Thursday, December 29, 2016

the loveliest of 2016...

it has been a year.
a full trip around the sun with all the things.

twists and turns.
excitement and disappointments.
half-full and half-empty cups.
bumps and bruises and boo-boos.
tear-stained cheeks and worn-out prayed knees.
belly laughs and sweet memories.

every moment has made it a year to remember.
a year to reflect.
and a year to cherish.
we cling tightly to the moments that made our hearts flutter.
and stare hard at the ones we long to forget with hopes of doing it differently.

we wouldn't change a thing.
because we know the Author of our story.
and we trust His penmanship.

how would you tell your story from this year?
all the good, the bad and the ugly?

how might telling your story heal those broken places?
and soften those hard spots?

we don't stand in our glass house with stones in our hands.
rather, we stand in a place of complete and utter transparency.
because we believe that daring to bare it all will allow His glory to radiate through our brokenness.
and we want nothing more than for Him to shine brightest in and through our lives.

we do that by looking for lovely wherever our feet trod.  

here are just a few of our loveliest moments.
moments when we felt the radiance of His light burn brightest.

loveliest laugh?

the better part of this year was spent whining.  between my five year old and myself, we did our fair share.  when you are 63 months pregnant in the hottest summer known to man and the size of the side of three barns, you have a right to whine.  on one of those particularly whiny days, i was over it.  all of it.  and then she found this.  and we nearly had an accident from laughing so hard in the middle of the dollar general.  i'm still kicking myself for not buying the thing.

loveliest trip?

my man celebrated a big birthday this year.  after saving for nearly two years, i pulled off a big surprise.  a trip to boston to see the opening game at fenway park.  it was cold.  and people drove like maniacs.  i felt like screaming, 'let me out of the car, cole!'  but then i remember this wasn't days of thunder.

it was great to steal away just the two of us and have some fun in a big city.  we want to go back.  but it is apparent that we will need to save even more money to enjoy all the sites.  and i don't need to be pregnant because of the whining and all.   

loveliest hug?

i'm a hugger.  shocker, i know.  but i love a good hug.  i love giving them more.  at the beginning of this year, i purposed to give even more than i normally do.  but we all have that one friend who isn't fond of such affection.  so, we give those hugs sparingly.  the best hugs are those given from said friend when they see you after weeks away from work.  notice that smile on my face.  that hug was enough to last me a long while.  like a few weeks, y'all.

loveliest parenting victory?

at the end of this life, i will not count their trophies or medals or accomplishments.  i won't look back at their grades and transcripts.  i won't even remember their good deeds and nice manners.  those are not the things that will be counted as parenting victories.  what will i count as a victory?  if their hearts beat wildly for Jesus.  if they bury His truth so deep in their hearts and boldly share Him with others.  if they love Him first.  then and only then will i have a victory as a parent. 

watching my girl write these words on the steel beams of our new worship center brought tears to my eyes.  as much as i fail at this mom gig, this shows me that somewhere i am doing at least one thing right.

loveliest reunion?

i waited a long time for God to answer the cry of my heart for a best friend.  someone who would get me.  and all my mess.  someone who would saddle up beside me for the long haul.  someone who would journey through this life together.  no matter how bumpy the road.  it wasn't until i was twenty-six that He answered that prayer.  i knew in an instant that He had hand-selected this friend for me.  while there are long stretches of time between our visits, we always pick up right where we left off.  and despite the length of our calls, it seems like an unending conversation.  remember when piglet asked pooh if they would be friends forever?  and pooh replied, longer.  yep, that's how i feel about this girl.  because forever just doesn't seem like long enough to call her a friend.  

this year my heart is full over two visits with her.  two isn't nearly enough.  but those visits will carry me until the next time.

loveliest trip down memory lane?

it's been over 20 years since we traveled the dusty road to the brick house that holds so many cherished memories.  from snake biscuits and perked coffee to climbing the tree in the back yard.  so many memories are held in the dirt and bricks of that place.  on a warm afternoon, we traveled back to the farm.  the very place where my baby boy got his name.  the place where the Griggs family gathered and grew and loved and laughed.  the place that will always be home in our hearts.

loveliest last?

we aren't your typical family.  any one of my friends could tell you that.  but typical can be boring and blah.  and i'm not a fan of either of those.  

it isn't often that i'm on the other side of the camera. i've been told i snap too many pictures.  post too much on social media.  sometimes i let that bug me.  and then i remember, that i am posting as a way to remember.  i could care less about the likes and comments.  but i love to look back weeks or months or years later and reflect.  i don't have photo albums or scrapbooks.  so these photos that i take and post are priceless treasures of our family's journey.  no amount of negativity can take that away.  

late this summer, we snuck away to the beach for a few days.  just a few moments of being a family of four.  before the chaos unfolded.  we had a quick minute to get a shot of just the four of us.  one last time.

loveliest first?

a few short weeks later and we would take a first.  the first picture of our growing family.  proof that love still grows in hard places.  a sign of the growing and stretching and sacrificing that comes with any family.  for as long as we prayed for this child, it seems like he has been a part of our family forever.  none of us are the same since we first laid eyes on him.  and he has completed our family in the most perfect of ways.

loveliest smell?

there are certain aromas that speak directly to my soul.  immediately warming my heart and making my day brighter.
the ocean breeze.
tea olive trees.

i am fairly certain that the place the Lord has gone to prepare for me will smell like all of those things.  because that is what heaven on earth smells like for me.

but this.  this first smell of my precious baby.  oh my stars!  i wish i could bottle it forever.

loveliest cry?

all working-outside-the-home mamas know that the first day back to work after maternity leave is brutal.  i had been there and done that.  but this time was harder.  

the day i went back to work was worst than brutal. 
it was excruciating on so many different levels.
i cried for the entire first week back. 
on the way to drop my girl off at school.
on the way to daycare to hand my baby over to those who get to love him all day.
on the way to work.
in between meetings.
and on the way home.

there wasn't enough concealer to mask my puffy eyes.

i can't say it has gotten any easier. 
because it hasn't.
but one evening on my commute home.
i found the lovely.

i simply gazed through my windshield at His splendor.
and it was as if i could audibly hear Him speak directly to my heart.
He saw me.
He heard me.
He was catching all those tears in the palm of His hand.

and then i cried the loveliest cry.
because i was being held by the One who knew my heart.  

what has been your lovely this year?
i am all ears.  
i adore you.  
and i want you to remember and reflect on the loveliest from this year. 

there were dark days.  
and hard days.  
and days you want to forget.
but in the midst of it all, there was a whole lot of lovely.

share with me, won't you?

the first five people to comment will receive a copy of Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs

and as an added bonus, you all are invited to join me starting in february as we begin to look for lovely in 2016.  we will courageously walk the journey He has set before us, remembering all He has done in our lives, loving what He has set right in front of us, and gazing upon Him each and everyday.  

doesn't that sound like a blast?!!  

so get to commenting.  
and mark those calendars and plan to join us as we study His Word together.

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