New Weekly Feature: Three Good Things


It’s beginning to look a lot like … fall! And Christmas, if you pay attention to my FB feed, which has several Christmas song lyrics, images of ABC Family’s 100 Days of Christmas ad, and shout-outs to Michael Buble’s Christmas album, hailing it from the red-and-green box in the closet to my friends’ CD players. My birthday is tomorrow (the big 3-0, in case you haven’t seen my previous 19 posts), and I have to admit that while I did not enjoy my birthday much as a child, I LOVE it now. I mean, I love it. Been celebrating all month (in a non-obnoxious, trying-to-ease-the-transition kind of way). It’s helping; yesterday was the first day I could recognize not being freaked out about being 30. It’s taught me to find the celebration inside the anxiety, which has helped the celebratory elements emerge and overtake the anxiety-inducing pieces of this milestone.

On that note, I am going to do my best to make this, Three Good Things, a weekly feature. At least for awhile. One of my favorite bloggers, Storybook Life, does a weekly feature called Three Good Things. Last week’s inspired me in several ways, not the least of which was to incorporate something like that on Life’s So Sweet. If you haven’t read her, please do. She’s wonderfully honest and easy to read.

Three silver lining moments this week:

  • A former student of mine moved to my new school this week. When we saw each other yesterday morning, both of us lit up like Christmas trees. My throat caught, too, as she bear-hugged me and exclaimed, “I’m so happy to see you! I didn’t think I’d ever see you again!” The emotional gains of being an educator can never be overstated.
  • My birthday celebrations! I’m doing 30 in 30, one celebratory event every day during the month of September (30 days) to celebrate turning 30. Because I have been freaked out, and believe it or not this 30 in 30 thing has really helped me be excited about it! This week I’ve watched Zac Efron dance his way into my heart, watched Michael Scott awkwardly work his way through his own bday celebration, received 30 gifts, test drove a Compass, enjoyed FroYo (actually, sorbet), and tonight I am dance, dance, dancing!
  • Getting to FaceTime my crazy-cool husband twice before bed, when I hadn’t expected to talk to him at all after 3 p.m. each day. Military life, you know. So the unexpected FaceTime was a definite silver lining. Many days I curse technology, these days I do not.

Three things I’m reading this week:

  • The Moon and More, Sarah Dessen. I do love my YA novels, especially when they involve love. And the ones I pick up always involve love. Sarah Dessen has been a favorite of mine since I was about 13 years old, and I still cannot wait until her next masterpiece releases. She writes with such truth, everything 17-year-old me wanted to say but never had the courage to say. All the boys you want to have met in high school, but never did. Plus, she always writes about the beach, and who doesn’t want to be at the beach?!
  • To Be Read in the Event of My Death, published on Narratively, an incredible storytelling blog/website. This particular story struck a chord with me because it is about a journalist who spent some time embedded with our troops in Afghanistan. I was a journalist and I’m married to a soldier. She was to be a cultural advisor, learning about the locals and various elements of village life. She would spend much time outside the confines of safety. Though she took many courses (more than 20) through the Army, she had to come to terms with her own mortality, which she did by writing letters with the heading “To be read in the event of my death.” One does not deploy to Afghanistan and – in their right mind – believe they will for sure, 100%, no doubt be coming home again some months down the road. In that situation, one always wonders. Greg and I have had a couple mortality talks, and this story was beautiful, true, and interesting.
  • The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel. I do not love non-fiction. I steer clear unless a subject truly, truly grabs me. Two years ago I watched a sermon series based on this book and I am finally getting around to reading it. The chapter titles intrigue me: I believe in God but I don’t think he’s fair; I believe in God but I don’t believe in prayer. If you’re in a faith journey right now, or you’re approaching one, you already know that while God is omnipotent and universal, the faith journey is a personal one. Filled with ups and downs, confusion, frustration, fear, longing, etc. It’s also filled with joy, triumph, victory, miracles, unbending truths, surprises, and greatness. This book is helping me put into perspective what I really think is God’s role in my life, and how to make him my constant. I also believe in Groeschel’s church and the mission of their ministry, found at

Three things I learned this week:

  • The Hebrew translation for the word ‘wonderful’ in most of the Old Testament does not mean ‘great experience’ as we know it, i.e., “Luke Bryan puts on a wonderful show.” It means ‘beyond understanding’. I was reading Judges (I’m going through the Bible chronologically), and read the note at Judges 13:18 because the verse: “The Angel of the Lord replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is wonderful,'” confused me. I thought, What?! If it’s wonderful, just tell him your name. So I read the note, and it stated that that specific translation of ‘wonderful’ in Hebrew is “almost invariably” used for ‘beyond understanding’ throughout the Old Testament, and was meant for divinity rather than human experiences. Sorry, I know I’m a word geek.
  • The state of North Carolina boasts more home-schooled children than private-schooled children, according to this article. Apparently this isn’t the case in most states, but what I really found interesting was the home-school data: currently, about 1.8 million school-age children are home-schooled,; in 1978 there were only about 13,000 children being home-schooled. School environment, lack of academic rigor, and the desire to be more religious in their teaching are the most-cited reasons for the choice. I work in a strong school district, and I can’t even say I’m surprised, nor that I disagree with this.
  • Dogs – especially mine – don’t like the rain because rain amplifies other sounds and it’s an uncomfortable reverberation in their ears. My baby girl – the one with a kitten bladder – will hold herself all the live long day as long as it’s raining outside. One day she went 14 hours – on a normal day she doesn’t like to go 3! – because of the rain, thunder, and lightning. Finally, I stood out there with her with an umbrella until she peed. Judging by the length of time she squatted, I know she was thanking me on the inside.

What three silver linings, good reads, and new tidbits did you encounter this year?


  1. Elisa, thanks SO much for the kind words about my blog! I’m so glad that you like it, and that you’ve found a way to incorporate the “Three Good Things” idea into your blog, too. And thanks for the suggestion of Narratively — I didn’t know about that but it sounds really interesting. I will check it out!

  2. […] Last week, inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, A Storybook Life, I started Three Good Things. This (hopefully) weekly feature will give you three silver lining moments of the week, three things I’m either reading or watching, and three things I learned during the week. Meant to foster gratitude and a focus on all things happy, this gives me a specific purpose each week of what to write, and makes me pay attention to things like… […]

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