1. Flexibility. After years of "paying my dues" work-wise, I finally have the opportunity to be able to be very flexible with my work schedule. And for the first time this summer, we took advantage of that flexibility and I spontaneously took the kids to Atlanta for a couple days to visit cousins and grandparents. I am so incredibly, very thankful to be able to go without requesting time off; to take the kids to the pool without having to listen out for a boss calling every 5 minutes; to stress over what emails I might not be reading at this very moment. I know it's a great reward from God directly, and my gratitude overflows.
2. In-Car DVD Players. "My" car has a DVD player in it, and Paxton has become infatuated with his "Me-mo Show" (Elmo) in the car. For a couple reasons, we took Greg's car to Atlanta instead of mine, and Paxton spent every minute of the 3+ hour drive asking for the "Me-mo Show." I have a whole new appreciation for that broke-down car and DVD player.
3. Buy One Get One Free. Our local grocery store doesn't run a B1G1 very often, but when they do you have to drop everything and buy. Not only did I get a few B1G1 things, they also had my favorite Emerald Salt & Pepper Cashews on a 2-fer sale. Happy dance in aisle 3.
4. Yellow & Black. I mentioned a few weeks ago how I've been doing choir rehearsals, and this Sunday is going to be my first time singing! Consequently, it might also be my last due to the microphones that will be on. In the event the worst happens and I'm kicked out, I'll at least try to rock the black with shades of yellow this Sunday by donning my new cute skinny yellow belt.
5. Fresh Hair. Got to visit my hair guy while in the ATL and there is no feeling quite like freshly highlighted hair. It's worth waiting the extra few weeks to get to see him. I heard my follicles let out a collective "aaaahhhh" at the first foil.
6. Puppies. It was a girls' day out when I got my hair done, so Jaana and her cousin came with me and we went to lunch and the mall afterwards. The Disney Store and Build-a-Bear were involved, and to top off the day we stopped at the pet store to play with puppies. Jaana and I have puppy fever so very badly, so we picked out which one we wanted and spent a few minutes playing with him. Have you ever seen such an adorable thing? He's a Choodle. I die.
7. Buck's. Our local coffee shop, Buck's, has the best coffee on this mountain, and I frequently find myself comparing how much more I like Buck's over Starbucks. (I come from the Pacific Northwest and grew up with Starbucks in my baby bottle, so you have to realize it's a big deal I say this.) I went through a Starbucks stop while in Atlanta and ordered what I normally order at Buck's (I'd tell you the drink order, but I'd sound extremely high-maintenance and I generally like to shy away from ridicule). Needless to say, I drove away with a greater appreciation for my local haunt that gives you 2 shots of espresso in their smallest latte instead of just one. Especially after paying almost $2 more for it.
8. Unfrozen Feelings. I have been uncharacteristically unemotional lately. Typically I can shed a tear over something ridiculously not sad or touching...but over the past couple of years (pregnancy excluded), my skin has thickened. Or I've gotten more jaded. Either way you slice it, it takes a lot more to move me these days. But I recently was part of a wonderful meeting about a possible mission trip on the absolute opposite side of the planet. In the middle of a thought someone was sharing, out of nowhere, tears sprang out of my eyes like missiles. My heart was touched, I was moved and the thawing began. It was completely surprising to me, but at the same time made me so happy to know I am not a robot-zombie that has lost the ability to feel.
9. Elevating Ideas. This has been coming up more and more, and recently I had to share the Elevating Ideas concept with my little Padawan, Jaana. Until this spring, she has never, EVER been afraid of thunderstorms. Never woke up during them, never blinked, nothing. This spring however, we had a very real, very scary tornado watch and had to go hide in the closet a few times during the night. And that, my friends, was the end of that. Anytime there's a gray cloud or a hint of wind, Jaana is now like a hawk at the window, doing her 7 year-old version of meteorology.
During a particularly scary night this week, she really started falling to pieces, and God gently reminded me that this would be a great opportunity to not gloss over her fear but really address it. So in 7 year-old terms, we talked about courage and fear, and being brave and strong. And we talked about elevating our ideas -- about being transformed by the way we think. I explained what that meant and what it looked like. And how even "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music was a biblical concept. We talked, we laughed and we prayed. And unlike normal, she wasn't looking around and not paying attention. This time her eyes were absolutely locked onto mine and she was absorbing it all.
We haven't turned the corner on the fear of storms, but we continue to talk more about focusing on joy and peace instead of fear when they happen. I'm so grateful to God for reminding me when those moments come not to rush through them but really use them to teach and help her little heart. I hope I'm always as easily responsive.
10. Conferences. Greg is alone at a leadership conference this week. No one else from the staff, not me, just him. I'm so glad he took this opportunity to do something for himself like this. Leadership is his niche, his forte. It fuels him and drives him. I can't wait to see how recharged he is when he gets back and to watch his passion get fueled even further.
Your turn! Let me know what you're thankful for this week. Leave a comment or link up with Candra and experience how gratitude change change your heart from stone to mush. You might just want to run through a field picking petals off a daisy with a cheesy smile on your face.