Monday, July 30, 2012

Crazy behind...

Since starting to count my blessings, I don't think I have ever gone four days without jotting something down... But as I am learning, the blessings abounded, even as the days spun past...

218. Finishing week 3 of school
219. Having friends over to play and share lunch before they go back to Maryland
220. Cinnamon, the poodle, not limping anymore
221. Chasing rabbits, again, and catching them
222. Helping a friend make a cute headband for the high schoolers going to camp this week
223. Dinner with dear friends, and for laughing at their impersonation of the baby lizards they are raising
224. Kids who enjoy sharing time with adults

225. Spending the day with E's parents on his mom's birtday
226. Giving a haircut and shave to James, my father-in-law battling brain cancer
227. Watching my children cherish the time they have with their grandparents
228. Homemade pizza
229. Pineapple Upside Down Cake
230. Squishing onto the couch to cheer Team USA on in swimming and gymnastics
231. Getting to bed early before church

232. Cuddling sweet babies in the church nursery
233. Getting to sing silly songs to the little ones and watch them smile
234. Serving in ministry with friends who love the Lord
235. Grocery shopping alone in the afternoon
236. Greek yogurt for a snack
237. Choir practice before evening service (I love making a joyful noise unto the Lord!)
238. Starting to organize a Homeschool Choir with friends from church

239. Sharing breakfast with our Maryland friends heading home this week
240. Watching a movie in the afternoon
241. Catching up with two friends who called in the afternoon
242. Sharing a "John the Baptist" lunch with the kids (fruit, nuts, yogurt)
243. Reading the Bible right when I woke up, and for God's grace in rekindling my desire to be in His Word
244. Meeting with our builder to go over house plans and totally rearranging everything
245. Going to bed before midnight

... and the blessings rain down...

Every four years...

I am not a huge fan of television. When I do turn it on, I feel like I spent more than half my time covering my eyes and waiting for undesirable commercials to pass than I do watching whatever it was I turned it on for. We don't really keep up with sports either, I never know what sport is even playing until the unavoidable hype of the finals arrives.

 But every four years, there is something about the Olympics... Maybe it is remembering how I learned how to do a front handspring in my front yard after wishing I could be Mary Lou doing the floor exercise in gymnastics. Or was it my courage to try a flip off of the diving board at my neighborhood pool after watching the amazing (yet dizzying) dives from the high board... Being inspired to swim harder at my next team practice, and wondering, "could I ever be good enough for the Olympics?" In high school, I remember being glued to the TV watching Women's Volleyball, trying to improve my game by observing the best of the best in the world, thinking "Maybe that could be me..."

 As an adult, I still love the games, though all illusions of being an Olympian have passed. I recognize what a sacrifice those families made to see their child rise to that level of competition; the hours of practice, the monetary sacrifice, the giving away of childhood simplicity in exchange for that hope of glory. The next two weeks I imagine the kids and I will cuddle up to watch the athletes try to secure gold medals for Team USA. I hope the children become inspired by the stories of the athletes, their drive and determination and relentless hard work. We've already had conversations about pride and humility, sacrifice and courage. I have enjoyed having a good reason to turn on the TV, even if it only comes once every four years.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When I don't understand...

... I can rest in knowing that God does.

Isaiah 55:8-9
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Even in trials...

One of our puppies got hurt today, we are not sure if it was while he was chasing after the rabbits who escaped, or if it was when the youngest dropped him in the kitchen...

A friend who lives overseas kept me updated on some emergency surgery her child was having...

Another friend just got some hard to hear news about her youngest child and his medically uncertain future... 

And yet, in it all, God is God and He is using these things. From the mundane to the tragic, He has orchestrated each of these events to teach us more about Him, to conform us into the image of Christ, His Son. And all the while, through the sorrows and the joys He is revealing how He is sending blessing in the everyday things around us, if only we will take notice... 

211. Fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy at every meal
212. Being able to trust the Lord no matter the circumstances
213. Laughter with friends
214. Snickers dip with Granny Smith apples
215. Praying for friends who are dealing with medical emergencies
216. Repentance, and God's mercy shown through little children
217. Clean laundry piling up in the red chair in my living room

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Awesome day...

204. Getting some great deals on a lot of wonderful fresh fruits and veggies thanks to an early morning trip to Sprouts on "Double Ad Wednesday"
205. A child thanking me for correcting their school work with a sweet attitude
206. Children content with a simple lunch of fruit and nuts (our "John the Baptist" lunch)
207. Excitement and anticipation about my Fall schedule for kids' art classes I host at my house
208. A long FaceTime call with a friend in VA, and praying for her as she and her sisters leave for a missions trip to Africa next week
209. Coffee to sip throughout the afternoon as we read Johnny Tremain aloud
210. Watching the "Loopy Project" pile grow as the children save up potholders to make place mats for each other

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seven more things...

197. The napless boy-wonder falling asleep flat on his face in the middle of the living room at 5pm
198. Helping a friend with scheduling for the nursery, only to be inspired to work on the schedule for the media team (You know I like making charts, right?)
199. Praying for a friend ministering to young ladies
200. Two happy dogs who love to cuddle and play
201. Already having the children's homework checked before bed
202. Chocolate with nuts and marshmallow homemade candy (also known around here as "Rocky Road")
203. God's Word, a balm for the hurting and a comfort to the weary

Late night chats...

190. An afternoon with a friend, sharing life - both the fun and the struggles and pain - encouraging one another with God's perfect and true Word
191. Dinner out with my family, for healthy appetites
192. Children happily working on school work, even on disjointed, running behind days
193. Finding cute backpacks for the kids that weren't covered in cartoon characters, peace signs or skulls
194. Knowing that I can trust God with all things, big and small, happy and sorrowful, now and forever
195. Being rewarded with a free coffee after patiently waiting an hour for the espresso machine to be fixed at my neighborhood Starbucks
196. The richness of fellowship with like-minded believers and being reminded that maturity in Christ has less to do with age and more to do with intensely seeking to please to the Lord in every area of my life

... twenty-eight days of counting my blessings... and fifteen days of daily being in the Word of God... more things to be thankful for...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Count it all joy...

183. The giggles and laughter from a little boy in the nursery when I played peek-a-boo "sound edition" (depending on whether he raised his right arm or left arm or both arms, I made a different crazy noise)
184. The toddler girl who danced and danced while I sang songs like "Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosanna, Ha-Ha-Ha-leluia, He-He-He-He saved me, I have the joy of the Lord!" and "Jesus Loves Me" in the morning nursery
185. Getting a text message from a sweet friend in Virginia, always so faithful to keep in touch
186. Having the opportunity to pray for a friend's son whose favorite little furry pet is dying
187. Oatmeal cookies and an ice cold glass of milk 
188. Hugs from a friend moving away
189. Observing my oldest resisting the temptation to wonder off with friends to an area at church we have asked her not to, even though she didn't know I was watching (construction zone)

... realizing there are even more things I could be thankful for today...

Life without naptime...

Micah is almost 3 years old and up until this week he was still taking daily three hour naps. But then it started... the "I don't want to go to bed" syndrome... All the other children had reached that milestone by two and a half, so when we blazed past that I was surprised, and secretly happy.

When I think about the motivation to go from napper to non-napper, I can't really blame him, as most days he has only woken up from his nap a few hours before bedtime. Plus, the statement "when Micah is napping can we..." which had previously fallen unto the naive ears of a toddler, now come across to Micah as "we have so much fun when you are sleeping!!!"

Since we began noticing his recent habit of after-bedtime wanderings and saying "but I am not tired", we tried waking him up early from nap a few times. We thought that taking a shorter nap might prevent the little guy from quietly padding down the stairs every five minutes for an hour and a half after lights out. I firmly believe that waking up a starving bear early from hibernation is probably more enjoyable than spending the second half of the day with a half-napped preschooler!

I am torn because I like nap time. It hits right when I am having a lull in my personal energy level. I can read to the older children and the chapter makes sense because it isn't interrupted fourteen times in the span of eight pages. We even take to doing some handicrafts, and other projects with either teeny tiny pieces or requiring super sharp implements. And is the only three hour stretch each day when I don't have to be afraid of the house growing quiet. (Quiet with little boys usually means trouble... and in Micah's case, it usually means toilet water.)

On the other hand, it will be nice to be have more flexibility in the afternoons. I imagine he will nap every few days as he transitions, or maybe squeeze in car naps if we go somewhere in the afternoons. In all honestly, it seems a little surreal to think that there are no longer babies or toddlers in our house. In ten years of parenting we have never not had any nappers, or babies, or toddlers. This is a whole new world for us.

I am finding myself feeling a little anxious about it all. Silly, huh? The thoughts of "what will I do to keep him productively occupied during the time he used to be sleeping" and "how will I fit in a rest for my second wind" are whirling in my head. There is a twinge of bittersweet emotion as I reflect on the "lasts", the baby phase being over, and the uncertain steps ahead.

No matter the naps, the questions, the longings, I do know that God is good. I and thankful to know that He has ordained this time for me to grow into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. I am reminded of what the scriptures say, helping me to keep perspective, that while these emotions and changes are a surprise to me, they are not to the One who brought them.

For we are His workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand, 
that we should walk in them.  
Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Keeping on...

176. God keeping me alert and awake until I spend time in His Word (13 days straight!)
177. Friends and fellowship and food
178. A precious believing sister-in-law who I rarely see but always have stimulating conversations with
179. 13 people under 19 years old hanging out in my house for over 5 hours and the house is so picked up you would never know it
180. Laughing so hard people came across the house to find out what was so funny
181. Puppies getting haircuts and looking more grown up
182. Grocery shopping at Gucci-B with my mom at 9am on a Saturday

Friday, July 20, 2012

On pool days...

169. For bread baked by my husband last night so we could enjoy PB&J for lunch at the pool
170. Stimulating conversation, for friends willing to be real, and for spurring one another on to love and good deeds
171. For neighbors willing to let my dogs out when my original plans for them fell through
172. Learning that sunscreen has to sit and cure before children hop in the pool, otherwise the application of it is futile
173. Beautiful and relaxing drives in the Hill Country
174. Going to sleep and being able to sleep in
175. Clean laundry ready to be put away in the morning

This made me smile...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pages and pages...

162. Grading papers at home for my children, thankful for the opportunity to homeschool
163. A crazy burst of energy which propelled me to get the kids cleaning up and vacuuming the entire house
164. A lovely drive with friends to drop them off at the airport in Austin, then a quiet drive home all alone
165. A phone call with a friend 16-hours away (during the above drive)
166. The clerk at HEB who gave me $0.13 so I could afford the $6.61 in groceries I stopped for only to discover I had no wallet with me (but I did have a lot of change...)
167. Elliott being super chatty lately
168.  God sharing His creative nature with us, that our creations might reflect our Creator

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two days behind...

There are times when my days blur together...
The last two days have been those kind of days...
Here is a snapshot of the blessings raining down, through the blur...

148. French press that tastes just as good cold as hot
149. Breakfast tacos and orange juice
150. Children eager to put on their school uniforms and get going on lessons
151. Excitement of meeting with the builder we selected for our home and starting to work out details
152. Cool days for a Texas July (and the comedy of our starting school because the weather is generally so extremely hot right now)
153. Dishwashers that can keep up with our three (or more) daily loads
154. God's handiwork in the amazingness of a lightning show watched from my backyard

155. Teaching our children, and some of their friends, to embroider
156. Visiting in the kitchen with friends, sharing struggles and a love for the Lord
157. Time spent meditating on God's Word
158. Finishing the Child Training Bible highlighting and tabbing phase (now for the using phase)
159. Catching up with friends over text, counting how many times we said "LOL" or "Ha ha ha"
160. Receiving a hand-written thank you note in the mail from a sweet friend who moved away
161. Watching the twins blossom in reading

Monday, July 16, 2012

Even when...

There are days that go exactly according to plan, my plan that is, and they are lovely. There are days that have "hiccups" and it is fun to see things get back on course. And then there are days when the Lord shows His control over my days and I am challenged to let go of my plans in place of putting my trusting hand into His powerful one. Yesterday was one of those days.

As far as Sundays go, the day was plodding along nicely, church was a blessing and we had plans to have friends over to share fellowship and a crockpot beef stew lunch. Then, in the middle of the sermon, Elliott got a call that his dad was having uncontrolled seizures and his mom wanted him there. From that point on, the day's plans were scattered, and even as we attempted to piece some of the original plans back together, the urgency of the moment dictated a complete abandon of schedules and order, replacing it with a walk of faith and trust in the One who holds the future.

And even when the day was filled with unknowns and uncertainties, it was also filled with blessings:
134. Friends who dropped everything to come watch our kids, feed them, and take them to evening church
135. Friends who prayed and kept in touch to see how things were going, offering help and encouragement
136.  Peace that allowed for clear thinking to help gather needed items for my mother-in-law to stay at her husband's side in the hospital
137. Snickers and Cheetos in the vending machine (both gluten free)
138. The faint rainbow in the sky over the road heading to the hospital, whispering encouragement in this trial
139. A walk up the street with good conversation
140. Sweet hugs from darling children as they all crawled into bed

And today, as I struggled to regain some semblance of order around the house, chores, and unfinished lesson plans for the week, my mind kept checking off the blessings that abound in the mundane...
141. Eight days straight of time in God's Word and prayer
142. Finishing lesson plans and feeling like we are getting into a good schedule
143. An afternoon diversion of swimming with friends, floating in the lazy river and watching children swim like little fish
144. A good tutoring session with Hannah, for the Lord giving me understanding into how to come along side her
145. God's mercy to show me my sinful responses and God's grace to change
146. Dogs who are always happy to see us, and for potty training going well so they can be out with us more often
147. Hearing Micah make up songs about God and Jesus and the Bible as he plays on his little 1/2 sized guitar

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More and more...

127. Waffles for breakfast
128. Hannah having special time with some older girls learning to sew in the country
129. Impromptu swim fun at a friend's house, until the thunder and lightning began
130. Coffee with Elliott after the kids went to bed
131. Lesson plans coming together nicely, and quickly
132. Simple meals (baked potatoes) and easy clean-up (paper plates)
133. Talking through the wonders of God's Word and salvation with Noah before bed

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday and Friday...

Thursday seems light years ago...
113. For children who cared compassionately for me as I was not feeling well
114. Another day of school under our belts, completing Week 1 of the 2012-2013 school year
115. A special visit from a friend who has moved away, for laughter and sharing life together
116. Meeting with a builder to give us a quote on building us a home on our lot in New Braunfels, and finding out that he was a Christian and that his family homeschools was a bonus
117. Combing through our budget and monthly expenses, seeing how we can grow in effective stewardship
118. Walking our lot and getting excited about new adventures and gardening projects
119. Cheerful little puppies who run and jump right into my lap and lick my face

Friday moments...
120. Having enough time to vacuum the downstairs and clean the kitchen counters before friends came over for Bible study
121. Spending the afternoon swimming with friends and having the opportunity to talk to folks in our new neighborhood
122. Seeing the excitement Noah had over having the opportunity to go to a friend's birthday party all by himself
123. Watching the girls carefully consider how to spend their money, and budgeting for future items 
124. Singing loudly with the kids in the car to the soundtrack from the movie "Courageous"
125. Listening to the children share about the different things they did today without the discussion turning into a bragging battle
126. Anticipating a date with my husband tomorrow which includes plans to try out a new gluten-free bakery

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keep counting...

106. A husband who cheerfully serves the Lord and helps me set up sound equipment at church in the pouring rain
107. Being reminded that I am right where God wants me
108. A quick afternoon coffee with a friend on her birthday
109. Legos, for keeping toddlers and young children busy during school
110. Wonderful picture books that bring children together, making memories
111. Being encouraged to get out and explore my city with my children
112. Doubling over in laughter with friends about life and those many "mommy moments"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday's blessings rain down...

99. Eggs and toast with Fredericksburg Peach preserves, a surprise breakfast substitute upon finding our 25lb bag of rolled oats empty of all but about a 1/2 cup
100. Rain, rain, rain... for the last few days and for the upcoming week or so... sweet rain coming steadily down as I write this
101. Being able to rejoice with dear friends whose bellies are swelling with new, precious life
102. Seeing our up-the-street neighbor, "Mr. Mike", on his front porch and getting to visit and let him know we were concerned for him (the last time we saw him, he was being taken away in an ambulance)
103. Dark chocolate with almonds and cherries
104. God's grace that allowed us to "restart" our day after a lackluster morning, mercies that are new every morning (or in today's case, mid-morning)
105. Cool, wet grass on a warm summer day

... when I found this list just now (7/22/12) in my drafts, I decided to post it... better late than never...

Being a spiritual sluggard...

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Proverbs 13:4

Recently I have been a sluggard in my spiritual life. Circumstances have stripped my of "time to relax" or have kept me up "burning the midnight oil" and I have chosen to sleep in to recover, or at times, simply hide from my responsibilities. I found myself coasting on previously studied truth, or living from Sunday to Sunday, instead of the daily searching of God's Word. I don't know when it started, the slide from regular time in the Word to a complete absence of it, but it happened.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling pretty down. I have been scrounging for crumbs and coming up with nothing. Sadly, it took a couple of weeks for me to awaken fully to the sad spiritual condition I was in. Thankfully, the Lord sought me out and called me back to "my first love". Monday morning I woke up and ushered Elliott off to work and sat down for time in the Word. I was shocked to find that I spent an hour in Bible reading, Bible study and prayer, it felt like mere minutes. As I was journaling my thoughts, the idea of "one hundred days" kept coming to my mind. One hundred days... one hundred days... one hundred days of daily Bible reading and prayer.

I was so jazzed. But immediately doubts came, remembering the many half-filled journals I have thrown away in discouragement over the last decade. I pushed those thoughts away and prayed to God for perseverance. I read verses in my time in the Word that I was able to use to encourage my kids and my confidence grew.

Then, Tuesday morning came and I overslept. My morning, for a myriad of reasons, went nothing like planned and I struggled to deal cheerfully and lovingly with my children. I cried out to the Lord that He would help me set aside time to keep my commitment. I imagined I would have time during the children's quiet time. Our day ran behind and we were reading aloud during quiet time, then the dinner rush and a meeting for 4-H. Kids in bed and Elliott and I were visiting about our home building project and then, after some time of yawning uncontrollably, we crawled into bed.

But God is gracious, He knows my frailties and weaknesses. The second my exhausted head hit the pillow, my eyes burst open, my mind clear and alert, I remembered my commitment to the Lord to spend one hundred consecutive days in His Word and in prayer. I bounced out of bed, much to the shock of my already sleeping husband, and found my dining room table to be a quiet place to dive into God's Word.

A balm to my weariness, the Gospel. As I am working through the verses in setting up my Child Training Bible, tonight was about the "Gospel: God, Man, Jesus, Now What?".  I was reminded of the sweet repentance of a child who admitted sin which we would never have known about, fruit of his recent conversion. I was spurred on to pray for my other children, entreating the Lord, in His good will and perfect timing, to call each of my children into His family.

So, two days. The first of one hundred. The start to a journey of reclaiming my first love.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Off to a good start...

Today was the first day of lessons for our clan, kicking off the 2012-2013 school year in our home school. We have been moving towards "summer school" for the past few years as we would rather retreat indoors during the crazy hot Texas summer days, saving our days off for the lovely fall days and fresh spring months. We are totally revamping things around here as well, moving the older two to be more independent, freeing me up to spend some time with the youngers.

92. Waking up early enough for a long and refreshing time in God's Word
93. Getting my act together enough to have coffee before 7am
94. Children waking up, happy to do chores and start on the day
95. The start of new routines and reestablishing family Bible memory verses
96. School uniforms that the kids enjoy
97. A morning walk with our dogs to break up the lessons this morning
98. Being finished with lesson before noon and getting to go to the park for a picnic lunch with neighbors

Day two tomorrow...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thankful for fellowship...

85. Having the opportunity to help teach the 4yo class at church this morning
86. Meeting a new family at church and finding out they have a lot of the same food allergies as us
87. Saying a quick hello to a friend who has been out of town for two months
88. Finally scheduling some get-togethers with a dear friend for the next couple of months
89. Preparing my heart and home for school to start tomorrow
90. Enjoying a parking lot conversation with a friend and laughing as my chauffeur pulled up to whisk me off after evening church
91. Hearing that Micah did well in the 3yo class for evening church (a few weeks early)

Thinking back...

The last few days I have been suffering the effects of being poisoned with gluten. It doesn't happen often, as we are very careful, but when it happens, I am reminded why we are so careful! Through it all, the migraines and body aches and gastric distress there are still things I can be thankful for, for our God is good and cares for us, even in our distress.

Friday's thankful list:
71. Friends who love the Word of God and gather together to spur one another on
72. Sharing a fun time of swimming and picnicking with our friends
73. Pain medicine (for killer migraines)
74. Clean folded laundry
75. Leftovers
76. Keeping in touch with friends far away
77. My girls enjoying a great time at day camp and learning more about God's Word through practical teaching

Saturday's list:
78. A husband who woke up and cooked waffles for everyone and let me sleep
79. Children contented to play quietly together
80. Getting to take a nap with Micah while Elliott ran errands with the kids
81. Finally figuring out what we want in regards to a floor plan for our new home
82. Picking up the house and putting away laundry to prepare for starting school Monday
83. Being reminded that our avoidance of gluten is not paranoia but that it really makes me sick, very sick
84. Micah giving me one of his special blankets until I feel better

Friday, July 6, 2012

Unexpected blessings...

64. Being poisoned with gluten at dinner, resulting in needing to take some pain medicine (for the skull cracking migraine) which caused me to be a ball of energy leading to my cleaning the house until nearly 2am
65. Choosing not to be a germ-a-phobic and allowing my three boys to play in the Chick-fil-A indoor playscape after lunch
66. For the Purel wipes right outside the door which I required the boys to wipe down with after emerging from the stinky-foot smelling playscape
67. The blessing of a friend who knows how to encourage me to live in light of God's Sovereignty, recognizing His control even over indoor playscape germs
68. A puppy having an allergic reaction to the flea/tick preventative and throwing up all afternoon which gave me the opportunity to practice trusting God and reacting calmly
69. Spending the evening going through floor plans with my husband and laughing at each other's choice, picking favorite parts and pieces
70. An amazingly comfortable bed which I took a short afternoon rest on, and now for bed

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 
give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A day at home...

... has blessing of its own...

57. Early morning breakfast with a friend
58. Elliott cooking a gourmet "Saturday" breakfast for the kids (on a Wednesday)
59. Skipping lunch in exchange for popcorn and chocolate milk
60. Getting lesson plans done in the middle of the week (school starts Monday!!!)
61. Cool Lego creations built throughout the day
62. Cuddly boys falling asleep with their daddy for an afternoon nap
63. Children reenacting Revolutionary War Battles in honor of the Fourth of July

Yesterday's blessings...

50. Beautiful country roads to drive on while taking the girls to camp every day
51. Two sweet puppies who happily napped on my lap while watching a movie with the boys in the afternoon
52. Freshly vacuumed area rugs
53. Noisy boys, laughing and playing
54. Smiling girls enjoying their week at camp
55. Completing a fun craft to wear for "Alpha/Omega Day" at camp Friday
56. Yummy coffee to sip on in the afternoon

One thing I am learning as I go through this exercise of daily counting my blessings... they are easy to find when you are looking for them. Conversely, when I am allowing myself to be consumed by grumbling and selfishness, I struggle to find anything to rejoice in. God's mercies are new every morning, and His blessings rain down continually, especially when you are looking for them!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Catching up...

Sunday's list:
36. A blessed time of remembering God's faithfulness during the Sunday School hour
37. For thunder shaking the church right as we sang of God's power in "How Great Thou Art"
38. Attending a Baptism service, always a good reminder of God's most gracious gift
39. Comfortable couches for relaxing between services
40. Getting everything we needed to outfit the girls for their theme days at day camp this week from only two stores
41. Coming home from shopping to the welcome smell (and taste) of fresh baked brownies
42. The Church

Today's list:
43. Children who were happy to wake up, even though it was pretty early
44. The girls having a wonderful and safe time at day camp
45. Fellowship and a visit from a friend with only boys to play with all my boys while the girls were away
46. Grocery shopping alone after Elliott came home
47. The internet which makes looking at house plans so much easier than hunting down an architect
48. Being reminded that God's Word is sufficient to address all my needs
49. Choosing to see the sweetness of childish behavior instead of the annoyances of it