colds and rest and living life giving thanks

Mary with the nativity setIt’s December and once again the weather has played tricks on us.  It taunted us with that bright, fluffy, beautiful snow that melted before Thanksgiving.  Yet now, when we’re thinking about Christmas trees and wishing for more sledding weather, it’s clear and cold. 

Of course, speaking of colds, it seems impossible to visit my family without bringing back some cold bug or other.  I thought we’d escaped with our health intact, but it was just waiting a few days to get me.  At least we got unpacked and caught up on laundry before Mommy started operating in constant-I-need-a-Kleenex-mode.

And even though I’m fighting the cold bug and the cold weather and the tired and the to-do’s, I’m loving this slightly slower time of year.  The time to sort through some of the books on our shelves with my hubby.  The early dark that means earlier dinner and earlier bedtime so there’s time to cuddle up together in front of a movie (we’re still loving the “Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye” series we’ve been borrowing!).  The time to devote to web design and home décor and cooking and reading.  Time to dig out the boxes and begin decorating for Christmas.

Each time I pause and realize that the to-do list isn’t an emergency and that there’s time to slow down and rest and just be is one more time I’ve been able to forget the “tired” and just live this crazy life I love.

And so I sit with my lemon ginger tea, Christmas music on the radio, the children in bed, and I tap out words and list out gifts and thank Him for the slow, quiet moments that come again into my days to surprise me with their rest.

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counting backwards

When you’re running on coffee and behind on laundry, when you’re stepping over toys and sorting through piles, when you’re in desperate need of simplicity but everything you touch seems to open another can of worms…  I just look back and count the gifts.

These are the days I’ll miss, the days I’ll look back upon with fondness.  So I pause and look back now, trying to see these moments, these days, these weeks through the lens of the future.  Because from that perspective, it’s all a gift.


our table516. Our first dinner guests at our new kitchen table.

517. Always one more subject, carrying us late into the night, regardless of bedtimes, in conversations with friends.

518. A full fruit bowl, and room for it in the middle of our new kitchen table.

519. Our new kitchen table—an antique from the church I grew up in—lovingly redone, and leaves enough for company added, by my talented husband.

520. Ru “reading” (memorized) the entire story of Cinderella to her Aunt Jessica and Uncle Cake over Skype and then showing them her complete “work-a-day-rags” costume.

521. A sincere compliment.

522. Trying out new scone recipes.

523. Making it home despite the snowy weather on the east coast.

524. Getting back home to my bestest friend and husband.

525. Being missed.

526. Hearing that, whenever my girls missed me, Nanna told them I was being Cinderella and having fun at the ball.

527. The Relevant Conference.  Just, all of it.

528. A new friend, full of encouragement and exhortation straight from our Father.

529. A stack of new books to read.

530. A Circle of Quiet and the quiet it brings to my mind and heart.

531. Hugging that other farmer’s wife, Ann Voskamp.

532. My bags making it back in one piece, despite zippers tearing away from canvas.

533. Finding out I really can sleep in an airport while holding a baby and luggage.

534. The best of roomies.

535. Hugging old friends, meeting longtime acquaintances, and connecting with other bloggers.

536. Company and cousins.

537. Our first flakes of snow.

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gifts, gifts, so many gifts…

pony tail498. God’s timing.

499. Friends who listen to me.

500. Last-minute plane tickets.

501. The way everything fell together for me to go to Relevant.

502. Surprise visits.

503. Six little cousins and the delight they have in each other.

504. God’s protection.

505. That moment you realize your little cousins are all grown up into really neat adults you’d choose as friends.

506. My brother-in-law passing all the exams and shipping out for training in the Army National Guard.

507. A new friend who encourages and exhorts me.

508. Meeting other local young moms and knowing we’ll be friends.

509. Old friends who’ve known you forever and love you anyway.

510. Coffee shops that let you bring your own almond milk.

511. Curly heads.

512. Big girl pony tails.

513. Anticipating Relevant and hugs and encouragement and friends.

514. His first two teeth!!

515. Sisters-in-law who were my friends before they were my sisters.

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many blessings

Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
-Johnson Oatman, Jr. “Count Your Blessings”

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487. pink houses on Pinterest.

488. two and a half hours in town all by myself, thanks to my hubby babysitting.

489. finding two pairs of pants that fit at GoodWill.

490. a coffee shop that will make me a hot mocha with coconut milk.

491. getting things done.

492. fun, relaxing reading.

493. a day of rest.

494. an afternoon of canning with my husband.

495. having him home all day long.

496. bumping into him in the kitchen.

497. all those jars of tomatoes and peaches.