100 Beautiful Days – Day 26

Day Twenty-Six

Lunch – let’s talk about it. I love to eat and I especially love to eat with people I love!

I love the look of the food spread across the table, the aromas filling the air, the clanking of the silverware, the little side conversations taking place at the table or in the kitchen and just the overall energy that comes with gathering together.

Even on those occasions when we go out to eat I still love the tables pushed together to make room for everyone, the laughter as those of us who are decision challenged try to choose what we want and the little conversations and games that go on all around the table.

Gathering together for a meal is one of my most favorite things! 

On Sunday, we gathered together for lunch.  It wasn’t a large crowd, just six of us but it was six of the people I love.  The food had been prepared with us in mind, there were desserts to celebrate my husband’s recent birthday and there was time to step away from the normal every day and just relax with family.  We enjoyed laughter, a little razzing and teasing, some environmental debates all punctuated with delicious barbecue ribs, fried okra and giant twice baked potatoes!  Oh, the joy!

My kids are all mostly grown now and it has become more and more difficult to get them all gathered around the table at once. Time passes and I know the days of gathering together will not be as often as it once was. So, as I looked around the table Sunday and watched as my girls helped my mom in the kitchen, I was so thankful for the beauty of coming together.  Thankful for the guidance that I could see and overhear, words of advice and wisdom being passed along and for the laughter.

Life gets busy but I encourage you to take time to sit around the table.  Gather together, play table games, eat good food and make great memories. Put away the cell phones, turn off the TV and linger around the table. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t even have to be homemade it just needs to be together! Let gathering together make your day beautiful!  I believe you will be glad you did!

100 Beautiful Days – Day 25

Day Twenty-Five

Can we just talk about Llamas for a minute!  I’m pretty crazy about the fuzzy critters and next to giraffes I would say that they are my favorite land dwelling animal.  Well, wait maybe not, maybe cows are my favorite and giraffes are my second or is it elephants second and llamas first, but where would that leave dogs and horses and my goodness I forgot pigs.  Oh, good grief!  I’m not sure and it doesn’t even matter!  I love animals and llamas are right there at the top of the list!

I also love children’s books.  Yes, I’m a full grown soon to be 48-year old woman who, no matter what book store or library she enters, goes straight to the children’s book section. Don’t judge me! Among my all-time absolute favorite children’s books are the Llama, Llama series. From Llama, Llama Red Pajama to Llama, Llama Mad at Mama and every Llama, Llama book in between…I love them all!

That ornery little llama has made me laugh over the years as I’ve read his adventures to my children. Made me smile with excitement as I’ve picked out copies for my grandchild and made me fall in love with llamas in general.

Today, God made me smile with the unexpected gift of llamas. No, he did not give me actual live llamas. He gave me the surprise of turning to the back of my planner to a page I had not yet seen and discover that it was filled with llamas!

On the surface, this may seem like such a simple and innocent thing but let me tell you, it made my day! I’m in a season of seeking God for some really big stuff.  I’ve got some big prayers and I need some big answers. But, while I’m in this season, I cannot get so busy watching for the big stuff that I forget to notice the little stuff along the journey.  Like the way that he shows me, through the tiniest little gifts, that He sees me and He knows me so very well.

Some would say that page of llamas was just a fluke, a little design by the planner people and has nothing to do with God.  Well, I guess in my children’s book brain I just believe that everything has something to do with God.

So today, on this 25thday of 100 Beautiful Days I’m thankful for that page full of llamas. They made me smile, made me feel loved and made my heart oh so very happy.

What big stuff are you seeking God for today?  Where in your life are you reminded that God sees you and loves you?  While you wait for the big answers are there little gifts that He gives you to let you know He’s still working in your life?  Write them down, look back on them in trying days and let your heart be filled with happiness in the waiting.

100 Beautiful Days – Day 24

Day Twenty-Four

I don’t know about you but I’m just awe struck with all that God allows us to take part in! The way that He lets our lives crisscross with others and how He uses simple interactions to connect us to people who bless us and who we can bless. Honestly when I stop to think about it I’m overwhelmed with the beauty of it all.

When we keep our eyes open and walk right in to all that He invites us to, we have the chance to be a part of some amazing moments.  The opportunity to pray with others who deeply need us, to lift one another up with kind words and encouragement and to share in the joy, the sadness, the progress, the love…the journey!

It really is amazing, exciting and quite humbling!

 I think sometimes we muddy the waters and make faith harder than it has to be.  I think we put it all in a box like there has to be a perfect plan or perfect circumstances in order for us to love people the way that God would have us to.   When honestly, we really just need to remain childlike, be awake and ready – watching for how God wants to move in the tiniest of moments and the most monumental.  Oh, he doesn’t need us to do the work, He could do it without us but He draws us in, invites us to come along and as we say “YES”, we get to be amazed by all that He is doing.  It might get a little messy at times but it’s a beautiful mess and oh so worth it!

If God impresses on your heart today to bless someone, I hope that you will.  I hope that you won’t overthink it or over analyze it. Can I?, Should I? Will they laugh at me? What if?  Just listen to that little tugging on your heart and walk across the room.   Get in the middle of all that God is up to and then look around you at what He is doing.  Be prepared for goosebumps and tears because He’s a big God, an amazing God and being on His team is crazy amazing!  But what a team it is!!

Now go be a blessing…and be blessed!

 

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!