Thankful Thursday – Fall Blooms

About this time six years ago, a few weeks into Tween’s second grade year, his teacher found me admiring bulletin boards in the breezeway.

She said, “Hey, can you give me a tip? Tween doesn’t seem to realize he’s in school.”

I immediately replied, “Oh, give him some time. He’ll realize it’s no longer summer by, let’s say, Thanksgiving.”

I wasn’t joking, but let’s all take a quick moment to imagine her dramatic eye roll…

(In my defense, c’mon, this is California! With the amazing weather, he was in the pool weekends and after school until Halloween…!)

After I’d spoken the words aloud, I realized their truth deep in my being: not only does Tween transition slowly, but our whole family stinks at transitions.

You may see us going through the motions. We may be in the right place at (mostly) the right times, getting things done. But that doesn’t mean we’re organized, on top of things, present to the moment. We may–or may not–be any of those things, depending on the hour, day, week, minute…

Six years and so many transitions post-epiphany, you’d think we’d know to anticipate our bad transitions. You’d think wrong, my friend. Oh no, every time, whatever season, we find ourselves once again thigh-deep in the muck, repeating for the umpteenth time: “Oh, yah, transitions…”

And again, and again, and painful as each one of us has to come to our own conclusions about how we individually and as a family are weathering the current storm.

Locally and globally, we have had a weird-weather fall. In NorCal, we’ve had record-breaking heat (115 should not happen here!), followed by mellow days, then more heat with thunder and lightening storms, now wind and my allergies are threatening to do me in. Still, I’ll take it over the storms that hit Houston, the Caribbean and Florida, or the earthquake in Mexico.

Then, this:

These fantastic flowers burst forth in my front yard. The pink one is the size of a face!

My soul stills in wonder at their beauty, and I remember that all things bloom in their time, in their season.

Including me, us, this family.

Due to date miscommunication-confusion, a friend showed up when I wasn’t at home. She left flowers. Cut flowers from plants I’d purchased for her, that she planted, that continue to thrive. The gift keeps on giving, flowers and friendship keep blooming.

Nine days ago I noticed my gratitude journal, forlornly forgotten in this transition-season; I jotted some thanksgivings, and promptly forgot it again. Today I tucked in a print-out of a poem, shared by a friend and meaningful in this time. I will add more personal items tonight. I need gratitude, especially now when transition makes discipline difficult.

Banksy recently posted on Twitter: “The only thing making you unhappy are your own thoughts. Change them.”

And with our dear St. Anne and the communion of saints we pray: Help, Thanks, Wow!

Any one of us might point to demanding circumstances, taxing days and long hard nights, excuses all–many understandably so!–for being unhappy. Thanks changes our thoughts. It keeps us in the now, present to the moment whatever the feels it holds, and gently/forcefully unfolds in time an as-necessary different perspective.

Let’s give thanks for the season, for its unfolding, its blooming, for the unpredictable beauty here and yet-coming.

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Thankful Thursday – Summer Quiet

Kids are at camp this week. I should be tearing it up, cleaning all the nooks and crannies, (re)organizing, school prepping.

But I’m not. I’m working (mostly from home). I’m exercising and reading. I’m procrastinating on the shoulds. I’m enjoying time with my Guy and myself.

I’m thankful for the sunflowers Tween chose at the market last week, still hanging on this week and adding a sunny burst of joy to our kitchen.

I’m thankful for OPI nail polish, and especially my new OPI Red purchased on sale at TJ Maxx. It’s a delicious raspberry red, perfect for summer (the Amazon link makes it look way more orange-red).

I’m thankful for my rose bushes, and the magical appearance they take on covered in morning dew drops.

I’m thankful for new-to-me books feeding my soul:
The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp, teaching me to be the GIFT (Give It Forward Today)
With, by Skye Jethani, asking me to ponder anew my view of God and how I live my relationship with Him

And Guy, loving our family through service and taking advantage of the hot weather to steam the year out of our sand-colored carpets. Life is good!

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Full Friday – March 2017

The week before spring break is a crazy one in our office as each year we prepare to send about 250 people from our church and community to Mexico to build hope and homes with AMOR. This year, in this one week, our group will build fourteen homes.

I am FULL of gratitude for this trip, this experience, that changes lives in Mexico and the Bay Area. The chaos that precedes the trip dims in contrast to the bright light God shines through the trip itself. I can’t wait to hear all the stories on the other end…!

That crazy-office week continues to our home. My sweet Guy leads this trip every year, and every year it surprises me (again! How can I be surprised again?) how much work it takes to plan. In addition, this year Teen is–at long last–a senior and a student leader for one of the house builds. Quite literally, he has anticipated this trip his entire life, and it’s almost here…

The FULL schedule means I have not been as present to the blog as I like. I have put on pause several posts just because there aren’t enough hours in any day. I had hoped to post a Meatless Monday recipe for National Spinach Day (3/27) but, as much as I ❤ spinach!, I didn’t have a spare minute to decide which particular spinach recipe I’d post. I started writing a re:create recess post for Wednesday before the day slipped away. I planned to write a Thankful Thursday post, and instead said a happy Yes! to a friend’s request for a short walk around the dog park, a healthy antidote to stress.

So here we are: Friday. The week has been FULL-to-the-brim. My heart is FULL: the hectic pace pulls in tow joy, gratitude, frustration, bite-your-tongue bleeding, tears, and laughter (um, have I mentioned I’m just a wee bit emotional?).

And now, now it’s time to take a deep breath and a rest. We have a week. Nine days, including weekends. Half of our little family will be in Mexico, working and serving and growing. Half will spend intentional time resting and playing together, growing in altogether different ways.

I may feel energy-empty and heart-full now but, during this week, I plan to fill up on rest; to fill up on moments and memories with my darling Tween; to fill up little accomplishments in a lot of arenas; to fill up my body with satisfying rest, fulfilling exercise, and delicious food. I want to exit this week FULL in completely different ways.

Meanwhile, here are some recent pictures that fill my heart with beauty.

For dinner tonight, I’m making (again) an entirely satisfying soup (stew) that will linger as tummy-yummy leftovers this weekend (my friend keeps sharing her kale crop!). And for more on my (too-short) one-night experience with AMOR, keep reading.

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Thankful Thursday – Burstin’ Blooms

SO much for which to be thankful!

* A restful spring break. * 270+ church friends built 12 homes and one classroom in Mexico. * Teen stayed safe and had (occasionally ridiculous) fun playing rugby in Italy. * Great worship experiences over the last three weeks. * Tween has The Best Trumpet Teacher who makes loving music easy and joyful. * Books and more books. * Speaking to our Moms’ group today (100+ women). * And now I have a full weekend ahead.

* And spring. I just can’t get enough of all this new life!blooms 1 blooms 2 blooms 3 blooms 4 blooms 5 blooms 6 blooms 8blooms 7

 

This last one: The star caught my eye and sent me running for my camera. But now that I see the picture, the bud’s face cracks me up!

Micro

We’ve had a day. From the get-go this family didn’t act like a team and it made us all cranky-frustrated before 8am. That bleh carried through meeting after meeting. By the time I got home I had to

stop

the madness, the voices in my head, the grumbling in my gut.

I went in search of solitude and beauty. Yes, I put myself in the way of beauty. I sent Tween on a walk with the dog and took my iPhone 6 on a walk in the opposite direction.

I felt the sunshine on my face and the breeze in my hair. I smelled the heady perfume of plum blossoms. I watched curled yellow-green blades of grass dance. I knelt down, got close, and used my camera to see the beautiful details I too often bustle past.

Everything Glorious makes a nice accompaniment to this virtual tour of the micro-beauty in my neighborhood.

breeze

pink

bright

escape

This reminds me of sea life

This reminds me of sea life

goldenradiance

white

shadows

Check out the shadows

angelcoral

If I hadn't been looking closely, I would never have seen these succulents

If I hadn’t been looking closely, I would never have seen these succulents

ghostpinepomadeanemone

 

By the time I returned home, beauty had soaked my senses in glory and I’m in a much better place for the evening. Thank you, God, for your fantastic creation!

Thankful Thursday

A leaky faucet has replaced my nose.

I have tried cranking the spiggot tight with extra fluids, quality nutrition, sleep, and meds. To no avail. Two nights ago I took one big green liquigel tablet from a two-pack, because one usually knocks me out for a solid eight hours, and it did; last night I took the other tablet – is it even possible that the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, best sleep you ever got with a cold medicine was all in the first tab, and the one I took last only had the coughing, fever components, neither of which I need?

To switch metaphors completely, the shock of this night owl hooting that she’d be nesting down for the night at 8:30pm two nights in a row threatened to shake the rest of my flock off their perch.

This morning I got up, determined to power through (a skill that on most days might be one of my lesser superpowers), and felt so woozy I landed back in bed.

Still, I will put myself in the way of beauty. It’s a decision, an act of will. Even flopped out in a fog, I can choose beauty.

Today I am infinitely grateful for my soft and cozy bed, my warm house, and that I had nothing so urgent on today’s agenda that I couldn’t skip it.

I am grateful that I normally feel so much better than this, and that I will again soon.

I am grateful for a friend who picked up Tween for school and will keep him for some hang-out time this afternoon.

I am grateful that God loves me, that He can give me a good attitude even while I feel crummy.

I am grateful for my laptop computer – seems like a silly thing, but really, I am grateful.

I am grateful for the beautiful story I am in the midst of reading, and for two more library books already in my reading basket.

I am grateful for the beautiful flowers I bought myself at the grocery store, and for the lovely joy-filled greeting of a mentally disabled woman shopping with her caretaker.

flowers

I am grateful for the flock of quail that live beyond our fence, roost in our plum tree, and eat at our feeder. Tween and I laughed as they crowded in, black and white heads bobbing, plume feathers bouncing.

I am grateful for Tween’s laugh.

I am grateful for the winter roses blooming on my not-yet winter-pruned rose bushes.

winter rose

I am grateful for dog snuggles, and for the cat sleeping in a circle on my feet.

I am grateful that our Christmas amaryllis bloomed a second time.

amaryllis

I am grateful that Tween’s poison oak is going away at last.

I am grateful that my guys are competent to manage without me, at least for a time.

Wishing you beauty in all your circumstances!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).