So, 9 loves. This is easier than 10 secrets. Incidentally, I decided to leave out things like 'Jesus' and 'World Peace' and 'My Husband' and stuff, because otherwise this would just be the same as all the other lists, and I want this list to be all whimsical. As you know well, I am all about the whimsy. Although I might write about Mr Smile some time, like on our anniversary or something, because sometimes I think he gets a bad deal on here. On the other hand, get your own blog, Mr Smile.
Anyway, loves. Here we go:
1. Reading, and Books
I love reading, and I love books. I love books even when I'm not reading them. I love new books, and the anticipation of new worlds and new stories. I love already-read books, and seeing them on the shelf, and seeing my favourite ones and stroking their spines and from time to time taking them down and hugging them. I love bookshops, and looking at other people's bookshelves. I love finding books I love and finding books I hate, and arguing about their relative merits with people who thought the exact opposite.
Oddly, I do not like discussing books a la Book Groups.
I quite like E-books, for convenience and portability, but I'll usually still buy a hard copy to keep on my bookshelf.
Aged 14, my uncle bought my sister and I our first brand new bikes, and I spent my summers exploring the narrow roads which wound through the countryside of the Ards Peninsula. Without money, helmet, mobile phone, or puncture repair kit, and certainly without any accompanying adult, I became something of an expert in the geography of the drumlins, inlets, towns and villages in a 10-mile radius.
Eventually, the bike was brought to Belfast, and during my year out it took me from student house to coffee shop, to office, to Bible study and then home. At about that time, I discovered the newly-emerging cycle network of Belfast and the surrounding area, and racked up plenty of miles exploring my options.
That bike was stolen from my garden, which was sad, but paved the way for the current bike, a fabulous ice-blue steed which has travelled many miles already. I'm passionate about making the streets safer to cycle on, and I've loved seeing more and more people get involved with making that happen.
For me, nothing compares to cycling along a wide path by a river, on a sunny day, knowing that you've nowhere to go and all the time you want to get there, with a picnic stowed safely in the panniers.
I've always loved making things, in any possible manner. I learned to knit when I was about 6, and then taught myself crochet and sewing later on. Any time I need to relax, I'll sit down with the knitting or quilting and I'm happy.
I love looking at craft, figuring out how things go together, and exploring different materials.
I love being by myself (unless it's at, like, a social event or something, where I just look like a loser and pick up weirdos). I love the feeling of having no responsibility for anyone else for a little while, being able to do exactly what I want, processing the thoughts that have been lurking in the background, and not having to make conversation.
I love my friends. As an introvert, I tend to have a very few, very close friends, and, as I think they generally know, I'll do pretty much anything within my capability for them. I love the idea of friendship; of having those few people who are really special to you, who can be relied on and can annoy you and delight you and disappoint you and forgive you and hurt you and be forgiven and encourage you and delight in you and push you to be better than you would be if they weren't in your life.
I love words, and playing with words, and learning new words. I love language, and learning to speak foreign, and hearing other languages. I love learning how words were formed, and how they evolved over time.
I can't stand puns, though.
I love mountains. They're like a giant landscapey hug. I love being on top of them and in between them.
8. Gospel freedom
I said I wouldn't make this list all "Jesus, Bible, World Peace", but Gospel Freedom is something that's maybe not on everyone's list, and it's something which I've experienced and which has released me from the past in a way that nothing else could. The understanding that I am forgiven, and therefore I can forgive others, is something which cannot be described, but has to be plunged into.
I love talking about it, and I love seeing it become real in other people's lives as well.
I love new ideas, creativity and resourcefulness. I love seeing obstacles overcome by imaginative thinking. I love new ways of thinking about things, and unexpected ways of viewing situations. I love things that are a little bit different. I love creative, resourceful people, who can look at a problem and see a ton of solutions, and then get on with doing them.
Tomorrow: 8 fears.