Friday, December 14, 2012

Peaceful hearts

The Christmas season always fills my heart with a joy that is different than any other time of year.  There is a certain joy associated with the celebrations and giving from the heart and the opportunities to spend more time than usual than people that matter the most to me.  Those things always fill me with true warmth and happiness.  But this year feels even more significant.  I have not been centered lately on what's the most important and, always, God calls me back to remind me that everything that matters is right in front of me.

My angel boy is training to be an altar server at school as part of his fifth grade religious education curriculum.  I moved some meetings last week stay for a mass where he was serving.  I sat in the sanctuary for 45 minutes between the time he had to be there for preparation and when mass started.  I was just THERE in the house of the Lord with my son and his friends moving around to prepare for mass and it was lovely.  A quiet, stolen sliver of time in a sacred place during the busiest time of year was such a blessing for me.  And seeing the pride of my son serving the Lord . . . no words.  The framework of his service during advent just magnifies the sacredness of all of it.

Tomorrow night the Princess will sing at Noel Night with the other tiny songbirds in the Cherubs Choir.  I anticipate it fully and wholly and treasure that she is so excited to sing the songs of Christmas.  I do know that she is excited too to wear a choir robe and I find that absolutely charming.

The halls are decked.  I mean fully decked by my little sweet peas.  We can't eat at the dining room table because it is fully covered with our holiday village and faux snow.  Every single ornament we own is on the tree below the five foot mark and in the front.  And this year I am forcing myself to be totally OK with it.  The joy of my children and the gift of their love is worth more than every beautiful thing I can imagine.

Time here is never guaranteed and Santa will be a distant memory soon enough.  I will cherish every poorly placed ball and ceramic figure skater for much longer than I will remember wishing the mantle were perfectly adorned.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ten Things to Smile About: November 2012

November was a great month.  The act of taking the time every single day to name something to be thankful for is it's own kind of gift.  And being able to do it without a second thought for 30 days is truly a blessing.  I don't ever need to be reminded of how blessed I am but I did love counting the blessings one by one in November.  Here are ten of my favorites.
Racing the sunset while the Princess took photos with my phone all the way to the water.  We had a chance to do this two or three times and we were never disappointed.


The first days of red cups at Starbucks and peppermint mochas.  Call me shallow.  It's OK.  They make me smile every.single.time.


The Princess aka Bob being recognized as the speediest Ninja at the end of season soccer party.



Celebrating twelve years of happily ever after with Mr. Montoya ~xoxo


Several peaceful, easy mornings at home.


Watching my baby boy turn into something other than a baby and loving him even more as he grows.  He is so very responsible and such a kind soul.  It is such a pleasure to see him taking on new challenges in the world AND helping his Dad with yard work.



A fun day with our cousins.  I call them the Fearless Five.


A five day weekend to relax, decorate and get a head start on the holidays.It is a blessing to be READY for Christmas before Christmas.


Ordering, receiving, addressing and stamping our Christmas cards.  Woo hoo!


. . . and having helpers was a treat, too!



Many blessings to you and your family in the season of love and giving.  We are so thankful for the month that just passed and wait with joyful anticipation to celebrate the birth of Jesus.









Sunday, December 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankful: Part 3

November is gone and it was a gift to count the things; big and small, that I have to be thankful for every day of the month.  The blessings are truly endless.

30 Days of Thankful: 2012
Days 21 through 30

Day 21:
I am so thankful this morning for "normal". For the sweet little girls who left for soccer camp, the adolescent boys who are playing video games in the family room and homemade waffles filling their bellies. It is not glamorous or even interesting beyond these four walls but it is our normal and something I cherish deeply.

Day 22:
Today I am homesick and wishing more than ever that I was celebrating in Tallahassee. But I am thankful for all of my memories of home and to have been raised on all of the wonderful traditions that I'm missing so much. Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Give your family an extra hug today just because you can.

Day 23:
Today I am thankful for medical insurance, Aleve and steri-strips. Not really the best day ever but there's always something to be thankful for.

** This post followed my visit to Urgent Care on Black Friday.  I severed a tendon in my ring finger on Thanksgiving and didn't go for stitches until the following day.  I didn't know until now that you have to get stitches within 12 hours of the injury or the risk of infection is too great.  I was NOT thrilled to get this news 16 hours later.  The healing is slow, but I definitely learned a lesson.

Day 24:
Tonight I am thankful for a cozy night in with my little loves. They are pampering me so sweetly while we enjoy dinner in the family room and our first Christmas movie of the season. I'm such a lucky girl.

Day 25:
Today I am thankful for long weekends and extra time with family. We never get a chance to hang in our PJs and watch movies or just BE together at home. I'd almost forgotten how great that is. I'm so thankful to have been here for 5 days and loved every minute of it.

Day 26:
Today I am thankful for today. I don't love anything about Mondays or traffic or the parking lot at Trader Joe's, but I am so grateful to have been given another day here to fully experience it all. Every day is a gift.

Day 27:
This morning I am most thankful for my precious son. Besides being brilliant, generous, polite, charming and hilarious he is the most thoughtful person I know. I admire him so much for never being afraid to be himself and am grateful for the perfect human being that God gave to us. . . . and since it's basketball season I love him even more!!!!

Day 28:
Today I am thankful for siblings. As an only child I don't know what it's like to have someone around your age in your house all the time. I love watching my kids play a game together or barter over what they...
're going to do or watch next. I love watching them wrestle and squawk at each other about *nothing* a little less, but they always work it out together. I am so gratful that the Lord gave us two healthy, energetic people while we are still young enough to {sorta} keep up with them and that they love each other as much as we love them.
Day 29:
I am thankful for how small the world actually is. I love that there is always a friendly reminder out there to play nice and not burn any bridges. Everyone knows someone and that someone might be just the person you need most. Karma is not a bitch if you're not either.
Day 30:
Today I am grateful that I can name something to be thankful for every single day for 30 days without any problem at all. It is a gift that I have not ever been hurt so deeply that I can't recover or suffered any loss that changes the way I look at the world. I have been blessed well beyond anything I deserve and am forever grateful for every bit of it.
Dear Lord:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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