Friday, April 29, 2011

Blogging My "Passion"

By way of some soul-searching and somewhat deep-thinking, I've decided to re-visit the idea of a blog based on family traditions. . . It's, I guess you could say, my passion.  Please check out my first post and share your own May Day ideas with me!

May Day Traditions for the Family

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gratitude 9

I'm such a failure.  This is how I feel a majority of the time, quite frankly.  And this weekend was no different.  Seems at every turn I'm confronted with another reminder of how miserably I fail to "measure up."

Friday and Saturday had me reeling in these feelings.  I just felt down and worthless. . .  dark.  I was literally in despair.  I tried to focus on the cross, the meaning of the Lenten season, grace undeserved.  And, while it helped me feel sure about my standing with God, it just didn't help lift the feeling of heavy burden and darkness off of me.  I went to bed Saturday night feeling. . . despondant.  Sat up half the night feeling physically ill, knowing it was emotional. . . I was not really sick physically, just emotionally.

But the sun rose the next morning - the SON rose.  And, though I couldn't figure out just how it happened, or why, I felt light.  The weight was lifted.  Resurrection rolls were baked, ham popped in the oven, clothes put together, hidden eggs found.  I was quite underdressed, my daughter was in flip-flops with her fancy grandma-sewn dress, and my 2yo insisted on cowboy boots.  I knew I had to spend this glorious morning in the nursery - miss church - worship - sermon - communion - for the third week in a row.  But I felt so. . . joy-full. 

My mind couldn't get away from it - He rose!

His death gives me redemption; His resurrection gives me hope!

135.  The glorious, miraculous resurrection of my Lord - my Hope!

136.  Kids sleeping in.

137.  Small successes and Divine inspiration.

138.  The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and bananas.

139.  Taking the time to write it all down = realizing how much they learn in a day.

140.  Shopping - alone - peace.

141.  The flow of the stream in the backyard.

142.  Long, lush grass.

143.  2yo coming in from playing in the yard - wet up to her knees from playing in the rain.

144.  A good book - a conversation.

145.  Dealing with set-backs and the set-backs that re-arrange a day to look pleasing to God.

146.  Watching the birds flit about the yard on a rainy day.

147.  Rain drops dancing on puddles.

148.  Children singing - so proud - waving to moms.

149.  Chocolate.

150.  Lunch outside to the music of birds.

151.  2yo singing and dancing - my little performer.

152.  Bare feet on soft, green grass and cool stream.

153.  Yellow polka-dotted green yard.  I love dandelions!

154.  Finally finding her lovey - at 12:15am!

155.  Wild violets.

156.  Fruit trees in bloom.

157.  Sophisticated blooms of the dogwood.

158.  Walk outside - an immediate mood-lifter.

159.  A little chipmunk peeking up from behind a tall tuft of grass.

160.  Memories:  my grandma's cinnamon buns, the humid heat of Savannah, the smell of salt water and seaweed, those good ole hymns, bubble gum ice cream, weeping willow trees, fishing with Grandpa, feeding corn kernels to squirrels and ducks, old family stories told over and over and over. . .

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gratitude 8

It's a habit of mine - when things are at their craziest, and any one of my children is causing more than their share of headaches, I lean over, look in their eyes, and say, "I love you."  A reminder to myself and them.

And, until now, that comment was greeted with grumpy grimaces, rolling eyes, greivous growls, and an occasional chuckle.  But my exhuberant, talkative Mary has begun returning the gift of "I love you."  She looks back up and smiles with big blue eyes and replies with all the sincerity a two year old can muster, "I love you, too, Mommy."

106.  A 2yo's sincere love.

107.  2yo helping me fold soft, sweet-smelling laundry.

109.  2yo so very impressed with her 3yo brother's felt art.

110.  Saying goodbye once. . . and then getting the unexpected opportunity to have lunch and say goodbye all over again.

111.  Red buds on gnarled, white branches.

112.  Children laughing - loud in the back of the van.

113.  6yo sleeping - dog in arms like a teddy bear - head pressed against cool glass.

114.  A sack-full of yummy breads, courtesy of my mom.  Breakfast: check!  :)

115.  Coming home to bright green grass and small baby leaves on our silver maple.

116.  4yo's sneezes.

117.  Fellowship - the comfy kind.

118.  "Rain on the green grass. . . but not on me."

119.  Swish of water in dishwasher.

120.  Seeds on the internet for lunch - 2yo singing along - memorized Scripture, so easy! 

121.  Bright-colored kids toothbrushes.

122.  4yo with grape hyacinths - I may never have flowers blooming in my yard, but I will always have a sill-full of lovingly picked bouquets.


124.  Dandelion in a jar with water.

125.  Running into a friend at the library - great to talk!  :)

126.  Books!  Lots of books!

127.  Her little hand on mine.

128.  Little piggy toes.

129.  Dancing trees.

130.  Seeds.

131.  Everyone safe after a night of dangerous weather.

132.  Boys who want to "camp out" with their dad.

133.  Waking to sunshine after the storms.

134.  The opportunity to serve husband by cleaning his office.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gratitude 7

71.  Fresh air!  Glorious fresh air!!

72.  Collaborative music of birds and wind chimes.

73.  Bare feet; bare arms.

74.  81 degrees at 8:00 pm.

75.  Weather that necessitates a quick yard pick-up ~ a gift to the neighbors. :)

76.  Waking up in the morning with the bedroom windows open - listening to the chorus of birds outside.

77.  Being inside on a windy, rainy April day!

78.  Sooooooo many neat birds out in the rain.

79.  4yo wanting desperately for me to read to him. . . in spite of my obvious irritation.  Sorry, little guy.

80.  A slow moving train means more time to sing in the car with my kids and Andrew Peterson.

81.  First wildflower bouquet of the year.

82.  4yo with hammer and nails and scrap wood.

83.  2yo with shovels and mud.

84.  6yo with new crayons and blank paper.

85.  8yo with friends and forest.

86.  Little girl's surprised gasps over homemade felt toys - so simple.

87.  Toasted coconut.

88.  "Mom, I'm bored. . . Can I do math?. . . practice my letters?"

89.  Bright forsythias along the graying highway walls through NYC.

90.  Hilton chain's beds, pillows, and blankets - must be the coziest in the world.  Where can I buy these?

91.  6yo pouring over Little Bear - really reading - so intent.

92.  8yo telling me about how the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion already had a brain, a heart, and courage.

93.  "Mom, I'm a really good shell 'finda'."

94.  Ice cream in a trough surrounded by a couple dozen happy kids - spoons in the air.

95.  Mom's roast beef and gravy.

96.  Driftwood and seaglass and little bitty shells and slow, comfortable conversation with my mom.

97.  The sound my 2yo girl makes when she yawns.

98.  A good night's sleep - the kind you don't want to get up from.

99.  New England shake shingle houses, hospitality and hot breakfasts.

100.  Chickens and fresh eggs in a back yard coop.

101.  Planks nailed to branches high up in a pine tree - work of a child, enjoyed by my children.

102.  Kids playing toe-tag with waves.

103.  The undeserved mercy and grace of the Lord.

104.  Aniticipation. . .

105.  Real ice cream.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gratitude 6

Some days are just hard.  Nothing serious or mind-blowingly bad happens; but dirty laundry, dishes and clutter blend into one chaotic heap.  Kids argue and challenge.  I feel a failure and cry out, "I just can't do it!"

A child ails.  I worry - it's what I do, what I've always done.  All day - worrying, fighting worry, struggling against it.  Thanking God, praying and thanking again.  I break through to peace a few times, but the victories are small and fleeting and only serve to remind me of the large worry-holes in my faith-walk.

So anxiety leads to depression, yet another struggle.  And I look hard for the blessing behind the disappointments.  The gloomy sky becomes the warm, grey felt stretched across a cold day.  The expenses of diapers and pet food become my four unique children and the cat and dog they love so much.  The near-forgotten anniversary becomes the committed-husband who loves me "even-though" and sometimes even "because-of."

And I breathe a sigh of peace, contentment.  My good and gracious God is always there.  I just have to rub my eyes a bit, clear away the fog of self, to see Him peeking around at me in all His beauty.

38.  Stars so bright I can see twinkling and color.

39.  My alarm clocks:  A cozy 2 year old and a hungry woodpecker.

40.  Startling sight of a duck flying through the woods. . .

41.  . . . and the kids all trying to chase it down the stream bank.

42.  French bread rising on the counter.

43.  Pink and purple sunrise all dotted through with clouds.

44.  When the words just come.

45.  Shared laughter.

46.  Finding out you're not the only one trying to cling to God's grace.

47.  8 year old telling THE Story with the resurrection eggs he just made.

48.  4 year old embellishing the story of Peter and John healing the lame man. . . apparently a donkey, a dress and a cave were somehow involved.  :)

49.  A friend blessedly surprised by a pregnancy no one thought was even possible!

50.  Neosporin and a large, hidden-away bandaid found just when I needed them.

51.  Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's return to the stream.

52.  Finding chocolate in the trunk of the car after a particularly rough shopping trip.

53.  Finding butter in the back of the fridge after having nervously put back a box to save money on said shopping trip.

54.  Little 2 year old's talk:  "Do you love me?  Do you love me now?  Do you love me now?  Do you love me now?. . ."

55.  Bird-song in the rain.

56.  Bold, big-bellied robins flocking in the field.

57.  Drooping daffodils - still lovely - a sort of somber beauty.

58.  Little cupcakes with icing all buttery goodness.

59.  Girls dancing - bright, shiny ribbons in their hair - big smiles.

60.  50% off Crayola means my kids have crayons again!

61.  Good friends who'll even watch sick kids.

62.  Fevered baby snuggled under blankets.

63.  Water. . . clean, thirst-quenching water.

64.  Broken fever and a full-night's sleep.

65.  Kids playing in the woods - building forts and digging up treasure.

66.  Colored felt and a child's imagination.

67.  A husband who still wants me - 12 years later.  :)

68.  My children and all that they require of me.  :)

69.  Looking forward to spending time with my mom.  I'm hoping for a few tear-enducing jags of laughter with her.

70.  4 year old in red socks and white shoes - hillarious - and he jumps like a monkey into my arms when I smile at him and say, "I love you. . ."