I found a beautiful page and blog that has inspired me. And even though I am a procrastinator and didn't find it until a while ago AND still have not done much with it besides look it over, today's joy dare was just too perfect to ignore. SO... I am going to take some time and be thankful for all God has given me.
First things first, here is a link to the page:
Her name is Ann Voskamp and she has done a tremendous job of setting up a way for you to easily count 1000 blessings in a year. Even as much as a procrastinator as I am there is no way for me to "skip" it...
So 3 Gifts in Dirt:
I am a psudo-hermit. I love the outdoors but I an not OUT IN IT often enough, or often even. I am not really afraid of work, but to work outside is something I have to force. I hate the heat... a hot day takes it all out of me. I melt... "wicked witch of the west syndrome" has hit me all my life except it is the heat not water that sends me into a puddle of a mess on the ground.
My husband, stretches everything from his patience, time, money, and strength to make our house a home and that includes the outdoors. Every year he changes something to make our tiny yard MORE. This year he decided to once again change the shape of our flower beds.
This year has been an odd one (or maybe not so odd maybe it just seems that way). We have had several short but powerful snow storms through April. This weekend however was just beautiful. I was called out, persuaded to weed, dig, plant, sweat, and play with everyone. My 3 gifts were found easily as I read the Joy Dare this morning due to our weekend activities.
1. New plants in fresh beds ready to grow and give us beauty as well as food to harvest (some for years to come.
We made our strawberry bed bigger to give us more room. We moved one strawberry to fill in the hole of one or two that died. Then we added a raspberry shrub, a tomato plant (cherry this time), hot peppers to add to the hubs BEST EVER green chili, and a sweet red bell pepper plant to help us top off my sons delicious deep dish pizza.
We also increased the size of my flower bed in the front that holds my orange day lilies. I spaced them out a little more so for this year to fill it in we also threw in some wild flower seeds that are supposed to entice hummingbirds and butterflies to the yard. We have an old push plow that has been sitting in the garage, it now has a new home amongst the flowers in that bed. And although I had planned originally to put it near my roses I added a stepping stone given to me by a friend after the loss of our last baby, as a remembrance stone. I can't wait to see the beauty of all of our new plants spring up. I do not like the looks of a bare flower bed.
2. The delight in the kids as they rolled around in the grass explored
the "spring" in everything from watching the robins sit in our little
crab apple tree to frogs climbing out of the crawlspace.
For the last few years we have had a robins nest in our tree, quite an experience given the history of our little tree. When we moved in it was so small, and we had two children 2 years and 9 years old. The tree was shorter than me. We nurtured it as we added to our family and made the house our home. About the third or fourth year we had a heavy wet snow that split the tree nearly in two. We thought maybe she was done, but hubs put a bolt through her, and wired her trunk back together, in an effort to save her. It worked. She has endured 6 children climbing on her, peeling her bark, tugging on her limbs and chasing the dog around her. She has flowered beautifully every year and with her hardships has grown strong and beautiful, given us shade for activities such as picnics, playing dolls, wrestling, and homeschool lessons.
The tree and the robin pics are from last year. See the Y at the bottom, that is where she split, the bolt is still there, she just grew around it. The limb on the left was almost completely separated.
3. For a hard working husband and best friend who is forever stretching
EVERYTHING from patience to money to his strength to make our house a
He has moved the sprinklers many times over the years to accommodate our many changes. We have broken lines and let them freeze, but he has fixed them and improved on everything. I think he has dug up the yard several times over the years, planted, weeded, poured cement, moved bushes and moved them again... Each time I have a new idea he tries to persuade his "clean looking yard" brain to my "beautiful mess" ideas. He does it because he loves the physical work, but also because he knows the value of having us all work together to make something we can all enjoy together, here, at HOME. We make memories with our children in the things we do together in the work we accomplish together. As the head of our house, as the leader and protector he does all he can to keep our children close to us, working with us, learning the important lessons from us AND with us.
We learn as much from our children as they do from us sometimes. Last summer he laid a sidewalk, and in that we have the hand prints of all of the kids except the oldest. He is away at school, West Point. But it did not "feel" right to any of us not to have him present in this task. So the other kids found a set of wings he had earned in his first or second year. We placed the wings in his place. It was a lesson I learned from our children that time. That no matter where we are in the world, how far apart physically, we are all still together. I do believe my husband has been instrumental in making that happen, HE has made this family what we are, he has ensured that we are always thinking of one another, learning from each other, relying on each other and supporting each other. We have our fights, and arguments (6 children in a three bedroom one level home - how could we not) but we are a family that loves unconditionally and I believe that is what will sustain us even when we are spread to the four corners of the earth. And I believe that is what will keep my children close even in their adulthood.
I told you this one was easy. There is so much to be thankful for, but some are easier to list then others. Some days make our blessings easier to see, the trick will be to find our blessings on the days that are not easy, on those days when you are surrounded by annoyances. Those are the days when I believe I will benefit the most from this project.