It really doesn’t take much to bring a great big smile to my face. I am not a ‘gifts’ girl. That is, I don’t like people to lavish me with gifts or give me stuff. The gift to me is spending time with the person; it’s their friendship, not another chotchke to put in my living room. But, a meaningful, spontaneous gift . . . one that is customized just for me, that the person knows I will love and appreciate, those gifts are awesome! They make my entire day. So, imagine my joy when someone at work arrived last week with a pumpkin spice latte just for me . . . just because. She must have known I was unable to stop for one, thought about it after getting to work, and longed to have that precious taste of fall to start my morning. It was an extra-special gift that tasted far better than if I had bought it for myself.
Hello, My Name is . . .
I agree with my sister that the heyday of Contemporary Christian music was over a decade ago. So today, even though I don’t latch on to as many songs in this genre as I used to, a song will come along every once in awhile and grab ahold of me. Right now, it’s this song by the brilliant Matthew West. Simplistic, relatable, and yet so profound.
WARNING: You WILL get the tune and lyrics stuck in your head ALL DAY LONG after listening to it. Enjoy!
I am not a fragrance person. I don’t burn candles year-round or try out different perfumes or use air fresheners in my house or car. But, I do have two huge exceptions. My fall and Christmas candles MUST be from Yankee Candle and MUST each be a specific scent that screams the season for me when I smell them. For fall, I always burn Harvest from Yankee Candle. Now there are impostors . . . those with similar names or colors, but they are not the same. There is only one original. The arrival of fall in my house is not dictated by a date on the calendar. Fall has officially arrived when I’ve purchased my new 22oz Harvest jar for the season. Fall is here!
I was blessed with several phone conversations over the last week. With friends; with my mom. I’m not much of a phone talker, but I counted each of these conversations as such a blessing. To catch up and share and laugh and listen. I don’t always make time for these precious conversations, but this week reminded me of the simple, joy-filled act of reaching out to dear ones, near and far.
I went to the mountains a couple of weekends ago. I thought we may have been too early for apple season, but to my surprise, the apples were plentiful in close to a dozen varieties.
There’s only one kind of apple I have my eye on each fall, and it’s the honey crisps. I eat an apple a day year-round, but there’s something about the sweet juiciness of honey crisps that makes this variety stand out among the rest. Some friends and I bought an entire bushel to split between us. I’ll be enjoying these for many weeks to come.
I’ve had some wonderful highs over the past couple of weeks. Here are 5 of them . . . .
Dining room art
I have a really hard time putting holes in my walls. Once I commit, that hole isn’t going to disappear unless I haul out the sparkle and paint to make the wall blemish-free again. I know this really isn’t a huge hassle, but in my mind it always makes me think for a second, third, even fourth time before pounding the hammer to the nail. I want it to be perfect. So, I repainted my dining room last August, as in August 2012 and, that’s right, my large dining room wall has been empty for a whole year. That wall is a large expanse of space and I really haven’t known what I wanted to do there. Then, I saw this painting in a local store over the summer and loved it. I went back to the store and visited it several times before purchasing it and taking it home with me Labor Day weekend. It is absolutely PERFECT! Love the colors, love the size, love the way it makes me smile just looking at it. Worth the wait and definitely worth putting some holes in the wall!
An excuse to buy jewelry
A dear friend introduced me to this sweet little gift shop. It’s located inside an old house at a crossroads out in the country just north of where I live. It’s in a somewhat random location out there all by itself, that I wonder how they stay in business. I think that’s what gives it such great charm, like a diamond in the rough or seeing something beautiful where you don’t expect it. This little shop sells precious home decor items, candles, kitchen goods, and jewelry, lots of beautiful jewelry. I can see why my friend loves it so much. This bracelet is my beautiful memento from our time in this special place and it will always remind me of time spent with one of my besties.
Pool time with the fam
Although I was certainly happy to see August go, I’ve been a little nostalgic this week over the fact that pool time for the summer is officially over. It became real today when I drove by my community pool on the way home and a big, red ‘pool closed’ sign hung on the entrance door. I had a very challenging summer in my personal life, but throughout that journey, a wonderful constant was spending a lot of quality time with my family. We made it a regular routine to go to church together on Sunday morning, then head to the pool to swim. I will never forget playing in the water with my two little nephews and enjoying time floating and talking with my mom and sister. You know how you can just feel that certain experiences will be etched in your memory for all time? That was what time with my fam this summer feels like to me. It resides in a very special place in my memory. Those experiences were greater than my struggles. I think it was God’s gift of love for me during a time when I desperately needed to be loved.
Ocean = JOY
Imagine my surprise when in the middle of the children’s sermon in church I hear my name referenced. A friend from my women’s circle at church was giving the children’s message. The theme of her message was joy and she told the children that something I had said has always stuck with her. She told the children that I explained that the ocean is just the beginning of Gods love for us. That even though that ocean seemed endless and huge beyond words, that God loves us even more than the ocean is deep and wide. This was a blessing I gave to her, but in that moment, the joys and blessings of those words I shared with her several years ago flooded right back to me.
I was going through some books on my nightstand looking for my Sunday School journal to bring to church on Sunday. I found it, thumbed through it, and realized I had used it a couple of years ago to start recording 1,000 gifts in my life, based on Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts (if you haven’t read it, you must!). I glanced through the gifts I had recorded, but one gift really stuck out to me and made me smile:
gift #111: The way Gpa’s smile lights up his whole face.
My Gpa passed away earlier this year and in that moment, I feel like I was directed to read that blessing and that he was there. Thank you Lord for that gift.