Too Many To Count. [770-1000]

770. arriving to our destination safely with dog and baby in the car. 771. seeing our families. 772. sweet zoo surprise from an online friend across the country. 773. cool, rainy day for temporary relief from the hot weather. 774. checking items off my list. 775. summer break. […] 995. my little boy crawling! 996. his tiny hands on my face, to get my attention. 997. his infectious laugh. 998. bright orange sunrise over misty fields of horses. 999. having my job. 1000. an abundance of blessings. so many.

So. It looks like I cheated a bit by not listing items 776 through 994…. but here’s the thing, in that huge span of time, there have been so many, endless blessings. Many of them through my sweet, precious boy who brings me joy through his own joy at the world around him. His laugh is the best thing ever! Many blessings through my husband, my parents, my family, my friends, my church, my coworkers, everyone…. and God.  Because that’s from whom all blessings flow. Everything I have is a gift. Everything I don’t have is still a gift. And everything on this earth that is beautiful is still only temporary. But because it’s temporary, I am trying to cherish the good and beautiful things that are here while they are while simultaneously fixing my sights on what is unseen. But I also wanted to step away from this feeling of “I have to write this down” or “get this done.” So, another reason I decided to skip the list. I know what’s out there. I know what the gifts are. I am looking for them constantly. Noticing them all the time. Noticing what a beautiful life this is. And being thankful for where I am and who my savior is…..

In the midst of all of this wonderfulness that I just wrote about, I have also felt frazzled, pulled apart in many directions, tired, unsure of who I am, angry, exhausted, overwhelmed, and did I mention tired? It’s been brought to my attention lately (through words from others, scripture, songs, books) that I need to change something. Remember how I used to be so focused on simplicity? Simplicity became messy and full…. and not in a good way. Time to get back to that. I like full — but not the nasty, soul-sucking kind of full. I want fullness in joy. Fullness in life. Fullness in peace. In love. In God.

I am going to try to be more intentional with this short life I have.

I also want to write. But there is so much to do and only so little time and a little boy that needs to be to there for him. This is not my time to write. This is my time to be. I’d like to soak up every moment that I can, especially with my child. And he is only on loan, not mine forever. And I need to work on my relationship with Jesus, my husband, and family, everyone in my life, and taking care of myself, as well.

Cheers, friends. Much love to you, always.

sun’s up, flowers smile. [701-769]

Gosh. How many times have I said that time flies? Because, dang, it does fly by. Quick! And now, I have a happy, curious six and a half month-old little boy that brings so much joy to my life. I still cannot believe it! And it’s spring! The grass has been mowed several times (successfully this year!), plants are growing, bees are buzzing, everything smells like nature and I’m a week away from summer break. Wow.

I am full of so many thoughts and things to say, but always short on time. Or rather, I need to use this time to do other things. So here’s another short post with just a list of only the few gifts I remembered to write down in the hundreds more beautiful gifts I have. Maybe next time I’ll get around to sharing all my thoughts. Maybe. 🙂

701. trip to IKEA. 702. seeing old friends. 703. meeting their sweet little boy. 704. little boy being kind to my baby. 705. always having a supply of fresh eggs. 706. women’s potluck at church. 707. being with many kind women. 708. baby laughing at new faces. 709. an afternoon catching up with friends. 710. being exhausted from a full weekend. 711. exposing baby to some watercolor art! 712. Mema and Papa visiting. 713. having a safer door on our house. 714. meeting baby goats! 715. Italian Beef sandwiches from Chicago. 716. tax refund giving us a bit of temporary financial relief. 717. paying off our truck! 718. lunch with a friend. 719. the end of the workday on a Friday afternoon. 720. friendly chickens. 721. freshly laid mulch. 722. brewery night with friends. 723. first time out with the baby, aside from dinner. 724. baby enjoying being out and then sleeping during the noise. 725. raspberry beer. 726. dog happy to be outside in the sun. 727. lazy Sunday afternoon. 728. green buds on trees. 729. flowers showing up. 730. taste of Spring! 731. smell of flowers! 732. baby belly laughs. 733. baby consistently smiling every time I walk into the room (awww)! 734. baby starting to sit up! 735. salamander on the doorframe. 736. brilliant sunrise. 737. big, green luna moth on the door. 738. trees in full bloom. 739. flowers on all the trees. 740. smell of spring. 741. sunrise peeking up, painting purple and pinks in the sky before disappearing as an orange haze behind the clouds for the day. 742. remembering to do something! 743. baby lambs frolicking in the fields. 744. teacher appreciation week. 745. waffle breakfasts. 746. surplus bagels from Panera. 747. water with lemon. 748. baby sitting comfortably on his own! 749. baby trying food and enjoying it. 750. seeing my little one get so excited about everything. 751. iced coffee. 752. warm enough for sandals. 753. laughter and connection in my small group. 754. pumpkin muffins. 755. baby being happy to see me. 756. peaches with cottage cheese. 757. new, clear sunglasses. 758. random snacks and treats at work. 759. grace upon grace upon grace. 760. Jeremiah 29:11. 761. Isaiah 55. 762. freshly mowed grass. 763. job security. 764. inclusion. 765. work luncheon. 766. rainbow striped pajama pants. 767. small group gathering to pray on our knees. 768. post-it notes. 769. blank pages.

Our greatest gift! [540-600]


Two weeks ago, this stunning gift from God came into our lives!

At almost four weeks early, our miracle baby boy was born on November 7th. Nolan is such a joy. It’s been two weeks and I still cannot believe he is here. We absolutely love him and are so blessed to be his parents. I’m already looking forward to seeing what kind of person he becomes… but of course, holding onto all these baby moments as much as I can while they’re still here. Loving the awe in his eyes as he looks around. Loving the strong grip of his little fingers. Loving his warm body against mine, his gentle breathing reminding me to slow down and take it all in. Loving this new ‘normal’ as a family of three.

Two weeks ago, God’s plans totally wiped mine out. As usual.

I thought I was going to spend that Monday getting things together and ready for the baby. I had no idea my water was going to break late Sunday night. I had no idea that we’d be spending that day at the hospital. I had no idea that instead of my routine OB-GYN appointment, we’d actually be pushing him out. I had no idea I’d be holding a sweet, snuggly, warm bundle of love in my hands that afternoon. I also know that nothing really ever goes according to plan, but I am so thankful that I was able to have the natural birth that I had hoped for. So thankful for that experience, my doctor for working with me on it, and the nurses for being awesome. And, oh, it has been awesome seeing my husband totally take on his new role as father, being so gentle with this fragile little life.

And oh my goodness, my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

Gratitude for the healthy birth of this healthy boy, gratitude for my wonderful doctor and the entire staff at the hospital that helped take care of us, gratitude for a good birth experience, gratitude for the friends that have dropped by to visit and provide us with plenty of food (which has been a huge blessing because I do not feel like cooking anything), gratitude that my in-laws were able to come and visit their new grandson (and the meals they cooked for us!), gratefulness towards all the gifts people have brought and sent (including surprise packages on our doorstep), thankfulness towards all the women that have reached out to me with their breastfeeding struggle stories and support, and so much thankfulness for this adorable little boy that we’ve been blessed with. He is the cutest and I can’t get enough of him! Just so, so thankful. All the good things happening this month has more than made up for all the not-so-good things in the last two years. I think things are finally looking up for us again. Full of love, joy, and gratitude. I sound like a broken record…. but I mean it.

Here’s to life being completely different from now on…..

I’ve barely gotten anything done in the last two weeks. Normally this drives me nuts, and admittedly still does a bit, but this boy needs my attention. And sometimes he just needs me to hold him while I do nothing else at all. Just be with him. And I’m going to hold him, hoping to remember this years from now when he won’t want me to hold him anymore. And all these moments focused on him are more important than other tasks that can wait a bit. Right now, today matters more than tomorrow.

And with that, here is my updated list of gifts…. ❤

540. warmth coming from the earth on a chilly evening. 541. flock of birds flying overhead; a reminder of a promise from God. 542. crescent moon at dusk. 543. community in an open field. 544. exploding pumpkins. 545. chocolate. 546. frost on the windows. 547. beautiful baby shower. 548. amazing homemade cake by  a sweet friend. 549. feeling loved and blessed by a circle of women. 550. my water breaking on its own. 551. doctors respecting my wishes. 552. having a new friend be one of my attending nurses during the birth! 553. seeing my son for the first time. 554. feeling his warm skin against mine. 555. kind nurses tending to me. 556. cooling gel pads. 557. warm sitz baths. 558. decent hospital food. 559. excited visitors. 560. fast healing. 561. mothers’ milk tea. 562. honey. 563. a breast pump helping me keep a supply. 564. warm meals brought to my house. 565. visits from friends. 566. baby’s wrinkly forehead. 567. pursed lips. 568. warm baby body. 569. tiny hands that grip my finger tight. 570. bright eyes looking around intensely. 571. baby finally eating enough and gaining weight. 572. a five-hour stretch of sleep. 573. tiny soft head full of hair. 574. stinky milk breath. 575. moby wrap keeping him snug against me. 576. soft baby blankets. 577. photographs. 578. being able to give to the church thanksgiving offering. 579. lazy evening watching Home Improvement. 580. frost on the grass. 581. fake fireplace warmth. 582. having a full tank of propane gas for winter heat. 583. seeing my husband snuggle with the baby. 584. husband looking at me with lots of love (this is making me tear up!). 585. in-laws visiting and loving baby. 586. baby yawns. 586. gassy smiles. 588. minor breastfeeding success. 589. baby asleep on my chest. 590. paper towels. 591. unexpected baby gifts. 592. unexpected mail. 593. a phone call bringing more hope for the year ahead. 594. twinkling lights on houses. 595. having a radio! 596. holiday music on the radio. 597. dancing with my [probably confused] baby. 598. a sleepy household. 599. Golden Girls. 600. heart overflowing with love for this little boy…..

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving reflecting on all that you have and everything you hold dear. Praying that you are able to enjoy the holiday to its fullest, with a heart of gratitude. And please, please hold your loved ones tight and put off the holiday shopping until another time. Those material things don’t matter at all. As I write this, I’ve just heard about another fatal car accident in our small town involving a couple young people. Praying for those families. I can’t even imagine the loss they must be feeling, especially around the holidays. Praying for everyone who has lost a loved one this year. Praying for peace. Praying for you. Much love.