When one still isn’t feeling stellar, there is still plenty of time to really ponder the beautiful parts of life. So here is today’s list of five bits of Upland life I’m thankful for:
Living near Ivanhoe’s– This fabulous eatery is the home of 100 type of shakes and 100 kinds of sundaes, not to mention their wonderful drive-in-style dishes. (Their breaded tenderloin sandwiches have won awards, and the hamburger is ground fresh each day.) Hoe’s was loved by college students when I attended Taylor, but it is now just eight blocks from our house. Good reason for friends to visit, too! Need to see the menu in advance? Check it out online!
Hummingbirds! – Every morning and evening, if I’m sitting in my regular chair, I can watch finches or cardinals to the right, but more breathtaking is the hummingbird. Around the corner, l can watch the bird hover… she sometimes decides to perch on the plastic petals. This shot from lunchtime today found the little lady perching for a short rest. 🙂
Lunch with my girls – I have been taking for granted fun lunches with my daughters. They usually end up as a “leftover” meal of some sort, but while we have fresh blackberries we sometimes have a “peanut butter and berries” sandwich. (fresher than jelly!)
Sharing movies and memories – Since this is right before the girls’ first day of school, we were looking at “high school” movies they hadn’t seen yet, and T.R. and I thought it would be fun to watch “Pretty in Pink.” I had fun letting the girls know what clothing was a bit like something I wore in high school… 😉 Ah, 80’s. (…though it wasn’t until the early 90’s that I obtained a hat much like the one Molly Ringwald wore in this movie. And I never actually saw the movie until T.R. and I picked up a few years ago. I was in junior high when it was in the theaters.)
Good neighbors – Our friends who live across the street or a few doors down are loved and appreciated so much! Being a part of a “neighborhood” is more than just our small Upland community, but I love how a “neighbor” isn’t just somebody we wave to or share fresh tomatoes with. One of my modern heroes remains Fred Rogers, who taught people of all ages what it really meant to be a neighbor, 🙂
Thank you to all of my “neighbors” who have joined me through my thankful journey!
As colds tend to linger, I’m still feeling far from good, but taking things even more slowly leaves even more room to recognize my many blessings! Such as what, you ask?
“Streaming” technology – When sickness keeps two folks at home on a Sunday morning (when they wish they could be in church!), I was extremely thankful that our local service was streamed digitally, and we could follow along with the fantastic message that Tom shared this morning. How nice!
Kleenex – I am so thankful that single-use, disposable tissues are readily available. Having to rewash hankies while dealing with colds would be a rather icky task, I think. I also recall making fun carnations out of fan-folded Kleenex of various colors when I was growing up… whatever the brand, disposable tissues have lots of uses, and I am indeed thankful for them!
Fuzzy socks – Even in the summer, toes can grow cool… I love being able to slip on a pair of fuzzy socks to reduce the chill for a few moments. The socks come off before long, but this particular pair makes me smile as I think of the friend who gave these to me as a birthday gift a couple of years ago. 🙂
Natural yard – Though our home isn’t exactly rural, it is such a joy to watch and hear signs of wildlife through our windows! We get to see birds, but other critters can be seen also.
Wellness – With my husband and I sick today, I am so thankful that this hasn’t passed on to our daughters! They begin school on Wednesday, so I pray it stays this way. (We’re doing what we can – handwashing can’t be overemphasized!)
I’m thankful for more than I can say… it will be hard to choose five final “thankful things” tomorrow. But what a special experience this 30-day journey has been!
As you could likely surmise yesterday, I’m not feeling wonderful. But I am able to still experience many wonderful parts of life, and there is so much to be thankful for! What, you ask? Well…
Cough medicine – When two bugs hit one at the same time, antibiotics may have tamed the infection/fever, but a good, strong cough medicine helped me finally sleep soundly last night. Thank you, NyQuil! (I very rarely use this, but last night was a night it was needed.)
Online school registration – When our daughters were in Kindergarten, I remember going in the week before school to complete and sign innumerable numbers of forms, and I had to wait in at least three different lines (I think four, including the line for bus routes). This would take a few hours. I recall asking. “Do we really need to do this in person?” Thankfully, they did start digital registration a few years ago, and this year’s new software at the school made it go more smoothly than any other year. As of yesterday, our registrations are successfully completed. Awesome!
Garden Bruchetta – Though actual bruchetta at a restaurant is generally made with diced tomato and such, for our own version, we have found that toast, covered with garlic scape pesto, then stacked with a large, fresh tomato slice and Parmesan cheese is a wonderful lunch snack!
Family game smiles – One of my favorite family games for the last few years has been “Fluxx.” T.R. and I first played this game in 1997, and at Gen Con this year, we received special cards signed by the creator, Andrew Looney (a former rocket scientist who now runs a game company, Looney Labs, with his wife). The pen and ink illustration is a fun representation of the game maker. If you’ve not played Fluxx before, give it a try. Or at least come and read the cards… they’re fun in a quirky sort of way.
Mostly free movies – When we search online, we use Bing! and collect points we can turn in for rewards… a month of regular searching is more than enough for $5 toward a Fandango movie ticket. I know this sounds silly, but using these certificates has helped us view some great movies at the area theater. At the start of the week, we enjoyed “Mr. Holmes.” It was indeed lovely! A fun imagining of Sherlock Holmes a few decades after his retirement, and Ian Mckellen portrayed the elder Sherlock splendidly.
As some less enjoyable parts of life keep inserting themselves, I am certainly enjoying the task of purposefully, pointedly finding where I should be giving thanks. I am incredibly blessed, and if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are also. Nice to remember, isn’t it?
As I said in the header, today will be a day of “unlikely thanks.” You’ll see what I mean…
1. Unexpectedly patient husband in the middle of the night – I had felt “a little under the weather” Wednesday afternoon, but I hadn’t realized things would escalate, making it hard for this MS girl’s legs to even think about moving. So T.R. got to help more than he may have expected when we turned in for the night. Glad we’ve made it through! (When somebody with MS has a fever, the internal heat sort of messes things up. Returning to normal temperature later fixes things, so legs and such work again..)
2. Doctor office – So thankful that our local office could fit me in! (Thanks!)
3. Antibiotics – Found out that I have an infection, so once these antibiotics kick in, it is so nice to know this will be gone.
4.Daughters who do the dishes – While I’m writing this, I hear the girls behind me as they’re washing dishes. (Some of these are from baking one girl chose to do… mmmm!)
5. Our dear friend Matt –Matthew Pickut was a sharp, funny, talented, hyper-intelligent college friend who was a dearly-loved pastor and assistant speech coach in Plymouth, Indiana. Three or so years ago, Matt experienced septic shock, and after the coma that ensued for many, many days, he was never quite able to fully rejoin the world. Yesterday morning, he passed away. Why is this a “thankful” thing? Matt’s body was finished, but we join his wife Barbie, young daughter Abi, and other friends and family in rejoicing for the legacy he left and the promise before him.
(I first wrote this yesterday, but being sick made it not get posted when it was first completed in the evening. I had been too quick with #5, and that deserved a bit more thought that my groggy mind had offered. I am glad that I had extended my thirty days of writing of thanks to the girls’ school starting time – they begin classes August 12. Three to go! )
I mentioned on Friday how I wouldn’t be able to post again until Monday, and I said I’d explain. So here we go. On Saturday morning, I was able to travel to Indianapolis, where I spent the rest of the weekend with T.R. and the girls at Gen Con! The time was very full, not to mention tiring, but it was lovely in its own very special ways.
5 things I’m thankful for about Gen Con
It is in Indianapolis! – This convention, which people travel to from around the world, is a 90 minute drive from our home. When we were first married, T.R. spoke of wishing he could attend Gen Con, but then it was in Geneva, Wisconsin, so this just wasn’t going to work. Twelve years ago, it was moved in Indianapolis, and T.R. was first able to attend (and be a part of a booth) four years ago.
Family event – With a family of self-proclaimed “geeks” (and proud of it!) , this was a lovely way to make special summer memories.
Neat worship together – Sunday morning’s Christian worship service started with nice music led by somebody I’m sure we’d not have seen on the stage at our church (not with that hair piece, anyhow, but she did a lovely job of leading, with the acoustic guitarist beside her). How great to join with few hundred brothers and sisters from different places and various walks of life.
Great message – “Here there be dragons” – using Ephesians 6:10-20, the “Geek Preacher” shared the importance of the “armor of God,” particularly peace and truth, grasping our shield of faith.
Special experience for T.R. – He did a wonderful job organizing and running the booth for Modiphius Entertainment – you can see great photos of his experience on his blog, Freelance Knight. You can see why I am so proud of him!