The Needful PlacesIt’s snowing outside here and the temperature is dropping. I’m sipping a cup of black coffee and simultaneously a cup of English tea with cream and sugar. I’m writing holiday scenes today, filling myself with these warm beverages and thinking pleasant thoughts, the way you can before the real hustle of the season sweeps you up. I take small breaks here and there to watch the snow change directions on the wind.

It’s the kind of day that makes me wonder why I don’t take the time to do this every day, think happy and glowing thoughts and turn them into my work. Having written that last line, I realize that that’s pretty much what I do every day, I’m just not always conscious of the serenity when I’m in the middle of it. Usually it hits me later that I’m happy with my day’s work. Sometimes that’s in the afternoon, and sometimes that’s at midnight. The trick is to feel it as it’s happening and allow it to extend its reach into life’s needful places, filling them as it goes.

Perhaps it’s a strange analogy, or the food I can smell cooking in the other room, but I just keep thinking about the time I tried to savor dinner when I was a kid. It only happened once, because I learned my lesson. I had a choice bite on my plate, and I ate all the other things around it, saving that best morsel for last. I even suffered through a side dish I didn’t want, all the while thinking about how good that last bite would be, and when I finally got to it of course I was stuffed. Those of you who know me know I would never walk away from something delectable like that: I ate it anyway. But instead of enjoying it, it became nearly as difficult to eat as the lousy side dish I’d forced down. I’d savored and withheld into ruination, and I learned then and there the importance of allowing enjoyment to happen in the moment.

And while those needful places never quite disappear entirely, the moment’s abundance does wonders to keep them placated.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see