I have this notebook I keep at work. It’s an odd combination between a teacher’s reflection notebook, a diary, and a scrapbook. I jot down quotes, song lyrics, to do lists. I’ve glued in notes, articles, emails. I had an intern once to ask me, “Is that a requirement, or something you choose to do?” The answer is yes. I choose to require myself to keep it. It’s where I can write things I want to remember, doodle, pray, reflect on what I’m reading or going through, etc. It’s a cool little book, and it includes several years worth of “stuff” I’ve deemed important enough to write down or attach. So, I was going through this book today because I had a little time. And I came across a quote that apparently I found pretty meaningful because I’d included it in three different places: “Perhaps if we all treated our lives like a scavenger hunt for secret grace, we would never stop being amazed and surprised at what finds its way to us.” (Tyler Knott Gregson) Aside from being a beautifully written sentence which has apparently made me stop and think more than once, it seemed I had my idea for Lent right in front of me.
2/20 Day 3: Inclement weather day! Well, sort of. The school district erred on the side of caution anticipating ice storms that didn’t happen. And while I totally understood their decision, I couldn’t help but picture my summer vacation slipping away. Oh well, I will never turn my nose up at an opportunity to sit on the couch with my kindle in my PJs. Right? Wrong. Tessa got invited to a playdate first which resulted in Talan insisting that his friend come over. “Why not,” I decided. They’ll play video games, and I’ll read this book. Wrong again. Once I returned home with Talan and his friend, the neighborhood kids showed up. Suddenly, I had the noise of six or seven kids and three dogs as the background for my day of “quiet” reading. I had just been exiled to my bedroom to make room for their coats and shoes and gadgets, and then the noise followed me as they had moved their activity to the basketball court outside my window.
2/21 Day 4: An entire day of peewee basketball isn’t exactly fertile ground for being reflective. I’ve found basketball to be a particularly mouthy sport, and it seems worse when protective parents are crammed in close quarters. Especially because this was a tournament with a trophy on the line, and there were 800 people crammed in a gym meant for 200, the tension was high. Today’s glimpse of God’s love has very little to do with basketball though. I admit I’m going to be deliberately vague because I HATE when people brag about good deeds. I’m not trying to make this to be a “look at me moment” for me or for my husband. I also should mention something about my husband. He is a quiet, stoic, private person who doesn’t really ever do anything in public to draw attention to himself. That makes this so much more difficult to write about. What I will say, though, is that in the middle of a stressful day where the focus was on winning, Joe took an opportunity to help one of our son’s teammates with something not totally related to basketball. I was so surprised at his generosity and so proud that he didn’t even question; he saw a need and took care of it. I see every day how much he loves and cares and provides for us; however, it was particularly heartwarming to see this love freely given to someone we don’t really even know. So as the day went on, and things came to an ugly devastating loss (and it was more ugly and more devastating than usual, but that story is for another day), I rode home with the satisfaction of having seen God’s love shining through my husband. Who needs a trophy?
2/22 Day 5: Our chocolate lab is a roamer. The first time I ever hugged his big brown neck was when he showed up in our yard after running away from his original home and shortly before our neighbors called the dog catcher on him. When we decided to adopt him, we had the perfect fenced in yard; however, we’re not there yet at the new house. He has a pen, and when we let him out, we have to keep him close so he won’t end up in doggy jail again. In fact, he’s been sleeping on our screened in porch since the weather’s been so bad. Last night, he didn’t return to the porch after his usual 10-20 minutes of running and bathroom time. I shook the food. I filled the water bowl. I shouted his name. i even left our house dogs out longer than usual hoping they could lure him back tot he door. Nothing. And — no surprise — I started to worry. I went to bed thinking about him freezing to death, picturing him playing in the road and getting hit, worrying that someone would see a perfectly good lab and not care if he had a family, deciding what we’d tell the pound about his return after a year of adoption…. We didn’t set an alarm, but I popped up at 7 a.m. to look for him. I did all my tricks again, and once again, he didn’t come. Ugh. I went back to bed and tried to read, but I kept running through possible scenarios and ways to explain to the kids what happened. A little while later, I heard a bedroom door open, and little footsteps across the house. The backdoor opened. After a second, I heard Talan yell the dog’s name and clap. Oh boy. I’m going to have an upset kiddo on my hands. I crept cautiously to the back door. Guess what I saw on the back porch. There was Riggins with one happy boy draped around his neck! He knew better than to upset his boy, I guess. When Joe woke up, I told him that Talan called and Riggins came home. “Of course he did, ” Joe said. “He knows where his people are.” And we have God’s goodness (and a smart dog) to thank for that.
2/23 Day 6: I am a tough crowd when it comes to books. If it doesn’t catch my interest and catch it quickly, I will begin to skim or quit the book altogether. I also tend to shy away from books that other people rave about. I guess it’s my own version of being a hipster; I don’t want to seem a bandwagon reader. When I saw a couple book lists and a couple of friends recommend We Were Liars, I was skeptical. I’m not above reading young adults books, so it wasn’t the label that concerned me. I just didn’t think a young adult book could be THAT good. When I researched it a little more, I found that the book is very divisive. People either loved it or hated it. However, I also found it being compared to several books I adore, so what did I have to lose? I’ve been quite the reader since New Year’s (12 books!!!), so I decided to give it a shot.
2/24 Day 7: I have this Facebook friend. She’s an atheist. I am OK with her being different from me. Atheism is something I didn’t really tolerate in my youth, probably because I didn’t understand it….probably because I didn’t make an effort to understand things different from myself. I think that the ability to accept people despite how different they are from oneself is an ability that comes with age and education…and for some people, it is an ability they never get. And that’s OK with me too. Anyway, in my old age, I’ve come to an agreement with atheism in the name of tolerance: they don’t push; I don’t push. I do try to do my part in helping my fellow Christians understand that atheism isn’t an attack on our beliefs, and when I get the opportunity, I try to explain that not all Christians hate or bristle at the mention of atheists.
2/25 Day 8: Flash back to Day 5 and the roaming chocolate lab. Prodigal son round 2 at our house: He escaped his refuge from the snow (aka the back porch) again this evening. I managed not to freak out this time, and I left for the basketball game. In fact, I got so swept up in my niece’s final home game that I managed to forget that Riggins was even missing. Then my phone rang. “Yes ma’am. I have a chocolate lab here…” Insert panic. Was he hurt? Far from home? Had he bitten someone, or scratched their car? Well, it was none of those things. A neighbor just down the street was cooking in his garage when Riggins made himself at home. He wanted to call in case we were looking or worried. It was loud while we tried to talk, so I told my neighbor we wouldn’t be long. After talking to Joe, I texted the neighbor saying that Riggins would be fine outside until we made it back, but that I really appreciated him calling. He responded,a couple of times even, to tell me what a sweet and good-looking dog he is. (Awwwww! I know right?!?) After the game, we drove down our street more slowly than usual. As we approached the house, here came our furry son to greet us. And this time, we were not only thankful to get our restless Riggins back home, but also that we have neighbors whose kindness extends to our four-legged children.
2/26 Day 9: Joe has a new job! It’s with a new company, but it’s also a promotion. He has to dress a little bit more professionally and keep different hours. There are many new benefits, but with them come a whole new set of daily expectations and responsibilities. Today he received his computer, and he needed me to teach him how to do a few things on it. I certainly took all my post-windows computer classes for granted. He has so much to learn. (In his defense he’s learning on Windows 8. What IS that mess?!?!) But with a few notes jotted down, I think I’ve got him where he needs to be — and with a cute picture of the kids as his desktop background too. I’m obviously proud that he’s making these important advancements in his career, but more than that, I’m proud of his resiliency and willingness to learn. He has always been, hands down, the hardest worker I know; however, watching him grow into his new position is providing me neat perspective on the grown-up professional he’s become while we’ve been otherwise preoccupied with marriage and kids and life. I hope he loves being a boss! (And I hope they get him an iPad or a Mac really soon too! PCs are for the birds!)
2/27 Day 10: Tonight was my niece’s last high school basketball game. It was truly a bittersweet moment for her, her teammates, and their families. That group of seniors has played together since they were in grade school, and it was a really sad feeling to know that our days of cheering for them as a team are over. For Tori, we have the blessing of knowing we will watch her play again in college; however, for some of her teammates, basketball is over. I tend to not get too sentimental, but I cannot watch other people cry without tearing up a little myself. We all went to dinner after, and someone said, “Tori, you’ve got quite a cheering section here.” It’s true. There were 15 of us there to celebrate this transition with her. It was a nice meal, and we laughed and enjoyed the time together. It did give me reason to pause. That little silly, stubborn girl is all grown up. And while I know she’s nervous about the big changes coming her way, isn’t it nice to know that she has so many people who love her? What more can we send her out into the world with, but the love and support of her family? She is a lucky girl.
3/1 Day 12: I have had just the type of weekend I needed. We’ve stayed around the house, rested, and enjoyed each other’s company. I got some cleaning and some laundry done. We watched movies. I read some. Sunday is a day where we go to church (usually- we skipped today; Tessa’s puny), eat lunch with one side of the family, then eat dinner with the other side. I love not cooking on Sundays!
This has been our routine for so long that sometimes I think we take it for granted. How many people actually sit down and eat with their entire family every week? Being surrounded by grandparents and cousins that frequently is not how I grew up because we all lived in different towns. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would have been if I had enjoyed the luxury of family that close growing up. We do not always agree (in fact, we disagree a lot), but I am so thankful that my kids see their grandparents and cousins regularly. I hope they grow to realize the true value of these scheduled meals.
3/2 Day 13: So. I applied to graduate school today. I am currently in the process of flipping out, and even typing that sentence makes me feel like I’m going to throw up. What in the world am I doing??? I already have one master’s degree, and it was painful; therefore, the reason I would consider seeking another eludes me. Except that I need to take a few more classes to get a raise….except that I know I’d like to have the option to do something different….except that I think I’d really enjoy the something different….
3/5 Day 16: Snow day! Again. This is supposed to be the last of this year’s winter weather, and while the kids are excited, I’ve never been so ready for spring. I didn’t grumble all day though. Because of the nature of Joe’s job, he was able to stay home with us instead of driving to Little Rock. I used the day as a gift — a midweek opportunity to spend time with my family, eat home-cooked food, and just relax. We bounced back and forth between watching Netflix, reading, and napping. It was deliciously lazy. And since it is supposed to be the last of our snow days, I was able to savor it because I may not have a “free midweek lazy day” with Joe again for a while. We’ll all groan about the snow days when we’re making them up, but this one was worth it.
3/7 Day 18: For Joe’s birthday weekend, we piled the kids in the car and headed to Little Rock today. Because this month’s billing cycle is almost up on our phone plan, and we’re still showing an abundance of data, we hooked the kids’ gadgets up to our hotspots, and let them entertain themselves all the way there. It was the happiest car ride we’ve had in a long time. Because the ride wasn’t tense, it was also the most peaceful shopping trip we’d had in a long time also. It’s so rare that we go somewhere without fighting and complaining….all thanks to hoarded data. I got valuable family time AND a useful tip for our next long car ride: be sure I’ve stored up my data!
3/8 Day 19: I hate cleaning, but I love my house. I got to reflect on both these things today. Instead of our usual Sunday afternoon napping or TV, Joe and I really cleaned for the first time since we moved in. We swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, scrubbed, straightened…And it was miserable. It proved to me that your house doesn’t even have to be that dirty; even slightly lived in houses are no fun to clean. The result, though, was the sparkling reminder of why we bought the house to begin with. Sometimes to find a blessing, I guess you just need to wipe it off.
3/9 Day 20: I am officially a UCA bear again! Upon being unable to log in to their website, I assumed that whatever letter the college sent me would come with strings attached; for example, take the GRE again, or wait a semester for full admission. However, there were no stipulations. I am fully admitted, with an orientation date, and an advising appointment. Though part of me might have been hoping to be handed an excuse, I am thankful that sometimes grace whispers Go ahead and get through this. You can do it!
3/10 Day 21: Today I got the awesome opportunity to take some students to hear a holocaust survivor speak. We are nearing a time in history where these people will no longer be able to share their stories, and I was so very blessed to hear his message. Aside from being historically fascinating, he placed on his audience the responsibility of speaking up against oppression, of maintaining awareness of what’s going on around us, of doing what we know to be right. One quote he referenced really spoke to me. He attributed it to JFK; however, it was actually Dante who said it, although JFK did cite it as one of his favorites: “The hottest spots in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Wow. If that doesn’t make you want to be an agent of positive change, what will? I’m not yet sure of the impact of the speaker upon my difficult-to-impress students, but I am in awe of someone who has maintained his sense of humor and more importantly his servant’s heart while living with memories from the most inhumane period of modern history. He is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and proves to me, today, that good really does win.
3/11 Day 22: Happy birthday to Joe! It was a beautiful day — sunny and warm — and we made delicious food and enjoyed our yard (something we really haven’t had time to do since we moved in during cold weather). His presents got delayed in the mail, but he had a productive day at work, got to come home earlier than usual, and we ate his favorite meal together. It was absolutely a great afternoon. We celebrate birthdays all the time in a number of ways: meals, presents, parties, cake. But it’s worth it to reflect on a loved one’s birthday too. Aren’t you glad they were born? Really. Stop and think about what that person adds to the world just by being in it. What would your life be like if you didn’t have cause for celebration today? Aside from the usual festivities, I did some thinking like this today, and it made Joe’s birthday even more special in my mind. He is such a blessing in the lives of people who know him; he’s a hard worker, a wonderful husband, a great father, a caring friend….What better time than his birthday to stop and really appreciate God’s grace in putting Joe in our lives. It gives a whole new meaning to “Happy Birthday!”
3/12 Day 23: People make me mad on Facebook. Really mad. Like, most of the posts on this blog are in some way related to stupidity I see on some kind of social media. Today was no exception. A random political post by someone I already have a strained relationship with couldn’t have come at a worse time. I had a long day, dinner wasn’t great, I argued with the kids before bed, and decided to check my phone…..boom. Ignorance on my feed from someone who likes to present themselves to be open-minded and fair. Now I am no saint. I lack compassion in many situations, but I do not think it behooves a Christian to lash out at outsiders of any kind, and this post did just that. I’m sure if I’d checked the mirror, I would have seen my face growing red; it was that kind of mad. And where is God’s loving mercy during my moment of anger? It had to have been Him who guided me to put the phone down and keep my mouth shut. One may argue that I’m not exactly staying quiet if I’m writing about it — and I may have grumbled a little to a friend via text message — but I think that knowing when to not pick a fight is a gift, and it was a gift I had last night. Thank you, God, for keeping your hand over my mouth.
3/13 Day 24: Today was a bear of a day. The kids fought all morning, I was frazzled when I got to school, it seemed like very little went right all day long, the kids resumed their fighting as soon as they got off the bus, Tessa had gotten her feelings hurt by a friend, because of her bad mood she made Talan cry in the car, I didn’t get to run my errands after school because of their fighting….. I headed straight home and into a bubble bath. Joe, who had to work late, realized the storm he was coming into and came home armed with a bottle of my favorite wine. I ate leftover Chinese in my pajamas with my glass of wine and fell asleep on the couch. Some day the only silver lining is that you’re successfully converting oxygen to carbon dioxide.
3/14 Day 25: Yesterday’s bad day continued when Joe’s phone rang around 7 a.m. On the one day a week I’m used to get to hang out with him, he was off to work. I delivered Talan to a friend’s birthday party and went about my day of laundry and housework. As the day passed, I realized Joe wasn’t going to be home to take care of some things that evening that he’d promised me he’d do. Will the bad luck ever end???
Dragging Tessa along, I took care of the errands myself. We finished up with sandwiches and a big ice cream sundae. We danced like crazy people all the way home to our current favorite song. Joe and I watch Grey’s Anatomy, and I couldn’t help but think of Meredith and Christina “dancing it out” they way they would do when they were stressed out. Their relationship stood the test of time because of silly rituals like this. Could “dancing it out” in the car with a 7-year-old be the reminder I need that life should be fun, and I should chill? Once we got home, we played some Uno and waited on Joe. It was a pretty good night even though it wasn’t what I expected.
I suppose I really do get wrapped up in expectations — even down to what I plan to do on a Saturday. I guess it’s ok to occasionally lay down the plan, and dance it out.
3/15 Day 26: I don’t brag on my husband enough. Some days, he’s very nearly the only person I can stand, which is a big job for him. Because I’m this reliant on him, when even he gets on my nerves, it’s bad. So without revealing too much personal information, I’ll suffice to say that Joe and I bickered today.
You might be wondering how this is relevant to the topic. Marital bickering is not a gift from God. But here’s what is: being reminded during the storm (and make no mistake; I am a temperamental storm of irrationality) that God gave me just the calm I needed in my level-headed spouse.
I do not tell him enough how thankful I am that he tolerates — and embraces — my crazy. If his love for and patience with me isn’t a glimpse of the unconditional and undeserved grace of God, I don’t know what is.
3/16 Day 27: Today was wild. I had to get to school early, tested all morning, supervised all afternoon, attended a faculty meeting until 5, quickly fixed dinner, helped with homework, and rushed the gang to the ball field. True exhaustion had set in by the time I got settled in the bleachers. I was a little nervous as this was Tessa’s first practice, but I was excited to see how they handled the big switch from coach-pitch to pitching machine. The girls actually had a really good practice, even if it was long. At 9:30 (that’s right; 9:30 p.m. for a bunch of little girls), we climbed in the car and started home. Tessa was understandably exhausted, but the first thing she said was, “Momma, I love the pitching machine.” So there’s the gift in this stressful day: Not only did I get to end the day by watching my child do something she loves; I also get to go home with a happy girl and a reminder of why I love being at the ball park.
3/17 Day 28: Making decisions is hard. For example, Joe and I have always wanted to build a house on a big piece of land; however, we settled on an existing house in a quiet subdivision because it was more financially responsible and practical for our future. We have these decision talks all the time. Everything from “We’d really like to go out to eat, but it makes more sense to eat at home tonight because…..” to “We should designate this money for doing this since…..” requires significant thinking and discussion. And even though it’s hard, our ability to make pretty ok decisions (or at least not devastating ones) is something I’m proud of. We tackle things as a team, think things through, and for the most part, we’re pretty dang responsible.
Similarly, it’s hard to watch other people make irresponsible decisions. I’m not talking about splurging on bad shoes or skipping the gym. I’m talking about decisions which neglect their obligations and make them burdens to those around them. It is so frustrating to work hard to make good choices for yourself, but watch others make irresponsible choices like it’s not a big deal. There is no immediate prize for being responsible, yet it looks super fun to only think about now.
It really is a question of when you want your gratification. If you are wise now, you can enjoy the benefits later. If you make thoughtless decisions now, you’ll regret them later. So yes. Deciding to tackle life’s decisions as a team with Joe in a manner that will hopefully minimize regrets in the future is hard… .right now. Watching others get instant gratification when we’re choosing to delay our own is hard…..right now. But God’s grace whispers Blessed are those who endure, and that seems to make it easier.
3/19 Day 30: I joke a lot that I don’t have friends, but I spend a lot of time whining to Joe about why we don’t have friends. The reality is that we do have friends; we just don’t have a ton of time to devote to them. Who wants to schedule an outing several weeks out around two ball schedules and Joe’s unpredictable work schedule? So even though, realistically, I know that this is just a busy period of my life where I spend time rushing place to place as mom while my role as friend gets pushed to the back burner, I still think about friendship (or lack there of) a lot. When I opened my devotional this morning, and it was titled “I Need a Friend,” I expected it to be about relationship with God. I was surprised to find a difficult message that seemed as if it were written for me personally about how we were created to live in relationship with other people and (get this) no one is too busy or too strong for friendships. The author explained that she used her busy job and healthy marriage and crazy schedule as excuses for “not needing” friends. In reality, she found that friendships are too important to not carve out time to nurture them.
3/20 Day 31: My children have been so easy to this point. I don’t mean that I’ve loved every second of their little lives; that’s unrealistic, and anyone who says that is lying. But we’ve been fortunate enough to not have anything that isn’t typical. The terrible twos weren’t any more terrible than usual. They adjusted well to starting school. They have nice friends and productive hobbies. Even though they’re a tad spoiled, I’ve never gotten the feeling that anyone fears having to be around them. (You know a kid who hoped into your mind when I said that….the kid that makes you think “Ughhhh. We have to be around him?!?” at church/school/social outings.)
3/21 Day 32: I am getting more joy from my March Madness brackets than I probably should be. Joe requested that I be open to liking basketball, so I agreed. Not being one to do anything half-way, part of this effort to like basketball was to follow the Razorback basketball team as closely as I follow the football team….and to fill out 10 NCAA brackets once the Hogs made the tournament. 10. Since the round of 64 began, I’ve meant business: checking the app on my phone, highlighting my paper copies, watching games, looking up scores, conferring with my brother and niece about their brackets…. Joe has laughed at me, but it has really helped me appreciate what all the hype is about. Who knew this process I’ve rolled my eyes at all these years is actually a pretty good time? Here’s to finding fun in new things, even things I thought were a waste of time.
3/22 Day 33: When Joe’s oldest uncle died this weekend, I began to get nervous about the family together time that I was sure would follow. Since Joe’s dad’s death, his family hadn’t spent much time with that side, and I’d only been around them a handful of times. I’m not sure the kids had ever been around them. What I found with this family together time was what I usually find when I’m nervous about something — it wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. In fact, we really enjoyed ourselves. Joe and the kids and I stayed much longer than his mother and sisters, Joe visiting with cousins he rarely sees, and me looking at old pictures I’d never seen and hearing stories about Joe when he was younger. The kids had fun playing with their “new cousins,” and didn’t want to leave. We learned that Talan probably gets his left-handedness from Joe’s side of the family as many of his Bratton cousins are also left-handed. I saw pictures of my father-in-law which help explain Tessa’s lighter hair and full face.
3/23 Day 34: Grounded Spring Break 2015 began today. I really planned to clean house, do laundry, and wash the car. Exciting, huh? As we were working on chores, my sister called about going to see the daffodils on Wye Mountain. Thinking it would be a nice treat for the kids since I’d been working them pretty hard, I agreed. The kids had never seen the daffodils, and it was a beautiful day. We enjoyed each other’s company, the flowers were gorgeous, we snapped adorable pictures, and we finished the trip with a milk-shake stop. It was a spontaneously perfect afternoon. Who says you can’t squeeze a little bit of fun into a grounded/housework day?
3/25 Day 36: Today was beautiful. It was warm and sunny, and despite their being grounded, I let the kids outside until dinner. After dinner, Joe wanted to play playstation for a little while to blow off steam from his bad day. I poured a glass of wine and headed to the back porch for some quiet time. It was beautiful. As the sun went down, the crickets began chirping, and the frogs began croaking. It was such a peaceful and relaxing time. I don’t normally make quiet time for myself, but I should do it more. It was like a mini-vacation to slip away for a peaceful few moments and come back to the wildness of my life reenergized. I look forward to many more spring and summer evenings on the porch.
3/26 Day 37: One of God’s biggest blessings is the birth of a child. Today the kids and I went to visit a former student of mine (and their old babysitter) and her one-week-old daughter. She is perfection. It was nice to see the kids love on a baby, of course, but it was also so great to see Korrie as a mother. She was absolutely glowing with love and happiness. The visit was both a reminder of how much my children have grown and how much we love the people we’ve shared them with. Baby Clementine is such a blessing, and we are so excited to watch her grow.
3/27 Day 38: I sometimes grumble about the amount of time we spend at the ballpark. However, it is one of the few times that there isn’t any truth in my grumbling. Though it makes appropriate conversation to act like there is somewhere I’d rather be than at a game or practice, third only to my comfortable home or a beautiful beach, the ballpark is actually one of my favorite places. So I went gladly to the ballpark today for Tessa’s batting practice. Because we had staggered the girls’ times, there were some lulls during which we were visiting. What started as a joke turned into a challenge when I ended up putting on Tessa’s helmet and stepping into the batting cage myself. I wasn’t half bad! Out of the bucket of softballs, I only missed two. And while it was just a silly way to pass time, it was an important reminder of why I love being out there: it was harmless and happy fun, a time with friends, and a precious memory for my kids….it was probably the only time I’ll ever get to impress them with any type of athletic skill too, but that’s ok!
3/29 Day 40: That awkward moment when you’ve committed to a 40-day blogging project, but then you realize that Lent is actually 47 days this year…. If I hadn’t done this, I probably never would have know that “40 Days” is, in reality, just something we say; Lent is really pretty variable depending on the calendar. And because today was a very normal (although beautiful) day, I think this might be my secret grace today. Maybe I need a little bit longer to search for God’s gifts to me and reflect on them. Perhaps I’m not finished yet. Just maybe I’m not supposed to every be finished…. No, I’m not saying that I’m going to forever blog about my blessings. But I am saying that God might not be finished working through my Lenten project, and hopefully it will be something I continue to do both on and off the blog.
Update – 4/8/15: So I didn’t exactly finish Lent. I mean, I kept thinking about hidden grace and silver linings, but what I found didn’t make it here. Coincidentally, at the same time I failed at keeping my Lenten obligation, I failed at part of my New Year’s Resolution (trying one new recipe a week) also. The actual reason is that ball season started, but the bigger picture is…..Life got in the way. I stopped reflecting in writing about small blessings, and focused my attention on serving my biggest ones. This time of year, every year, every second of my spare time goes to a schedule so hectic that I don’t cook or clean, and I certainly cannot find time to try new recipes or post daily.
But the truth is that the lesson from this Lent is really an exercise in the way I think in stead of the way I act. There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for, and in order to reflect the joy I should have if I believe what I say I believe, I have to turn my attention to those things instead of the little, usually insignificant, things which cause me to complain. Will I always be positive and thankful? Nope. No one’s perfect. But can I start again every day with the goal of doing better, of finding God’s grace in my everyday life? Absolutely. And that’s the gift in the way that I’ve challenged myself: it was a method of training myself to look for and think about the way God shows His love for me in the little things.
So was I successful? Yes and no. I fail at carving out time to sit and reflect in writing here. But I feel like I succeeded in training myself to think differently, at making an honest attempt to view my life with a thankful heart. May I never stop being surprised at what finds its way to me.