100 Beautiful Days – Day 23

Day Twenty-Three

Every Tuesday I make a drive to school. It isn’t a hop skip and a jump, a short drive to town, a quick trip across the city no it’s an hour and a half trip one way, uphill barefoot in the snow. (Just kidding about that last part, but I couldn’t resist!)

The drive is priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Every week it gives me precious much needed time with my youngest. We laugh, we talk, we crank up the music and sing at the top of our lungs, we eat lunch at our favorite lunch spots, pop by our favorite stores and make memories that will last a lifetime.

It is precious time indeed and time that I do not take for granted.

 Next year my youngest will be a senior and when May of 2020 rolls around a season in our home will come to an end.  Gone will be the book bags, study guides, book reports, folders, pencils, back to school shopping and endless questions.   My last will complete their education the final high school cap and gown will be worn and I’ll no longer be a home educating mom.  Trust me when I say, they were just little yesterday!!

So, I do not take that long drive to school lightly.  I soak it up and enjoy every minute!  Some days we drive through rain and thunderstorms and some days we roll down our windows and soak up the sunshine.  Some days we hurry home and some days we hit the mall.  We’ve dodged tornados and flying shovels, road raged drivers and out of control debris.  We’ve braved road construction and rush hour traffic, had long talks, solved the world’s problems and dreamed big dreams.

The long drive gives us time together and is a gift that makes life beautiful!

 Today, on this cloudy, rainy, fog filled 23rdday of 100 Beautiful Days we made that trip, that long drive to school.  We laughed, talked, shared stories and discussed life.  We ate our favorite food and listened to new music.  It was a wonderful day, a beautiful day, and I’m thankful for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Beautiful Days – Day 22

Day Twenty-Two

Sometimes, in the very beginning of February, God gives you an unseasonably warm day!  When you are gifted with this type of day in the middle of winter, you fling back your curtains, throw open your windows and do a happy dance!

When that type of day collides with a Sunday – well it’s just almost perfect.

If it came on a day when work was piled to the ceiling and there was not time to stop and enjoy it, oh the sorrow that would be felt!  If it came on a day when there were doctor’s visits or meetings to be held, oh the sadness would be too much!  But when it comes on a Sunday, when life is geared down and slow going, when the theme of the day is rest (It’s in the Bible) and when you can truly enjoy the day without feeling guilty…oh the joy!

For today there was no shivering, no bulky coats, no running from building to building just trying to stay warm.  No, it was pleasant, enjoyable and oh so very needed.

So, for day twenty two of 100 Beautiful Days I salute the unseasonably warm day that graced us with its presence today.  I give thanks for this little gift that makes the heart sing, helps the attitude believe that it can survive the winter, and gives the soul a glimpse of all that is to come!

I salute you, warm day and I thank you God for this gift!

100 Beautiful Days – Day 21

Day Twenty-One

I woke up grumpy this morning!  Seriously, I really did.  It doesn’t happen often but I didn’t sleep well last night, I tossed and turned until the wee hours and woke up to dense fog outside the window.  Put all of that together and I found myself feeling discouraged, weepy and like there were giants to slay today.  Do you have those days?  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that when those bad days come, I need to turn every day menial tasks into gratitude.  The day may not appear beautiful but when I choose to look for beauty – I always find it.  So, this morning it was as simple as being thankful for having a bed to make!  Yes – you read that right.  I was making my bed (and grumbling a little on the inside) when I stopped and reminded myself that making the bed means I have one to make, which means I have one to sleep in.  I have a nice, fluffy, warm bed to curl up and sleep in!  (Cue the confetti!)

From there every little task can be turned to gratitude. Thank you, God, for laundry to wash, it means my family is provided for.  Thank you, God, for a job to do today, it means you’ve provided an income to meet our needs. Thank you, God, for dishes to wash, it means I had food to feed my family.

It starts simple – with one small shift in my perspective and before I know it my attitude is much better. It doesn’t mean there aren’t giants to slay today – those guys are still there waiting for me.  But now, armed with God and gratitude, I think I can take em’.

So, if you woke up on the struggle bus this morning remember to practice gratitude.  It doesn’t have to be something big and fancy, just start with the small stuff and let it grow from there.  If you can’t think of anything…go make your bed!

 

 

100 Beautiful Days – Day Twenty

Day Twenty –

Vegetables people!! Vegetables!  That’s what makes day twenty a beautiful day.

Oh, not just any vegetables but yummy ones like kale and spinach, celery root and cauliflower, onions and leeks and garlic – oh my! Add in the fact that these delicious garden gifts arrived at my door already cut up, in cute little cups that fit perfectly in my freezer and voila!  You have a beautiful day!!  These pre-made little bundles of goodness will help my daughter eat healthy and will make our schedules less hectic.

At first, I struggled with ordering this box of deliciousness because it seems so odd to order vegetables and have them show up in a box on the door step.  Just two years ago we had a large garden growing and fresh vegetables were available at all times.  I spent hours picking and cutting and chopping and blanching and freezing and canning!!!  The process was wonderful, the garden was beautiful but the work was exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly thankful for the garden.  My husband worked diligently at tilling the soil, planting the seeds, weeding and making it look lovely.  My son designed an irrigation system and everyone was involved in picking the produce. It was so nice growing our own fresh, organic, healthy food but our schedules are different now and there just isn’t time to get it all done.

I buy a lot of produce, cut it up and keep it ready for baking and steaming and throwing in the juicer for a healthy drink.  But sometimes, you just need a touch of easy.  Sometimes you need a box of yumminess to show up on your doorstep so that your daughter can grab a cup of happiness and enjoy her day!  Sometimes that’s all it takes to make life beautiful!

What is something simple that you can change in your schedule that would make life a little less stressful and more beautiful?  Maybe a box delivered to your door, an online order or an evening of take out? Whatever it is, I encourage you to do it.  And if it’s a box of yummy goodness delivered to your door, may I suggest the cauliflower, lemongrass and kale cup!

100 Beautiful Days – Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen –

Sometimes the beauty of the day is found in being stirred out of your sleep by the hum of a twin engine airplane flying gracefully over your house. That may seem a little odd but let me give you the backstory.

A few years ago, everything in my world was turned upside down when I battled Bell’s Palsy.  It came on suddenly following a severe bout with food poisoning and it was oh so very unpleasant.  It was painful, my appearance was altered by the paralysis on my left side, my left eye wouldn’t close so I wore a patch like a pirate and it took an enormous amount of work to heal. During that same time, I was walking through work changes, a possible move from our long- time home and a busy schedule with three kids (two of which were teenagers).

As I was working through those struggles I would sleep a little later than normal trying to get some much-needed rest for healing.  I started noticing that every Monday and Friday mornings, the sound of a twin engine airplane, flying over my house, would stir me out of my sleep at 7:30 a.m. SHARP.  The sun would stream in the window, I could see the wispy clouds as I struggled to open my eyes and I could hear that airplane flying over. On Monday, it would fly from north to south and on Friday from south to north and every time it did, a smile would spread across my face.  I was fully convinced that God had ordained that plane to fly over my house for this particular season!

With all of the other chaos that was taking place in my world in that season, it became incredibly comforting that I could count on that plane to fly over my house at the exact same time two days a week. The fact that it was at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week seemed even more comforting as it signaled another week of progress in my healing.  Add in that it was north to south and south to north let me know that once again, whoever was flying that route had completed a successful week as well.

It’s funny what brings us comfort.  Sometimes it’s a visit with an old friend, sometimes it’s cuddling on the couch with kids or maybe it’s a walk on the beach or in the park.  I think often it just depends on what season we are walking through and that determines what brings us comfort.  I’m not a routine oriented person and I fight structure at every turn but in that season, when life was uncertain and chaotic, the routine that came with that airplane flying over my house brought me peace.  What’s funny is that the person in that airplane had no idea the comfort that he was bringing to some crazy lady struggling in a house below his flight pattern.

This morning, at 8:00 a.m., a twin-engine airplane flew over my house.  The hum of the engine, the sun streaming in the windows and the wispy clouds took me back to that place just a few years ago and I couldn’t help but smile.

What is it that brings you comfort when life is a little more trying than you would like?  Do you crave structure and routine or do you find comfort in letting the schedule go and just focusing on making it through the season?  As you go about your day, think about what helps you the most and remember to take time for that or just take time to notice the little things that bring you joy.

100 Beautiful Days – Day Eighteen

Day Eighteen –

I have a flamingo in my pocket – and it makes me very happy!  It’s only a tiny flamingo, it’s made of plastic, has a fuzzy body and probably came out of a gumball machine but I love it nonetheless.

About a month ago, during kid’s church, one of the littles came up beside me and gently slipped the pink flamingo in my cardigan pocket.  This is nothing new, most Sunday’s I come home and find any number of little objects hiding in my pocket or colored pictures tucked in my Bible.  But on this particular day I was busy after church and I simply hung the cardigan up never thinking much about it again.  That is…until the next time I slipped on the cardigan.

I was going about my day when I put my hand in the cardigan pocket and nearly jumped out of my skin at discovering the fuzzy plastic creature.  I slowly pulled the object out of my pocket and couldn’t help but start laughing when I saw its adorable face.  I was instantly back to the morning in kid’s church when that sweet little one smiled up at me and slipped the tiny pink flamingo in my pocket.  As I continued about my day running errands I would periodically pull the pink flamingo out and giggle again.

Now, over a month later, I purposely keep the little critter tucked away in the pocket of the brown cardigan just so that I can pull it out and have an instant smile when I need it the most.  Today, while out handling all the things that come with a Monday, I again wore the brown cardigan and there in the pocket was my friend the pink flamingo just waiting to bring me joy. It’s the simple things I tell you, the simple things that make life beautiful!

Do you have a favorite sweater or cardigan that you love to wear, one that makes you feel warm and cozy and oh so very happy? Maybe you can find something that means so much to you, a trinket or gift from a child or grandchild, a tiny joy rock or something special from a friend and tuck it away in the cozy cardigan pocket.  Then each time you reach in the pocket you will be reminded of that special person or precious moment when you were given that tiny trinket.

If you don’t have something special to tuck away then may I suggest that you get yourself a tiny pink flamingo, made of plastic with a fuzzy body and keep it in your pocket? I promise it will make you smile.  But you can’t have mine!

100 Beautiful Days – Day Seventeen

Day seventeen –

Life for me is made even more beautiful when the spontaneous happens. Especially when the spontaneous includes the opportunity to help family and friends.  I’ve prayed for quite some time now that God would control my schedule and make it possible for me to be available and for my answer to be “yes” when someone in my life has a need.  God has been busy working that out and while my answer doesn’t always get to be yes, it happens more often than it used to.

Yesterday I had the chance to spend quality time with my father-in-law as he was hospitalized for surgery.  We had precious conversation, moments of laughter and special opportunities for wisdom and advice to be shared. We begged the nurse for coffee, talked about the future and overall just had a good time of bonding together.

As I was sitting next to his bed listening to him snore, with just the glow of the lights on the IV filling the room, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with thankfulness for the opportunity to be there.  Just hours before I had been sitting at my kitchen counter in Oklahoma, laptop open and working on a project when I got the message that he was having surgery. How wonderful that God had arranged my schedule so that now I was sitting in a quiet hospital room in Texas by my father-in-law’s side.

There are moments in time that simply take our breath away.  Moments when we realize that those prayers we have been praying are being answered. Moments that give us goose bumps and a warm heart because we just feel completely humbled by all that God is doing on our behalf.  Moments that bring a peace all around us and let us know that we are right where we are supposed to be.

Something wonderful about having a relationship with God is that those moments can happen anywhere and anytime.  The circumstances don’t always have to be pleasing for that peaceful feeling to sweep over us.  We can be in the middle of trying times and yet be met with the warm feeling that comes with the knowledge that God is working everything out.  Being aware of this working and His presence can take a regular day and turn it in to a beautiful day!

In what area of your life do you see God working everything out for your behalf?  In what ways can you slow down today and let that knowledge sink in and let the warm feeling that comes with that knowledge sweep over you?  If you have specific prayers that you need to see answered, how can you exercise faith in the middle of the chaos and waiting?