Category Archives: Gratitude

Mom With an Empty Nest

Reminders of an empty nest...

Reminders of an empty nest…

For a moment…just one moment… I was blue this morning…

Sitting in my pity puddle…chin in hand…whining, “Woe is me…my babies are not home on this Mother’s Day weekend…”

Nest  empty and quiet…

But. Then. My. Heart. Was. Reminded…

of my many sweet friends who buried their babies far too early…

I was ashamed of myself.

of the moms of those five precious Georgia Southern nursing students who have empty arms and freshly broken hearts this weekend…

I was ashamed of myself.

of the moms who live daily with frayed and severed heart strings because (for whatever reason) their children have chosen emotional and physical distance…

AND I was ashamed of myself.

As I walk through the quiet rooms of my house, the tangible reminders that two rambunctious and loving young men grew up within these walls overwhelm me.

Chubby-finger drawn pictures, photographs, love notes, obscure hand-painted clay figures…

Dents in the walls…

Closets containing trophies, ribbons, books, lettermen jackets…

Diplomas…

Yes. Two precocious man-cubs grew and matured in this place called home.

I am grateful.

The very fact they are not with me this weekend is a reminder that Bear and I completed our task…

We raised them.

We raised them…

to be independent and adventurous in their endeavors.

We impressed upon them…

the necessity for a strong work ethic and the need to be the talented young men God designed them to be.

And today…

they are successful in their academic and professional pursuits, living full lives…busy lives.

As a mom, I prayed over, pushed, popped…(uh yep- when needed!), played, preached (heavy groans accompanied by rolling eyes), and pleaded.

More imperfect than perfect, often chaotic, totally exhausting, and at times heartbreaking…Motherhood has defined thirty-one years of my life.

31 years…

And so today, humbly, I offer a prayer of thanks for the two young men, my beautiful daughter-by-another-mother, and my perfect little grand-princess…who have graced my life beyond…anything…I could have ever hoped or prayed for…

God is faithful…in ALL things…especially in motherhood…

Hope…Where Art Thou Oh Spring?

Hope in the dead of winter...

Hope in the dead of winter…

Hope bloomed beside my Georgia driveway this week, poking its green arms and yellow face up through autumn’s discarded blanket of brown leaves…and my winter weary heart smiled.

Let me just say before I go any  further that I choose to live in the South for various reasons, two of which are sweet tea and yes, milder, shorter winters.

By northern standards, I suppose, this winter in the South would be considered “mild,” but for Southerners… well,  it has been downright nippy with several rounds of wintery precipitation. Deep in the heart of  Georgia, we rarely dismiss school because of winter weather issues; however, we have lost five days in the last two months. To say that this winter has been unique would be an understatement.

For this  bare foot girl who loves warm temperatures, glorious sunshine and time on her back porch soaking up both, the last two months have been cold, gray and dismal.  The end result has been a frumpy woman with a  grumpy disposition and a substantial bout of emotional eating.

How do people in colder climates do it?  Heaven help me….can you say Alaskans?

Well, seven pounds and a couple of family size bags of Cheetos  later … I decide…

They must be made of much hardier stock than this whiny vitamin D deficient Georgia peach.

My sunny little daffodil and its promise of   ‘new and warm’  remind me that winter does not and cannot last forever.  

I shall nap in the sun again. I will inhale the luxurious scent of Copper-tone and adorn shorts and sleeveless tops…Fuzzy thick socks and flannel pajama pants will disappear into large Rubbermaid containers tucked away in the attic…

I whispered a prayer… applauding  God for His amazing creativity and  His perfect choices of spring color.  I thanked Him for all things lovely in spring and for new life…both of which come only from Him.

I am filled with hope…and a strong  desire to do some online shopping for cute spring clothes…

Berta

Best Intentions For Gratitude Journalling But…

This Phili 4:8 girl is all about the big picture. Details allude me at times…

Not something that I am especially proud of.

My New Journal

My New Journal

So it was with a genuine heart I began my November gratitude journal on Friday,November 1st, but…

I just could not keep up!

I had the best of intentions. It’s not that I am ungrateful or that my life is lacking in any way, but  actually living out all of the Lord’s blessings takes time for one who has so many…blessings…that is.

I am tremendously thankful for the big things…

a Heavenly Father who loves his whiny rambunctious girl, a husband who lives with her and all of my sweet family including my lab, Bo, who love me in spite of me.

I am also grateful for the little things.

And this year, the Lord seems to draw me to the little things that I tend overlook so often. Waking up to a picture or video of my granddaughter Hadasah on my iPhone, hot showers, texts from my sons and daughter-in-love, quiet evenings with my sweet Randy, time with my mom, funny phone calls from my seriously wacky but brilliant sister…

BUT…remembering to write them all down in my journal each day? Well now, that’s a different subject altogether.  Maybe I lack self-discipline.

The heart of this Philippians 4:8 girl means well…

but my human nature is pretty weak.   I honestly try to live before the Lord in continuous conversation regarding my grateful heart.

So, in reality  I did not keep up my November Facebook gratitude postings or a daily entry in my  gratitude journal.  I have not been as faithful as the amazingly gifted author  Ann Voskamp who penned One Thousand Gifts, but I recognize that everything I have is from God’s hands. I applaud those who post each day!

I want to be just like you when I grow up…

But today…I am just plain grateful, journalling, posting and writing aside.

Have you kept a gratitude journal this Thanksgiving season?

Flannel Pants, Fuzzy Socks, and a Great Cup of Tea

Today I am thankful for life’s simple pleasures.

I have become pretty selfish with my free time, and today was no different. Not that I am anti-social, but after spending a day living life in a very public way at school with my students, the solitude and comfort of my home gives me great pleasure.

flannel pjs & fuzzy socks - Simple Pleasures...

flannel pjs & fuzzy socks – Simple Pleasures…

Flannel pants, fuzzy socks, and a great cup of tea are the “happy, happy” at the end of this day.

As a Crock Pot of pumpkin butter simmers, a delicious autumn scent fills my house,  and this scent is second only to the taste. Truly, it  is the little things that can turn a long day into a wonderful evening. The comforts of home and “homey” things are gifts from above.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8. 
 

Are you content with the little pleasures God pours into your life?

Take  time to  list some of the simple pleasures you enjoy each day and offer thanksgiving to the One who lovingly gives them.

Teaching Gratitude…

Ridiculously blessed!

No doubt about it…is there? No.

As an elementary teacher, the hearts and minds of my students are a constant concern.  How do we teach children gratitude and thoughtfulness?

As teachers, parents, and grandparents, we model it.

Quite honestly, today  in our society…there are many adults who need these lessons as well.   

10 Ways to Infuse Our Daily Lives With Acts and Words of Gratitude.

1. Serve others.

2. Write thank you notes often for all gifts.

3. Keep a  daily gratitude journal.

4. Become aware of the tremendous need around you.

5. Eliminate excess in our  homes.

6. Be generous with others, especially those in need.

7. Make a point to say “Thank you” often to those who offer service…Waitress, waiters, cashiers, the precious people who clean public restrooms…These people are often neglected and ignored.

8. Give away something you  love.

9. Spend time weighing wants versus needs.

10. Learn to take care of what you have and value.

Great Sites for Teaching Gratitude

 

http://www.spreadinggratituderocks.com

http://www.pinterest.com/jdaniel4smom/teaching-thankfulness-and-gratitude/

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/03/how-to-help-raise-grateful-kids/

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts impacted my heart with the force of a semi-truck…The book, coupled with her website, www.aholyexperience.com, are powerful reminders of God’s grace during this Thanksgiving season. It tangled thankfulness and grace in ways I had not considered.

Gratitude for Basic Needs

Today I was reminded that we are a privileged people.

New Mail from Our Compassion International child

New Mail from Our Compassion International child

We are surrounded by such wealth, excess and such need.

Today I am eternally grateful for things like clean water, warm showers, food in a cupboard, shoes for my feet, and children who are healthy.

Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.

I love being a Compassion International sponsor. I am not able to do many things, but I can do one thing for a child in India.

November 2nd…Weekends

Today I am thankful for weekends…

for lovely lazy Saturday mornings to renew and rest and Sundays to worship. I am thankful that my God knows my every weakness.  He knows that I become tired and overwhelmed by life’s demands. It doesn’t bother Him in the least that I often remain in my pajamas until  after lunch on Saturdays.

When His children work hard…physically, mentally and emotionally, during the week, I believe He calls us to a time of  rest.  In Him.

Saturdays are also my catch-up days…

housework, grading papers, sleeping….

I spend extra time my husband, FaceTime with my babies in South Korea, try to connect with Josh…see my Mom.  Sometimes I actually cook on the weekends too. (Whatever….)

FaceTime with Hadasah and Justin...

FaceTime with Hadasah and Justin…

Weekends are the  perfect opportunities for my extended Bible study. I can spend longer periods of time digging, reading,  and journalling. I am renewed through my time with Him in these moments of unrushed simplicity…quiet…and soul-satisfying  peace.

“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.” Isaiah 40:31

Needing fresh strength that only time with my Father brings!

How are you renewed on weekends?

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