Right Here {Gratitude}

This is where I want to delight to be.  Right Here.  Right Now. 

I sit here, early this morning, just thinking of all there is to be thankful for.  Thinking how if I slept in a bit more, I might miss, THIS.  This moment to stop and think.  To look across and see two boys – 12 and 10.  One reading his Bible under a blanket while the last fire of the year burns in the stove.  The other, eyes closed, praying for his day.

If I were still snuggled under the covers trying to hold to the night, and not grabbing my day, I would miss the quiet of the wood burning next to me.  I would miss my sweet cats waking up too, and lounging around the room.

Right here.  Thinking about what today is going to offer me.  The temps are turning here, tomatoes and peppers will go.  I have been waiting to get these in for weeks, and now patience will pay off.  If I had given in to my desire two weeks ago, we may have lost them all with these recent freezing temps!

Right here, still enjoying little Patches in the yard – starting to warm to us and come up for some snuggles.  And now a new member – a sweet little bull calf that arrived last night.  (Not sure about his name yet).  Enjoying our sweet little chicks too, who will soon be our new egg laying hens!  I love welcoming new life into this Hobby Farm of ours!

Rejoicing that God opened up a home for Polly!  So, so, so happy to have found a family to love her like she wanted to be loved, a home where she IS the loved pet and not one of many.  No chickens to chase, no goats to bother – just people to love her!  God was so good to find the perfect home with some great kids to love her all day long!!  I just know she must feel like a Rock Star now!!

Right here.  I don’t want to be anywhere else.  I want to grab these early moments and the ones that will trickle in all day and enjoy every last bit of them. 

If you do not see how GOOD God is, you have not been looking around much have you?  Man, He is GOOD!!

Where to start

Recently, my dear husband and I have felt like we need to back up and start some things over.  What prompted this?  Well, when you realize you are still falling into destructive patterns, say when you fight, it is not a good thing.  Not when you are on the brink of your 15th anniversary.  You know?  So we had to go backward a bit, dig up some of the yucky and ask ourselves how can we do this different?

Well, one way is to get away more often.  The past, say two years, we have had about 6 dates I think.  Especially if you do not count the company Christmas Party, or similar things.  Because, honestly, who talks about deep stuff at the “crazy” company Christmas party?  Not me. (it is hard to get my husband to talk about deep stuff anytime, but especially not in front of people who know him!!)

 

So we took some time to talk about our marriage and where we are looking for changes.  We talked about what we each do well, and where we are needing some improvements.  It was good.

Next up, date night.  So fun to get away and catch a movie, but the best part was the plan to work on our family mission statement over some dinner.  I was impressed that when I told Robert he was in charge of planning the conversation, that this is what he wanted to do.  Floored is more like it. 

So I printed off a few things that I found on the internet to help guide us, and I did not really look at it prior to printing, I mean, we were walking out the door….

Mistake #1.  When you sit down to do this, you need to make sure the guide you are using is Biblically based, otherwise you will see words like happy, fulfilled, and fun throughout.  Not sure those are God’s call to us as believers.   Honestly, I think we could build a mission statement with a piece of paper, a pen and the Bible.  Really, that is the only guide we need.  But it is helpful to see some steps outlined as we go through this.  The most important part of this statement, though, is that it reflects the overall vision of God, his word.  It must be able to lay next to the Bible and support what it tells us we need to do, and how we need to live. 

So, this morning I went back to my search and found the Simple Mom’s version of a guide HERE.  LOVE it!!  I am printing this so that my husband and I can look it over and we can start again.  There are other great bloggers out these who have shared their journey through this, but for now, we are going to follow Tsh as she went through her journey and the steps she took.  I know we will end up in a good place for our marriage and our family!!

So, do you have a Family Mission Statement?  I am so sad to say we have never written one down.  We have talked about it many, many times – but I guess we felt like we were good.  Now that our kids are flying through childhood, approaching adolescence, it is not a desire any longer – it is a REQUIREMENT!!  Life is far to hectic and crazy to not have the main purpose defined, clearly. 

So we are off, to plan, to share and to create. 

What is to come….

Oh my, I think I may have blacked out – how is it possibly, almost 2012???  I am not sure what happened to 2011…

Well, I guess I may have lost track of time among: A new roof, a new calf, incubating chickens, a dry pond, a drought all around, a huge garden to till, plant, and harvest; four kids getting another year older, schooling 5 kids in 4 different grades, a myriad of doctor appointments (and more to come), oh the list goes on and on.

As I sit and plan our meal for New Years Eve (normally fondue is involved) I am filled with mixed emotions, excitement for what is to come in 2012, but a little bit of loss over the end of 2011.  What a year for our family.  It has been a great journey this past year, we are all finishing up our Bible reading, the boys are done with their reading (New Testament, Psalm & Proverbs) – next year they will take on the whole shebang!!  My youngest son will join in with the New Testament, Psalm and Proverbs, my daughter hopefully work in some proverbs as she gets reading down.  My husband and I, I think will tackle the whole Bible again.  I so enjoyed it this year!

This year we stayed close to home, except for me and the princess as we needed to go east for my USMA reunion.  This year, it looks like we will be travelling the globe again!!  Not sure it will be a record for states, but we will certainly get in a few we have not been to (well, the kids anyway).  We are so excited to be going to Florida with my in-laws for an AMAZING trip to Disney!!  Still cannot believe it!!  What a blessing!  Also this fall we will be trekking north and east again to the wonderful land of Maine – and hope to spend a good bit of time up there studying ocean life, beaches, and New England.  I may even get a trip to Boston into the mix for us to walk the Freedom trail.  Oh the places we will go…..

But as the calendar fills up, I am wondering what 2012 holds for my spiritual growth.  As we embark on a new year, awaiting genetic testing on my youngest two to determine what they have, I keep coming back to trust.  Trusting God.  Trusting him with the little things, and the big.  Trusting him to fill me with patience, kindness, love and compassion even when I am not feeling it.

I think that is the theme I will cling to this year.  It is going to be a great year, but there may be a few bumps in the road, and as we deal with those, I will be trusting God in all things.

So as 2012 approaches I will be clinging to Him as I trust all that comes my way, trusting I will handle things with the grace and mercy he handles me with!

Thanksgiving Traditions

It can be so easy to jump from Halloween/Fall festival planning, right into Christmas!  But, I hate to let that happen in our home!  I love Thanksgiving!!  One of my favorite holidays because there is much less stress associated with it!

I love that we usually get together with family, usually have some wonderful food, and usually have lots of down time.  But, it can be missed in the rush for Christmas if we are not careful!

In our home, this year, we are capturing the  Thanksgiving spirit  by our annual listening to Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember.  This is put out by  Family Life Ministries and we LOVE it!!  It is an audio drama that Barbara Rainy put together that tells the real, historic story of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving (A FamilyLife Book): A Time to Remember (Family Life Books)

 

Along with the Audio Drama CD that we have we love her book, Thanksgiving A Time to Remember.    There are six chapters, about 2-3 pages each, great for an evening devotion with the kids.  What I love about this book is the historical accuracy!  Too often, books today are being re-written to get God out of our nation’s history and our of our holidays.  This book captures exactly how God is the center of our history and this holiday!

There is a section in the back to journal things you are grateful for, it would be precious to fill that in on Thanksgiving Day each year – and then look back at what everyone entered in past years.

Along with the book and audio CD there is a Hymn CD too – we love this, okay – I love this.  There are no voices, just an instrumental CD, but when it plays the kids love recognizing hymns that we have studied.

Family Life is selling a Pack of everything we have and more if you are interested, check it out here.

gratitude journals kids

We are doing Gratitude Journals this year too, each child has a simple version of the one I saw here.  Each day they are entering 5 things they are grateful for.  We will do this past Thanksgiving, hopefully up to Christmas.  Then, I plan to stash this cute little book in their Christmas Treasure boxes, for the to look at each year when we open those up.

That is a few things we are doing to savor this season and all it stands for.  We are trying to really spend some time realizing how grateful we are for all God has blessed us with.  Hope you are able to grab some of the joy of Thanksgiving this year, before it slips away!! 

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I love Mondays

I know I have said this before (maybe a couple times) but I love Mondays.  I love what they hold for the week – the promise of a new beginning, a new school week, new to-do lists, and fun things to do!

I also love that Ann Voscamp inspires us to offer our gratitude journal on Mondays. 

 

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Today I am grateful for

0217~ friends coming to play

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0218~ sitting on Sunday by the fire while I sew and my boys learn needlepoint

 

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0219~ a surprise gift – a handmade rug from generations past (Thanks Uncle Kelley)

0220~ watching the Polar Express with children mesmerized and delighted (thanks Guardian)

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(our Jesse Tree Ornament Holder)

0221 ~ finishing projects and not just starting new ones! 🙂

0222~ sparkling lights in the house and the school

0223~ chickens getting big enough to eat (almost)

0224~ boys with a heart to serve – before their time, but still precious

 

0225~ seeing Santa (for fun)

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0226~making homemade ornaments

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0227~ Mom’s night out – crafting, yummy food, and fellowship

 

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0228~ finding an old chess board + a new-found chess set = chess games daily between 4 children

0229~ hot showers, peppermint tea, and tea tree oil for a sweet son having bronchial issues

0230~ a friend to tell me what I need to do for that sweet boy – see above {Thanks Jennifer}

0231~ spending an hour in the middle of the night with my sweet boy – feeling blessed to have him to spend that time with; peppermint teat to soothe a sore throat, sprinkled with lots of smiles

0232~ a warm fire on a cold morning – in the house and the school!!