Saturday, December 29, 2018

Celebrating November & December!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

The past two months have been quite a whirlwind!

First was NCTE, a delight from the sessions attended
to the shared hugs and conversations with my blogger friends
to the free lodging and rides provided by my Texas friends.

And a Thanksgiving with everyone home!
A certain someone celebrated his birthday twice - 
with cake and then with pie! 
Christmas pjs delivered early.
 Matching Christmas tees
Enjoying Grandma's cookie bars
My favorite pic - boys and books!
Then, a scary diagnosis for my brother the week of Thanksgiving led to my hopping on a plane the next week to spend some time with him.
Things learned while we were together:
1. Hallmark movies make everything better.
2. There's something very special about sibling love. 
3. Prayers are answered.
Gratitude for God's love and all on our prayer team.
 And my brother never once complained about his liquid diet! 
(Great example for his whiny little sis.)
An early Christmas treat was attending Kara's
final rehearsal for their upcoming community concert.
After a few days at home, I went to DC with Sara and Jack.
While they visited Will's sis and family in Baltimore, 
I worked on  transcribing the letters
my dad had written to my mom during World War II 
(a project started by my niece Kara and my brother Karl).
I typed the last few letters written in December 1944
before his capture at the Battle of the Bulge with an enormous sense of sadness, gratitude for his service, and joy for his survival. 
I could never write full time from home. In order to keep my 
BIC (butt in chair) while working on this project, 
I had to keep my HIC (hand in chocolate).
My son laughed when I told him I had eaten
all the chocolate chips in his freezer
(not true, I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread that day).
But I did do a bit of damage on a large package of M&Ms.
Blake and Sara (brother and sister) assemble Teddy's kitchen.
 Who knew these elves could work together for two hours? 
 Jack and Uncle Blake enjoy a giggle fest!

  One of the things I miss about writing a weekly celebrate post is remembering the little things worth celebrating.
This morning I pulled up to Starbucks (a favorite writing spot) 
and found a parking spot right in front of the door.
I love celebrating the simple pleasures!

 I must include a couple more favorite grandson pics.
Teddy and Santa 
Jack at the park

Finally, a remembrance that has truly 
sweetened this Christmas season! As Jack and I played
with our wooden nativity figures and 
I talked to him about baby Jesus, he replied, "Newborn King."
My heart fills with joy as I've revisited those words frequently during the past month and celebrated the birth of the newborn king
who came to save us all!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Delight, My OLW for 2018!

"Risking delight, recognizing it, receiving it, and sharing it - that will be the focus for me in 2018." Those were my words in my January post as I shared my OLW for the year, delight.

And in that same post, I shared these words from Jack Gilbert's poem: 
"We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world."
                       - Jack Gilbert, "A Brief for the Defense"

Those words, "...the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world," have become even more meaningful as I've faced some sad times since Thanksgiving. I traveled to Oklahoma to be with my brother as he waited for a biopsy. We filled that time together with delight - laughter, Hallmark movies, a few tears along the way, and of course, stories. We received good news from the surgeon on Thursday. He doesn't believe that we are dealing with pancreatic cancer as we had been led to believe by his earlier medical screenings. And now we're waiting on the results of his biopsy.

Other delights of my time in Oklahoma (my third trip there this year) included  attending my niece's final rehearsal for the Christmas community concert, reading to her fourth graders, shopping with Kat and Kara, seeing Kat's beautiful revolving Santa Christmas tree, helping my brother set up a blog, and sharing many hugs!

Stopping to notice daily delights has enriched the days of this year. And just this morning I spotted this gorgeous tree, still clinging to fall color as it stands surrounded by bare trees.

 It has been a joy filled year as I've slowed down to pay attention and notice the many ways that delight can fill our days. This post has reminded me that one of my goals for the year was to be a dispenser of delight. I'll be working on that during this season!