief commentary):
1. My wife's smile. There's something about Natasha's face when she smiles. Maybe it's the way her lip pulls up and stretches across her face, or the way it makes her cheeks stick out just a little. Maybe it's how her eyes light up, the way they shine in the darkness like beacons bringing a ship home after a long, tiring day. When Natasha smiles, something shifts not just in her face, but in the entire room. Fifteen pounds of tension fall from my shoulders, and I feel renewed.
2. Snuggling with my daughters. Today after dinner, Evangeline climbed into my lap and curled up with her head on my chest. I slipped my arms protectively around her back and chest, locked my hands together, and leaned my head down onto her hers while I felt my insides go all gooey. Evangeline's getting bigger, and either won't be able to do this much more, or she'll decide she doesn't want to do it anymore. Day before yesterday, I woke up to find my younger daughter had climbed into my bed during the night, and had curled up at my side. The sun had come up, and I was awake, but she was so at peace, nestled snugly under my arm, that I didn't want to move. She's young, and probably has years of snuggles left inside her, but I remember when Evangeline was this small, and I realize that these moments are going to slip through my fingers like sand if I don't treasure them as they come. I must have stayed in bed with her another hour-and-a-half before she woke up � one of the nicest perks of being a stay-at-home father.
3. Family time. Sometimes it's game night, and sometimes it's eating popcorn and watching a movie like "Men in Black" or "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Usually it's just having a nice meal together around the table, something we make a point of doing at every meal, and something I hope we continue to make a point of doing at every meal as long as we're a family. Tonight it was having family devotions after dinner, and watching as the girls threw themselves completely into worship. There is nothing like watching your three-year-old dance with all her enthusiasm while she belts out the lyrics to "Awesome God" at the top of her lungs. These are the memories I will treasure in years to come.
4. Writing. There is no explaining the mystery of disappearing inside a story, a character or a line of thought, and losing all track of time and self as I write. Recently, it's felt like there's been a drought where this has been concerned, but in the last few weeks, things finally have started to give again, and I've been able to lose myself in the rush of words. People write for different reasons; for me, it's a threefold experience. I reach inward to find the voice that cries out for expression, and sift through my thoughts, experiences and inner processes to discover something about the heart of me; but I also strain upward, to lose all that is false and untrue in myself, and connect with the heart of God, inasmuch as someone like me can hope to understand God's heart. And in the process of writing, I reach outward to others, real or imagined, and hope that what they read will have meaning and will change them in some of the ways that writing it has had meaning and changed me. Quite often, I think, I fail; but every once in a while, I read something that I've written, and I know that I nailed it. That handful of news stories, columns, editorials, essays � however the writing is categorized � those pieces are worth more than gold to me.
5. Learning. Whether it's discovering some new information, mastering some arcane school of knowledge, or developing new skills, I love to learn. Khomerex ka and khomerex khest, John Ford wrote in "The Final Reflection": the structure that grows, and the structure that dies. There is no other form of existence. I thrill to understand the inner workings of school districts, municipalities, tax and political systems, even as I grasp their inadequacies and innate corruption; I love perceiving the patterns and beneath-the-surface flow of systems and hierarchies; and I love to learn more about myself. Lately, I've been teaching myself to play the piano, to draw and to paint. As with writing, I find that learning is an act of worship. After all, what will heaven be, if not a chance to understand God better with each passing day, for as long as eternity lasts?
All that said, I feel I should tag, without expecting any of them actually to be aware of it or to respond with a list:
5. Sir Ian McKellan