Homey gratitude.

I am grateful for the feeling of security inside my home.

I am grateful for the dust, because it is easy to see where I have cleaned WHEN I clean.

I am grateful for my neighbor who mowed her lawn this afternoon – the smell is pretty great.

I am grateful for plenty of soap.

I am grateful for windows to see outside on a beautiful spring day.

I am grateful for answered prayer and COVID-19 recoveries.

I am grateful for Michelle’s gift of a haircut for me before it was not possible any longer.

I am grateful that I can have a window open and have a nice spring breeze keep me company.

I am grateful that it will feel special again when we DO get to go out to eat.

I am grateful that my step daughter texted me to ask what scripture I leaned on in times of anxiety.

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.
Psalm 121, New Living Translation

I am grateful that I can sleep, knowing that He is awake.

I am grateful for Banana and Split. They are great entertainment and do not have a remote.

I am grateful for pansies planted and making life feel a little more normal.

I am grateful for fresh air.

I am grateful that we can still receive mail.

I am grateful for the first fly, because it made me laugh to watch Banana try to catch it.

I am grateful for the clutter to pick up, the floors to clean, the dishes to put away, the weeds to pull, the trash to empty.

I am grateful that I can take deep breaths.

I am grateful that my job has been remote and working from home for quite a while, because my days really are no different with the exception of a little extra concern on my shoulders for Sam’s safety.

I am grateful that the sounds of birds are back.

Finally, I am grateful for a semblance of normalcy when things really aren’t normal at all.

20 seconds is a long time.

We have no idea what sacrifice really means.

Last week, I finished work and in my mind as I was going downstairs, I thought I would make my daughter’s chicken tortilla soup for dinner. “I’ve got some chicken, I have some cheese, I have tortillas. I’m good.”

And then by the time I got to the kitchen and got serious about needing to make dinner, I realized I didn’t have chicken stock – you know, the kind in a box. “Well, there goes THAT. What am I supposed to do NOW?!”

I am certain my mom and my grandmas are in heaven doing facepalms.

We really have no idea what sacrifice and strength in hard times looks like. As we depended on Dana and Shelly to get groceries for us last weekend, it was enlightening to sit back and reflect. Shelly texted pictures of the aisles so I could choose this or that. Dana left notes that there were no potatoes, “Sorry, no apples!” etc.

And I caught myself thinking, “What am I going to MAKE?!”

Facepalm it, Mom. I know, I know.

Washing/warshing hands isn’t a big deal. But man oh man, 20 seconds is a LONG time. I have things to DO, like standing in the pantry staring at all the choices and not knowing what to FIX because there is no chicken stock.

(Whoever read last week’s post and sent Nestle’s Quik, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.)

Again, we have no idea what sacrifice really means. The fact that a grocery store is just minutes from our home with thousands of food items to eat is quite a miracle. Our parents and grandparents lived the sacrifices and the hardships. This COVID-19 thing for most of us is just an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

It is also a reason to re-evaluate what is taken for granted every day of our lives.

I am grateful for the delivery people who leave packages at our front door that stay outside now for 24 hours.

I am grateful for the time to spend, thinking about so many friends and family and putting my thinking thoughts into cards, and I am grateful for a box full of cards to send, and I am grateful for a roll of stamps.

I am grateful for enough Quik to open our own ice cream shop.

I am grateful for clean counters and doorknobs and appliance handles and cell phones and remotes. I am wishing we could set off a virus fogger in the house. That would be easier. And I kind of wish I could spray that glow-in-the-dark germ spray stuff all over so I could actually see where I missed, but I am also glad I can’t.

I am glad I don’t hoard toilet paper, but I am grateful for Costco.

I am grateful for nausea meds tonight for Sam. It was an easy breezy chemo day but not so much in the evening.

I am grateful for a bear to put in our window.

I am grateful that I was blessed to hear my daddy’s voice today on the phone on his 89th birthday, and I am grateful my sister was able to go see him and spend lunch time with him. I miss him a lot right now and have had so many memories swimming…

  • His blue Fina/Standard/Amoco pants
  • Ironing his handkerchiefs
  • All the rides he would ride at Worlds of Fun and DisneyWorld with the girls
  • Sitting on his lap and “driving” when I was little
  • Hearing him sing the bass part during church, and then watching him fall asleep during the sermon
  • “I’m okay but I’ll get over it”
  • The way he loved me in the good and loved me in the bad and stood by me through it all, sometimes carrying me, sometimes just cheering me on, but always loving me

20 seconds is a long time, until you start thinking about the reasons your Dad is just the best dad in the world – I think that instead of praying the Lord’s Prayer or saying Psalm 23 for the next few handwashes, I will just think about Dad and his jokes, or Dad and Natia, or Dad and airplane rides, or Dad and Rook games, or Dad and his laugh, or Dad and his love of the Royals, or Dad and how hard he worked and how much he sacrificed so I would have great memories…

For this moment in time.

I am so grateful for friends who just know.

Friends like LaDonna who sent this video reminder to me today that sent the palpitate away.

Friends like Geri, Chris, and Connie who check in constantly via text just to make sure we are okay and send encouragement, texted prayers, and funny things to remind me to smile.

Friends like my co-workers and my boss who make work so enjoyable even when no one is responding to our research and it feels like we are spinning our wheels.

Friends like Dana, who picked up my grocery list from our mailbox and left this in its place:

Friends like our foster son who is standing strong by Sam’s side, helping him every step of the way, most of the time without even being asked. He just jumps right in and does…so that Sam doesn’t.

A friend like Jesus, who keeps us securely wrapped in His arms through the friends He has placed in our lives for this moment in time.

With every beat of my heart.

Palpitate. It’s a good description of our heart muscles in the last few weeks.

Plans made, plans dashed.

Breaking news like an alarm you can’t turn off.

This new temporary reality is like the snow days we always wanted and never got. Well, kind of. Except that my job has not changed one iota. I am still at my computer first thing every morning, still going strong with research and editing at the end of the day. Sam is still retired and trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.

Actually, snow days for us is like snow days for our parents so many years ago because of this new 18-year-old who occupies space with us. What do we do with the child who cannot handle all this free time and wall closing in-ness? If it were just the two of us, we could be so content to lock the doors and enjoy our home and count all the blessings. However, one of our blessings in the form of foster 18-year-old is currently experiencing anxiety and a perceived affliction of loss of friendships and fun and a perfect ending to his high school career.

However. Minor inconvenience aside…with every beat of the heart muscle tonight, we have reason to be grateful.

  1. A really great kid who has added much to our world
  2. A small town away from big city crisis and all the added complexities of living in one
  3. Sam’s hard work immunity while not perfect, certainly stronger than it should be at this stage
  4. Plenty of just in case supplies – all I am really missing is Nestle Quik for the ice cream and the assurance that the Lysol disinfectant wipes won’t run out
  5. The luxury of watching church, communicating online to our support near and far, and the ability to work thanks to an Internet that is still functional
  6. A neighbor who offers to get groceries for us
  7. A pantry full of food – maybe not what we want, but certainly what we need to keep from starving
  8. An extra week away from chemo, thanks to Seattle plans unfortunately dashed
  9. Banana and Split and a multitude of grocery sacks, our backup entertainment if or when the TV and internet fail us
  10. Banana and Split, our reminders that life is too short to not have as much fun as possible with as little as possible, and our reminder to play hard so we can sleep hard and let not our hearts be troubled
  11. Reassurance that God is my refuge and strength, a very present Help in times of trouble
  12. And a gift of song on a Sunday afternoon that made me stop in my heartbeats:

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known
But things change, when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith, for you’re never alone


For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night

You talk of faith when you’re up on the mountain
But talk comes so easy, when life’s at its best
Now it’s down in the valley of trials and temptations
That’s where your faith is really put to the test

For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
The God of the day, is still God in the night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCTl4tUYIAg

Quick Draw McGraw.

Sam took me on a date on Friday night. I like our dates. They are simple. Sometimes it is a drive in the country to find a perfect place to watch a sunset and see some deer bounding across a field. Sometimes it is a drive through a neighborhood in Kansas City to look at beautiful houses or landscaping. Sometimes it is a concert and a nice dinner, and sometimes it is a hole-in-the-wall place where we can just be, in our jeans and a hoodie.

Friday night was a jeans and hoodie kind of dinner. As we sat in the noisy cafe, we noticed the differences. More patrons than not were in coveralls or overalls. More patrons than not were wearing ball caps and boots.

And.

There were at least a half dozen holsters on belts.

Never have I ever seen so many guys packing a pair of pliers.

What a wonderful world.

Even though we were surrounded by “I seen”s and “Well I’ll be dagnabbered”s, we were pretty grateful for where we are in this moment of time…

…where dinner is best known as supper, where folks are okay with being called folks, where you walk into a hole-in-the-wall for good food and know half the customers, where neighbors pick up the tab for other neighbors, just because.

What a wonderful world.