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I wake up to a little voice at my bed. I open my eyes groggily, knowing it’s way too early for her to be awake. But awake she is. She’s blurry next to me, but I can tell she’s expectant and I reach for my glasses. Ah yes, there’s her just-awakened, little two-year-old self, her hair curly and crazy, all over the place. I leave my husband sleeping in bed and take her to use the potty. Realizing her flannel p.j’s are already soaked, I run the bath water, warm and soapy. I pour the water over her head, her hair straightening flat against her back, the water cascading over her little shoulders. I lather up her arms.

 

“That feel better, honey?” I ask her.

 

“Yes, thank you, Mama,” she chirps in her little morning voice.

 

My heart melts that one so small would be so sweetly thankful for a warm bath and clean skin.

 

We head downstairs with her big sister. Breakfast is definitely in order . . . and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. We eat banana muffins and I settle the girls with sippy cups and a weekend cartoon. I sneak back into bed and cuddle long with the hubby, slipping in and out of sleep just for a few more lazy minutes. And then it’s time to hit the day.

 

I clean a few leftover dishes from our cookout the night before. I chuckle over little conversations, smirk over bits of sarcasm, and smile over a movie where shared laughter and tears all rolled into one. It is good to share “hang out” days with friends.

 

My mind shifts and I mull over this post. A couple of days before, a friend had asked if I would be willing to write about my Ideal Day. Knowing it would be fun, but that it would also stretch me, I excitedly, but very hesitantly said yes. So, now I explore what an ideal day would even look like for me. I try to slip out of my usual routine . . . it takes more than a few minutes. A run with my husband by the light of the morning stars, surprises me. We don’t run currently. Actually, I realize, we haven’t jogged together since our honeymoon. I turn that over in my head.

 

The girls play dress-up. I Pinterest-surf. The hubby descends the stairs and we sit at the table and catch up on news and articles of interest over coffee. And then I go back to Pinterest. We laugh over our little ones. A few minutes later, one of them does something annoying and we share frustrated faces and then smile and shake our heads. I know that this is parenting: pure joy, wonder and gratitude, all mixed with the battles against our own selfishness and wishing them into little adults. Oh, how I want to savor them and rest longer in the joy and wonder.

 

We eat leftover BBQ and the best potato salad (ever!) for lunch. He runs out the door for a haircut, I fold loads of laundry and hang fresh, clean clothes on hangers.

 

My mind does a U-turn, back to the “Ideal Day” question. A drive zooms into view. The kind of drive I’ve seen in photographs. The top is down, our favorite music is playing, maybe just the two of us, maybe the kids sitting in the back seat, happily chatting amongst themselves, while we enjoy the scenery, or even do a little out-loud dreaming. Funny, I’m surprised by where I would want to drive.

 

He comes home, looking handsome, and we get ready for a date. His brother and new wife walk through the door and the girls are so excited by their “babysitters”. We slip out the door, knowing our little ones are in very good hands and we escape to reconnect and grab some good food.

 

He sips a beer. I sip a sangria. We talk food and sports, family and politics. It is good to have a conversation where the only interruption is the waiter asking if we need anything. The hubby’s been so busy lately. We’ve been coasting — somewhat content, but somewhat trapped in the routine of responsibility and our individual, co-existing worlds.

 

I turn the conversation toward the idea of this post. I ask him what his ideal day would look like after I sheepishly confess that, really, I’m a little scared to dream about mine. He nods his head, understanding the fear of dreaming. I also tell him how the things coming to mind are surprising me . . . how unconscious desires are bubbling over as I hesitantly give way to even thinking about them. I tell him how a jog under the stars sounds heavenly to me. With him. He’s just as surprised as I am.

 

We’re quiet a few minutes. I ask him what he’s thinking.

 

“I’m just surprised by what I’m finding would be included in my “ideal day” if I could create it. It would definitely include driving….”

 

I laughingly interrupt to tell him a drive was on my list too.

 

“Along the Pacific Coast Highway,” he says, finishing his sentence.

 

My eyes widen, realizing this was the road I’d seen in the picture. Black roads hugging rocky cliffs, white waves crashing alongside, and the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see.

 

“Really??” I squeal. “Me too!”

 

We both smile. Stunned. We have never, ever talked about this desire before. All the disconnectedness and busyness of routine and responsibility melt away in the moment that we realize that underneath the Bread-Winner and the Homemaker, behind the Daddy and the Mommy, despite 8 years of being Husband and Wife, we still have things to learn about one another. We beam, knowing that we have to make this happen and that there is an adventure on our horizon.

The Pacific Coast Highway – photo courtesy of The Travel Channel

 

As I try fall asleep that night, I dream of touring windy roads with my best friend, the salty air whizzing past and all around us. And then I shift, reversing the day in my head, realizing that, really, this day . . . this one day . . . had all the elements of an “ordinary” ideal day. Sweet moments with my little ones, a date with my hubby, a new realization about one another, visiting with family. The only thing was, I didn’t recognize it for what it truly was. When I walked into the family room at noon and pillows were strewn everywhere, Goldfish crumbs galore, a needless mess, I lost my temper to the tune of the vacuum cleaner. When the hubby had to work for a bit, I steamed and huffed and puffed, thick as a locomotive. When little ones pushed my buttons, I pushed theirs right back. And I realize: I can turn any day into a mini-version of hell if my attitude is in the wrong place.

 

But more importantly, if my heart is in the right place, any day is pretty much ideal already.

 

Any day that I’m enjoying the day’s gifts in all of their glory, even embracing all of their imperfections, while still hoping and dreaming about our future? That’s my idea of an ideal day.

 

So now? I’m excited to see where else our dreams will take us. I realize that if I peel back my frustrations over the everyday routine and the responsibilities of making ends meet and raising a young family, I really already have the ideal on a daily basis — if I only take the time to see it.

Click on the image to learn more about how to write about *YOUR* Ideal Day – and have a chance to win it (if it can be won)!


		

Thoughts from a Girl in the Woods

We pull into the driveway after a busy day right in the middle of a hectic few weeks. Our yard looks like a jungle. I sigh, somewhat despairingly, somewhat longingly,

“I have got to spend some time in our yard,” I say.

Firefly pipes right up.

“So you can get a breath, Mama?”

I smile, a bit startled at her astuteness, realizing that yes, subconsciously, that is what I wanted. Just to catch a breath.

Yes,” I reply. “A very, deep breath.”

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The wildlife in my backyard does not encroach upon my habitat, but we sit right in the middle of theirs. An intimidating, Tennessee version of a rainforest, lives just off our deck. We stand at the windows and watch the deer graze. Their ears perk at our murmuring and we are the ones behind the glass and they observe us like we are the tourist attraction. Today, the butterflies, flutter and float, sipping from the second butterfly bush blooms of the summer. The birds finally discover that their long-deserted birdhouse is once again filled with seed and they eat and flit, excited, I think, to tell their friends. I can hear the birds’ grapevine for myself, the trees full of extra chirping and whistling. I linger outside, just wanting to soak in all the life.

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And the sweet hustle and bustle of life being given more life.Image

I realize that my daughter is right: life does beg for more life in one form or another. When God created each living thing on this earth by His spoken word, it was good. When He actually breathed His life into the nose of Adam, His very breath was inhaled by human lungs, forever to be breathed in and out, in and out. And when we are most exhaled, the most drained, the most fatigued, whether by responsibility or relationship, what we are most craving is more life. Fresh breath to inhale. And then to exhale.

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When my children are most driving me crazy and when I most want my own space and most want them just to please be quiet, what I’m really wanting is perfect, tidy relationship. What they are usually wanting, is simply more of me.

More life.

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Perhaps it is the same in most relationships. When relationship seems most dead and most impeded by whatever, and we most want to walk away, maybe what we’re most desiring is just the strength for someone to enter in. To breathe life or to have life breathed into us.

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Maybe it’s never too late. Maybe God gives us second summer blooms, or seed in our deserted birdhouses. Maybe where we thought no life was, there’s still a space for possibility. Maybe we just need to revisit.

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Maybe we’ll find something there….

Isaiah in the Afternoon

My mind wakes up earlier than my body this morning. My eyes flutter to sunlight just beginning to creep in through the curtains, but my body and soul feel like surely the moon must still be rising. I ignore the sun. I roll out of bed late and the children wake up early. It’s only 7:00 and I can already tell, this day will be a long one.

And whatever happened to yesterday? No, I didn’t get to the garden this morning, and I seem to be a bit of a tornado of anger and frustration. Yes, the hubby does need our one car when friends invite us to go out, and yes, I am behind on the laundry (desperately) and how did all those texts and voicemails and emails get away from me? The kids are whiney and the littlest one falls hard on the back of her head (again) on the hot pavement and I am the one sick to my stomach over it, worried and wondering if she’ll still have brain cells by the time she’s 3. Computer programs don’t work and there are a certain five-year-old’s tears that last waaaaaaay too long.

It’s 10:30 a.m. and could someone just get this day over with, please? But really all I want is just to be left alone for a bit. No one needing anything of me or wanting me or calling for me. I just want to be saved . . . to escape.

Yes, you can walk in the garden for bouts of time, but there are days when only one thing can still. Fill.

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Yes, please.

Sometimes you need more than just to enjoy His presence. Sometimes you need to hear His voice.

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,

And my Servant whom I have chosen,

So that you may know and believe Me

and understand that I am He….

I, even I am the Lord, 

And there is no savior besides Me.

Isaiah 43: 10a, 11

So, I get a load of laundry going.

The rest can wait.

Because I need to be nourished and I need to believe that He can begin this day and heart anew at 3 p.m.

Do not call to mind the former things,

Or ponder things of the past. 

Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth….

Because I have given waters in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert,

To give drink to my chosen people.

The people whom I formed for Myself

Will declare My praise.

 Isaiah 43:19,21

The dryer stops.

And it’s a fresh afternoon.

So here I am. Yes, I’m still around, believe it or not. I’ve struggled coming here over the last few months (in case you hadn’t noticed -grin-) for a few reasons.

 

One being, time. Life has been busier. Motherhood, a bit more intense, even as my little ones gain more independence. Seems a little backward, no? Yeah, I’m trying to figure that one out too. 🙂

 

Two being, I feel like a different person than I was four or five months ago. I feel older. I feel less sure, while feeling a little more comfortable in these awkward shoes of mine, all at the same time. I feel I haven’t much to say worth reading, or maybe what I should say is, I feel I don’t have anything which feels safe to say. Safe, whether for your benefit, or my comfort level. I think it has been best to remain quiet here as I try to re-find my own voice.

 

Three being, God has been working on me. BIG TIME. There’s been a lot of grief. A lot of distrust. A lot of vulnerability. A lot of questions. A lot of insecurity. A lot of tears. A lot of discoveries. A lot of simply trying to figure out this real, gritty, not-always-neatly-packaged life and who, exactly, is this God in the midst?

 

And during all this time, there has been much waiting. A question from me. Silence from Him. Several weeks later, an answer. Or maybe more to question. Or maybe just more waiting. And it’s unlike me to post a “How-To” post and although, it may appear differently, this post is not a prescriptive list of how to do something correctly. Just things I’ve learned. And am continuing to learn.

 

I am coming to believe that everyone is waiting for something. Those somethings maybe be more obvious for some of us. A baby to be conceived. A spouse to finally come around life’s corner, nonchalantly whistling a favorite love song. A move. That dream job to come around.

 

But there are other things too. Things unseen that can not necessarily be measured. A relationship to mend. A spouse to know God better. An answer to some deep, heartfelt question. In some ways, maybe it’s safe to say that life is one, drawn-out wait. The things we wait for change over the course of our lives, but ultimately, we’re all waiting for resolution to our deepest longings, healing for our most-scarred places . . . for our Redeemer to come and make all new, once and for all.

 

So, I’ve learned a few things in the waiting for some of these things. No exhaustive, prescriptive list. Just a few things learned, from one lady-in-waiting to another….

While Waiting For….

(Fill in your blank)

  1. Draw close to God, even though that may be the last thing you want to do. In the waiting, I sometimes feel like God is hiding Himself from me. Like He’s deliberately trying to make something harder than it should be. And if He’s hiding Himself, maybe I should just go into hiding too. I am learning that contrary to how it feels, His silence is sometimes an invitation to come closer to Him . . . to know Him a bit more intimately. To hear Him whisper.
  2.  Pray for wisdom and flexibility to His perfect plan. Sometimes His plan is completely different from what we think it will be, or even should be! This is made obvious in the waiting itself, isn’t it? 🙂 I, for one, don’t want to miss His unexpected gifts simply because I’m still looking over the fence, waiting for that other thing I’ve been expecting.
  3. Pay attention to THIS part of the story. What is He teaching me? Here, in the waiting? There is something He is trying to make known, even in the waiting. For some reason, the waiting is part of the story and perhaps He is busy writing me as I wait for Him to write the next chapter in life’s circumstance. Or maybe, He just working on some real, darn-good relationship building. 🙂
  4. Wait expectantly.  “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 I need to be alert to unexpected answers! And I need to not wait apathetically, without faith, but with anticipation that He will move . . . one way or another. Perhaps waiting is meant to be more proactive than it seems….
  5. Trust the process. My hubby is a computer programmer. He is often braving new territory, trying to figure out new ways of doing things. This sometimes means that there are no written answers to his work’s dilemmas and he has to figure it out on his own. He has taught me that sometimes, the process is part of the answer! And sometimes, the process in learning an answer to one problem, brings multiple answers to many problems.
  6. When He says, “No” to one thing, it’s because He is saying “Yes” to something unforeseen. 
  7. Keep living. Don’t give into the temptation to put life on “hold” as I wait for _____. Life is now, not later.
  8. If you’re married, trust that the Lord is using your spouse’s input and desires, even though they may be contrary to your own. There have been many times that the Lord has used my husband’s “no” as a protection for our family. Thank God there is a logical one in our marriage! 🙂
  9. Waiting is hard. As Christians, I think we sometimes feel the need to downplay our pain/grief/frustration/struggle when we don’t understand what God is doing. I think that this surrenders the opportunity of allowing others to share in the journey with us. Not only do we need our brothers and sisters to help lift us up now, we need them to celebrate with us when the waiting is no more!

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14


Why I Still Want to Carpe Diem

So, the other night, this beautiful, fun friend of mine shares a link with me. Says it reminded her of my recent reposting of some old words of mine. About how, apparently, I am not the only mother in the world who receives all kinds of comments from older women . . . in the check-outs, in the bathrooms, in the elevators. Those heart-felt, nostalgic words about “enjoying every minute” of our child-rearing years. Not being on Facebook anymore, I somehow missed the frenzy, as moms shared the link with other friends, giving each other, and themselves bits of comfort. I read the article “Don’t Carpe Diem” this morning. I want to preface this post of mine by saying, I LOVED this post from The Momastery. It made me laugh out loud. It made me quickly blink back tears before I ruined my fresh, just-applied, morning mascara. After reading, I immediately copied and pasted the link and sent it to a friend. I *loved* this writer’s honesty. I could relate to every single word and I loved her message.

 

I’ve been thinking about a dear friend of mine who just became a mother for the first time. She. is. exhausted. She’s running into all sorts of issues that I’m sure she never expected to run into and I honestly don’t know how she’s surviving! But her situation made me think back to my not-so-very-long-ago, first few months as a mom and I realized that there is one tool in my Motherhood arsenal that I wasn’t given. None of us are. And I still don’t have it with my firstborn.

 

Perspective.

 

You know what I mean? Your new bundle of joy is in your arms and everything is fresh and new and unknown. You have no real idea what you’re doing or where you’re going and you’re so scared of screwing something up and you haven’t slept a full night in weeks and it feels like this is the rest of your life, surely. And then your sweet, little second born arrives and you’ve done it all before and you know that they’ll eventually start sleeping and you know that each phase is oh, so short and it makes you realize just how fast you made your oldest “grow up.”

 

And at least for me, with my second, I actually treasured the midnight feedings and the newborn-sized diapers. Because with my second, I had a tiny bit of perspective.

 

So even though, when that little, old lady in the Wal-Mart milk aisle exhorted me by saying “this is the best time of your life” I stuffed feelings of the incredulity of it all, I slowly realized that that grey-haired woman had something that I didn’t and still don’t. Perspective. Maybe she’s a little nostalgic, and maybe she has selective memory regarding the late nights and the trying to find just one second to go pee and all the less than glorifying moments of motherhood. BUT she has also nearly lived the full spectrum of life and surely she must feel some sense of urgency to come up to a complete stranger to say, “Honey, treasure every moment. This is the very best time in your life.”  Even if I had a very outspoken personality, I don’t think I would ever approach a complete stranger with such confidence or say that to anyone unless I felt like it was completely true for myself and that I’d somehow missed it and wished that someone, anyone, had warned me:

 

“You know those nights your longing for? The ones with the full night’s sleep and the days when you can sit and read a book in peace and quiet and do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and actually live that life you’ve been given? I know that life sounds like it’s 18 years off and you’re not sure just how you’re going to live those 6,570 days until your child reaches adulthood without losing your sanity, but that day will come. I promise. And it won’t be all you think it’s going to be and you’ll have wasted those 18 years longing for something that isn’t what you think it is. Enjoy what you’re living. Right this very moment. It’s more beautiful than you even know.”

 

There must be an awful lot of great-grandmothers out there who feel this way if each of us young moms is stopped several times a month with this same exact message.

 

Maybe we do need to listen.

 

So now, when those Wal-Mart trips take a bit longer than they used to because a frail, 80-year-old woman wants to tell me about her babies of long ago and encourages me to stop and just enjoy, I really do try to stop my mind from racing into a frustrated frenzy and try to hear her life-lived perspective.

 

Can I seize every moment like I ought to? No, and that’s why I simply love Glennon’s idea of “seizing a couple Kairoses today.” But I also think that we need to listen to the mothers who have gone before us and are almost done with their life’s races. Why should we assume that we will make it to 80? One month ago, I was truly afraid that my daughters would wake up that Wednesday morning without a mother to dress them or kiss their boo-boos or read them Goodnight Moon. I know it sounds cheesy and I know it sounds cliché, but what if those well-worn storybooks I read with my girls that Tuesday night had been our last storybook cuddle? What if?? None of us are promised tomorrow and none of our children are either. I’m not trying to be all fear-factor here, but really. God knows that I needed a little perspective shaken into me that one, scary night. And yes, this thing called motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I survived nursing school -grin-), and it’s so easy to lose my sanity in the midst of kids going crazy in the Wal-Mart aisles and in the mere day-in and day-out caretaking and gardening of our children’s blooming hearts. I lose my sanity and perspective all too often. Daily, in fact. So for me, I welcome the wrinkled, time-worn, urgent perspective.

 

Yes, tell me again. Carpe Diem. Right here. Right now. There is a beautiful, grace-filled underlying theme in all this exhausting, sometimes temper-filled, sometimes hectic, sometimes less-than-I-want craziness. Help me take hold of it.

Living It

(I wrote this several months back. It’s funny how a few months can change you. Refine you. Teach you. Today, my girls don’t nap and I still wipe up crumbs and fold underwear. I rush out the back door several times throughout this day and coax our car’s engine to ignore the cold, while still trying to find a time to bare the Christmas tree…. But they smile over silly, little things, their daddy-given dimples lighting me up. And I feel it. Yes. This is it.)

 

I remember how tired I was. Newborn baby in the sling, resting against my chest, and the two-year-old running wild in the milk aisle. I can still feel my tight hand-grip on the grocery cart and how I wrestled, trying to keep both it and my out-of-reach daughter in line, while trying not to wake the babe. It was dreary cold out. I was worn thin.

 

My eyes met those of an elderly woman who seemed to be surveying us in that milk aisle. I was too frazzled to make small talk.

 

But do you know what she had the gall to come up and say to me?

 

“Honey, enjoy every minute. This is the best time of your life.”

 

Now I’m not usually the type of girl who gets riled very easily. But just then, I really wanted to screech, “How can you be so cruel to say that me right now? Don’t you know I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in weeks? That my body is literally worn out? That my husband and I have barely had time to look each other in the eyes?! That I’m here in the milk aisle just trying survive this grocery trip and you say these are the best moments of my life?!?!” I don’t even remember what I actually said to the woman, but I was too tired to scream, so instead, I muffled my soul’s unbelief and gave the typical Southern smile and probably said something about how, yeah, I was trying to savor the moments.

 

To be honest, the woman’s words stuck like unwanted syrup on the outside of a glass syrup bottle, and until recently, still conjured up a twinge of panic whenever they surfaced to mind.

 

What if she’s right? This??? This could be the best time of my life?

 

Because my days are merely filled with wiping bottoms and folding underwear, sweeping floors and serving PB and J’s on Winnie-the-Pooh plates.

 

But recently, I picked up Laura Bush’s memoir, Spoken from the Heart. Whether or not you side with her husband in his politics, it is hard for anyone to deny that the former first lady has lived an intriguing life . . . doing things, visiting places, meeting world leaders and attending spectacular events that few of us will ever have the opportunity to experience.

 

And do you know what she wrote? After serving as the First Lady of the United States of America for two terms and having lived probably the most exciting time of her life, she reminisces on the first few months of parenting their twin girls:

Every morning before dawn, George would get up to make the coffee, as he had done from the start of our marriage; then he would go get the girls and carry them into our bed. We’d each hold a baby and drink our coffee while they drank their bottles, with the morning news droning quietly in the background. The start of the day was reserved for just the four of us. Those early mornings were some of the sweetest times in our lives.

 

My breath catches as I read her words.

 

That’s what I am living. Feeding hungry little tummies. Sipping coffee. Living side-by-side with the man I love. The words of the Wal-Mart lady wash over me and I realize her words just may be true.

 

And I wonder.

 

What if I lived every moment like it just might be the ______-est moment of my life?

 

Maybe every moment in our lives is *THE* something. The sweetest time. The busiest time. The most exciting time. The most difficult time. The craziest vacation. The most intimate Christmas. The stupidest recipe mistake. The wisest parenting moment. The tastiest dinner. The most hilarious date. The funniest Monday.

How will I embrace it?

The New Horizon

Part of me wants to discard 2011 like a dirty, ol’ rag. It was a let’s-get-down-and-get-dirty kind of year for us. The kind of year where you evaluate every aspect of your life and make some difficult decisions to, hopefully, make things better. The kind of year where your heart gets tangled in a million different emotions and leaves life feeling like one, big, tangled web that somehow swirled and weaved your last bit of girlhood naiveté into a mortal cocoon. The kind of year where friends’ homes and neighborhoods are ripped to shreds by tornadoes and you read stories about riots all over the world, and those earthquakes and tsunamis that hit  so hard and you’re left trying to explain crazy things like that to your wide-eyed, inquisitive four-year-old daughter. The kind of year where your heart brims in fullness, readying to welcome your third child, only for that baby to be taken away from you. The kind of year where your life’s lens zooms in and out as you lie on a stretcher wondering if you’re going to be able to hug your living babies in the morning as that pregnancy loss gushes from your body.

 

It has been a hard year.

 

And yet.

 

Ironically, it has been one of the best.

 

It’s been the year that my husband and I learned to (mostly) stop dancing that passive-aggressive tango we’ve done all these married years and begun to truly learn one another’s steps. It’s been the year where we’ve truly listened to one another’s dreams and desires and haven’t been afraid to share them. The year that we weren’t afraid to let go of certain things in our lives that we’d held onto for so. long. simply because they felt comfortable and safe. The year that my humanity was made crystal clear. The year where the outpouring of love and support from friends was humbly overwhelming and wonderfully healing.

It is truly stupefying how God places things in your hands which sometimes feel like squirming snakes or abrasive stones, but in opening your hands, you quickly realize that they are, in reality, loaves of bread and nourishing fish.

 

So I know that when I trust the Good Father, I can trust that a year like 2011 is a gift. Whether our 2011’s were good or bad, or just plain boring, it is a full, written chapter in each of our life’s stories and not something to wipe clean off the slate, or something to desperately try to erase from our memories. Let’s find the gifts. Let’s find all the fish and the bread of 2011 and learn to be thankful for them in our new 2012. And even better, maybe we can learn from all those seemingly snarly snakes and rough stones and help others with their own confusingly full hands.

 

Today, as my eyes linger over the ornaments and stockings and twinkling lights, just for one more day,  my heart lingers over days and moments that made up my own 2011. And I am finding that those gifts walk with me into the fresh horizon of 2012.

 

Let’s have a happy, bright and hopeful New Year, everyone.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4