Nostalgia · Stories

Week 10: Hope is Here | Everyday Nostalgia


As a child, I was never much of a collector. There were a few things like my Strawberry Shortcake figurines (that still smell 30 years later — talk about nostalgia) and a handful of My Little Ponies, but nothing of that much importance, and nothing like the collections my daughter has. They range from tiny plastic jewels that have most likely fallen off hair clips or fancy greeting cards, to a group of rocks or a mismatched selection of trinkets that seemingly have nothing to do with one another. (But take Zoey’s word for it: they do.) An empty box almost elicits more joy from her than one boasting presents, because to her, its emptiness just begs to be filled with a world of exciting, yet-to-be-found treasures.  

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One of Zoey’s mismatched collections

When I ask if maybe we need to get rid of some of these things, she looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind. To her, all of those things mean something. And to be honest, I get it.

Because there is one thing that I collect that is of great importance to me. Collected throughout my teen years and college and even into today, they aren’t even things–they are words. For as long as I can remember, I have been a collector of quotes.

A simple journal was always the perfect gift for me, because its pages could hold hundreds of inspirational words. I have a collection of them, all different shapes and sizes, all of them documenting, in essence, the things I have found important in my life. And if someone ever told me I had to get rid of one of these, I, like Zoey, would have looked at them like they had two heads. No way. No how.

One of my favorite — and first — quotes that I copied into one of these blank books was one by Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet during my high school years:

Hope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

I loved the imagery that quote evoked, how she turned hope into a tiny bird, its voice filled with wishful songs. It’s a hopeful quote, but it’s also one of persistence. This poem has stuck with me over the years; it is one of the few I can recite from memory. As I’ve gotten older, and even moreso these days, I wonder if maybe that hope really is singing words: Words that we just can’t hear, because we’re not paying close enough attention.


I’ve always considered myself to be a positive, hopeful person. That being said, I’m also a worrier. It’s not that I worry about terrible things happening, it’s just that I want SO much out of this one, precious life for myself and the lives of people that I love. As you can imagine, this combination often causes me a little strife, so I’m trying to work on worrying a little less and hoping a little more.

As for me, I think this Everyday Nostalgia project is helping. Here I am, only ten weeks into this series, and it seems like every week something happens that lends itself to the story that I end up writing. Perhaps what’s most likely happening is that I’m just paying more attention in my life and to the things that are going on around me.

I’m paying more attention to the sound of Zoey’s laughter as we share a silly story. I’m paying attention to the sound of my own childhood, which I hear through my mother’s voice when I talk to her on the phone. I’m paying more attention to the quiet time when I don’t have Zoey, and I’m starting to look at it as an opportunity to rediscover the me that I’d lost so long ago. I’m paying more attention to the moments that surround me in my everyday life.

Moments like the one that happened the other day, when Zoey saw her principal outside after I picked her up from school. She excitedly asked if she could give him a hug, and when I said yes, she ran toward him as if he were Santa. And when I saw him, kneeling down, his smile wide, his voice calling her name, his arms outreached to embrace her, my heart caught in my throat. For a brief moment, I felt like time stopped just so I could pay attention to this moment: to the sound of Zoey’s fast footsteps and her little backpack thumping against her tiny back, to their collective joy, which radiated from their happy faces as they shared that simple hug, and to the way my heart felt watching this special moment between them. And it was in this brief moment —  one that could have passed me by — when I realized that some of the things I’m hopeful that Zoey will have in her life, she actually already has. She won’t be loved beyond her wildest dreams, she is loved that way now: by me, her family, her friends, her teachers, and the people who take care of her during the day.

I walked up to them, smiling, and the principal reached his hand out toward mine. Although I had a million things I wanted to say, I simply said thank you, because those words said everything I needed to say.

* * *

It’s time to start paying attention to the moments and memories, and to the people and passion, that create hope in our lives. I will look to all these simple, important things and tuck them away for safe keeping —  just like Zoey does with her treasures. And in doing so — in paying attention — I will realize that hope is already here. It’s all around us. It’s in our laughter and our hugs and our stories. It’s in the songs we sing and the quotes we memorize and the little happy things we collect. It’s in our joy, and it’s even in our sorrows. It’s in the things we fight for and believe in and work toward. It’s in our hands, and it’s in our hearts.

* * *

Listen carefully: Do you hear the sound of hope singing in your life? Share with me what you hear in its songs.

Week 10 Suggested Reading

Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

“Shane Lopez, the world’s preeminent expert on hope, shares his expertise and wisdom on what hope is, how to create more of it in your life, and how to teach it to others, with the aim of meeting your goals, leading a happier, more flourishing life, and making the world a better place.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

* This post contains affiliate links to If you purchase a product after clicking an affiliate link (and it doesn’t even need to be the product I’ve linked to), I receive a small percentage of the sale for referring you, at no extra cost to you.*

Just joining me on my journey? Catch up on the Everyday Nostalgia series here.


At the Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

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23 thoughts on “Week 10: Hope is Here | Everyday Nostalgia

  1. “It’s time to start paying attention to the moments and memories, and to the people and passion, that create hope in our lives.” Couldn’t agree more! And I have a few Strawberry Shortcake items myself from childhoood 😉

  2. This reminds me of my granddaughter, who walks around holding tiny treasures all the time. She sees beauty in so many things that the rest of us might think are trash. Your daughter is finding so much beauty in her life, not the least of which is a mother who actively looks for the joy in today, and the past. This is so inspiring.
    I just started a blog, posting the cards I make, which often brings me to a memory, also. I hope I can blog like you when I grow up. (I’m almost 60 and my little is 3.) 🙂

  3. I love the way you write. It is very evocative. This post itself is beautiful. I have PTSD and practically no support system, really no one in my life who truly loves me besides my kids; as you can imagine, “hope” is pretty sparse within me these days. I remember how good it felt to hope, but one of the elements of hope is belief that good things can and will happen to you, and I’ve all but lost that belief. Your post is really beautiful though, and it’s true that small moments of joy can provide those pinpoints of light that we need to stay alive. Maybe there will be hope in my life again, I just wish I knew how to re-discover it.

  4. From the smell of Strawberry Shortcake to the Dickenson poem, I love love love this post. Your connection to the poem completely resonated with me.

  5. As soon as you said Strawberry Shortcake, I felt like I could smell it. What nostalgia!! I love the reminder to pay attention to the little details and record them!

  6. Awww..this was so inspiring! I loved the poem and that special moment with your daughter brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

  7. I *love* the idea of looking for what’s already there. I, too, hope that my daughters will find happiness, success, love – but they already have it *now*. That perspective helps me sit back a little and appreciate the here and now rather than fret and worry about the future. Capturing those moments in journals is a wonderful idea. How beautiful will that moment be when Zoey finds the entry about the day she saw her principal and the feelings her mother felt about it all. A beautiful post, as always, Corey.

  8. What a beautiful and inspirational post! And it’s so true! Hope is everywhere around us but we tend to focus on the “closed door” instead of all the good things happening and sorrounding us. This post is a great reminder that hope is just around the corner, one just has to see things with a different mindset.

  9. It’s amazing when you set some goals how that can affect your writing! I definitely understand the being more sensitive to your surroundings when you have writing topics in mind! Love the series!!

  10. Such a heartfelt post! Yes! There is soo much we can continue to open and aware of in our lives. Greatness is happening all around us!

  11. What a great read! It’s important to stop moving so fast and appreciate life and the good things we have. Very inspiring!

  12. Your posts are truly magically. Another great one. Emily Dickinson was a favourite of mine during my teenage years. And Sylvia Plath. I loved poetry. I wanted to publish my poetry one day. But I stopped writing in my early 20s and have never gotten back to it. Maybe I should one day…

    My boys give me the hope I need to keep going in this sometimes really scary world. Working my way towards a better, sustainable and more ethical life is all for them. I worry about the world I am sending them off into.. I know it’s just a few of us against what feels like a completely ignorant world but I am a big believer in the butterfly effect and hope that one day my boys will be living in a cleaner, healthier, happier world. 🙂 Thank you, your posts truly have a wonderful way of making me reflect on myself and my thoughts. XO

  13. I just love the way that you write, it’s so beautiful. My children have various odd collections that I don’t really understand also, btu I guess we all have our little “treasures” that special to only us.

  14. I hear hope every day, when the birds sing in the morning or when Ingrid Michaelson sings. I hear hope when my old, old car fires up in the morning. (yes!) I heard it when my kids greet me, and when Facebook messenger pings with a message I’ve been looking so forward to getting. I hear it in the silence that I can sink myself into and gain a little strength to take on this world.

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