503. Being able to take Brooklyn to Adam's parents' for a few hours as planned, and not having to reschedule
504. Recognizing an unenviable trait that Brooklyn inherited from me...
505. ...because I've had years of experience calming my own internal chaos, so I can help her start finding and creating "tethers" now
506. That my parents have a good relationship with each other
507. Brooklyn thinking that the slurping sound of water draining after her kitchen-sink bath was funny (instead of traumatic)
508. An hour of Practicing Peace for her that was an hour of packing for me
509. Being part of someone else's list of gifts
510. Safe travels with multiple pit stops - yet, somehow still getting home in the same amount of time
511. Brooklyn thinking it was a grand adventure to go on a grocery run after her dinner, instead of being upset about getting back in the car
512. Redeeming an unproductive afternoon with an evening of interacting with Brooklyn and cleaning
513. A long phone conversation about Real Things with Adam
514. Finding my favorite plain yogurt at Whole Foods (I'd overlooked it before) on the day that organic blueberries were on sale
515. Sixteen people signing up for our (in)courager group on the first day of registration - there are artists starving for community!
516. Kind words that brought tears to my eyes, publicly proclaimed by one I can call "friend"
517. A creative epiphany for Brooklyn's birthday party invitations - now completed and ready to mail!
518. Adam home at last (and not about to leave again for Fort Bliss...)
519. Only having to get up once with Brooklyn last night
520. Rebekah introducing me to "art journaling" and then providing encouragement and prompt, both badly needed and both helpful
Yesterday was not my day. I woke up with negative-fifteen patience (for no explainable reason) and little happened for most of the day to improve that. I reacted instinctively (and therefore, incorrectly) to a couple of social situations - this made me want to crawl under a rock and go to sleep for a few hours, just to reset, but since that wasn't an option, I made my best attempt at rectifying it and tried to move on with my day. Someone posted a shallowly snarky meme that poked fun at something that I (and others) cannot help or control, and then several of my (single) Facebook friends decided to simultaneously post alarmist articles on the same child-safety topic, and shortly thereafter I caught Brooklyn in the act of figuring out how to open the cabinet under the sink, where the dishwasher packs are [were] kept. When I pulled her away to close the door she lost her balance and bumped her head. I sat on the couch and snuggled her, silently awarding myself the Worst Mother of the Year award. By the time Adam got home, my patience levels had further dropped and were now combined with a massive load of guilt - so I was short with him, and that added to my guilt (it's horrifying to watch yourself doing things you don't want to do, almost like it's someone else doing them, but you know it's not). After Brooklyn had been put to bed, I sat down and cried.
For catharsis' sake, I walked to the mailbox. There was a solitary envelope - hand addressed, bestickered, and containing not one but two sweet notes from one of our (in)courager community group co-leaders (she's living up to the title). Initially my guilt multiplied, but by the time I got back up to our apartment, her encouraging words were beginning to have an effect. Then Adam made dinner (a delicious experiment), sat down to eat it with me, and chose to talk and listen while playing a board game over suggesting a movie (which is what he would have preferred). My day ended on a much happier note than I hoped it would.
You never know how your actions are going to affect someone else. That joke may not actually be funny, that article may feed someone's guilt, persistently talking about only the good and never the bad that happens in your life may lead someone into jealousy or frustration at their own perceived imperfection - that letter may make their day, your honesty about situations and reactions in your life may encourage someone with a similar struggle, and a simple "thinking of you" text may mean more than you could ever know. There is so much negativity that we cannot control - but we can control how much of it comes from us. To think outside our inner circle to how far the ripples of our actions and words can go --- to make the conscious choice to speak life into lives beset with hate, and to use the power of encouragement to battle the discouragement and negativity that surrounds us. As followers of Christ, we are called to be set apart - and the most set-apart thing we can do is to love each other as He loves us. And I'm so grateful for the people God has placed in my life who do just that!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him."
Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!
Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
Shelley won last week's giveaway - thanks to everyone for joining in with your three things!
How can you thank the encouragers in your life this week - and be an encourager yourself?