This post journals my reflections while reading Ben and Erin Nappier’s “Make Something Good Today.” So, this is a bit of a spoiler alert. Don’t read this post (did I write that?) if you don’t want to read about what’s in the book. I am going to break up my reflections into several posts so as to keep the length manageable. I hope you’ll engage in the discussion in the comments below with your own thoughts and reflections – even if you haven’t read the book or never intend to read the book. The topics aren’t just about Ben and Erin or their show. The topics run the gamut and basically cover life and how we go about living it. Perhaps by sharing our ideas and thoughts, we can do as Erin suggests, and make something good today!
Erin begins by explaining why she started her journal, which is also entitled, “Make Something Good Today.” She discusses how sometimes, she would make something good happen, just so she’d have an entry for her daily journal. I, too, have noticed how the process of writing isn’t just a reflection of what has been, but can also help determine what is to be.
Sometimes knowing I write a blog motivates me to get on the stick. Take my dollhouse, for example. While I very much enjoy renovating my dollhouse, knowing I want to write a post about these updates, encourages me to get some progress made, so I can get to writing that post. I love to share my progress and ideas and interacting with my readers about it makes everything even more fun.
Also, because I have a blog, who knows how many times I have paused to capture with my camera a beautiful scene, a vibrant flower, or a colorful sunset, knowing there’s a “Wordless Wednesday” coming up soon. Because I have a blog, I’m always on the lookout, and I take that extra moment to pause and appreciate.
In addition to my blog, I also write a gratitude journal. While I don’t write daily, as Erin does, I write at least weekly though sometimes more. When I feel myself getting “crabby”, I make an entry, and it’s the best attitude adjustment I know. I am a very orderly person, so I enumerate my lists, and these lists have to end at certain stops – generally on the 5 mark. Notice the title of this post.
I can’t count the number of times I had written down my gratitude items – those things that came to mind easily, but then I still had some spots to fill in my enumerated list. So I would think about my days since I had last written, and I would come up with more things to list. Sometimes, I would think of so many more items, I would have to add more numbers. Always in 5’s though!
This practice, of writing a gratitude journal, which I have done for years, has influenced my appreciation and my outlook in countless ways. I cannot imagine ever giving up this ritual.
Chapter 1 – A Girl
The first chapter is about Erin growing up. It’s kind of a sad chapter. Erin was an introverted child who didn’t fit in with other children her age. She was bullied. She escaped into her imagination and flourished in her family’s love, especially that of her mother who encouraged her creativity. My favorite quote is Erin’s mother who told Erin, “You are different from those kids, and it will set your life apart in all the best ways.”
Chapter 2 – A Boy
This chapter is about Ben growing up. His family moved around a lot but his life had the foundation of having built-in friends, his three brothers, as well as loving and guiding parents. What struck me about this chapter, was that Ben has never tasted alcohol. “Never tried it. Never needed it.”
Chapter 3 – A Love Story
Here we read how Ben and Erin met, how quickly they fell in love and a cute story of a nervous young man asking a father to marry his daughter.
Chapter 4 – A Hometown
This chapter deals with the yearnings of youth to find something “bigger and better” away from their home, but in time, these yearnings are replaced by the draw back to their hometown. Once back, Ben and Erin reconnect and appreciate things not valued before.
As for me, I grew up in South St. Louis in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Back then, I never gave two seconds of thought to my childhood locale, but now I realize what a special time and place it all was. South St. Louis had its own culture, its own values along with its own diversity, and a treasure of local offerings now mostly gone but dearly remembered. There is even a Facebook group for us Southsiders where we remember and recall a bygone era. Sometimes those memories are a laugh and a chuckle. Sometimes a lump in the throat. But always, these walks down my own personal memory lane have me recalling a cherished time.
Another walk you can take is to follow the regular walking route of Ben and Erin back in the day. Described in this chapter, these routine walks around Laurel helped to shape and inspire Erin with the beauty and the history found along the path. If you are visiting Laurel, you may want to take the same walk which is outlined in a side bar on page 46.
Chapter 5 – A Vow
This is the story of their wedding day and Ben’s romantic gifts for their wedding anniversaries. Fellas, my guess is most of you are probably going to come up a bit short compared to Ben. Now I know it’s not fair, but it’s likely gonna happen. The best advice I can give you is when your partner is reading Chapter 5, make yourself scarce. Either that or you could try buying your sweetie a flower or two – you know, just because. Whatever you decide, good luck to you!
What an inspiring post! Like you, I find that my journal provides a place for gratitude as well as reflection about my life’s journey. Sometimes it’s a wake-up call that forces a re-evaluation of a habit, assumption, or dearly held value. I’ve pretty much given up my cameras but, your Wednesday photos always make me think that I should re-consider this previous hobby.
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Thank you! I agree, having a journal is a wonderful tool to enrich our life! My Wednesday photos are always taken with my android camera. I enjoy looking for a view which gives pause to enjoy the beauty. Enjoy your day!
Very good blog Betty. I love things that are done in real life and not staged. What can be more than real life then journaling? Happy trails.
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Thank you. Yes, I agree with you. I enjoy real life much more than seeing something that is staged. Happy trails to you as well!
You hit the nail on the head. Fantastic! Oh yes writing a blog makes me realize just how blessed and fortunate we are. Things may have been turned upside down this past year but always we found something to give thanks for – a place to ride out the storm, many new friends, places visited we might never have considered, and the list goes on. Oh yes, life is good.
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Yes, we are so blessed and fortunate. One of my thoughts when I read your last post (about the sponges) was how amazing it is that there are so many places to see, discoveries to be made. I will likely only get to a fraction of all the places I want to see, but whatever I do make it to will surely be a blessing. And when I can’t travel anymore, I will go there all again by rereading my blog! Thanks for always reading, and enjoy your day tomorrow!
It’s funny, today after I cleaned, I sat down to read a book which I haven’t done in a long while. I was just thinking earlier “What is a good book to read?”
I can and can’t relate to chapter four. I left New York to come to the midwest. Usually its the opposite. However, while I would like to go back to see my family, with the state of things there now, I would never return. But I did get that sense of nostalgia after I had been here a little while.
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I can understand. While I love the memories of growing up in South St. Louis, it’s not the same now. I have no desire to move back there. I’m glad you are very happy right where you are! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day.