Posts Tagged ‘Andrew’

L is for the Little Things… #137-#150

I’ve spent too much time lately getting upset over the little things. I’m dealing with some big decisions and big stressors… but it is the little things piled on top of that that seem to cause my mood to spiral downward.

Here’s a song that speaks to that feeling. I did not like it when it first came out… now I love it! (Plus it is hilarious to hear my 5 year old belting out, “Call me please, ’cause I can’t find my phone!” from the backseat.

Fortunately… I have learned that it is the little things that can pick my mood back up just as quickly. That is one of the reasons I am so glad to have started writing down 1000 Gifts!


This week’s gifts include:

#137 Green after the rain… is it just me, or do the grass and trees look even more brilliantly green after a rainstorm?
#138 Clouds
#139 The tunnel of green on a road near my house… the trees almost completely cover the sky above and it is just gorgeous to drive through. So often I wish I could stop in the middle of the road and take a picture… but since it is on a winding two lane road that is probably not a good idea!
#140 Relaxing at the park for a few minutes ALONE… which went a long way towards disappating the horrible mood I was in at the time.
#141 Watching my little boy’s excitement the night before Easter — he was literally jumping up and down when we set out decorated eggs and a basket in anticipation of the Bunny’s arrival
#142 An unexpected invitation to a friend’s house for an Easter egg hunt… watching Andrew have a blast with some friends and getting some chat time with the adults
#143 Encouragement at a time I was discouraged over a lack of progress
#144 Getting treated to wonderful service by a waitress when we were eating out tonight… she was incredibly sweet (and I have to admit that bad customer service is usually one of those “little things” that really gets to me… and it is all too common here!)
#145 Yummy homemade pretzels
#146 Daisies and roses blooming in my back yard
#147 A floor swept clean
#148 Warm clothes fresh from the dryer
#149 Wireless internet access
#150 Being able to celebrate Easter and a risen Christ!

What little and not so little things are you thankful for this week?

K is for Kneel

Last night my little boy shocked my husband by announcing that Easter was more fun than Christmas.  🙂  (Christmas is a big deal at our house, and we love all of the traditions around it).   When asked why, he listed all of the “fun activities” about Easter.  The last few years we have spent Sunday morning attending a sunrise service near our house and watching that church’s teens put on a short play about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Andrew loves it (and admittedly doesn’t have much experience with Nativity plays at Christmas).  For him, Easter means jellybeans (and one year an activity that incorporated jelly beans into Lent… which we didn’t do this year), egg hunts on beautiful spring days, and worship.

His comment got me thinking… I didn’t really grow up celebrating the religious aspects of Christmas OR Easter.  I’ve grown to love that side of both of them.  Easter is my favorite as well.  The message of Christmas is hope and God entering the world… and that is amazing.  But the message of Easter is that what began on Christmas has been completed.  Sin has been defeated, creation is being renewed, God’s redeeming work is finished (and yet somehow still working today).  Easter is a time of praise and rejoicing and happiness.

Easter is even more special because it is preceded by days of waiting… by the celebration of Good Friday… by commemorating the silence that was Saturday.  Last night we attended a Good Friday service.  We reflected on what the cross meant.  We reflected on Jesus’ name and his work.  He honored his taking on of sins even yet to come.  We knelt down (admittedly, that was figuratively and not literally) in honor of his sacrifice… and can’t wait to stand up in praise as we celebrate his resurrection on Sunday.

H is for Homeschooling

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever contemplate home schooling my kids, I would say it had never crossed my mind.  At the time, being able to stay at home at least part time was a wish I thought was likely to never come true… but even if it did, I assumed kindergarten would mean heading to the public schools wherever we were (which wasn’t planned as where we still are!)   Three years ago, I lost the job that I thought was necessary to our family income .  Somehow (and I’m really not sure how!) we’ve made life work since then with some part-time, sporadic work for me.  It comes with sacrifices… like having a car that hasn’t worked for too many months now… but we haven’t wanted for necessities.  Somewhere along the way, I realized how grateful I am that I’ve been the one around to catch all of the adorable-isms that have characterized the preschool years.  They make the times of feeling isolated (because I will apparently never be like the other SAHMs) or overwhelmed worth it all.

The other thing that I thought I would never say is that I am grateful that my son had the chance to be in an in-home daycare for a few years, with kids ranging in age from infants to 5 (though I still don’t think those babies got the best care — at that facility, not all daycares — and I am so glad he was 1 before he had to go there!) I love that he had the chance to be around other kids and older kids to get some introduction to sharing, playing together, letters and numbers.  Looking back, I prefer that to the typical kids of the same age preschool set-up.  When he was finally home full-time at age 3 1/2, preschool or even a PDO was not an option.  We started doing “life school” at home… nothing formal at ALL, but just showing that all of life is learning — pointing out letters on the highway, reading tons of books, getting toys that were fun but also allowed for creativity.  And I started to realize how much I love watching him learn and don’t want to see him lose the love he has for learning.

Add that to some doubts about our neighborhood school, some doubts about public school in general, and having a child who is very asynchronous in development so far — past the end of the year kindergarten curriculum in some areas, right on target in others, and probably behind on some gross motor skills — and that leads to being fairly sure we will be homeschooling in the fall… though I will admit that decision is changing frequently right now.  I guess I should say we will be officially homeschooling… because I have come to realize that I’ve been doing it all along without labeling it as such.  I’m sure in the fall we will get more formal about it, but for now he loves to “play school” on the days we do more formal learning and learns just as much on the days we play or visit the zoo or something similar.  The huge task at hand right now is finding some groups to get support and friends from, and trying to have faith that it will all work out somehow.

This morning we had fun testing out an online program I’m thinking about for reading/phonics, playing go fish with sight words and counting/graphing with jelly beans! 🙂  Taking a break for lunchtime… then headed to the store to pick up a few groceries and the library to pick up some books on hold.  I’m thinking about making pretzels this afternoon but it depends on whether we’ll have time for the dough to rise and bake before we have to head out to pick up my husband from work.  And *that* depends on the weather… because I’m fairly sure we’ll end up at the park unless it decides to rain this afternoon.  I love having the flexibility to plan schedules around *my* priorities…

G is for Gifts and Gratitude

I’ve spent a few months now following and sporadically blogging about the gifts in my life.  I’ve spent the last few weeks spending stolen moments of time reading the book that records the thoughts that inspired the blog that inspires my own list.  I’ve spent more time living than reflecting on life (which for me is not always a good thing)… but have loved the book so far and look forward to reading more of it.

Continuing the gratitude list for this week…

#126  All of you A-Z bloggers who visit and comment on my blog even though I took way too long of a break!

#127 Having family in town last week

#128 Backyard games played with my 5 year old and my 3 year old niece last week.  He needs more playmates!

#129 The new HUGE playground we visited last week.  It was amazing!

#130 Having a blast at an Easter egg hunt…

#130 And getting back into our warm car after realizing that we did not dress so well for the unseasonably cold weather that day.

#131 Getting a letter from the child we sponsor for Compassion International (which we are not the greatest at writing letters back to… that is a huge goal of mine!) with a beautiful picture inside that she drew!

#132 Preschool artwork from my little guy too (which I’ll put up on this post soon… it would take another few hours to publish if I had to figure it out now!)

#133 Spending the entire day Sunday at church or at church activities… and slowly going from not wanting to be there at all (tough day for no reason) to being glad to be around positive people to help pull me out of a funk.

#134 Glee (okay, I feel guilty even posting this one!  I have gone from watching random snippets of the show and complaining about the immorality in the show — really, deciding you aren’t ready to have sex in high school makes you “repressed and frigid”? — to watching Season 1 on Netflix, deciding it still may not be appropriate but it is cute plus it has music!, and looking forward to catching up on the Season 2 episodes I’ve missed.  It still isn’t a show that I think is the best influence… but I am trying to live in the world and not totally separate from it and am fairly sure that if I had a teen we’d be watching and discussing the show.  Maybe I’m being completely naive there though… )

#135 Coloring.  My son doesn’t really like coloring (apparently that is typical for boys?) but I LOVE it and always try to get him to.   It doesn’t work.  But my 3 year old niece loves to color so I got to color with her over the past week. 🙂

One Thousand Gifts: #89-#110

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

I’ve been slacking on blog posting during the holidays… and apparently well into January… but happy to report that I have not stopped being grateful. 🙂  Here are some little and not-so-little blessings of the last few weeks… and a promise from me to make more notes of what I am grateful for to share with you!

89) a white Christmas — flurries in Memphis, snow covering the ground in Nashville… that’s a white Christmas in the South!

90) the beauty of snow-glazed trees on the drive down I-40…

91) my little boy who is more excited to give than to receive gifts…

92) and who gets most excited about the presents that to us are materially small.  The “big gift” in his eyes last year?  A pear from Santa.  The “big gifts” this year?  That Santa remembered to bring a pear again… and a little Jelly Belly jelly bean machine.

93) spending time with extended family… some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years… at Christmas at my grandmother’s house.

94) The clean slate of a New Year…

95) Which also always reminds me of the blessing of parenting this miracle — for 5 years now.  (His birthday is New Year’s Day)

96) Being invited to play along with all the new Legos and Lincoln Logs and fun new board games.  I’ll take any day he wants to include me!

97) Watching all over again how much my little boy loves his Granny (my mom)

98) Clean water

99) Having access to whatever ingredients I need for cooking and baking… and being able to choose from a variety of foods to prepare (or, for that matter, never wondering if I am going to be able to eat on any given day)

100) The people who work on Christmas Day — doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel and gas station attendants come to mind…. passed a bad wreck on the interstate on Christmas Day and all I could think of was the family dealing with tragedy on that day… and the people who were there to help the day be a little better.

101) Watching the love between my little boy and our Oliver-kitty (so wish I had pictures of this one!)

102) The crunch of snow underfoot — twice in two weeks!

103) Watching Andrew and another little boy from our neighborhood play together in the snow… neighborhood friends are few and far between here.

104) My shower drain that finally drains water on its own (simple fix that took forever to figure out… but it makes the days start a little better around here!)

105) A impromptu story time at Chick Fil A (I offered to read a book to a little girl and attracted a crowd for a couple of minutes!) 🙂

106) The wonderful staff at our pediatrician’s office — I am glad we are not there often but also glad to be in such a caring environment when we are there!

107) Some peace on the decision to try out our local public school for kindergarten… or at least more peace than unrest at this point.

108) Avocados. 🙂  (Yes, I’ve been on an avocado kick lately…)

109) Being able to see the floor in my closet.

110) Silence… the gift for right now… just me up, and no sound except the click of the keys on the keyboard… not even kitty snores, which are usually part of the background noise.

Hoping that all of my blog readers haven’t left during my long hiatus!  I promise to get more on track with blogging. 🙂

One Thousand Gifts: #76-88

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

76) The first snowfall of the season… just a dusting (which is still big news here) and even better when it was a complete surprise!
77) Christmas cards arriving in the mail!
78) Christmas lights and decorations around town…
79) and people who put them out year after year as their way of blessing the community… I’m thinking of a display we’ve gone to over the years whose maker just told us he is stopping after 20 years of putting up lights and awe-ing children of all ages. That has been a gift from him!
80) and my family’s holiday tradition of stopping for coffee & hot chocolate as the way to end an evening of light-seeing.
81) The blessing of a new day to be in a better mood or repair a relationship
82) My church’s performance of Behold the Lamb of God
83) … and that they included the kids (even the littlest… well, the preschoolers, who are almost the littlest. There has been a bit of a baby boom over the last few years).
84) … and that browsing for a song from that on YouTube later in the day led me to be reminded of an old Rich Mullins song which was particularly powerful after hearing the tale of God’s love for Israel (and that Rich’s music never fails to inspire, humble and move me)
85) Watching the joy my little boy got from playing with an early Christmas gift yesterday
86) and his joy at walking in the door at church Sunday morning… he never fails to have a huge smile. I love that they love him.
87) At a restaurant after church, an older man walked over to us. He told Andrew someone along the lines of, “Young man, I want you to remember something as you grow up. You have a gift of a beautiful smile that you can use to brighten people’s days.” He is right. While Andrew certainly isn’t happy all of the time… his happiness and joy shines out and his smile reaches other people and brightens their day. I just thought it amazing that he shared that — what an example of encouraging others!
88) Being able to say “thank you” for past experiences (okay, at least some of them) that left me broken at the time… but also irrevocably changed my life… isn’t it great to have a God who can use all experiences?

What are you thankful for this week?

Confession

Sometimes I feel like the “me” portrayed on this blog is more reflective… more spiritual… and much less impatient and overwhelmed than I often feel.

So this is more the typical.

Today, I woke up to my husband yelling goodbye to our 4 year old and slamming the door in a rush to get to work. I went back to sleep… only to be awoken a few minutes later by a little voice asking to watch PBS Kids… and I sleepily consented (hoping it was even on, because I had no idea what time it was!)  Got up a bit later to the mass chaos which was my kitchen when I went to bed last night (how is it possible for 3 people to need so many dishes washed so many times a day?)… a husband home for a quick morning break from work… neck pain from sleeping the wrong way…and a brownie for breakfast. TV blaring… incessant questions from the 4 year old… exasperation from me from the noise onslaught… and sudden realization that much of the 5% of things I have left to do for Christmas need to be done in the next 48 hours. A little boy upset at missing storytime because I cannot deal with library drama today… a rush to try to get Christmas wrapping done (only to discover I have no bags to wrap trinkets in), and the realization that it is going to take some creativity to make the food in the refrigerator cover lunch and supper if I really do want to stick to the menu plan.

So I stop the rush… and try to stop the internal frenzy… and try to remind myself that the hustle and hubbub isn’t what Christmas is about… or what life in general should be about for that matter… (if only it were as easy to put simplicity into practice as to long for it…)

With lunch still uneaten but husband back to work and little one having some quiet time in his room, I log on to Google reader for a bit of sanity time… to find my blog friend Jennifer’s post… and a link to tragedy… and a reminder that love and time and letting those around me know I love them *now* is so much more important than getting things done. And yet so hard to balance at times too.

And so I’m about to recall my overtired little boy down from his room… read some Christmas books, take a moment to escape the house for an hour to run a few errands and have a bit of fun. And be, even more than usual, grateful that he is here… and four years old for another few weeks, with all the joys and challenges that brings.

God, help me remember how quickly time passes… and how quickly life can change… and to be grateful for the season of life I am in and the people you have placed in it.  How is it I have to learn that lesson over and over again?  I know how quickly tragedy and bad news can come… and life can change… and yet I am still learning these lessons to be thankful and grateful and appreciate the moment over and over again…

If you are reading this… say a prayer for Dana’s family today… and for so many who are having a difficult time at this Christmas time.

Multitudes of Blessings and Book Club (#56-75)

Linking up a day late… but only because I was in the midst of much to be thankful for!

After missing out on last month’s meeting, I was glad to be able to rejoin my book club last night.  Our meeting is about more than books… and leaves me with much to be thankful for.  So many in the group are older than myself, and socialize with each other more than just during this meeting.  It is a blessing to me to be able to watch them interact, get some perspective from a few years or decades away, and get reminders of how quickly this time of having children at home to love (and hopefully have more of an influence on) will pass.  Some days I need reminders to enjoy the journey.

Last night I listened to a heart-felt prayer from one member, which in part pleaded intercession for another member who has been battling cancer.  David Crowder’s How He Loves Us, played in the background.  (Go ahead, click the link, listen while you are reading the rest of this post!)  A double blessing for the ears.

We talked, laughed, settled down to attempt to discuss the book… which, as is typical, several of us had yet to finish.  Oh, well… we never have time to discuss the entire book anyways.

And so I am thankful for…

56)  Opportunities to remember the blessings of the time of life I am in now

57)That Mary said “yes”

58) And Joseph, too.

59) The ability to own a Bible (actually, many Bibles… I was searching for one to take with me and realized that although the one I typically use is temporarily missing — which probably means under a coat in my car — I still had an abundance to choose from)

60) And the freedom to read from it and study it… as an American and as a woman.

61) The freedom to discuss my ideas

62) Having the opportunity to be with a group of women (and in a church) that is open to new ideas… to taking in new information and evaluating it to see if traditions or opinions need to be changed.

63) Gena’s prayers

64) Nancy’s faith…. how is it that I can read journal entries from someone fighting cancer… and yet I am the one who walks away encouraged?

65) … and reminders (from the book) that sometimes faith is not being sure… but just committing to try to believe even when we can’t figure out what God (or Jesus, for Mary) is doing and how this fits into what we thought was the plan.

66) Shirley’s hospitality

67) Goodnight hugs & kisses from my favorite 4 year old… who didn’t get them before I left the house but came running down the stairs yelling, “Mommy’s home!” and requesting goodnight hugs & kisses as soon as I walked through the door… WAY past his bedtime…

68) … and the fact that my husband has never, *ever* referred to staying at home while I am out as “babysitting”

69) In a week where I’ve heard of several marriages being torn apart, I am grateful for having a husband who has stayed with me and will stay with me through it all.  Although at times I’ve wondered if the reason we are still together is that we are both too stubborn to be the one who walks away… the reality is stubbornness (and commitment) through tough times leads to still being together when life is better again.  Marriage takes its own brand of faith.

70) Central heat

71) and my space heater, which I have spent much time curled up in front of this week (it’s COLD!)

72) Having a nice (and warm) winter coat

73) Washing dishes by hand (which I know from experience can grow old fast… but is nice sporadically!)

74) Warm clothes straight from the dryer

75) And that Epson ships refill printer ink for free… because it always seems to take me a week to get to the store to buy it (and then I forget which one to buy!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Multitude Monday: 1000 Gifts #36-55

I didn’t even post this last week… and have spent too much of the past week struggling to be grateful.  I was glad to see that I had a draft of what I meant to post last week… it helped remind me of nice moments.  That is one of the many reasons I am glad I am doing this.

Continuing with the list of things I am grateful for… with Ann and the gratitude community…

36) My imaginative little boy who makes robots out of grocery store boxes

37) Shopping sprees to buy Christmas gifts for others

38) Wind-blown leaves

39) Multi-generational cooking over Thanskgiving weekend

40) The cousins we live close enough to for my little boy to see them semi-regularly…

41)… and the ones that live far away that we still keep up a good connection with

42) Christmas music

43) the way a Christmas tree makes a room cozier just by turning on the lights (even if it is hard to capture on the camera)

44) family movie nights snuggled under blankets eating popcorn

45) being able to go to the symphony’s holiday concert…

46)… and watch my little boy be enthralled once more by music.  He loved it… even though it was a long and late night for him.

47) Christmas ornaments that remind me of how far we’ve come…

48)… and of old friends…

49) or that are from times I can barely remember… because my mom cared enough to save them for me (I made this one when I was my son’s age)

50) Watching my son put them on the tree… even when they are clumped together in typical preschool fashion (and even with a lump in my throat realizing how much taller he is from *last* Christmas)

51) And realizing that he already knows that Christmas is about more than getting new toys…

52) The silence of being up at night after everyone else is sleeping.

53) Snow flurries

54) Listening to kids at church practicing a song they will be singing in a few weeks

55) An internet connection… because otherwise how would I be writing this blog?  (And for many, many other reasons)

Multitude Monday: One Thousands Gifts 21-35

Continuing the list of things I am grateful for this week… with Ann and the gratitude community…

21) Veggie Tales


22) Starbuck’s Peppermint Mochas

23)  Libraries

24)  Sleeping cats

25) Silence

26) This quote:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have made their way out of the depths…Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

27) Rescue inhalers (tons of cleaning + dust allergies = not fun!)

28) Homemade garlic rolls

29) And the therapy of baking them by hand
30) And the fact they came out really well even though I put in a few wrong ingredients (oops)

31) Friends who listen and help me feel a little less alone


32)  A.A. Milne’s The Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh
33) And the experience of reading it to my little boy (which was the highlight of the day for both of us)

34)  Friends who connect their friends who can help each other out

35)  Not having to act like everything is okay… at least to God (who knows that anyway)