Sunday, March 30, 2014

One Word: Grateful

It's been a little too long since I have posted.  I guess it's because I have been so busy Celebrating Spring. A couple of weeks ago, we were blessed with a wonderful Spring Break Family Week. Our Scientist and Engineer miraculously (seriously...thank you, Lord!) had the very same week off for Spring Break and I'm sure I don't really have to tell you what an incredible blessing that was for our little family.

As a matter of fact, we loaded up the Blessing Jar that week. From the moment we picked our Scientist up at the airport until the moment (sigh) we dropped him back off...we laughed, played games, cooked, ate, watched movies, stayed up late, slept in, and just had the best time being together. I truly could sum it up in one word: Grateful.

I can sincerely say we Celebrated Spring all week long with great gusto. Thankfully we finally got a bit of a break in the weather. We still had a good chill in the air most days...but the sun shone and the temps rose enough that it felt like Spring just might find us after all!

Of course after our relaxing happy reunion...it was a little tough saying goodbye. We really enjoyed our time together. We like each other and like being together...so that Saturday was a pouty day. So pouty that even the Heavens cried as rain fell down on us as we drove to the airport.

And then...on the way home...I just had to laugh as SNOW began to flurry around us in mid-March in the Midwest. It almost seemed a fitting ending to our Spring Break during this long cold snowy winter.

As the fun week ended and we all returned to our daily routines...I found something new to celebrate:

The tiny green shoots of what will soon be delicate yellow daffodils. A sure sign that Spring is truly coming. For real.

It made me think of this verse:
The whole earth sprouts newness and life in the springtime,
    and green shoots break through the well-seeded garden soil.
~Isaiah 61:10 (VOICE)

So a wonderful week of family time followed by the first honest-to-goodness signs of Spring...yes..that's something to celebrate!

And even though snow did fall right along with the temperature...we have enjoyed the rest of this month with the hope of warm spring breezes and sunny days to come. As those green shoots grow taller and taller, I am reminded that soon the days really will grow warmer and brighter.

After that special family week, I took some time to return to my regular schedule and focus on some other projects and needs instead of writing. Then just as I was ready to return to this blog...we learned of some fairly life-changing news. This required my attention and once again this blog sat quietly for the past week.

I'll share more as we go along...but we do expect to be living in a new home...new state...with a totally new experience by the time we Celebrate Summer. And while at this very moment I have no idea where we will be living...or what we will be doing, I have every confidence that God is not shocked or surprised by this turn of events.

I believe He has been planning this for quite some time and has already provided all that we will need in the months to come. Hubby and I have been blanketed in peace as we move "Toward the Unknown"...which is unknown to us...but not to our Heavenly Father. And there is it again... one word to fit this situation as well: grateful.

I'm grateful for the comfort God provides at such a time as this.

This Spring has brought us many surprises including weather we were not expecting and changes we could never have seen coming. But just as those green shoots are sprouting up with the hope of beauty to come...so I believe God's plans for our lives will be.

I have every faith that while things look uncertain at this time...something more will develop. Beauty will unfold from a tiny seed...that will sprout...and grow...and open up into something lovely only our Almighty God could create.

Just as I anticipate delighting in the blooms to come on those green shoots...I also look forward to watching God's plan unfold for our family. And that just makes me: Grateful.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Something to Celebrate

As I wait for warm spring breezes to blow in...and pretty little yellow flowers to pop up out of the ground...and the sun to shine down and melt away the last of our recent snow...I'm thinking of ways to celebrate the sweet sweet spring that is to come.

I was thinking about how this happens sometimes in life. When something harsh...difficult...or uncomfortable comes along...we are SO ready for it to be over. We just need to get through it. In an effort to survive it, we might focus our thoughts on the days to come instead of the days we are currently living in...which can...at times...cause us to miss out on something wonderful going on right in front of us.

Mom would say "don't wish your life away". And I am so guilty of that at times. I get tired of my circumstances and just want to move on. So much so that I spend way too much time dreaming about what's to come and how great it's going to be instead of learning to love where I am right now.

I know that God has me right where He wants me right now. But honestly...sometimes I don't like the place He (Almighty God and Creator of the Universe) has chosen for me. Sometimes I think there are greener pastures (with...ahem...warmer weather) that I would prefer He had chosen for me instead.

As we enter this time of Lent and prepare our hearts for Easter...I can't help but think about what Jesus was going through at this very time when He walked this earth. Jesus was more clear than anyone what God's plan was for Him. It would be the most difficult thing anyone could ever experience. And yet He went forward with the plan knowing full well what God was asking of Him.

Thinking about that pretty much shames me for all the whining about the "endless winter" that those around me have had to endure.  Hubby and the boys have taken the brunt of that these past few months. I feel really bad for them. You should too.  But they are troopers and have hung in there with me and love me even when I am bogged down in the midst of a long, cold, snowy Midwest winter.

But getting back to Jesus...the only One who truly knows the meaning of the word suffer.  I plan to spend the 40 days of Lent really truly thinking on Jesus and all that He went through leading up to the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made.

What Jesus did then was not for his own gain...not his own self....it was completely 100% for others...every single person on this earth but Himself.  With that in mind, I am going to Celebrate Spring by kicking off this Lent season with a plan to Do For Others.

I will be looking for ways to honor Jesus' sacrifice on the cross by doing something each day for someone else. I won't be sharing these experiences on this blog this time. No...this is something between Jesus and me.  I really want my focus to stay on Him.

So as we eagerly await the warm spring breezes...bright sunshine...and beautiful yellow flowers of spring, I encourage you to think of the hardship Jesus endured during this time leading up to his death. He went through it all for you...for me...for us.

And that's something to really Celebrate each Spring!

Monday, March 3, 2014

March: Celebrate Spring

As you know...we have had a long, cold, snowy winter in the Midwest this year and I have been really looking forward to Spring. So much so that I decided to focus on Celebrating Spring during the month of March on this blog!

For a few days last week, the sun came out from behind the wintery clouds and shone down on our little part of North America in such a lovely warm way. The air turned warmer, and people started sticking their noses outside a bit.

I even saw a couple of people in shorts (and winter boots). We are a desperate people. We are SO ready for Spring. And then March 1st arrived...and the sun went back behind the clouds...and the weather cooled off yet again. I'm pretty sure if you listened closely you could hear us all yelling "NOOOOOO!"

But the Polar Vortex blew in again and dashed our teeny tiny hopes of spring weather arriving anytime soon. Before the first day of the month was done...we had rain that soon turned into sleet. We awoke yesterday to the sounds of sleet hitting the windows. The icy glaze that covered the ground soon turned white as snow began to fall and the temperature fell right along with it.

So I sit here today...thinking about how I plan to Celebrate Spring this month while I gaze out of a second floor window at a white blanket of snow and feel like I am trapped in Disney's Frozen castle. I could almost break out into a chorus of "Let It Go" except the cold has always bothered me anyway....

But really...no worries...because I am letting it go and not allowing this long cold winter to get to me. I know Spring has to come at some point and until the warm breezes and beautiful daffodils arrive, I will write about it....and celebrate it right here.

Please join me this month as I await the arrival of butterflies, birds, fresh green grass, and sunny yellow flowers...and all of the wonderful ways we Celebrate Spring!

*Updated*

Here are my March Celebrate Spring Posts:
Something to Celebrate
One Word: Grateful