Friends and Flowers ~ SOLSC ~ 27/31

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Today,

I shared smiles and

sweet kisses,

curled my hair and

felt the warmth

of friendship

and flowers

despite the

click of

sleet that splattered

across the

deck that longs for

summer’s sun.

An clear day

on the calendar

was my gift

and an evening

at home

was yet another

blessing.

As I celebrate

the start of my

36th year,

I’m reminded to

be present,

in this

amazing life.

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Finished ~ SOLSC ~ 26/31

SOLSC2014Just before climbing into a much-needed shower tonight, I put the finishing touches on yet another furniture makeover project.  In the past few weeks I have painted our unusable fireplace, four dining room chairs, a sideboard, a small tabletop lazy Susan, and now, an old sewing table I rescued from the side of the road for free one afternoon last year.  In December, my husband and I deconstructed the accompanying chair and recovered it to go in my daughter’s new bedroom.

In all honesty, there is only one piece of furniture we currently own that I can even think of painting, and that is the old piano bench upon which our guinea pig’s cage resides.  And I’m quite certain there’s no rush on getting that finished.  And well, I guess there are two pieces, because I am seriously considering painting our piano…but I’m just not sure.  The product I’m using is a new favorite – Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax.  My favorite makeover is the sideboard.  It went from water discolored white spots on the top of the orangey oak to a lovely shade of duck egg blue complete with distressed edges and white interiors of the two end cabinets.  Each day, when I walk into the mudroom, I see it and can’t help but smile.

As I shared with my husband recently, it’s the first project I’ve completed that has surpassed my expectations!  The sewing table is a close second as is the Emperor’s Silk and dark wax lazy Susan.  For the first time, I have a vision and it seems that they are becoming reality.

I will take this success, this accomplishment, and use it to fuel a few final projects including the accent wall in the master bedroom before calling my list complete.  Unless, by complete you mean I have my taxes done…which might explain the urgency with which I’ve been painting, sanding, waxing and working.

Anyone else pour yourself into projects as procrastination?

Anyone?

Anyone?

 

 

Connections ~ SOLSC ~ 25/31

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In November, my daughter was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, and since then I have heard it mentioned, referenced and met advocates more than ever before.  It’s like when we were facing infertility nine years ago, and suddenly I was surrounded by pregnant people in every movie theater or grocery store, and comforted by similar stories of others who were struggling as well.  

So much of what happens

and how we view things,

seems inexorably linked to our

awareness.  

If we are

looking…

seeking…

contemplating…

we find we’re not alone,

and that He provides 

precisely what we need.

 

Today, it was 

a one-block walk on untrodden snow, my hands wrapped around the mittened fingers of my two blessings.

a mother’s offer for hot soup and warm conversation that I couldn’t afford, but absolutely needed.

a delivered meal with a side of encouragement to new parents giddy with love, joy and sleep deprivation.

a conversation of encouragement with a complete stranger as we waited for polish to dry.

a quiet hour covered with a favorite blanket on a warm couch,

a child’s kiss on my cheek, and his willingness to let me rest.

a selfless spouse rising to make the meal I’d planned, but didn’t have the energy to produce.

a flurry of conversation, laughter and listening as we learn.  

 

And sometimes, each of these

individually

are wonderful.  

But all these things together,

wrapped up

in

around, and

through

creates a deeper

connection.

A sense of love,

joy,

peace

and patience.

 

Fun and Friends ~ SOLSC ~ 23/31

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My name is Amanda, and I’m a recovering Groupon addict.

Around the holidays, I spent far too many wee hours searching anything and everything for great ideas and experiences we could do with the kids, but when I made the impulse purchase on the lift tickets and rental equipment, I was actually thinking it’d be more like a date than a family outing.

Plans changed.

With a scheduled day off in mid-February, we and about a million other people headed to a nearby ski resort to hit the slopes.  We arrived around 10 and close to 12:30 we had our tickets and equipment and were ready to head outside.  The kids were naturals.  They snowplowed and turned, leaned over and bent their knees for better balance.  We thought they would call it a day after we headed inside for some lunch, but they surprised us by heading back out for another couple hours.  We even attempted the tow rope, which they turned out to love!

Since that day, Calder and his friend Ben have been plotting a way to get back there to ski together.  His mom and I had talked it over, and thankfully, I called on Friday only to learn that today was their last day of the season!

We headed out shortly after attending church, and much to my surprise, there was hardly anyone there!!  No waiting, no lines, just collecting our gear and eating the packed lunches we brought.  From that point on, we were outside and those kids were skiing!  A few trips down together, and they had the hang of it!

I’m so thankful that not only are the boys great friends, but us moms are too!  Knowing that we’l have years of outings together ahead of us is so exciting!  And great motivation to learn new things!!! :)

Hands ~ SOLSC ~ 22/31

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For two weeks, my manicured nails have flashed their redness as I swipe a stray hair from my face or wipe a tear from a tiny eye.  My typical plain hands have been temporarily transformed.  And yet, the increasing gap of non-color prompted me to call for an appointment earlier this week…unfortunately, our schedules didn’t coincide.  This morning, I glanced down and noticed the little lift of polish on my thumb.  A simple tug and there was suddenly a matching margin of no color at the tip.  Dressing for the bridal shower, I nearly opted for a band-aid as cover…but then I forgot!

*                         *                         *

Games had been played, gifts opened.  We sat or stood, talking and mingling.  I made my way to Grandma’s table and thanked her for filling out the recipe cards I’d requested.  We chatted about books she’s read and I gave her a couple suggestions of favorite historical fiction titles that she too might enjoy.  Noticing the streak of red as I reached for my coffee cup, Grandma asked if I’d had a manicure.

“A while ago,” I replied.

She shared how she’s just unable to hold the brush to paint her own nails.  As she shares, she looks at her hands, and something about her expression tells me shy might be seeing those hands differently than she’d expected.  It’s as though she sees how they used to be.

“I can paint them for you,” I offered.

“Really?  I’ll talk to Papa and see if that would be OK.

We hug, and promise to set a date for said nail-painting, and so she can give me the final recipe card, which comes also with a private cooking lesson on the fine art of frying chicken!

*                         *                         *

From her post in the bedroom, where Frozen plays for the umpteenth time, she sits or twirls and sings along with this film she now knows by heart!  I watch and listen, and then whisper, “Seneca, we’re painting nails out there.  Want me to do yours?”  She considers this and almost says yes, but instead chooses to stay in the room.  Then, a few minutes later , I heard her quietly pad into the great room, and whisper that she’d like me to paint hers after all.  She selects a shade of pink, the likes of which I have never seen.  Sliding into my lap, I take her small hand in mine and brush a strip of paint down one side, and then the next.

Inspiration List ~ SOLSC ~ 21/31

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The lack of goodbye as kids bolt out of the car and run into school with their friend.
The sun slicing the sky and warming my face as we drive.
The crowds. The driving around in search of a simple parking spot.
Watching how amazing the student cheering section was at the semi-final game!

When we stop and look, listen, and become aware, there are untold stories waiting everywhere!

Thinking of Summer ~ SOLSC ~ 19/31

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He’s said it before,
and I’ve thought it sweet.
Tonight, he said it again.
Leaning his hooded head
out the window,
while we chatted
before going inside,
before going about
nighttime routines.

“It smells like
a camping morning.”
He sniffs.

The cool air,
the rain-soaked earth,
the birdcalls. They all
remind us
to listen, to pay attention.

It’s March. This year,
more than any other,
it feels like the furthest
we’ve been from camping weather.

But he’s right.
The smell of
someone’s chimney
could be a campground
neighbor’s nightly campfire.
The damp grass,
could be the dew-covered blades
that cling to our
sandals during
those hurried morning
walks to the bathroom.

I watch him and smile.

“You’re right.”
I sniff.

Her way ~ SOLSC ~ 18/31

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She has always had her own unique way of living life.  She makes us laugh, makes us cry.  Makes us pull our hair out sometimes, but always does things her way.

Driving to school this morning, we are on the 10th of our 12-mile drive when Seneca pipes up to say, “Ya know when you told me not to say ‘Booooooo!’ at the basketball game?”  I nodded and she continued.  ”I didn’t know they were saying ‘Boooooooooo!’  I thought they were saying, ‘Moo!’

She threw her head back and let loose a belly laugh that should’ve rattled some of those stubborn baby teeth loose.  I couldn’t help but laugh with her, considering how silly she must’ve thought everyone around us looked for mooing like cows!!

 

Walking into the botanical gardens, we are only a few steps from the van when I hear her say to my mom, “Grandma, I heard Shiloh died.”  My mom was on the phone, her back to me, so I don’t know if she heard.  Seneca tried again. Repeating the statement.  Just last night, I had told the kids that Grandma’s dog had died last Thursday, and that Grandma was feeling very sad.  She had him for nearly 11 years.

And here she is, her tender heart, wanting Grandma to know that she’s aware.  She didn’t misunderstand this time.  She knows what it means to be sad and she knows that talking and loving can help make you feel better.  I’m sure they talked more about it later, but after stating it twice, she moved on to say, “Grandma, I heard you’ve never been here.  Let’s go!”

 

She’s always had her own unique way of living life.

What’s In My Bowl ~ SOLSC ~ 17/31

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Today, I tackled a project that I anticipated would take a good bit of time, but that I’d be glad to have done.  As I painted, I listened to a few different podcasts, one of which shared the story of two brothers enjoying a bowl of ice cream.  The eldest brother held his bowl as his father delivered two great scoops of Moose Tracks.  He eagerly took his spoon and headed to the table.  The younger brother then held out his bowl and his father offered three great scoops of the ice cream.  When the younger brother sat down beside the eldest, the spoon of the eldest stopped, hovering above his bowl while his eyes assessed the three heaps of deliciousness in his younger brother’s bowl.  You can imagine the words that escaped the eldest’s mouth.

“Dad, that’s not fair!”

The point of the illustration is that up until the moment he noticed what his little brother had, he was completely satisfied with his own portion.  Such, is life.  My car, my house, my kids, my job – it all seems well and good until I notice the car, house, kids, or job of someone else.  So, in the podcast, we were challenged to write about what’s in our “bowl.”

Here’s my attempt to list out some of the things that I have and for which I am so very grateful.

  • A house that keeps us safe, warm, and comfortable
  • Two minivans that dependably get us where we need to go
  • More than enough food, and the means to eat healthy
  • Music – whether it’s Doe a Deer being played by 7-year-old hands on our piano, or “I Have Decided” being sung by a 5-year-old voice with forced vibrato, I am so thankful for music.
  • Friends with whom I can walk, sing, talk, laugh and spend hours sharing the ups and downs of this crazy thing called life.
  • My husband’s grandfather’s dining room table, chairs, and hutch.  It reminds me that we’re part of something so much bigger than we are.  When I see the leaves folded up and the table strewn with homework or art projects, fabric and a sewing machine or beans for a science activity – I can’t help but think about the others who have sat at this same table creating things.
  • A church community that supports and encourages us to do life together – learning and supporting one another through it all.
  • Our sweet puppy who is curled up on our blanket, snuggled in for the night after taking a walk around town with me tonight.  As much work as it is to train and adjust our schedule to having a dog again, I’m so thankful for the joy he brings to our home.
  • I’m thankful for a husband who works diligently to provide for our family and who can still surprise me after more than a decade of marriage.
  • Grandparents – their knowledge and perspective are invaluable.
  • Family – immediate and extended.  When I’m frustrated with my kiddos, I remind myself of the years I spent weeping and longing for a child.  When infertility seemed to say, “No,” but when I trusted that God had a different plan.  Raising these kids in the midst of so many cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles – I too, hope they feel the sense that they are part of something big.
  • Coffee!
  • I can see, hear, taste, touch and smell – I have the ability to run and jump, to move without pain.
  • My children are healthy and growing, they are here.
  • I’m thankful for the sun streaming through the windows this morning, warming me and illuminating everything before me.  It’s such a blessing to be in the light.
  • My mom, who gives and gives to others.  I’m so thankful for her help and love.
  • My dad, who is always willing to listen to my questions and offer help and insight.  Who is always there, quietly supporting me.
  • Cameras, computers, phones and other gadgets!
  • Words!!  I am in love with books, poems, blogs, writing, reading, inspiration and learning.  If I could sit think, read, write and reflect all day that would be my ideal!  And at this point in time, I’m so blessed to be living my dream
  • Laughter!  I’m thankful for moments like this afternoon, when my son asked my husband, “Am I part Irish?”  Garth responded that yes, he was and they continued on their way.  Calder was quiet.  Thoughtful.  Then, looking over his body inquisitively, “Which part?”

This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are so many more for which I am thankful.  It is so easy to feel cheated or discontent with what I do have, when I notice what someone else has.  Seeing this list above, helps keep me focused and grounded on the blessings that really do abound.