Monday, November 24, 2014

The Challenge...

"So much has been given to me 
that I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
~Helen Keller

Thanksgiving is three days away!!!

It always makes me smile to see my friends flooding social media 
with expressions of gratitude in their own personal lives.
What I love about these happiness/thankfulness/positivity challenges 
is that it causes us to be intentional about focusing on our blessings, 
and cultivates a habit of gratitude. 

I was challenged by a friend a few weeks ago
to list 3 things I am grateful for,
for 7 consecutive days on social media.
This was what I shared:

Day One:
1) My God, who has given me such radical encounters, 
that it has, and continues to, 
completely shift my paradigms of what I thought Love was.

2) My husband. His fearless spirit constantly challenges me 
to "get out of the boat" and live audaciously. 
He brightens my day like no other. His steadfast love has walked me through the fire. 
His kisses are like honey. His embraces are secure. And he's so darn handsome.

3) My children. Their arrival has roused parts of my soul that I had not yet discovered. 
Every day they crack me open and reveal me to myself.
This has fostered much growth and change...and that's a good thing. 
And they are such tasty lil chickens I could just eat them up.

Day Two:
1)Family. Near and Far. Through good times and bad. 
Through the laughter and the arguments and tears. 
Jenny Worth said it best: 
"Sometimes only when bonds are tested do we understand their strength.

2) Friends. Near and Far. Encouraging friends. 
Praying friends. Faithful friends. Friends that become family.

3)Change. You've heard me say this maaaany times before, and I'll say it again. 
I love how change changes us, and when that happens, 
growth is inevitably right around the corner. 
Having gone through a recent season of change in my own life, 
and still pressing through, I can testify to this.

Day Three:
1)I’ve blogged about this before, but I am ever so grateful for the little moments. 
The ones that no one else sees, 
that take you by surprise, that make you laugh til it hurts. 
The ones that make your heart swell. The ones that bring your soul to rest. 

2) Rainy days, with a delicious novel in hand, a cozy blanket, 
and a steaming cuppa joe (or tea) by my side.

3)The Front Porch. This has become my spot. My think tank. 
My reading nook. My writing quarters. The official entertaining sector of our home.

Day Four:
1)The written word. I’m a lover of etymology.
 But on a more personal level, I love the way words can stir me, t
he way they dance inside my soul. 
It’s not always easy to get “into the zone” during this season of my life, 
but when the house is occupied, or at rest, 
the feeling I get when I hold the pen…or tap on the keys…
when "the faucet” gets turned on, 
and thoughts are free to trickle without restraint. Exhilarating. 
I write much more than the world will ever see, 
I burn through journals like a candle on a cold winter’s night…
One day when I’m gone, my children will come across these journals, 
and learn many things about me that I could never express 
when the decibels of life were at full blast.

2)Cooking. While some days the thought of cooking 
it is absolutely daunting because I’m so tired from the day…
it’s the other days that make me smile. 
There’s something thrilling about creating edible art. 
The colors, the spices, the tastes & smells. 
It becomes more than just provision, it becomes an conduit for expression. 
And that moment when I’ve cooked for someone, and they take those first bites, 
and their senses are awakened, and they’re enjoying it, it brings me joy. 
There’s certainly been some foodie fails…but more successes than fails. 
All part of the creative process.

3)Photographs. I love to be behind the lens. 
The ability to capture a moment in time, 
that feels dimensional, that tells a story. 
Candid shots are my favorite, when no one or nothing is posing, 
they are just in the midst of living, laughing, observing, absorbing, just being. 
This morning’s sunset quieted me. 
In a noisy world, I like to be quieted. 
There wasn’t a lot of color, just a juxtaposition of light and darkness. 
Much like life. 
It wasn’t a high quality photo, 
but I promised myself a few years ago that I would stop what I’m doing 
and make time to take in more sunrises and sunsets…and I have.

Day Five:
1)Grateful for my health. That it’s in good standing. 
And I try not to take for granted that I’m able to do even the most basic things on my own. 
I really am trying to be diligent about the things I put into my body, 
and recognize the things that I'm denying my body, 
making adjustments as needed, oiling the hinges, topping off the fluids.  
This body's been through a lot 
ushering all these babies into the world in such a short period of time, 
but I’m amazed at how resilient it is, 
and in constant awe of what beautiful, complex machinery our bodies truly are. 
I am sincerely trying to be cognizant of all facets of my health: 
physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. 
I am guilty of allowing toxicity in all of these areas of my life…
but I AM becoming better at keeping it to a minimum, 
and, being gracious with myself along the way. 

2)Free will. I have the power, I have the choice.

3)Freedom. I have the permission. 

Day Six:
1)Grateful for quintessentially lazy Saturdays - the kind you hope for but never plan for. 
The ones filled with snuggles from chubby cheeked children. 
And Lord of the Rings marathons. And pillow fights. 
And french toast. And Bob Marley. 
And doors that remain open all day so fresh breezes are free to frolic to and fro. 
And reading & writing on the porch while the children nap. 
And relaxation.

2) Fall -  I’ve blogged about this very topic on more than one occasion. My favorite time of year. 
Hands wrapped around mugs of warm beverages.
Sudden urges to bake hot cinnamon-y apple pies dripping in caramel & nuts.
All things pumpkin spiced. Changing colors. Crispness in the air. 
The smell of chile roasting and fires burning. Aspen leaves fluttering back and forth.
Long hot baths. Colossal sized bowls of soup.
Slipping on my favorite boots and hats and scarves in bundling bliss. 

3) Home - It’s more than just shelter.
It’s Anthony.
It’s my children.
It’s comfort.
It’s REST.

Day Seven:
1)So grateful for Music. 
It takes can usher me into the deepest depths of contemplation,
 and to the highest peaks of jubilation. 
It sets the atmosphere. Compliments the mood. 
I especially love to listen to music when I’m cooking. 
Working out. When we go for a cruise in the car. When we’re sitting up late just talking. 
When we’re cleaning house. Around the campfire. 
Love listening to live music, just about every genre. 
Simply cannot imagine my life without music.

2)Road trips. 
Nothing like jumping in the car with your favorite people, 
some snacks, great music, and an adventure in waiting. 

3)For this challenge. 
It was great to reflect out loud, 
thanks for letting me share!

What are you grateful for today? 

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!


  1. Hi sweet bella; just read your kind comment on my blog and took a chance to click over to your blog...just in case you posted lately; 'lo and behold' not only just a day ago, but last week as well! So nice to see you back on your blog...loved your post, enjoyed reading every paragraph of the 3 things you are grateful for, for the 7 days! Wow, I would not have been able to express all the things I'm feeling, and it's so refreshing to read so much about your life, so fulfilled with love, kindness and devotion; which is SO like you!

    With only 2 days away before Thanksgiving, I'm grateful to know that I'm surrounded by my loving family, and also knowing that I have such dear friends (like you)...keeping you in my thoughts and heart and wishing you all the best!



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