Monday, February 3, 2014

I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day...

I've been thinking a lot about gratefulness. As a parent, I want my children to learn to be grateful. I want them to appreciate the many, many blessing they have in their lives. I don't want to hear whining about what's for dinner, or that we have to clean up our toys, or put away our laundry... I want them to grow to be thankful that we have food, and toys, and clothing. 

I've also been thinking about ways to teach gratefulness to my sweet babes.  The first and biggest way starts with me. I need to to model gratefulness. If I moan and complain about doing my own chores, or that "I don't have anything to wear", or that I would love a bigger/better/nicer house, how can I expect anything different from them? But if I go through the day, verbally being thankful for, or even just recognizing the blessings we have, I can begin to look for the same heart and attitude in them. 

On that note, we've got a lot to be thankful for, and here's a little list of a few of those things.

1. Florida Sunshiny Weather
We had a long run of cold and rainy days over the past two weeks, but yesterday, the sun came out. Reunited, and it feels so good... I missed you blindingly bright sun. I missed standing outside, feeling your burning rays bore little burning holes in the back of my black shirt... Thank you for returning. Let's be friends, and never part again... (We were sitting pretty at 85* here in the sunny south today, while my friends and family in Pa. were making snowmen.)

2. Chickens named Rosie, Leafy, Zebra and Lacey

For some reason, I am so amused by watching these chickens eat "people food". Every day, I take our fresh fruit and veg scraps out to them. I sing a little "peeeeep, peep, peep, peeeep peep" song, and they come a running.  Over the past few days, they have become slightly hostile if I don't produce their snack quickly enough. They march around the yard squawking, and giving me the evil eye through the windows. I am not intimidated.

So far, I've learned that they really like tomatoes, corn, peppers, bananas and apples, and they do not like (at all) onions, potatoes and oranges. (They love avocados, however my mama pointed out that avocados are poisonous for them... ooops.) Anyway, these crazy birds pick out what they want, and then run off to a little hiding place to eat their treasure, so that none of their sisters can steal it. They really are entertaining to watch.

"Excuse me, please get out of the food tray. 
You don't have a sphincter, and frankly, you are a ticking time bomb..."

3. Dinner with friends
I LOVE having people over for dinner. Or lunch. Or brunch. Or for a playdate that turns into lunch or dinner... I just really enjoy having the opportunity to sit and talk with friends without being rushed in a noisy restaurant, or having to pay a sitter, etc... I truly am thankful that we have a good amount of space in our home for hosting that kind of thing.

A few nights ago, we went to dinner at our friends house. Bryan and I would agree that the delicious dinner and company were the best part of the night, but I'm pretty sure the kids would say that Dozer the Great Dane may have been the highlight of their time there. They loved him!

4. The hearts of my children and husband
I think these are the most beautiful, colorful roses I have ever seen. I love that when my husband and kids are out running errands they remember me, and bring things home to surprise me with. I am so very, very grateful for their sweet and loving hearts.

More things we are grateful for...

5. Ballet shoes
The girls are enjoying their classes. They make new friends and get to do something a little different than our normal home routine. (Yes, we totally dance like wanna be professional ballerinas around the house, but this is the real thing.)

6. Blueberry and orange faces
We took a little snack break during school the other day, and Grady started a fun little game of "make a face out of your snack". Usually we have a rule about not playing with your food, however, this creativity was totally allowed.

Ohhh, these kids. They are so much fun.

7. Cold and rainy days
Yes, really, I'm grateful for cold and rainy days at home. We don't have many of them, so it's kind of fun to dress in warm clothes and spend the day indoors. The kids are usually really good about playing nicely with each other, and we just enjoy laying low for the day.

9. Dinner with friends
Yeah, I know that dinner with friends is already taken, but this just means I'm really, really grateful for dinner with friends... plus, this one has cake pops...

My sweet friend made a million cake balls for a baby shower we were planning, and the night before the shower we got together for dinner and to decorate them.

Cake pops are serious business. There is heating of chocolate, and rolling those cake balls around, making sure they don't fall off into the chocolate, and then decorating, and drying, and hurrying before the chocolate hardens, and has to be reheated...

The kids started off playing, then sat for a little while and watched Wild Kratts together, but eventually, we couldn't keep them away from the cake pops any longer. We needed a diversion, bigger and better that the ones before... Nicole pulled out these "decorate your own cookies" as a last resort. Success!

It was one of those moments when you trade a huge mess to clean up later for a little more time to finish your grown up project now. It worked.

And the people rejoiced. 
I'm sure in that moment, I wouldn't have had to teach gratitude. 
I'm certain they were thankful for at least one thing...

It might seem silly to be thankful for chickens and faces made out of blueberries, and Great Danes, and cake pops, and roses and ballet shoes, but all of those things remind me of people. Children that enjoy playing and creating and moving, little loves that take care of their pets, friends that bake, and cook, and share and own a horse dog... and for that I am grateful.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

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