The really spectacular day…

IMG_20170527_180617889It doesn’t take much to make us happy. Well, some days it does, but it’s usually stuff like spending time together and having both of us healthy at the same time and holding hands and having our cat, Smokey, oversee our every move. (As you can see from the photo, he thinks this is HIS blog today.) We have had just such a day.

We had planned a whole long weekend at home trying to kick the yuck of the previous weeks out of our lives and I had all the food choices figured out and ready for the grill, a slew of old movies and maybe a board game or two lined up along with the knowledge that we had a whole extra day to add to the mix on Monday. I woke up first and quietly made my way into the living room to break my way gently into the day. It wasn’t long before my husband joined me with a mischievous grin on his face. I could tell he felt better just by the way he was grinning. (MAJOR praise!)

“You know what I want to do today?” he asked.

“You want to go out for breakfast.”

He shook his head from side to side and began to spill out his plan for the day. Just the idea that he felt up to it made me want to join in the fun, so we made quick work of our morning chores and off we went. It took us off our beaten path and it was worth every single second.

When we arrived at our destination we giggled like school children. We held hands as we crossed the parking lot and shared one last (really big) grin as opened up the heavy doors and stepped inside…and then we parted ways. You would have thought it was Disney, but we had just entered the hallowed space that is the Barnes and Noble.

Let me pause here and let you exhale that great big breath you’ve been holding, ok? I know. That probably wasn’t even close to what you were expecting, but believe you me–it was a big deal to us. Even better? We made a pact to split up and go whichever direction we wanted and stay as LONG as we wanted…just because we could! Outside of a public library or a botanical garden, there’s just about no other place I’d rather spend some time than a room full of words all put in different orders and ready to share something new and pertinent with you if you just pick up the ones written in the right order to appeal to you.

We had traveled over an hour just to get to this one. Oh, there’s one about 20 minutes closer, but THIS one has a P.F. Chang nearby…and that cast the deciding vote on the matter. When our adventure–and yes, it qualified because we braved Atlanta traffic and survived all sorts of perilous drivers on the road there and back! In fact, I am actually the only one who made all the right moves on the entire trip there and back, y’all! It is harrowing to know that that many people who can’t drive actually do so!…ANY WAY!… When our adventure was complete, we each had a bag full of books and magazines with hours and hours of fun, entertainment, learning, and mind adventures just waiting to be started. We made another stop on the way home to get some minor fixes made to a recent purchase and then, to top it off we made a stop by the Sonic on the way home and purchased TWO Route-44 Fresh strawberry slushes…and if that doesn’t sound delicious to you, then we’re not sure you’ve really lived. (grin)

We heated the PFC left-overs from lunch while we got in our comfortable clothes. Actually, that last sentence should be more accurately translated into, “We then got into our pajamas at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and settled in for the long duration!” Now that we’ve made sure Smokey has properly settled in for appropriate oversight and the delights of Crispy Honey Chicken with brown rice and the egg rolls have been consumed, it is here that we find ourselves…hoping and praying that one day you’ll manage to have such a splendid outing with someone you love this much and that you won’t let things like being over an hour away and not being on the schedule or feeling silly that if you’re going to go to all that trouble it better be something more spectacular than a bookstore and some really upscale Chinese food. (Fried green beans, y’all. Fried green beans. It would have been worth the trip just for the appetizer!)

The moral of this story is this: don’t wait to have a spectacular day until you can pay big bucks and do something stunningly grand to impress people. The little things actually make the bigger impact when you consistently fill your life with loving people, delicious food, and good words all written out in a way that makes you smile…and maybe even ones that will inspire you to get out and do something that wasn’t on your agenda at the beginning of your day, either.

Grace and Peace, y’all! I’ve got a stack of books to dig into right now! (happy dance, happy dance!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting Game

According to WordPress, I started this blog entry 10 months ago. As you can see, the title is most appropriate. The next full paragraph is as far as I got with it before, so I’m starting again. There’s lots to say. We’ll see where it goes…

“I’ve been waiting to write this one for a lot of reasons. I wanted some distance from our beyond-my-wildest-dreams participation in observing our first ever No Complain November. I wanted to get through the holidays and I wanted to see what God was going to do. I’ve managed to do the first two things just fine. I’m still waiting on God…”

Just yesterday, my husband and I were talking in the kitchen about how time has just flown by this year. (I know. It is the conversation of all of us who are past the age of college…and then some. grin) As I looked at the calendar, I said, “Can you believe it’s been almost a year since your last day with ___ (former employer)___? It’s almost time for NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER again, and that means in 3 days it will be the anniversary of when you lost your job! That just doesn’t seem right, does it?!”

He shook his head and then said with a small grin, “Ummm…maybe we need to skip NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER this year…?”

“Absolutely NOT!”, I replied.

“Well, ok then, but…get ready!”  And then we chuckled…with the full awareness of all that really meant for us this past year.

Yes, you read that right. My husband suddenly lost his job on Day 2 of our first NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER last year. It was completely unexpected, totally blindsided us, and was one of those life events that just take your breath away for awhile. It just didn’t make sense…at first. But God. Oh, how I love those two words!

BUT GOD…

  • was still entirely in control.
  • had a plan that was not only for our good, but also for many others, as well.
  • descended with His unexplainable, but oh-so-needed peace and rest.
  • gave provision–on every front!–throughout the whole process.
  • gave us time to catch our collective breath and then relax in Him…for the next SEVEN months.
  • gave us a marvelously unplanned, but welcomed and much-enjoyed time together to laugh and reconnect in ways that just aren’t possible when your schedules are so tight that you rarely see each other or are too tired to do much when you do.
  • gave my husband time to recover spiritually, emotionally, and physically from the incredible stress he had been under before starting the next challenge.
  • surrounded us with encouragement from our friends and family every step of the way.
  • gave us a new appreciation for our time together and allowed us to be reminded of just how much we actually LIKE each other in addition to the great love between us.
  • gave us a heart for those whose lives have been like that for much longer than ours.
  • at the appointed time, provided a new opportunity for him that allows him to function within his area of expertise, meets his need to learn new things, and allows him to function within his spiritual gift of teaching–and all with people who are ready to learn, ready to work together, and supportive for the whole team.
  • used this as an opportunity to both grow and show our faith to those who were watching.
  • gave us an opportunity to extend NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER into the rest of our year!

What looked like a disaster on that second day, has turned into one of our greatest blessings! Only God can do something like that! The waiting was absolutely worth it!–and so was the choice for us not to complain about it!

Throughout this past year we, along with our friends and families have faced many challenges–job loss, death, large-scale moves across country, health concerns, surgeries and hospital stays for loved ones. These things and many other life-events (large and small!)  have provided us the choice about whether or not to complain…or simply  plough forward and praise God anyway. I’m thankful to say that, most of the time, we’ve chosen the latter response…and so have our loved ones. In fact, this may have just been the most God-honoring year that I’ve ever lived through and I owe a lot of that to the deliberate choice to focus on the many reasons I have to be grateful instead of complaining about the circumstances I wish were different.

And so it is, with the knowledge that we have made it through this year with all of the hurdles we’ve cleared and those we know are yet to come, that I invite you to join us once again as we deliberately choose to celebrate–yes, CELEBRATE!–NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2016.

Feel free to comment below if you want to “join in officially” or simply remain silent, but please know that you and your stories of how God uses this in your life are always welcomed here.

Tomorrow is our official kick-off day for NCC 2016, so…get it all out of your system today…or, better yet, start practicing for the the rest of the challenge! (big grin, REALLY big grin!)

Grace & Peace! (and no complaints!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

God and His “new things”

cropped-heart“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

I did something different this morning. I made a big breakfast and sent my husband off to work. Y’all, that is cause for serious celebration around here! (grin) It may not sound like a reason to party for most of you, but I haven’t done that in 192 days. For those of you who are counting, that’s over 6 months–over half a year!! For those of you who are really counting, that says that on Day 2 of our NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER, my husband lost his job…and that God can have a really odd sense of humor when He decides to see if you’re serious about such a thing.

It was a shock to us. Nothing could have prepared us for the sudden and drastic change in circumstances. A business decision–nothing personal, but with no warning–suddenly severed a situation that we had come to count on for over 16 years. I guess God had decided to remind us that all we can really depend on in this world is HIM…and He’s taken His time and done that in spades.

As we’ve walked through the past few months we’ve discovered (or maybe RE-discovered!) some things about our God and about ourselves. I’ve been quiet here about them as they were happening because some things are just holy in the moment and I didn’t feel like they were really mine to share yet. Some of those things are still so intensely personal that I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to tell them (and certainly not without tears!), but here are just a few of the highlights:

  • God loves us far more than we can ever imagine. Sometimes He loves us enough to send us through things we’d rather not go through in order to show us that His love is constant, without reservation, and that He has no limits to the lengths He will go to prove that–as if the cross hadn’t already proven it!
  • God is indeed Jehovah Jireh—my Provider–and YOURS! He is MORE than ENOUGH no matter what circumstances He chooses for us because He orchestrates every single day so that we can see Him in action if we will but open our eyes.
  • He is charge and He knows EXACTLY what we need…even (especially?!) when it seems like a hard thing and doesn’t make a lot of sense to us on the surface. He is more than able to meet every single need we will ever face and we can never predict how our answers will come because our God is without limits and unfathomable in His ability to surprise and delight us with when we seek HIS answers, HIS timing, and HIS glory.
  • God’s people are AMAZING!! In our initial shock and throughout our “I don’t even know what to call it because it was hard and such a blessing all at the same time–thing!!” people we didn’t even know very well went to their knees on our behalf and showered us with encouragement, while those who know us best were unbelievable in their support for us.
  • We are still a great team. We’ve always known it (HA!), but it’s still nice to see our marriage work the way it is supposed to and we are grateful for the opportunity to spend over half a year together—even as unexpected as that opportunity was for us! We made the most of it and actually had a lot of fun in the process.
  • After over 23 years of marriage, we still LIKE each other and we know how to laugh together!
  • We were, are, and will always be “the most blessed people we know” because we CHOOSE to be. Circumstances cannot affect that. We belong to God and He is the Source of all blessing, so there’s that.

There will be more to share, but for today, did you read that verse at the top? Everybody likes “a new thing.” It’s really great to be in on the new thing, but sometimes we forget that one of the most exciting things can be to actually see God make a way in wilderness and rivers in the desert…and to see those things happen, you have BE in the wilderness and in the desert. If that’s where you are today, please don’t give in to discouragement. PLEASE be open to the new thing God has planned for you and know that I can and WILL pray with you for eyes to see the new things getting ready to spring up in the midst of your hard thing.

And now, there’s just one more thing to say: “GO, GOD!!!”

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 3

“You ok?

“Yes.”

“You’re not saying anything. Are you sure you’re ok?” My husband was doing what he always does: he was taking care of me and trying to make sure–no matter what else happens–that I’m alright.

“Yes,” I replied. “I’m just sitting here repeating this verse over and over right now.”

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

I told you. Yesterday was a really rough day for the two of us. Sometimes you just need to be quiet and lean in on the things you know soul deep…and on the One you trust completely.

No matter what we’ve faced together, my husband and I have always known that God was in control and that we could trust Him with anything. Some people don’t have that and, quite honestly, I’m not sure how they survive on regular Mondays, much less the difficult ones.

1029141355And now, suddenly, I had another example for the lesson I would be teaching for my Tuesday morning Ladies’ Bible Study. Yipp-ee. “That wasn’t really what I had been going for, God. What are You up to? How can we glorify You in this, God? I know. I just wrote that prayer that said, ‘Whatever You choose, I’m in.’ And I meant that. You know I meant that, God,…but this didn’t even occur to me. Help me honor You in this. Help US to honor You even as we honor each other in this difficult thing.”

My prayer was honest and it wasn’t said with anger or even frustration–it was said out of a heart of genuine shock and a “what’s next, God?” mentality. I really want to know. I mean, I REALLY want to know what He’s up to and what His plan is and why this was necessary. He’s got me curious, I tell you. I’ve got experience, you see, that He always works things out for my good. I know He’s faithful and I know He’s got a plan, but, right now, we’re still in the dark about it. We’re waiting. That isn’t always easy. Who am I kidding?! It’s NEVER easy for me! I’m way too much of a control freak. Talk about a plan? I can make you one of those in a heartbeat. For this, however? Well, we didn’t even see it coming…so I (we!) didn’t have a plan for it. This one is all on HIM.

I was talking with one of my best friends today on the way home from Bible Study and she said, “I’ve got to tell you, when I read your text yesterday, I thought, “Oh, MY! And she’s just started this NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER thing!” We both laughed and it was a great tension reliever for me. This is someone who knows me well. I know she chuckled about it, but I also know she prayed–and then prayed some more!

The great thing, however, is that I got to share with her that I haven’t been the least bit tempted to complain about our situation. I’m too busy praying and asking for help from the only One Who can fix it–and Who can fix US in it! We’re doing as well as we can be physically, and we’re loving on each other, and praying up a storm over here. It’s what we do–whether we’re in a tight spot or not. We’re just loving and praying, loving and praying, while we do what we can with the mundane things that are still left to do whether you’re in a tight spot or not.

I’m just putting that out there in case you’re still having a tough week, too. Or just in case, you’re dealing with something that is really hard–whether it started yesterday or not. Find you someone close by to love on and pray with and let the temptation to complain about it just wash away. Complaining won’t fix most things that are really wrong and it just ties up energy that’s better spent elsewhere.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow! Maybe we’ll have something great to celebrate! It could happen!

Grace & Peace!

Changed?

I waited until later to publish this one…on purpose. I knew, you see, that yesterday’s news would be today’s as well. I also knew that so much would be said yesterday (and probably for a good while to come!) that my words might get lost in the clamor. I’m OK with that. What I’ve got to say won’t change a lot of people’s minds, but maybe–just maybe–it might help someone else out there calm down and focus on something other than the hoopla in the news. Everywhere I’ve turned today, there have been rainbows and recriminations. Even as I type, there’s a rainbow at the top of my screen…and it wasn’t there yesterday. I suspect it will still be there tomorrow. Some things are going to be different now. Some things won’t change at all. I plan to be one of those “things” that don’t change. As far as I can tell, my mission is still the same one that its always been. God said I was supposed to love people like He loves people. He didn’t say that I’d always understand them, approve of their actions, agree with them, or even always like them. He just said I was supposed to love them. So, in case you were wondering, the answer to the unspoken question is a resounding “No.” I am not upset by the conclusions reached and published by five people whose job it is to interpret the laws instead of making them. I wasn’t wondering what they thought yesterday, so their opinions don’t hold that much appeal for me or change my thought process today. I don’t agree with those five people, but I am still called to love them and I plan to do so. And what about those people who are so excited and happy about this ruling? Well, the answer to that question is a “yes.” I have friends and family who see today’s news as a victory. I haven’t changed my mind about them, either. So, yes, I loved them before I heard the news and I see no reason to change that now, either. How can that be? Well, I’m realistic enough to know that I don’t have to believe someone is right before I choose to love them. Realistic? Yes. That word is appropriate because I don’t know of a single person on the planet that I’ve agreed with 100% of the time. In fact, if I was waiting until I found someone I agreed with on every single thing, then I wouldn’t even be able to love myself! (To understand that last sentence you need only remember the last time you said you were “on a diet”, but decided to have that big ole brownie anyway.) Loving someone like Jesus loves them means I am called to love regardless of their choices or opinions…and it means I will still be speaking His truth to them every time they’ll let me. You see, I’m a firm believer in telling the truth. I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, therefore I am called to tell the truth. What concerns me, however, is the number of people who aren’t speaking His truth in love…and we are called to do that, as well. It matters, people. It matters a lot, so I don’t plan to do that differently, either. The main thing you need to know about me is that I won’t be different today and I won’t be different the day after or the day after that…because I’ve already been changed. I’ve already made the decision that God knows best and that Jesus came to make a way so I could spend eternity with Him and I already know that He wants me to tell others how they can be changed, too, so here it is: God loves YOU! He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and He’s not waiting on you to get cleaned up or change on your own before you get to know Him. He loves you just like you are today AND He loves you enough to know what needs to change about you…whether it’s something that you’ve made public or not. He’s not worried that the task will be too difficult for Him. He’s also not concerned about whether His Word (the Bible) will suddenly become popular with the people on the Supreme Court or with the ones on the Main Streets all across the world or even with those who might sit in pews with all kinds of sin in their hearts this weekend. The Unchangeable One came to change us into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29)…no matter where we live or where we stand on this issue or any other. He came to make us righteous and when we become righteous because of His sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21), that’s when we’ll be able to love like He loves…and that will be what changes the world.

The Talk

Author’s note: Last evening I was given the privilege of being one of four speakers at the Ladies’ Night Out Advent dinner at our new church. (Well, we’ve been here for several months now, so maybe it isn’t really new anymore.) Anyway! We each had a topic assigned to us that fit in with the Advent theme. I was given the topic of Hope. Because the majority of my friends and family live elsewhere and were unable to attend, I was asked to share here what I shared last night. Those who have walked this journey with us and prayed so diligently for us will recognize that this is very much the pared-down, bare-bones version of our story…but seriously, I only had about 10 minutes, so I tried to fit in as much of it as I could. God is SO good, so very faithful, and regardless of whether or not those of you who will hear/read this for the first time understand this, I am STILL the most blessed person I know–mainly because I’ve been blessed to know my God in such personal ways. I don’t wish our story on anyone else, but I certainly would wish what we’ve learned about our God and His faithfulness for each of you. I hope that this will encourage you to seek to know Him more intimately and that it will spark an Advent-attitude that will stay with you throughout the coming of the season and celebration of the Coming of the Christ.

SONY DSCHOPE

My topic is Hope. I’m telling you that up front because some of what I will share later doesn’t sound very hopeful at times.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord and He was high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple…” That’s the start of the 6th chapter of Isaiah. While those first 7 words sound pretty mild when you just read through them, Isaiah’s words had a far different story to tell.  It was a time of loss, shock, and grief; a time of unknown outcomes, a time of chaos and changed plans. Things had been going so well for God’s people…and then disaster struck.

It is safe to assume that almost everyone in this room has had at least one such experience. For us—my husband Mike and I—it started in October of 1997. It had already been a big year for us. I had changed jobs, we had moved and he had required surgery. We got that out of the way and proceeded with our plans.

You see, I’m a planner. I’m generally well-organized and I tend to think ahead. Up to that point in my life, things had pretty much gone according to the schedule I’d set for myself when I was just about 12 or 13. My plan was “simple”:  High school, college, grad school, leave MS and find a job in Atlanta, find the man I would love forever, get married, settle down and make sure the careers were established so that by the time we’d be married for 5 years, we would have a stable home and be ready to have children. Easy, right?! So far, so good.  Everything was on schedule…until we were about 5 months away from our 5th anniversary.

Too many details to go into led up to a quick and slightly panicked Thursday night trip to our local ER with the possibility of heart symptoms where they declared Mike’s heart to be “functioning just fine…but there’s something near it on the x-rays that we need you to get checked out.” Four days later, he was told that it was almost 90% certain that he had cancer…and our normal suddenly vanished.

They weren’t wrong. It was cancer, wrapped around his heart and extremely aggressive.  According to x-rays , it had more than doubled within the past 5 months…and it had been missed on the x-rays prior to his earlier surgery. Because of the location of the tumor, he was told that with treatment, his chances for survival were less than 30%; without treatment—less than 15%.

We did everything right that was within our power. We had great Drs. We had the elders of our church anoint him with oil and pray. He was on prayer lists literally around the world and so we began the adventure God had chosen for us instead of the plans we had made. There were many extremely difficult days. It was during this time that I managed to have the absolute worst day of my entire life.

At the end of what had been an ugly-long and beyond-challenging day, I stood in my living room and I felt that on that day, I had not managed to do a single thing to make a positive difference on any front. I was so tired I hurt. I wasn’t a good wife. I wasn’t a good employee. I couldn’t fix my husband and I couldn’t make anyone (including me!) do what they were supposed to do with the great attitude that I just knew that God expected us to have. Looking back on it now, I realize that I was exhausted because I had taken on God’s job to “fix things”. I was trying to make things as perfect as I could for everyone else in my life so that they wouldn’t be inconvenienced by what was happening to my plans…and quite frankly, for perhaps the first time in my life, my best just wasn’t going to be good enough.

As I stood there with tears rolling down my face in utter defeat, I remembered a verse I’d read long ago. I was so tired that I couldn’t begin to think about where the verse could be found, but deep within my soul, I heard it out loud…just a thread (maybe from the Psalms?) that reminded me that God inhabits the praises of His people. I needed Him more than I ever had before, but I couldn’t begin to think where to start on a praise list, so I just stood there and sang. I started with a song we’d learned at our previous church home: “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord!”

In the beginning, my version wasn’t very loud and it wasn’t joyous and it wasn’t even very pretty, but all of a sudden I understood that song in a brand new way. Sometimes praising God IS a sacrifice. Sometimes praising Him doesn’t feel natural. Sometimes it isn’t even fun, but when you do what God says even when it doesn’t make any sense, He still honors the obedience. Standing there, I made the deliberate choice to praise Him even though…no matter what…because I needed Him and I needed Him to show up. And you know what?  He did. He showed up and gave me comfort.  He gave me strength. He reminded me that I was His and that I was not alone. He reminded me that HE was in charge and that He had a plan…and it was for my good whether it looked or felt like it right then or not. In short, He gave me hope.

Over the next year, we became the poster children for hope to people we didn’t even know. God used our Drs to send us to places we had never seen…ostensibly for treatments, but in fact, because God knew there were people there who were hurting and they needed some hope. Sometimes, they called or came looking for us—even at work! Sometimes God’s Name was never even spoken, but we were both given opportunities to share our story and our peace and help fellow patients, spouses and family members find better or more practical ways to handle their own similar news.

This past August, we celebrated Mike’s 15th year of being completely cancer-free! He is living proof that God is able to do whatever He chooses. So, why am I sharing something that happened all those years ago with you tonight? I do so because our battles didn’t end there. In fact, they had just begun. Within 6 months of his being declared cancer free, Mike was part of an economic downsizing at his company and we lost his job. God—in evidence of His never-ending humor sent us back to MS–to my very own home town I’d been so determined to leave, and where there were no jobs in my field! He kept us in place there for almost 15 years. Again, not part of my plan at all, but definitely part of His.

While the treatments were successful, they also meant the end of our ability to have children naturally and because of Mike’s medical history, we were not considered as viable candidates for adoption.  Additionally, within the past year and a half, he has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure which we are told is the much-delayed, but direct result of the very treatments that God used to keep him here. We will go this coming Friday for another surgical procedure to help him manage some of the possible side effects of our current challenge.

Through it all, God has remained faithful and allowed us to use our faith and our experiences to help others and point them to Him. While it is often tempting to ask “WHY ME?” in times of difficulty, we’ve chosen to ask a different question: “Why NOT us? Who better to show the world that God is real, in control and that He is still on the throne–that Joy and HOPE are more than possibilities, they are a REALITIES!–than two of His children going through whatever He chooses to send their way?

You see, we already have the Hope of Christ inside of us! We get to CHOOSE to access it, CHOOSE to display it, and CHOOSE to share it! No matter what else we face, no one can take that away from us! We get to have HOPE no matter what we face because HE is our hope.

Isaiah said, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord and He was high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple…”

I say, “In the times of shock and pain and trauma and through the death of many dreams—in the changing of all my plans—on the good days and on the bad ones and on the in-between days, too—EVERY SINGLE DAY–I SEE the Lord and He is high and lifted up and the train of His robe fills the temple…and He gives me hope.”

Fall break and other elusive unicorns

My new friend Jennifer has been posting some interesting things on Facebook lately.  She’s been busy fulfilling what she calls her “Fall Bucket List” and she and her family have been doing some pretty cool things. They’ve apparently gone to the mountains and made caramel apples and had a family game night and taken a great middle-of-the day snack break that involved a yummy looking muffin top and a steaming hot beverage. I think that’s amazing…mainly because I’ve never given serious thought to a whole-life bucket list, much less one dedicated to a season!

Actually, since the local schools are on different schedules, lots of people around here have been enjoying their “Fall Break” over the past two weeks. Several of them have posted photos of trips to the beach, to the north Georgia mountains and the beautiful apple orchards there, travels through the northeastern states and even one cruise. Yes, I’ve landed among some pretty cool people and I’m not all together certain that I’m going to fit in. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a Fall Break and now that I’m seeing all these options, well, I’ve got some ideas for one of my own–the main idea being that I really want one!

It’s taken some doing, but my husband and I are planning a little time off now, as well. I’ve been filled with all kinds of ideas. I think he‘s just happy for the prospect of being able to sleep past 4 AM for several days in a row and hoping that he won’t have to take too many calls or emails from work. After much discussion, we finally decided that we don’t want to do lots of traveling on this one, so we’re going to do several day trips to explore our local resources and we’ve got lots of options. Now, our only problem is figuring out which ones to go do!

We want to make the most of our time off together, so I’ve been making lists of things we can check out, as well as things that we need to get done around here that will take both of us to do like finally getting those planting beds weeded and ready for winter and (now that those bank statements are no longer haunting me) getting all that paper clutter cleared out in the office and working out in the shop and…hmmmm…

Frankly, the to-do list seems to be winning. It’s much longer. It has become obvious to both of us that we are not accustomed to the Fall Break mentality.

I am determined, however, that our small adventures list will win the day! I’ve got the inspiration of all these lovely options and I’m going to try to limit our chore “to-do” list items to one per day. We’ll see how well I succeed. After all, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a Fall Break and I’m a little bit out of practice…I think I’m going to start small and work my way up to this…forsythia in the fall

Item one:  go make a cup of hot chocolate

Item two:  sit out on the porch and listen to that owl in the woods

Item three:  be grateful…really, really grateful for Fall Breaks and other elusive unicorns…