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pasta

“‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’And she answered, ‘All is well’” ~ 2 Kings 4:26.

72 days into 2019 – 7 days of doctor visits, pre-surgery testing, 2 surgeries, 3 hospital stays totalling 14 days. There has not been much Everyday Ordinary. . . . , but there have been miracles, stunning displays of God’s timing, and God with us . . . . and such a story to tell – of what God has done for my husband,  for the desires of my heart, for my family, but the telling of that is not for today (but soon – and if you didn’t know, it’s o.k. because only a handful did because we focused on God throughout the journey). Today is for the Blessing of the Everyday Ordinary.

My youngest, the saucy one, he’s a senior this year. His soccer season started about a week ago. Home is mama cooking, as he calls it, “The good stuff.” I remember baking my granola bars two weeks ago. I’d even made my Chicken Noodle Soup and Grilled Cheese – was it about 10 days ago? Even a Chicken Piccata. But there wasn’t any consistency. No Everyday Ordinary.

He’d tell you I hadn’t been cooking at all. He even used my Instagram account to prove I hadn’t been cooking: “Where’s the pictures, Mom?”

Moving out of A Time of Great Challenge back into The Everyday Ordinary, God knew I’d need some help with the transition.

The youngest, somewhere in 2019, woke up wanting to eat Banana Pudding. Maybe it’s his taste buds maturing. Maybe it’s because it’s his dad’s favorite. Regardless of the reason, just because he asked, I bought all the ingredients, but I just couldn’t seem to get the timing right.

“Today Mom?” he’d ask.
“No, not today,” I answered, eyeing him. “Someone ate the vanilla wafers.”

“Now Mom?” he asked another time.
“No, someone at the bananas.”

“Banana Pudding, Mom?” a third time.
“Milks all gone.”

He wasn’t used to this kind of project fail from his mom, so he determined I needed coaching,  his own special, saucy brand of coaching – a lot of verbal sauce with a hug thrown in to get me to cross the finish line – really, to help me cross over into Everyday Ordinary – and I couldn’t resist his entreaties, so I promised, “Tomorrow” – and yesterday I did. He even offered to help me so he could learn.

When I tried to get by with just one box of instant vanilla pudding (because that’s how my husband’s mama made it – so that’s the way I make it), he made sure I pushed through and used both boxes: “No slackin’ Mom.”  A few layers later, my husband walked through the kitchen, checked out my progress, “Yes,” I answered before he even asked. “Meringue on top just like your mom made.”

Whew! I was being hen-pecked in my kitchen. . . . I loved every minute of it, every minute of this special brand of Everyday Ordinary that is Home to all of us at the Blue Cotton House. Apparently, they needed the Everyday Ordinary I’d cultivated for over 36 years just as much as I did.

When I set the Banana Pudding on the counter, if I had doubted that I was back in Everyday Ordinary, I knew, when, instead of admiring how beautiful it looked, the youngest asked, “What’s for dinner?”

I was ahead of him this time because I’d been planning on putting a new spin on an old favorite recipe.

Monday I had cooked my Muddy Cheese Steaks with green beans and salad, yesterday was grilled ham and cheese because of an away soccer game, but last night – last night we experienced the grace, the extravagant beauty of finally moving into the Everyday Ordinary, where we sat around the counter eating, talking, friends coming in, sharing a bowl, followed by a mile walk in a early spring trying to blow winter out.

God knows! He know sometimes we need being sauced back into shape, sometimes we need someone cooking “the good stuff,” and sometimes, we need the “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” that allows God to work his miracles in our lives, and we need the rhythm of The Everyday Ordinary, with its God-designed blessings and grace,  to come home to after the challenge has been redeemed.

Chicken, Pancetta, Lemon and Garlic Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Package Capellini Angel Hair Pasta Nests
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 cup whipping cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat butter and Olive Oil over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and diced pancetta, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the chicken, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cream and heat through. Season with salt to taste.

While chicken is cooking, prepare pasta according to directions.

Layer with pasta nest, chicken and sauce, pepper and sprinkle with parmesan.

* * *

One of the scriptures my husband would recite each time before he went under anesthesia and when he came out:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” ~ Numbers 6: 24-26
bananapudding

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Livin’ the dream? Or are you making room for your dream in the everyday living? Or is the everyday living squeezing out your dream?

When the everyday living isn’t always comfortable, controllable and bears no resemblance to the dream – are you living – really living?

Are you living life all day long? Or do you stop when you clock in for the daily grind and start when you clock out?

Whose time clock are you living life on?

splashLast week, as I was tubing – a day where I squeezed some dream into the daily, – I was tubing with my youngest – and I have decided that there ought to be an Olympic Wrestling event while tubing – well, my youngest, the saucy, industrial artist tried with all his 12 year old might to. . . push me off the tube. Mama’s still got game, though.

Everyday life, the daily life is kind of like that – but without the big grin – it wants nothing better than to push the dream off the daily.

In those moments where the dream is center stage – it’s easy to live faith and hope – to live grace – It’s easy to vintage the blessing – and savor every moment, every detail and sigh from the tips of your soul, “Thank you, God.”

My words, my out-reach, my attitude, my face smiles.

It’s easy to sing:

”So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours”
~Hillsong United, The Stand

Arms high and heart abandoned. . . . All I am is yours

All I am is yours – and fully in the livin’ the dream moments

But maybe more importantly, in the daily moments where sometimes nothing of the dream fits in or shows itself –

maybe arms high and heart abandoned – All I am is Yours – needs to be in the daily – desperately needs to be in the daily

Whether it is in the car line, the lunch line, the office or kitchen, or cleaning up messes somebody else made, maybe even dog messes – when you’re not where you want to be, when no one will give you a chance or a raise or maybe even a job – or maybe you have a job and just want to be home.

But you’re where God has you right now
in the daily where it doesn’t feel like the dream
Doesn’t look like the dream
Maybe it doesn’t even sound like the dream

If “All I am is Yours”
I need to stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all” – I need to do it in the daily

centerhill12kI need to look for Him, reach for Him
Live the daily – every second – the good, the bad, the ugly of the daily
And find Him in it
And when I find Him
My words, my attitude, my out-reach, my face smiles

If I live arms high and heart abandoned
the clock doesn’t determine when the good life starts and ends
9 to 5 and 5 to 9 possess equal value

And the daily becomes not a grind
but becomes sacred and holy
So much more sacred and holy
Than maybe even the dream moments

and from the tips of my soul, I whisper,

“Thank you, God.”

Still counting God’s blessing with Ann at a Holy Experience – it helps me find holiness in the daily.

  1. that God gave man the idea to create antibiotics – so when a brown recluse bit my 18 year old at a friend’s house – he would be o.k.
  2. post-it notes that remind me to pray
  3. a co-worker who makes coffee every morning (we both bring the coffee;she makes it)
  4. face-splitting, ear-to-ear smiles of 3 of my boys the day before the 4th
  5. the rain holding back for a day – for a much needed dream moment
  6. the spirit to hoist myself on that tube behind the pontoon
  7. and not give up
  8. my 18 year old, coming into our room that night, saying, “Thank you for taking me out there today.”
  9. quiet, beautiful quiet
  10. friends around the dinner table, celebration freedom and friendship
  11. tasty dishes friends bring to dinner
  12. squirrels outside my work window
  13. rain, reigning us all in, keeping us close
  14. sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee watching the rain
  15. listening to the birds in the lull
  16. watching my littlest sitting on the raised garden bed, pinching a bit of chocolate mint to chew on
  17. listening to my littlest mimic turtle dove calls outside
  18. farmer’s market Saturday mornings with my husband
  19. life-just-gets-sweet gespacho
  20. zinnias blooming
  21. praise and worship on Sunday morning
  22. blueberry picking on Sunday and the message those blueberries gave me

The Father, He gives us so much around us – the zinnias, the blueberries, tables to sit around with friends – thank-yous -there is so much in the daily – so many blessings He gives us throughout each day – oh, how I want to live arms high and heart abandoned – until all I am is His – every part of my every day.

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sadiemoose
Sadie and Her Moose

It’s a big week here – one boy with a collar bone broken from wrestling with friends, one graduating from high school – and lots of sweetness inbetween like. . . .

high school soccer games in the evenings (District Game tomorrow night)
sitting with moms I’ve sat with for years
in fold-out canvas chairs

sunlight spilling on my porch,
purple, lavender and orange sherbet johnny-jump-ups
raising their face petals in greeting

hydrangea, butterfly bushes, blue buttons
spiders-knots, zinnia, poppy and daisy shoots
stretching upward, green-ward
promising
something beautiful

“Look at the robin’s egg blue sky,” I told my son with the broken collar-bone,
on the way home from the doctor. I’m avoiding bumps and pot-holes, but what mom can avoid all of them, on the road, in our talks, in the living.” “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“You know – the sky’s not really blue,” He says, and we look at each other.

“What about the fluffy clouds,” I counter, floating across the sky.

“Clouds are just water,” he says, a smile hovering, not quite wanting to show itself.

As the car climbs up the hill, past the water tower, I smile right back at him – one eye on the road, one on him, “But God didn’t make ugly water towers to hold rain – He made clouds to hold water – How awesome is that!”

Two red birds stood together in my yard, near the butterfly bush. A cardinal splashed in my bird bath, flinging water droplets onto my zinnias shoots.

A tiramisu trifle is half-eaten in the fridge, just waiting for one of the boys to stop by and finish it off. A few left over pieces of grilled zucchini with rotel diced tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and garlic are sealed in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch.

Better Boys and German pinks sit on the porch waiting to be planted, along with dill, jalapenos and cucumbers.

A volunteer carrot and chard are waiting for dinner Friday night – volunteers from last years garden.

Sadie, she’s learning to sit and stay, to ring the bell on the door to go outside, to find snuggly places for cat naps.

Coffee in the pot at 5 p.m. – and my boys milling about – coming in the back door, going out. My sweet Mother-in-Law here for the week.

The sweetness between brokenness and soaring

A little healing, a releasing to soar, family gathering together to celebrate

It’s a Blessings-and-Faith kind of week – filled with things that need to be savored.

cloud3

Still counting gifts – 1001- 1034

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Will you make me an apple pie,” the son asked, all 6-ft 5-inch who has grown so much this year – the man-soul over-taking the boy-soul and filling up the skin and bones of him.

It was 11 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. I’d just put 2 Normandy Pies in the oven. Savory green-beans simmered, potatoes waited in the fridge for oven-time along with the oysters. and the roast beef – yes, we had roast beef instead of the traditional turkey.
I eyed the 3 gala apples, 3 granny smith apples and 3 red delicious apples on the counter, waiting to be pealed, sliced and spiced into baked apples. I’ve only ever made one apple pie before – I made my second one last Thursday.

Some things are worth doing and need doing for a son’s smile.

Only 4 of 5 sons made it home for Thanksgiving but one of my very favorite nephews joined us – which made our holiday so much more wonderful.

Yet there was chess playing, football watching, laughter – lots of laughter, lots of talking – not about big things, just Thanksgiving Day, hanging out dialogue. Nice sounds. . .Happy Sounds. . . Answered Prayer sounds.

We played our Cracker Barrel Thankful game at the dinner table to much moaning. Everyone wrote down their “thankful fors” and then we had to guess who wrote it.

Friday morning, I drove hours away to visit my aunt and prepare another Thanksgiving dinner for Saturday. The blessings wasn’t in the turkey, the oysters (yes, again), the jam cake and Kentucky silk pie – it was in the preparing. The blessing was in the together of peeling and slicing of apples, in the odds and ends talking, the planning and the quiet of just the two of us preparing.

There was blessing in a walk in the park where He pointed out the squirrel and bird nests.

There was blessing in the arrival of my husband and the boys to help my aunt prepare for Christmas – an afternoon of setting out the lights, boys climbing trees, leaves crunching, a Christmas Tree set in the entry hall, boxes of ornaments brought up, snowmen decorations hung on the garden gate – it has become a tradition helping my aunt get ready for the Christmas season.

And then we had another Thanksgiving – only 3 sons here for this one – but how sweet it was, filled with different types of blessings given and taken.

Then, there was the blessing of going home – one son riding with me – a one-on-one time, a sharing-no-distraction 3 1/2 hours of mom-son time.

Yeah, I’m a little worn out – but worn out with living the good stuff – the being-together stuff – and am so glad I choose to find His blessings in it all.

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity” (Luke 6:38, The Message)
Blessings 904 – 921 listed above.
922) Sons laughing
923) Surprise visit and grandbaby girl pulling up, crawling to my knees as I sat on the ground and pulling up
924) Hair cuts revealing eyebrows, eyes – that the boys were glad for it
925) knitting rows on a hat gift
926) Faith in the big and little things, even though my heart might try to race away with the living of it
927) a husband who holds me through the challenging moments
928) boys over-coming challenges in school
929) which results in smiling and resurging confidence
930) listening to cirrus cloud facts over the counter while I cook dinner
931) the 3rd senior paper turned in; two more to go
932) Loving a Father God who wants me to ask and wants to answer

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“For you meet him with the blessings of goodness”(Psalm 21:3a)

To meet: To come together, approaching in opposite or different directions; to come face to face; as, to meet a man in the road.

To come together in any place

I took a walk as the sun set a few days ago – a flaming fuscia, tangerine and lemon sunset that fell across neighborhood leaves sparking a metalic hue, and in the falling, the sunshine fell into a sprinkler.

He met me there, in my walk, bringing me the beauty of the sunset. God met me there, not to solve a big problem, not to save me from distress – just to meet me there and walk together.

blessings of goodness

As I walked into work, beneath oak trees, squirrel nests and the sharp cool of a Fall morning – I saw acorns lying beneath leaves, under the edges of greenery.

He met me there – and as a reminder of our meeting, His blessings, I picked up 5 acorns, symbolizing the 5 sons He gave me.

blessings of goodness

Pear Tree Seeds

Sometimes, things like folding laundry, making cupcakes, lighting candles, knitting a few rows, the bed-time chronicles – it all overwhelmes me – and I muster all that is within me to do those things with people who are so important to me – and I wonder how I can – but He meets me there, walks with me each step, fills my heart with grace to love the way I want but often fall short.

This week, I met Him in the act of making and decorating cupcakes with my littlest, the blessing of watching my boys to men play a game of chess, of smiles spreading across faces that have smiled too little for too long.

blessings of goodness

I meet Him in the morning prayer, one son leading us in the Lord’s Prayer, another the 23rd Psalm, the other in sharing a proverb, and me leading in a thanksgiving prayer and asking that we let others see the love of Jesus either through our words or actions.

blessings of goodness

I meet Him when I open my front door to greet costumed children Trick or Treating , when I sit across the table from friends sharing celebration cupcakes and cider, watching my husband read to grand-baby girl.

Blessings of goodness

I meet Him when everyday jobs overwhelm. He meets me in a swirl of leaves or squirrels foraging, climbing and jumping outside my window.

blessings of goodness

I met Him when I choose to bloom where I am planted, even when where I am feels like the dormant stage of blooming in a cold frost.

We come together in any place. He is there, waiting for me to look and see Him -to look hard, to catch His eye, to seek His face and know He is looking for me – not trying to avoid me because I don’t do living just right, or that I talk too much, or forget words, or say right things all wrong.

Sometimes we come from opposite directions.

We meet more often now. I am learning to just look.

It never fails that when I do look, I meet Him.

No matter the gracelessness of a moment, hour or day, when I decide to meet Him, He is there with blessings of goodness that change the tenor, the texture, treatment of that moment, hour or day.

“For you meet him with the blessings of goodness”(Psalm 21:3a)

Where are the places you have met Him this week?

I8 gifts were listed above in my journey to 1,000 gifts

844) My son going around the neighborhood 4 times, each time in a different costume from our costume chest which has grown over 26 years: in the bumblebee costume, a ninja, a warrior on a horse, and a ghost – all with a joyful attitude
845) neighbors who love my boys and who kids I love, too – it is awesome to have neighbors like that
846) 5 boys home at once on a trick-or-treat night
847) Sons growing up and working hard
848) That God is wherever I am
849) My husband taking me to one of our favorite lunch places on a very trying day
850) A neighbor giving us 3 large pampas-type grass clusters for our yard. I’ve always wanted ornamental grass like this – and it was such an unexpected gift.
851) You know those 15 burning bush root-balls that I carefully nurtured? Wanting a hedge for privacy on our property line? It seems, each time the boys mowed, we lost one. Lowe’s had sturdy ones about  2 feet high for $3 a piece – I don’t think my boys will run those over. For once, I got someplace before the good deal was sold out.
852) Looking at all the bushes we transplanted and struggled – seeing they are now sturdy and strong – ready for take off next year. That was God reminding me that I am sturdy and strong now- ready to take off at the right time.
853) A song at church, one of my very favorite that has a special place in my heart, used as a kind-of lullaby when the boys were little – and the phrase, “The Year of Jubilee” stood out to me – that the Year of Jubilee was coming – and it was a message that filled my heart
854) Making a new recipe – one I created myself – “Buffalo Chicken Soup.” My son who loves my Hot Wings asked, “Why not just make Hot Wings?” Then he tasted my soup, trying give too much away, he conceded, “This is your best soup.”
855) My 4th son, taller than me today. Door-frame measurements confirmed. While I am sure he will be insufferable for awhile, lots of puns to fall short – so happy he is so happy!
856) Answered prayers unfolding!

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We just returned from vacation – week of refreshing, of contented family time, an aaaaAAAAHHHH soaking R&R – to return to unexpected challenges, challenges I thought long taken care of. Is it a life lesson – that every refreshing moment is followed by a challenge? It is moments like these, that the blessings outside myself soothe my soul – but I am left wondering why? Why cannot I be consistently strong inside?

Why exists the need to find the blessings outside of ourselves?

Why sometimes cannot my soul provide the song that lifts, instead of the cardinals, the robins, the fluttery creatures that nest in the pear and oak trees?

Why sometimes cannot my spirit rest as easily as a cat upon a favorite cushion when storms brew about?

Why sometimes cannot my spirit bloom beauty like the orange, deep fuschias and yellow zinnias in my garden?

Or my spirit give off the sweet aroma of the roses, the fresh cut grass or a fistful of violets, lemon balm and lavender?

Why sometimes cannot I reseed myself, burrow deeply into the black earth or red clay for winter – and just be comforted that now is not the time to bloom but to grow roots, to grow strong – and not feel behind, out of place or insufficient?

Why sometimes cannot my spirit find not only fulfillment in those moments when everything goes right, like the burst of dazzling bloom, but why must my heart struggle when, the new stage is a journey is like when the petals fade to replace the seed that falls – and it all starts back over again, the growth to bloom, why do I feel like I’ve failed because I couldn’t maintain the bloom – when the whole process, the falling, burrowing and regrowing are just as important, just as vital, just as fulfilling.

Why sometimes cannot my spirit weave things hoped for when all I am hangs by a thread of hope, why can I not innately weave something beautiful out of the thread it hangs by but must be reminded by the web of a spider’s thread in a forgotten corner that much can be made of that thread?

Why sometimes must I be reminded of the charity of all these, reminded through the blessings outside myself?

These blessings outside myself are the half-time rallying cries, illustrated disquisitions, a chorus of communiqués, love letters from the Father reminding me not to give up in those faltering moments when life happens in unpleasant, unwanted, unplanned for ways – and that is why I search them out, count them thank Him for giving me them.

In these outside-myself blessings, He tells me,
“Remember when I opened up the hollow place in Lehi for Samson – and water came out to rebuild his strength and revive him? (Judges 15:10) – so also I do with you with the bird song, the squirrels outside your window, the spider webs – these are messages and gifts I send to give you strength and revive you in midst of the challenge.”
“‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you”

(Isaiah 41: 9b-10)

These outside-myself blessings remind me of His firm grip, that He holds me steady, that help is on the way. He reminds me that through Him, I can.

Blessings:

790) spending time with 4 of 5 sons without outside distractions
791) quiet mornings, watching the ocean, reading the book of Joshua
792) little grey fish trimmed in yellow following my innertube
793) Time bobbing about the ocean and the lazy river with my husband
794) dolphins flying out of the ocean and diving back in
795) Time to get lost in a book that’s been sitting on my bedside table for months
796) my mom joining us for a few days
797) Sun-rise on the beach, watching with my husband the dark pink sun spilling across the grey sky
798) Leaving the white shores and the lazy river – crossed through the Misty Mountains and made our way to our Homely House – and, yes, I was reading The Hobbit the entire way home!
799) A chirp-fest from my backyard birds, as though they were rushing to tell me all the things that happened while we were on Holiday
800) Pink, orange, fuschia, burnt red zinnias still blooming
801) A Blustery Happy Windsday on Sunday, Winnie the Pooh’s birthday – so appropriate
802) The clouds closer to my patch of living, as if I could reach out and touch them
803) The hope of rain coming
804) That when challenges seemingly enlarge, knowing my God is bigger
805) Chili and chicken noodle soups on the stove
806) Brownies the boys baked
807) God coaxing me to let go of things that need let-going

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When my littlest came home with his poetry prose in paragraph formation, we had to edit the content into standard, complete-sentence prose. The poetry was edited out. It saddened me because so many penny words were added, fading the imagery, leaching the strength of action – and, well, just diminishing the over-all effect.

A kind of “you-had-to-be-there” resulted in the retelling.

Poetry evokes – sometimes more can be said with incomplete sentences. Not in a court of law, not when contractual things need to be established – but sometimes with pulling something valuable out of a day, a moment – that something trumps the other 23 hours, the other 1,429 minutes in a day.

I remember reading e.e. cummins in the 8th grade. He threw language rules out the window and made art. The entire class chimed in, “So we don’t have to use correct grammar rules. Here’s a grown-up who didn’t and made good.”

Our teacher loosened our grasp on that hope: “When you know grammar like e.e. cummins, you can write like e.e. cummins.”

e.e. cummins manipulated language – and its rules to re-create moments, like “riding through the woods on a snowy evening” – so you could feel it from the inside of your soul out – no “you-had-to-be-there” excuses because he took you there.

My son’s unintentional poetry lost something in the translation to intentional prose. Sometimes, to capture the essence of a moment, a weekend, a blessing – it comes out better in poetry, without penny articles, verbs and nouns.

Yet, also like e.e. cummins had to become skilled in the knowledge of  language arts in order to write poetry that reveals a moment from the inside of your soul out, you and I – we need to become skilled in the knowledge of God’s true, hands-on love for us  in order to recognize blessing that has the power to change our lives from the inside of our souls out.

Are you ready to live like poetry? Allowing a moment of blessing, regardless of size and importance, – a squirrel running across your window pane, a fleeting hug, a genuine smile, a cup of cider – are you willing to let that moment, that gift from the Father, define your day, your week, a year, a lifetime?

The coolness on your cheek from a breeze rustling out of the trees as the hand of God touching your cheek? And, in a second, the recognition of it changes everything – from the inside of your soul out.

Have I lived a life of blessing? Every minute counted from beginning to end, –  refreshing moments, just-right moments, forgiving moments, revelation moments, soul-inside-out moments would seem miniscule in comparison to all the penny-word moments.

However, those fragmented moments like poetry, whittling the prose of it all into poetry,  if I were to just pull them out, those moments would say I am richly blessed. Maybe they would say my life filled with blessing, reads like poetry.

747) Lumina white, Jack-Be-Little Orange, Jarrahdale green and Rouge vif D’Etampes – “Red Life of the Times” pumpkins, pulled from the flat-bed of a truck to my door steps, heralding a new season
748) ladling out homemade chicken noodle soup with bow-tie pasta to woodland stories of Blue Stones and Acorns for currency, brotherhood and neighborhood friendships creating a world of their own in the woods. Practicing democracy in leadership elections under God’s canopy and choosing blue stone and acorns for currency. Blue Stone turned memory stone in a friendship has lived lifting up when hearts are down – a living poetry experience

749) Nests emptied of backyard baby birds. No more cat birds screeching and squawking at my cat on the steps, on the porch, under the car, under the tree staring up. Chirping, solo songs and choruses, merry autumn sounds of troubles left behind.
750) Squirrel cheeks filled with winter nuts, filling the storehouses in tree nests, repetitive forays onto the grounds, storing security for e.e. cummins-kind-of-snowy evening
751) A to-do list reminding me of the things I want to do – and each one checked off, one-by-one.
752) Determination to complete actions and tasks that change the hue of everyday living – when making myself light a candle, knit one row, read one chapter of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – one small action at a time is a brush stroke that paints my life. I can either choose through inaction how my life will look – an empty canvas – or I can choose through action. I chose to act – even though the brush strokes and colors don’t always turn out how I intend.

753) A friend blessing me with kind, un-looked for words
754) The energy to make Saturday what I wanted it to be: filled with homemade chicken-noodle soup, tortilini soup, cheesy bread, store-bought orange-icing cupcakes, pop-eye bread, simmering apple cider – boys saying, “Who’s coming for dinner” – and I just say, “You! All for you!”
755) A kitchen filled with chard, peppers and tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market
756) A squirrel running outside my window at work, through my shabby-chic picture frame
757) 15 minutes with God in a mid-morning break; 15 minutes with God in a mid-afternoon break. We two sitting together on a bench
758) Energy at the end of a workday to live fully through the most valuable parts.
759) Demands for bed-time tuck-ins
760) The Bed-Time Chronicles
761) An orange carrot juice, red beet and mango smoothie – that I stuck to the determination to include it in my day, making it at 6:45 a.m.
762) Frogs hopping on the road side during an evening walk
763) All the boys’ work turned in at the end of a quarter – punctuated by a Friday beginning a 2 week Holiday for the boys.
764) Open windows, cool morning air, the sound of the air-conditioning shutting down, yielding to Autumn’s superior coolness

765) Post-it-Notes reminding me to pray
766) That joyful euphoric feeling like flying when a problem’s potential solution makes itself known in the loudness of the problem, in an un-looked for area.
767) I heard that there are 21 million people who cannot read in America – and am so blessed that my mom secured the best possible education for my brother and me.
768) That I have the desire to read – the bible, fun literature, books to my children, legal documents – and historical documents like Common Sense by Thomas Paine – so that it will not be through ignorance that my freedoms are taken away.
769) The anticipation of good things –  like next week’s beach Holiday.
770) Pulling close the poetry moments out of the day that say more about my day than what the whole of the day says.
771) Hot Apple Cider on a lazy afternoon on my porch
772) Seeing the sun-rise in pink and yellow streaks Sunday morning
773) Watching my boys enjoy a bottomless bowl of pasta after church Sunday while I enjoyed a bottomless cup of steamy coffee
774) Sitting beside my husband on the porch, watching the moon, pulling the blanket close.

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