Last week I broke one of the basic rules of good writing. I got a little carried away with adjectives, writing about the Amazing, Excellent, Superb, Splendid Very Good Day. I’ll blame my infatuation with my grandchildren.

But sometimes breaking the rules leads to new opportunities, as it did today. One of my readers has wisely slowed down the pace and today champions the value of another kind of good day.

Meet Tina Fariss Barbour.

Tina Fariss Barbour where she loves to walk.

Tina Fariss Barbour where she loves to walk.

A Good Day


Tina Fariss Barbour


A good day is not the one where the exciting things happen.

A good day for me is a quiet one, with some work, some reading. My husband is doing his own good things, but we come together for a meal and a walk, and always, talk.

I used to wait for the good days to happen. I have long been challenged by depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. I thought I couldn’t have a good day until all the depression was gone, all the obsessions were out of my head, all the compulsions were done and laid to rest.

However, part of the healing process for me has been learning that the good days are to be enjoyed when I can make them—or allow them—to happen. In the midst of a dark time, in the midst of unrelenting anxiety, what can be cherished are the good days.

Another challenge is the work I do as a newspaper reporter for a weekly newspaper. About two years ago, I reduced my hours to have more time for my own writing and editing.

But at least four days a week are spent dealing with deadlines and stress. A goal for me is to find a way to work the characteristics of a good day into the newspaper workday.

So, until then, a good day for me looks something like this.

I get up early enough to take a walk in the neighborhood before many other people are stirring. Before I go, I whisper to Larry where I’m going, and he nods and goes back to sleep.

I take my phone along so I can take photographs of the things that catch my eye: the look of the sun through the trees, a particularly lovely shade of gold in the leaves.

Fallen leaves along the path.

Fallen leaves along the path.

When I return home, I stretch and drink water and feel physically strong. I eat a cup of Greek yogurt.

I write in my journal, a page or two.

After Larry goes out to his shop to work on one of his projects, I start on my own projects. I open my computer and spend some time on my editing work, or blogging, or a research project. I make progress.

Our cat Chase Bird wanders through the room, his face full of late morning sleepiness. But he’s open for a back scratch, a belly rub, and a treat or two. Then he’s back to his daytime sleeping havens.

Chase Bird Barbour

Chase Bird Barbour

Then I take a shower and read while Larry takes his. We go out to lunch at a local café that has the best four-bean chili. I enjoy a bowl with a toasted peanut butter sandwich.

If it’s a pretty day, a walk in the park along the Staunton River is called for. I bring my camera.

Back at home, we separate again to our own corners, me with a book, usually, him with his own research or work project. A nap, maybe with Chase Bird. A quiet supper at home.

A quiet day. A productive day. A day connected to my husband and my cat. A good day.


Bio: Tina Fariss Barbour lives in Altavista, a small town in south-central Virginia, with her husband, Larry, and their cat, Chase Bird. She is a newspaper reporter, a freelance editor, a mental health advocate, an animal lover, and a writer striving to live a life of connection. She blogs here. You can find her on Twitter at @TinaFBarbour.

Can you identify with Tina’s version of A Good Day? What elements of her day do you want to add to yours today? What wisdom can you commend?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Tina Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing my story, Shirley! I do like the quiet days best. But joy-filled days like you spend with your grandchildren–they’re pretty nice, too. 🙂

  2. Laurie Buchanan on November 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Shirley — Thank you for this lovely introduction to Tina. I intend to head over to her blog momentarily. The part of Tina’s “A Good Day” story that jumped off the screen at me is:

    “…learning that the good days are to be enjoyed when I can make them—or allow them—to happen.”

    ALLOW is a wonderful ingredient to cultivate in one’s life. My hat is off to Tina.

    • shirleyhs on November 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      You always go straight for the nub, Laurie. We can, indeed, allow so much more to happen than we may initially know.

      I look forward to your comments every time, and I’m sure Tina will appreciate your visit.

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Laurie. I am really just learning that sometimes I have to get out of my own way and allow the good to happen. It’s so easy for me to wait for perfect time to relax and enjoy life. Of course, the perfect never happens. 🙂

  3. shirleyhs on November 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks, Tina, for this lovely stroll through your favorite kind of day. I have appreciated our blogging connections, especially your frequent comments here, and I hope others check out your blog about living with OCD. What a wonderful resource you have provided to show people that good days — very good ones — are possible, even when they are tempted to lose hope.

    Chase Bird, the name and the picture, always make me smile.

    Some day you and I are going to have coffee. Thanks for gracing these pages today!

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Yes, Shirley, coffee and good talk. We live too close to each other for that not to happen!

  4. Elfrieda Schroeder on November 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    “A quiet day. A productive day.” I love that kind of a day. It is an antidote to an exciting day for me, especially if there is also some stress involved. Thanks, Shirley, for sharing Tina’s lovely blog. I’m passing it on to my youngest daughter because I know she will identify.

    • shirleyhs on November 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Elfrieda, I like the notion of quiet and exciting as antidotes for each other. They make a nice rhythm if we can “allow” it, as Tina suggests above. I wrote about rhythm in this post a few weeks ago:

      A good day is one where no matter what is happening we can flow with it. Please do share with your youngest daughter. I want to share with mine also.

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you, Elfrieda. I have found, too, that the quiet days are an excellent and much-needed antidote to the exciting or just busy-busy-busy days. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Kathleen Pooler on November 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Tina, your photos and descriptions are lovely. What I like the most is how you honor your own wishes and take responsibility for doing what you need to do to create a good day for yourself. Bravo! We can all take a valuable lesson from your sharing. Thank you,Shirley for featuring Tina. It’s fun to get to know the person behind the author photo. 🙂

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      It’s so good to connect with you here, Kathy! Taking responsibility can be such a fearful thing for me. But as I’ve learned more and understood more about the joys of taking responsibility, it has become easier. Understanding what I can and cannot control–on a daily basis–gives me a sense of freedom.

    • shirleyhs on November 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Tina’s hard-won wisdom helps all of us take more responsibility. Thanks for recognizing the valuable lesson, Kathy. Your comments are always warm and thoughtful.

  6. Marian Beaman on November 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    The leisure suggested by this post sounds idyllic to me as I relax after a hectic day preparing for tomorrow’s big move.

    What elements do I want to add to Tina’s version of a quiet, productive day? I would say gratitude, inspired by her “Chase Bird Barbour” photo. Just today we learned that my aged aunt’s pet (not a kitty, but a Schnauzer) has been placed into a good home. The new owners are ecstatic!

    Tina, along with the helpful tips, I like your short paragraphs, small bites of wisdom. Thanks, Shirley, for this breath of fresh air.

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Marian. Gratitude is a wonderful ingredient to add to this good day or any day. I’m so glad your aunt’s dog has found a new home and that all are happy about it. Our fur family members mean so much to us. Chase Bird has provided a lot of solace to my husband and me this past year after losing our girl cat, Sam.

  7. shirleyhs on November 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Marian, you must be getting very tired. I take it you are moving Aunt Ruth? I’m sure she is grateful for you and your sisters. It seems that every day you are accomplishing lots. I’ll think of you tomorrow with the big move. So glad you have placed the Schnauzer well. All will be well with all.

    Tina’s paragraphs are part of the way she makes her beautiful statement. Each one IS like a breath.

  8. Kathleen Friesen on November 20, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Yes, I resonate with a day of connection – husband and cat – and using photography as a way of being in the present moment. Through your writing I sense the meaning making and peace that are threaded through this “good day.”

    Thank you to Shirley for offering Tina’s piece as an intriguing juxtaposition to a “good day” filled with the energy and love of family and grandchildren. And thank you to Tina for sharing your life and experience here. There is wisdom in each …

    • shirleyhs on November 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Yes, Kathleen, you can understand this essay at a deep level, “sensing” Tina’s reality and connecting it to your own.

      You have made many of my days better through your lovely photos and carefully-chosen words. Thank you for doing so again today. Glad you could meet Tina, and I hope Tina can discover your incredible photos by clicking on your name.

    • Tina Barbour on November 21, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thank you, Kathleen, for your insightful comment. Making a meaning, having a meaning for what I do–these are very much a part of my life, and I appreciate your recognition of that.

      Photography has become very important to me as I work on being more mindful of the present. It helps me focus on what is there with me–now. And it’s fun, too! 🙂

  9. TexWisGirl on November 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

    nice one, tina! i love quiet. i love getting some exercise outside. i love my pets. 🙂

  10. shirleyhs on November 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Hi, TexWisGirl, AKA Theresa. I enjoyed visiting your blog, and that ranch looks beautiful. I spent four years in Texas, which you may not count because it was four years in Austin, but I loved them. I’m also a country girl.

    Glad you showed up for your friend Tina. She has inspired many.

    Come back any time!

    • Tina Barbour on November 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

      So nice to see you here, T! Yes, I think we would carry out our days with similar rhythms and have the nature and animals a big part of it. I love seeing the pieces of your days that you share with us with your photography.

  11. Nadine Feldman on November 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I’m a big fan of Tina’s blog, and I love watching her audience grow. She has so much wisdom to share, and her sincere, thoughtful words ring of deep authenticity.

    Like Tina, I love to be outdoors and often have a camera at the ready. I am turning my yard into a “food forest,” with the goal of creating something aesthetically pleasing and delicious at the same time.

    We also share a love of writing. I am working on a novel, and whenever I improve my draft, I feel a sense of satisfaction I seldom feel anywhere else.

  12. Elaine Mansfield on November 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Tina’s day suits me fine, except I hang out with Willow and the trees. Because I live 30 minutes from town, I block my days into town days (when I have lunch out with friends) and home days. I’ll take a home day with writing, walking in the woods, watching a sunset, and finding a little time for peace any day.

    I have Meniere’s Disease (hearing loss, vertigo, and more) and symptoms vary in intensity, so I try to make it a good day even when symptoms hassle me. Thank you for reminding me that’s possible, Tina. Thank you, Shirley.

    • Tina Barbour on November 21, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Thank you, Elaine. I like how you block out the “town days” and “home days” and have good days in both places. Your home days sound very much like my good days. 🙂 I’m sorry you must deal with Meniere’s Disease. I understand the need to have good days regardless of the strength of our challenges any given day. I’m always inspired by people who make that effort.

  13. Shirley Hershey Showalter on November 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    You have a number of things in common with Tina, Elaine. I’m glad you could relate. Meniere’s Disease sounds like it could be frightening when intense and annoying when less so. I love that you strive for a good day regardless. You know much about courage. I hope you have wonderful days ahead, both in town and in the woods. Thirty miles is a long way to drive to town.

    • Elaine Mansfield on November 20, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      30 minutes. 20 miles to Ithaca. Long in some weather, but a beautiful drive.

  14. Tracy Lee Karner on November 21, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I’m entirely on board this style of a good day. Quiet days are blissful days for me; hectic ones are incredibly stressful.

    I really like what Tina said about not waiting until the problems are solve and the struggles are past to find the good in this day. Very wise!

    • Tina Barbour on November 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thank you for your comment, Tracy. Hectic days are stressful for me, too, and I spend them thinking about the quiet days to come.

      I am a work in progress when it comes to not waiting for the good days. But I am learning, slowly learning.

    • shirleyhs on November 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Tracy, you recognize a kindred spirit in Tina, and I’m sure she will in you also. One of the best reasons to blog is to declare our intentions and read about the ways others do the same, helping each other up when we stumble and celebrating when we walk tall. Hope you are having a Very Good Day.

  15. Merril Smith on November 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for sharing Tina’s story. It made me feel peaceful just reading it!

    • shirleyhs on November 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Good to know, Merril. Hope the peaceful break gives you energy for that massive project on your desk right now. It would be interesting to know how many of us write with the internet still open and how many need to cut it off completely in order to work. I tend to let the distractions in more than most people, I think. Sometimes they become an active part of the creative process. Other times, they just take me away from concentration. Perhaps the subject of a new blog post. Thanks! 🙂

    • Tina Fariss Barbour on November 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Thank you for reading and for your comment, Merril! We all need breaks during the hectic times, don’t we?

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