Moments of Joy: October 2016

Last month, I shared with you the one thing that brings me happiness every day of every month — the true source of joy in this world. Today, I am remembering an evening of fall fun and friendship.

collage of fall party with scarecrow, fire pit, and pumpkin pudding desserts

What makes for a wonderful evening? Some of the things I would include are all gathered together in my backyard:

  • friends, neighbors, and family — So many people I love are mingling and getting to know one another better.  What a joy this is for me to see!
  • fun games — We’re all laughing and cheering as we take turns catapulting decorative squash with a three-person water-balloon launcher.  The goal is to hit a target hanging on hay bales across the yard, but most of the squash end up in the grass or lodged into the chain-link fence.  My first shot lands in the chicken pen, and one brave hen comes to check out the strange object.  Party games don’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Kids and adults alike are happy tonight with the “Pumpkin Launch” game, hitting a beach ball over a volleyball net, a tetherball pole, and even just using sidewalk chalk to draw on a 20-foot-long roll of black bulletin board paper that is taped to the back of the house.
  • beautiful weather — A few wispy clouds highlight the sunset before the stars begin to twinkle and shine.  A gentle breeze blows on this cool evening, encouraging us to circle around the campfire.  You can see in the photo above where I threw on an armload of sticks that was too large for our little fire pit.  The flames shot above our heads and made roasting marshmallows a bit dangerous for a while!
  • food — Food is always a great thing in my book!  I’m particularly happy with the tasty pumpkin patch pudding cups (my first-ever Pinterest project).
  • singing praises to God — Gathering friends around a beautiful campfire to sing is always a great way to spend a cool evening.
  • costumes and decorations — Several of us agree, as we sit on a row of hay bales eating smores and hot dogs, that there should be a holiday at least once per month where we could dress up in costumes.  It’s funny to see your friends looking like a Harry Potter character, Superman, a lion, a football star, a pirate, a queen, or even just a grumpy girl in a bathrobe.  Then there’s the friends who enjoy a play on words: like the geeky girl with candy glued to her jeans (“Miss Smarty Pants”) and the lady in the shower cap with sacks from different stores hanging all over her (“A Bag Lady”).  It can be fun to step away from the everyday, get out of your comfort zone, and be a little silly!

The few weeks of preparation were worth it, I decide as I look around at all the smiling faces.  I appreciate the motivation this gathering provided to clean up and repair the property, and I momentarily forget the seemingly endless times I climbed ladders to trim giant hedges and fix the gutters and siding.  Seeing friendships, new and old, deepen and grow makes it all worthwhile.  Though, I’m not positive if I would do it all again next year…whew!

Friendships and Tea Sets

True friends are such a blessing! I wanted to share this sweet post to remind us to count the blessing of friendship every day.

Proverbs 18:24 “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

The Chicken Grandma

Well-Loved Tea Set.JPG

For some reason tonight I am struggling to organize my thoughts.  I keep rearranging them and sorting them out in my mind while I try to get them typed into this post. Perhaps it is because the day was full.  It was full of laughter, joy, sharing and love. The day has left so may thoughts swirling through my brain that it is difficult to know where to start and where to end.

It was a great day spent with two close friends. I have known who these two women are; for probably 16 years.  It is only the last few years that I have really come to know these two women. We met at a Christian retreat and have met at that same retreat for many years.

When you have shared life stories, shared tears and shared laughter you realize what a gift friendship and relationship can be. These…

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Moments of Joy: September 2016

In last month’s post, I showed you what kind of clothing is worn by large shade trees. (Yes, you read that correctly.) This month has been unusual and hectic.  Since two computers “died” on me this summer — the second one is currently off for repairs — I lost my list of fun memories I had collected for September.  Since it is late in the evening, and I’m just now realizing this is the end of the month (already?!), I’ll share with you the thing that gives me many happy moments every month…

SCRIPTURE -- 2 Samuel 22:2-4 written on a photo of mountains

There’s a song on my “PRAISE” page which will help you memorize these bible verses.

black-and-white image of pregnant belly with ribbon tied around it

Oh, and here’s another happy moment to wrap up this month:  My best friend of over 20 years called me today to say that the firstborn child she is carrying is a girl!  Ahhh, such excitement!  I’m so happy for her!

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Thanks for stopping by today!  My blog has been neglected the last couple of months.  Maybe things will slow down soon, and I’ll have the luxury again to enjoy playing in the world of WordPress.  Though, I hear from many, many people that time only seems to fly faster the older you get!  How could that be?!  Wow!

A Fun Phobia

More than twenty years ago, a beautiful heart-shaped balloon popped while I was blowing it up and left a large welt right beside my eye.  It was a specialty balloon made out of unusually thick rubber, which apparently had a flaw in it.

To this day, I have a slight phobia of balloons.  Over the years, this has grown to include other stretchy rubber things, like exercise bands, when they get too close to my face.  My family relishes teasing me about it.

photo of lady peeking through a red birthday balloon, background is black and white

As a form of therapy this morning, I inflated several balloons — all by myself!  🙂  I do a better job, though, if I blow them up while sitting down…with my eyes closed…with both hands in front of my face like a shield…with a few pauses to turn away and take deep, cleaning breaths to slow my heart rate…

three ladies having a balloon fight on a couch, background is black and white

Still, balloons can be a source of simple, childish fun, whether used as colored filters for viewing the world, swords in battle, slow-motion tennis balls, or static-filled hair decorations!  They stimulate the imagination and bring out the kid in all my family members.  An intense balloon battle is a fun way to get a little exercise, too, as long as nothing gets broken (in the house or on a person)!

four long balloons stuck to a woman's hair with static cling

I had four of the long balloons stuck to my head at one time this afternoon — a new record!

May you be blessed today with an acute awareness of the simple pleasures that surround you!

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Do you have a phobia?  Do you know how it started?  I’m all ears — tell me about it!

Moments of Joy: August 2016

In last month’s post, I remembered the past and glimpsed the future with the help of a sweet, cuddly baby.  Today, I’ll fill you in on a new and unusual forestry fashion trend!

tree line across Arkansas field in summer, with one dead tree

While my daughter drives me and my camera through the countryside, I find much of the typical rural Arkansas fare: trees, birds, weeds, flowers, cows, and winding gravel roads.  One thing I do not expect to see as we approach a sharp bend in the road is a tree wearing clothing!

“Whoa, stop!”

Gravel grinds under the tires as my alarmed daughter stomps the break and looks around in bewilderment.  “What is it?”

“Look at that tree,” I answer, pointing out the window past my daughter’s shoulder.  “There are clothes on that tree!  Why would someone dress up a tree?  I need a photo of this!”

Hopping out of the car, I snap several photos of the fashionable shade tree and then cross the road and squat down to try a few macro shots of the field grass and fencing.  A truck appears out of nowhere and slowly approaches the curve.  I check to make sure I’m well off the road before refocusing my attention on a particular strand of barbed-wire.

Suddenly, I realize the truck has pulled off the road near our car, rather than continuing around the curve.  I glance over my shoulder, but can’t see the driver from my position.

Hair prickles on the back of my neck as I hear crunching footsteps on the gravel road behind me.  “Ok, relax,” I think to myself, “It’s not likely the person is going to attack me!”  My car makes a distinctive “click” as my daughter hits the door lock button — there will be no help from her today!

Turning on my heel, I stand up to see the tan, time-worn face of a gray-haired gentleman approaching.  “What are you doing here?” he asks in a firm voice.

With as welcoming of a smile as I can muster, I respond with “We’re out taking pictures with my camera.”

“What?” he calls out loudly.  “I can’t hear you!”

Raising the camera in front of me, I repeat my answer more slowly and with greater volume.

“What?!  I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!” he bellows back while reaching into his jeans pocket.

“Taking pictures!” I shout, waving the camera in the air between us.

He pokes a tiny hearing aid into one ear as he again shouts, “What?!  I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!”

Ok, this scene is getting a bit comical!  This time I hold up the camera and point at it while smiling and nodding until he places the second hearing aid into the other ear.

Both our voices drop down to a normal decibel level as we begin a friendly conversation about photography and fashion-plate forestry.  The tree wearing worker’s safety gear and the fence behind it covered in orange cones and reflective tape are his handiwork.  He explains that his fence has been destroyed by vehicles three times in the past year by what he assumes to be drunk drivers.

I’m surprised that could happen so many times, even on such a sharp curve, since the fence is close to thirty feet off the road.  Before we go our separate ways, he shares a couple of funny stories that do seem to implicate the work of a drunkard.  Oh, the tales his cows could tell!

Video

Beautiful Thing

This song captured my heart.  It’s just so adorable that I can’t help but smile.

It is written by a young girl named Grace VanderWaal, who performed it on the America’s Got Talent TV show this week.

I hope it brightens your day as much as it does mine.

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“Beautiful Thing”

by Grace VanderWaal

You think that you know my heart,
And you probably do.
So I’m always with you.
I could stay with you for hours
In an empty room.
Never get bored.
Never have nothing to do.
You’re my other half.
You’re what makes me, me.
What makes me smile
When I fall down and can’t get back, get back, get back up
On my feet.
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low…
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low,
We can find the rainbow
Up in the sky.
You’d say, “Don’t you cry. It’s all gonna be alright.”
That’s a beautiful thing.
Make hours into seconds together,
The weight of the world feel like a feather
Cause we’re holding it right in our hands.
You’re my other half.
What makes me, me.
What makes me smile
When I fall down and need to get back up on my feet.
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low,
We can find the rainbow
Up in the sky.
You’d say “Don’t you cry. It’s all gonna be alright.
No, it’s all gonna be alright.”
That’s a beautiful thing.