Grateful

Each November a grateful feeling
pulls and tugs one thought after another
from us, prompting a spirit of thanksgiving.
Large things, small moments,
family, friends, and food aplenty,
our list goes on and on.

My mind wanders in circles,
thinking, remembering, and thanking.

I wandered across the beautiful times in life,
easy to be grateful, so much to love.
Life was clear skies, sunny days,
the perfect times to be alive.

I wander through the cloudy days,
a little foggy to remember
the times of trials and challenges.
Life struggled to be full of sunshine,
but there were still
so many things to be thankful for,
even in the days of gray.

Still farther I ventured,
deeper into the darkness.
Before me loomed the hard days,
full of tears, heartache, and pain.
Was there anything in those days
to be grateful for?

There were times my faith was stretched
to the point of snapping and breaking.
But other times faith grew.
It was small moments, little drops of hope,
God planting tiny seeds, urging me
to keep believing His promises.

Days of turmoil felt endless,
restless, sleepless nights filled with anxiety.
Yet in the midst of them all,
a quiet peace was always below the surface.
His whispers were so gentle
and a hopeful hush would fill my heart.

There were prayerless days,
empty, hollow and still.
There were days of shouted words,
hurled at the open skies.
But always I came,
circling back to Him with tearful prayers,
pleading for forgiveness and answers.
His voice, a quiet whisper on the wind,
spoke deeply to my heart,
assuring me of His presence
even when I felt Him least.

My strength was depleted,
I lie prone and helpless, unable.
God in His great mercy
lifted me up and walked me
through day after day after day.
Never did He leave my side,
always my support and my strong arm.
When I was unable, He was able.

Those dark and heavy days
taught me to love unconditionally,
to hold family tight and enjoy.
They showed the beauty of Jesus
in the body of believers.
I reflected, remembering good,
finding laughter in memories,
and reveling in the gifts
I had been given.
In the quiet stillness, I learned
God is trustworthy, faithful,
and a dependable source of strength.

The dark valleys were not easy.
I was stretched and tried,
and slowly but surely my faith grew.
My heart knew greater dimensions,
fears were conquered
and challenges overcome with His help.

Am I grateful for the dark days?
I am thankful for the things I learned,
for new truths, a closer walk,
deeper communion,
and eyes that see the world
in a new light.
Even in the darkest times,
there are tiny specks of light,
just enough to be thankful for
and just enough grace for today.

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Thankful

We are all thankful, aren’t we? Especially around Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
― William Arthur Ward

I had been keeping an eye on a few thankful lists throughout November and loved seeing what popped up on them. Intrigued, I started a mental list for myself. Halfway through I forgot everything I had on it and started whining. So, I’m making a list of a few things to help me to remember.
Obviously, this was started back then and we’ll just pretend it is still November but who says we can’t be thankful in December.

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  Grandparents who love my kids and in return the kids can’t wait to see them come.
I told my girls I hope my grandkids are just as happy to see me someday. I received the appropriate eye roll for that comment.

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color – sight – fall – beauty
I drove through this tunnel four times a day!

Crispy weather
Warm and cozy never-ending project of a house
kids crowded around the kitchen table
cookies & milk for those kids
a noisy house – my kids are fit and fine
Dentists – because we sure use their services
Health – because when you aren’t…

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coffee, all the coffee, and especially coffee ice cream
all things apple and pumpkin
brunch with family
pretty food plates
I may as well just say food! Give me all the good food!

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memories – What we have without these?
Jesus – Where would we be without him?
grace – In need of this every day!

church | community
Invest in the people around you. Care. Put forth an effort. Love. Reach out. Go the extra mile. Be their servant. Do the little things. Tell them what you appreciate.

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My Mr. Fix-it Handy-man husband
The list of things I cannot, or do not, or will not try to do because I know he will do them is endless.

spilled milk early in the morning = clean floor
electricity – because I hate when it goes off
the smell of fresh bread
Saturday = everyone home
Christmas cards in the mail
warm sweaters & blankets

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Funny nephews
This guy makes me laugh every time I am with him.

A School for my kids – every time I have to help with homework, you can just find me over here whispering, “Thank you, Jesus, for teachers. Bless them real good, would ya please because I need them in my life!”

Friends who turn 40 – So we can get together for good food and conversations
My Sunday school class last year – many good conversations
Teaching the Youth girl’s class this year – I did not want to be thankful for this but it will make me dig into the Bible and hopefully learn new things.
Appliances in my house – because I would not have made a good 1800 woman
A rainy day – because Christmas music, coffee, and candles

Reagan's art

Talents – I love to see an interest take root and a talent develop. God-given for sure because they didn’t get baking and artistic skills from me. Reagan drew this for Grandma to hang in the cabin.

My Children – I am thankful for each one of them. Sometimes I sit and wonder at the fact that this is me with my crew, and when did they get to be this age, and how are we having actual conversations now, and what happened to the babies, and for real, I am not old enough to be at this stage, am I?

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 time at home with my people
remembering Tris

loud and fun conversations in a kid-pack living room
a day spent at my sister’s house – if you live close to your family, you cannot fully appreciate this one. It is a rarity for us.

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Time Together
quiet conversations
A Dad who says “God is good, no matter what!”
Cousins having fun
Photographs
Life
Little things

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 Hope and Heaven someday

Today!

Today is my birthday.
Today I am privileged. I have things many do not have, privileges many wish for and today I have chosen to be thankful for all of these things.

I am staying home all day, a place I love and something I love to do. I have the privilege of spending the day with my four children. These children of which I speak do not always get along so very well, but how can I complain? Some people only wish for children to hear pestering each other and arguing. Now I did send these children to pick raspberries for a few minutes of peace and quiet, lest you think I am supermom.

My husband is home from a week of fishing and he is working in the office today. I had the privilege of making lunch for him and the kids, something some ladies long for the chance to do, just one more time.

I was also able to clean up the house, sweep and mop the floor and watch Madison bake my birthday cake and plan supper. Today my laundry was washed in my new laundry room, so much fun. The room isn’t finished but the washer had to be moved out there last night due to a water leak. Who cares if it isn’t done, I have a laundry room.

And I am thankful for friends! So many friends wishing me a happy birthday, showing me they care. I am so rich in this area of life while some people long for just one friend.

I am thankful for all these things today, to live another ordinary day, to celebrate another year in an ordinary way. Not everyone has this privilege.

~~~

June was crazy busy.
I had two weddings to photograph, two weekends in a row and both were in IN. Eric then left for the North with a fishing pole and we stayed at Grandma’s for awhile. I think my family had enough of us to last them awhile.

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Who among you is able to photograph this many kiddos and get them all to look and smile? Not me. You can see my attempt in the bottom photo. The top picture was Sarita, lining them up by age.

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The kids just had a blast playing together, or at least my kids did.

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Ice cream. We love ice cream. Tris was especially a fan of ice cream, all hours, any kind, big bowls full or even right out of the bucket. We had the ice cream machine again and used it about 3 or 4 times a day. The kids would come running and line up in a fighting mess to pull the lever and make themselves a cone. Good times, good memories and I’m sure Tris was smiling.

Madison had a birthday while we were at Grandma’s.

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And we celebrated Miss Aleigha’s birthday a week early.
I found the perfect little gift for her this year.
Do you recognize this family?

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We went swimming one day and taught the city-slicker children that a pond is just as good as a pool. Maybe even better if they would just admit it.
On the right, Grant was spraying Libby with his water blaster and she loved it. She would stay right there and wait for him to come back with another load of water.

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Little people chasing fireflies in Grandma’s garden.
On a side note, I need some lessons on gardening from my mother.

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This cat is thee most patience cat I have ever seen! The kids can do anything to her and she seems to love it. Grant named her Sandy-Clete. ? 🙂

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We were happy to spend Father’s Day with this man. He has invested hours and hours into our lives and now he is doing the same for his grandchildren.

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Tys cleaned up Tris’ old truck.

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And while we were busy at Grandma’s, he kept himself entertained tossing a line in the water and reeling it in. It is beyond my comprehension that this could be called fun, but he claims it is.

~~~

Now my friends, I am off to sit on my porch and enjoy this beautiful, sunshiny day while ignoring the spider webs. Why don’t you do the same?

Of Long Moments

The week was long.
Traveling Monday.
Coughing. Aching. Feverish children.
Lots of weekend laundry.
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Living on memories of a good weekend.
A weekend of family.

~~~~

Tuesday morning the call.
An unexpected death.
Such a sweet older lady.
Tears. Sadness. Gray skies.
My wheels started spinning
and I got very little done.
Hard to think. shock.

Food prep.
Gladly feeding sad families.
Tired eyes speaking thanks.
Squeezing hands and giving hugs.

Seeing the casket rolled in.
Hearing a small voice cry,
“Grandmas here!”
Tears.
Grandchildren crying.
Sons and daughters,
crying and laughing together.
Celebrating a life well lived.

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~~~~~

One child well, another one down.
Missing school days.
Homework. Headaches.
Stuffed noses. Grouchies.
Although the Mom was well,
the grouchies got to her too.

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Sister time.
Pajamas, the clothing of choice.
Anything warm.
Lots of “cuzzles” as Mr D says.
Tea. Cough drops. Movies. Books.

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Blankets. Pillows. Toys.
Piled high. Dropped everywhere.
Drink. Tissues.
Waste can overflowing.
Naps.
Mom wants one too.
We will survive.
We will.
We are thankful in it all.

~~~~

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Little one dances on the table top.
again.
Wearing duck-taped gumboots,
a smile and her favorite monkey shirt.

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She seems to think it’s where she belongs.
She’s not sick and she’s quite happy about it.
So are we.

~~~~

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We relive Thanksgiving memories
and especially thank God
for Grandmas and Grandpas.

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We call family and talk long.
We’re grateful for one more day.
One more day of unpredictable life.

“Get to” Moments

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I saw this the other morning,
and I didn’t even read the post that went with it
because my mind was stuck on this!

“Get to” not “have to.”

Think of little things that are mundane, something we do every day,
all the time, routine, over and over, things we HAVE to do.
We shouldn’t call them a drudgery,
but sometimes we get in a rut of groaning
and it just gets so wearying to do it all again.

But what if we would see these things for the blessings they are.
We get to do them.
We are blessed to be able to do them.
Call it the privilege it is.
Why do I complain when it’s something to be grateful for,
something others wish they had?

I get to do those dishes again.
I am blessed with a family to feed and plenty of food to do so.

Picking up after the kids.
It means they are having fun, enjoying life, able to run.

One more load of dirty laundry.
We have clothes to wear. end of story!

Cooking yet another meal.
I get to!!
It means I have a husband and kids who are healthy and want to eat.

Getting up at 6am on a Saturday with Little One when all I want to do is sleep.
I have a daughter, one who enjoys mornings more then I, but I have a daughter.
What more do I need to say?

Packing lunches. one more day.
My kids are privileged to attend a Christian day school!
(and I don’t have to home school)

The list is endless.
Blessings that we want to grumble about.
Things we call mundane.
Privileges we take for granted.

Think “I get to” instead of “I have to” next time you want to groan.
I tried to put that into practice the last while,
especially when I was doing tasks that are less the pleasant.
I “get to” do this!

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After thinking about this for awhile,
I mentioned it when our church ladies were together the other night.
One of the others said something else I’ve been pondering since
that kind of goes along with this.

What about all those things we call little.
Little jobs, little tasks, mundane things we do,
thinking that we are doing little things,
waiting for God to ask us to do something great.
“Here I am,” we think, “being faithful in the little things,
waiting, waiting on something big!”

But if they aren’t really as little as we think?
Could these “little things” actually be big things?
A hug for your child.
A card for a friend.
Another meal for your family.
One more load of laundry.

These things we are doing that we call little,
they are actually something great, something big.
It means something for the one you do it for!

Why wait for the next thing we think will be great?
Why not realize these “get to” moments for the blessings they are
and love doing them instead of complaining.

Don’t wait for tomorrow, next week or next year,
for things you call great!
You are doing great things right here, right now.
Relish in your “get to” moments,
don’t dread them.

Now give me some examples of “get to” moments for you!

If Only

Do you have “If Only’s” in your life?
If only I had more money.
If only I had a nicer vehicle.
I only I had a bigger house.
If only I had more time.
If only I could decorate like her.
If only I could play sports like him.

Usually those sentences all end with,
“then I could or would…”
You name it.
We could do just about anything, “If Only!”

I am right there with you.
I was struck recently with how long my list is.
It’s really just excuses.

“I would have company more often if only I had a bigger dining room table.”
That was my line.
He made me one.
Have we used it more often for that purpose?
No. Sadly.

“I get so tired picking up after the kids,
if only they would grow up a little!”
Now that the girls have grown up some
and take care of a lot of their needs,
do I appreciate it?
No, I just move on to my next wish.

I go to town, to church, to someone’s home,
and I wish and I want.
I look at a catalog and think whiny thoughts.
Where is my contentment?

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I need to focus on the treasures that are right in front of me
instead of focusing on what I don’t have.

Simple things.
Today.
I have food, shelter, family.
So many people don’t even have that.
Usually I have everything on my wishlist,
I only want something a little bigger,
a little better, a little more.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1Tim6:6
Am I able to say with contentment,
“God, what you have given me is enough!”
Or am I going to keep living in the land of “if only?”

Don’t miss the miracles of TODAY because you are so focused on tomorrow.

~~

Attitude of Gratitude

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   Right now a lot of what you read is Thanksgiving posts,
being thankful for the little things.
Facebook is full of them,
blog posts are all over the board on this subject.
I’m glad we’re being thankful,
I just wish there was a way to remember this for the rest of the year.

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How do you instill an Attitude of Gratitude in the heart of a child?
To be Thankful for the little things?
For everything.
Always.
Why whine about what’s not?
Instead Thank!

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(Thankful for cardboard boxes to play with)

In this day and age of “instant” everything,
they just hop from one thing to the next.
As soon as they are bored with something,
they find something else. Or they whine.
Don’t like the snack? Get something else out.
Don’t want to work? Then don’t. Whine awhile.
They don’t appreciate anything because the next thing is at their fingertips.
And they get by with ungratefulness.
What happened to appreciating the little things?
Disclaimer: We try not to run our household like that.

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(Thankful for little tea parties with junk food to eat)

I think part of the children’s problem stems from the parents.
We take so many things for granted too.
Little things.
Things that mean so much to us, yet we don’t thank for them.
Turn negatives into a positive.
You have a dirty house? At least you have a house.
Your children are grouchy? At least you have children.

Work on the attitude.
(says a very real pessimist) 🙂

Kk
(Thankful for Little One who cleans out the pantry!)
Guess she didn’t like the junk food snack so she ate something else.

This weekend I want to do something with the kids.
I have papers for them and they may decorate the edges
but the inside is for words.
Words of thankfulness.
Little. Big. Simple. Anything.
We’re going to keep these papers out and when they think
of something, they need to write it down.
But I know them.
The first hour will be fun,
after that…
yeah, we’ll see where their grateful spirit is.

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My Attitude of Gratitude today.

Sunshine yesterday, rain today.
Chilly Ohio air.
Cozy, comfy house with coffee.
Crying, snotty teething baby with small moments of happiness and sleep.
Questioning 4 year old who is thankful for Christmas and corn.
School girl homework, at least they learn most of it at a Christian school!
Dentist visits, we have teeth!
A husband! So very grateful for him.
Friends! Family. Where would we be without these?

What’s on your list today?
Tell me!