Monday, November 11, 2013

A picture's worth a thousand words...

There are some moments you notice, and you just can't help loving them and wanting to hold on to them forever. This is one of those moments. It may look like a normal, slightly cluttered living/dining area, but traces of the day are there. It's all of our moments wrapped up together. I'm sitting here, on the couch with my tea and my book to close my night, and I can't help smiling. I look up, and I see this one, beautiful moment that is so representative of all of the other amazing, beautiful moments of today. It almost makes me want to cry with gratitude and an overwhelming sense of how blessed I am.

Let me show you what I mean.

Just out of your line of sight in this picture, there's my bookcase and my little breakfast bar. The bookcase is jam-packed, full of books and notebooks and binders and journals. It's time to clean up my collection again, and get rid of some things I just don't use. I love books. Three years ago I didn't own a single one. Today, I'm thinking about buying a bigger bookcase!

Only two of the books in that case are fiction, Monarch and The Breakaway, they were written by a friend of mine. I don't know her very well, and I don't speak to her very often, but when I was in a really tough spot in life she gave me a lot of guidance. She was one of the few people willing to go on a limb for me, to try her very best to help me in that particular time in life. For that I will always be grateful, I will always consider her a dear friend, and I will never get rid of her books.

The rest of my books are nonfiction. There's three bibles and a whole lot of resources about business, marriage, family, leadership, and similar topics. Three years ago I didn't own a single book, now I need a bigger bookcase because I'm constantly buying new ones. I'm learning so much, all the time! I can barely believe that the person I am today even came from the person I was three years ago, but I'm here. I treasure those books, especially the personally signed copy of Get Married, Stay Married by Paul and Billie Kaye Tsika. That book saved our marriage before it had even started. It began the transformation in my husband and I that got us back into church, and onto the right path.

Just past the bookcase is my breakfast bar. I think that's what they call it, anyway. There's candles there. Jared doesn't much like candles, but he lets me keep them around because he knows how much I love them. Especially these ones. It's really hard to find this scent except after Halloween, but for me it's always been the smell of happy times. All of my favorite childhood memories happened when the house smelled like this. It's the perfect blend of apples and cinnamon, the smell of my favorite tea. In this moment, the smell of those candles brings me not only the joy of all those wonderful memories, but also of knowing that my husband probably really hates those candles and he doesn't say a word because he loves me and he likes how happy the candles help me be.

He's amazing like that.

In the corner are the boxes and packing materials from today's product delivery. I love product day. I get to spend at least an hour unpacking, sorting, recording, and putting away my favorite everyday products! It makes me feel productive, and busy, yet somehow so at peace. Every product day means I'm one month closer to everything I've been working toward for the past three years.

On the wall, above and next to the door, are my inspiration reminders. I have our first son's name, printed in big letters, to remind me why I'm learning self discipline. I have pictures of places that we want to visit: Ireland, Italy, Germany, Peter Island, and Victoria BC, to remind me that the world is bigger than just what I can see right now. I have a picture of an old car driving down a road lined with cherry trees, to remind me to enjoy the journey. I have 70 personal affirmations, six inspirational quotes, and six pictures of the most gorgeous shoes I've seen yet...all to help me keep developing myself.

When I'm feeling discouraged, or sad, or put-down, when something hasn't gone the way I anticipated or wanted, I look at this wall. I remind myself of my son and all of his siblings, of the wonderful places we'll be able to go, of why this is all so worth it. I stand in front of this wall and read off the 70 affirmations until I believe in myself again. I often glance over at the inspirational quotes to give me a mini-lift when I need one. And the shoes? They're to remind myself to take everything one single, beautiful, careful step at a time.

Truthfully, I'm sure this wall drives my husband crazy too. He doesn't learn the same way I do and so the wall probably just looks like a bunch of printer paper and thumbtacks to him. But he knows that it helps me, and so out of love he lets me do as I please. He's pretty awesome.

The table makes me smile today, because Jared was sitting right there this afternoon when he told me that I'd gotten the pancakes right. It's a small thing, sortof. For me it's a really big deal. I've been struggling with learning (and re learning) how to cook even the simplest things. His affirmation meant a lot to me. And he was right! They were excellent pancakes!

Him taking the time to say it is also very important to me. It wasn't always this way. Not because he was a bad person or a bad husband, we just weren't there yet. There was a period of time when we barely even liked each other, much less complemented each other! Having gone through that, hearing even a small praise like "good job on the pancakes" means a lot more.

Also at that table, there's our jackets hung side by side on chairs. We spent the whole day together again. Almost two years ago we started our own company. It's only by God's grace that both the company and the marriage survived, because we started up smack in the middle of that not liking each other time. Spending a day together used to be something I wished we could enjoy. Now, just barely two years later, it is. Every day is a giant bonding experience, and I love it!

Some people have said that will go away but I don't think it will. We get so much time to talk, to really get to know each other more and really be there for each other. Sometimes we talk about stupid things, just sharing our opinion on the colors of the cars around us or the transition from chorus to bridge in a song we just heard. Sometimes we talk about serious things, like our pasts and our future. Whatever we talk about, we grow closer every day. I wouldn't trade our time together for anything, and I'm so glad that God opened a door for us to be together so much.

In the corner there's the rocking chair. I only keep it because my mother in law likes it so much and I love to make her happy. When she's not here, the chair is just a storage space for purses and unused blankets. But when she's here, we pull it away from the wall so she can sit and rock. Maybe it's so many years of being a great mom to her own kids and then the kids she "adopted," but she really loves that chair. I'm looking forward to seeing her there, rocking and holding my babies, maybe singing or telling them a story. She's going to make a wonderful grandma.

The office chair is so far away from the desk because Jared and I wanted to watch one of our favorite shows with dinner. I was sitting there, until he said I was too far away and asked me to sit on the couch with him. It's another evidence of how far we've come, and it lit up my evening.

If you look closely you can also see my weights stashed under the end table. I've been working really hard on staying consistent with my workout habit. I'm having some medication conflicts right now that are making progress difficult, but I'm determined to build the habit anyway. Once I started thinking seriously about my future, and especially about my kids, exercising got really important to me. I never want my kids to be bored or lonely because I'm too fat to chase them around the playground, and I never want them to have to worry over the health problems that are caused by being overweight. I want to be my best for them, and set a good example for them, and that means building the habit now. I keep my weights there so I have to see them every day, because if I skip a workout then seeing those weights just sitting there under the table will drive me crazy enough to pick them up.

All of that, and it's just a snapshot. Just what I see when I glance up from my book. One glance carries so much blessing, so much abundance, so much change, growth, and happiness. So much, in just that one moment. I never want to forget just how thankful and blessed I feel right now.

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