Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A certain age

Lanie is a punctual child. If lunch is generally around 11:30, she will remind me, "Mom, it's 11:33." Sometimes, she'll randomly tell me what time it is, as if we have some place to be, but we don't. For the past two weeks, she has happily greeted me with the countdown.

"Mom, it's fourteen more days to your birthday."
"Mom, it's six more days to your birthday."
"Mom, tomorrow is your birthday."

So glad for her enthusiasm and love of all things cake-and-ice-cream. At the doctor's office for a check up yesterday, he was confirming my birth date.

"Ahh, someone's got a birthday coming up," he said.

"Yes. And I'm still young enough to have another child, if you want to write a prescription for that."

He laughed.

Shane wanted a list of gift recommendations. So I made a list. My suggestions, in order:

1. A baby.
2. Pizza from Grotto Pizza in Delaware.
3. A book, recently recommended at Holy Experience.

Knowing Shane, I said, "You might want to get expedited shipping." But also knowing him, he won't pay any attention to the list.

I discovered once you become a certain age, conversation stops being about dinners and dancing (in your 20s), or even what cute things the kids are up to (in your 30s) ... no, at a certain age, talk turns to oddly practical things, like nasal rinses for colds. Seriously. In this past year since I turned forty, I have had at least five peers praise the benefits of Neti Pots and saline rinses. (Even today. Ha! Though I have to admit, when this last cold morphed into evil, I was sorry I didn't give it a try.) I asked a friend in her thirties if anyone ever told her about a Neti Pot. She said no.

"Wait till your forties," I said.

Looking forward to Lanie greeting me in the morning with, "Mom, it's your birthday!"(especially looking forward to that!), baking a cake, drinking mugs of hot coffee while being serenaded by drumming rain, cuddling with my Neti Pot (ok, just kidding), homeschooling the kids, and enjoying being happy to be.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1011-1018)

1011. Jupiter passing by in a September night sky (and seeing it and four of its moons by telescope!).
1012. Soft tissues for a stuffy nose.
1013. House showing.
1014. Kids in the sprinkler.
1015. A Friday field trip with my girls.
1016. Arms to hold me when I'm really scared.
1017. Mucinex.
1018. A good laugh.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When the earth goes topsy-turvy

Awoke at 2 a.m. with searing sinus infection; stared at a computer screen for several hours; two cups of coffee later and an ice pack on my face, post published; a museum trip downtown with the kids. Stressors in place. I sure hope I learned from yesterday's mistakes!

Writing over at 66 Books today.


The other night before bed, I told Lanie I had something special I wanted to show her. I had heard on the radio that Jupiter is as close to the earth as it will get in the next twelve years. I wanted to look for it in the night sky. Lanie in jammies, we went into the spare room, lights off, and looked out.

"What do you see?" I asked her.

"The moon and a star. There's nothing else in the sky," she said. It sure seemed like those were the only objects there.

"That star is actually a planet, and the sun is shining on it to make it so bright," I began. I told her how I had heard it won't be like this for another twelve years. "You'll be twenty then."

She considered it.

"In twelve years after that, you'll be thirty-two. Wow, Lanie, you might be married with kids of your own then. You could be showing them Jupiter in the sky!"

She considered it more. "What if I don't have any kids?"

"Then you will look in the sky and remember cuddling in my arms, how much I loved you, and a quiet night we spent looking at it together."

She beamed bright and cuddled closer. Since then, she has run to the window every night before bedtime to find it making a trail across the sky, slowly losing its brilliance. It goes so fast.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Joyous noise

Chatting on the phone in a parking lot. I had heard a song that perked my ears and distracted me from my friend.

"Sorry," I said. "I missed some of that. What did you say? A David Crowder song came on."

She is a DCB fan too. "What song was it?"

I'm terrible at these things. "I don't know, but it has the piano keys tinkling in the beginning."

"How does it go?" she asked.

I'm terrible at this too. I don't often sing without music accompanying. But I was thinking, with our church's worship team music so powerful, I've been singing much louder (though I still can't hear myself) ... there's always the chance I've gotten better. This all running through my mind before I open my mouth.

"Oh praise hi-im," I began. My voice cracked on "praise." That pretty much shut it down.

"Oh, I know that one." Awkward quiet.

"Yeah ... I'm going to stick with my gifts," I said.

This one's for you, Beckie.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One thousand gifts (995-1000) ... and still counting

995. Gain in loss.
996. September skies.
997. Detailed breakfast orders.
998. An afternoon walk in the park.
999. A sticky-footed caterpillar in the palm of my hand.
1000. The One Thousand Gifts journey, and one thousand ways the God of the universe blesses me.

To think I could have missed it ... I could have not noticed gifts all around me: in heart-shaped clouds, hot-air balloons on the horizon, September skies; gifts for the senses: coffee with milk and sugar, chocolate, the smell of sunshine my childrens' hair; gifts for the soul: gain in loss, love whispers in His Word, meeting Him in worship; gifts for this life, for this heart: little hands to hold, homeschooling, hope--there's so much more.

Wordbites filling a page, snapshots burned in memory, my thoughts just snippets ... when I drive to the library and see farm fields alight in golden rays ... birds tossed about in wind like a shaken sheet ... leaves in heart shapes poking through mulch in the garden. Father, how could I not thank you?

In this quiet moment, I remember gifts over this short course of time--not about luck or fortune or stuff or good things that happen to me or word pictures that capture stills of life. It's about the One who gives them. It's about remembering a God who continues to pour out His love, abundantly ... a creator God who is not distant and far-off from hearts, but who is ever-present and living in the details: His splendor seen in flaming sunsets; His power rushing in crashing surf; His heart seeping from the giggle of a child or the repentant tears of a broken heart; and His love evident in the person of Jesus Christ--a gift of life, for life.

How could I count these blessings and not consider the One who gives them? And how could I stop acknowledging His gifts daily?

I am thankful for:

1001. Hope in waiting.
1002. Finding contentment in the now.
1003. Cinnamon Roll coffee pods.
1004. Growing pains.
1005, 1006. Not being the most popular kid in the class, and not having to be.
1007. Saturday morning book clubs.
1008. Ponchos crocheted by my dad for the girls.
1009. Blueberry lime jam.
1010. Feet fights on the couch.

The Gratitude Community, counting One Thousand Gifts on Mondays ... you can join too over at A Holy Experience.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just thinkin'

An heir, a taboo desire, violence, disgrace, revenge. A devastating story that leaves a woman broken, a son murdered, and a family fractured and mourning. A true story of how the types of thoughts we entertain can be the first steps down dark paths.

Writing over at 66 Books today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One thousand gifts (979-994)

979. Time spent with Lanie--the ride to school the first day of second grade at the co-op.
980. Lanie's answered prayer on the first day of school. =)
981. End-of-summer breezes ushering in fall.
982. Coffee with Jodie.
983. A vase of rosemary and its lovely fragrance in my kitchen.
984. Comfy, clean sheets.
985. Tightened belts.
986. The girls' friends over for dinner.
987. Family talks by candlelight.
988. Kids sleeping in after a full day.
989. Hugs.
990. Piano lessons.
991. Longer nights.
992. Rain showers just before dawn.
993. Bread and jam.
994. Anita and David.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Plum cake

Fine misty day ... perfect for lounging, napping, reading, warm drink drinking, or baking. No naps here, or lounging for that matter, but I did have three cups of coffee and then cleaned the house. Now on to reading and baking.

Today's special: plum cake. Linking it on the blog because I regularly misplace the cookbook it's in. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Number 13 ... making pictures (in words) to remember

So long manicures. Hasta luego ideas of fall wardrobes. Hello thrift. It makes good sense anyway. It was fun to camp for FREE in our backyard, verses the campground a few miles away that charged $35 per night, for a tent, for two.

Doing the weekly shop today, our week's menu had leftover nights built in and dinners with 80/20% fat ratio--besides, it makes a better burger. I worked hard at stretching this grocery list as far as I could.

In the personal care aisle, eying mouthwash. Listerine for A LOT or the store brand for $1.50. I hoped Shane wouldn't notice the difference.

He helped unload groceries when I got home. Took his mouthwash and set it on the steps for a future trip upstairs. After lunch he asks, "Why did you get me the Care First mouthwash?"

"It was WAY cheaper than Listerine. And since you're Mr. Mouthwash, you'll be done in a week with it anyway. I can switch back next time if you don't like it."

"Hmph," he said. "I notice you didn't get generic M&Ms. Nope, you didn't skimp there!"

I love this man.

A picture in words ... a link to a 30-year reflection of marriage. I like number 17 too.

One thousand gifts (967-978)

967. Book reading on a blanket under a shady tree.

968. After dinner card games for four.
969. White chip chocolate cookies with chocolate chips.
970. Windows open to cool breezes.
971. Backyard camp outs.

972. That the best things in life are free.
973. An undaunted friend who time-travels tears of broken hearts and disappointments in wee morning hours. And her book recommendation: Recovering From Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright. The next book club read.
974. State parks with a lake and sandy beach.

975. Hands to hold on a Saturday evening walk. After ice cream (Tin Roof for me).
976. Sunsets golden over tree tops and flaming farm fields rolling.
977. A cuddlebug who tells me I'm beautiful.
978. All of us together.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday showing

Driving back from church last night after ice cream, I spoke thoughts out loud, "I wish we were going (home)."

"All we need is a buyer," Shane said.

In seconds, my phone rang with an appointment to show the house today. We loaded the kids up this morning and headed out to the park. A beautiful day, bluest sky, smiling faces.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Faux beach

On our last Wednesday before academy starts, the girls and I met some friends at a state park. It had a lake and sandy beach. We got there around ten in the morning, and even when friends cleared out after noon for littles' naps, we stayed. I'm glad we did.

Air still full of summer's warmth. Cool waters and sand between toes. Little minnows welcoming loiterers. Picnic lunch. Buckets and shovels. It was the closest we got to the beach this year, and yet the farthest I found myself from reality. A pretty good combination. I didn't want the day to end.

Later, reading an article about visualization, encouraged to imagine a happy time. I went to the lake. A colorful snapshot in my mind. Not a care in the world and time spent with people I love.