I love a good favorite things list. The Nester hosted a linky last week inviting everyone to share a list of their own. I even began a traditional one, complete with Gussy headbands (they’re cute and don’t give headband headache!), Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine Liquid Hand Soap (your hands smell like evergreen all day!), and Season One of Parenthood (my current favorite show). As I continued to add things, I couldn’t come up with enough thing-type things and my favorites began to sound more like experiences anyway. So I changed it, and remarkably, now the whole list is free.

1. Wake in the morning, just a bit before normal, or linger at night for a few minutes more. But do it once, and you’ll likely do it again. Take his hand, look him in his eyes, and ask, How can I help you today? Tomorrow?

2. Pull one of those books right off the shelf, one you’ve been meaning to read. Open it up and give yourself thirty minutes with it. Or fifteen if that’s all you have. Let the poetry, the images, the ideas of someone else sink down as deep as time will allow. Then tomorrow, do it again.

3. Make a fire with wood and everything. Wrap the kids in blankets, roast the marshmallows, smell the wood, tell the stories, breathe in winter, and give thanks.

4. I’ve talked about building your bench here before – doing that thing that makes you come alive, finding those plans you have tucked away, that message that burns deep, that art you can’t stop thinking about – find a bench to sit upon and consider the one you’re building.

5. Leave your ear buds at home and take a walk in the quiet. Walk with your back to the wind, or straight into it if you really want to feel alive. Listen to the thoughts that come to the surface and refuse to talk yourself out of them. Simply, receive them as they are and let the Lord receive you.

6. Let the mess be so you can, too. Have them bring the toys down from their rooms, spread the blocks all over the living room floor, lay on your stomach and play along.

7. That person who has frustrated you? That hurt you can’t let go? Those words they spoke that cut deep and wide and made a mess of things? Consider what it might mean to regard those who have hurt you not according to their mistakes in their flesh but according to their wholeness in the Spirit. Is it possible?

8. The next time she shares her burdens with you, look into her eyes and hear what she’s actually saying. Don’t rush ahead and think about what she ought to do or what advice you might have to offer. Simply, listen and give the gift of understanding.

9. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

10. And so I have to end with this – my favorite thing from this year that you can actually hold in your hands Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life – for anyone desperate to let go of their try-hard life. This one isn’t free but it can be for you if you leave a comment sharing one of your favorite things! [Update: Giveaway is now closed].