A thankful life

Thanks Living


Undoubtedly, thankfulness can quickly be gone with the wind in our hectic lives. When we do get the chance for stillness, it’s not reflection and gratitude that fill the air but what can I do for myself that we busy our brains with or simply, we check-out. Suddenly the fourth Thursday in November arrives and we are guilted to suddenly stop and search for what we are thankful for.

That’s what troubles me a about Thanksgiving.

I’m used to everyone gathering around a family style table spread full of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie – the works. A little bit about myself, when I was at home I started the tradition of each one taking time to share what they were thankful for and why; each year adding a different twist to the application. I was into that holiday tradition and focusing on sharing with others what you were thankful for. I wanted everyone to share something real and sentimental usually forgetting to get my own heat-felt story prepared. (Typical ENFP, desiring others to share deeply and forgetting about myself.)

Now that I’m a mom, a cook and mood setter (yes, I think most mom’s happen to have that power) I wonder if that mantra has shifted for me. See, I am realizing that pressing others to cough up an amazing thankful list or story is not what I want anymore. It’s not what I want to bring to the table yearly. It’s not the kind of mood I want to set.

I want to raise grateful kids, EVERYDAY. I want my children to grow up with hearts cultivated to give thanks daily. Not only them but me as well. I want and need a grateful spirit. Not just one day out of the year.


Gratitude affects our attitude

… I wrote in my journal the other day. It really does. Focusing on the gratitude in our sticky and hard situations changes our outlook, our mood, and helps us to think about the good. I’m not saying it’s a cure-all but it’s good for our minds and it gives God the glory which is what we were created for. Which he deserves. God has blessed us in so many ways but yet its the bad, difficult and ‘not fairs’ that we set our minds on.

Probing our hearts for thanks on a regular basis may not happen easily. I already hate the idea of forcing something onto my life, too. Like, ‘I gotta start doing this now!‘ Those kinds of things die off all to easily. And, it’s one more thing that I have to do – blah! I buck at that kind of living.

I want to be God inspired. God led. And move with the Spirit. I think having the desire to live a thank-filled-life pleases God. It’s His Spirit that can prompt and remind in the moment when I’m forgetting. Then God is making it happen and not me. when I try to make things happen I forget like everyone else and then guilt trip myself until I’m black and blue with shame.

This whole post I’m writing reminds me of Ann Voskamp and her book One Thousand Gifts. I recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. Her lifestyle is truly one of desiring to live a life of thanks.

Will I never have my family go around the table and each one pip up what they are thankful for? I’m not saying I won’t. I think Thanksgiving is a good reminder to be thankful. Really. Because we forget. Just like we forget the impact of Jesus dying on the cross for us. Or the significance of Jesus’ birth too. So we have days set aside to celebrate and remember. But just like the song says about ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday‘, maybe we might wish for thanksgivingliving every day as well? What in our lives would change if that became our desire?


How about you? Do you find it hard to suddenly stop and slowdown on Thanksgiving Day and desperately have to find something that you’re at least a little thankful for?

Or do you make it your ambition to find things in life that you are truly grateful for throughout the year?



Having An Acorn Heart


We have this Red Oak tree behind our house that is gorgeous in the fall. It is gorgeous in the summer too but in the fall it turns this beautiful full autumn hue of red, which we are still patiently awaiting to see. Until then it inhabits a squirrel or two or three. We’re never certain of the number of its inhabitants but we hear and see them quite frequently. And, the boy child is eager to point them out to us when they zig-zag down tress or dart across the lawn.

Right now, that tree is busy, as busy as the squirrels. It is dropping tons of thousands of acorns all over our back yard. It’s so bad that when you walk under the tree it feels like your crunching on marbles. So, I did what any precautions momma would do to protect her family from
perceived harm, I raked them up. To which the husband almost laughed-out-loud when I
told him.

As I was kneeling over and scooping up piles of acorns with our slobbery in-my-face dog and curious boy bouncing around me I thought to myself, what could I create that is fallish and Thanksgivingish with these thing?

My sign hanging above the table needed a makeover anyway. A couple of days ago I had wrapped it with gift wrap I got in the Target $1 bins.


Now it is my Acorn Heart.
I can’t say {I_heart_acorns} yet. But I do {heart} my creation with a hot glue gun – ha!




My acorn heart hangs on a wall that I suddenly began to realize is compiled up mostly of nature-y things that I’ve collected around my neighborhood.

Cotton from a farmer down the road.
Berries from an abandoned house in town.
Nest from our tree in the front that Jason rescued for me.
The shelf from neighborhood yard-sale several years ago and the keys I found for like $.85 or something like that when I was in town. I’ve thought about repainting them but haven’t decide on a color.
The basket that the cotton hangs out in is from Wal-Mart. Probably a $1.
The chalkboard binding over there my mom picked up at Goodwill and we used them in our wedding pictures.
And the vase is from who knows where! I don’t even like it but it’s small and I like that it has a narrower top to keep things together.


Decorating on a budget. There you have it. I wasn’t even going to write about that but you got it anyway! May your weekend be inspiring to go look outside and use what you got for free!


Spontaneous or Preplanned?

Would you agree that there is something scary about going into other people’s homes? Initially, that it is fearful? I don’t know why but it keeps us behind our walls, in our normal routines.
A whisper that is so strong it produces immobility.
It convinces safety is staying instead of risking and going to somebody else’s sofa and sipping their tea.

Are there safe risks?


I am often urged by my friend to come, stop in and see her. I want to. But I tell her she lives too far away and in the opposite direction from most of my errands and that she should come see me.

I’m not scared of my friend. She’s my friend. But it’s so much easier to just stay at home then to go out. I tell her if I had a reason to be down in her neck of the woods I’d stop in more often.

If I had a reason…



If I was already on the road in her area to grab a few groceries perhaps or to buy dog from the Feed Store, then I’d have a reason. And for some compelling reason, I need a reason beyond spending time with her to see her?

Help! I need a reason other than her. Sound familiar anyone?

I like the idea of randomly stopping in to see people. I have occasionally planned mornings with different of my friends, including this particular one. It’s having a day preplanned to sit around dunking donuts in coffee and keeping watchful eyes on the kids that is so my thing. I can dance that jig. You should see me!

I do planned, not random.
Because I don’t know how to do random.




I do like the idea of random though. I like the image of people going into each other’s houses on a whim. Gathering together spontaneously. Talking. I always like seeing everybody.

Some people are gifted at blocking out fear I believe. Either that or they are brave an don’t know it. I’d like to be more like that. More brave. More listening to what I want to do then the fear that I allow dictate my reasons. Because yes, you know it, I always need a reason for what I do.

I fault not living in my home turf as my reason that keeps me locked in my brick walls here. The fear of not being received only to look like a nerd at their front door. The fear of not being invited in. The fear of catching them at a bad time. The fear of taking up their time just to chit-chat.

With my family in my home community I’m quite certain we’d be back and forth at each others houses. People randomly dropping in on me and me going there unannounced. Going to moms almost daily and popping in on friends as I’d drive home from Wal-Mart. I can see it all playing out on a big stage in my mind’s eye. It would not be scary. at. all.

But here, going somewhere is scary.



Because it’s {easier} to stay at home.

Jason’s family I feel free to stop in on unannounced. I do. They are family. They are an exception.

Other then my in-laws, I’d rather have people over then to go somewhere.


Call me crazy, but if you would suddenly stop in, spontaneously, unannounced and in the middle of my routine, I would LOVE it. I would be so honored! I would break out the sweet stuff and coffee or milk. I would settle you in my couch, give you a blanket and turn on more lights. I would ask you questions about your day and see how you are. Or we would talk on the bar stools by the bar. My second most favorite place to seat visitors.

Yes, I would love it.


How about you?

  • Do you like to go out to a friend’s house spontaneously or pre-planned?
  • Do you struggle to invite yourself over somewhere?
  • What are some ways to practice visiting a friend?

The Couch Story


I truly think our child believes we party all night long on our couch.

You see, when Saturday is done and cleaned up and after we raced hither and yon, and we folded towels and washed windows and grabbed burritos for supper and swept up leftover cereal and eggs crumbs and put away our memory games and little cars and toys that were all over the floor and on the coffee table and then when we stopped the movie we started after sitting down on the couch when it’s completely dark and chilly outside with our warm tea or lattes, we pick up our yawning little one and gently place him in his crib in-spite his ‘uh-uhhs’ in response to “Are you ready for bed?” It’s after we tip-toed out of his room that we make our way back to the couch in hopes of finishing the movie that he, our little one, becomes suspicious.

You see, the next day Sunday dawns bright and warm, bursting through our windows and when we can’t stand it no longer either me or Jason head over to make the coffee. Eventually we find our way back to the sofa armed with hot steamy mugs and something sweet as Jason’s tradition that I succumbed to, along with iPad or laptop and an iPhone for me. When Gavin enters the scene staged back again in the living room, where does he find his mother and father but perched again on the couch nestled in the cushions with blankets and pillows. Exactly where he left us the night before

And as the day tarried, we land back down upon the couch during the middle of the afternoon, after a lunch of any shape or size or flavor and where either Sunday football, or reading catch-up time without interruptions or simply blessed sleep take place. Yes, on the couch. We relax, prop up our legs, bury cold toes under blankets and rest our longing to unwind bodies hard on throw pillows and on each other.

The couch beckons us in, soft and poofy, strong and supportive, quiet community at home. It’s a Sunday afternoon and where you’ll find us. It’s where we end our Saturdays and spend just about half of our Sunday. It’s where our dear child signs off with us and greets us the next day.


And one day, perhaps when we are too old to move or care we might just stay there, on the couch, worn out and stuck, bedded down for the night. It just may be that we will, after all the years and history of our lives unfold we will stay on that dear couch of ours full of memories and then in the end full of the people who made the memories.

It’s a couch’s life in our house. He is needed and has worth. Earned high value and carries marks of use. He’s as much a part of our family as any other person. A part of our story that we couldn’t live without. A part of our story that if subtracted out wouldn’t be the same story for us, in our house on Hackberry.



Have You Not Noticed?

To Mothers, Waiting-to-be-Mothers, Caregivers, Aunts and of course, Grandmothers,


“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” -John 8:36


I can’t help but catch that ‘free’ feeling as my eyes quickly trail my free-spirited toddler spinning carelessly around the back yard.


What an liberating feeling to run.
To bolt out the back door.
To scamper unrestrained.

What a picture of freedom.

Of unbound life.


Safe & secure.



Being a mother I’ve willingly adopted new emotions. Children do that to a caregiver. Suddenly bursting with so many never encountered before emotions and the only one word that can explain it for me is pride. Pride drizzled with happy tears.

I can’t get over that smile. That giggle. His joy of having momma chase him. Momma who wants him.

It’s hard-core love on each part I’m sure.



No “I’m mad at you because __” or “I’m still angry that I had to finish my peas.” He easily forgets. But bounces in the other direction hoping I’ll chase him and hugs tight when I swing him up to my chest.

I easily forget all my frustrations between us when I see him run.

This boy has been teaching me about the character of God and I hadn’t even noticed.


God keeps coming to me. Chasing {me}.
Every. time. I do wrong.

An Old TOPS Goer


Sometimes I still catch myself off guard when I look in the mirror. I’m expecting to see something much different. I forget that I’m not who I used to be.

It might be hard to believe if you know me currently that 10-12 years ago I used to weigh 30-ish more pounds. Then I used to go to TOPS with my mother.

It was frustrating. Every week we would go, weigh in and if you gained you owed coins. I forget how much per pound. But week after week of fluctuating up a pound, down a half. Up a half, down a quarter. Yes, they measured down to the quarter pound. It was like baby steps. In a circle no less.

“I don’t know why I even go,”  I would lament to my mom. “It’s a bunch of old ladies that like to get together and yak. That’s all. There’s no real competition at TOPS.”

After weigh in, we sat around the table and somebody would share advise or encouragement or something for us to try for the week.

Feeling like the loser, odd ball, it seemed so pointless with these giddy old ladies with crowned perm hairdos.

TOPS stood for Take Of Pounds Sensibly.
Or better yet, I Can’t Loss Weight So Figure It Out On Your Own But Come Let Me Give You A Hug.
Or Keep trying One Day 50 Years From Now You Might Make It.
Or Welcome To The We Are Old and Fat, Happy Party.

I hated it. I hated my life. I hated that I was so young and had to deal with this weight battle. I just knew there was a skinnier me inside that was dying to get out.

A happier me that was stuck inside my bad habits.

A longing for fulfillment me that was fenced in by all my 20-year-old insecurities.

I thought about that time long ago today as I sat down to eat my lunch. I stared at my plate. Left over plain fettuccine noodles covered with a handful of canned chicken and squirts of Italian dressing, bordered with mixed veggies. It reminded me of those lean cuisine meals you buy in the frozen department at the grocery store.

I wondered what I would have thought about this meal back then.


I’m thankful that I’m not the same person. Not because of the weight battle but because of where I was at spiritually and with my issues.

Recently I was talking with a friend who told me that she doesn’t think she’s at sanguine as she used to be. I credited it to having changed and matured. She smiled (I think feeling funny that a person in their mid 20’s could still be changing and maturing. Either that or that she was embarrassed at how outgoing/outspoken she used to be).

Yesterday I got a picture card in the mail from my cousin. She was smiling brightly with her husband and children laced around her. Odd baby announcement, I thought. The baby on her lap was almost a year old. In the corner was a cute picture of just the couple. Then I read, Happy 10th Anniversary!

I stared at the picture.

10 years, and I bet she’s still the same, I mused aloud.


Ha! Funny thing with people we know the longest is we don’t seem to allow much room for change. Whether they change or not. We still assume they are the same. Truth be told, when we meet up with them they generally are. And we walk away thinking things like - She’s still the same old Sally!

But, the exciting news is that we do change. As we experience life and ups and downs, we become different, re-molded. Maybe not as noticeable on the outside but our inner chambers take new form. Over time our thinking changes as we read and listen and are prompted to new thoughts by different sources. We start to see ourselves go through the same types of things repeatedly, like reoccurring waves. I wonder if we just know ourselves better and our typical shortcomings?

Dare I say we almost even become predictable?

I know I’m glad I don’t think the same as back in those TOPS going days. I’m thankful for a healthier self-image. I believe I respond to people and situations differently (I didn’t say perfectly) than I used to. And, I’m so glad I see God differently then back then.

I’m not satisfied with where I’m at (and I hope I never am). I still yearn to  g r o w  and mature.

Looking back at old pictures, those are just memories. That girl was me. But she’s not the me today.


And, hopefully the me today won’t be the me tomorrow


On the other hand



It truthfully feels like I can’t remember what I was doing before October hit. Before the #write31days challenge began. I can’t even remember what I used to think about besides friendships; my topic. My brain has been sorta numb walking out of the challenge and yet, when I do have other thoughts opposed to friendship I revert to a brief moment to scolding myself, promising to think about that other thought later. Albeit, I CAN think those other thoughts now. Hello.

It is november. I, on the one hand am glad it’s November because that means October is over and no more stressing thinking about what to blog each day or what to wear. :/

On the other hand, I’m freaking out that Thanksgiving is on the horizon and then Christmas!

And, on the other hand, it’s been warm here for SSOOOOO long that this colder weather, which was welcomed with glee last week, is making me panic due to not knowing how to dress suddenly. (I’m sure I will figure it out soon, and I’ll remember all those fun scarves and boots) This also is inducing my desire to go shopping. I actually found an Old Navy coupon and saved it this morning.
Dressing my son has been a bit of a challenge. No more easy shorts and t-shirts. I have to get in gear with these strange, long, stiff jeans and long-sleeved shirts for him. Not to mention socks and shoes. So much hassle to get out the door. Sweats are the most comfy I say, since he’s still in diapers. And the boots we got him. Easy. My quest in life: ease and convenient.



Excited about this riding toy car purchase. Yard-sale-ing Saturday had been particularly kind to me. I found just want I wanted and a couple extra bonuses I didn’t know I needed. The car for Gavin was the one and only thing on my list that I ‘need-needed’ this year. He almost lives on said car his entire awake existence.

And these old 1966 edition books. I can’t get over the smell. I can’t get over their pretty covers.
Altogether now, 1. 2. 3. Swwoooon!


Can I just say, on the other hand, that this time change has been a doozy on me. I told Jason that it must be the older I get that it’s harder on me to adjust to changing our clocks. He didn’t say much but in the back of my mind, I think it has been hard on all THREE of us.

6 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Grrr! Count me out and under the covers. <-If only. We had breakfast before 8 that day.

And the following day.

Had I mentioned I was sleep deprived??

It’s true. I have been so behind sleep ever since, and, yes, it’s only Tuesday. But lack of sleep does something to my mommy-ing skills. As Lysa TerKurst says, “I don’t wake up thinking mean things.”

I’ll leave it at that.












Now, how about that nap?. . . . . . . .