Category Archives: Joy Dare

December Gratitude

IMG_0748It was a week of recovery from some sort of illness for the kids, working, and tech week for the Mini-Nutcracker. The dippity-do has been put away until next year and I am happy to say we have one Mini-Nutcracker under our belt. Here’s my gratitude list of the week:

  • Laura and Leigh for showing me the ropes
  • little angels making friends
  • piles of snowflake sugar cookies
  • quiet times of reflection by the Christmas tree with Ann’s Christmas devotional
  • finding this treasure
  • a new recipe four out of six of us really enjoy
  • long, healing conversations
  • patient mamas driving big and little ballerinas in the pouring rain, making cookies and costumes, and watching five performances, and enjoying each other’s company
  • seeing the sun after a dreary, dark weather week

 

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Thanksgiving Gratitude

A week of birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving, sick kids, and work. Here’s my list in pictures this week:

Birthday sunset

Birthday sunset

Thanksgiving baking

Thanksgiving baking

Cousins

Cousins

More cousins

More cousins

Outside cousins

Outside cousins

Sick kids resting together

Sick kids resting together

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Gratitude

It started before church, with our own unscheduled personal version of Festivus “Airing of the Grievances” that included a dropped glass jar of cereal that was crushed to dust, two children crying and one mama left to vacuum up the floor while decorating two birthday cakes and getting the house ready for 18 24. After that beginning, I was wondering what on earth could happen next. What a beautiful day it turned out to be! A worship service that just got better and better, then part of our tribe over for lunch. We ate chips and queso, made corn bread and laughed over soup and sang happy birthday to two of us. Here’s my list for the week, with a heart overflowing:

  • warm soup and cornbread shared on a rainy day
  • brunch with Beth
  • kids everywhere!IMG_5094
  • boys jumping on the trampoline in the rain
  • girls talking about boys
  • adults sitting around the table, talking and laughing
  • a surprise from my husband in my worship playlist 🙂
  • taking the time to talk it out
  • girls in tights and ballet shoesIMG_5026
  • a hug and encouragement from a friend, who can’t know how much her words meant
  • taking a bit of time to paint
  • coming home to freshly cleaned bathroom and folded laundry
  • dinner with my parents-in-law
  • my dad surprising me by taking my daughter to rehearsal

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Week of hard gratitude

DSCN6156A week of hard, a week of gratitude…here’s my list for the week:

  • Days to recover from my gluten exposure and the patience of my family
  • Scrambled eggs and pineapple-mango smoothies for my confused tummy
  • The beauty of this art in remembrance of those who didn’t make it home to England
  • A morning with Valeria and her kids–thank you friend!
  • Husband knowing how to pack for my son’s overnight polar backpacking experience with the Scouts
  • The nurses and care partners I am so privileged to work with–truly, truly don’t know how I would make it through my work days without that beautiful community of caring for each other in the middle of the storm…
  • Sleepover for daughter with giggles and hot chocolate–thanks again and again, Valeria!
  • A rare Saturday off. Now I remember why people enjoy Saturdays so much!
  • An amazing church, St. George’s, that truly appreciates its musicians and their contribution to The Table.
  • Phone calls from friends when I needed them the most
  • Son home, safe, sound, and a bit soggy. With lots of laundry. 🙂
  • This. Just this song. Over and over. “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal…”

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Beautiful Fall Gratitude

I like to post these early Monday morning, but it just didn’t happen this week. I inadvertently ate gluten Saturday at work and am still living with the consequences. I will spare you the details, but I will say that joint pain, headache, fatigue and brain fog are not conducive to writing. Here is my list for the week:

  • Red leaves against blue skies
  • Foggy, rainy fall days spent inside cozy having school in our pajamas on the couch
  • English Breakfast Tea
  • Pumpkin scones
  • Midday bike ride/walk with the family
  • Cousin time
  • Sleepovers and Sound of Music
  • In-laws taking kids to see Wizard of Oz
  • Recovery time on the couch

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Well…umm…here I am…again…

It’s hard to even know where to begin…do I pick up where I left off? Fill in the blanks of the last 7 months without a new post? Try to stutter around the awkward silence of  “where have you been?” I don’t really know what to say. The camera stopped working. The computer wouldn’t upload pictures, or if it did, they got lost. Then the computer died…well, I’ll just leave the last few months at that.

It can be very difficult to be grateful when things seem to continue to tumble down–crash down hard. And I tend to isolate myself when times get tough and I get overwhelmed. But the worst times are a bit less dark when you look for the Light. Looking for the gifts and the Giver in the middle of the strain and the pain and the “what on earth?”, well made it easier to keep walking. Not flying with wings like eagles, not running, just walking. Putting one foot in front of the other walking on through life. Soaring and running without being tired–I suppose those days will return. I hope they will. But for now, I am content to walk and not be faint.

So after a loooonnnngggg time of not telling what I’m grateful for, here’s another Monday morning, and doing my best to face it with an attitude of gratitude and joy in my heart. Here’s my overdue list:

  • Faithful friends who loaned us their car for the weekend, so we could all go to church!
  • A morning full of hugs from the Beautiful Belmont Girls of the Balcony, 9:00 edition. Oh, how I’ve missed those ladies and their encouragement and love!
  • Provision from God, using the most unbelievable waysIMG_4849
  • A two-week break away from everyday life, sorely needed by us all.IMG_4167
  • Grabbing an hour for tea with my amazing friend
  • Conversation between grammar lessons and picking up children with my other amazing friend
  • The messy: a counter filled with salt dough maps of Egypt and mummified fruit, the den turned into a road rally of hot wheels, tubs of fall clothes to sort through in the living room. The beautiful: children learning, playing and awesome clothes from the cousins!
  • Being home in my own kitchen, with hot running water and a dishwasher. Priceless!IMG_4662

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Struggling with gratitude…but glad to find it

The thought of one more coat of oil paint on my last set of cabinets is about to put me out of my ever-loving mind…Four weeks of my kitchen contents spread all over the house and coming up with things I can make in a toaster oven has made my gratitude run kinda thin. I thought I was done. Then I lifted my last set of freshly painted and need to be installed cabinets into position to admire the effect. I missed 2 huge spots. Two. Very noticeable. ANd the grain on this last net is much more pronounced that the two sets already installed, painted, and filled. Another coat? Really? I am tired of being cheerful and happy about this. I can’t stand it. I can’t find anything. it’s a mess. The last weeks have been filled with this journey. On top of all that there were two delays installing the oven. For the last four days, the oven was actually in my house, but uninstalled. Even one more meal out of the toaster oven seemed unbearable. But it wasn’t.

Most of the kitchen has been re-assembled. The painting is done. The oven is in. In the midst of all that, it seemed to much to deal with, but there were so many other things going on with other people, that really…it was just an oven. I wasn’t fighting for my life from cancer. My adopted children weren’t being held virtual hostages by their country of origin. My baby wasn’t diagnosed with leukemia…all things people I knew were going through. It was just an oven and a mess.

So I have much to be grateful for. Sometimes you have to hear about others battles to realize your own is not nearly as big as you thought. My list for at least the last two weeks 🙂

  • the chaos of progressIMG_2925
  • afternoon out of the mess to soothe my weary soul with art and friendshipIMG_2959 IMG_2960 IMG_2964
  • friends to call on when I need their guidance
  • Chai tea and talk with Donna
  • a warm house in bitter cold
  • no frozen pipes!
  • fuzzy socks
  • flannel sheets
  • old quilts
  • snoring dogs
  • starting a new path with friends
  • a beautiful, sunny warm day; such a respite from the gray, overcast, freezing month of January!IMG_2990 IMG_2989
  • pattering and dripping of rain
  • huge box for the kids to play inIMG_2971
  • sunset of pinkIMG_2998
  • an almost unbelievable find amidst the dead leaves and icy cold–the promise that winter WILL end, spring is on the way, and new life is growingIMG_2979

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