100 joys (18-31)

OK people, you know the drill!  Working on 100 joys STAT!  Had to take some time off – late night yesterday and the hubz needed some attention. Only 83 joys left to go!

joy #18

I love milk.  I love it in cereal.  I love it ice cold with Oreo cookies.  I love it alone, I love it with dinner, and I loooove it in hot cocoa.  Love. It.  I especially loooove Oberweis milk. It just tastes better.  No growth hormones, no other funny business – just 100% straight-from-the-cow deliciousness.  Yum.  When I drink milk, I am in my happy place.

 

joy #19

Computers make me happy.  Can you believe that there was a time when people had to TYPE letters on a TYPEwriter??  It blows my mind.  I’ve asked people who worked in offices before computers about what they did without computers and their eyes glaze over as though they are remembering a time that even their brain doesn’t want to recall.  “You know, we just, um, got stuff done.  I don’t know.”  Did people work before computers??

 

joy #20

Where do I begin?  Voicemail, email, text messaging, pictures, video, applications… what did we do without smart phones??  How, heavens to Betsy, did we stand in line at the grocery store without something to fiddle with so that we don’t have to talk to other annoying people standing in line?  But even more importantly, how developed are our brains that we can use just our thumbs with the skill and precision to get to level 22 in Brick Breaker?  I mean, we as the human species have really come a long way!  And just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, I got a new work phone and it has SODUKO on it!!!!!  JOY TO THE WORLD!!!

 

joy #21

Chocolate chips.  Yeah, you think I’m going to wax poetic about all the things you can do with chocolate chips, specifically Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (cookies, flourless chocolate cake, peanut butter spoons topped with chocolate chips, chocolate covered Oreo cookies…).  But no, I’m not going there.  In our house, chocolate chips are certainly for cooking and baking and the spreading of happiness – but chocolate chippies are quick, sweet smooches.  Ahhh… joy!

 

joys #22-31

Sweet friends (from our Bible Study Cookie Exchange):

#22 – The sweet Miss Rosie-licious!

#23 – Ms. Tammy, always in action!

#24 & #25 – Baby Gianna and mama Dorothy

#26 – the always fabulous Toni!

 

Those were all the wonderful ladies that were able to make it tonight to our cookie exchange.  And they are a joy!  With our combined ADD, it’s hard for us to stay on track in conversations, but someone always remembers enough to help us find our way back to what we were originally talking about.  Not pictured were joys #27 (Allison), #28 (Kim), #29 (Nikki), #30 (Jackie) and #31 (Caroline).  They are such blessings and joys to me!

100 joys (8-12)

Continuing with what I started yesterday, here are a few of my joys today:

Joy #8

People who smile.  Not just smile on their face, but smile with their attitude.  It’s so hard to find people like that!  Today I  ran across a few well timed genuinely smiling people and it made all of the difference.

 

Joy #9


I made spicy pulled pork today for my coworkers as a holiday treat today.  Ahh… joy.  Isn’t food wonderful?

 

Joy #10

This guy!  He is SUCH a joy!  He was gone last night and came home today and just seeing him when I walked in the door made my whole day all better!  (that’s Frank, by the way – he’s doing something very serious… I like when he’s doing serious things because then I can distract him… he loves when I distract him while he’s intently working on something… )

 

Joy #11

Yeah, yeah – I know.  I’m a consultant.  I’m supposed to love this stuff.  But I have to say, about three years ago I dreaded the winter because I had dry patches of skin along my nose, my eyebrows and the side of my face.  I washed my face, I tried to moisturize, but to no avail.  I switched to Mary Kay and I haven’t had this problem since!  I love that I don’t worry about my face any more – it gives me lots more time to worry about other things… ahhh… joy!

 

Joy #12

This is our theme for our nursery – lambs! (disregard the already embroidered name on the quilt – it’s not even close to any of the baby names we’re considering)  It makes me smile because lambs are such sweet looking animals and totally gender neutral.  Although, I’m sure I’ll find out that lambs are really very unfriendly beasts that attack small domesticated animals.  But whatever.  They make me happy and bring me joy.  Yay for lambs!

100 joys

One of my favorite Bloggers, Slightly Cosmopolitan, started working on 100 Joys which she found out about from Sarah Markley’s blog.  My friend Allison also saw a similar idea and is inviting our small group to participate via email.  It’s such a wonderful idea, I thought I would participate both on my blog and via email.

So here we go…

Joy #1

This little gold ornament was hand-decorated by my sweet husband when he was a little boy.  This ornament has hung on countless trees in his parents’ home when he was growing up and now hangs on our Christmas tree.  It’s hard to read in the picture, but the ornament just says “Frank” in glitter. It makes me smile!

 

Joy #2

The newest ornament on our tree this year was a gift from a dear friend, Meg.  She found this ornament while shopping with her fiance and they couldn’t resist.  It is a happy reminder of things to come in 2011.

 

Joy #3

Following in the theme of ornaments, this one is from one of my dear friends Erin.  She gave this to me when we were in college and somehow, between moving home, getting married and moving 4 times, we’ve managed to hang on to this ornament.  It makes my heart happy because not only does it remind me of Erin, but it also reminds me of all of the wonderful friends that I have made throughout the years!

 

Joy #4

What may not be clear in the above picture is that I am showing off my elastic waistband.  Elastic is one of my smaller, but still important, joys of the season.  I simply do not know what I would do without elastic considering my expanding waistline.  I love you, elastic!

 

Joy #5

We love the Chicago Blackhawks.  Love them.  Frank has been going to see them since he was a young boy.  We’ve been seeing the Hawks together for 8 years.  We’ve seen good years, bad years and awesome years.  We are not just-on-the-band-wagon fans, but rather long-term, committed fans.  I love seeing the Hawks play – win or lose.  I especially like it when the gloves come off and there is a great fight… especially when both players are trying to hold each other up while punching each other (cuz if they go horizontal, the fight is over…).  Nice.

 

Joy #6

There was a fantastic speaker at church a few months ago who talked about peace not being the absence of conflict, but rather, wholeness with God. I loved this concept and this season of the year reminds me of this all the time.  We live in a fallen world where there will always be conflict of one variety or another.  But we can have peace.  That gives me great joy!

 

Joy #7

Fundraisers where the kiddos sell cookie dough.  Talk about saving some time!  If that isn’t joy, I don’t know what is!

 

… Too be continued…

beautiful things

This morning at church they played a song by Gungor called “Beautiful Things”.  The lyrics were really simple, but really poignant:

All this pain / I wonder if I’ll even find my way / I wonder if my life could really change at all / All this earth / Could all that is lost ever be found / Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of us

Even though we are pregnant now, I still think a lot about our struggles with fertility. I think about how tested I felt and how alone, even in the midst of knowing quite a few people going through the same things.  I think about how often I wondered why we were going through this challenge.

A lot of the time, I think about how I could’ve done it better.

Maybe I could’ve been more positive and more optimistic.  Maybe I could’ve made it easier for the people around me by not talking about it or by talking about it more or by talking about it more positively.  Maybe I could’ve put on an attitude that was happier and more joyful, even when I was hurting.

And I kind of wonder what would’ve been accomplished.

It’s been occurring to me more and more the importance of reaching outward in difficult times and of being honest about where I am at, even if that location is not exactly lovely.  Glossing over feelings and putting up a front of being happy and in control is great if my goal is to make people feel like I have my crap together.  But it doesn’t do anything to draw people in, to connect with others or build community.  Of course, I believe there is a time and a place for being emotionally honest (ahem, losing it at work is not an option).

And then I think of Frank.

Frank loves to help people do projects around their homes.  He’s really good at helping, too.  He is much more coordinated than I am, so he is definitely more of an asset than a liability in pretty much any home improvement project.  He is smart, but he is not someone who thinks he has all the answers – which means he’s willing to problem solve and take direction.

Whenever he’s been asked to help with something and he’s not flying, he willingly and joyfully obliges.

And the thing about when he helps people is that it builds community.  He gets to know the other guys he’s working with and they usually feel like they are closer friends for having done the work.  I would argue that it is more effective for guys to build relationships working alongside each other than it is to go on a double date with their wives/girlfriends.

It’s just how guys are.

But imagine if no one asked him to help?  If everyone could just do it on their own?

I have a friend Rose, who you’ve read about here on my blog.  She and I have struggled with starting a family for some time.  She’s probably one of the sweetest girls I know.  And I doubt we’d be as good of friends as we are if we had not struggled through this fertility stuff together.  If she had said, “yeah, everything is WONDERFUL for me” and I’d lied and said the same thing, we’d probably never know each other as well as we do.

We share in the struggles together.  We cheer each other onward.  We rejoice and we grieve together.

I would also suggest that sometimes it’s the small things that bring us together.  Yes, the holidays are a great time for families to come together, but I also think that casual Tuesday night dinners and birthday dinners and celebrations of day-to-day things also brings us all closer.

So I don’t think I did the fertility stuff perfectly.  I didn’t keep myself together in a perfect little package of happiness.  But I don’t regret the struggle.

The song at church today reminded me that God uses all of this life we live to make beautiful things.  Out of the dust of our sadness and pain, God has grown friendships, strengthened our marriage and rooted us more deeply in our faith.  Our God is a faithful God, no matter the circumstance.

meet rosie, al and luis

Rosie, Al & Luis: The Family-To-Be!

My dear friend Rosie is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  She has been my companion on this unfortunate road of fertility treatments.  Her husband, Al, is one of the most dedicated husbands I’ve ever met – it is his delight to just be with his wife.  They are a couple that we simply marvel at and are encouraged by.

In their quest to become more than a family of two, they’ve suffered the loss of two babies, Katie and Daniel, in the second trimester of Rosie’s pregnancies. With other on-going fertility challenges, Rosie and Al had been considering fostering children. It has been their hearts desire to have a family and God answered their prayers!

Al’s older sister had abandoned two of her children with Al’s mother.  Struggling to find the energy to raise her grandchildren, Al’s mother asked Rosie and Al if they would be able to take the youngest, Luis.  Sweet Luis has not had an idyllic life: his mother tested positive for cocaine when Luis was born and he was even an innocent participant in a drug raid. Being shuffled between homes and parent-figures has taken a toll on the little guy.

After thinking and praying about this, Rosie and Al consulted a lawyer and determined that they would raise Luis and adopt him!  Luis is a vibrant, sweet little 3 year old guy and I truly believe that his life will be infinitely better because of Rosie and Al’s love.  It will be quite a beautiful family!

So here is my shameless plug: in order to get legal guardianship of Luis, they have to run ads in the newspapers and pay for a lawyer.  The cost is $1,500 and they are very humbly asking for assitance in achieving this goal so that they can provide Luis with a permanent, loving home.  If you are interested in helping out, please visit their blog. At the very least, they would greatly appreciate your prayers and thoughts.  THANK YOU!