Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Gallon-full of Grateful

Today I was making Noah lunch when I accidentally ripped open an entire bag of frozen french fries. Darn! I thought, I only needed a hand-full and now the bag was completely torn in half.
(If you know me well, you will also know the twenty-five year old running "joke" that I can't seem to escape. The one about the sub-par way that I open cereal boxes. I always try my best, it just rarely works out for me.)

So when I inadvertently shredded this bag of french fries, my first emotions were shamefulness and self-disgust. It quickly turned to "shoot, what am I going to do with the other 90% of the french fries?"

That's when I went over to the cabinet, hunched down, and started looking for a gallon-sized Ziploc bag to solve my problem. Sure enough, they were there. (As were the sandwich size, the snack size, and the printed with measurements, 1 cup sized Ziploc bags.)

And then, it hit me! An emotion that kind of felt like what I'd imagine a Care Bear cloud would feel like if it were an emotion. This feeling of happiness and gratitude and rainbows and sunbeams!

Which is weird, I know, coming from a Ziploc bag, but suddenly, I had this overwhelming feeling of "MAN! I am SO grateful that I could come to the cupboard and there was the gallon-sized bag that I needed." And the feeling just grew from there as I stopped, motionlessly bent over. "I'm so thankful." "How did I ever become this lucky, to have such abundance in my life?" 

For many, a gallon-sized Ziploc bag might not often illicit such emotions, but I think that this moment was precipitated by a lot of small occurrences earlier in the day. Each one that I felt gratitude for.

First, it was freezing this morning, and I was thrilled! I saw my neighbor on my daily walk, and she declared this to be "Duluth" weather. She said in Duluth, if it gets near 80 degrees, people start wilting from the heat. I thought in that moment that I'm rather particularly suited to Duluth weather myself! Days like these, with their high, barely reaching 70, I had the rare chance to wear something cozy in the summer. So I'm spending the day in a super soft terry cloth tunic and leggings. It's like pajamas, but better because you can go to Target in them. And, the best part about it being freezing, is that I could almost pretend that it's fall. The season that I live for.

Before I realized how cold it was, early this morning I tried on a summer dress that I had sewn a couple of years ago. Even though it's a little strange looking and a little crooked, I felt so happy and proud that I had made it myself!

And then I topped the dress with a crocheted shawl, that I had also made myself. Complete with rosettes and bubble stitches. It was all too much of a "look" for errands I thought, but none-the-less, it brought me joy knowing that I could outfit myself and my family, should the entirety of the retail clothing industry implode. (Jon and Noah would be wearing floral, crocheted shawls.)

Also this morning, I received an email that camp was closed due to a power outrage from last night's storms. I thought, "Hooray! A chance for Noah to sleep in, and for us to have a quiet day together. 

Noah woke up, refreshed from a long night's sleep, in a good mood. He didn't fight me when I mentioned that today would be a day for pants instead of shorts. He even agreed to be a "helper" and go along with me on my two, regular Monday errands - the grocery store and Target. 

At the grocery store, Noah, finally being tall enough to see over the handle of the cart, insisted on pushing, and he did a great job. He found his snack seaweed and chose lunch items without hassle. We bought a bunch of fresh flowers. I felt so thankful for being able to bring food home from the store each week.

When came back and put away the cold food, Noah readily agreed to the weekly Target run. Some things are essential, mainly cat food and shampoo and toilet paper. You don't want to run out.
Noah asked if he could buy a small toy with some of his saved money. I agreed. He dumped out his little, miniature safe, and we sat on the floor counting quarters. I thought: "Wow, I did this as a kid too. We are making a memory for both of us." And how grateful I felt for this unscheduled moment.

At the store, we purchased everything on the list (Except for the liquid dish soap which I have forgotten). And when I paid the cashier, I thought: "How appreciative am I, that I can purchase the odds and ends in life that we need without worry.

Basically, it was just a lovely day of small reminders of just how thankful I am. There are always the big things in the front of my mind that I hold gratitude for..... a wonderful husband, a great son, a cozy home, a community of the most wonderful friends, and so on and so on and so on. Sometimes though, it takes the littler things, all added up, to just stand in awe. If that makes sense.

Even if you're missing out on some of the "bigger ticket items" that you'd like to have in your life to be thankful for, if you can, for the time being,  acknowledging the small joys can be amazingly rewarding too.

Here are a few of my "small gratitudes" from the past few weeks. What are yours!?

Thankful for finding new ways to dust, and having helpers!

For the pretty, little gifts that Noah makes me at day camp. Like this beautiful glass fusion earring and necklace set! :)

Grateful for Grandpas that stop by for a few hours on the hottest day of the year so far. And for a mini-pool to dip our feet in.

Thankful for the opportunity to cook for my family when I want to express my love. Snickerdoodle recipe HERE!

And for finding the BEST crisp cucumber and dill salad recipe yet! Perfect for warm summer evenings. (This one was from a cookbook. Let me know if you want the recipe. Basically it was two English cucumbers sliced, salted, left for 15 minutes and patted dry. Some sour cream, a bit of red onion, lots of dill, salt and pepper, white wine vinegar and sugar. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to meld the flavors. Delicious!)

Thankful for the times when it's too cool to turn the A/C on, but too warm not to throw open the windows. A perfect opportunity to make a window seat for a cat. 

Appreciative of family bike rides and fire engines sitting outside the station.

Oh! Did I mention gratitude for boys with haircuts, so they can stop getting upset each morning when their Moms try to comb their long hair!? Noah decided to get a short haircut for a change. I think he looks nice! Noah and I are trying to get used to it. I think we secretly both miss his long hair. But something else that I'm grateful for - hair that grows back and the ability to change one's hairstyle up any which way!

Feeling really lucky for husbands that go along with any cheesy photo op.  :)

And for ice cream in an old farmhouse in one of my favorite places around: 

And how could one forget my gray-haired readers. I'm TOTALLY thankful for YOU, and for having the chance to  share this strange hair-color journey with new friends! Actually, I am feeling lucky to have white hair. It has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and to just go with the flow. Something that I've never been good with. Having this experience has changed my life for the better in so many ways! (Also, I have to tell you, I'm thankful that now I'm done with "growing out" my hair. I have some brown still mixed in there, but the gray has grown all the way to the ends. There is something so settling about being past the growing out phase. I PROMISE, for all of you who are going through this process now, one day, you wake up, and your new color feels just, "normal".  It feels like it's "you" and it's not a huge deal anymore. So hang in there, things get a lot easier! )

Riiiiiing! What's not better than the jangly ring of a vintage phone? I'm appreciating this ebay find that arrived this week. Not only was coincidentally sent from Toledo, Jon's hometown, but when the packaged arrived with the return address on it.....the previous owner is living on Jon's old street!!! WHAT are the chances? Toledo is a BIG place! 

I love that this little pond resides at the bottom of our street, and that right now, the Lilly pads are in bloom! Big, hot pink flowers. I also love that the pond is home to hundreds of koi looking fish, some snapping turtles, frogs and even....... A FAMILY OF GREEN HERON!!! I saw the young Herons just the other day. It was nerdily exciting. I tried so hard to get a good picture, but they were up in the tree and sadly, none of the pictures came out well.

And finally, I am grateful for sweet cats who are happy to see their boy when he gets home from camp.

Until next time, remember the little things are special too!

With Love,


Valerie said...

Dear Lauren,
Just catching up on all of my blog reading. What a wonderful post. =) It made me smile. It is such a wonderful thing to count our blessings. =) Noah looks so handsome with his new hair cut and as always you look simply lovely.
Blessings and Sunshine,

Lauren said...

Dear Valerie,

Hello friend! Thank you for my heart for your encouragement always. You make me smile too. :)
As did your recent posts as well! I feel terrible guilty that I am incredibly behind on all of my reading. Everywhere in fact. Summer has just seemed to pull me a bit farther away from the computer, a bit more often. Please know how much I enjoy catching up with your goings-on too. I feel much gratitude that we are friends! :)
Thank you for your compliment on Noah's hair. I think it works well for him and looks spiffy! And I think he loves not having to struggle with a comb when he wakes up in the morning.

Thanks Valerie! Much love and a hug to you!
Lauren :)

Anonymous said...

I too am always grateful when I open my pantry or vanity and see how stocked up I am. Maybe I'm not strange after all that I get a comforting feeling knowing how lucky I am to be able to do that. I may not have a yacht or a BMW but I have everything I need and for that I'm grateful.

Lauren said...

Hi friend! Isn't gratitude great? :)
Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I'm grateful for YOU!
It does a heart good to think of the little things that we are thankful for, thanks so much for the reminder!=)

Lauren said...

Awwww. :)
Right back at ya' sister! I am thankful for you too!
You're so sweet. So happy to call you a friend. <3

Lisa said...

Gorgeous! I love your hair. I am at the point of 'to colour or not to colour' as I have quite a few greys coming in over the past few years. I am almost certain I am not going to colour - your journey has helped with this. Thank you!

Lauren said...

Hi Lisa!!!

Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. I'm glad that this blog could help a little. :)
I think that the decision to grow out one's gray or to continue with hair dye is a super personal choice. You just follow your heart! I think one reassuring thing if you decide to try the gray is that if you end up not liking your hair, you can always go back to using color! It's like a no-strings-attached trial!
Thanks again Lisa. I'm glad you've come by!
Lauren :)

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
janbee said...

Hi Lauren,
When I read your blog it comforts me to know that I am not the only person out there that feels like I do. All the things you write about feel so familiar and it is helping me to feel better about the person I am. I also love to feel grateful for the small simple things in life. Like being able to fill your fridge and pantry and have a warm and cozy home. Spending time with family and friends and also nurturing your alone time. You are the friend I haven't met yet.
Ps. I too stopped colouring my hair your hair looks great!

Lauren said...

Dear Janbee,

What a beautiful comment. Thank you from my heart. I have to tell you that when I read the line at the bottom of your comment: " You are the friend I haven't met yet." It made me feel so happy inside that the blog can connect two people with similar feelings so that they know they're not alone them! What I'm trying to say is that you reminded me of what makes me so happy about blogging and why I keep a blog! So thank you! Sometimes I feel as though I might be the only person who feels a certain way and then....poof! I make a new friend through the blog who understands! :)

Thank you bunches Janbee. So wonderful to meet you. I hope your gray hair journey is going well. It certainly can be an "adventure" huh! :)

Sending love and cheer!
P.S. Now I'm the friend that you HAVE met! :)