Because it's Never too Late for Thanks... {Life, a few Photos, & Blogs I'm Grateful for}

It can completely slip between wiping fallen bits of lunch from that 3-year-old's chair, and cleaning a dish to gain a bit of counter space, and sending another load of laundry into a spin, and dozens of reminders of good manners and kindness. Where do all those brave moms find time to just give thanks? 

And among those dozens of reminders for this 3- and 4-year old to say thank you, and please, she wonders, when was the last time this new mom whispered a thanks to the heavens, and left the I deserve and I want at the doorstep, and just breathed out thank you for all of this. Oh, how so quickly the busy, tough parts of these days can overwhelm the gifts. 

These every-day-extraordinary gifts. 

Like those truly amazing children at our knees, who are trying to figure out how to be a family with these two adults, just like us with them. They are so gracious with these stumbling-first-time-parents.

And we serve a God who gives new mercies and grace at every sunrise, and how could I ever live without that? Yes, pour on those buckets of grace. So grateful for a new morning, even those dark, rainy, cool ones. 

And those falling leaves that remind this heart that it's okay to let go of perfectionism, and fears, and anxiety.  

And, for that husband of just three years, who makes bacon and eggs for his family and a hot tea for her with scoops of encouragement, and speaks so kindly and gently. 

And for that 3-year-old who loves to help, and brings a smile to everyone's face because who could not when he grins wide? And that 4-year-old who loves to snuggle with this girl on lazy Saturday mornings under a purple comforter, and who is so unbelievably strong and loving. 

And for that mama-group at church that meets on Wednesdays, who nod and say I totally get that, being a mom requires so much of Him. And that verse that sat on her lap through all of study that read, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, and love, and self-control. Oh yes, I needed that piece of truth. 

And for that sister with a baby on their hip, and I'm deeply thankful I have those close-sister-friends who are tremendous examples of how to mother. Because I really, really need those. And for family who give us encouraging words, and date-nights, and friends who just call to say, you're doing more than okay, keep going.

And for social workers who listen to every thought and concern, and who give toys, and hugs, and updates. 

There's those women on the web that I follow with their encouraging words, and I'm thankful I have this inspiration just a click away -- it's an extraordinary gift to be ministered to in this way -- 

Like, Ann Voskamp and this blog, and so many more... What if I want to play more games of monopoly and leave the dishes in the sink more often? What if I want to take you fishing more Saturdays and blow off cleaning up the garage? Why doesn’t someone tell all the homemakers: Cleaniness isn’t next to godliness. Love is. 

And Jenny Hatmaker, who reassures me that this first year will be tough in a wonderfully candid, real way... You remember how your dear social worker told you on your 3-month visit, as she looked into your bloodshot eyes and you burst into tears, that attachment takes time…for everyone. Adoption is not the normal way, biology is, which helps us love that screaming, no-sleeping baby just madly, irrationally. But in adoption, it takes everyone time to fall in love. And that’s okay.

And Lisa-Jo Baker, who teaches me all about how to be a wonderfully loving mom through all those routines of life, and especially how to mother a daughter... It’s changed everything. My gorgeous, rough and tumble boys – I love them as hard as they love all things mud, dirt and mortal combat. But raising a girl – I ache to give her a head start in this Pinterest-perfect, photo shopped world.

And this Mom on a Mission who inspires me to raise a family with a tremendous God-focus that we can't help but take action in a broken world... As she knitted, fighting slavery one stitch at a time... I became inspired. {Side note: this same girl ;)... inspired us onto the journey of child sponsorship one Christmas a while back by asking for nothing else but a Compassion sister as her Christmas present! Don't you just love how God works through children to change the trajectory of our faith path?

And this friend and mentor, Teresa, on an adoption journey of her own, my down-to-earth friend who's published words I so enjoy... I think there has been way more rewards than challenges. But I do remember being afraid to go out with her because I didn't want anything to happen. It was a milestone when I finally took her to Loblaws all by myself when Franco was working.

It's this cool Saturday afternoon, and I'm writing, and watching leaves fall and touch this living room window, as the rain falls unstopping all-day... and while these weeks have been full of reminders to just breathe -- this afternoon, I'm breathing out thanks for so many things I couldn't even begin to write.