TGIF – Gratitude Friday

images[7]

Getting back to the Friday posts on gratitude that ended when the A to Z Blogging Challenge began. ūüôā

The top three things I’m especially grateful for this past week:

1.)  Thursday afternoon off work to snuggle up with a light blanket and Roxie (my dog), a cup of tea and a good book while listening to the rain outside.

2.)  Lying in the warm softness of my bed with my pen and journal in hand, the house beautifully quiet, knowing everyone is tucked safely in bed, including Roxie asleep at my feet.

3.)¬† A caramel sundae from McDonalds, with extra buttery caramel. Yum! ūüôā

Please share what tops your list for the week.

Peace.

Thankful Thursday-Magical Common Scents

Have you ever noticed how certain scents¬†can draw you to another time and place, almost working as a sort of time machine? There are scents that take me back to times¬†especially important in my life, bringing comfort and peace. And then there are those, as well, that take me to a time that I would never choose to revisit, but that also remind me how far I’ve come and that bad things do, indeed, pass.

For instance, it took me a very long time to be able to smell the exhaust of a car, even while running, when I didn’t get nauseated and feel as if I were going to faint from a very painful memory. I avoided running by busy streets and held my breath as best I could when a car would pass, and continued to run with the weight of a heavy heart.

Thanks to a loving, gracious God, when the smell of exhaust invades the air around me these days, I have the strength to continue on in thanksgiving that not only did I get through that most painful time, but with a less troubled heart and gratitude for the life I have.

On a lighter note, some of the most pleasant time-transcending scents I would love to capture and bottle are:

MN 2013 061
The Forrest–It brings me back to the times our family used to go into the woods to cut trees for firewood for cold Minnesota winters.¬† I can almost hear the fire hungrily licking the logs placed in that old barrel stove as they crackled and popped.

The Lake–Mmmmm…when I smell lake water in the air, I can almost feel the sun on my face, the little fishing¬†boat rocking gently, and hear the waves lap softly at the shoreline.

The Ocean–The smell of that sticky, sea salt air makes me feel the sun warming me through and through, relaxing every muscle, and I can almost feel the silky sand between my toes and the breeze in my hair.

Rain–Inhaling slowly and deeply of a fresh rain, the earth’s fragrant aroma, makes any burden just a little bit¬†lighter,¬†my mind just a little bit clearer.

Well it is not great, but here is one of the c...

A Freshly Opened Box of Crayons and a Container of PlayDoh–I can never get enough of these. They bring so many beautiful, fun memories of being a child, creating and sculpting anything my mind could imagine.

A Library or Bookstore–There’s nothing like the smell of a room full of books. Opening a book, inhaling the scent of the pages can almost take me to a magical land. I enjoy my kindle, but the printed page is my first love.

Fresh Brewed Coffee–Brings joy to my heart and soul, reminding me of the¬†invaluable and cherished¬†conversations had with friends, solving the problems of the world, truly connecting, and the beautiful reunions with my sisters and my mom when I get back home to see them. Friends and family truly are the heartbeat of life.

fresh

All is Grace.

Colorado Floods

Even too much of a good thing is not good.  And while rain in Colorado is typically a good and welcomed thing, it has now worn out its welcome.

ss-130915-colorado-floods-01_ss_full

The city in which I live vaguely resembles the small fictional town of Chester’s Mill in Stephen King’s Under the Dome.¬†¬†While we¬†sit directly in the center of cities with homes and streets getting washed away and loved ones missing, and¬†though we’ve been receiving record breaking rain, there¬†have been no¬†catastrophic rains¬†causing the damage that is occurring¬†in the¬†cities¬†surrounding us.

ss-130912-colo-floods-06_ss_full

A comment I heard plays¬†in my mind–a familiar comment heard¬†amid tragedy:¬† “How can God allow this to happen?”

I believe it’s important to remember that God is not¬†the author of evil.¬† I believe God will use evil and catastrophe to bring out the good in people.¬† To encourage people to be there for one another.¬† To empathize with and¬†help one another, bringing humanity¬†to it’s best.

gnoColorado%20Flooding_JPEG-0bfde

Natural disasters can be especially devastating because despite the immeasurable pain and loss, there is no where to place the blame.  Mother Nature is too big and powerful.  But God is bigger and more powerful.  God will bring people together and He will heal.  He will restore and make whole again, bringing the situation under control.

Today may we lift up in prayer all those who have suffered devastating pain and loss from the floods, that their lives be fully restored, and that they feel His healing presence.

August 14, 2013 036

All is Grace.

Ten of My Very Favorite Things

1)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The smell of a fresh rain–and the sound of it falling while snuggled in a sleeping bag in a tent with a good book.¬† It has been a long time, but the memory is vivid.

2.)           The smell of fresh brewed coffee, and that first cup of the morning. Yummmmm.

Coffee cup

3.)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Snuggling up with a quilt made from squares of my grandmother’s clothes after she went home to Jesus. Covering up with that quilt after a bad day or when I’m not feeling well is like being enveloped in a hug from my grandma, who was a second mother to me.

photo (22)

4.)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sitting around the bonfire after dark roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, listening to the crackling of the fire and watching the flames spark and the embers glow in hues of blue and orange, and watching the sparks of light from the fireflies off in the woods.S'more

5.)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sitting on a dock by the lake watching¬† the sun sparkle on the water’s surface looking like a million sparkling diamonds.

6.)           The smell of Night Blooming Jasmine body lotion from Bath and Body Works.

7.)           The feeling of accomplishment after an intense kickboxing session or a long run drinking in all of nature surrounding me.

8.)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Beginning each day with prayer and ending each day in prayer and a gratitude list, naming and recognizing blessings given to me that day. That makes for a beautiful day and a restful night’s sleep.

9.)           Long bike rides on the Platte Trail in Colorado or the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota to connect with God and that encourage and open my mind to create ideas for writing.

Paul Bunyan trail, Brainerd MN

10.)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And the very best of all, all of my family members–including my dog, Roxie–under one roof at the same time, watching them interact, knowing they are all safe and happy.¬† A mother’s greatest joy.

All is Grace.