365 Gratitude Project: Week 8

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

A man that is willing to be a father. This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not. I was a single mom for 5 years because the guy that sponsored my pregnancy bailed when I told him I was pregnant and I hadn’t seen him or his child support since. Real men that are willing to parent are a rare breed. And I found one. I’m so grateful.

(He got his first baseball glove!)

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Summertime!! Warm weather+homemade frozen margaritas=priceless.

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Having a child still in the age range of homemade presents. I love them more than anything he could ever pick from a store. He was so proud of the fact that he had successfully hidden it in his bedroom all this time. 🙂 It was so darling.

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Farmers Market. God Bless them.

Fresh Peaches? Yes, please.

Nom, Nom, Nom.

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A good sport. The look on his face is obviously not happy, but he let us take about 3 pictures before he put his foot down. For only being 9.5 years old, he is such a laid back fella. Lots ‘o fun.

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 Midwestern Living. I never thought I’d really say that. But it is not uncommon to get fresh veggies from the F. Market, grill them over charcoal with a beer in hand, at noon, in your flip flops, in 100 degree weather.

My age is changing my life values. Funny how that works.

Nom, Nom, Nom.

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 Spontaneous, leisure days with the fam. These are few and far between. We were just sitting around and decide to do something together. We went to our big, fancy department store and didn’t buy a thing.

This store has an indoor ferris wheel. “I’ve done it before, I’m not afraid..”

Uhm, yeah.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 7

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

The first few pictures are from my son’s list. He joined the project over his Spring Break. This is a picture of him doing this. I couldn’t let that moment pass: 

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Okay, the first on his list were his mom (me!), his dad, and God. Everyone knows what I look like, I don’t know if I had permission from my DH (dear husband), and God is fickle about being seen in person. So let’s start with his next three.

 His church. Isn’t that music to a mother’s soul?!

He is very active with his youth group. It is an amazing group!

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 What 9-year-old isn’t grateful for a Dairy Queen on his block?!

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 His school playground. Note: He did not say “school,” he said school PLAYGROUND. 🙂 🙂

According to the very interesting Multiple Intelligences study, he is a “movement smart” child so I’m not really surprised by this.

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Okay, let’s start mine for the week.

Modern Medicine. I know amongst some this is taboo, but I also think sometimes we overlook how readily available medicine is when we get sick. Imagine having something serious, like strep throat all the way to Lupus (a very real, very painful illness!). Can you even fathom never, ever having medicine for it? To have to live with it every moment of the day until you die? We call the doctor and they call the prescription into the pharmacy for us.

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 This is two-fold. A) Being a homeowner instead of a renter. We can actually plant our own garden in the backyard. B) Homegrown, fresh organic produce to eat straight out of the ground and to can for awesomeness in the winter!

(Obviously this is from when we first started planting)

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Still being at least cool enough to play soccer with out where people can see us. I love playing outside and having a child is the perfect excuse and someone to play with instead of having to kick it against the house! 🙂

And having a job that allows me the time to be at home with him over Spring Break.

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 The funny ways God gives moms to earn respect from boys. If you look closely enough, you can see the perfect outline of the soccer ball. This is what I get for blocking a great kick in capris. I didn’t whine, cry, or even stop the game; earned a lot of kudos from the man-child.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 6

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

 God’s Faithfulness. He gave us a tangible promise that he’d never flood us again and we still have it to this day. Faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

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The ability to HEAR. We take our sense for granted because we have them all the time and use them without realizing it. A few mornings ago I woke up to the sound of birds chirping right outside my window and it was so delightful. I didn’t even open my eyes so that no other sense could overtake or distract the experience and then it hit me like a brick–imagine a life where you never hear anything ever. Thank you God, for creating the complex ability to hear and interpret.

 

 

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 I am grateful for my son being able to enjoy an activity that was just as fun in my generation and my parent’s generation. In our ever “upgrading” culture, it makes this small joy even more poignant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Yummy cheap popsicles. Are they so delightful because we only get them during one season of the year? I don’t know and I don’t care because I love ’em! (Oh, and so do the kids)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 I’m grateful that God likes pretty things! ‘Cuz I do, too!!

 

 

 

 

 

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 Green Grass that inspires the beauty of just being still with the Lord.

(Technically I was swinging..but whatevs)

 

 

 

 

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 The jolt when you have random moments of clarity about how truly small you are in the universe. I flopped down on the trampoline from exhaustion and this was my view. The sky was so massive; perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

365 Gratitude Project: Week 5

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.  (Yes, I am almost a month behind. But always better late than never!)

A kid that loves vegetables. I’m completely serious when I say that he enjoys eating them. He’ll even ask for them as a “side” in his lunchbox. I love this kid!

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Stain Remover. God bless whoever invented stain remover.

Stain Remover is to a mother what a gun is to a cowboy in an old western.

Word.

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Decent hospital food. If you must sit up at a hospital all night, at least you can get the amazing food delivered right to your door, still piping hot.

(I realize that most hospitals have crap food, but the one where I live is AWESOME!)

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 My custom-built scrapbook desk/cubbies. My dear husband has amazing skills that are so different from mine. He put a lot of time into this just to make me happy. And it did. This is a serious scrappers dream come true!!

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 Cocoa, book, warm throw blanket. Do I really need to say any more?!

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 Black Friday Shopping. We would never be able to afford a trampoline. Thanks to Black Friday we could. He has been outside every single day. He is exhausted when he comes inside.

And it seems to bring all the neighborhood friends to the yard…

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 Getting to share in truly joyful occasions. Being a part of something really special is just the best! My friend has wanted a baby for the last 10 years and is finally pregnant! The room was just bursting with Joy and I am so grateful to have shared this moment with her!

365 Gratitude Project: Week 4

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

This week was a little harder for me.  It seems like when everything is going wrong, it’s twice as hard to find the little things attractive. But I pushed through because I know that the most important time to do this project is when things are hard.

  My job. I get to work surrounded by awesome goodness of books. This is a picture of just one-quarter of the library I work in. And, even if this wasn’t already awesome, I would be grateful for employment at all in these times. (Seriously, this is a very small section of the library)

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  Holding Hands with my husband. He reached back and grabbed my hand through the whole store. Remember, people could see this! 🙂

I felt really special and really loved. Little acts of love mean sooo much to me.

A co-worker of my husband’s was just telling us a story the other day about how he doesn’t hold his wife’s hand anymore because they are “too old” for that and have been married “forever” so she knows that he loves her….. this made me so sad, and yet feel so special in my own marriage.

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My future prayer-warrior.

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Toe socks. It is impossible to be cranky when you are wearing these– just look down and you are bound to at least smirk. A smirk can lead to a full-blown smile if you aren’t careful.

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Exercise. Everything about exercise is awesome. Our bodies are one of the most complex, detailed machines that God created. I love taking care of it. Plus, the endorphins are amazing!!

If you feel the same way, check out my best friend’s blog Redemption Fitness.

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The Easy Joy of Children. This child was sooo excited about his scooter ($25). He came into the house to get me so I could watch him do a “wheelie”. He was just glowing. I want to feel that way again about something, anything. My description of this moment doesn’t even encapsulate how excited and simplistically fulfilled he was.

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The Right Resources. Every child learns differently and it feels like I have gone through a hundred different types of resources trying to find something that speaks to my child on a real level.

I finally found it. I am so grateful for the availability of resources.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 3

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

  Traditions of any sort. Friday Junk Food Night! (Hey, don’t judge me!)

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A husband that SHOWS he thinks about me when we are apart. AKA Flowers For No Particular Reason Other Than He Loves Me.

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The Opportunity for Random Acts of Kindness. We left cookies in the mailbox for our mail carrier just because. (This was after Christmas, just a week ago actually)

Even in the real world – Kindness Begets Kindness.

My mail carrier, whom I have never met before, left me a handwritten note about the need to change my address for my maiden name as well because he was concerned that it would get lost. He even left me the forms I would need.  Acts of Kindness do spawn other Acts of Kindness. Find a way to start a Kindness chain today!

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Natural, old-school, God-given free entertainment: SNOW.

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A Garage. (See #4)

I spent YEARS having to wake up 2 hours earlier than usual during the winter to account for the time it would take to dig out the car. This is my first time ever having a garage in the winter. My son (you can kinda see him in the backseat there) can get right in and it’s warm–no more seeing his breath on the way to school.

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  Unlimited Knowledge in Book Form. I love reading. I love knowledge. I am a “genre jumper” (meaning I like it ALL).

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Being Re-Taught The Way To Read The Bible.  As a child it was a no-no to mark up your Bible, but when I found my new (and forever) church home, I learned that it’s not only okay, but helpful and common to underline, write, etc in my Bible.  It was symbolic for me of the relationship we have with Christ.

We are not to make a shrine, we are to make an engaged relationship. 🙂

 

365 Gratitude Project: Week 2

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

Week 2

  A home that was built properly. We keep our heat set around 62 and our house is never lower than 68-9. We just bought this house in December; it is 3× bigger than our last place and 2× cheaper in power bill. I am so blessed!

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Divine Intervention. I was having a crappy day and felt world-weary. I went into my car for my lunch to “regroup” and my favorite, most inspirational song came on my fav. station (WIBI), which also was exactly what I needed to hear. (While I’m Waiting, by John Waller)

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Being the one to share a first time experience with my son. (This is a picture from the summer, but it summarizes an ongoing thing) Neither my son or myself had ever been to a live baseball game or stadium. We shared a St. Louis Cardinals game experience together this summer. It was the best feeling in the world. Oh, and our team WON. 🙂

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Cheapo rub-on tattoos. They bring extreme joy to kids, are easy to wash off, and are crazy cheap. That’s an all around win.

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TASTE BUDS.

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My mini-me. We are a Green Bay Packers loving house. It is the one thing that I am not outnumbered about. Haha, my poor husband is the odd one on this front.

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A teenager that isn’t “too cool” to participate in family shenanigans. He is such a good sport. He is such a rare jewel among teens. He is such a blessing to me!

365 Gratitude Project: Week1

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

Week 1

  My Family. They are everything in this world to me. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have no family. I should spend more time every day (especially when they  make me nuts!) thanking God that I have them.

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Scripture, Quiet Time w/ God, and a Journal. This is where my strength and honesty come from. Starting or ending a day this way is what makes it possible to keep going.

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Fresh Ground Coffee from whole beans every morning. Um, really, need I say more?

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The Perfect Bedside Setup. Nighttime is my husband and I’s quiet time together. We turn on our lamp and in the soft glow we can talk about our day and read our Bibles.

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Crockpots. The working mothers prized possession. If my house was on fire (and the kid made it out already), the crockpot would be the only thing I grab! Organic chili is pretty amazing, too.

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Old-fashioned stationery sets for good ol “snail mail”. Nothing says “I care” like a mailed, handwritten letter instead of a quickly typed email that a monkey could do in a split second with very little genuine thought or care.

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Surprise Love Notes For No Reason! My son slipped this in next to my breakfast. That made my WHOLE day. He is such a blessing to me!