Thanksday #90

Wow, this is my 90th Thanksday.

Technically I should have well over 150 by now, since my first one was back in October 2010. But that’s why they call it “grace,” my friends. You just take a little and throw it at your feet for those times you were moving for the fourth time, or dealing with your baby just starting to walk, or moving for the fifth time, or washing your hands of this whole writing thing altogether.

Or moving for the sixth time.

Or flat-out forgetting.

The point is, life happens. And some weeks the focus needs to be elsewhere. And that’s okay.

Thankfuls for this week:

1. Rain. I’m going to just praise God for the rain and not complain one iota about the lack of sun. I’m thankful for warm clothes and socks and shoes and rain coats and galoshes. I’m thankful for afternoon cups of coffee and naps that linger on because it’s just so cozy in bed.

2. Back-to-School Shopping. I absolutely geek out over getting ready for back to school. I don’t enjoy school actually starting, but oh, I do love shopping for it. Jaana and I did most of our shopping online this year, but it was still so fun. Even more fun is having packages arrive daily just for her. And I’m beyond excited about these two words this year: saddle shoes. I canNOT wait to see her in her kicky pleated skirts and side ponytail and saddle shoes. Pinch me, for realz.

3. FaceTiming. This week, I finally got to see the beautiful face and hear the melodic voice of a bloggy friend I haven’t met in person yet. And oh my lands, are we two sisters from another mister! I adore her so much already, and can’t wait to hug her neck at Allume in October!

4. Jen Hatmaker. Because for realz, I cry with laughter when I read most of her blog posts. But especially this one right here.

5. The Letter Z. Because “for realz” is so much more fun to type with a “z.”

6. Making Lemonade. Not in the “when life hands you lemons” way, but (say it together) for realz making lemonade. Jaana wants to earn some money for church offering (collective “awwwwww” inserted here), so we spent one day this week melting sugar in hot water and squeezing lemons and lit’rly making lemonade. Here’s to hoping more money ends up in the offering plate than her piggy bank. (Y’all think I’m kidding, but I did not birth a total saint.) (True dat.)

7. BE-ing. You know what happens when you’re fully present where you are? And you sorta-kinda stop stressing about certain things? God has a way of filling in the gaps. And He’s been busy filling gaps lately. And while He’s filling gaps, I’m at peace and working hard, but not striving — and it’s a whole new world, there’s no doubt about it. But I’m embracing it with two wide open arms. Come to Mama.

8. Home Sweet Home. My sister-in-law and niece and nephew are back from a fun few weeks in Japan, and so we made an impromptu trip to The Big City to see them before they started school this week. There is nothing like seeing cousins who adore each other reunited and playing Chicken in the swimming pool. There just isn’t.

9. Extra Care Bucks. I rarely shop at CVS, mainly because there isn’t one close enough to frequent. But I go every time I’m in The Big City, and my in-store coupons that print out are endless. Well this week, I completed an online survey that earned me $10 in Extra Care Bucks, and I had another $6 in random bucks plus 30% off. So Mama got herself some mascara and such and paid next to nothin’. ‘Twas glorious.

10. And Such. I am thankful for phrases like “and such” that give no extra insight as to what I might have purchased at the CVS. It’s the “yada yada yada” of today’s youth, is what it is. For realz.

Well.

That’s about it, I believe. Life is about to happen, so it’s time for me to focus on this thing called Alone Time.

For realz.

What are you thankful for this week?

MDS-SIG-01

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Thoughts Like Raindrops

WATER DROPS ON WHITE

Picture it — Western North Carolina, 2012. It’s a Monday and it’s rainy and you feel like you live in a clichéd Carpenters song. And then you wonder why it couldn’t be Top of the World? Because how fun would that be?

The rain falls outside like a leaky faucet you can’t fix.

Drip.

Drip.

Drop.

The gray clouds hang so low you could reach out and grab a handful and put it in your pocket. Although why you would do that, I don’t know.

The air is slightly cool; not nearly cold enough for mid-January in the mountains…and that makes you so mad you could cuss if you were a cussin’ woman. But you’re not, because your husband is a pastor and that would be in poor taste. That, and cussing is such an uncreative way to express yourself. So for the sake of goodness and brain-boosting power, you try to find other ways to express your disdain for the rain because it’s winter and it should snow already.

And you chuckle out loud to yourself for a second, because you realized you rhymed that last sentence.

Chuckle.

Chuckle.

Guffaw.

# # #

So for me, it’s been a great start to the new year already. Our church started a 21-day Daniel Fast on January 1, and so there’s just six days left. (Not that I’m counting.) I always look forward to the Daniel Fast each year — yes, it’s hard to get off the sugar and all the other foods that are amazing and delicious and make the world go ‘round — but the rewards that come with it are phenomenal.

  • Spiritual life: big leap
  • Overall health & wellbeing: much more energy and clarity
  • Cravings: starting to disappear

But perhaps the main thing that keeps me going for the 21 days and then beyond? Sleep. When I’m doing the Daniel Fast (or any other eating plan where you cut out processed foods and sugar), my sleep is BEYOND AMAZING. It’s deep sleep. Hard sleep. Waking-the-dead sleep. Total-and-complete-shutdown sleep.

One day last week my alarm went off and I pushed snooze. No because it was an “Oh I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m too comfortable” reaction, it was more of a “There’s no possible way whatsoever my body will move at all. Just pushing snooze was more energy than my body had to give, and therefore I need more sleep” reaction.

It’s almost as if my body is making up for the months of insomnia I experienced last summer, and soaking in all the nutrients from food and fresh air from running and just hibernating.

It’s the greatest feeling in the whole entire world.

It’s common knowledge that there are often times I’m so happy to be in bed that I laugh myself to sleep. And it’s also common knowledge that when I make the bed in the morning, I longingly look at it and whisper, “I’ll be back soon” to it. But the past two weeks, there is no moment of opportunity to laugh. My head hits the pillow and I’m out. And the longing looks in the morning are deeper and more heartfelt. I’m literally counting down hours from 3 o’clock on.

Yes, I just wrote about five paragraphs about how much I love sleep.

Sort of a low in my blog life right now.

# # #

So eating well and sleeping well have been fab so far in 2013. And to raise the stakes a little, I’m also exercising regularly. Because yep…I signed up for a race. A 15k (9.something miles). My first (and last) race was almost two years ago and was a half marathon. (I always say, if you’re gonna go — go big. ‘Cuz why not?)

After that kicked my tail and then I just stopped running for a good long while, I realized that I need a significant goal to get me out of the warm bed and away from the DVR and get out there. Because once I’m out there, I am in love with it. I love being totally alone, no distractions, running and hearing my shallow panting and turtle pace and a few birds and just the other day I saw an owl! It flew right in front of me across my path. It was awesome.

The 15k is mid-May, which gives me plenty of time for my body to get into the rhythm again and find my groove.

# # #

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t really have a point to this post.

# # #

How about you? How is 2013 treating you so far? What are your goals for this year?

# # #

UPDATE: This just brought all sorts of sunshine to my day. You must read.

# # #

Love y’all.

MDS-SIG-01

Chasing Rainbows

The dog was barking. I was trying to clean up the kitchen after dinner, but the craziness of the dog assured me he indeed needed to get out. Now.

As soon as I got outside, raindrops began falling. And heavily. I looked to my right and the sky was dark as night. But to my left, the sun was shining as bright as it could be, casting glorious sun rays through the trees.

Perfect conditions for a rainbow.

I stared down those dark, gray clouds with all my might…looking for the slightest hint of color. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me…but sure enough, through the thick across the way, I saw hints of red, orange and yellow.

So I ran.

The farther I went, the brighter the colors became. When I got to the top of the hill, I could see the perfect arc of the rainbow. What took my breath away even more was not just the double rainbow that seemed to suddenly appear, but that the rainbow itself had a rainbow shadow. It looked like red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet…green, indigo, violet.

It was stunning.

I went to where I knew I could view the rainbow perched high over the lake, and I just sat soaking it in as long as it lasted.

And I thought.

I pondered about Noah and that first rainbow that God placed in the sky, and wondered if he chased it, trying to get a better view. And I wonder if Noah’s rainbow had a shadow, too.

I thought about how if I had just sent the dog out of the door instead of walking him myself, I would have missed the rainbow. Or if I would’ve been too focused on staying dry, how I would have missed the rainbow.

And I thought about how often in our daily lives, we miss rainbows all the time. Because we’re too lazy to get up and walk. Or we’re too concerned with avoiding the storm. And by how focusing on our circumstances keeps us from noticing how often the conditions are perfect for a rainbow.

We see the dark gray clouds to our right and feel the rain. But that’s all we see. We tend to so easily forget to look to our left and see the sun. And The Son. And how rainbows only occur through the blending of the the two.

We only get to see the truly glorious when we focus on Jesus in the midst of darkness, and not the darkness itself. And when we do, He strokes His hand across our circumstances leaving a lasting promise to remind us He will never leave us or forsake us.

A promise of how His love endures forever.

I later discovered that “rainbow shadow” I saw is known as a supernumerary rainbow. A highly infrequent phenomenon, that according to Atmospheric Optics, is “an intimation of the limitations of geometric optics for it is totally unable to explain them.” (Emphasis mine)

And isn’t the same true of our Jesus? How His miracles and blessings and grace and mercy are unable to be explained due to the limitations of our humanity?

Go. Ignore the chaos around you and get up and walk. Go dance in the rain. Search with all your might for a rainbow. And when you see one, be overwhelmed with the knowledge that He put it there just for you. Just for today. Just because.

Oh. How He loves us.

Selah.