Archives for category: Thankful Thursday

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Here’s a snapshot of a little “Girl time” for two of my “girls”…my mom and my daughter. Thankful that they appreciate the girl time and all that means that’s different from guy time and brother time and boyfriend or husband time.  Yep, “girl time” is connection and conversations, agreements and different perspectives mixed with opinions and advice and “have you tried this?”s and sweet, sweet wisdom. It’s intuitive sharing and laughter and tears and encouragement and inspiration sometimes that all happens in two minutes. It’s hugs and “I get it”s, and ‘remember whens’ and “you too?”s and “I didn’t know that”s. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s disagreements and misunderstandings and then oops, I didn’t know you  meant that and more “I get its” and forgiveness. It’s  often words, words, words, mixed with a little silence, and then more words, words, words. Girl time is being in it all. All. It’s connection. Connection is a good, good thing.

Thankful these are two of  ‘mine’…and that even though the connection that I have with Hope is unique and different from the connection that I have with my mom, that they both share a unique and fun, but all girl time connection as well. There’s a sisterhood that comes as we grow older. Thankful for blurred definitions as daughters become mothers and mothers connect with daughters and friends become mentors and neighbors and coworkers become sisters.  Yes, the roles get blurred into one sisterhood that’s so very thankful for a little girl time every once in a while.  I’m so very thankful for the many dear women in my life who are sisters and friends and mentors and co-journeyers who brighten my days and lighten loads and encourage in ways that see through any roles or expectations or lines and just get in there. I know I wouldn’t be the same without them and love the joy and laughter and depth and wisdom they bring into my life. This is a great gift in the journey…those who get in there with us and are truly along for the ride.

Oh, and of COURSE, I love, love, love my boys…and time with them…and they bring out whole other worlds in this mom (and wife, daughter, etc.) …but today, today…I just wanted to shout out to my girls and say thank you, thank you, thank you. This sister is so aware of what a gift ‘my girls’ are in my life. Keep pressing on and encouraging each other along the way…

Blessings ~

Heather

“I thank my God every time I remember you. 

In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy,…”

Philippians 1:3

 

 

 

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Thankful for …Reunions. Reunions of siblings who happen to be my children. Surprises of seeing a son who has been in California for 8 months who, with the help of his sister, surprised us with a sweet, sweet visit. (Heard banging at 6 something in the morning and came down to see them both in the kitchen waiting 🙂  Hope had gone to the airport at 4 to get Aus…  Sooo good to have him home for a time…Thankful that the trip coincided with birthdays of his younger sister and brother and included lots and lots of sweet surprises with family members who celebrated way more than birthdays. Thankful for my oh-so-different but oh-so-similar children who love each other and their differences and similarities. And thankful that we’ve had lots of time to catch up and sit on the deck and drink coffee, and laugh, and remember, and look forward a bit. My cup runneth over for sure…DSCN5545.jpg

Thankful for…once-full, now-spindly impatiens giving way to pansies as one season gives way to another. Thankful for the constant changing of seasons in the lives of those I love…. Am aware there are so very many transitions in the lives of 20-somethings…(and 5 of our 6 ‘children’ happen to be in this category right now, with the youngest only a few years away… )  Transitions are good as long as we’re reaching and moving forward. Momentum is good. Good not to fear change. Good to see the beauty in the old, but embrace the undiscovered things awaiting in the new.  Fear has a way of looking back, faith has a way of looking forward, empowering the now.New seasons in my life and the lives of those I hold dear that keep changing way more than four times a year. Praying for guidance with  doors opened and doors closed…and courage to run through them when they are open wide and wise, and to stay away when they are open wide but not so wise.  Prayer is a good good thing. So is counsel with those who know us. So is listening to our conscience and gut…and moms of course, ha!  (most times anyway 🙂 )

Thankful for …Laughter. Yes, out-of-control-laughter precipitated by familiarity that my new very favorite commercial brings up in me. Sometimes people may move at a bit of a s l o w e r pace than we might prefer.  I happen to work with a few of those children who are so very loved, but who definitely have their own pace.  Thankful for the awareness that my pace  doesn’t take precedence over another’s. Sometimes slowing down is a good thing…even when it feels a bit like this:

Geico Sloth…moving a bit slowwwwwww

 

I’m thankful for my youngest “child” who is now a co-manager for the basketball team. Thankful for this kid and for his friend, the other senior co-manager.  Tanner knows that connections and belonging are good, good things. He seeks them out. He knows that being a part of a team takes all kinds of skills, and that even though his best skills don’t include three point shots and lay-ups, he can still toss a ball or clean uniforms or take film of the games. Yep, love that we need all kinds of folks with all types of skills, and all kinds of paces (fast, medium, and even sloth-s l o w w w w ), for true community comes when we build on strengths, not play on weaknesses.  Oh, and I’m thinking we all have things that we’d be sloth s l o w w w at. Take me for instance… I might take a LOT more time to figure out a computer program than your average Joe, but if  you need a poem written or a dinner whipped up in 10 minutes, I might go at record speeds. Yeah, community allows for differences and celebration of strengths to be used for the common good.  Thankful my Tan man is finding his way.

Thankful for…provision on our most recent venture to Myrtle Beach. For old cars with no payments that sputter to the finish line of a 5 hour trip only to be welcomed and fixed by a family member who is anti-sloth-fast at mechanics and had the shop to do it. Thankful for brother-in-laws who are kind and patient and giving of their time to fix broken things. Thankful that that car could’ve broken down anywhere, but did it within an hour from where we needed to be. Thankful for humor and think time and sensors and lights on cars that give at least a little direction to this driver who had a husband on the other end of the line who called just as the car sputtered and ….STOPped. Yikes.  I like telling him about things AFTER they happen and are all fixed. Thankful that  I knew his anger was more fear and out of control frustration than anger…. Thankful for experience and years that remind me that things often only feel urgent and so incredibly heavy when the gravity of the situation outweighs the grace of provision in the midst of it. Thankful for a son who didn’t freak out but trusted my judgement in the middle of our little pit stop… He was just fine eating his lunch as his mom checked fluid levels and gages and sat ‘for a minute.’ Thankful for the perspective and realization that maybe I really am thankful for this old car after all! Yes, thankful for old cars with no payments and low insurance rates that can give reminders that we should be thankful for them too. Perspective is everything…

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Thankful for time walking with Tan man on the beach one morning. For walks and talks and sand and wind and crashing waves and the freshness that came with all of it. Thankful for freedom of running and laughing and watching birds fly every which way as Tan man charged on through.

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Thankful for…old friends and new who know your roots, your past, your beginnings, and for those who come later on the journey, and keep in step with you along the way. Thankful for times when that path seems narrow and bumpy and hard, and then respites, like today, when the path feels wide and smooth and dare I say, easy. Thankful for days when things just feel…easy.  But thankful that, like with my car, it’s all relative, in terms of what is or isn’t “easy”.  For what appears an easy path for some may be a difficult one for another.  We all have our own path. Our muscles and hearts and minds are prepared on prior paths for the paths ahead. Muscles developed on the not-so-easy paths are strong, ready, and prepared for the ones that might leave many by the way side. Thankful that path ahead is mine. Lots of choices to make even when you’re not a twenty something. Lots of opportunities taken or lost. Lots of amazing things to be involved in, and lots of things that also probably need to go by the wayside. Goals help to choose which is which goes or stays.  And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Thankful for dark nights with skies full of stars and the reminder that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Thankful for the realization that as I stepped outside one night to get a little perspective by looking up, that a son of mine was out doing the same thing. Yeah, it’s good to look up…and to see the vast grand sky, but to know that each star has its part, it’s little space to light up. Yep, a good reminder for sure. Thankful that morning light comes after the dark of night.

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Thankful for early morning walks, and quiet, and wind, and cold. For time to think and pray and process and just walk with no major tasks at hand. (Except maybe finding a way around a rabid raccoon…but that’s another story…yikes.  Big time yikes.)  Yep, love early morning walks…and then I love coming home to light and warmth and not-so-quiet.  Good to have a balance.

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Thankful for surprises like this bloom that keeps on blooming despite winds and storms and cold temperatures. Resilience is a good thing. It’s even better when that resilience is wrapped in a package that adds beauty to the world around it. Yeah, thankful for little things like flowers that beat the odds.

Thankful that I’ve got a full week ahead and a full week behind, but it’s quiet here right in the middle of it. It’s a gray, cold,drizzly Sunday afternoon with candles going,  dinner is on, and I have a must-read book that I must read by Tuesday. Deadlines, well, am not so thankful for those, but will push on through.  (The book is on trauma…yikes. tough read, but necessary for me in my position with some amazing students who are much like my mandevilla…trying to be resilient and beat the odds when surroundings make it difficult.)

Thankful for sweet readers who actually wade through these words…and the fact that we’re all in this together, and sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can remind us of that.

Blessings ~

Heather

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:28
(…on a Sunday…been a full week…)
 

 

 

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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ❤
~ Frederick Buechner
So, it’s already Thursday again. Thankful Thursday, that is. And here are a few things I’m thankful for today.
First am thankful for..this quote. “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”  Amen. Faith, not fear. Faith. Feed faith, not fear.The news tells us to fear. Looking deeper into things through eyes of faith can encourage us to ….not. Not fear, that is.   Love Frederick Buechner’s tip for sure.
Am thinking faith, not fear, in the little things. Thankful for my one-of-a-kind youngest son who leads the way in this.  He dresses to the hilt for every “Spirit Day” at school, even when it’s at someone else’s school for another team’s football game. Tonight, Hawaiian night. So he doesn’t just put on the  crazy fuschia pink and yellow and black Hawaiian shirt that a dear woman, Christine, bought for Buddy years ago. No, he doesn’t stop with that. He makes sure he’s got the puka shell necklace, the shirt that says, “Hawaii”, and the One Love Skate hat that has the continents of the World on it. He thought they look like Hawaii…and the one who started One Love Skate is living in Hawaii now. Anyway, he goes to the hilt and so does not get it from yours truly. We had Spirit week at school this week and I participated, sort of. Wore a bandana and jeans on Western day and a hat on hat day, ha. Pretty pathetic attempt, I’d say.  But Tanner, Tan-man thoughtfully prepares and goes all out in these things. He’s not afraid of what others think. No fear. Just courage. And with courage comes freedom. Love that. Wanna be more like that.
Thankful for conversations had, and conversations that are not yet voiced. Because sometimes waiting is important. Sometimes the unspoken and restraint and processing before words are spoken is a gift. Sometimes words come like thunder. Sometimes they come like a gentle rain. Usually, some thought and prayer and time can help dispel storms a bit. Takes courage to be still. Takes faith to know that there will be a time to talk later…takes courage and restraint to actually do the waiting. And then takes courage to speak.
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Thankful for heroes. Everyday heroes who see a need and jump in the water, the way, the whatever, to make a difference. Thankful that everyday heroes look just like you and me and that, well, they are you and me when we choose to be. We can all be heroes to somebody. We just need to look for opportunities to jump in. Thankful for the many reminders this week that sometimes the little things are truly the big things. And that those little efforts made at the right time can make a world of difference.  Thankful for the reminder that, “except for the grace of God, there go I.” Natural disasters aren’t personal. They sweep on in and leave people in their wake without regard for race, economic status, creed, gender, political views or ethics. Heroes do the same. Disasters help us see through a different lens…where we are on the same side with the same mission. So thankful for the ordinary heroes sweeping on into Houston this past week and the love in action that was shown.  Thankful for the way it inspires others and inspires me to take initiative to jump in when there’s a need. And there are needs all around….
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Thankful for retrospect. For lessons learned, lightbulbs in heart and mind turned on, and then freedom to move forward. Takes courage to step on into unknown futures.  Takes tenacity to keep moving your feet when they want to stand still. Takes courage to keep eyes and heart wide open. Thankful for loved ones who are moving their feet and going forward into the unknown. Thankful for being in the here and now and thankful for the truth that we need each other. We need each other period. Takes courage to takes walls down. Cool thing is, that’s when there’s room to be en-couraged.
Thankful for celebrations and milestones. For bright lime green balloons and sprinkle donuts, and  cards signed by every faculty member celebrating One student. Thankful for the awareness that one plus one plus one equals way more than three..it equals “We”. Thankful for “We’ll miss you” cards colored with every color in the crayon box. For 3rd and 4th grade students who share encouragement and ‘remember whens’ and give with words and actions.
Thankful for fragrant little white flowers that have cropped up on the Broad River greenway, in the woods by my school’s parking lot, and on the roads on the way to work.  Thankful for the fragrance and the beauty that’s there for just a short season, and then gone. Enjoying them while I can.
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I’m thinking maybe my blog should be called “Rambling on…”
Random thought?  Yep. But pretty accurate, ha.    Or…”Random Ramblings…”Am thinking I’ll close for now 🙂
Blessings to you all.
Heather
P. S. Feed faith. Not fear. Courage. Not fear. Faith. Not fear.
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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ❤
~ Frederick Buechner
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10
Thankful Thursday

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Thankful for …my walks at the river and that this time, when I asked, everyone said, “No, not today…” but then when I was ready to go, there were two sons and one husband ready to go along for the ride…and the walk. Sweet surprise. Love going for a walk, but love it more when there’s someone walking beside me.

Thankful for walks that include walking and talking, and walking and not. Silence feels right at home in the woods.

Thankful for wide-eyed wonder and little eclipse watchers. Thankful for ‘aha’ moments and the way they bring together whoever has eyes to see.

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Thankful for sweet moments with students…for dancing to sight word songs and laughing out loud when students get my stupid jokes on the side. Thankful for stubborn stand-offs and seeing the moment that the student realizes maybe this teacher is being stubborn because she really does care…and that’s why she’s willing to dig her heels in and draw her lines to help teach students more than math and reading. Thankful for breakthroughs that come after ‘stand-offs’.IMG_5283.jpg

Thankful for the amazing sunset that Tanner and I saw on the way back from a trip to the mall to get some new shoes. It was the night of the eclipse, and was different than any sunset I’d ever seen. Oh, and am so thankful for the “I’m going to do my own thing” kind of spirit that my LeBron-loving-Tan-Man had as he purchased …Steph Curry shoes. Ha. Quite the dilemma for a bit, but he’s defining his own little walk and not walking in another’s shoes. Thankful for that…and for the laughter and freedom that came after the dilemma was solved and he decided that he indeed could wear his Cavaliers hat and Steph Curry shoes at the same time because …he could!

Thankful for encouragement from friends.  For verses shared and words spoken that hit the need spot-on at just the right time. Thankful for being able to walk with friends during the hard times and horse-laugh not just in the good, but in the hard. Yeah. It’s good to have people that know you and can see a broader view when you’re stuck in the middle. Sometimes laughter is the best thing to grant perspective for sure.

Thankful for my favorite quote of the week from a 5-year old little boy with an ultra-fun baby sitter ...”How do you spell ‘havingagreattime’?   🙂

Thankful for the many details worked out in a week during  yet another period of lots of transitions for adults in my life who happen to still be my children <3. Thankful for so many steps forward, and some back, but that that’s the dance of life. Am so very thankful for this dance of life. Thankful for the chances for ‘do-overs’, reboots,  and ‘let’s try that a different way’-s that are about so much more than getting it ‘right’, but more about growing those heart and mind and spirit muscles in these ones who I’ll always see as my greatest gifts…

and last but not least am thankful for a Friday night when pizza is on the menu (and the cinna-bites that Tan-man wanted so badly that were worth every minute of the extra ten minute wait). Thankful for a Friday night  when I can kick up my feet and read and rest and be thankful for the week behind, look forward to the week ahead, but quietly sit here in the middle of it all and reflect on some of the sweet moments of the week.IMG_5300

Happy Thankful Thursday on a Friday 🙂

Blessings ~

Heather

 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

Thankful Thursday

 

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So on this “Thankful Thursday” am thankful for a little ‘profile in courage’ of our own. This is Tala.  She does not like bridges.  Especially long bridges.  Even more so, very long swinging bridges where you can look under your four legs and see a stream flowing way down below. Nope, she doesn’t like bridges at all.

She made that clear in strong protest. I didn’t blame her.

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And once she belly-crawled to the steps, she did this again:

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So I called Hope and told her the situation because I was worried, way more worried than I let Hope know. With Tala’s strength and determination and the fact that there are dog-sized gaps between where the rope railing meets the wooden slats, well, I had this picture of us possibly making headline news on the Shelby Star for falling off the swinging bridge. Yes. Tala’s fearful reaction was making a literal ‘walk in the park’, so NOT….and frankly….dangerous!

But Hope gave good advice. It was this. “Mom, Tala doesn’t like to be left alone, so if you just go ahead, she’ll follow you.” So now we weren’t just talking about Tala’s courage, we were talking about my fear/courage.  Although I don’t have a fear of bridges, I do have a fear of a willful, scared dog flipping out on a bridge (figuratively AND literally) and me trying to come to its rescue.  So it took a step of courage for me to step ahead….but I did…and then….miracle of all miracles… (after a bit of wait time with me trying to act very nonchalant)…

 

…after I took a step.. so did she.  Phew.  Big exhale Phew.

So for the rest of the way, we walked really close, step by step, little by little until we made it to the end of the bridge. The bridge swayed a bit and there were moments of hesitation, but Tala persisted and walked close.

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It kind of felt like a long way, but long ways become shorter with each step and so pretty soon, we had gotten from point A to point B and had actually survived. I was so proud of little Tala’s courage.

Sometimes bridges are scary, not just for dogs. Bridges are transitions from one thing to another. To get from one side to the place where we want to go, well, sometimes it takes steps of faith on not-so-solid-ground where one must focus on that step and not set one’s sights on the other side of the bridge. Tala, this sweet and gentle natured dog, absolutely lost all composure and fought and laid down and refused to move forward when she looked at the L O N G bridge.  But the cool thing is, when she saw me go ahead, and looked at me, she was willing to take the first step onto that swinging bridge to follow me. Her fear of being left alone on the other side of the bridge was much greater than her fear of the bridge.

So it can be with transitions. Maybe sometimes we can do courageous things because of our fear of staying where we are and being left behind is greater than the fear of the challenge ahead. Better yet, we can trust the ones we’re with. Tala was fine as long as she stayed close. 

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After I crossed the bridge, I was thankful for the little venture and realized I want to be like Tala. I want to courageously move forward when the ground doesn’t look steady and feels scary. I know that I’m not alone…but I want to stay close to the One who is so worthy of my trust. Trust can look like a lot of things, but I think the deepest trust looks like courage to follow, step by step.

One of my favorite verses through the years has been Isaiah 52:12…It talks about how God goes before us and picks up the pieces behind… But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”  One of the beautiful things is that courage to walk through more difficult terrains often leads to amazing ventures, people, and experiences that would never happen had we let fear win. 

Just ask Tala :

 

So here’s to bridges and transitions. Here’s to having the courage to step on to them and the tenacity and trust to cross them. And here’s to choosing wisely Who we trust to go with us along the way.

Blessings~

Heather

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5,6

 

 

Thankful Thursday

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On this ‘Thankful Thursday, am thankful for…

…for sun…and rain…and sunflowers in the rain.

…for the way the seed from bird feeders has allowed for these beauties to pop up in some of the most inopportune places…and that even though they looked like weeds, I didn’t pull these sunflowers because I knew what potential for beauty they held. They were worth the wait.DSCN0786

…for looking on the bright side of having old cars: no car payment,  low insurance rates, and the humility that comes with driving them. 🙂 Also for the time I have to catch up on my summer reading during the three hour repairzzzz.

…for two more days of “Summer break”.  For time well spent with family and friends and for all the things crossed off my “summer” to do list.

…for phone calls from one coast to another from my kids.  For connections with them that miles can’t take away. Yep. Very very thankful for that.

…for a new coffee mug that I love and use for way more coffee than any person should ever admit to drinking.

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…for three different “chance” meetings with people this week. Love how paths often cross at just the right times.

…for little hands and eyes that remind me of wonder 🙂

 

…for the reminder that life is precious … and the reminder that we need each other. (A friend from years gone by lost her 24 year old son… have written some things…but tough to find words for things so deep sometimes.) Prayers for Ashley and her family…and for those Jake left behind who adored him and are facing a deep ache and incredible void.) May God comfort in the ways that only He can. Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 2.12.28 PM

…for a friend sending me songs ‘out of the blue’ that helped yours truly beat a bad case of the blues. (Thanks Cheryl. Worship gets my eyes and heart back to where they need to be…. and for the so cool fact that the first one she sent was one of two that I keep playing over and over daily.)  One of my new favorites is Starlight by Amanda Cook. Bethel Music.

…for my camera and misty mornings walks. For cows that make me laugh and dandelions that so don’t look like weeds to me.

 

…for visual reminders that help me see and understand deeper truths that I need to take hold of…and the truth that “Love hopes all things, bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”  It was on the bulletin for my wedding. And “if I have not love…I am a clanging symbol…”  Below is a photo of a visual of “the two shall become one…”  Black sand mixing with white sand as a powerful visual.  Tough to separate grains of sand. Marriage is a blending, a meeting in the middle, a union. Yeah, good to have that reminder for me and my oh-so-polar-opposite-of-me-husband (and him and his oh-so-polar-opposite-of-him wife!) Thankful for the differences though…I really am.  A balance of extremes can be a good thing. Even a great thing. Just sometimes the blending of the two isn’t as easy as with sand.  At all.DSCN9764

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…for Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola (tastes like dessert… probably even qualifies as dessert!) and the time to eat breakfast outside on a cool summer morning. (Yep, there’s my new coffee cup ❤ ) For the views, the fresh air, and a new day and the birds flitting around from branch to branch singing their little hearts out.

…for ‘game changers’…truths that reach deep and transform mindsets and encourage and give strength and a new awareness for the day (or the minute as it may be)… (Ephesians 1: 18-20)DSCN0798

…for writing…blogging…and the venting and processing that comes with it. …for time to be able to write over these past few weeks, and for the creative outlet it is.  For connections with people I’ve never even met but feel like I know, and for the deeper connection made with people I do know that comes through sharing of thoughts, heart, and experiences and those moments of smiling because we get it and understand where the other person has walked or may be walking.

…for this verse…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  Thankful that the ‘wherever you go’ doesn’t have to be distant lands, or huge undertakings. The ‘wherever’ is wherever…. grocery stores, back yard decks, car service stations, business meetings, schools…yep. It covers “where-ever”.  And the courageous doesn’t have to be big and bold and earthshaking. It can be the quiet trust that knows that it’s not alone…and that thought alone is enough to empower and en-COURaGe to take the next steps…where-ever and what-ever they might be. 

One thing I know is that there is always a lot to be thankful for. Not just on  Thursdays, but every moment of every day.  I’ve just gotta take the time to see it.  So thankful for extra doses of time these past few weeks to do just that…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

Thankful Thursday

 

 

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Giving myself 15 minutes to write what I’m thankful for for this week…so here goes…

Thankful for Sky.  For wide open spaces. For sunsets and endings to days.  Good to have endings so that we can have beginnings.

Thankful for sons on the way home from different places & different ventures, a daughter on the way out to see family, and me sitting right there in the middle of the comings and goings being thankful that I get to see them as they come and they go. Thankful they have places to go to do their thing, but that there’s a magnet of family to come home to.

Thankful for friends. For truths shared. Encouragement. Laughter. Gut-level prayers sent up, and the ‘you’re not in this alone’ reality that sweet friendship brings to both sides. Internal perspective has a way of changing external views. So very thankful for friendships that help me see things through the lens of faith.

Thankful for stark realities of death that lead to beautiful awareness of LIFE and the gift of each day. That the darkest moments one one’s life can lead to wake up calls of living well in so many more lives. Thankful that the Bible speaks of deep gut-level HOPE that doesn’t let us or loved ones go in times of loss.

Thankful for stupid videos that my son shares that make me laugh like crazy….and make me admit that his quite goofy sense of humor may have come from someone.

Thankful for evening walks after the rain.

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Thankful for triple chocolate gelato (almost as good as the pistachio)…and for a son who eats a lot of it so that his mom isn’t tempted to eat more. Thankful for the memory of a year ago…eating my first gelato on a small island in the Archipelagos of Sweden…and for the son who was determined to help me check some things off of my bucket list.

Thankful for a ridiculously cluttered garage that is becoming less cluttered, and for the many moments in the past week of finding lost treasures of notes from kids, family photos, and little reminders of different stages of our family. Thankful for the laughter and cleansing tears shed in the reminders, and for the laughter and smiles from my kids as they get unexpected photos popping up on their phones with “remember when” messages from a mom who is trying hard to hold things loosely, but hold tightly to the things that matter.

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Bookmark Josh made years and years ago 🙂

Thankful for a misty rain that watered the plants that I had forgotten to.

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Morning Glory

Thankful that God’s mercy is new every morning.

Thankful for spinakopita and Greek salad and lunch with coworkers.

Thankful for time with my girl of laughter and talking and accomplishing daily tasks as a team…always feels so good to be part of a team working towards a common goal. Thankful for her feisty self that has a heart of compassion and wisdom underneath all that beauty and spunk.

Thankful for calls from sons…and catching up and laughing and connecting…and the little things that remind me that even though they are now men with lives of their own, they are so the same little guys with the same eyes that I looked into when they were young.

Thankful for my husband’s determination to provide for our family, and for the humility and wisdom to keep pressing on when things aren’t anywhere near easy street.

Thankful for walks with friends and wise decisions to meet at the River Trail instead of DQ.

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Carolina Thread Trail

Thankful for good reports from family members and the reminder that we all aren’t quite as invincible as we may think.

Thankful for new books to read and the desire to learn and grow. For me from the library, and for my youngest from Young Life youth leader. Yep Thankful for people investing in my kids big time.

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Thankful for quiet mornings, coffee, and for the missions and checklists for the day.

Thankful for “Thankful Thursday” posts and for the way being grateful for the little things has a way of empowering me to tackle the big things/tasks of the day.

Welp, my 15 minutes (stretched to 20 actually) are up.  Thankful for those who take the time to read these words, and for the many connections we all have. Thankful for words that bridge connections.  ❤

Hope your day is full of many, many…. Blessings ~

Heather

 

“..give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

Thankful Thursday

 

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Can you guess which one of these baseball players is mine? Ha.  Yep. Stirrup-clad guy front and center.

So on this ‘Thankful Thursday’ am thankful for courage to stand out. Maybe when we don’t ‘stand out’ in baseball, well, we find other ways to find our niche’. Here’s to kids finding their niche’ and being stand outs in new ways. Here’s to self-expression that quietly and loudly says, “I’m not afraid to be different.”  We can be part of a team, part of a whole, and still maintain authenticity and originality. Take it from my Tanner. He’s been paving his own road from day one. Love that.

 

Thankful Thursday

 

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I’ve been making bird feeders again.  “For today” feeders is what I like to call them.  And here’s why…  In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold.  (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes.  I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.

So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia.  Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions.  I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle.  Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses.  I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have.  But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now,  the momentary choices  today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.

In one of  our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group.  She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold.  Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this:  ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the  far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”

Yep.  But she didn’t say “crap”.  And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes.  We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse.  We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…

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So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment.  It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air…  Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”  Matthew 6:26.

I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met.  So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today.   At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…

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and then…they come…

the quiet and serene…

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…the sassy…

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they come two by two..
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…and they come in all kinds of weather….

and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.

Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!)  And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning.   Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down. DSCN2976.jpg

Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right?  Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.

Blessings,

Heather

(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook )  I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.

Blessings for today ~

Heather

P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.

“Live It Well” by Switchfoot

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 25-34

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On this Thankful Thursday (actually, it’s finally being posted on a Saturday…better late than never..)… I’m thankful for flowers (weeds) by the side of the road that beckoned me to stop and breathe for a few minutes.

I’m thankful for the sun on my face and the wind through my hair. I’m thankful for the solid ground under my feet and vast sky beyond the field and the awareness that like those flowers (weeds), I’m pretty small in this vast, vast world.

I’m even thankful for the stressors that push us to find the respites. And for the respites that sometimes show up in unexpected places, like roadside ditches where a few little flowers (weeds) are blooming with a beautiful sunset in the background.

I’m grateful for the truth that  when we’re fully-alive and fully-living and fully-putting-ourselves-out-there, well, there will be pain…and heartache…and uncertainty and struggle.  There will be loss, and hurt, and defeat. But there will also be victories won, big and little. There will be muscles made and skills honed and fortitude grown in the struggles if we don’t lose heart, if we don’t give up. That’s the key isn’t it? To not lose heart?  To keep on keepin’ on.  To keep on putting one foot in front of the other…

I’m thankful that one of the very things that might help us to not give up or give in or lose heart could be as simple as a phone call, a letter, an I’m thinking of you text, or a glimpse of some roadside flowers (weeds) that glow in the mellow tones of the sunset on a warm March day.

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I’m thankful that although sometimes stopping and breathing and taking in the sunset might take moments from our days, it adds energy and hope and light and joy and value to the rest of the moments of our day because, those moments of taking it all in? They help to process, to see things in a different light.

I’m thankful that my children (who happen to be adults ) whom I adore are living and pushing and stretching. And even though it is so incredibly difficult to watch at times,  I am thankful for the growing pains, the casualties, the falling downs and getting-back-up and the tenacity and compassion and gratitude that can result from those moments. I’m praying that they always have hope to get back up in a world that is pretty good at pushing down.

And I’m hopeful that irregardless of how many times my  kids fall down and need to get back up,…I’m hopeful that they will be those who help lift up, not push down. That they will be little respites to those in need. That they will love because they know they are so loved.  A lot of people don’t know that to the core. I pray they KNOW it, and live it out of the love that they have received. Not just familial love.  Supernatural, all-consuming love from the God who knows every falling down, every gift, every scar, every fabric of their being. The God who Loves them and knows them to the core…and calls them to know Him more.  He’s the Ultimate lifter of our heads, of our hearts, of our hands.

God’s infinite, all-consuming grace seems so clear and present in these little snip-its of time that I take to see it. It is mine to show up and open my eyes to see and hears to hear and heart to just feel….and He always shows up.  Sometimes in flowers. Sometimes in weeds. And sometimes it’s not about what they are, but just about how I see them in the Light of grace.  And it’s a bit ironic that I often see those things more clearly on tougher days because on those days?…On those days I am aware of my need, and I’m looking, seeking, knowing that I need to take time to find the reminders of grace. What we seek, we often find.

Oh, and am thinking that more than anything…in this crazy, chaotic, rushed and so often angry world where the ground doesn’t seem so stable and the future doesn’t seem so clear?…Well, knowing that He sees us in a different light and loves us through it all and beckons us to dare to LIVE a life counter to so much of what we see….that knowledge beckons me on to know that regardless of what I see to the left or the right, He’s with me  in the middle of it all. And sometimes all it takes to be reminded of that is to take a few moments to stop and see.  Yes, what we seek we often find. When we see things through the eyes of grace, there’s very little room for seeing weeds as anything but beautiful, beautiful flowers.   And the cool thing is that in Christ, God sees us through eyes of grace. Kind of like looking at us and seeing it all, but treasuring us as a beautiful flower. Knowing that we are loved like that can change the perspective on any landscape we face…be it on mountaintops, valleys, or roadside ditches.

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Blessings ~

Heather

“We love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

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