It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Finishing Grateful


Finishing 2012 with nothing but gratitude . . . as it should be.


Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1948-2100 (November 11th through December 31st)

11. 3 gifts of remembrance
Founding Fathers
Generations of soldiers who have fought to keep us free
12. 3 gifts at noon
Hero Husband home for lunch
She So Sweet getting up for breakfast
Drummer Boy off to work
13. 3 gifts behind a door
Sleeping kids
A full pantry
Freshly cleaned refrigerators
14. 3 gifts silent
The wee hours of the morning
Things growing
15. 3 gifts golden
The slanting rays of light in autumn
Autumn leaves at the height of their falling glory
The paper my business license is printed on
16. 3 gifts hard eucharisteo
Feeling completely overwhelmed and having no choice but to rely on God
Pest control people who interrupt my day, but do get rid of wolf spiders
A very confusing teacher
17. 3 gifts of laughter
Silly videos we show each other on YouTube
The fun of family jokes
Old favorite sitcoms
18. A gift made, shared, passed on
Homemade Thanksgiving decorations
Knowledge on my learning team at school
Little tips and tricks in the kitchen I get to pass on to She So Sweet
19. 3 gifts autumn
Cooler weather
20. 3 gifts of traditions
Baking my family's rolls to share with my family-in-love
Gathering together for Thanksgiving over good food, football, and gratitude
Our Wednesday family meet-up at Daphne's/Peet's
21. 3 gifts family
Hero Husband's family who will all be at my house for Thanksgiving this year!
For my Momma & Daddy's prayers that keep me together when I'm feeling overwhelmed
For my amazing husband and children who don't like to see me stressed out and who made everything a team effort!
22. 3 gifts grateful
Grateful for all the help from Hero Husband and She So Sweet for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal
Grateful for a house full to the brim with people, the noise they make, and the love they bring
Grateful for  the satisfaction of an event that went off without a hitch
23. 3 gifts only in Christ
God with us
Unchangeable character
24. 3 gifts humble
Me when I look in mirrors, both literal mirrors, and the mirror of Scripture
Mismatched dishes
Most of all, Jesus
25. 3 gifts ugly-beautiful
The messy aftermath of Thanksgiving Day
Turkey bones saved for soup
Mulberry trees shorn of last year's new branches
26. 3 gifts preparing
So many papers for this class (hard eucharisteo!)
Trying to start thinking about Christmas
Did I mention SO MANY PAPERS for this class?!
27. A gift handmade, held, happy
The cookies She So Sweet made for the firefighters at the Fire Station down the street
A steaming cup of coffee (Peet's of course!)
My kids, coming home from a film collaboration
28. 3 gifts in community
New friends ⇐ Hooray for my 1000th gift counted in this delightful Joy Dare of 2012!!
The joy of encouraging our friend who is an amazing artist--
Our Peet's friends at our favorite Peet's store--both baristas and other regulars and faithful Peet's afficionados
29. 3 gifts red
My car (maroon is red, right?)
My iPhone
Rosy red apples
30. 3 gifts astonishing!
The night sky
The bonds of family
1. 3 gifts white
Foam (just a little) on top of my Peet's Gingerbread Latte
The snow I only get to hear about from friends in colder places--thank goodness for Facebook's window on their views
Paper and all the words it can hold
2. 3 gifts bright
Christmas lights showing up all over town
The future, despite all the unpredictable things human beings can do to muck it up
Bethlehem's star that still shines into our dark nights
3. 3 gifts shining
Moments of triumph
Moments of reunion
Moments of authentic worship
4. A gift circling, crowning, crafted
Driving in circles waiting to pick up Drummer Boy from work--he has a job, which is such a good gift for him!
The crowning achievement of a semester coming to a close for Drummer Boy and She So Sweet – good job, you two!!
The wooden masterpieces, made for me by my little brother, that beautify my house
5. 3 gifts silver
"Silver Bells"
Jingling coins
Favorite earrings I too often forget to put on
6. 3 gifts sweet
Hero Husband who is so thoughtful and works so hard to provide us this magical life we share
Mochas – Peet's, Starbucks, Homemade . . . why yes, I do thank God for them ALL the TIME! You should try my Spicy-Hot Orange Cinnamon Dark Chocolate one I make at home!
She SO Sweet =) – She IS!! She really IS!!
7. 3 gifts from your Savior
Peace with God
Life evermore
Abundant life that begins here on Earth
8. A gift hung, held, heard
The Jewel Tree Grandma & Grandpa made for us
New Christmas music
9. 3 gifts ugly beautiful
The mess in the living room from the decorating process, begun, but nowhere near finished – need to find two more boxes in the shed!
Our old yard swing with the tattered sun shade that the birds are dismantling to line their nests
All the ways I am terribly behind – beautiful only because it means I am giving my best effort to doing well in school
10. 3 gifts unframed art
The amazing faces She So Sweet draws
Drummer Boy's beautiful mountain landscape he painted
The two of them, living, breathing pieces of God's artful handiwork
11. 3 gifts ice cold
The snow falling at my Mommy's house where it is her birthday!!! It is her birthday here too, but you know what I mean! J Wish we could be there!!
Food in our freezers despite the recent all-day-long power outage
Occasional bits of frost that only tease this winter-loving girl
12. 3 gifts berry red
My dream car I get to drive every day--well, unless She So Sweet is with me anyway--she loves to drive it too
The flowers in my new hanging pot outside the front door
A favorite sweater it's finally cool enough to wear
13. 3 gifts striped
Candy canes
She So Sweet--she loves to wear stripes!
The many roads we travel that take us where we need to go
14. 3 gifts stamped
Christmas cards from all over
Snowy postcard from a Peet's friend visiting Europe
Gracious gifts from family far-away
15. A gift gold, scented, bent low
Favorite ornaments
Fragrant candles that fill the house with Christmas scents
Figures in our nativity scene that show me how
16. 3 gifts Bethlehem-unlikely
The virgin heavy with child
Angels filling shepherds' ears with song and good news
King of the universe born in a stable
17. 3 gifts frosted
Every blade of grass on these rare frosty mornings
Facebook pictures from Canadian friends
Holiday sweets
18. 3 gifts miraculous
Every breath
"Momentary coruscations!" (C.  S. Lewis)
The love that swirls through our family
19. 3 gifts manger-small
Candy canes
Christmas ornaments
Flickering candles
20. 3 gifts angelic song
O Holy Night and Joy! Joy! by David Phelps
Immanuel by The Imperials
Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
21. 3 gifts lit
Christmas lights all over town
Our Christmas tree, finally
Miniature church on our mantlepiece
22. A gift with rejoicing, wonder, praising
Car trips filled with music and singing at the top of my lungs
Phone calls home
Sunday morning church service surrounded by praising voices
23. 3 gifts starry
The blue-light "stars" above my nativity scene
Clear night skies after rain
Children's eyes 
24. 3 gifts humble
Mary, who said yes.
Joseph, who said I will.
Jesus, who said I'll go!
25. 3 gifts in Luke 2
The "glory of the Lord."
"Do not be afraid."
". . . good news . . . great joy . . ."
26. 3 gifts in Christ
27. A gift found, shared, saved
Photography--shared with Drummer Boy and now She So Sweet!
28. 3 gifts lingering
Halo around the moon
Drummer Boy and I out taking pictures of the halo around the moon at 1:30 AM
Sleeping in the next morning
29. 3 gifts of hope
New Year just around the corner
The excitement of a new class begun--intense though it may be!
Knowing that God is our provider, no matter what the politicians do or don't do!
30. 3 gifts remembered
Playing BINGO with Hero Husband and She So Sweet
Watching a silly movie with them and sharing in the silliness
The fun of finally getting to watch some football with my Sweetheart today!!
31. 3 gifts anticipated
Soon-coming overnight trip to Yosemite!!
The next family gathering that is in the works!!
A better, stronger, more-disciplined me in 2013!!!

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