Practicing Gratitude [02.19]

>> Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm thankful for another year of marriage.  The Man and I had our 18th (!!!) anniversary on the weekend.  In light of all the hubbub a certain movie has been causing, I can't help but be grateful for a relationship that is COMPLETELY different from the one currently being glorified on screens around the world.

I have a kind, thoughtful, generous husband who does everything he does because he loves his family.  His aim is providing for and protecting his wife and daughters ~ steadfastly building us up, endlessly encouraging us, gently helping us see where we've thought or done wrong, boldly spurring us to become stronger and wiser.  His life is lived in self-sacrificing love.

Our relationship isn't perfect and we hurt each other sometimes.  We get angry and treat each other harshly.  But those times are exceptions to the rule, and I'm grateful for the humility my husband models for me when he asks my forgiveness or readily extends it to me.  And I need it so often.  We're broken, like the rest of humanity.  But we also know the ultimate Healer of brokenness.  As we attempt to live the way He wants us to by the example set by His Son, we experience a wonderful acceptance, freedom, peace, and safety within our marriage that is increasingly rare in our culture.

I have a wonderful husband.  He has the capacity to amaze and infuriate me like no one else!  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm grateful he's working more locally since the weekend, too, which means he gets to sleep at home every day.  It's basically been a full year that he's been working away from home 5-10 days at a time.  And even if he's sleeping all day and driving nights, at least we get to have breakfast or supper ~ and sometimes both ~ together as a family again each day.

I'm also thankful this week to have survived my first "dry needling" therapy appointment!  It's similar to acupuncture, but its concern is the intramuscular stimulation of specific, problem-causing muscles.  An acupuncture-like needle is used to poke around directly on the muscle and if there's a knot in it, it will involuntarily spasm and then relax.  If there isn't, there's just a bizarre tingling sensation.  All in all, it was a very weird feeling.  I'd seen my chiropractor earlier the same day and she realigned my pelvis for me, so between the two of them, my hip/back got thoroughly therapied!  I see her again in about two weeks, and the needle guy in a month or so.  I'm grateful I've got treatment options, and I look forward to unimpeded lower back mobility again.

What are you thankful for this week?


Practicing Gratitude [02.12]

>> Thursday, February 12, 2015

This past week has been full of good things.  But full, nonetheless.

But good.  :)

Last Thursday night ~ or rather, the wee hours of Friday morning ~ The Man surprised me by coming home only three days into his normal 10-day shift away from home.  He was instructed to go back to the bush again later that same morning, but he refused, and that turned out to be a HUGE blessing.  Not only would the trip back up north in the semi have been for nothing (some other drivers did obey and discovered no one was even at the loading site!), but Friday afternoon the snow came and it kept right on coming for a full 24 hours!!
He thought he might head back to work Saturday morning, but with all the fresh snow, they called everything off until roads were cleared, so he ended up being home till Sunday early evening.  It was so good to have him home for the weekend when we weren't expecting him!

I never know how, exactly, snowfall gets measured, but I'd say there was about 5".  It doesn't really sound like much, but it's enough to make getting off the yard a challenge, especially after the grader goes past and leaves that nice ridge across the end of the driveway!  I was so thankful The Man was home to do all the clearing. Of course, it would have been nice if he'd been home when the next serious snowfall came just two days later, but hey, I needed some exercise.  I'm thankful my back handled shoveling the sidewalk and a car-length in front of the garage with little to no difficulty.

And shoveling the sidewalk in front of the house all over again moments later, when the roof let go!

And I'm actually kinda thankful for the amazing coincidence that the grader has STILL not come by for whatever reason, so I can still get on and off my driveway even though nothing's been cleared!!  And The Man is home again this morning.  Such perfect timing.  :)

I'm grateful for the beauty of winter.  Not so much the cold and whatnot, but the beauty helps make it bearable!

I'm also thankful the weekend blizzard forced me to do something I'd previously been too lazy to bother with: learning to make buns!  I'd signed up to bring two dozen buns to a church soup & bun lunch, but had forgotten to pick some up when I was in town on Friday.  I figured, "no big deal, I'll just get them when the girls have their hair appointments on Saturday."  But then, of course, the blizzard happened and we had to reschedule the appointment.  So no trip to town to buy buns!!  The first two batches weren't bad ~ good flavour, but a little chewy ~ but since then I changed to a different recipe and have made two VERY delicious, light and fluffy dozens!  They're quite a hit around here.

Speaking of that lunch...  I'm so  grateful for events like that.  Anyone who's spent time here on my blog knows I struggle with practicing hospitality (I'm a total hermit and I really have a hard time wanting to share my space with others.  I know that's selfish and I am trying to change, but it's a long, slow, hard process!!), and so meals like this give me a taste of the closeness that comes from spending quality time with others.

I'm thankful for a church family that's slowly-but-surely beginning to FEEL like family.  We started attending our current church a little over a year ago, but didn't know a single person there, so we had to start from scratch, so to speak.  We've made a few friends there now and while it still doesn't feel quite like HOME yet, I think we're getting there.

Which is also why I'm grateful for my Bible study group.

And I'm super thankful for the results of AJ's science test.  I mentioned last week I'd helped her study for it, and today she found out she was one of only two kids in her class who got 100%!!  This is a pretty big deal.  School doesn't exactly come naturally for her, so I'm extra grateful for times like this when she can see that hard work and studying really does pay off.

What are YOU thankful for this week?


Just One Thing

>> Monday, February 9, 2015

So, let's see a show of hands... who's still keeping their New Year's resolutions??  Or were you like me and just didn't bother making any this time?

I find there's still a lot of talk of resolutions, but it doesn't seem nearly as popular to actually MAKE them anymore.  (I have some opinions on what I think are a few contributing factors, but that's a discussion for some other time! ;)  I dunno, maybe people just don't talk about them out loud or publish them anymore.  Maybe we've just thoroughly fallen out of love with the idea of lying to ourselves about becoming better people year after year!

Because really, what most of us do when we make "resolutions," is make wishes.  We'd like to some things about ourselves to change, but we forget that to be resolved means to consistently choose the path of greater resistance, to work hard, and to shun what's comfortable in favour of the goal.  It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without effort.  Change demands dedication and hard work.

An idea started forming in my head the day of my whiner post from half a year ago (!!), and while I've certainly not mastered the concept and I struggle with consistency, I believe in its value.  My resolution this year is to do just one thing every day.

That's it.  Just one thing.

No, not just literally one thing over the entire course of the day, but one thing that's different today from what has been the norm. One thing that my current self isn't really interested in or is too lazy or selfish to do, but that the me-I'd-like-to-be would do without hesitation; the kind of thing that is just a part of who THAT person is.

Or will be.

If I start now.

A long time ago, I posted about being the product of what we have been becoming, and I guess that's really what this boils down to.  Rather than focusing on what I'm doing each day, I'm working at changing WHO I AM in the long run.  Some days the challenge is more difficult (like refusing to snack all evening long after the girls are in bed, or calling someone up to invite them over right when I'm thinking about it rather than waiting until I feel like I'm ready for it) and some days it's a little easier (like willing myself to de-clutter a drawer or desktop instead of sitting and reading or watching TV for that half-hour).  But little by little, as I insist on doing one thing differently each day, I change. It will be a long time before there is an outwardly noticeable difference, but I'm not just working at specific changes, I'm creating a habit of progress.

One small adjustment at a time ~
just one thing.


Practicing Gratitude [02.05]

>> Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ah, February already.  Can you even believe it?!  How time does fly.  If I'm being honest, I guess that's something I'm never very thankful for...

But I AM thankful for things like:

  • how well the girls have adjusted to their new schools
  • and the new friends they've made
  • the grace and humility with which Mack approached including friends from her old school at her birthday party, despite having the feeling they don't care much about her anymore
  • a great Bible study group that I'm really beginning to love
  • The Man was home last weekend, and despite it being fuller than usual, we had Sunday to relax together as a family (Well, except during the football game.  That wasn't very relaxing...)
  • but at least the Seahawks didn't end up winning!  ;)
  • singing with the praise team Sunday morning for the first time
  • especially since The Man joined us with his guitar
  • my girls are becoming such helpful, responsible young ladies.  It's so wonderful to leave for the evening and come home to a kitchen free of dirty dishes!
  • managing to help AJ discover that studying for a test doesn't have to be torturous ~ and can even be successfully accomplished while helping me with dishes!!
  • watching her metamorphose from a frustrated puddle of tears to a victorious, confident little lady who suddenly knows an awful lot about bones and muscles
  • Mack's mysteriously missing ski pants that she was positive she'd brought home turned up in the school's lost-and-found box yesterday.  Which was a serious relief because her grade is going skiing tomorrow and I was nervous about being able to find a new pair in our little Valley at this time of year!
What are you grateful for today?


January EP

>> Wednesday, February 4, 2015


February DayBook

>> Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook, hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman's BlogOops, I'm a day late!  I worked on this yesterday, but just couldn't answer a few of the prompts, so I gave it another whirl today.

Outside my window... C-c-c-old.  Not quite so cold as the beginning of LAST month, but plenty cold enough.  At least we got a fresh layer of new snow before the cold returned to cover up the ugliness of the very mild month we had.  I love when snow melts, but there is an undeniable grossness that gets uncovered as the layers melt!

I am thinking... Groundhog Day is such a joke on the Canadian prairies.  It really doesn't matter what that dumb furball sees or doesn't see ~ there's gonna be snow on the ground for the next two months anyway!  At least, that's the norm.  One always hopes for an exceptional year...

I am thankful... Mack's 13th birthday party is over and done with.  I am just not good at stuff like that.  Turns out, Mack takes after me. I keep thinking at her age, she and her friends shouldn't need me to entertain them and yet Mack herself seems unsure of what to do with a larger group of friends.  I just want to hide in the kitchen...  It certainly went better than last year's sleep-over party, but neither of us were sorry it was over at the end of the evening.  Isn't that horrible??  Once again, I'm very thankful The Man happened to be home this weekend and spent a fair bit of time outside with the girls, the quad, and our large calf sled.  Seriously, he's always the life of the party!

In the kitchen... lots of clutter left over from the party.  Gonna tackle cleaning off my counter-tops today and figuring out where to put all the leftover disposable dishes and cutlery.  Today is also menu-planning and grocery list-making day.  Got lots of leftover taco beef and seasoned chicken in the freezer to use up though, so the list probably won't be very long this week!

I am going... to the thrift store on Thursday about a garbage bag's worth of stuff.  It's been a while again since I last went and since the store is fairly small and jam-packed, I prefer to go more often with smaller loads!

I am wondering... how it is that STUFF is so like a liquid: always spreading out to fit the shape and contour (and all the nooks and crannies along the way) of the body that contains it.  It doesn't seem to matter how empty and huge a room ~ or house ~ feels initially.  It never stays feeling that way!!

I am (still!) reading... The Janson Option.  You know, the one I said I was reading at the beginning of last month...  I don't think it's EVER taken me this long to finish a novel before!  Usually a week is about all I need!!

A quote that caught my attention...
If we are functioning as Christians are supposed to, we should be able to introduce non-believing friends to church without having to invite them to a building.
 (paraphrasing something our pastor said a few Sundays ago)
I am hoping... for a more productive month than I had in January.  I started off strong, but got bogged down about halfway through.  I'm hoping for more consistent progress this month.

I am learning... that I must be stagnating, because I never have anything to write here!!

Around the house... it's time to get back into my rhythm of my weekly routine around the house and adding a few one-time jobs here and there along the way.  The last two weeks, my focus has been getting ready for my parents' weekend visit as well as Mack's party, so I've been a little side-tracked from tidying, de-cluttering, and organizing the office, which I hoped to have done by the end of January.  A little off-track, but not too bad!  (at least, if I can wrap up that project this week!)

I am pondering... how trivial the things are that make news headlines.  Clearly, we don't have enough hardship in our lives when under-inflated footballs and piped-in crowd noise are major concerns and the announcement of soon-to-be released movie trailers thrills us and fills us with anticipation.

I am looking forward to... understanding the book of Romans.  Well, at least understanding it a little better than I currently do.  It's a difficult book and I'm tired of just reading through it and not really comprehending what I'm reading.  I started listening to John MacArthur's in-depth series last week, and at a rate of 2-3 sermons a week, I should finish by the end of the year, hopefully with a much deeper appreciation for the riches of Romans.

One of my favorite things... sitting and watching SportsCentre in the morning with my Man and my last cup of coffee.  I never watch it when he's not around, but when he is, it's become my favourite way to kick off the 'once-the-girls-are-out-the-door' portion of my morning.  (I was gonna say "my morning routine," but that kicks off at least two hours earlier, before anyone else is up, with my Bible and prayer journal. :)

A peek into my day/the last couple of weeks...

A few plans for the rest of the month:  finishing up with the de-cluttering, tidying, and organizing the office, and then moving on to the large, catch-all living room closet.  {{shudder}}  Also planning to FINALLY hang pictures on my walls again.  It's been a year and a half since they all came down for repainting, and I just haven't forced myself to decide what I want to do ~ re-hang the old pictures, print new ones for the old frames, buy some new artwork, etc.  This month I'm determined to figure that all out and re-dress my naked walls. 

Shovelling Snow
* Click the Simple Woman's Daybook graphic at the top of the post to visit our host and other daybookers.


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