Animal crackers look the same, except for the ones in the red box with a handle.

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I am grateful for roasted pecans.

I am grateful for Natia paws.

I am grateful for tragic news stories that remind me how blessed I am that I was not the victim of a tragic news story.

I am grateful for cold and rainy days. I think I could live in Seattle…if I were independently wealthy and could stay in my luxurious home with a fireplace and read books all day long, just me, Natia, and a blanket.

I am also grateful for sunshine after a cold and rainy day, though.

I am grateful for the pleasant feelings when I see this:

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I am grateful for a new bird sound this morning on our pre-sunrise walk.

I am grateful for colored pens.

I am grateful that God is patient with me.

I am grateful for a stack of cards sitting right here beside me to make me feel guilty until they are written on and mailed.

I am grateful for clean socks.

I am grateful for Christmas colored M&Ms that are still good in April.

I am grateful for two new friends. It doesn’t matter that they are under the age of 16. Sometimes those are the best friends.

I am grateful for a dandelion digger to use instead of the weed killer spray. But I’m also grateful for the immediate pleasure of blowing wishes.

I am grateful for animal crackers when desperate for sweetness.

I am grateful for John and his hard work in selling the house that now makes our life much easier.

I am grateful for the quiet prayers spoken by Sam.

I am grateful for a scrub brush to use while washing dishes.

I am grateful for a few tulips that survived the freeze.

I am grateful my brother is okay after a work accident.

I am grateful my Dad was able to see new places and have new experiences yesterday, thanks to my sister.

And I am grateful that my parents made sure I grew up knowing my grandparents on both sides, aunts and uncles and cousins. They provided that sense of family…and that pressure to not lose touch. Time to get busy. Three months and counting.

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Evidence.

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I woke up this morning, crying. I had been crying in a dream. What an odd feeling. I started to wake Sam up and tell him what had happened that made me cry, but just as I was beginning to say something, I realized it had been a dream.

Still. Those emotions lingered and I wasn’t able to go back to sleep.

I am grateful for sad dreams. Evidence of deep down emotion. Sad dreams remind me to count my blessings, because I have been given many blessings.

I am grateful for the sounds of hammering all over this small town, evidence of roofs being replaced after a hailstorm.

I am grateful for warm sunshine on my shoulders mid afternoon as I sat on the front porch for a fresh air break, evidence of a beautiful spring day in small town USA.

I am grateful for sounds of a woodpecker and a mourning dove and robins and a cardinal – like the children playing in the park across the street, evidence that they all had something to say, or sing.

I am grateful for people who sing or whistle while they work. Evidence of happiness.

And I am grateful for disappointment. Evidence, once again, of deep down emotion, and an opportunity to try again…

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If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. – Orson Welles

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I am grateful for the way the wind sounds at 2:43 am as it whistles through the screen of our open bedroom window.

I am grateful for the message of “I Can Only Imagine,” and grateful that I sat next to Sam last night in the theater and felt him sobbing as we were both touched by the story.

I am grateful for my mom’s attention to detail and the fact that it was passed down to me when it comes to editing, even though I drive some people crazy.

I am grateful for my single kitchen sink.

I am grateful that Sam takes care of the hard things and spares me but includes me so that if I ever have to deal with the hard things, I will have the knowledge and ability.

I am grateful for Brandy and her story that makes us close. We are not alone on our journey, and someday, we will share those ashes that God replaced with a new, beautiful life.

I am grateful for a speech my niece wrote about my wonderful mom. Tears of joy and sadness all at the same time…

And I am grateful for stress and sleeplessness and a mother-worry that brings me to my knees.

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What floor?

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“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” – Jennifer Dukes Lee post

I am grateful for people who do things for others in secret and don’t share it with anyone else. They just do it, and no one knows but God.

It’s those stories you read…about someone who gave and gave and no one knew until the person was gone from this life and their goodness was discovered.

Mom used to tell me that if you needed the accolades and the appreciation after doing good, that is all you get. But if you do good in secret, God will reward you in Heaven, and that’s the best.

When I was on Facebook, I always thought it was interesting to watch the people who posted the good things they do for others – we’re addicted to those “likes” by others. It’s similar to the people on social media who take constant pictures of themselves or their children or their latest food creation or…fill in the blank. They want people to “like” their world. I guess it’s similar to me and my writing and checking to see how many people have read what I wrote.  We want those accolades and that appreciation. We want the attention. We want our tribe, our circle, to approve and shower us with praise. We want, but we don’t need.

I love what Jennifer Dukes Lee shared:

http://www.incourage.me/2018/04/learned-movie-can-imagine.html

She made me think. I went off in another direction, but I am grateful for her lesson about doing for others today. It was a great reminder for me to give to others and do for others when I have reached a higher floor.

And it was a conviction to do so without posting it, without subtly putting it into a conversation, without any expectation of a pat on the back – just a pat on the heart.

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Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. (Luke 6:31-34)

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When you love what you have…

…you have everything you need.

I am grateful for…

…a pleasant surprise in the form of a letter.

…a house, sold.

…the gift of an ordinary day.

…just a closer walk with Thee.

…Barbara Bush.

…free samples at Costco.

…taxes done.

…the beauty of a quiet drive and farmland.

…ellipses.

…a new idea for weekly community dinner around our table, complete with paper towels and conversation.

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…a fireplace when the boiler goes out.

…my brother and sister who visit my Dad.

…boxes to unpack.

…new friends who drop by unannounced.

…prayer that is constant inside my head.

…a beautiful Ansyr blanket and a portrait of my grandchildren and I that arrived in the mail.

…Sam, who loves me, tells me so, and shows me constantly.

…for a stressful but wonderful weekend full of news and work and finally, home.

The White House

 

Lesson #278: Never dust at night.

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Lesson #344: Never clean the house when you feel like a zombie.

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Lesson #167: Move every two years, just to get rid of stuff. That’s Dad wisdom, through and through.

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Lesson #375: Label everything that is liquid and has been put into a spray bottle, so you don’t have a surprise when you go to clean the windows.

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Lesson #12: Don’t have pets and carpet. Pets OR carpet, maybe. Not pets AND carpet.

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Lesson #117: Don’t wait until you sell your home to fix it up. It makes you not want to sell your home when you fix it up and make it picture pretty.

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Lesson #400: Junk drawers are not your friend. They are junk.

 

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Lesson #1: It is good to have family and friends who do nice things for you when you are getting ready to sell your home. Appreciate them.

One home, almost ready for open house. Just don’t look in the garage. Yikes. (That just means one major garage sale, coming soon. We’re not selling the garage, however. Just the mountain of stuff inside.)

Thank you Cosmo, Mike, John, Angela, Dwight, and Dad. We are so very grateful for all you have done to help us get things ready. John, do your thing!

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My peeps are sweeter than your peeps.

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I am grateful to be able to peel an orange.

I am grateful to be able to take a short walk during lunch.

I am grateful to see stars twinkle at night.

I am grateful for the pain of petition prayers that are repeated over and over again.

I am grateful to hear children laugh.

I am grateful to smell Sam’s coffee in the morning.

I am grateful for rain and wish for it quite often.

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I am grateful to play my piano.

I am grateful to have held my newest granddaughter in my arms during the whole Easter service on Sunday.

I am grateful for Longhorn cheese.

I am grateful my girls knew their grandparents and saw them often.

I am grateful for the smell of clean sheets.

And I am grateful to see the lilac bushes wake up and the iris leaves grow.

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