A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zest


There’s one essential element to a good life. It might surprise you that it isn’t provolone.

CD az challengeToday for the A to Z Challenge, Z is for Zest. (By the way, provolone is definitely top 3). By Zest, I mean passion, love, energy and intensity. It’s also the relish, the gusto, the devotion you become when you’re embroiled in something that comes straight from your heart.

Zest fuels our blogs, ignites our teams.

It powers our pursuits.

It drives a girl to take off down the sideline, the ball at her feet, the wind at her back and a smile on her face. It elevates a young girl to sing boldly at an audition. It emboldens one to say yes to a ski trip on the spur of the moment with kids she doesn’t even know.

Zest prompts a guy who struggles to post three times a week to write everyday in the A to Z Challenge.

Zest transfers from specialist to a child who learns to walk – or stand on his own.

nourishmentZest’s carried within us. It needs nourishment. It thrives on encouragement. With presence and belief and confidence, it grows. What’s the limit?

Zest’s hatched preposterously. When you’re little, you don’t even know what preposterously means. Although the wrong teacher or coach or clergy can dent it, it can regenerate.

I still daydream about playing quarterback in the NFL or singing 70s songs in front of a crowd. Mostly, I dream of coaching soccer in a big, full stadium someday. Or watching my girls play a match in one.

Sometimes, it’s just as simple as me and Jennifer Lawrence sharing a pizza. As friends.

Zest’s black and white. It’s tough to have just a dash of it, but if you do, it bloats up like microwaved marshmallows. I know when it’s within me. My fingers skip on the keyboard. Ideas flow during a soccer training session.

Even my words ooze with Zest if it’s one of those days. Even the little kids listen.

If Zest fails me, it’s like handsful of saltines and nothing to drink.

photo credit: 毛毛596 via photopin (license)
photo credit: 毛毛596 via photopin (license)

It’s a kid’s master plan to get a hamster. Or puppy. It’s a boy running for class president and a high school junior’s stack of brochures from THE schools she loves. It lends flavor to the fluffiest pancakes and shine to and old Pontiac.

It’s in Friday night soccer matches and helping a brother out when he needs it. It’ll be there when the A to Z Challenge ends, when I’ll feel more like a blogger and less like that guy who talks all the time and doesn’t listen.

It’ll be there for stormtrooper pics and sandwiches.

With extra provolone.

zest quote


  1. And so we reach the end of the A to Z Challenge. I reckon what you did was a real zinger from start to finish. From go to whoa. From top to bottom 🙂 Have enjoyed all 25 posts.

    1. I am, mate, although it was a fun ride, it should be called the Writing Challenge, not the Blogging Challenge. Blogging means interacting, and I didn’t have much time for that.

      1. That’s true Mate, you’d be flat out like a lizard drinking. I’m thinking of starting a napping challenge.

    1. Thank you! I limped a few times on the run, but wanted to finish with … some zest! Now back to more reading and commenting … including a visit back to your place.

      1. Hah! I look forward to seeing you! And don’t worry…..you didn’t miss any parties this time.

  2. Quite a take on zest there Eli, and I totally agree. Especially where kids are concerned. They need to experience lots of zest. I can still remember serendipitous times as a child when life was so full of zest I felt as though I would burst. Zest still happens, and when it does, it makes me sing from the inside out. Great post!

    1. Thanks Cathy. We at least need to model zest and hope the kids will draw it up their own way. What’s life without zest?

      Serendipitous zest is the best, even as grownups. We sometimes have to look for it a bit more.

  3. When ever I hear “zest” , I always think of sounding my “barbaric yawp” – I don’t know. it just seems like a good way to let the zest out.

  4. Great post, Eli! Oh the zest of life and all that it affords, for each and every one of us. I love to see that zest for life in the oldest, the younger ones are still developing theirs, but it is getting there! Have a great week, Eli!

    1. Thanks Stacey! It’s one I thought about when I read the prompt on Rabia’s blog. I think as parents we model that zest – or lack of it – to our kids.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. You’re quite a talented writer…full of zest. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts…A to Z is pretty darn impressive! Hopefully I too can model “zest” for my children!

    1. Thanks, Julie! I’ve enjoyed your posts so much too, and love your writing style. I love providing that zest for my kids – although they’re reaching the age when it’s not so cool all the time! (or ever)

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