“Life hands us opportunities at every turn to get over ourselves, to get outside ourselves, to wake up from our own bad dreams and realize that really lovely things are happening all the time.” Shauna Niequist
I loved this quote as soon as I read it. How wonderful is it to be able to stop and realize all of the lovely things that are happening around us? I know I have fallen victim to self-pity, complaining and wallowing at times but I am thankful for the continued work that God does on my heart that works to steer me back to a spirit of gratitude. So, in efforts to “see the lovely things that are happening all the time”, I dedicate this post to my Top 10 favorite moments of the last 2 weeks. So here you go, in no particular order …
1. Books. I love them. About 2 weeks ago I stumbled upon a cute bookstore in St. Paul. While the selection of books was small, the quaintness of the store made me smile and posed for a perfect photo opp. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle up here and read all day?
Also, I am obsessed with this book. (Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist) Shauna is also the author of Cold Tangerines and Bread & Wine, both which I HIGHLY recommend. I feel like I can’t get enough of her writing. Along with my pen, highlighter and cozy chair, this book has brought joy and reliability into my life these last few weeks.
2. Mother’s Day. What a SPECIAL day this was! First of all, I loved being able to celebrate my mom and spending time as a family with her. We enjoyed beautiful weather, spent time at a bookstore (do you see a trend in my life?), grilled out and laughed. Secondly, it was a day that made me feel so loved and cared for by others. You guy, my heart was so full. I am so blessed by all of the people who thought of me and sent loving cards, texts, messages and posts. My home was filled with flowers, caffeine and love and I am so thankful for the prayers of many. You all made what could have been a tough day, very very special.
3. A new baby. My great friends, Paul and Anna, celebrated a beautiful series of answered prayers as they welcomed their daughter Kate Molly to this world. Kate and her family have a beautiful story and God moved in evident ways in her arrival. She is a joy to celebrate!!!
4. Tea. As a Mother’s Day celebration, my sister and I took our mom out for a formal seated tea and boy, did we have fun! We spent a lazy, beautiful afternoon tucked inside an old refurbished home sipping tea and eating delicious gluten free goodies. A new memory for the books!
5. A bridal shower. My friend Anne Marie is getting married in July and I had a wonderful time gathering with friends and celebrating this beautiful bride-to-be. (Can I just note that I am 5′ 8″ and not as short as I seem to be in these photos?)
6. Time with my nieces. Seriously, I know everyone says they have the cutest nieces ever but I’m sorry, I win by a landslide. Scarlett and Kinsley joined Cali and I for a fun morning together, complete with baking, a tea party, fairy races with our pet unicorns and a joint effort to save the whales that were caught in a net in my backyard. (Gotta love those 2 and 3 year old imaginations!) They were so excited to help make “special princess cookie bisquits” (aka scones), although I don’t think they were as impressed with the finished product. In the words of Scarlett, “I don’t think I like the scones but I like the jelly.” Cali was thrilled with the opportunity to wait patiently for a sneakily slipped crumb and this Auntie loved the memories created. And yes, in case you are wondering, we did manage to save all the whales.
7. Beautiful weather and summer food. Sigh, This Minnesota girl is THRILLED that not only have we had weather in the double digits the last 3 months, but that we are now seeing numbers in the 60’s and 70’s!! AHHH! We have been able to sit outside on the porch in the evening and watch the sunset, with good music playing and a book in hand. Last night we had a mother deer and her fawn join us too, which would have been tranquil had Cali not noticed and assumed that they were mass murders coming to assassin us. (Deer not pictured so please don’t strain your eyes attempting to find them.)
Oh, and the tomatoes are finally turning red and delicious. One of my favorite summer lunches includes tossing tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and avocado and drizzling it with basil olive oil (or fresh basil when my garden is ready) and a yummy, thick aged balsamic vinegar. Y-U-M.
8. A baby shower. My sweet friend Heidi is expecting a precious little BOY in July and we were able to gather with our church community and celebrate his upcoming arrival. The day was complete with decorating adorable onsies and penning funny sayings on diapers, which inevitably lead to many laughs. I can’t wait to snuggle him!
9. Acupuncture and a new experience – cupping! I am excited to share that I am completely healed up from my laparoscopy last month and we are back on the baby making road again. We continue to try naturally (versus the medicated cycles as in the past), and it’s been exciting to see my body continue to regulate itself. We continue to stay hopeful for a miracle. I have never done acupuncture sessions during a non-medicated cycle and we are looking forward to see what it does and how it helps. My acupuncturist also tried cupping this last session and while it looks scary (in her words “you may look like someone beat you with a lead pipe, so make sure not to wear a backless shirt.”), it doesn’t hurt at all and is worth a try! (Although my entire wardrobe has been eliminated with the “no-backless” restrictions …. HA! Kidding!!!!)
10. Cali. Of course I couldn’t end this list without sharing my love and adoration for my little furbaby. She has had a strange new fascination with this stuffed dinosaur that she has had for years and I couldn’t help but smile and snap a picture as she carried him onto our bed the other day while watching the squirrels in the yard. Oh this little peanut brings me so much joy.
Oh, and because this is my blog and I can – I am adding in an 11 –
11. Gilmore Girls and time with my hubby. My husband is the best ever and lovingly spent an entire Friday night rewatching hours of Gilmore Girls with me just because it makes me happy. He is my best friend and Gilmore Girls is my favorite show so putting them together just brings me joy.
What would be on your list? I never want to forget the beautiful things in my life. Could I make a list of 10 tough moments from the last 2 weeks? Of course! We ALL have tough moments in our lives. Flat tires, health scares, dealing with change and stress – these things happen too. But we have such a wonderful opportunity to embrace the good, celebrate the joy, and battle through the tough times with a smile on our face. In the words of Jason Mraz “La-la-la-la-la-la Life is wonderful ….”