1000 Gifts & Counting

Counting #930-939
* the smell of our house when we come in

* the roomba cleaned floors

* my bf's fourth child on it's way

* end of school year - beginning of summer

* field trip with zeek's life-long friends

* dinner date at home

* opening pink irises in my bouquet 

* "ca' you hep me wora?" - beanie 

* steven here for the next week

* frank stomping around in the side yard

Counting #920-929
* waking up to these views

* falling asleep wrapped up in love

* "thank you... for loving me"

* watching him become himself

* our book

* our slow dance

* our blog

* our family of three

* Mountain Born - reading

* watching "the lucky one" again... so good

Counting #910-919
* morning walks 

* scooters and bikes

* being in love

* favorite movie quotes

* slow dancing ~ perfect for me by ron pope

* a little interest

* a long weekend

* summer break is nearing

* vinegar and steam iron

* chalk city with cul de sacs and sun beaming 

Counting #900-909

* my husband's sweetness

* watching

* cooking class with Nina

* Linsay

* the most beautiful parts of living here are God's parts   

* the zoo 

* the three of us

* being the way we never could have been before 

* bedtime

* light


Counting #890-899

* "forgive, not because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace"

* walking from the party taking inventory of 35... ready to start over

* freshly painted front deck and door

* the cusp of summer

* scentsy sprays

* "the roasted treat" -by zeek

* bridges virtual academy 

* dates 

* 8 more days until my mom 

* sc


Counting #880-889

* a sunny warm morning

* yard work 

* moving downed trees with zeek - SO strong this year

* time

* clean house - webkinz

* birds on the shepherd hooks and in the screen room

* dog cages

* iphone calendar

* greg's love letter this morning

* our website


Counting #870-879

* sleeping in with Greg this morning

* a big beautiful orange, yellow and red flower bouquet 

* cards and love notes and "you have my heart" from Greg

* a handmade diamond by Zeek

* Apple

* the Ninja system and ceramic knives

* tickets to Jim Gaffigan (my hero)

* Regatta220 mother's day buffet 

* Little House end of season 2 - "don't let me get old before I realize that you don't care where you live as long as it's with me" and "that's the same thing you've told me all along, 'the more you have the more you have to lose' - how do you do it?" -greg

* choosing, deciding, changing, growing, transforming together... always together, and nothing else matters

Counting #860-869

* a day of relaxing 

* reading to my boy

* a rare nap moment - i must have needed it

* the emperor's new groove 

* homemade cheese popcorn


* a day of wedding photography all to myself

* afternoon showers

* my husband's effective prayers for me

* playing outside with Zeek

Counting #850-859

* sunrise

* falling back to sleep in his arms

* a day with my ladies and all of our kids

* valbreso french sheeps milk cheeses

* letting him decide

* being a woman of a wife - not a parent

* taking care

* webkinz pizza palace with cleaning intervals 

* another showing 

* the incredible house-shrinking machine we will use to make our amazing home smaller, and the way we can pull the ocean right into the woods of WI and live on the beach after all... kidding.

Counting #840-849

* grilling out with new slow songs to dance to in the driveway together

* his new grey and orange shoes - "i love these" - a first

* the way empty can fill right through as if nothing ever gutted clean out 

* "the power of a praying wife" guides

* that he insists we look into each other everyday

* playing at the park with Zeek

* Little House on the Prairie

* making our dream lists

* homeschooling - freedom - teaching him in Christ - knowing him so truly 

* God's Grace and Protection 


Counting #830-839

* warm sun

* grilling out

* games on the deck

* enjoying every last day in this beautiful house

* quiet, low maintenance dogs

* "mountain born" on a cuddle book monday

* sweetly kissed awake to our morning slow dance - you got what i need by josh radin

* jim gaffigan

* lime green little buds

* getting comfortable in my own skin


Counting #820-829

* my amazing husband 

* chris ~ home

* the p's house

* warm weather days

* God making His way in everything  

* jimmy needham 

* having a home

* time

* freedom

* choice


Counting #810-819

* greg

* sunrise on my face

* fresh baked cheese cake in the mornings

* rummage sale fun 

* webkinz pizza palace

* good friends 

* God's sparing 

* frank - still finding a way on my lap

* a break from showings

* pinterest really


Counting #800-809

* wanda and trina @ canasta

* a sparkling clean house ready for tomorrow's showing

* my washing machine

* how quiet and patient each of our dogs are

* dave and cole for gwin

* my little family in my bed

* our plan

* chris @ utech

* the browns for mea

* a snuggle and sleep day with my sweet sick boy


Counting #790-799

* the way he somehow sleeps in through my prayer and devotion time, no matter what the hour

* loving her against all odds because of Him

* the way forgiveness turns into favor

* spreading the Word from inside my own four walls to the ends of the earth

* pink gerberas 

* interest in our house

* morning prayers

* our evenings together 

* scooter racing commentating 

* clean heart, clean mind, clean love, clean house


Counting #781-790

* out the window at fog and white covered ground in mid April

* three showings after just one day up

* Rick

* the breaking point between who i was and who i was asking to become

* becoming but never "arrived" 

* discipline and faithfulness

* the three of us, like never before

* white blanket and our morning slow dance

* making everything so clean - together this time. together

* Ang and AJ for Mea


Counting #771-780

Four months ago today I was certain that my life had been ruined. I knew that things would never be the same again for me. And I was more upset in every way than I have ever been in my entire life. I clung to God as the raging waters did things to me I didn't know could happen to us... 

In all of my hurt and confusion I begged that none of this experience would go to waste. That this trial would at least be a door for me to grow closer and further in my ability to serve God. 

Though I did not stay calm and peaceful at all times, I felt His calm and peace over me. I felt as if He were the farmer, tilling His good land. I knew that richness lie beneath the surface, and the only way to behold it was to turn it over and over. I was sure that the pain of my experience would bring great benefit to my walk with Him. 

I know that people often get mad at God when things don't work out for them. When terrible things come and we are not "protected" from them happening, we want to blame God for allowing it. And I was mad. There were times, one in particular, where I faced God with my anger. And I'll never forget how He humbled me that night. 

One of the greatest things I have taken from this hell has been of a repeating pattern from the start... almost always, I was fighting to hold onto something that was not mine. How many times during these months I fought for something I thought was my right. How many times I learned that my ideas of what I'm entitled to are so very far off. How I have learned that nothing of this world is mine, and how much better off I will be knowing and living that way.   

And just like the skin were being removed from my bones, I tore away from so many of the things I'd always believed. And it hurt like hell. More than anything I've ever known. 

But today I am here, and only by the grace of God am I intact. There is less of me. So much less. I've been through a beating to many deaths and into this new life, and I would NEVER give any of it back if I had the choice. I would do it all again. Maybe even sooner.

I got what I asked for. Both literally and proverbially. I was a scared, spoiled, self indulgent, overly confident, snotty, self righteous, know it all, brat, wearing blinders, hiding behind a stick wall constructed by a child, trying to save myself... and I begged God to stop me, to get me out, to save me from myself. 

And I never imagined it would take all that it took, but He is so faithful, and He did just what I asked.

I praise God for:

* striping me down to what I perceived to be nothing

* filling Himself into my absence 

* revealing how futile my security system was 

* showing me out

* protecting me from greater disasters

* drawing me in to Him

* keeping all His promises 

* letting us make ours in congruence to His 

* second chances

* new life


Counting #751-760

Today there is so much peace. Today, I know the blood, sweat and tears that Greg and I will contribute to this journey. But I know that I don't know where it will take us. And there is peace knowing that of the three of us in this braided cord, one of us does know. God, knows exactly where we will be in three months, a year, three years from now... He knows, and all we have to do is pray and follow. I am at rest knowing that I do not have to decide. Greg and I can lean back in the arms of our guide and just do as He instructs. 

No deadlines, no hurry, no fear.
This is a good place.

I thank God for 

* my boy and his dogs playing out in our woods 

* Yuki learning that good dogs curl up on the floor underfoot 

* change

* writing

* worship 

* praying as a family and as a couple 

* God's responses

* how simple it all really turns out to be

* a tiny wrapping on the window

* "will you come out and push me on the tire swing?" 



Counting #741-750

* my husband bringing out white blankie with his morning greeting

* our morning slow dance, wrapped in white blankie, with Nora Jones' "the nearness of you"

* peppermint tea

* corn starch in clear coat nail polish

* trading dream home for dream life

* all these beautiful memories

* what we've gotten through 

* the incredible strength that is God

* the way things go, grow 

* missing her today, so terribly. i miss you


Counting #731-740

* gray street

* cottage creek

* steven a.

* all this time and it's finally here

* what God will do to follow through

* prayer

* time

* the left behind

* the looking onward 

* forward motion

Counting #721-730

* unlimited planning - endless possibilities 

* such a beautiful and convenient home to live in

* the lit up smiles and eyes that shine

* openness 

* a date day ahead

* chicken wrapped in bacon in the mini crock

* bringing all my sorry and shame to Him 

* freedom

* enjoying what we have and right where we are today

* being a woman

Counting #711-720

* i am here and alive

* my husband and our son - both here and alive

* knowing that days are passing and i have to move on or i will have chosen to miss this

* nothing on this earth is worth missing this for

* being held

* what love can do

* letting greif transfigure into Grace

* God's own Grace

* the way that Chad's unashamed, relentless, honor and devotion to God always makes me feels stronger and less misfitted

* Nina


Counting #700-710

* Jesus' example of how to do life

* the Power of God

* repentance, forgiveness, redemption, resurrection

* bareback riding time with my Gwin

* the neighbors' light 

* a new week

* our family

* God's guidance, direction and protection

* spring break

* spring?


Counting #690-699

* waking up in bed this morning, held by both my sleeping husband and our little boy

* having a family 

* our home, heat, food, water, vehicles... 

* time

* spring break

* 44 degrees

* my precious boy, with a fever, snuggling in my bed fast asleep

* sitting on the kitchen island together making paper plate easter bunnies

* me: I already ordered dye free candy. What would easter be without jellybeans?
   Zeek: The resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

* God moving in my home and my guys 

Counting #680-689

* my candle light

* morning slow dance with my sweetheart

* green in winter

* the beep collar

* my Nibs - doing school - looking so sweet

* today's art project, so exciting

* another date night

* working out

* good sleep

* an even better waking 

Counting #665-679

* being in love

* early mornings with smiles, silliness, dancing and a tiny "wave!"

* being the one thing he hates to leave

* date nights at home

* a yellow flower torn out and laid beside a chunk of almond chocolate

* the way he remembered to make his Dad an ice water an hour early

* the two crackers he included next to the water 

* the "congrats" trophy he made while I was working out
"mom, you know what cassie forgot? to congratulate you. but don't worry... i got it."

* the wooden cross like Laura's that he made for me outside
 "mom, is it okay if i use my saw and hammer some nails?"

* candles

* you got what i need - joshua radin

* kissing

* prayers ~ answered

* K & J, pool, band...

* how everything that didn't matter went away and never made its way back 


Counting in Pictures #651-664

* the yellow roses from him
in the maple syrup jug from her
on the window i love

* a mango and a pear, straight up

* the view from my spot on a snowy day

* my favorite tea 

* a flower silhouette on the wall

* the way we never leave a room 
without our colored pencil jar

* yellow

* the big sunny entry with that old bench,
the barn wood, shoes lined up in a row...

 * his heart, his words, his tenderness, his arms,
his kisses, his love letters, his strength and devotion, 
his blue eyes for me, and
the way he traces my world with his fingertips

* the morning when our bed looked
so much the way we were the night before 
that i didn't have the heart to make it

* always flowers

* mine in my kitchen -
her's in her kitchen
always reminds me of us

* our little house episode every night before 
he's off to "dream land"
and oh how we do recon pa knows best :)

* a big bowl of peanut butter and jelly

* FRIDAY!!! :)

* homemade ice cream cookies

* fresh new scentsys

* our babysitters who rock

* plans out to beat this cabin fever

* night at the museum and a much deserved nap 

* new books

* cassie ho

* the way Zeek's hair sticks off his head like a morning fairytale 

* real food


Counting #631-640

* family time with little house on the prairie 

* "take care of him" -God

* his complete sweetness cruising through my heart 

* woodmans

* amazon deliveries

* always smiling at Fifty 

* photography

* the way missing has moved to loving from afar

* making the new journal pages 

* organic peppermint tea and dye free candies 


Counting # 590-630

* being so crazy in love

* skipping and not missing anything that could keep me away

* the morning shadow of beautiful flowers on the wall

* photograph of the cactus when they were babies

* our everyday writing to each other

* this morning's slow dance ~ the nearness of you by norah jones

* laughing and talking and staring 

* losing sleep

* date nights - candles, dinner, romantic jazz, dancing, holding hands, kissing...

* the bedroom fort

* our happy healing son

* my morning routine

* Princes Royal Jazmin Gwinivere, my love

* having the time, car, gas, connection, love... to help Calvin

* family dinners

* jar of questions

* ann's family gratitude journal

* engineer's prints

* the circus

* my green frog 

* invitations

* new friends

* holding back and letting in

* dinner with old friends

* e's always perfect gifts

* the unlikely fitting togethers

* silhouetted birds  

* "not a bother. a privilege. you are a privilege for me to have in my life." 

* the weekend

* pizza night with the h family

* long awaited LAN party at our place with my brother

* missing n, only to realize it's our day together!!! 

* dye free candies 

* her new lamp, and the old lanterns, and the way he's grown 

* knowing she's strong enough when i don't know what to do

* digital books

* pow-dow, fifty and aps

* feeling like a diamond

* little house on the prairie - season one

* udi's crust pizzas everyday


Counting #580-589

* early mornings

* finding just what i need when i need it most

* these pages

* flying free from a cage i never knew i was in

* looking back in disbelief ~ 

* saying goodbye 

* broken heart wide open

* roses and diamonds

* mango in green

* dreaming  reaching  planning

Counting #570-579

* the sunlight on my face streaming through the window

* an off day followed by an on day

* connecting with Him with him

* my baby fifty ~ what was I doing without him

* Zeek, dancing with us, finally beginning to accept our invitation 

* the view from my chair

* knowing what will stay and what will come with us

* from private resort to personal haven 

* grocery stores

* snowplow service 

Counting #560-569

* roses everywhere

* window ledge

* winter white 

* warm inside

* cuddle-book days

* fifty love

* talking about our dream - so close to it

* freedom

* a job

* memories


Counting #550-559

* forgiveness, forgiving, forgiven 

* a first full good weekend

* wearing His promises and his promises, because "sometimes you have to wear His promises to remember to keep walking" 

* Zeek reading his history to me

* apple chicken sausage, peppers, onion and apples fried

* working out with C

* Tim Hawkins

* friends, quelf, rustique, ballet, & "for I have spoken"

* Zeek and I, writing in our daily inspiration books, mornings together

* Hebrews

Counting #540-549 Feeding the Living Soul

At the end of the day, when the tears are wrung right dry and our hearts are left to beat in each others' hands again, my husband and I remember to thank God for what He's done and is doing in the midst of all this:

* for the way He lovingly contained and controlled the events that led to us choosing each other and our marriage 

* for this good, long, hard death-to-selves  

* for preparing and readying, holding and speaking, lifting and showing us what is true and right

* for offering Forgiveness and leading us to forgive

* for opening our eyes and elevating our marriage to it's rightful and intended position

* for allowing events that brought what is real to the front and for leading us to the tearing down of our idols and distractions

* for using Greg to Speak into me at the times I needed it most

* for exposing all of my defenses for what they really weren't and carrying me, soaring over the pile of crushed bricks and sticks and black tape, into freedom to love wholly and purely without fear or hesitation

* for showing His strength in our weaknesses

* for shielding and protecting our son as He gently orchestrates the transitions, making his parents, home and life so much better for him

If you are dying, would you follow Him? 

Counting #530-539

Sometimes it feels like easy jottings, when thanks flows out with little effort because the hunting is more like picking and the tastes are all so sweet. 

Sometimes it feels impossible, and I have all I can do to admit what is sour and produce something good of it - to find the hard thanks.

Today, I can see that beauty and gift can package itself in the unexpected. And I can tear away box inside of box, knowing there will be gift, but only after the work of all the unwrapping - one painful truth after another.

Today, I give thanks for what is to come:

* we will get to see everything fall in line from our marriage being raised up to it's rightful position

* we will be so strong - stronger than most anyone will ever have to become together

* I will walk in this freedom I have never known, to LOVE

* he will forever know his worth - he will be seen and heard, loved and respected, cherished and cared for, receiving what he should have always been offered

* our son is a child, and he will know who he is and what to look for when he is grown

* we will move together

* we have left our idols and distractions and they will no longer stand in the way of our vision

* good long death to self can only lead to Life

* all that has been uncovered will be seen and known 

* we will never stop thanking God, Who is working in unimaginable ways showing great favor to those who serve Him


Counting #520-529

* BabyZeek.com + KeepingYou.com to help me remember

* feeling the momentum and strength of the darkness getting weaker and weaker every week

* the choice

* Nina Day

* dinner with the H family

* dinner with the R family

* time with J

* babysitters

* knowing Him

* Hard Stops 

Counting #510-519

* turkey tetrazzini 

* a foot of fresh snow

* a day of theater, good friends, and gymnastics

* the candle light that reminds me

* dancing and praying

* skype chat

* our journals to each other

* knowing what He's taught through the tilling 

* no waste

* Friendships - invites - dates - covering - sharing - prayers - love - Blessings


Counting #500-509

* removing the cyst/scar/bump from my arm... getting rid of the old - gratefully and joyfully facing the new

* Fifty, still in my lap - big as he is

* my Hawaii coconut candle, reminding me of my light and my future

* crowned with glory and honor

* all those delicious fresh scentsys behind every door

* cards and chips

* turkey in the crock

* our italian evening- pastas, power greens, ranch, balsamic, garlic toast, sparkling grape ~us~

* yellow roses

* being a woman and a wife

Counting #490-499

I have to find what's blessed before I can't see it...

* the sound of Zeek's little feet on the floor above when he gets out of bed in the morning

* our morning dance before Greg goes to work

* a hair appointment LONG overdue 

* having the cyst with it's own zip code removed TODAY :)

* a clean house

* God's provisions even when things are upset

* bowling with my boys

* knowing it's going to be her when the phone rings- having her back in my life

* tools from utech

* knowing the truth and living like it


Counting #480-489

* Hawaii

* living through me and not history, lies, and others' sins 

* Farmer Boy nights

* our morning dances

seeing him for the first time
               - getting clothes from the closet
               - walking out to his car
               - kissing me

* using my timeline to heal and move

* snowing

* plans for a lifetime

* Fifty, still getting in my lap even though he's growing so big

* Daydreaming by corrine 

Counting #470-479

* the way Zeek is softening and ready to be loved

* asking me to sing to him

* asking me to hold him

* asking what is dearest to me : "Mea-mea, Meam, Mommy-da, or Mom"

* asking me to pray


* worship songs that say it all and bring me 

* MC on American Idol starts tonight!!!

* all of him reaching out to me - taking care

* new memories


Counting # 460-469

* greg's day at home - being able to give him what I could never give before

* my roses

* a happy Zeek

* a night of cookie making together

* our family dance in the kitchen ~ "we made it"

* living low and unraveled after so long of being wound high and tight 

* back in the booyah!

* All of Me by Matt Hammitt 

* my ball

* singing

Counting #450-459
* mocha nail polish 

* the pillow box stacked full

* texting my baby 

* morning playlist

* being able to go to the store whenever we need to

* homeschool

* my blue ball

* filling the gallery with new memories

* Frank, Apple and Yuki

* green drinks


Counting #440-449

* Greg's love, commitment, strength, endurance, and faith in us

* soft music playing in our bedroom with my sweet, tender, gorgeous husband asleep in the glow of the fireplace 

* Zeek in bed daydreaming of tomorrow's cookie making party 

* our day with Tony; Stone Cellar, bacon pizza with ranch, kinect party, the ball, napping on his couch...

* the back yard snowman with Zeek

* the way Greg always opens every door for me

* the gift on my car seat

* this amazing love we would have never known 

* how everything else just falls into place naturally

* the way nothing else matters 

Counting #430-439

* the warm weather and melting snow

* protecting my son like a mother should

* Zeek playing outside for an hour this morning with Apple. no more fear.

* holding 

* us

* the peace and lifted weight from decades of hurting

* letting go 

* tea with s

* the couple at gymnastics

* a day with n

Counting #420-429

* Greg pointing out that we are the Four of Us... him, me, Zeek and God

* the movie

* quiet

* two more days

* getting stronger

* holding on and letting go

* gaming

* cuddling Zeek

* having Greg by my side

* being on his side

Counting #410-419

* my son and his friend riding their giant horses on their own in the snow, together - one of the cutest, sweetest, most proud moments of my life

* weekends

* no dogs allowed in our room!!! :)

* the dogs

* christian music

* babysitters

* packer playoff game

* luke and jay

* my mom's cookies

* chicken wrapped in bacon


Counting #400-409

* loving my baby Frank more than i can ever make sense of

* teaching and learning that darkness can not be where there is light

* my end being where i began

* nothing to lose and everything to gain

* falling together and into each other

* the way he will and does, every time 

* five days from the ninth

* "oh, I love Grace Like Rain." -zeek

* stemmed glasses with fun drinks

* time for Gwinivere

Counting #390-399

* my first naturally normal unrelated conversation with someone

* making breakfast, happy

* other peoples "Christian Music" lists on spotify

* my body

* 1 cor 13

* the way everything being broken set me free

* his daily journal for me

* the way Frank always starts the robot vacuum running

* institue for excellence in writing

* Rick being the kind of Dad he is, and knowing12.28.2012

Counting #380-389

* morning snuggles with a refreshed little boy and his white blankie

* my baby Frankie - five months old today

* vacation week at our favorite place, together

* loving like I've never known was possible

* Forgiveness

* when I looked out the passenger window into the woods and asked with everything in me

* how He answered

* the way He holds every strand of me as it's torn away, for the good

* learning that it isn't about to trust or not to trust - it's about What I'm really trusting in.

* never wanting my life back again

* being free to fall in love with our new life, now


Counting #370-379

* for five minutes... sometimes there are five minutes

* r and e

* pizza

* our morning dance

* christmas eve together

* the penguin family

* tony

* webkinz

* sierra natural

* the ninth

Counting #360-369

* a full good day

* Christmas lights at night

* snow

* painting with Zeek

* Christmas movies and TV specials

* sloppy joes and slices of steve's cheese

* card tree

* four wheel drive vehicles

* four day weekend coming up

* old videos of my baby boy that I've never seen until today


Counting #350-359

* Courtney's call

* green growing in Dec

* the heaviest finally lifting

* having what it takes

* Nina's bruschetta for breakfast

* the Children's Museum - ornament, boat, light house, us

* being in our right roles

* the only falling being a falling into place

* listening to his heart

* being in love


Counting #330-349

* God's infinite plan

* His steady reassurance from the start

* even when I don't believe it's possible - it's all His

* my humble loving Mom who would not give up or let go

* The Power of the Bible (even when I couldn't stand it) 

* His Strength in my weakness 

* Jodi <3

* not having to throw our treasures down stream 

* Ken and Chris

* the restoring in places we'd never been to begin with

* only six days in, and I'm here already - only Him. all His.

* the walls come down

* that which never mattered finding its place beneath all of this  

* what things die only to enrich what grows in their place

* what is becoming of us

* our little boy on the stairs with legos. so strong. 

* Zeek's place at Nanna and Pupa's

* Frank getting back after all that he's lost - his forgiving loyalty

* the lights tonight, which I was sure would never happen this year 

* the 25 gifts and how they've meant so much during this time

thank You God


Counting #320-329

* 12 new Scentsy bars

* the book

* a gift a day

* a white blankie stuffed full of sleeping Yuki and Frank, piled on my lap

* editing 

* school break


* a day with Nina (and Josie)

* Sammie's

* snowman christmas light glasses


Counting #310-319

* the Christmas tree with decades of treasured ornaments this year

* the mantel, sparkling silver

* the 25 numbered gifts under the tree

* somehow we've made it to the "starting" line

* an important Packer victory

* my new sorels

* the afternoon with my beautiful peaceful girl

* dreaming of snowy bareback rides to come

* Frankie, draped over my right leg

* the last week of school before our three weeks off

Counting #300-309

* the first day of feeling real without all the stinging

* a perfect day with my brother - the way he saved me, held me, lifted me up, let me cry, cried with me, and made me laugh so hard... who would i be without him?

* the way that 1000s of simple twinkling lights can add so much sparkling wonder

* our little elf waiting for my sweet boy to find him wrapped around a great thrift store find at the top of his bedroom Christmas tree

* another warm winter projected

* four hours time that I know isn't there, carved out intentionally just for me, by a friend who cares

* the mysterious delivery made by a kind stranger today, December 1st - a huge advent gift box from someone I guess I know (but won't know of until Christmas day), wrapped and filled with 25 more wrapped gifts, including scriptures and personal messages for each day - all for me. i have never.

* My baby Frankie and his big sisters... always

* The Love Dare

* cozy new Aeropostale pajamas over beautiful lingerie - the wonders of being a woman

* the storm i would walk right through again to move me the way i've needed all along


Counting #290-299

* new Aero pjs

* Frank finally calmed down, laying his chin on my wrist as I type

* Apple under foot, laying herself for a rest

* Zeek, happy and being a kid

* my mother in law being such a good grandma

* Spark Fredo the Elf on a Shelf

* having a love so true and strong that even in this we take care of each other

* monday's start

* we deserve to love deeper and better

* being home alone and seeing all these things we have gained over the years... 
   how none of them amount to anything in the face of what really matters 

we miss so much as we run through life - I want to stop and lay with you in nothing but us.


Counting #280-289

No matter how bad and hard things are, it is good to notice the simple and right. There are beauties to uncover still:

*  all the things that Frank can say with his eyes

* the way Apple just knows, and lays her face on mine to hold and protect me

* learning first hand what he's meant, that he loves to watch me sleep

* the heights of pain driving me to deep, low and astounding strengths

* "i am yours" -my Dad's perfect words of love and support

* to crawl out of the numbing haze to steal what breath I can, there seeing what really counted underwater, and who I'd chosen unconsciously to have by my side

* how we can find together even in apart

* letting go just in time to love all the way

* his brilliant mind even as he is tiny... it's so often that he is doing the guiding and teaching and we are growing and learning the most

* God keeping everything, holding tight, showering strength and mounds of grace, opening all the doors to His will, assuring softly, giving us just what we need exactly in the timing that will glorify His name, waiting with all patience, pressing in and falling back in perfection... so so very good God.

Counting #270-279

* Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank and Frank - I can not get enough of him

* summer farmers' market memories of hand holding and blowfish

* the decked deck

* Dawn Huebner Ph.D

* amazing friends, who would never let me go through hell alone

* God's love, strength and overwhelming presence 

* a mutually needed minimal Thanksgiving 

* "...oh and Lora, when a horse doesn't love you, it won't follow you around like that."

* how miracles just pop up when and where I least expect them

* six family sessions of photography work in the next two days ???

Counting #460-469

Alright, my life kinda sucks right now. And I would like to just pick out the obvious stuff to be grateful for, like air and water, and pretend it makes me feel better... but really what I need to do is find the good in the crap and work it out:

First off, my marriage is NOT fun right now-
* We are strong and resilient, and we do not have unrealistic ideas and expectations about love and marriage. We have made it through worse. 

My Dad and I are back at it again-
* My Dad is alive and recognizable. 

My house is not organized at all-
* It's big, beautiful, dreamy and warm.

My son was diagnosed with OCD and is suffering in his struggle-
* He's brilliant and capable, and God is so good.

My grandma, who has dementia and Alzheimers, told me she doesn't like me and asked me to leave and not come back last week (not entirely unusual). What sucks is that she remembers it-
* If I don't go for the bad days, I won't have the beautiful memories of the good days I catch her on.

I need to let go of something that has been very special to me-
* I had it to begin with, and God will give me strength and show me the Way.

I don't have enough time to do everything I need to and still have a life-
* I have more time than anyone I've ever heard of, and I chose my responsibilities.

It's about to go from mid 50s to mid 30s in the next couple of days-
* Christmas time has so many magical fun beautiful things to offer. And we are rocking it this year!

I have no idea how to get my voice heard in serious situations. More and more, people are walking over the top of me- 
* God has a plan, and I know He didn't remove the jerk in me who could get her way to just leave me like a fish out of water. He's never finished with me. 

I need more sleep-
* I have a bed over flowing with "kids" right now, and it's all in love.

Still not sure I feel better. I may have to study this today. 

Counting #450-459

Franklyn~ my sweet baby boy who i love so much i can't even breathe

* grass stains on Zeek's favorite jeans from football with cousin

* stain remover

* time... always so grateful for all the time i have

* homeschool life full of diversity and flexibility

* bareback in sunshine on my wooly winter-ready horse

* beginning Christmas plans

* my place next to Lucy last night

* wild boy and his dogs running all around on our country lot

* Pow Dou getting hers on my lap in the peace and quiet


Counting #440-449

* Thank you God, Frank is potty trained!!! :)

* Zeek reading himself to sleep on the couch last night

* Beautiful Apple and her Momma skills

* Holding dear memories up, but knowing when it's time to move on

* Finally having babysitters

* washer, dryer, dishwasher, rumba

* Thursday fun just around the corner

* a jump in the temperatures across the weather forecast

* his attentiveness - like his daddy

* "don't go all cocoa walnut cheetos on me."

Counting #420-439

* a warm pup taking his morning nap in my lap

* laying out my own boy's school lessons for the day

* really knowing everything he is learning

* being able to watch, tweak and fine tune what it's making of him

* the final lessons in our math-u-see alpha book!!!

* a delicious breakfast of al fresco chicken sausages, gluten free apple waffles, and green drinks

* right by his side - right by our side

* susan p. and jen t.

* a list of nearby sitters

* first beautiful snowfall of the year

Counting #410-419

* silence

* time

* setting all things aside

* freedom

* light

* learning from my greatest student

* testing and strengthening trials

* perseverance

* being me no matter who someone else is or wants me to be

* a work in progress

Counting #400-409

* Franks gorgeous eyes (and floppy ears, and circle paws, and spiral tail, and marbled rye, and the little wrinkles at the bottom of his back when he sits, and his intelligence, and his character, and his sweet lovingness, and, and, and...)

* Ruth and our seven minutes in rotation

* Gwin's beautiful jumping

* Zeek asking for his "I am a child of God" affirmation declaration on his own

* Greg, taking his salad with his lunch to work everyday

* photographs and blogging

* December/Christmas excitement and pintrest ideas

* God is true no matter what

* sunlight through our window house now that leaves are down
* the millions of things i know are there, but i can not always find

Counting #390-399
* when I asked him how he was doing this morning, he said, "good" -this is the first time he's answered a feeling question in many months

* a literally working washer and dryer

* forgiving house plants

* a new school routine to spice things up

* knowing the difference between want and need

* a cat inside for the winter

* surprise Christmas light planning

* good dogs

* learning new things everyday

* how the puppy makes me feel like we are are full

Counting #380-389

* snuggly puppy

* boys racing

* clean house

* sentsy

* horseback riding

* God's power

* party day

* cards with little gifts

* photography

* Nibs

Counting #370-379

* warm puppy days of introducing, welcoming, chasing, cleaning up after, playing, carrying, kenneling, snuggling, training, learning, and loving

* Jay and Zeek laughing over their own made pb&j sandwiches

* another fantastic Packer win (DVRed for all the worthy little interruptions in my day)

* Greg taking a 40 minute walk with Apple this morning, for fun ???

* robovac - i don't know what I would do without it

* freshly leaf-cleared lawn and drive

* balance

* friends, playdates, mom's nights


* real people with cool lives who don't just SAY they believe in God but put HIM first, honor him in ALL they do, and fearlessly shine a light in a world of so much darkness

Counting #360-369

* a day of small lessons and victories for my son

* an "i love you momme" message in little finger scribbles on my arm

my family actually juicing

* Frank~like having a baby

* not having a baby

* playdate fri, sat, sun...

* "Protecting Your Family" by Michael Smalley

* finally, a ministry calling for me

* possums and homemade bracelets

* everywhere abundance

Counting #350-359

* a weekend of home play dates for Zeek

* looking forward to our new puppy

* Xenia Taler journals - every time

* moving into His plan in ministry

* how it ministers to me as I work

* Greg

* Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods

* all the sweet things that can be insinuated in four words

* a working chain saw

* "everything has changed... absolutely nothing's changed"


Counting #340-349

* waking up to my birthday boy snuggled in my arms

* the warmth of his little hand in mine

* the excitement of his birthday party today

* early morning catchup time

* to go left to erika's for coffee on the screen porch, or right to Gwin to ride with Sarah at sunrise

* a helpful partner

* the slide out garbages inside the kitchen island

* leaf blowers

* delis

* right now

Counting #330-339

* homemade cat shirts at 1am

* Terrain Twister

* an understanding Gra

* his secret plan to be stolen up in white blankie and brought to our bed

* that we can touch him, and hold him close, and watch him grow up

* Dr. Charles

* hours of riding this week

* Sarah

* awaiting a quiet morning with fondant, like Christmas

* Modern Family's new season

Counting #320-329


* the wonderful people from all over in my life. unintentional, unplanned, unexpected... so much love.

* Zapfino

* my dream come true with X

* aeropostal hoodies and sweats

* Gwen, the horse hoof miracle worker

* how polite and attentive my little one is

* my Dad's helpful insight

* how God pays for the unpredicted before it happens

* pocahontas

Counting #310-319

* a night time thunderstorm

* a tiny snuggler in my bed

* white blankie, hot out of the dryer

* electricity

* our faithful loving God who whispers secrets in the passageways & keeps all promises

* recreating childhood games with my son in the woods

* my reflection in the windows bringing light to where I am right now

* my brother Eric

* quiet time

* hot homemade soups in fall temps

Counting #300-309

* a fresh monday like a clean house, like a dozen eggs, or a new pack of contact lenses in the mail...

* a morning walk before we start

* bonfire weather

* that he knows

* big play plans in the woods today

* texts from a boy with a special place deep in my heart, only for him -X-

* Bo's reminder to stay right here and pay attention

* mariah, for 22 years

* watching him breakdown, and knowing that everything has and always will be alright - even when we are sure it's not

* those grey pants from DC with Mom

Counting #290-299

* playing in the forts with my son

* watching house shows and not wishing for more

* old wood and dark green house plants

* days of rest

* surprisingly, Beverly Hills Chihuahuas

* his feet poking out from the blankets looking so tiny still

* photography 

* white dog and pug

* the smell of baked potato soup and bacon wrapped chicken

the million ways a boy can love without words

counting #280-289

* movie monday with my little 

* daily homemade gluten free pizzas 

* horse to the right - R's to the left

* two houses

* homeschool flexibility

* how a rooster did for us what we couldn't in finding our footing 

* a tree frog on the window in the dark

* the oven timer 

* though it pains me to do it, being able to pay for all that comes 
   with having so many animals

* how God can tolerate what a "teen" I must appear as to Him 


Counting #270-279

* the fresh start of a new journal

* the warm wrap up to our summer break

* friends who share from their gardens that actually grow food 

* my newfound series, free streaming on Netflix

* Jay days

* how easy and good close is when it's meant to be that way

* a first time homeschooling family of friends right across the street 

* udi's 

* seven more days until Robert and Erika move here

* just one sweet guy 
* planning the new school year with freedom and help

* the way things (and people) can all pull together in the same season. humbling.

* fresh summer produce-filled meals and snacks

* delilah, the new plant all closed up for the night

* this house

* forgiveness. for me.

* second and third and fourth chances. and more.

* a beach day with Zeek and Jay

* how doing the "right thing" has saved me in the long run

* protection 

Counting #250-259

* a peace season

* how letting go in Trust and praying works

* for health

* sun's rays streaming 

* the warning that his voice will drop low one day (i could use a little warning after all that has been sprung on this one child mama who can hold on a little desperately at times)

* the way Tater and Bridges Academy have pushed Pam and I together again

* miraculous healings of fish and dog 

* conviction from watching my son's journey 

* date night with Erika

* 16 more days until she's just two minutes away... i dream.

Counting #240-249

* mama's monday

* horse morning

* happy boy

* clean house

* only 4 loads of laundry

* games

* more planting

* iced coffee

* date night planning

* 32 more days until the big move!!! 
explanation: our good friends, erika and robert, who we spend most of our free time with, live in the city, 30 minutes from us, in a ranch house they don't want to but have resigned to living in for at least a few more years. in a very similar fashion to the way my husband and i got our dream home, robert and erika were looking at houses for the fun of it when they stumbled upon an amazing home with tons of acreage, a fully stocked and aerated pond, wood working shop, guest house, etc... (the list goes on). they had a feeling the minute they stepped onto to property. a feeling like something big was about to happen to them. a feeling like this was God's plan for them, even though NOTHING lined up, and none of it was possible... but just a few weeks later everything has very much miraculously aligned itself. with a promotion and pay raise for erika, and a pay raise for robert in the past two weeks... a sprucing and selling of their home in just SIX days of being listed (the exact same amount of time it took us to sell our last home in this sad market), robert and erika have an accepted offer on their dream home and will be moving in the beginning of sept.
and the BEST part for us is that their new home is just ONE mile from our house!!! ;)

God wants to give you gifts.
He loves to bring us joy!
Thank You, God!!!


Counting #230-239

I don't know how or why this is all happening to me. I just feel so overwhelmingly blessed and honored and loved. I know that it is Your will to give to Your own. That You want to bless us full up. But I look around at people not getting, and not being filled, and finding their joy in the cracks because it's the only place they have left to look. And here I am. With SO much, so undeserving... yet overflowing.

Thank You God

* for opening my eyes to the torn veil, inviting me in, and lavishing me with your unending Love

* for giving me the greatest husband

* for giving us the boy we couldn't have

* for this house You chose

* for my Dad back

* for my Mom happy and my Brother near

* for Gwinivere

* for healings of health and heart and wholeness

* for E and R and that You are bringing them 
right here

* for hearing me, teaching me, being patient with me, and forgiving me over and over

how and why i would ever deserve a glance much less such showerings of love and blessings.

thank You God. 
thank You thank You thank You
* an unusually clean house on a monday morning

* no more summer school

* my healed tailbone/lower back

* cooler weather

* a good evening skype with a long time best friend - and 
she talked

* picking up our youth saddle today

* a freshly mowed lawn - actually having a lawn

* just two loads of laundry for laundry day

* mama's night

* MARIAH is going to be Jennifer's replacement on Idol, because Jesus loves me, this I know!

Counting #210-219

* digging and moving earth

* cutting down trees

* a deck full of plants and flowers

* pressure washing

*having all that we need

* kitty, ipad audio books, legos, and Zeek - hours on the screen porch

* saturday night races with my family

* cooler weather

* finally sitting still, fearless of bees

* a summer of board games and cards

Counting # 210-219

* the cool morning

* a cow moos 

* a jungle wood of birds wake and sounds out

* a doe I've watched grow grazes near the fire pit bellow me

* a dozen wild turkey shuffle their way through old dried leaves crossing the doe's path

* they do not startle at one another

* God gives me eyes and ears

* i have all the time in the world - i have been so blessed this way. for years i have known it

* my partner makes all of this for me and our son

* my work is my love letter to my God and my family

Counting # 200-209

* the screen room newly delegated to the cat

* boy trying to sleep with the cat in her new room

* walkie talkie talking and loving 

* 90% off and a good start to the new plans for the yard

* another day off for Greg

* swimming breaks from hot weather working

* things not needing to look "nice" but being just what we need

* new stages and how things can change in ways you never thought of before

* Zeek's continued responsibility and promise keeping

* books in from Amazon
* having a child

* a hot summer

* Greg taking days off

* my beautiful girl, Gwin

* being able to help

* AC and hoodies (preferably not at the same time)

* hanging the cute new screen door in the dark and laughing with Greg

* Zeek making commitments to God

* that he trusts me so much

* summer shopping for little with all the riches holding my hand (zeek)


Counting #180-189

* ann voscamp and her way of stirring my heart and spirit

* rainbow bouquet

* food everywhere

* choice

* rains

* Narnia

* A.W. Tozer

* our week with Nina (being with Beanie everyday)

* Fine Arts

* God's Faithfulness.

Counting #170-179

* Silent and beautiful mornings

* Nibby, going to grandma's after school for swimming, biking and sleeping over with cousin

* Julie, training Zeek and being so wonderful about it

* Jaymee Glynn, sweet-like-her-mama, and how he lights up when they are together

* A long awaited double date night with Robert and Erika

* and everything. everything...

* Patient waiting God

* Linda, Zeek's riding instructor (who I would pay the fee just to be with once a week)

* Jessica and Alexis, and oh how they've grown this year

* healing well from my horse accident and able to do things again

Counting #160-169

* hoodies in 80 degree temps

* Zeek begging to read the Bible tonight

* a mysterious text that turned out to hopefully be a start, again

* the perfect unplanned day at home with Greg

* taking in my Mom's wisdom and experience to apply it to my own circumstances

* keeping a dream home together

* playing Payday on the deck

* an unexpected invite to a retreat with a new friend

* fond memories of our last cabin retreat with Nina and family, two summers ago

* only three loads of laundry for a whole week

* a pug with pink toenails snoring at my right


* internet where I can e-mail with my Dad in Georgia, chat with my brother in Appleton, and see photos of my FES back at home with her family and friends in Paraguay all in the same 20 minutes...

* one episode of The Adventures of Black Beauty, with my son and husband, every night before Zeek goes to bed

* summer school

* our road being made new this week

* getting back to the way things used to and always should be, with best friend families' sleeping over for holidays

* pintest, making the planning so much easier

* beach days with friends

* the chance to run with "the runners'

Counting #130-149

* just when I have contentedly ended the search for the Dad I grew up with and come to love the man he is now, he becomes a Dad again... watching him unfurl back into pieces of the man I once knew has been good

* sporadic and well placed rains

* a date on the books with a very special girl in my life

* being in love with a man who is growing into himself at the abandon of bars and chains

* an unexpected message of sweetly expressed love and gratitude

* the fervent way that God protects

* Britta for Drew and another strong, sound, stable, woman for the team!

* the way that honor and integrity are of God and serve well

* how her love for me brought pause to all that is passing her by and I could hear her heart on the other end of the line

* these days: the freedom from fear, the sleep filled nights, the health and forward motion, the closing in on the gaps that have filled space between us, the potential for broken-heart healing to breathe life into dreams I've seen behind hidden glances...
let's do this

Counting #120-129

* a wonderful weekend with my husband and son

* artichoke

* three new goldfish for a dining table centerpiece

* healthy Jeff - home today - safe and sound

* Zeek's new running

* just one week left

* summer school - socialization - teacher/class orientating - mama free time

* lemons

* God's plan aligning for a long foretold change promised

* schoolwork on the refrigerator that I didn't assign

counting #110-119

* summer weather

* six and a half year old play talk

* time

* a pool with a filter and a cover... but still nice and small

* no neighbor dog scares for over a week

* my family's health

* summer school socialization

* knowing and being able to love by helping this time

* quick and fresh lemon aid icees at home

* getting stronger everyday

Counting #100-109

* 3 miles with Pug, Greg & Zeek

* a perfect weather day

* my sweet girl and learning to follow my instinct

* the way it feels when my little one climbs all over me

* night time confessions

* stomping out the darkness together

* "do you think maybe God wants you to homeschool me because you know something that I need to know that they wouldn't have taught me in school"

* Pam

* one more day

* iphones (there, i said it)

Counting #90-99

* and extra hour of snuggles and warm sleeping in with my baby boy

* Sari being out of school for the rest of her visit

* a fun outing with a good neighbor and friends

* my big boy going on big boy rides at Bay Beach for the first time!

* a Jeep to warm up in

* another week of Steven for Zeek

* summer school in two weeks

* date night with Nina tonight

* our family Pet Walk event tomorrow morning

* movies and naps with my snuggled

Counting # 81-90
* watching my only child make his way through his Faith journey
* hearing him ask if I think he's really on God's team even with all the wrong choices he's made at six years old

* knowing that his concern and tireless seeking makes God even more proud of him than I am

* a morning of snuggles and dancing to worship songs post repentance and freedom of Grace and Forgiveness

* sunlight shinning through the green leaves overhead

* peace in this place

* squirrels NOT in my ceiling

* an early morning call from my horsey Auntie almost every weekday

* aligning a childhood dream memory with a grown up dream reality

* my incredible husband who goes farther and does better then anyone I've ever known

Counting #71-80

Tonight, I am so grateful. 

* for shoes piled high at the door

* bikes and vehicles lined up in the driveway

* unexpected guests that made things just right

* good long-time friends sleeping in all the beds of the house (and then some)

* ladies on the screen porch

* beautiful weather

* pre-made food for miles

* a soft snuggly warm baby boy waiting asleep for me in my bed

* my husband and his best friends still outside by the fire after five hours

* Yuki, Apple, and Gwin... and how we were blessed with such "perfect" pets


counting #61-70

* rice

* Psalm 91

* water tumblers

* crockpots

* my boy

* bird voices

* 2nd grade planning

* morning rides

* dark wood floors

* Greg moving because God told him to


counting #51-60

* being a Mom

* good morning Mothers' Day cards

* warm summer-feeling days

* sequence on the deck with Sari

* Gwin - whenever, wherever, however

eat sleep ride

* looking back (already) at our journey so far

* evening walks

* more than enough

* the guy who "helped" me become a Mom - for which he is taking high credit today ;)

counting #31-40

* my life

* hours of a quiet morning sunrise through my dining room windows, while my house sleeps sound

* graciously answered prayers - even though I don't deserve it

* patience that is not mine

* distinct seasons past and awaiting seasons to come

* old wood brought inside

* Gwin, and dreams, and that song that wouldn't go away and is now making so much sense

* the freedom to be me and the right to make that all about Him

* having Nina back - like this

* my marriage

counting #21-30

* an early afternoon laying with books in a grassy pasture, reading under the blue sky and warm sun, watching our girl graze with her friends just yards over our toes

* peanut butter and jelly with icy rice milk

* pajamas

* a new book that has changed so many girls and will help guide and change her, too

* parts of daily life picked up along the way that shine light and connect us all throughout the day -prayer reminders?

* works and projects waiting for us: bird and squirrel feeders, wood working, stitching, heart cards, grass in boxes, a long dreamed of entryway, wooden barn doors, art pieces...

* photos and writings of the past that sink in deep, showing me how happy and joy filled every season has been -reminding me, one day I will only be able to look back at today

* amazing, changing views at every turn of the head, every turn of the day

* the noted and counted benefits of an only child - taking him to bed with us last night - "the early worm catches the fish" - the time and freedom to give all of me - a little sidekick 

* Greg, who sacrifices the most to make this all happen for us

counting #11-20

* homeschooling pleasures

* that white dog and her big giant pink heart that takes my breath away

* a brother's monthly letters proclaiming God's graces and gifts in his and his family's life

* the new cleaning calendar

* summer peeking through on days like this

* the excitement and planning of Friday's "date day" with my little one

* my FES realizing that she is going home in seven weeks and she should really enjoy in the time she has left.

* what karate does to and for me

* reading Mark Rashid, and learning what the alpha horse really is to a heard

                                    -knowing that I never want to be "the alpha horse", 

* my incredible life partner

counting #1-10

* the smell of my horse on my hands between the barn and the sink at home

* a contented happy boy after hard unhappy trials of wrestling with his flesh over Spirit matters

* that he wrestled with his flesh over spirit matters - like a champ Child of God

* google translator that allowed Sarita's Mom and I to really talk tonight

* being indifferent and still joy filled with a mess here and there... and over there too

* hot showers

* Mark Rashid

* finding just what I was waiting for and only paying a fraction of the usual cost for all of it

* a home fellowship group that i love

* real, reliable, honest, good friends who look out, watch for, and deeply truly love me

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