Simple things can be critical

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things…. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into springs. These are a few of my favorite things. When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I?m feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things and then I don?t feel so bad. ??My Favorite Things Favorite Things?

My Mary Kay rep always puts a piece of Dove chocolate in the bag with my order. That?s not why I place orders, but it doesn?t hurt.

My hairstylist adds a head massage with every wash and cut. Free. She just does it.

In the midst of Christmas shopping, I bought myself a stocking stuffer. I now own a ?Pilot MR Metropolitan Animal Collection medium tip fountain pen with brass barrel, ferocious wild animal python print accent and stainless steel fountain point nib.?

Not to mention that, according to the manufacturer?s website, this very instrument ?brings a subtle hint of exotic to writing? and will ?bring a touch of the wild side to the most professional occasions.?

Well then, OK. Sign me up. I don?t know if it?s the pen or the primo description that sold me. Either way, yes please. And throw in 12 more ink cartridges while you?re at it.

Life-shattering things? In the big picture, no, I suppose not.

But I know that everyone, if they thought about it, could come up with something physically small but emotionally large that makes them giddy. Child-like. Fascinated.

And what?s so wrong with giddy?

I am advocating for small but mighty.

Joel Osteen said, ?…Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you?re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside your power over your happiness.?

I watch the news. I am on social media. So I am all too cognizant of the fuzzy thinning line between informed and anxious. Am I alone in this? Because some days I have a hard time managing the balance.

In her book ?The Artist?s Way,? Julia Cameron gives the tip of setting regular alone-time ?artist dates? to increase creativity and contentment. The point is to separate and take time away from the grind.

The suggestions on what to do range from going for a walk to crafting to journaling to buying a few sheets of fancy paper to writing letters to watching a foreign film and other infinite ideas. They vary, but have one common thread?they are simple. They are small.

I hope 2016 is the year we all get ourselves a symbolic fountain pen. Whatever that equates to for each person, as long as it sneaks in then turns the corner and screams at anxiety and fear and to shut up for just a minute while we think.

Or don?t think.

It really doesn?t take much, does it, to briefly turn attention away from the hard stuff and grab onto some giddy, child-like fascination?

Just a simple pen. Small, but mighty.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree? This column is revised slightly from the original version that ran in November 2009.

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