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Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Grateful List

Ok, so this post is probably just the opposite of my last post! Soon after I wrote that post, I came across a website that helps women develop their own home business (Dream Unlimited). One of the ladies there decided to make a list of 100 things she’s grateful for, and it made me start to think more about what I’m grateful for and less about what I’m not. I don’t know that I’ll make it to 100, but I’ll post what immediately comes to mind.

1. Food, clothing, shelter.
2. Husband, children, parents, and grandparents who are with us and healthy.
3. I’m grateful that I’m grateful for my husband coming home from work each day.
4. I’m grateful that my husband actually HAS work.
5. We have more than what is needed.
6. Our car (that is currently working fairly well).
7. Prospects for the upcoming year.
8. We are now a part of two loving churches.
9. Friends who bear with us in all things, love us, and pray for us.
10. Doctors who are knowledgable and caring and who take care of our family’s health.
11. Our dog who makes it ten times less likely that our home will be invaded by burglars or other intruders.
12. Our town, it’s coziness and closeness. I never realized just how grateful I am for this town until I came back to it.

So I know that’s an odd number, but that’s what came off the top of my head. I challenge anyone who reads this to come up with as many things they are grateful for as possible! On days (or weeks or months) that simply aren’t going right, stop and think. What do I have? Now I am reminded of the phrase “count your blessings”…a phrase that doesn’t make me cringe but makes me think and refocus.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?””

William Arthur Ward

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The Grass is Always Greener…on the Other Side of the Septic Tank

I am incredibly disdainful of this phrase and those like it. When people say that (even me sometimes) I cringe and think to myself how horrible it is to say something like that. I’ve always struggled with comparing myself, my life, my husband, my everything basically, to other people. My parents can attest to it. Even as a child I strove to do as well, be as well, and look as well as others. The struggle isn’t as great now, but it still rears its ugly head at times when I’m not expecting it to.

I think one of the reasons I hate the above mentioned phrase so much is because for me, the grass usually is greener on the other side of the fence. It’s not a septic tank. I understand that everyone has problems. I understand that I could never truly know their burdens, their issues, their struggles…even if they told me about them. Unless I’ve experienced them I cannot truly feel what they feel. However, for most of my friends, I’d certainly walk a day in their shoes. I know they have problems, but to me, they aren’t as bad as mine. I mean that’s not to say that everything in my life is horrible right now. It’s not at all! We’re actually having good times as a family. It’s just to say that there aren’t many people I know that I can say, “I wouldn’t trade with them in a million years.”

I don’t want to trade the people in my family or in my life. I don’t want you all to think I may be coveting in that way…ahem. It’s their decisions, the financial aspects of their lives, or even their possessions. I think, “well, if we had made decisions like they did, we’d be where they are or better right now.” I know. I recognize how horrible that sounds. I’m aware of the green-eyed monster that pops out. But it especially pops out when someone mentions “that phrase” shall we call it.

I am so very thankful for what we have. We have a home. We have more than our basic needs provided for. We have four healthy and alive people living in our home and lots of healthy and alive extended family members (aka mom and dad and grandparents). We have a car. My husband has a job. I’m thankful. Really I am. I’m just thankful and envious. Can you be those at the same time?

Well, today, this week even, that’s what I have been struggling with….the fact that I don’t know anyone that lives in a septic tank.  I know lots of people who live on the other side of the fence, and the grass is pretty green.  So for those of you who might mention that phrase, please think first.  Comparison generally leads to envy or even jealousy.  It’s a struggle for many…maybe even most.

“Love sees sharply, hatred sees even more sharp, but Jealousy sees the sharpest for it is love and hate at the same time”

Arab Proverb

Happy Birthday Baby Bean!!

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

My dear sweet Anabel,

When you were born, you caused us so much grief that I thought I could never feel about you the way I do today. You are the epitome of life. Your eyes shine with mischief and love. You are a serving, love-giving, vocal, sweet, smart, precious girl, and I feel my heart swell at the thought of you. Your sweet voice echoes with joy through our home morning, noon, and night.  You are so smart!  You know your colors, body parts (even elbow and eyebrow) and can count to 10.  You can even recognize some of your numbers and letters!  You love books, are inquisitive, and ever so mischievous. You are my baby. You will be my baby until I have another baby, and even then you will always hold a special place in my heart. You and your sister each hold your own special and unique place there. You are my only second sunshine!  There is only one you and that makes you very very special!

Today, you turn 2. I’m overjoyed daily that you were born and that you wake up every morning, that you are safe and sound in your crib. So many parents do not get that luxury. I am so blessed by your life, I cannot tell you. It is so cliche to say that you will never know the love I hold for you in my heart, but it is so true. You won’t.  My heart wells with love of great proportion every day for you.  Between you and your sister, I often feel overwhelmed by the love I have for you both!  Often, though, I am simply overwhelmed by my love for you.

Your mommy is still just as selfish as she was last year on your birthday. I still don’t want you to grow up. One day you won’t be 2 but 20. You will know the dangers, the good, and the evil of the world. You will learn that monsters are real and that catastrophes do happen. You will learn that in this world, innocence does not last forever. And honestly, I don’t want you to learn those things. I think I’d be perfectly happy if you remained 2 forever. I really don’t mind the dirty diapers or sippy cups. I don’t mind cleaning your sweet, chubby little hands and face after each and every meal. Each night when I rock you and sing your favorite songs, I wonder how much babyness you lost that day. I won’t know right away, but I will see it slowly but surely slip away.

I love you my darling sweet baby girl. My hope for you is that if you must grow up, that you remain sweet, kind, and serving of others, that your eyes always twinkle with mischief, that you never lose your special spunk, your love of shoes and necklaces, or the unique spirit that makes you my Anabel Rose. I hope that if you must suffer, that you will know that you can share the burden with me and that if you must see the monsters that you won’t know them personally.  I hope that you will find comfort from God and know His love, grace, and forgiveness.  I hope that if you must, at some point, lose your precious innocence, that you will not lose your zest for life and that there will always be a part of you somewhere in there that was my sweet innocent baby.

Happy Birthday Anabel!

Love always,

Mommy

The pictures above by Angey Price Photography.

Hope

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

With some recent events in mind, I am pondering that word “hope”. I wonder why, generally, most people have at least the smallest amount of hope. I notice that my life ebbs and flows in hope, mountains and valleys. Seasons of great hope and seasons of almost none. But there is always at least one tiny grain of it. Why is that? Why do we not let go of that one little word? Why is it always there echoing only to often let us down? Why is it that no matter how long or how much we’ve hoped for something and it constantly doesn’t happen or happens and then goes away, do we still hope for it? How can we hope after heartbreaking, heartcrushing experiences?

I like to think our hope comes from God. We hope in Him. However, what about those who do not believe in God who also have continuous hope?  Where does their come from? Worse yet, how do we even begin to hope for something that we have never had? I have hoped for something for many years. I have come to have what I hope for and lose it and have it and lose it over and over and over again. And I suspect that I will continue to do so. And I suspect that when it goes away again, I will once again hope for it to come back. Is there a point when I won’t? No, almost certainly not.

I’m sure that you have something or some things that you hope for. Not necessarily a person or a material possession…maybe an event or a change, a revelation, or an awakening. Where does your hope come from? If you’re not a Christian where do you draw your strength to continue to hope and not let go?

We as humans seem to never lose hope.  On the whole, we are always hoping for a better world, a better tomorrow, a better moment, a better life.  We may have no evidence to show that any of the things we hope for will come to pass.  Yet still, we hope in them.  It stirs our hearts and minds.  It forces us to move on to tomorrow.  It is echoed in almost every movie, song, and book.  It radiates from us every day in every day tasks.  I find this good.  There is no passion that hope does not spring from, no desire that hope is not in the midst of, no love that hope does not find.  It is as the quote says – a song that does not stop at all.

Optimism At Its Finest

So I haven’t posted this New Year yet. Honestly, there’s not too much going on…oh you know, besides the normal chaos and craziness of our lives.  Our Christmas was wonderful!  Our family was together, and we were all spoiled rotten as usual, the girls most of all.  I also got some chances to teach them about giving and loving on others, and we still tried to keep the focus on Christ.  I think we were fairly successful!

However, until just a day or so ago, I was not hopeful for this year at all.  It started off rocky already and we’re only a few days into it!  But then just recently I remembered my hopes and dreams for this year, my goals for me as well as our family.  I was uplifted at the thought of the progress we could make in the coming year, the work that needs to be done, the events we have to look forward too (or at least I do – I can’t say that Bloke really looks forward to some of them, but he’s generally a good sport anyway!).  So there’s lots going on.  And, I’ve found, there’s a mystery to each year.  You know what you want to do, but you don’t actually know what the year holds for you, or what God’s plans are.  Many of us live in the future or the past and not in the now (I’m actually guilty of both).  We often miss the now because we’re so preoccupied with the future or past, but the now is where the mystery lies in each year.  It is where God does his most obvious work, in the day to day.  We just have to stop long enough to see it.

My “baby” turns 2 next week.  Stay tuned for a post that struggles to celebrate her growing up…