I bless the girl my son married

Hey, Jovanie~

jovan and rocky and family

Oh, sweet girl, how did almost 3 months pass before I got to this post? Life has been a whirlwind, yes? And YOU had a birthday, and moved a little too far away for my heart – all at once {October 31st}. In the middle of so many good and wonderful gifts from above, a whirlwind of exciting living – we breathlessly paused and celebrated. And thanked God for you, again.

jovan with bailey

As birthday posts go, I have never been later. And this one has been sitting in the drafts folder, not quite finished far too long. But know this, at least: as daughter-in-loves go, there is none more cherished or delightful! And I still thank God for you, birthday or any day and everyday of your life and mine!

I love you, Jovan Marie Rhoades! And I bless the day you were born, born to a future that included marrying Rocky and to giving me three of the most adorable little grand-girlies in the world…so far, anyway! :)

jovan and rocky selfie

We’ve known you for half your life!

It is really strange to imagine our family without you, having known you now since you were 14 years old. And when you came into our lives (fourteen years ago, to be exact), you just fit. You were easy to know, easy to have in the room. You hung out with Stormie, sometimes spending the night at our houses and then got up and did chores, like any of our kids.

Who is this amazing girl, I wondered? I must remember to thank her parents!*

jovan and rocky

I love that his heart is safe with you.

And you befriended Rocky, too. You admired him and respected him and looked up to him ( a whole 2 years older, right?) and I liked how I saw you looking at my son. I thought that Rocky choosing you was one of the greatest things he could ever have done. I still think so. And I love that even before we knew you, during the years you were growing up with your two sisters and godly parents, long before we were ready to think of our only son ever even getting married – you were being equipped to be Rocky’s. God was at work in your heart and life, and he was at work in our son. He alone knew what the two of you could be together, as one. So mysterious and beautiful. It makes me wonder why I ever worried over my kids at all – the way God so carefully orchestrates adventure and life and love and goodness and mercy over you all.

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So, even though I thought I had all the daughters I could handle, with the four incredible beauties I birthed myself, it turns out, getting to have just one more {YOU} has been a blessing of mammoth proportions! You have been a sweetness and grace, a reward to me for getting through the years of raising 5 children! Ha!

I do thank God for you, Jovan. I was so happy to get to tell Averi and Amelie recently, as we were “doing hair and make-up,” what I have told you many times before: I grew up saying I intended to have 8 sons, eight! It sounded fun. But then I had 3 daughters, finally a son and in an attempt to get one more – another daughter! But wow-Rocky was an energetic handful of rambunctious-ness and I later realized I would have fallen dead from exhaustion if I had actually birthed 8 little Rocky-types. Haha. Oh, how I love that little boy and the man he has become for the ways he has challenged me! LOVE him.

So, I was glad to tell your daughters, my cute grandbebes, how delighted I was to find scripture that fit us, you and me, so perfectly. It’s Naomi’s friends talking to her about her devoted daughter-in-law, Ruth:

“And may [your grandchild] be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne [this child].”  Ruth 4

There it is! And I will always be able to tell your children with my whole heart: your mommy, who gave me you, is better to me than seven more sons would have been. So even though I didn’t get the 8 baby boys I always thought I’d have, I got you, and I got a daughter-in-love who has my heart for always.

Averi said, “I’ve heard that story!” And I hope she’ll never forget.

A Birthday Blessing for my Jovan, the world’s best daughter-in-law:

So, today, I bless you. I bless your heart and soul and your thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams. I bless the family you are building with Rocky and the your days with the  beautiful Presence of God. I pray all you give out will come back to you many times. I bless you with the deep love in marriage and the honor of your children and with the long life that goes so-very-well for you because of how you honor your parents. I bless your days, your hours and minutes – may they be lived fully and colorfully, and may they be fruitful and accomplish much to the glory of God. I pray you will flourish, become deeper rooted, and all your gifting and talents will be received with great fanfare and welcome whenever and wherever they begin to show up. I speak against any enemy lies or assignments on your life and agree for any chain that tries to hold you down to be broken and left in a heap while you go from glory to glory, strength to strength, fully shining like the bright joy you are! Yes! In Jesus’ Name! {{*AMEN.*}}

jovan and rocky with girls

You were born to be one of us, Jovan. My thanks to your parents for raising such a lovely young woman. My thanks to Rocky for having the good sense to make you his standard of beauty and desire, his wife and one flesh. And my thanks to God for His grace on all of us, through you. {mom}

*P.S. Speaking of Jovan’s wonderful parents -

Today is Jo’s birthday! I finally got Jovan’s birthday blessing posted on her mom’s birthday! I mean there would be no Jovan without Jo! Happy Birthday, Jo!

Happy-Birthday-jo

Sacred Days and Holy Nights

Yesterday was the final day of Christmas (today is *Epiphany!)…

Christmas afternoon 2014

Our tribe on the first day of Christmas, December 25, 2014

I bet most of you have long since packed the ornaments away and vacuumed up the needles of the tree. You have probably moved on to making resolutions, starting a diet and setting personal and professional goals. You have purchased the newest organizational containers, a fresh planner and have thrown out the remaining candy from Christmas stockings by now.

But what, I wonder, is our hurry? Why do we so willingly follow merchant’s schedules for when to begin Christmas, and when to be rid of it? As believers, we are often miffed that we hear “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and we send cards saying “Jesus is the reason for the season,” yet we fall right into line with the most secular of thinkers on the exact perimeters of celebration. 

First Thanksgiving, then Black Friday for frenzied shopping: decorate, bake, wrap, shop some more. There are parties and programs and quick-holiday-themed worship services to attend. Then the relatives show up and we all enjoy too much food and revelry together and by the time the gifts are unwrapped and paper is strewn about, we are ready for it to. be. over.

Jesus was most assuredly NOT the reason for a season that looks like that.

But like every other pooped-out celebrant, Christ-following-believer or not, we immediately start putting our joy-to-the-world away and clearing all signs of festivity, usually because we just can’t stand another second of this go-tell-it-on-the-mountain season of decking-the-halls.

By 8:37 pm on December 25th (technically the first day of Christmas) the over-buying, the round-the-clock shopping hours so kindly provided by “caring” retailers, the extreme-indulgence in “making merry,”  it’s all just too much. We’re ready to pack every vestige of the season away (after hitting a few clearance sales for next year’s celebrating, of course), and then it’s off to the future. We emerge from Christmas absolutely unchanged by the observation of the birth of the Savior of the world. We limp from Christmas day relieved to have it over instead of filled with renewed devotion, knowing Jesus more.

Why on earth we spend all year looking forward to something that wears us plumb out, I am not sure. We are excellent at romanticizing our traditions and must-dos, even if they will eventually suck the life right out of us.

Oh how utterly conventional, how completely secular we have really become. Is a casual reading of Luke 2 on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning really enough to call what we just did a celebration of the Christ?

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What if we added 12 devotion-and-worship-filled days to Christmas and topped it off with an *Epiphany?

What if we celebrated, I mean really observed and worshiped through Christmas in the liturgical-church-calendar way, all the way through Epiphany? I am not from high-church tradition at all. We didn’t observe religious customs or days in my Pentecostal upbringing (often eschewing them as mere “traditions of men”), but I have realized through the years that there are parts of my faith still so unexplored, holy things I have yet to comprehend, though other church traditions have been careful to recognize and make way for their understanding through a careful liturgy.

The less days I have, the more willing I am to give more of them annually to find Jesus, to know Him, to press in to know Him.

“So let us know Him, let us press on to know the Lord.”  Hosea 6.3

What if we could become whole and healed by setting aside time, consecrating days on the calendar, sanctifying a season for deeper reflection, time to rest, time to heal, time to focus on the Light of the World?  What if, instead of letting Target and WalMart determine our celebrations, we let Christmas, as I-have-decided-to-follow-Jesus types, really begin on the 25th and we spend the days until Epiphany seeking Him like the Wise Men did, following that bright light of mercy in our darkest nights?

What if we pondered the things of Jesus and held them in our hearts like Mary, who, while carrying the Him within gave us one of the richest examples of worship (Luke 1:46-56) in the scriptures? Or what if, on some day after the retail madness has died down, we become filled with the Holy Spirit, like Zacharias, and prophesy the goodness of God to a world who needs to know Him, the One who so loves them?

“Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”   Luke 1.68-69

We often end the story on Christmas day with a babe in manager, but what if were like Simeon, so longing to see Him, led by the Holy Spirit to witness an 8-day old baby – he just blessed God. He saw the babe and his heart found total fulfillment and utter peace, complete satisfaction. He said to God, “Your servant can now die in peace!” Now that is a full heart!

And what about the very old Anna, a prophet who never left the temple, but ministered to the Lord there day and night with prayers and fasting? Thanksgiving to God poured from her as she came up to find Jesus there with His parents. Is the gratitude flowing from us?

What if we marked the days off on the calendar and decided to find Him again, perhaps having drifted off course during the busy year? What if we used the sacred days and holy nights, all now made holy by His coming, to know Him, pursue Him, and meditate on His goodness? Would He honor that? Would He show up to meet with us there?

I usually post a flurry of blogs during Advent and the Christmas season {you can find these by clicking on the “Keep Christmas” topic at the bottom of the page}. I believe there should be no more devoted celebrant than those of us who have received His salvation. I love it all, the sights, the sounds, the symbols of Christmas. I believe Advent holds much treasure we are often too busy to observe. But I have only recently begun to wonder what we miss by not REALLY making Jesus the reason? What of these days between Christmas Day and Epiphany?

Let’s not be so quick to move on. There is more than the hustle, so much more than the bustle. Next year, for sure, the lights will stay in place, the symbols of my faith represented in the decorations and the tree that represents everlasting life  because of the tree Jesus hung on will stay put. Until I emerge a little more like Him, having spent the time seeking Him and keeping on until I really find Him. That is how to “keep Christmas well,” I think. That’s what I am after!

“he knew how to keep Christmas well” ~ Dickens

How do you keep Christmas? How do you celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, spiritually? I would welcome your ideas as I think about Christmas future. SEND INSPIRATION!

sig keep christmas

Oh and…

I did just get this for my Kindle today. Can’t wait to explore it and use it next year with my grandkids! Be sure to read her post on “The Essence of Epiphany” and the first commenter, who had some awesome thoughts about  the Wise Men’s journey). Good stuff!

lindseybridges.com

Experiencing Epiphany – 6 Days of Intentional Epiphany with Your Kids by Lindsey Bridges

*epiphany: The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (see Matthew 2.1-12); the festival commemorating the Wise Men arriving to find Jesus, celebrated on January 6th;  the striking appearance or manifestation of a divine being.

 

Snowfall ~ A Playlist for Snowy-White Winters

I just realized I should have added “A Few of My Favorite Things,”

“Silver-white winters that melt into spring…”

Oh well.

News flash: I am living in the arctic tundra. Not really. Still Denver. But it looks like the arctic tundra. It feels like the arctic tundra! It is not just cold, people, it’s downright frigid!

“God thunders wondrously with his voice;
   he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth…'” Job 37 

My friend Kaye posted on her FB yesterday,

If it was 100 degrees warmer, I would not be sad.

Meaning:if it were only 80 degrees outside.” That’s right! It hit 20-degrees-below-ZERO in parts of Colorado yesterday, which was common when we lived in the perpetually icy Minot, ND and the main reason we do not live there now! Ay-yi-yi!

But, you know, standing at the window with a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, I can look out at the snow sparkling in the sunlight on New Year’s Eve and be quite romantic and idealistic about it. For now, anyway.

A Playlist // {click here}

snowfall playlist

Includes: Lots of standards (like Snow from the movie, White Christmas, and A Winter Romance by Dean Martin, some Bing, some Sarah Vaughan, and even Julie London), a little pop (The First Snowfall, Carpenters), a nod to country (Anne Murray’s Snowbird), some bright-kid-fun-tunes (Pretty Snowflakes by Peggy Lee, Little Snow Girl, too), and a few deeply reflective songs (Lazy Snow and Somewhere it’s Snowing, see lyrics below).

“…when snow covers the earth,
That it hides the worlds scars,
and gives nature new birth…

God’s grace, like the snow, is falling again!”

That final song encapsulates what the snow always really reminds me of, when fresh snow, like grace, covers the faded, dormant landscape. The imperfections are evened out, the brown leaves along fence lines and even the litter in highway ditches get covered in a thick blanket of white purity. And underneath it all, where the eye can’t see, magic is happening. The snowflakes have joined hands to hide the forthcoming, joyous surprise ~ The Creator is fashioning a spring, having sent snow from His storehouses (reserved for times of trouble, stockpiled for when we need it most, see Job 38.22-23). The snow is suspended moisture. It speaks of a future, of a spring-green hope, His word in us, causing growth and fruitfulness again, regardless of how dead or lifeless our fields look today.

“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55.10-11 NIV

Grace to you, friends and familia on a snow-covered day in Colorado.

Are you warm enough?

 

A Christmas Lullaby Playlist – for the grown-ups

Three days out. And for the joy and the love, for the Savior who came, may we live in the peace He brought, the Peace He is. For He came, Emmanuel – God with us {GOD – actually WITH us!}. Don’t miss the magic, the mystery, the relief of a Savior who came and now abides.

This is for all the little girls, from 1 to 92, or so, for quieting your heart this week. With love.

Spotify playlist, {{click here}}

christmas lullaby playlist

“Come, Emmanuel

Come and reign in us

Come and speak to us, fill and renew us

Come and live through us, Emmanuel”

sig keep christmas

He gave us Himself

The greatest gift of all, a Savior, Jesus!

gifts he gave himself

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” -Sigrid Undset

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3.16

And isn’t all our gift-giving just a variation on the amazing theme of God’s most amazing gift? If I can just include, somehow, a little of myself – infused with the love in my heart towards the recipients: good gifts! Even on Cyber-Monday, ha!

It’s that time of year again…I cannot help myself!  :)

sig keep christmas

“Christmas Eve” Font: http://bythebutterfly.com << see lots of other great fonts

The Days Leading Up to our Savior’s Birth – The Jesse Tree!

It’s almost CHRISTmastime!
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Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

My sister-in-love, Robin, is an accomplished communicator and teacher.  She has poured her heart and soul into creating an incredible, heirloom-quality resource available to families for Christmas. The Jesse Tree connects the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the glorious story of God and His amazing plan of redemption all the way from Genesis to the birth of Jesus and beyond.

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A Jesse Tree is decorated with ornaments symbolizing the people of the Bible, the prophecies and the events that led up to the time our Savior was born!

A Tradition that Matters

If you end up feeling frustrated at the end of the Christmas season for how little time was spent getting to know the story of Jesus better, HIStory, plan now to use the Advent season as a time of worship and discovery.

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Each beautifully handcrafted ornament will become a lasting imprint on the hearts and minds of your children, your family.  Understanding will grow, joy will be increased, and you’ll be helping your family know how to explain the hope we have.

“…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” 1 Peter 3.15 NIV

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Read more about it here: aliciahutchinson.com

Each set includes: 28 ornaments – one for each day of Advent, a book of devotions and Biblical references (written by Robin) to go with each ornament and a sturdy, divided storage box for storing this keepsake set safely.

Meant to be enjoyed again and again throughout the years with your familia, each set is $95 (plus $7 s & h).

Limited sets available, shipping this week! Quick – get yours!

buy now

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Gentle on My Mind // Tender Mercies When They’re Needed

A list. Of gentle, tender things in life.

  • A flickering candle, in an otherwise dark room.
  • Baby feet, so soft, wholly kissable.
  • A song, with interesting notes and complex chords and lyrics written from the depths.
  • A cup of hot, steaming tea, held close, like it’s your own little bonfire.
  • A cable knit sweater. Especially in winter-white.
  • Sandy-the-dog looks deeply in to my eyes and I can tell she is saying, “I will always be on your side. Sorry about all the hair I shed everywhere.” Dang. I just made myself cry. Ha.
  • Apple Crisp in the oven, cinnamon and sugar joining in heated zeal, filling the air with an aroma most divine.
  • A sunny blue-sky day, even though it is still cold out. Still way too cold!
  • An old letter found – the sentiments even more meaningful for the time that has passed.
  • A text from a grandbebe – because they are thinking of me when I am thinking of them.
  • An encouragement – some one literally giving you their courage – right when you needed it.
  • A long soak in the tub, streaming some good worship music, soaking in the Presence, too.

I’m a little bold, sometimes go at things, Dave says, “like a house on fire.” But sometimes, I need quiet, I need gentle, too.

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Chloe.

Chloe is gone, now. And this causes tenderness in the heart, as well.

Just a few weeks ago I was there, in Indiana, and she welcomed me so warmly. She was a people-person, really loving and so sweet.  She was part of Dan and Dawn’s family (my youngest brother and his beautiful wife) and such a good doggie.

I went outside and watched her run and bound happily across their spacious, green yard just before the sun set. It is hard to reconcile that the end was so close for her.  She was loving and joyful, and so pretty. And a friend. I’ll miss those joy-filled greetings and nuzzles and the warm receptions Chloe always so generously gave.

This is a photo of Chloe with the grand-girl, Averi, a couple of years ago.

chloe and averi june 2011

As I write this, my dilapidated old dog is at my feet. Sandy is somewhere near the finish line. It makes me feel better knowing she’ll be joining her cousin-doggie soon, where the two of them can romp like puppies again together, well and whole.

Don’t try to debate me theologically on this point. Sandy is one of the most Christ-like creations of God I have ever known. She is a godly old girl…

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“Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.”  Psalm 25.6-7 NKJV

 

Song for a Sunday // Lord, I Need You

A song for a blustery season…

matt maher lord i need you

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Simple, but powerful lyrics by Matt Maher, led here by one of my all-time favorite female vocalists, Leann Albrecht. This song is a prayer. Pray it with me.

Lord, I Need You/I Need Thee Every Hour

Starts at 00:48:10 and ends around 0:58:30

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

LORD, I NEED YOU

This should take you straight to the link also

CLICK HERE or copy and paste address into your browser::    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/54305559

Lord, I need you lyrics

The Day the Leaves Fell Down in Denver

“That’s the Day that Leaves Fell Down in Denver,” to the tune of “That’s the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia”  ;)

October 7 :: Kai and I picnic in the backyard. The leaves were changing color right before our eyes. However, the Aspens, just to the left – still green.

kai picnic

October 22 :: The yard is ablaze with every autumn hue.

In the back yard yesterday 2

November 8 :: Just another pretty (blue sky) day in Denver

#thesearethemoments aspens and blue sky

But today…November 10th :: the north wind blows, the temp drops 30-degrees in a few hours and the flakes start to fall.

We hit our high of 64 degrees at about 7:30 am this morning.

The Aspen leaves, the last of them that have held on for all they’re worth, the ones that have waved at me happily with each gentle breeze as the sweetest autumn days have drifted by   – they are getting kicked out on their butts! Today is the day, I am thinking.

I’d say the Aspens were at about 50% leafery (made-up word) on Saturday. But that harsh, cold, north wind (thanks a lot, North Dakota) is changing everything…wait… I just saw snowflakes…!!!

{Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr} 

The BEST version of “Autumn Leaves” on the planet:

By the incredible, late Eva Cassidy. In honor of a wholly gorgeous 2014 fall season…This is the way I sing it around the house or at the keyboard. It is the MOST beautiful!

This weather re-cap has been brought to you by a woman who hates winter, but who lives in a wintry state.

Ay-yi-yi. Just clinging to my fair-weather memories.

#thesearethemoments November’s Song

Yes, it is true. From my Family-Table-November Spotify playlist (see it to your right), I can’t get the song by Sara Evans off my mind. It may just end up being the song of the month for me. However, I really have no idea what the lyrics are, except:

These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive

These are the moments I’ll remember all my life

I have all I waited for – And I could not ask for more…

That’s all I know. And I am pretty sure it is a love song and probably a codependent love song where she is putting ALL her stock in one person for her happiness, which is a lot of pressure for said person.  Haha.

#thesearethemoments aspens and blue sky

Just another November the 8th…I’ve enjoyed 55 or so of them so far.

But, the words I do know, the ones above, which I bookend with lots ‘o humming and made-up-lyrics, are reminding me to look for the simple moments I should be grateful for, the little, everyday snippets of life that don’t seem to amount to much, but are the Jenga blocks that make up my ordinary living, and give structure and solidity to dreams.

I went to sleep last night to the sound of the sweetest November rain. It signals a change on its way from the sunny, amazingly beautiful fall weather we have been having. Snow is headed this direction, they say. But oh, the sound of that cleansing, whole, full-on rain. That was a good moment.

It morphed in to the brightest sunrise, blue skies and raindrops sparkling on the windows. The earth was rejoicing for the deep, refreshing drink. My Aspens are half empty now, but the way the remaining leaves dance against that Colorado-blue sky takes my breath away. It’s such a savory moment. I’m dining on it still, as I write.

#thesearethemoments Hunter and 4 freckled-lemonades

It was Grandparent’s Day at Hunter’s school yesterday. So I reciprocated by making it Hunter Day. :)

#thesearethemoments Hunter smiles

The waitress gave him another one to go! Ay-yi-yi!

The grand-boys are here (it was a sleepover): Gavin (11) and Hunter (10). I cannot believe how many dishes they generate in such a short time. Meals, snacks, snacks after snacks. Soda-pop glasses, hot-chocolate mugs. Candy wrappers piled on the coffee table (blame their grand-poppa, I tell you!) and some candy wrappers just found a spot on the floor beside the couches where my little men piled blankets and cushions for movie-watching, boy-flicks. And as I load my arms with the dishes and debris to head for the kitchen, I can’t help but sing it, I could not ask for more.

We all make bucket lists and have grand plans and create goals and make Pinterest boards of exotic places we want to see and things we wish to do. But I never even took my kids to Disney World. Can you even believe that? And I took French all through junior high and high school and I have never gone to Paris. These trips would have made for the most incredible memories, moments-of-a-lifetime, for sure.

But this morning, my cutie-pie grand-boys helped me move the sofa away from the wall and what did we find? Birthday gift-wrap wads. We have gift-wrap paper fights at the end of gift-opening, every birthday. All the kids go after Uncle Rocky with zeal, because he deserves it for always getting me right in the face! And there they were: remnants of a happy celebration past.

And there were 3 or 4 Hot Wheels behind the couch because Malakai is all about those cars these days and a few are bound to crash off the back of the furniture at the speed they are going. A few crayons were there because this house is about my children’s children being able to express themselves creatively. And some wayward gum balls from the gum ball machine that supplies the grandbebes when they are here were back there, too. Those are things I found behind the sofa. And I could not ask for more.

malakai chasing the red ball #thesearethemoments

Kai-Kai is a boy on the go.

When Dave squeezes the middle of the toothpaste tube because he likes to do that, I try to remember that he thinks I tighten it all up from the end just so he can. And when he leaves the bread on the counter right beside the bread basket instead of in it, I know it is just one of the things I will always remember about him. I’ll remember that he loves me like crazy, that he pays too much for rib-eye steaks {“Wait until they are on sale, honey!“} because he knows I love them and I could eat steak everyday. I’ll always remember that he wants to close the bedroom windows through the winter, but he freezes all night because I need fresh air, and that he leaves the bread on the counter instead of putting it back in the basket, which may or may not make me slightly crazy. These are the moments, ya know? And I could not ask for more.

#thesearethemoments Hunter Day

The baby who cries all night – means we have a baby to love, a little person to usher in to their destiny. Used diapers are a sign of health and life. Lots and lots of life. :)

The dirty dishes piling up in the sink, means we had food to eat. There are so many things in the fridge that I can’t decide what to have for breakfast.

The relationship that needs mending means we have people who mean enough to put forth the effort. We’re so lucky.

How on earth did we end up with this much laundry, except that we have so many clothes from which to choose? Leaf-blowers make tidy piles for us and a big truck comes and takes the autumn debris away, no-muss, no-fuss. Toys are scattered around the house because they don’t even fit in the designated boxes. Kids are loud, parties make messes, meal-making comes around three times a day, day after day. They are just mundane moments passing by. They are not glamorous, nor brag-worthy.

But they are surely divine – the things for which we can be grateful. Day in and day out, one foot in front of the other, faithfulness in the little things – I could not ask for more.

#thesearethemoments Gavin crashing

My life and times and seasons are soundtracked by songs and melodies. October was “Autumn Leaves,” feeling memories and melancholy drift by like the leaves of an old tree.

#thesearethemoments Hunter and Gavin

But November, November’s song is really less Sara Evans and more thankfulness, reflection, gratefulness for life, the things we’ll end up remembering with deep fondness. Maybe less about trips to Disney World. And more about all the candy wrappers we were privileged to scoop up and throw away.

NOTE: Ohmygoodness. I am just about to hit publish and in come my guys, Dave-the-husband, and Gav and Hunter, the first two of my nine beloved grandchildren.  They all three tracked mud all the way through the house. After I had vacuumed. Oh yes, they did! Haha. Oh my…

These days, these monotonous, wearisome, repetitive, routine and sometime tedious days: “These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive.” #thesearethemoments

What are yours? What makes you thank God you’re alive?