Snow Days and Preparation – #10Thankful

Late Sunday evening and I’m finally sitting to think about my Ten Things of Thankful post.

That happens a lot lately. (OK, it happens all the time.) I start my posts early in the week, I plan to get in there on Friday evening, and then…life happens.

And I’m so very glad that it does.

I sometimes wonder if I’m too distracted to sit for a minute and focus on the moments and people that make me feel thankful each week. But it’s not distraction – it’s simply that I’m living my life and enjoying every last second of it. I am aware of the sense of thankfulness weaving and swirling its way through the moments of my days and taking its place in my heart.

I realized not long ago that what this means is that I’ve developed a mindset of gratitude and also of awareness. I don’t just go through the motions of my life; I live my life. That may be the greatest item of thanks there is for me.

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From a more practical perspective, I am quite thankful that I have several available leftover options for dinners this week. I have two choir rehearsals this week – both on Zilla’s karate nights, of course – which means dinner prep time is virtually non-existent. Dinner needs to be an absolute no-brainer and I’m prepared. I am also so glad that my family are willing consumers of leftovers and they never complain when a meal or a part of a meal shows up a second (or even third) night.

In these very cold days this week, I have been so thankful for a warm home, warm clothing, warm food on our plates, and plenty of fuzzy socks. I am painfully aware of those in the world, both near and far, who do not have enough of anything, no matter the season or temperature. I do my best to help where I can.

I have my week planned out and notes in my planner already. There is much to be accomplished this week, but having it all plotted gives me a sense of calm and control so I can wake up in the morning and hit the ground running. I just have to resist the urge to hit the snooze button and grab just five more minutes of snuggling before getting in gear…

Zilla was feeling a cold coming on today and asked for homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner and a batch of my “sick tea.” I love how aware of her self and her body she has become – not just about colds, but in general. She is growing into such an amazing person right before our eyes and it is exciting to behold. It is my hope and prayer that she continues to develop that gift of self-awareness in all things and use it to her best advantage. This weekend I witnessed again her beautiful and generous heart at work. I am blessed to know and to be mother to this child.

I am blessed with a wonderful husband and partner, too. We are a great team in all things from getting the chores and errands done to corralling three rotten cats to raising our daughter. I am grateful for all of the things we share as a couple and I am grateful for the things my Hub does for me every day, little things that mean a lot. He puts out my meds for me, he makes coffee, he makes sure we have the milk and creamer I like…and so much more. Those little things are huge.

While I still have a few tasks to accomplish this week and my house is far from picture-perfect, it is a place of love, warmth, respite, and joy.  I am happy here, even in the midst of a bit too much cat hair on the floors and a basket or two of laundry waiting to be put away. The chores will get done – they always do. We took advantage of the snowy day on Saturday and some empty hours on Sunday evening to simply rest, relax, and enjoy one another.  We read books, watched holiday movies and silly TV shows, did some decorating, and made some holiday plans and preparations.

Our hearts are ready.

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This Christmas

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever.”

This is what my daughter told me this weekend as we brought out our Christmas tree, shopped for some new strings of lights, and hung the ornaments on our tree.

We’ve been easing our way into our Christmas preparations. We like to take it slow, focusing on one thing at a time. While many people love decorating and shopping for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend, we spend the entire weekend relaxing and enjoying time together, reflecting on the blessings in our life.

Not too long after that, though, we start to bring out our special Advent and Christmas books. We read every night, but we save these books for this time of the year. In the books of Christmas, we’ve read about the legend of the Candy Cane, the life of Saint Nicholas, and many more. We have books that range from short and sweet and silly to more serious and lovely and deeply meaningful. She loves them all. And I can’t wait to introduce her to some new-to-her classics this year. I think she’s ready.

We begin December concentrating on Advent, preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord at Christmas and she’s all over it. She helps find the Advent prayers to say as we light the candles each week. She insists that we bring out  our Nativity sets first – but no other decorations until later in the month. I don’t know how my eight year old child acquired such an appreciation for savoring each moment, each day, each individual joy, but she does and I am so glad to know her heart works that way.

Around this time of the month, we bring out the tree and start thinking about gifts for those we love. We’ve already gathered gifts for several donation collections and she has about three more she wants to help. She was bothered a bit that we didn’t take a food donation to church this morning – my fault, I forgot. How did my child gain such an awareness that there are others in need and that we are responsible for helping?

Her class worked on writing friendly letters in class over the last few weeks, adding a letter to Santa last week. Zilla finished hers this evening, asking only for two small things for herself. As she wrote, she asked my husband and me what “non-thing items” we would like for Christmas. I told her I’d like peace and happiness for my family, the Hub told her he would like the gift of time. She included those in her letter. I was floored. When did my little girl gain an appreciation for the gifts that money can’t buy?

We’re enjoying all the trappings of the season, things like hot chocolate and footed pajamas, warm slippers and cozy socks, candy canes and cookies, holiday movies and popcorn… And of course she is wound up and silly and taking full advantage of the slightly relaxed rules about weekend bedtimes and screen time and sweets, just like any other kid. But even in her silliness, there is balance, and it amazes me. Have I taught her these things? She teaches me always…

She gets it – all of it. She understands the fun and frolic and she understands the significance of this season in our faith narrative. She believes in Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus and in the gift of the Christ Child. She believes in what is right and good and that those things will always triumph. She believes in love.

My daughter believes this is going to be the best Christmas ever.

I believe she’s right.

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TToT – Best Day Ever and Bedtime

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a TToT quite this late in the weekend.

I’ve been doing all the things this week and through the weekend and like this awesome camouflaged Rotten Cat, I’m pretty tired. I need to wrap it up and get some sleep.

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But I’m here and I’m doing it but it will definitely be short and sweet. Follow, please… Continue reading “TToT – Best Day Ever and Bedtime”

Why I Seriously Need Advent This Year

I hate people.

No, seriously. I do.

OK, maybe I don’t hate people so much as I really hate how much negative crap people manage to spew into the world. Maybe I’m just over reading about all the bad shit people do to one another. It is really hard to have Christmas spirit and feel peace and joy and love when the headlines are about nothing of the kind.

For example, have you seen this one? There have been something like – what? – 352 shooting incidents in the U.S. this year that qualify as “mass shootings.” What is wrong with us? We are a country behaving badly and this is just one example of how. Just once I’d really like to see a headline about something positive, something life-promoting be as big a draw as the death and destruction. I don’t know how I can change that, though.

Today's Shooting

Continue reading “Why I Seriously Need Advent This Year”

TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace

Wow. Just wow.

Well, I muddled through OctPoWriMo – sorta. I somehow anticipated having more time, producing more words, posting more posts…then life happened. I even missed a TToT or two which I truly never do. And now, here we are a week into November and NaNoWriMo I’m feeling a bit like I’m trying to climb a very slippery slope. All good intentions fall to the wayside, unexpected things fall in my path…you know…things fall apart.

But it’s not bad … in fact, things are rather good, I think. I did get some poetry posts in for October. I am writing for NaNoWriMo, albeit slowly. I’m just having a very hard time finding my groove right now, in all respects. It will come. I will get there.

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In the meantime, I am just enjoying autumn (well except for this last week of ridiculously hot and muggy temps…ugh), continuing to find my way, and keeping my eyes focused on the path ahead. And even though the sun does not always shine through the trees, there is much for which I am thankful…

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Continue reading “TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace”

TToT – My People

There’s a lot going on around here right now.

The in-real world is pretty stressful and demanding right now and I’d be lying if I said I’m handling with anything close to finesse. I’m not. I’m exhausted. I’m not sleeping. My eczema is springing up like crazy. I’m getting pimples – and that’s ridiculous. I didn’t even have them in puberty. Why now for crying out loud? I’m cranky and nervous and I’m driving my family insane. Even the Rotten Cats are kind of staying away…

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So, yeah. Finding the thankful this week was not at the top of my Things-I-Can’t-Wait-to-Do list this week. In fact, Christina mentioned on Facebook that she was kind of wondering how to get the TToT done when you’re really not feeling it. At that moment, I thought my list was going to be one of Clark’s hypo-gratitude type posts. I think most of us have been there at least once. Right?

Well I’m kind of there again.

But at some point on Saturday morning it occurred to me that even though I’m really having a tough time seeing what’s going well right now, there is a lot of good in my life. It comes in the form of the people I have around me.

For example… Continue reading “TToT – My People”

TToT – Birthdays and Life

Some days make you stop and think about life more than others.

Today is one of those days.

Our Daughter is seven years old today and I have spent a great deal of time this week, and especially today, thinking about how we came to be in this moment…

I’m going to try to do it here without crying too much.

I am thankful, first and foremost, that we are both here – alive and together. To say that Zilla’s birth did not go as planned is a gross understatement. Suffice to say that for a time that night, the Fab Hub (and now Fab Dad) was not certain whether he would leave that hospital with a family or without one. Through the grace of God we are here, together, a family. So we celebrate not only her birthday, but the birth of our family…

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Continue reading “TToT – Birthdays and Life”

Soup of the Week – Green Soup Surprise and a Side Car

Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

Just about the time we felt sort of confident about the arrival of spring, temps dropped into the ridiculous range. Despite the warm temps today, the wind blew cold and the forecast says snow again. It may be just “a quick clipper,” but still.

No matter the temperature, though, there is always soup. I haven’t been sharing Soup of the Week too much lately because we’ve been doing a lot of repeats. I suppose I should find something to share in place of those. I’ll work on that. In the meantime, I have a double-feature for you today – a new spin on an old soup and a sandwich to go along.

Butternut Stoup 4

 

Let’s take a look… Continue reading “Soup of the Week – Green Soup Surprise and a Side Car”

FTSF – I Have No Proudest Moment

I have no proudest moment to share with you.

I am terrible with superlatives. Favorite? Best? Proudest? Worst? I am always struck dumb when asked to name only one. After thinking about this for days, I find myself reaching the same conclusion once again.

I can not name any one proudest moment. Continue reading “FTSF – I Have No Proudest Moment”

Moving Forward – A 1000Speak Postlude

So here we are, more than a week later.

A great many of us have been riding the wave of good feeling that has come from the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion project and it has been a wild ride indeed.

1000 VoicesI have read dozens and dozens of posts by so many wonderful people and believe me, I have many more to go. The stories and the writers are diverse. Words spring from the pages and the hearts of these writers telling of experiences that will make you laugh and cry. They will make you feel glad and sad and angry and every other emotion you can name. The emotions, causes, losses, and motivations behind the tales of compassion are vastly different. No two are alike.

But there is a common sentiment in them: compassion begins with us.  Continue reading “Moving Forward – A 1000Speak Postlude”