Saturday, April 16

Big Cardboard Boxes

We spent a portion of our tax return on some nifty storage and organization schtuff. Packages have been arriving for the last couple of days. I am thrilled about getting things set up and being better organized and better stored (?).

For my children, however, the thrill is all in the packaging. Bubble wrap, yes, but more importantly: cardboard boxes. Big cardboard boxes. The same children who quibble and pester and get in each other's faces and each other's spaces are playing benignly and cooperatively and lovingly. For hours. Nay, days.

My living room is completely given over to Cardboard Town. Several unique structures - lovingly shaped by my good table knives and decorated by my colored markers - are all over the place. They have played Restaurant, Apartment Building, Post Office, and Library, not necessarily in that order. Some one even took a nap in "their box" this afternoon. Is this not perfect for rainy Spring days?

I am grateful for  big cardboard boxes. My children eschew contention and whining in the presence of them. I am willing to devote an entire room to this activity as long as the good times last. I am grateful for children with wild imaginations and active creative tendencies. Whilst I am busy organizing and Spring cleaning and humming to myself, I am grateful to know my children are equally happy and occupied.

What are you blessed with today?

Friday, April 15

Long-Distance Connection

We had a wedding in the family this week. My husband's younger brother was married on Tuesday. We are blessed to be close enough to attend this significant event.

A lot of our family is not.

In fact, we love - and are related to - people who are scattered coast to coast and around the globe. Too many of us could not be there for the wedding.

But through such modern miracles as email, digital photography, smart phones, online social networks (heck, the Internet and the ability to even be online!), those of us who were there have shared with those who were not. And this wedding is all over facebook, family blogs, email, you name it. I love it.

So many of the people that I care deeply about would be lost to me through distance and lack of time without facebook and blogger and email. But we stay connected and involved in each other's lives, sharing the ups and downs because of the Internet. I'm a fan of a good, old-fashioned letter, but I know better than to think I could still be involved as much as I am just via snail mail.

I am grateful for my family, extended and scattered and everything. I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the big stuff (weddings, baby blessings, funerals, graduations) and the little stuff (first loose tooth, highest spelling score, contests and fundraisers). And when I can't be there in person, I can be there because of those long-distance connections only available through the privileges of the digital age.

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, April 14


There is a doozie of a storm blowing and storming outside my home tonight. I really love storms, because I think they are beautiful, and there is no explaining the feeling of being near such raw power.

Tonight, I am grateful that I can go to bed and sleep through the storm, knowing my family is safe. Our home is a very real haven from the world and all of its storms. I am grateful for safe haven. I am grateful I can sleep peacefully knowing we are safe. I am grateful for the weather radio that will go off in the middle of the night if we need to get to the storm shelter. I am grateful for the storm shelter. I am grateful for peace of mind.

What are you blessed with today? (besides a dry place to lay your head...)

Wednesday, April 13

Just Like That

We arrived home rather late last night after a very long (but very happy!) day involving marriage, family, beautiful weather and lots and lots of driving. As we pulled in to the driveway, I was gearing up for unloading, unpacking, putting wee ones in wee beds...the usual mental checklist.

My husband was thinking about other things: "Look at that lovely green lawn waiting for me to mow it."

I resent that lovely green lawn. I love the beautiful weather and the general outdoor gorgeousness of Spring and Summer, but I resent the hours my husband must devote to the lawn in order to keep our property feigning looking presentable.

Just like that, I was sidetracked and feeling defeated. But I rallied, and we got everything/everyone in side and in bed. But in the back of my mind was that reminder, that lawn-care season had arrived, and I was going to have to relinquish precious hubby time to the grass and the lawnmower. He is so busy. Sometimes we shake our heads at how he is in demand.

Grumble, mutter, murmur, whine.

Fast-forward to mid-morning of today. Down the street comes our friend Nick. On a riding lawnmower. Onto our lawn. And for the next hour, Nick mows our lawn. No invitation, no advance notice. Just Nick being Nick.

My husband has been over at Nick's house more than once, helping with a car repair or a plumbing problem. It's how he rolls. And here is Nick, paying it forward when we needed it most. Just like that.

I am grateful for friends. I am grateful for payment-in-kind and for unexpected kindnesses. I am grateful for God acknowledging my whining and touching someone's heart to lighten my load. For every minute Nick spent cutting my lawn, he gave me back two minutes of my husband's time; time for family, time for me, time for himself. Just like that.

What are you blessed with today?