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My Good List

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve personally shared some version of a good list, and I’m psyched we’re making this column a mainstay on AoS. I love reading (and listening to) other people’s Good Lists — so I’m happy to add my own current version!

1. A quirky produce delivery service.

I think I found out about Imperfect on Pinterest when I was searching recipes. Basically, this is a CSA-type service that delivers classically-imperfect fruits and veggies to your door, either weekly or bimonthly. 

The thing is, they’re not really imperfect, they’re just less than ideal for conventional selling standards: a bit misshapen, too big or small, or what’s often the case — the farmers simply have too much inventory. Imperfect buys all this produce directly from the farmers (since they can’t sell it to stores), then creates this door-to-door delivery service for individuals.

Imperfect Produce

We’ve only gotten two boxes so far (we’re doing the bimonthly plan), but it’s working out well so far! The produce is farm-fresh quality, we’re paying a good price, and we’re supporting farmers. 

I’m a fan of automation when it helps me live according to my values, and CSAs are one of those ways. I’m also a major fan of using the curbside pickup service from my local grocery store — I hate grocery shopping, so avoiding this chore is worth the $5 pickup fee for me.

(Psst… If you sign up for Imperfect using this link, we’ll both get $10 in credit to our accounts. They’re not sponsors, I’m just a fan, and this is my customer referral link.)

2. Making time for hobbies

I’m trying to get better at this. Sometime last fall, it hit me: I’ll think about some sort of hobby I want to try, but then I’ll say, “One day, when I have more time.”

That day will never come. I need to simply enjoy a hobby now, no matter how full my life is. In fact, that’s part of the beauty of hobbies — they add a smattering of fun amidst the busy to-do lists and the mundane. 

This year, I want to incorporate a bit more just-for-funness in my life, which is harder than it sounds; I’m the type of person who feels like everything I do should have some purpose to it. Is it some form of continuing education? Will it grow my business? Will it make me a better writer? Parent? Citizen? Insert the eyerolls to myself.

I need to relax about my life. So, I’ve started painting this silly paint-by-number kit on Sunday afternoons, and funny enough, I also want to become more of a Plant Lady this year. I used to have more indoor plants in my home, before I traveled all the time (so basically, in college). I miss that. 

A few weeks ago I bought a near-impossible-to-kill ivy, and gave myself a hearty pat on the back. It serves no other purpose beyond making our home and myself happier. We’ll see how this goes.

3. Yes, Virginia, making mixtapes is a form of art.

I was that girl who recorded songs off the radio onto a tape in my boombox, trying desperately to time it just right to cut off the annoying DJ (it almost never worked). Later, in college, I burned mix CDs for friends, creating soundtracks for all sorts of things: parties, road trips, Here’s How I Feel About You. 

from the insanely talented Scott Erickson

Turns out, Spotify is exactly what I need to fill the void of mixtapes in my life, because curating playlists is a genuine diversion of mine. I love, love, love finding new artists and adding them to various playlists (and, of course, supporting their art by also buying their music).

Sometimes I’m tempted to overthink this, which is a bit ridiculous because we’re talking about mixtape playlists, not curing cancer. So for years now, I’ve started a new playlist at the start of each season, and will dump any song I love in the moment into its queue. I don’t arrange the flow so that it follows some sort of mood (I save that for my other playlists, like Hygge or They Make Me Cry). In these seasonal playlists, I just toss a song I love into the mix.

What’s fun is that I can go back and play that playlist, and it’ll take me back to the season I first heard that song, or decided I loved it, or for whatever reason, it meant something to me.

So, this is my form of art: curating playlists. If you’re curious, here’s my current Winter 2019 playlist.

4. Tracking the mundane.

For years I’ve wanted one of these line-a-day journals, and I finally remembered to get myself one last December: hurray, I can start a new year from the beginning!

So far, I’ve been logging the daily, somewhat uninteresting stuff about my day, and it’s slowly becoming a habit. I keep it on my nightstand, with a dedicated pen, and I make myself write in it before opening my current book.

I love that it’s literally about five skinny lines, max, so there’s hardly any room for much beyond what we had for dinner, what the weather was like, or one small highlight from the day. That’s the beauty of it: it’s just a quick check-in. 

I know my future self will thank me for adding this habit into my routine — with it being a five-year journal, starting this year means the last year will be my daughter’s final year at home, as a high school senior (cue the sobs already). These are significant years for me. I don’t want to forget them.

So, there you go: these four things are just a few items on My Good List right now. I’d love to know one thing, big or small, making you happy right now! Share in the comments, if you like. 

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  1. KC

    See, I think many hobbies do tend to make us better citizens:
    1. if we’re healthier people, we are likely to be better citizens
    2. if we meditate (not formally necessarily, just spend some time not go-go-going and leave some space for reflection while our hands and part of our brain is occupied), we are likely to be better citizens
    3. if we assert humanity, we are likely to be better citizens.

    I’m sure there are hobby exceptions to these general things, and obviously there are sometimes people who let a hobby get out of bounds and substantially interfere with important responsibilities, but if a hobby is healthy for you and is in moderation: it’s probably helping out the Big Goals, even if the hobby is filling in coloring books or making a button collection or doing nail art on your toes or learning fancy tea sandwich garnishes that you only use for your own packed lunch.

    (I also think that everything good gets woven in, no matter how trivial, and that all image-of-God aspects of humanity are worth exploring and celebrating. *And* I also think that the most normal case is that we don’t know what something will ultimately be used for, so keep doing and being and loving and helping (and planning, yes) and trust that the good will be used somehow, even if it’s not used how you planned/expected.)

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Love your perspective, KC! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Christine Bailey

    Love all of these but said “YES!” out loud to #3 – I mean, we are the same age, so naturally we both recorded the radio onto mixtapes in our boom boxes. When I think about doing this, I immediately start singing “When I See You Smile” by Bad English. You know I love that you’re getting Imperfect Produce! It’s so true that mainstream grocery stores only take the “nicest” looking stuff, when the imperfect stuff is just as good (or better, because who wouldn’t want intertwined carrot twins?). A few things on My Good List recently – well, I just sewed a “Plant Lady” embroidered patch onto my backpack this morning, no lie. Succulents and ivy that I can’t kill are definitely on my list. Also loving Beautycounter blush duo and eyeshadow palettes that I got on their big recent holiday sale – I think both things will last for a year, and I love that they use great ingredients! One more I can think of: I’m using an Emily Ley Simplified Planner for my paper planner this year, and it has a little spot to write your dinner meal plan each day. Just that little spot really has encouraged me to think ahead and have a plan together, even if it’s as simple as “leftovers” or “chicken and veggies.” I’ve tried to successfully meal plan for years, and this has helped me a bit in that direction.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      NICE, Christine! I also had a mixtape with ‘When I See You Smile,’ as well as ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling Anymore,’ ‘Sister Christian,’ and ‘The Search is Over.’ The best in middle school slow-dancing. 😉

      • Michael Ann

        I must be just a few years older than you because those are the songs of my high school years! In fact, “I Can’t Stop This Feeling” takes me right back to my proms and dancing with my then boyfriend and now husband of almost 30 years! It’s “our song!”

  3. Michelle Tercha

    Mixtapes! My favorite thing about my teenage years. That’s a fond memory. Thanks.

  4. Holly

    Your Spotify playlists get me through my workdays, and introduce me to great music. I’m now excited to head into the cold tomorrow, so I can find your new list!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I’m so glad, Holly!

  5. Lisa

    I really enjoyed this post. This Good List didn’t seem forced- like some other ones I’ve read (not on AoS). Delightful “goods” that inspire and bring reflection. Thanks!
    And you really got me when you mentioned your daughter being a senior before your journal is finished! Wow.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Right? It’s just wild… I started this blog when she was THREE. Time flies.

  6. Katy Walton

    I used to burn CDs all the time. I love the idea of a seasonal playlist. I might have to start that. Jeremy Camp would definitely be in it right now.

  7. Christen

    I got a 5 year journal like that that I write some memory about the children in. I just started into my 3rd year a few weeks ago. I LOVE IT! Sometimes something carries across 2 days even. I hope you enjoy it like I do. Sometimes I write 4 different things on 4 different days. I wrote almost nothing in December, so I am filling it in with “extra” memories from January. I figure that if I mostly keep up, I will have 1500 memories of the day to day life with the children that I would otherwise have completely forgotten. It is SO FUN to look back at the memories even now.

    • Christen Shore

      I mean 4 different things from one day on four different days. Then I skip when I need to. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be awesome.

  8. Lorna

    I am also loving the 5 year journal…I turned 60 this year and stepped down from a job that I had for 20 years and into a new job so it was a memorable year. I have always journaled for my prayer time…but this is more the day to day …but I already know I am going to enjoy looking back and saying…oh yeah I remember that.

  9. Amanda

    I am on my second line-a-day journal and I absolutely love it!! I keep the first one out on my nightstand so that I have several years to reflect back on each night . It contains mostly mundane things but a lot of major life events too – moving to a new city, starting a new job, moving in with my boyfriend (now husband), starting and finishing a masters program, getting engaged and married, starting another new job, buying our first house, many vacations, successfully passing the CPA exams all on the first try, etc. It is my most favorite habit and I intend to continue it for life!

  10. Ronda

    Oh my goodness isn’t making time for hobbies so hard. I have to just do it and sometimes even put it on my calendar so that I don’t put it off for the never going to happen free time.


    I am so glad you are keeping your 5 good things! I was worried with the revamp that it was being dumped.
    I am loving the blog and podcast tie ins, it just makes so much keep the channels cohesive.

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