Posts Tagged ‘One Thousand Gifts’

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?

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. 🙂

C is for Catching Up! (Multitude Mondays #111-125)

Catching up on many things.  I wrote yesterday (okay, really today) about balancing blogging with the rest of life.  I’ve had several big decisions and other dilemmas dominating my thoughts for the last few months.  I’m fairly sure some of those will come out for the D post tomorrow.  In the midst of all of that, I have not kept up with this blog as much as I’d like to.  The one part of the blog that I do want to keep up with… which has been in place in various ways since this blog started… is a gratitude journal.  It is a way for me to consider blessings when it seems life is in chaos… and to be connected with others who are doing the same.

I’ll talk some more about the practice of gratitude and my experience of it in a few days… but for today I’m just continuing counting gifts with Ann and the Gratitude Community

#111 – a sweet note I received from a friend with much potential to be a much better friend… which is something I could use right now!
#112 – my 5 year old’s enthusiasm for reading his new Bible (his prayer tonight — Dear God, thank you for making Mommy read me the Bible every night. Theology of viewing God as being his wish-granter aside, I thought that was pretty great!)
#113 – finally getting meds for my cat (who had a huge health scare last fall and was finally diagnosed with an enlarged heart which is very treatable)
#114 – being offered the opportunity to serve at a fundraising event last weekend… and realizing how much I miss it (though I have to admit it is much more fun when the “service opportunity” is not a mandantory add-on to already overwhelming responsibilities associated with working full time)
#115 – flowers everywhere!  I have pink azaleas blooming, yellow buttercups and dandelions in the yard, and random purple wildflowers.  They are all even better when presented from my favorite 5 year old.
#116- no cavities at the dentist for the 5 year old *and* me a few weeks ago!  Having dental insurance that covers routine checkups and access to good dental care is a blessing that I don’t take for granted.
#117 – hope
#118 – 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, New International Version, ©2011) — the verse which has been in my head for the last few weeks — and what a blessing is the ability to approach God… with confidence that he is good and merciful and understanding of our frailties and fears.
#119 – An afternoon spent with a good friend and her little boy making pretzels (yum!)
#120 – Rain percussion (and a storm that thankfully just provided us with some outdoor music and a lot of rain… lots of damage a few miles away from my house but all is okay here)
#121 – A working dishwasher 🙂 It has been not working for a while… finally called a repairman and it worked for him! Glad he just charged us the fee to come out and wishing the same thing would happen when we get around to getting the car fixed…
#122 – Birds chirping outside
#123 – Free dinner @ Chipotle in honor of their Grand Opening tomorrow — nice not to cook *and* to get free food!
#124 – Storytimes, complete with books and activities, presented by my 5 year old librarian-in-residence at my house for his stuffed animals and any grownups who care to participate
#125 – The realization today… when I finally cleaned house a little after a few weeks of not feeling well (ironically, from asthma/allergies triggered by cleaning house!)… that there really can be pleasure in slowly turning a house into a home… (even when it seems it will never get there)… and that it is okay if it is a process (even when I feel like everyone else has long ago reached the finish line!).

Interested in counting the everyday and not-so-everyday gifts in your life? Feel free to join in!

 

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?

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)