day 9 // and then sometimes it smacks you in the face.

So I posted a couple of days ago about having a hard time seeing beautiful.  And then you guys encouraged me and shared beautiful with me, and I loved it.  And then today, beautiful just smacked me in the face.  I was going to see my friend Julie and her new baby who are at home and doing well!!  I was driving through Chick-fil-A so we could eat lunch together over at her house, when I saw a woman.  I was at a different Cfa than I usually go to because it was on the way to their house.  As I turned in I saw a woman standing at the corner of the parking lot with 2 kids with her while she held a sign.  I didn’t read it all, but I saw “No job, hungry, no food for children, need money for food for kids”.  It was a really long sign, and I’m not sure what else it said.  But I was kind of hit by it.  It’s not something you see too often where I live now.  And it really hit me that she had her children with her.  My child was at preschool, which we gladly pay for each month, while these kids were sitting on curb helping their mom beg.

I couldn’t shake it, so as I pulled through the line I grabbed our food and a gift card for them.  As I swung back by the woman, I was able to give her the gift card.  I got to talk with her for a few minutes before the cars started lining up behind me.  She told me she was making her way from California to Maryland.  She lost her job in California and her sister lives in Maryland, so she could stay with her.  She said she was trying to get enough money to buy gas to get them to Maryland.  She said it was really hard for her and tears welled up in her eyes.  The cars lined up behind me were not happy, so I told her I would pray for her and I drove away.  I just kept thinking about them.  Not even an hour before I had gone shopping at Target.  I had nearly $300 in clothes, shoes, towels, medicines, and some random things in my trunk, and here was this woman who was just trying to get food and gas money.  I felt awful.  I was so convicted about my spending, about what we’ve been blessed with, and reminded that not everyone is where we are.  My heart and my attitude were all wrong, and today God used a beautiful woman to show me that.

graceaboundsmore

beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

 

This post is part of the Write 31 days series through the month of October.  Find all of this month’s posts here.

day 8 // reality check + your beauty.

I asked for beautiful and you guys delivered.  Not only that but I feel like I got a good reality check on it, too.  Thanks for your encouragement and helping me  to see the beauty that is all around us.  It’s amazing.  I love how God places people in our lives to build us up and help us to see His beauty when we are struggling to see it.

My Grandfather called and told me about the things he finds beautiful in this life, and I was really touched by his list, especially as next week will be one year since he lost his wife of 63 years.  He said that Jack is beautiful and so am I.  He said we have a beautiful family and friends.  The Grand Canyon, places in California, the Rocky Mountains, that we have good jobs and food to eat every day, and for each day we get here.  He’s a sweet sweet man.  Then not even one minute after I hung up with him my sister called to ask me about how I was struggling with the beautiful stuff.  She was in the mountains, and then she sent me this picture.

I got lots of good responses from you all, too.  Here are a few of them:

Sue in Maryland said:

“I see beauty: in the faces of those I come in contact with each day;
in the thunder and lightning of a rain
storm; in the moon shining across the ocean at nighttime; in the fragrance of
homemade bread; in the faces of those greeting a loved one at the airport;
in Gordy’s face when he is happily surprised”

Sue, I love those things, too!  Especially the airport greeting.  That is one of my favorite things to see, and something I watch every time I go to the airport.

Lindsey said:

“I think it’s beautiful when a family is not just a husband and a wife and then the kid(s)….when the family is a team. Where one is weaker the other stronger, when responsibilities ebb and flow and change as they need to and it makes us better not worse for the wear. Basically when a marriage is as God intended. That’s pretty beautiful”

Love this, Lindsey, thanks so much for sharing!

Madeline said:

“I totally get it. Sometimes it’s hard. But with God on my side, I find I can face anything and even find the beauty in it.”

Thanks, Madeline!  You are so right — we can find beauty in anything with God on our side.  He is beautiful.

Thanks so much for sharing guys!

day 7 // beautiful to you.

One week into October, we are, and I can’t hardly believe it.  Didn’t October just start yesterday?  I am finding it harder to write on 31 days of beautiful so far than it was to write 31 days of hope.  My whole life was riding on hope last October.  And in fact, the hits just kept coming in October.  I had surgery and two days later my Granny had an aneurysm and later died.  In the same year we lost Gabriel — just months later.  Last year I clung to hope — we had to.

These past 7 days I’ve been having a harder time writing on what’s beautiful.  I need some encouragement in it.  So what I want to know is —- what is beautiful to you??  Where do you see beauty in your life?  I want to know!

 

Please share with me!  So I can then share with everyone on here.  I need inspiration.  Help me see the beauty!

 

 

day 6 // who i watched.

Today I watched a little boy/toddler named Gabriel.  He was at our house playing, eating, and hanging out with me and Jack.  It was kind of wild to have another Gaby here.  And pretty beautiful, too.  I was concerned it might confuse Jack, but he seemed to understand the difference.  A brief moment that was a gift.

 

little boys times two littleboy

day 5 // what a day + where our hope is.

So technically this post is going up at 1 am on the 6th; however, I am backdating this post to the 5th because I’m still operating in the 5th mode and today has been crazy so I’m just getting this to post.  Also, I have had computer problems for the last hour and a half and just got my computer turned on.  I’m new to the MacBook Pro world — have always had PCs before.  I’ve had a lot of issues with my Macbook not turning on.  Does anyone know if this is a common problem?  I don’t know much about computers.  And on another note, I want to wish my friend Deanna a very happy birthday today!  She is one of my oldest, best, lifelong friends — and I think we’ve been friends for 25 years now!  Happy birthday, Dee!

Today was a really fun day!  We woke up and decided to do something fun.  So we gave Jack a few options, and he chose to go to Dollywood.  In a random occurrence, both of my siblings were able to come with us!  So Aunt Z, Uncle Baggee, and Becca piled in the van and we all went to Dollywood.  It was the perfect day for it!  Not too crowded and a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The weather was perfect.  Jack rode his first roller coaster.  I couldn’t believe he was tall enough.  If I could put emoticons in here I would load it up with them.  Ones that express how terrified I was and that I couldn’t believe it.  I even asked a woman working it if it was “really ok [with a little wink]” for him to ride it.  Apparently the standard heights they set up aren’t good enough for me.  But he rode it and had a blast on it!  Such a fun day.  He also requested the water ride, which means the River Rampage.  A classic that Linds, Bud, and I haven’t ridden together in probably close to 15 years.  You know what kind of rides you don’t have to wait in line for in the fall?  Water rides.  I debated the whole way to the ride and I was super nervous because I thought it might be a bad decision to ride it when it’s cooler out.  But Z assured me that it was nearly 70 degrees, the sun was shining, and the water would be warm from the end of summer.  So we rode it.  And Jack loved it and got totally soaked.  Then Tommy paid $5 for a “dryer”, which I put in quotes because I’m pretty sure the only thing it dried was his wallet out of money.  Thankfully I had a change of clothes for Jack so we were able to get him dried off.  The rest of us walked around in soaking wet jeans for the rest of the day.  But it really wasn’t cold in the sun.

We were planning to leave there around 5 because Tommy and I wanted to go see our friends’ new baby — their rainbow baby — this evening.  But we got caught up at Dollywood, and apparently behind the mad rush of everyone leaving when they closed at 6, so it took awhile to get out.  On the way home I checked my phone and saw that our friends’ new baby was being admitted to the hospital.  And my heart sank.  So fast.  I couldn’t believe it.  They had finally gotten their sweet baby and had just brought him home and been able to introduce him to his brother.  And just like that he’s sick and put in the hospital.  I knew it would be especially hard for my friend because last time she had a baby in that hospital, her baby died.  So I went to see her but had some issues getting in there.  Because it was later in the day the front doors were locked.  So I went through the ER and had to check in with a security guard who informed me I could not visit.  Once I told him the name he checked his role but didn’t have their names on there.  So I stood there with big ol’ 32 oz. Cokes in hand telling him to look again and that I had stuff to bring my friend.  He said “nope, I can’t let you up.  and this isn’t exactly a lot of fun for me.”  I was desperate because I had a phone charger for her and her phone was dead.  Very important things.  So when he made another comment about this not being his idea of a good time, I said something along the lines of yes, I understand that.  It’s not my idea of a good time either.  My son is at home and cried because he didn’t want me to leave the house, and the Good Wife is on and I’d rather be sitting on my couch watching it and eating ice cream.  But I’m here because my friend’s 3 day old baby was admitted, and last year she had a baby in this hospital who died.  And last year my baby died.  So this is a big deal.  And I have her phone charger.

At that point the tears started coming, and he either felt bad for me, thought I was crazy, or just wanted me to stop talking because his demeanor changed and he said he would see what he could do if I would wait.  So I stepped outside because that ER was insane with people and I have a little bit of a compromised immune system.  And I sat down on the pavement outside the ER, and I just cried.  The tears just flowed.  I’m so sad for Ray and Julie.  My heart is heavy for them as they endure this hardship, and I know the uncertainty of their sweet baby’s health is so scary.  Why some people endure so much and others don’t is something I don’t think I will understand.  Julie and I talked about this on Friday.  But I think in those moments outside the ER I just grieved for their Nora and for our Gabriel.  With tears filling my eyes and running down my cheeks I just wept for our babies.  To have to fight my way in to see my friend who I’m so bonded to because both of our babies died was one of those things that caught up with me in the moment.  One of those things that made me overwhelmingly sad.  So I sat on the sidewalk and cried.  And then I knocked over one of the Cokes and it poured out all over the concrete in an instance, and I cried some more.  Then I pulled myself up — like I’ve done so many times in the past year and a half — wiped the running mascara off my face as much as possible, and walked back in.  The security guard let me in, and I gave Julie her phone charger.

As I drove home tonight I cried some more just thinking about things.  Thinking about life.  One of the things I was afraid of after Gabriel died was that I would forget.  Not him — I knew I would never forget him — but that I would forget my desperation at that time.  Because as broken and awful and miserable as losing a loved one is, there’s something beautiful about being so low that every breath you breathe is a desperate need for God.  I knew that as time went on that would go away, and it did.  Tonight reminded me of our desperate need for God every day.  If our hope is in anywhere but Him, we will be crushed.  While things move smoothly in life I tend to forget my state of desperation, where as a little over a year ago I walked in it every day.  Seeing a little tiny, new person laying there completely helpless — totally in the hands of God, reminded me of how He holds us and how we need him every day.

*Please pray for our friends and their sweet baby boy.

day 4 // the beautiful part of sports.

How about sneaking in a late night post just before the end of the day.  I almost forgot I was writing every day — good thing I remembered before it was the 5th.  Today it only seems fitting to talk about some beautiful stuff as it relates to sports, seeing how it’s a huge Saturday for sports in the fall.  At least it is for me.  But based on all of the college football upsets today, I would say it’s been a big Saturday for a lot of people.  I can tell you it wasn’t a big Saturday for Maryland fans.  Yikes.  I always keep up with them because I was, after all, a Terp for awhile.  And the first time I went to a game [actually working nutrition for the game] I was in shock at the stadium because I’m used to Neyland.  Neyland is the best.  And speaking of the best, Neyland was looking extra classy today.  It was awesome seeing everyone wearing their assigned white or orange to checker Neyland.  Tennessee fans are the best!

What was not the best was our loss to Florida.  That one hurt.  I’m pretty sure most of us fans thought we would beat Florida.  The team was pumped up, the fans were pumped up, we nearly beat Georgia last week, and Neyland was checkered.  What could go wrong?  Apparently the whole game could.  If a score of 10-9 sounds brutal to you, then you can only imagine how rough that was to watch.  I watched Coach Jones press conference after the game and had my faith restored in the team.  People can be so harsh, saying he can’t coach and we aren’t going to pick it up.  He doesn’t have a lot to work with, and we’re holding our own.  We will get there.  I hope.  But if every other game in the season is like this, then maybe we won’t.

Speaking of brutal, let’s talk about the Cardinals playing this weekend.  Another reason this is a big weekend, besides the Tenn game vs. Florida, is the Cardinals are playing in the NLDS.  Game 1 started off brutal.  I thought it was a terrible game, and then all of the sudden, an 8 run 7th inning for the Cards.  Amazing.  Brutal game gone.  Winning game on.  The Cards are just starting Game 2 as I type this, so here’s to hoping Lance Lynn can do them well tonight.  And based on my late in the day caffeine, I will likely be up to see what happens.

And another sports thing this weekend — Tommy played in the alumni game for the Tennessee hockey team last night.  He didn’t play hockey at all last season and had decided he wouldn’t play again this season, so I was glad he was able to get out on the ice last night and play with some old teammates.  I know Jack would have loved to see him play, so I wish I could have taken him, but I think Tommy had a good time.  And it may just make him want to play this season after all.

So what’s beautiful about all of this?  The Cardinals win last night was — clearly.  The Vols loss today was not anything close to beautiful.  But beyond the actual games or how many times I said “that’s a beautiful hit!” there is a lot more to sports and the athletes, the people there.

Take for example Albert Pujols.  He used to rank up high in my opinion, and he has dropped lower because of how he left the Cards, however, that is a story for another day.  And not the point.  The point is that Albert has started something really great.  He uses his talent, his position, and his resources to make a difference in the lives of other people.  The Pujols Family Foundation is a blessing to the community.  According to their website, their purpose is::

“To promote awareness, provide hope and meet tangible needs for families and children who live with Down syndrome. To provide extraordinary experiences for children with disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses. To improve the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic through education, medical relief and tangible goods.”  

source

What a beautiful thing to use what you are given to bless others!

Michael Oher.  ‘Nough said.  If you don’t know his story then you need to go watch The Blind Side right now.  Tonight.  While the biggest part of the story is God using the people he did to change lives, sports played a large role in his story.  His talent, drive, discipline, and commitment to football was life changing for him.  It’s a beautiful thing to hear a story like that, to see a story like that.

And I think the most amazing and beyond beautiful story is this one ::  Team Hoyt.  Dick Hoyt is the active body for his son, Rick, as they have completed over 1000 races.  Their story is amazing, and what this dad has done and gone through for his son is beyond incredible.  All to help his son not feel handicapped.  Take some time to read their story.  You won’t regret it.

[sorry for the lack of pictures… technical difficulties on my part]

What is your favorite beautiful thing in sports?  I’d love to hear!

day 3 // just beautiful.

Sometimes the material just comes and the posts just write themselves.  Here I am talking about beautiful for 31 days, and yesterday — well, it was just beautiful for some of our friends.  Our sweet friends who also lost a baby last year had their rainbow baby yesterday.  A rainbow baby — because I didn’t know before our G — is the healthy + living baby you have after you’ve lost a baby.  Their precious baby boy was born yesterday afternoon and is healthy and doing great.  Tommy and I are really excited to go meet him.  It’s always amazing when a baby is born — every baby is truly a miracle — but man is it even more so for a rainbow baby.  God is good, and I know there will be parts of having this baby that intensify the grief but I also believe God will use him to continue to bring healing to their whole family.

Then my other friend got her first foster placement last night!  They have a sweet little boy and wouldn’t you know what his name is.  It’s the same as one of my boy’s and not the one who’s living.  We are really thrilled for them and are excited to get to watch these new relationships form.  I was a hot mess with the new arrivals and watching God redeeming lives around us last night.  My goodness.  It was purely beautiful.  Just beautiful.

And because nothing I can say can top those stories from yesterday, I am going to leave it at that for today.  The most beautiful things!  Oh, and Go Vols!!  {Florida game tomorrow + the excitement around here is so awesome}

day 2 // beautiful in pictures.

I have a hard time seeing beauty in life a lot of the time.  I think there are people who are naturally good at seeing the beauty in life.  They see beauty in every day things like an acorn or a pattern in saw dust.  I am not one of those people.  I am the person who not only misses the beauty in every day things but also misses obviously beautiful things right in front of me.  I used to think I just wasn’t built to see beauty and that it wasn’t one of my gifts, but I’m learning to think differently about it.  I’m learning to see beauty.  I’m learning to explore beautiful.  I’m learning that you don’t just have to be a natural beauty see-er but that you can train to see beautiful things all around.  So throughout this month that’s what I want to do.  Just like how I’ve practiced being thankful  and I’ve lived hope, this month is going to be my diving board into all things beautiful.

The thought of just suddenly seeing beautiful is overwhelming to me.  And since I don’t know where to start, I am going to take baby steps today.  Here are some things I find beautiful through recent pictures.

 

beautiful butterfly

Jack sees beautiful all around him.  He really loves butterflies and when one landed on his hand this summer at the splash pad, his day was made.  He teaches me to see beautiful and to slow down to have a chance to hold it.

 

 

 

beautiful celebrations

On this day Tommy came home from work and said we were having a picnic at Gabriel’s grave for dinner.  I love his heart for our family and it’s a beautiful thing.  I also think it’s beautiful that we are able to celebrate G’s life and continue to teach Jack how we remember and love.

 

 

beautiful family

This family.  So fun.  Always there for us.  It’s beautiful.

 

 

beautiful generations

We are blessed to get to spend time with Grandfather.  It’s fun to see Jack and his great-grandfather enjoying some Icedream together.  I am thankful for the time they get to spend together.

 

 

beautiful rainbow

A double rainbow on our street.

 

 

beautiful

These people.  They make my life beautiful.

 

 

So I want to know what’s beautiful around you and how do you see beauty??

beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

 

This post is day 2 in Write 31 Days in October.  You can find all posts here.

31 days of beautiful.

Happy October, friends!  It’s Fall.  It’s going to feel like it soon, and before we know it this month will have flown by just as quickly as all of the others have in this year.  This time of year is certainly crazy, isn’t it?  I feel like it’s our busiest season yet.  We are doing more, reaching further, and finding ourselves busier than ever.  Some of that is good and maybe some not so much.  So before this month just slips away in the chaos, I want to be intentional about it.  I want to remember something significant from this month.  I want to have challenged myself to reach beyond the day to day and really be.  Be present.  Be intentional.  Be challenged.

And so it’s for these reasons that I love this challenge and am joining in with the Nester as she writes for 31 days in the month of October.  I joined in last year for the first time, knowing exactly what my topic needed to be.  You can find my 31 days of hope from last year here.  This year I am excited for my second go at 31 days of writing as I write every day this month on the topic of ::

beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

Why beautiful?  

This year’s topic wasn’t as obvious to me.  And truthfully, I’ve not been brainstorming it for all that long!  Because the fact that it is October is completely blowing me away.  Before I knew it, it was the very end of September, and I had to kick it in to gear to get this going.  Ever since I took the summer off from blogging, I’ve been out of my regular rhythm.  And while I certainly enjoy posting, I also found so many other things to fill my time.  I am hoping that this October challenge will help me to get back on track and back in this space.  I miss you all!

So while I was pondering my topic ideas, this one came to me.  It’s not perfect, it’s not definitive, and it’s so broad that I’m not sure where I’ll go.  But you can certainly expect to see a home project or two, a recipe or two, a beautiful picture, a beautiful story, and all of the random things that pour out of my heart, mind, and mouth.

My real goal in this topic to look and see what is beautiful in this life all around me.  And I look forward to having the month of October to do that.

Thanks for joining me here!  I hope you will follow along on these 31 days of beautiful.

Day 1//  31 days of beautiful

Day 2//  beautiful in pictures

Day 3//  just beautiful

Day 4//  the beautiful part of sports

Day 5//  what a day + where our hope is [aka: the story of how I cry to a security guard]  

Day 6//  who I watched

Day 7//  beautiful to you

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Day 9//

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Day 31//

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