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?

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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) 🙂

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(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!

Of Our Youth

 I have been thinking about teenagers, youth, early 20 yr olds,
the younger side of life.
Although I still feel that age, I am often reminded that I most assuredly am not!
But I do vividly remember being that age.
The fun times, socializing, energy, late nights, laughs, and people who know you.
The questions, the hard times, wondering, trying to figure out where you are in life,
what you want, where you want to go, who you are…
With the help of parents, church and stable people,
life evened out and a lot of those questions were answered for me.

Today I am blessed to be part of a church with a wonderful group of young people.
We were privileged to spend the last year with them
and I am so thankful for this gang.
They have spirit, they love life, and most of all, they love Jesus.

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(Calmly handling a bus breakdown and then burning energy climbing!)

Planning activities, spending time with them, working, playing,
socializing, volleyball, softball, Bible study, long trips, and much more.
Watching them grow, change, mature, become someone better.

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I saw their fun side when they laughed and played games.
There was a serious side when we sat down to study God’s word.
There was the the ever enduring good nature when we packed
40 people on a hot bus for long trip.
They kicked in and worked hard when we hosted youth meetings
this summer for 200+.

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They were there and willing to help when we had a work night for someone.
Their friendly spirit came out when we hosted another youth group for a day of fun.
When younger ones started coming along, older ones
were there to welcome them.
They put up with our kids, played with them, teased them and loved them.

Thank you for being someone my kids can look up too, for being a good example.
Thank you for leading the way for the younger ones coming on.
Thank you for putting your heart into your youth group,
these will be your people for the rest of your life.
No one can replace the memories you make with this gang.

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You are unique!
There are the teasers, the jokers, the pranksters.
The serious and mature, prim and proper ones.
There are lovable blondes, and beside them the cool, calm and collected ones.
We have some that laugh, long and loud and some that just smile.
We have actors and characters and quiet demur ones.
The happy-go-lucky and those that have known hard times.
We have steady, dependable, always there.
There is the critical pessimist and the encourager, side by side.
This makes a youth group, you need them all.
Who would you be with out each one?
You are unique!

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We love you guys and are so thankful for each of you!
Laugh. Have fun. Pray together. Seek His face.
Keep chasing Jesus. Grow. Love each other.
And most of all, enjoy this time of your life.
You only get it once!

Remind me, Lord

Lord, help me to remember…

 That my children are only young once.
I will never get today again.
My baby is over half way through her first year
and I’ll never get this year with her again.
Help me to forget my work when she wants to be held.

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My big girls will never be 10 and 8 again.
Help me to listen to them, to care for their hearts.
My son will only be 3 a few more days…
may I read to him with care instead of rushing
and answer every question he asks.
again. and again. and again.

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Hug them. Hold them. Love them.

Help me to remember to slow down, to not rush everything,
to enjoy the moment, to close my eyes and relax.
I want to look at the leaves, smell the flowers, and sing with the birds.
Help me to stop and listen for your still small voice.
I miss it so many time because I hurry away.

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Remind me of the beauty of marriage,
to see the little moments and make the most of them.
To take the time to love.
To enjoy being together even when we are surround by little people.
To love the good and the bad, like the berries below,
help me see that there are more good times then bad.

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Help me Lord, to be grateful,
to thank you for all the blessings you give me.
For all the things I have and use every day that I never thank you for.
(That is, until I don’t have them)
Remind me when I want to grumble,
and I’m tired of how things are,
that we are gifted with these things only because of you.
Set a watch over this pessimistic mouth.

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Help me remember what you have done for me.
Without you, I would be like this leaf,
ugly and brown, full of holes, and dieing.
Thank you for Salvation, for coming just for me.

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And most of all, let me never forget
that your mercies are new every morning,
your love and your faithfulness are without end.
Thank you Jesus, for loving me.

Remind me, Lord!
Tap me on the shoulder.
Get my attention and never let me forget
that I am blessed and I need to enjoy it.