counting the kindness

October 15, 2016

i’ve kept a little journal, logging moments big and small where i was given a gift of deep kindness and generosity. i am so thankful already that i have this record because rereading it brings back such appreciation and gratitude.

just this week, i was blown away by kindness-out-of-nowhere; 2 surprises arriving a day apart that brought me so much joy. i feel humbled and also it makes me think how much it means, deep in to this journey, to have faithful support still rallying around. particularly walking through this home stretch of 33 radiation treatments (6 to go!), the gifts of love mean so much.

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this totally adorable gift arrived from my precious lifelong girlfriend, jaina. how completely adorable is all of this, with her handmade card and personalized bag? and the pink and gold polish? love.

the next day, this arrived: 

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the picture hardly captures the beauty of this hand-quilted pillow … colors that i love, and that verse,  “i know that my Redeemer liveth” (job 19:25). such a beautiful, thoughtful gift.

((kind of a funny story of how it arrived:). it was after lunch, the boys were watching their requisite one cartoon before rest, hubby was working away in his office and i snuck a bathroom break (gasp). from inside the bathroom, i heard hubby calling “babe” so i came out to see what was going on, pulling my pants up all the while. lo & behold, standing there in our living room was darling bonnie, a lovely lady who was in my bible study small group last year. hubby was decked out in his fabulous robe! lol. apparently, josiah heard the doorbell ring and rushed to greet our visitor, inviting them in. 🙂 ))

such kindness honestly enveloping me every step of this journey and i feel a gratitude words cannot capture.

wisdom from my grandma

April 8, 2015

grandma and mike :)

grandma and mike 🙂 from 2011

My precious Grammy just left after dropping off her delicious bean soup for lunch.

the miracle there is that yesterday,  my grandma and I were playing phone tag. I was on the phone with my mom in the late afternoon and jokingly said, it would be such a dream if grandma had been calling to say she’d made us a pot of her amazing beans. my hubby is out of town and I was feeling the end of day weariness and craving the warmth and love of some of grandma’s soup.

I hung up the phone with my mom, checked my voice mail, and the message from my grandma said she’d made us a pot of beans that she’d like to bring over.

I laughed out loud! Seriously?!

And I remembered the words I believe the Spirit whispered to my heart a few years ago: you are known and loved.

by my family and my Father in the most stunning way.

fast forward to today … grandma arrived as the boys and I were just walking in from playing catch/chase with a ball across the street. It was windy & cool … we come inside and as always, grandma’s arms are full of gifts. bags. She always brings bags of something 🙂

Today’s bags held magazines,  a used sweatshirt she thought we’d like, a darling little frying pan, some fruit snacks for the boys and of course the beans. Mmmm. 🙂

We sat on the couch while the boys raced and hollered down the hall. The sun streamed in on her shoulders as we caught up on life … family … plans for my babe’s birthday tomorrow  (she insists she hosts pie & ice cream to celebrate him :)). And then the conversation turned in another direction as we talked about strained relationships,  phone calls that feel awkward and get put off. And she says this,

“Do everything you can, so you won’t be sorry later.”

no regrets.

she said when she was young, her father never called or took part in her life (her parents were divorced). She said later in life, her father was always saying sorry for what he hadn’t done. she determined then to never have to say sorry but instead to be intentional and always, do everything in her power no matter if she felt like it, so she would have no regrets.

I love that. How often can I put off making that call, reaching out, doing the thing I know I need to do … allowing my feelings to determine my action or inaction.

but I want to have no regrets. Like grandma said, if tomorrow somethinks terrible happened to that person, how important to have the peace of knowing you had made the call or reached out.

so thankful today for wise words, gentle love & delicious bean soup. 🙂

august refresh

September 14, 2014

i love coming together with other mama’s, sharing hearts and encouragement as we walk this wild journey of motherhood.

a friend from church and i had been throwing around the idea of hosting a mama’s bible study since early last year … but there were always obstacles and hiccups. the timing seemed off.

around the middle of this summer, the inspiration came to me again so i started thinking of ways to make it happen. the phrase, “august refresh” came clearly to my mind and i knew that’s what we’d do: meet weekly just for the month of august. to refresh.

i asked just a few friends to see the interest and got a resounding “YES!” from almost every one. we were all looking for this thing, right about now. i wasn’t sure at first what book to study – or should we study scripture? – but after some looking and seeking, i found the very perfect choice for our group: “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.” yes, that was us.

as i think over the month, over those 4 tuesday mornings that we met, i smile. it was *such* a time of sweet refreshment! we were able to have my maddie and her darling friend watch all our kids, upstairs! away from us! contained and mostly happy! 🙂 the first week, once babies and kids were happily upstairs being cared for, we all sat and laughingly agreed that if we didn’t discuss a single thing, the week would be a success: we’d have this 1 1/2 hours to rest. to breathe. 😉

but it turns out, we *did* discuss much. we shared insights, convictions, concerns, burdens, ideas, prayer. there is something so special about women coming to together!

i am so thankful for the blessing the women and that pocket of sweet time was in my august … thankful that i decided to step forward and do the thing that was on my heart. looking forward to next time 🙂

girlfriend crafting day

September 22, 2013

we had a really sweet time at our home yesterday! madison invited her classmates from classical conversations – the girls, that is 🙂 – over for an afternoon of journal-making and ice cream.

we’d been talking about organizing something for these awesome kids to do and finally a few weeks ago i just said, let’s do it! a crafting time is a no-brainer for my artistic, creative girl. she was so excited and swimming with ideas, but finally narrowed it down to journal-making, because it is frugal and has more appeal to a variety of girls vs a very girly-girly craft that may not interest some.

{an aside: as a mama who has decided to keep my daughter home – out of a large school setting – i believe i carry a great responsibility to steward well her time particularly as it relates to cultivating and growing friendships. i have to be intentional about ensuring she has adequate and positive opportunities to spend time with friends with whom she can share her growing life. i take this seriously and grapple often with this responsibility … and the fact that she spends her mondays in CC seminar with honestly some of the most incredible young teens *ever* makes it simple to decide to create more time with some of these kiddos!}.

the supplies for the party were simple: cheap “composition” books, some pretty paper and rubber cement, then a collection of random pens and stickers and glitter glue that maddie had in her stash. easy & cheap. the day was totally lovely!

chores were done to ensure everything was clean and guest-ready; after that, maddie had a blast setting up!

 

 

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such sweet girls!!

such sweet girls!!

 

an added bonus was the opportunity i had to connect with some of the other mama’s … one that i hadn’t yet met and ended up having a really awesome heart-sharing time of conversation with as she dropped her daughter off.  what a blessing!

another mama was a childhood friend of mine – crazy! – and now our daughters are enjoying their growing friendship so much. in fact, when this mama came her daughter was protesting having to leave, insisting her mom sit and visit with me longer. 🙂 no problem!

i was struck by a comment one mama made: that we are all overwhelmed by the intensity of this *very* academic, challenging, rigorous classical schooling program and that i – having two small babies at home – opened my home to host this wonderful time for the girls. honestly, i don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal as far as effort, etc. it’s so worth it!

most of all, it’s worth it because relationships matter. they  matter to GOD – he designed us for relationship with Him and for unity with one another. it can be so easy to let the busy-ness of life get in the way,

i have also been thinking about how *stuff* can get in the way of relationships … not having the “right” stuff, having too much stuff. STUFF!

i confess that since we’ve moved and haven’t yet been able to furnish the way that i’d love to, it can feel a little intimidating having company over. i want so badly to have the big comfortable couch that would be cozy and beautiful; the lovely pillows and rug and pictures and …

stuff.

on the flip side, i know someone who has such nice stuff, who cares so much about all this stuff, that she doesn’t have company (especially little people) because getting all that stuff messy would totally stress her out.

how crazy is all this?! so, i determined to no longer put off opening our home … in order to do what matters most: love people. build relationship.

make memories.

learning to love

February 5, 2013

sunday morning found me in an intense phone conversation with a dear sister friend.

we’ve been in a rough patch in our friendship and needed reconciliation.

the conversation lasted over an hour; hurts were shared, misunderstandings processed and hurt feelings revealed. it was hard – tears were shed; there were moments of silence; reaching out and pulling back.

ultimately, there was peace. connection. grace.

at one point during the conversation she said to me, “i am learning.” how to be a friend. how to love well. me too.

***

later that same day, another precious friend came to our home to share an abundance, gifting our family with much-needed and appreciated sundries.

in our hugs goodbye, i thanked her for being an amazing friend.

“i am learning,” she said.

***

i was struck that my day was bookend-ed by dear friends, saying the very same thing:

” i am learning.”

and aren’t we all?? to love better, to rise above our selfish natures, unfair expectations, critical thoughts, hurts that we nurse and hold on to.

LORD, let me love deeply! with Your grace, through Your strength, loving Your people. let me keep in mind that we are all walking with quiet hurts, burdens, and stress.

i’ve had this verse written on a card in my windowsill, and it reminds me so perfectly,

“accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to GOD.” romans 15:7

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spoiled

September 8, 2012

last night was such a treat.

one of my dearest friends has been offering to give me a complete pedicure, but i hadn’t taken her up on the offer … embarrassed at my dry cracked feet? feeling like it’s such a HUGE gift and feeling a bit self conscious about it?

but she insisted. 🙂 and i am so glad she did! she wanted to have it done before the baby arrives, which is totally awesome.

so last night was the night, and she completely spoiled me. she called first to see what my favorite drink was. and did i like hershey’s chocolate?? hee hee.

she spent over TWO hours laboring over my feet … scrubbing, soaking, rubbing, buffing, filing, and painting. all the while, she had bowls of chocolates next to me, with a cool drink and a hilarious comedy movie playing on her big tv. we laughed and watched the baby move the ENTIRE TIME in my belly (tidal waves of crazy!) and i laid my head back and just soaked in the goodness.

seriously wow. 

{oh, and the color?? this totally awesome slate gray with glitter topcoat. something i would *never* normally pick but i wanted something funky and different. it’s hot!}

thank you, friend!!

and speaking of spoiling, the morning before another dear mama friend showed up early on our doorstep, bearing gifts … seasonings (cinnamon, real salt, thyme), big jars of coconut oil and olive oil, teas and other sundry treats. so blessed!

emotional.

December 22, 2010

i always read about pregnancy bringing with it the raging hormones and emotional roller coaster … but honestly, i couldn’t remember feeling that way much from my pregnancy with madison (it’s been so long and i can’t remember?!) and didn’t think it would necessarily pertain to me.

boy, was i wrong.

i told my hubby today that I can barely stand being around me – i am driving myself crazy! honestly, the rapid up and downs of such *intense* emotions feels pretty foreign. and i am a passionate, emotional woman; experiencing feelings deeply is nothing new for me. but this feels different. i can go from feeling just this sickening frustration to this overwhelming gratitude and warmth, in no time.

and the crying? what is up with all these tears? for the SILLIEST things?!

bottom line: i recognize that this is pregnancy-related. but that doesn’t excuse all of it and i am really trying to implement strategies that do not involve responding/reacting to my precious family in ways that are just not ok. i am so thankful for the deep, honest, real communication that my hubby and i share; and yet, i can’t just pour this all out on him. as i’ve written about before, he is not my need-meeter. but oh how needy i am feeling these days. ah.