Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: November 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: November 2013

30 Days of Thankful
It is my favorite time of the year when I intentionally choose to find the good in every single day and choose to see the beauty of laundry, bickering children and food.  It is truly good for my heart to remember how blessed we are.

A surprise note from my sweet girl on my phone

A weekday trip to Disneyland.  We enjoy ourselves the most when we are reminded that these days with our children are fleeting.

A gorgeous family wedding.  

Seeing the sweet tags added to our Thankful Tree.
Bob is thankful for ice cream and her hamster.  The Athlete is thankful for basketball and his friends.

A girls night with Bob and her girlfriends at a live performance of Ivy & Bean.

Celebrating the 13th anniversary of my marriage to Mr. Montoya. 
LUCKY 13.  It's going to be a good year!

Date night with my sweet middle school guy

A peaceful, meaningful Thanksgiving Day with just me and my three complete with a homemade apple pie and an afternoon walk at the beach

A wacky night out with sweet friends that ended with these clowns wearing adhesive moustaches all the way home.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankful: Part Three

The month is over and my heart continues to be full of thanks for all of the little, and not so little, things that fill our world.  November is always a special blessing to me.

11.21.13 - Day 21

Today I am thankful for my girls.  These women know all of my deepest secrets and love me anyway. They've been there for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and are each such treasures to me.  I am deeply thankful for them and blessed to call them my dearest friends.

11.22.13 - Day 22

I am thankful for the gift of time.  The kind of time you need to take a deep breath and the time to enjoy cheap wine and pizza with friends simply because you have no other commitments.  This is a gift that should never be taken for granted.  You'll never know how special it is until you don't have it.  I'm so thankful!

11.23.13 - Day 23

Today I am wholeheartedly and deeply thankful for this wonderful little creature.  She is equal parts sassy and sweet, but most importantly she is healthy and thriving in the world.  This girl never makes parenting easy, but she always makes it worth it.  Bob for President!!!!

11.24.13 - Day 24

I am thankful for forgiveness.  I have tons of experience with saying "I'm sorry" and tomorrow will be no exception.  I am cranky and entirely unreasonable today, but I am thankful that they'll still love me when the sun rises again.  Everyone has THOSE days and today is mine.

11.25.13 - Day 25

I am thankful for a day with no lunchboxes, no homework and no pouting about bedtime.  'Tis the season for family!!

11.26.13 - Day 26

My heart is abundantly grateful for my amazing son.  He is a great student, a talented athlete and an exceptional human being.  I didn't think I was ready to be a Mom when he came along, but God knew better.  Every day of my life has been richer since this precious child entered the world.

11.27.13 - Day 27

I am thankful that today is my Friday and it's almost over.

11.28.13 - Day 28

Today I am thankful for the whole dang thing.  The beautiful Thanksgiving mass this morning, my sweet little helpers in the kitchen, a bountiful meal and a family walk to the beach for playtime.  We are deeply and beautifully blessed.  Happy Thanksgiving friends!

11.29.13 - Day 29

I am thankful that there's not one thing on our list that required me to go shopping in the middle of the night, trample anyone or curse my way through a parking lot.

11.30.13 - Day 30

I am thankful for this month that draws to mind our need to give Thanks in all that we do.  Our little Thankful Tree was overflowing when we took off the tags to make way for another tree today.  We have so, so much to be grateful for all year long and my family's hearts are well prepared for the beauty of Advent tomorrow.  I have been abundantly blessed and am deeply thankful all year long.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankful: Part 2

The month is almost over and year after year this renews itself as my favorite, and saddest, month.  Intentionally counting blessings is it's own gift, but the occasion of Thanksgiving always makes me miss home and my family.  Perhaps a gift in itself and a needed reminder of the good things that launched me to where I am now.  I am perhaps more thankful for that than anything.

30 Days of Thankful 2013

Days 11 through 20

11.11.13 - Day 11

I am filled with awe and gratitude for our military and their families.  Happy Veteran's Day to so many heroes including my dear Dad.  You are loved and appreciated today and every day.

11.12.13 - Day 12

Tonight I am thankful for cotillion and how much my kids enjoy it.  It is such a blessing for them to have fun with their friends in a drama free space where manners are COOL!

11.13.13 - Day 13

If you heard the news this morning then maybe you heard the woman from the Philippines saying "we don't need money or cell phones or television.  We need food."  I am thankful for every banana in my kitchen that is slightly overripe, every chicken breast that I forgot to thaw {again} to bake for dinner and every other staple I thoughtlessly skip when looking for a meal.  Today I am most thankful for food.

11.14.14 - Day 14

I am thankful for the view from our front porch this afternoon.  God's art is my very favorite.

11.15.13 - Day 15

Tonight I am beyond thankful that we have no commitments until noon tomorrow. Awesome!

11.16.13 - Day 16

I am thankful for a cozy place to call home.

11.17.13 - Day 17

Today I am thankful to be from a good family.  Not a famous family, not a rich family, but a GOOD family.  A family that taught me the value of hard work, honesty and worship and gifted me with the freedom to love deeply and to give without hesitation.

11.18.13 - Day 18

I am thankful for my amazing husband.  13 years ago today I became Mrs. Montoya and it's been a crazy ride, but I wouldn't change a minute of it for anything in the world.  Happy Anniversary Mr. Montoya!  You are everything MY husband should be and then some.  I can't wait to see what's in store for us next.  Forever and ever.

11.19.13 - Day 19

Today I am thankful for my sweet husband filling up my car with gas so I didn't have to and for a Starbucks skinny peppermint latte.  Little things make a big difference on busy mornings.

11.20.13 - Day 20

I am thankful today, and every day, for my Nanny.  She was the world's strongest, kindest, most faith-filled, loving woman EVER.  She would have literally given you every item of clothing from her closet, every ounce of food in her kitchen and loaded it all into her car for you if you said you needed it.  And then she still would have called you when you got home to see if you needed anything.  Disappointing my Nanny is the only thing that ever truly broke my heart and when I pray I honestly believe that she is sitting next the Lord listening.  She was so good and so incredibly perfect and Heaven is a much more appropriate place for her, but I still miss her beautiful face every single day.  Lucky me to have her in my world for more than 30 years.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

REAL Thankful

As much as I want every day to be bountiful with goodness and for a grateful heart to overwhelm real life there is the very distinct reality that life isn't always full of goodness.  People are cynical and jealous and sometimes drain on our ability to constantly act in love.  That is reality.  

Last night I struggled with something to be thankful for in my day.  My thoughts were elsewhere and I just wasn't seeing goodness in the wonderful day that I'd had with my family.  This morning I woke up with the intention of striving to be grateful ALL DAY in everything that I do and the reflection I am sharing below came to my attention almost immediately.

Wherever you are in your ability to be thankful, perhaps you also need some words of wisdom.

Developing a Mellow Heart

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.  Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013: Thirty Days of Thankful

It's November and it is a gift to be able to peacefully prepare for the celebration of Thanksgiving and the approaching Advent season.  The Thankful Tree is again in a place of honor and we are filling it's tiny branches every day with gratitude from our hearts.  To carry on the tradition my daily Facebook posts of Thanks will be documented here for the month.

30 Days of Thankful 2013
Days 1 through 10

11.1.13 - Day One
Today I am thankful for the way technology allows me stay connected to friends who are far away. Photos on Facebook and Instagram, online chats about life and loss and blog posts about everything in between are all gifts to me.

11.2.13 - Day Two
Today I am thankful for my bonus Mom. She is the kindest, most generous soul I've ever met and she has loved me and my family as her own from Day 1. I honestly have no idea how my Dad ever got so dang lucky, but we are all thanking our lucky stars for the gift that she is. 

11.3.13 - Day Three
Today I am thankful for breakfast dishes, drinking coffee at baseball and folding laundry. The most simple days in our life is a gift that I cherish deeply.

11.4.14 - Day Four
Today I am thankful to be a Mom. I was never the girl that just wanted to be a Mom, but God gave me the two most amazing gifts that are everything I never knew I wanted. These people are the whole world to me.

11.5.13 - Day Five
Today I am thankful for courage. Aside from losing my family, there is nothing that really scares me. Well except birds. But besides that, I'm super thankful to have the courage to go after what I want and to stand up for what matters to me.

11.6.13 - Day Six
Today I am thankful for our sweet sitter. She picks up the kids from school, drives to practices and helps with homework. It's a small price to pay for the peace of mind we get from her help and the kids LOVE her!!

11.7.13 - Day Seven
Today I am thankful for Thursday morning carpool and back seat chats with my darling goddaughter. I'm so blessed by this sweet child.

11.8.13 - Day Eight
My heart is filled with thanks for days like today and the gift of spending time with our kids while they're still kids.
This came following a Friday out of school and  the four of us at Disneyland together for the afternoon.

11.9.13 - Day Nine
Yesterday I was thankful for this beautiful couple and the gift of new beginnings. I am a sucker for great parties and weddings are the best!!! We love you so much Mr & Mrs Schlegel! Aloha

11.10.13 - Day Ten
I am thankful for sunshine, blue skies and God's constant reminder that there is always something beautiful on the horizon.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ten Things: October

Fall is officially here and there is a crispness to everything that I adore.  Mulling spices are simmering on the stove and the pumpkins on the table make me smile every time I see them.  October was a great month and even when it seems we can't be more blessed; we are.

Ten Things to Smile About: October 2013

My Bob being named MVP following an especially rough soccer game.  She was delighted to replenish her calories in the candy store.

A gorgeous Friday night wedding at the beach.  I am beyond happy for my sweet friend and her handsome new husband.  Congratulations Troutmans!

Driving to work every day on Pacific Coast Highway instead of the freeway.  Following the deep blue sea from Dana Point to Newport Beach is truly a magical way to start the day.

Thursday morning carpool and preschool story time with my goddaughter.

The very first cotillion of the season.  Now we have two little charmers doing the cha cha!

Finding a great after school sitter/driver on  She is a MAJOR help to our family and the kids love her.  Win!  Win!

Every single thing about this video.  The Seminole football helmet, the skateboard, the crash pad against the door.  They crack me up!!

The rainbow loom factory that the kids have started in our family room.  Please let us know if you'd like a bracelet.  Bob is quite the salesman!!!

The new NBC show on Monday nights, The Blacklist.  Holy heart stopper!

Halloween, of course.  Wayne Campbell, a la Wayne's World (ca. 1992) and Alice of Alice in Wonderland. They loved it which I why I loved it.  The end.

The last Tuesday of the month is when Emmy posts her Ten Things.  I can't bear to make time go any faster than it already is.  Sorry to be tardy to the party, Emmy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Timing is everything

It’s a curious situation that presents itself to me when I know that I am moving too fast to allow my most important thoughts to transform my actions but I am helpless to it. 


In the rare spells of calm, my heart tells me that I should listen a little more closely and embrace the things that are filling me to overflowing.  I sit with that for a few minutes, maybe ten, and then I take a phone call, stop the car, load the dishwasher – whatever it is that pulls me away from the calm I’d had just moments before.  Yet it happens over and over. I am just on the brink of great peace and overwhelming gratitude and I suddenly fill that space with wishing for more. 

More time.  More space.  More success.

Then God steps in and takes me firmly by the hand and reminds me that I am headed in the absolute wrong direction.  Always and everywhere He intervenes with the reminders that I need the most and suddenly the timing makes such perfect sense.  It’s not as if November wasn’t going to happen anyway, but it’s just the most perfect opportunity for me to really sit with what I know to be true and right.

My heart should be constantly gushing with gratitude.  The gratitude for the big ticket items that millions of people don’t know – good health, nourishment, unconditional love, happy hearts and loud children.  And gratitude for the little things that should never be considered little things – running water, toothbrushes and clean socks.

This month I will again count my blessings in Thirty Days of Thankful.  I will find something every single day that I am thankful for and there will certainly be a day or two that I am human and won’t feel like I have anything to be thankful for.  Those are the very days that I most need to fall to my knees and give thanks.  Those are the days that give me the power to transform my world.

It’s not a coincidence that it’s November.  I am just so thankful to be in the right place at the right time.

Psalm 103:2 ~ Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: February 2013

It's never too late to recount blessings.  Even six (or eight) months later.  I'm determined to catch up before the year is over.  It hasn't been my best year ever, but that's a thing of the past.  It's time to take back ALL the things that matter most.

Ten Things to Smile About: February 2013

Receiving a precious get well gift (her prize stuffed animal) and a handwritten card

Celebrating The Athlete's 11th birthday


How this little girl shines at 5 on 5 soccer

My crazy little Valentines

A sleepover that included breakfast with their dolls
Taking walks in the evening with The Athlete
The view from those walks just a few blocks from our house

The sheer magnitude of seeing the space shuttle Endeavour in person
The bow tie

New home accessories on cold, cloudy days

One down, six to go.


Pride and Joy

On any given day,

you could say that he is PRIDE

and she is JOY

Or vice versa. 

It's absolutely true that they are my pride and joy.  They are so incredibly good and bright and such unique and wonderful blessings to the world.

But as of late, there is a new sense of pride and a long forgotten joy floating on the periphery of soccer games and teacher conferences.  There is a sweet sense of peace that was so sadly missing for just a little too long.

Pride of self for making a change instead of continuing to talk about how much I needed the change. 

Joy in all the little things that have the time to be valued now.

Being home is good.  Being present is joyous.

There was a recent period of time in my family's history that I was not present and I am not proud.  However, until I jump out of an airplane without a working parachute I will not live with any regret.  I do not regret the poor professional choice that I made, because I am stronger, smarter and more resolved than ever.  And now I am here.

Right here, right now and fully able to appreciate all of the goodness that it is mine.  Fully present in my own PRIDE and JOY

 and truly, deeply thankful.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: September 2013

The best news of the day is that I will have this posted at the end of the actual month it represents.  We're turning over a new leaf around here!

Ten Things to Smile About: September 2013

Nearby soccer games on the same day for two of our sweeties and a cheering section for both that was full of darling cousins!

Being able to make good on a promise to go to Disneyland.  We went three times this month and had a blast!

Doing good for someone else.  The circumstances of the situation don't make me smile, but putting my sadness to use does.  We've raised $4,125 in a little over two weeks.  I was really hoping to get to $10K.  I might have been overly ambitious.  There's still time to give if you'd like.

Having our tiniest niece, C, for a sleepover. Don't let those curls and the angel face fool you.  She's no amateur!

Our {slightly} bigger niece, B,  starting preschool and carpooling with us on Thursdays. Auntie loves taking her to story time and her cousins are extra proud to have her with them at school !!!

These clowns thinking they're so grown up but then begging for a ride in the cart at Costco.  How can I say no to these faces?!?!?

Hosting a low key bridal shower brunch for my girlfriend who's getting married next week.  Yep, that was fast!!

FINALLY, clearing off my desk in the kitchen and reclaiming the space all for myself.  It's seriously like winning the lottery.  I pray it stays organized and tidy.

Spending all of my down time with these three and loving it.  I don't know how I let myself get so off track for so long, but it won't ever happen again.  Ever. 

Regaining my time back with them by saying goodbye to a very painful phase in my professional history.  There's no turning back now!

Link up with Emmy Mom to recount all of your great reasons to smile this month.


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