In the last day and a half there are so many things that have brought me joy. So here are the latest in my 100 Reasons For Joy Challenge.
Joy #41 Jesus... I could leave it right there.
But there's more to this picture. This is the third annual 'mommy and me Christmas tea.' My best friend and I began doing this as a replica of one our church hosts for women. We wanted our kids to have their own time to focus on Jesus and to celebrate the start of the Christmas season.
She and I are the most kindred spirits there ever could be and she's such a gift from God. It's as though we were cut from the same cloth. We get each other.
We met in the first grade and have walked through life's joys and trials all along the way. We played Strawberry Shortcake for hours on end, were cheerleaders together, went to prom together, were in each others weddings and are now raising our children together.
I'm so grateful for the gift of her and she brings me such joy. (Joy #42)
I love her attention to detail.
And her sweet servant's heart.
Did I mention detail? Isn't this the sweetest thing.
Joy #43... drum roll please....We got our tree.
(That's not it.. but just a cute family picture)My kids and husband were running around like nuts playing some kind of hide and seek game with that pink sparkly santa hat while I was left to make the tough decision of picking the tree.
The kids were squealing with excitement. Just being out so late was reason enough for celebration.
Joy #44 Oh I wish I could have gotten a photo, but you'll just have to use your imagination. When we're getting ready to leave the house the kids run out and get in the car while I'm still gathering everything we need. Lately with all the condensation on the windows I step outside to find little drawings all over my windows. Sort of annoying right?
Well this morning I realized they've been playing this game. They draw faces, one in particular on the passenger side window was named Jimmy. They wait and watch as I pick up speed getting on the freeway to see Jimmy's face contort and spread as the water streaks across from the wind.
I hear, "Look, Jimmy has hair." "OOOHHHH Jimmy is sweating." "Ah man, Jimmy's dead."
I was dying. Not sure if I'm describing it quite as funny as it was, but anything that makes me laugh that hard in the morning is a reason for joy.
And today beginning to decorate brought me Joy #45.
My middle daughter Ava is very sentimental and just kept saying, "This is my favorite part mommy. I love getting out the decorations." I saw her carefully unfolding wrapping from the delicate ornaments, making sure to let her little sister know she shouldn't be rough with them.
She was so good about helping me, even holding the lights as I circled them around. I instantly was brought back in time to when my sister and I would do the same together. In that moment I had a flash of me at her age. It was as though I was looking at the five-year-old me. It made me realize how important these traditions are and how this moment in time will stick with her and she'll remember it when she's a mom herself one day.
Joy #46 We had a lot of UPS deliveries today. Most of them for my husband's work. When I answered the door and was asked to sign for the package my three-year-old ran to the door and promptly gave him the snowman sticker she was putting together.
He seemed like it made his day and said, "I'm going to wear it, thank you very much."
Then she squealed and twirled away in the way she does.
He said, "Sugar?"
I said, "no, that's just the way she is and she's always giving people things."
She doesn't have that typical "mine" attitude that's so normal for toddlers and preschoolers. It's so important for her to give people things.
The man said, "She's blessed. My grandmother was like that. She just wanted to give and she saw everything as a treasure."
It made me think about divine appointments and how even the delivery man who comes to your door, you can have an impact upon and he upon you.
I saw in his eyes that Audrey was a bright spot in an otherwise hectic day for him. And what he said about her made me smile. I don't have a picture, but I do want to remember this moment to share with her one day.
Joy #45 Another walk down memory lane looking at ornaments from my childhood
my wedding year
and babies being bornFinishing off the night is Joy #46 Candy Cane Lane.
My kids LOVE doing this. It's such a simple thing. This year they took turns standing up to stick their head out the sunroof. I remember years past with babies in the car.
But this year they were all excitedly yelling, "Merry Christmas" to every person and car we passed. With Christmas music playing I felt joyful again for this tradition and for getting to share in their excitement.
And it warmed my heart to hear how many people were shouting Merry Christmas in a day and age where too often we hear "Happy Holidays." As we rounded each street corner, Ava joyfully added, "And to all a good night!"