Gifts and Blessings

I’m always amazed when people take time out of their days to bless me. Whether it’s a friend sending a text at exactly the right time or an email checking on me, lunch or meeting for coffee, it always seems to come at the right time. 

 (photo cred the WoW style)

Giving these gifts–big or small–requires a sacrifice of some sort. Maybe time or effort or just looking beyond one’s self to see who needs to be blessed. In a world of selfish behavior and looking out for #1, I find this gift-giving so refreshing. To be on either the giving or recieving end is a blessing.

Every time someone reaches out and does something spectacularly selfless, I not only fill up with squishy gooeyness on the inside, but it spurs me on to do the same. To pass it on and pay it forward. This week I recieved a very personal gift, and it required a sacrifice of time and lots of talent. My friend Linda gave me a portrait of my family that she drew. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This wasn’t just something she whipped up. It took time away from her busy schedule as a teacher, mama and grandma. She had to study the original, outline us, color us in. Every detail was tended to, from eye color to the cover of my book– 

 (original-photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

So I ask: who can you bless today? Who needs your time or talents or kind words or smile? Who needs some encouragement? I dare say there are several people in your world that could use some of that stuff. Encouragement and hope are powerful seeds to plant inside someone–take a moment today to look around and see who you can bless. 

And if your are in need yourself, see what happens when you encourage someone else. It’s amazing how it will come back to you–

 (photo cred brown-eyed-whimsy.tumblr.com)

Now go, be blessed and be a blessing!

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TGIF

I cannot express my gratitude for Friday after this week! It’s like a long lost friend who has finally arrived for the weekend. You know those friends–the ones who make you laugh til you cry and give your heart the warm fuzzies. 

Oh Friday, thank God you’re here!

Since my Bigs (the older two boys) go to their dad’s house every other weekend, we have declared their Fridays here to be designated as Fort Fridays. This really means my living room will be trashed by the copious amounts of blankets, toys and food strewn about, but it’s something they look forward to.

With Christmas getting closer something dawned on me recently that has shaken me to my core. This Christmas my Bigs are with me. I love it when all my babies are in the nest. But since I get them every other year and my oldest is twelve, I have three more Christmases where I can count on them all being here.

Oh no! Where did my time go?

I’m not ready to think about when they have families and in laws and make holiday plans of their own. I’m not ready to have to share my little humans with anyone yet, although I’m getting some unwanted practice at this already.

Time passes so quickly when you have children as your measurement of it. I rail against this on a near-daily (sometimes hourly) basis because as hard as things are at times for our family, I love this life God’s blessed me with and I can’t imagine it being different.

I’m learning to live fully in this present moment. To let it ripen and be everything it was meant to be. That takes some patience in the trials of things. Being present. Appreciating this exact moment.

Even if it’s not Friday.

Or Christmas.

Or whatever you could put here that represents your ecstatic moments. Right here is good. 

Right here is exactly right.

(Photo credit Hub Pages) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

TGIF

I cannot express my gratitude for Friday after this week! It’s like a long lost friend who has finally arrived for the weekend. You know those friends–the ones who make you laugh til you cry and give your heart the warm fuzzies. 

Oh Friday, thank God you’re here!

Since my Bigs (the older two boys) go to their dad’s house every other weekend, we have declared their Fridays here to be designated as Fort Fridays. This really means my living room will be trashed by the copious amounts of blankets, toys and food strewn about, but it’s something they look forward to.

With Christmas getting closer something dawned on me recently that has shaken me to my core. This Christmas my Bigs are with me. I love it when all my babies are in the nest. But since I get them every other year and my oldest is twelve, I have three more Christmases where I can count on them all being here.

Oh no! Where did my time go?

I’m not ready to think about when they have families and in laws and make holiday plans of their own. I’m not ready to have to share my little humans with anyone yet, although I’m getting some unwanted practice at this already.

Time passes so quickly when you have children as your measurement of it. I rail against this on a near-daily (sometimes hourly) basis because as hard as things are at times for our family, I love this life God’s blessed me with and I can’t imagine it being different.

I’m learning to live fully in this present moment. To let it ripen and be everything it was meant to be. That takes some patience in the trials of things. Being present. Appreciating this exact moment.

Even if it’s not Friday.

Or Christmas.

Or whatever you could put here that represents your ecstatic moments. Right here is good. 

Right here is exactly right.

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Being a Grownup

My kids are always talking about how cool it will be to finally be grownups. They’re always wishing time away, even as I’m begging it to slow down. It made me start thinking about this whole grownup thing I have going on.

Sometimes I get bogged down with the responsible side of grownupness. Bills and insurance and the blah blah blah of existing as a human in the twenty-first century. 

Sidebar: seems to be a lot of blah blah blah, am I right?

Today, I’m thinking about what my kids must see:

1. I get to stay up as late as I want. And I don’t have to take a nap. Unless I want to.

2. I can eat cake for breakfast. Or lunch. Or whenever I want.

3. I get to pick out my own clothes. 

4. I can use the computer. All. The. Time.

5. I get to watch Netflix. Whenever I want.

6. Who decides if we’re going out to eat? This girl!

7. I can drive a car. Which means I can go anywhere I want.

8. I have my own money. I don’t have to ask anyone for it or wait til my birthday to get money to buy things.

9. I don’t have to go to school anymore.

10. No one’s the boss of me.

Yeah, being a grownup is pretty amazing. 

What do you think the best part is?

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Rusty

As most Mamas can attest, trying to find time to do anything but the necessities is tough. Putting out fires (real and metaphorical) consume much of my day; kids needing me for stuff takes up the rest. What about time for things like trying on shoes or soaking in the tub or travel or (gasp!) writing?

All of these activities are soul-soothers for me. I’m now brave enough most days to call myself a writer. After my book was finished (insert shameless plug here: My Pink Champagne Life is available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com), I just stopped writing.

Why did I stop?

I can blame it on the busyness and the business of raising four kids easily enough. And I work from home so there’s that. And I really like Mr. Wonderful so I enjoy spending copious amounts of time with him, even if we can’t finish a dang sentence most of the time. 

Sidebar: does anyone else ever text their spouse or significant other from inside the house? Yeah, me neither.

So there’s all this clutter piling up in my house and my soul and my mind and writing is usually the only way I can get rid of the soul and mind junk.

The house is a whole other story.

I’m feeling a bit rusty as I type away on this blog I started like, 10 minutes ago. It doesn’t feel like it has before: like a warm blanket just taken out of the dryer or my favorite pair of broken-in pink cowgirl boots or the Christmas movie Mr. Wonderful and I always make time to watch during the holidays.

Right now writing feels more like wearing tight pants, the ones I had to wear after I had the babies when maternity pants were too big and my regular pants were too small and I threw daily tantrums from inside my closet when I was supposed to be getting dressed. It’s just uncomfortable. Clausterphobic. And some other word that I can’t think of to go here because, like I said, I’m rusty.

But I’m going keep writing my words down. At least it will help clear my mind. It needs a good scrubbing too. 

And my soul. I get really rusty at times when I haven’t spent enough time alone with God. When all I’ve managed is a quick “Bless this food” or “Bless her heart” I start to feel all dank inside. Dark. Like the light is dimming.

And I don’t like that.

Somehow in the chaos of my world and my house and my children I’m supposed to find time to spend in communion with God and with myself. And then write from the overflow of that. 

If I’m being honest (which I’m very likely to do as I’m an over-sharer), adding in Mr. Wonderful’s PTSD makes the chaos even more chaos-y. We like to call this souvenir from his military service overseas Mad Cow. Because sometimes you just have to laugh.

So I laugh. And I write.

And I’m grateful for anyone who takes the time to read my words or comment on them. That means so much to someone trying to shake the dust off. Get better. Write another book. Think a thought all the way to completion like I used to do pre-kids. What a luxury that was! I had no idea.

I write because I have to, I guess. Because I’m called to. Because somewhere inside an imperfect, slightly neurotic artsy fartsy mess is a soul that longs to commune with her maker through words.

So even though I’m rusty I’m writing. And I’m listening. And I’m working towards keeping my light shining. With each post and page I’m coming closer to where I really want to be.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015