815. Living on the back of the building - more privacy, a prettier view, morning sun in the winter, and evening shade with a breeze in the summer
816. Adam grilling dinner - better than any restaurant!
817. A wild, spontaneous race to the thermostat after we forgot to turn it down before bed
818. Sitting on the balcony reading while a storm blows in, bringing with it cooler air and the scent of charcoal
819. Picnicking at the park - Brooklyn enjoyed swinging and trying to climb up the slide
820. Leftover steak, cut up and used as quiche filling
821. Church with Adam and lunch together afterwards
822. He and our downstairs neighbor/friend going on a grocery run while Brooklyn and their daughter napped
823. An epiphany for making some inadequately sauced pasta not only edible, but better
824. A Federal holiday that extended Adam's time off
825. Brooklyn's utter delight at touching a snake and holding a feather at the zoo
826. Gluten-free "marshmallow dream bars" at Starbucks
827. Staying home with Brooklyn all day and getting caught up on laundry and dishes and writing (she helped by emptying the dryer for me once the clothes were finished)
828. Her increasing enthusiasm for walking - sometimes she's so excited to be walking that she can't stand it and just has to sit down
829. Spontaneous staying-up-late to talk and play board games
830. Trust poured out
831. Bumping into someone we know from church while running errands nearby - and discovering that she and her husband live not far from us
832. and then her calling an hour later to make sure I had her cell number, and knew that I was welcome to call if I ever needed anything
When we moved away from Fayetteville, that meant moving away from the place that I had lived for the past 10 years (longer for Adam) and away from both our parents and grandparents, besides friends and acquaintances that had been collected over that span of time. Since we didn't have a really strong sense of community, I was kind of looking forward to a renewed chance to find it here in Little Rock (even though I definitely missed the company and convenience we had had, at least with relatives).
But because of general busyness, weird schedules, and Adam being out of town for Army stuff (while Brooklyn and I can manage church and a tolerable level of functionality when he's gone, anything outside of that is somewhat difficult) community has been very slow to build. There are a few people at church with whom we have mutual recognition (the mutual part is important - I have a lifelong tendency to recognize people who have no idea who I am) and we're blessed to have a couple from Fayetteville that we're friends with as downstairs neighbors, but solid community isn't really something we've been able to find or create.
I realize that community takes time and investment (after all, I'd had over ten years and a lot more free time than I have now to build what I had in Fayetteville) but two things in particular happened that drove me to more intentional prayer on the subject. The first was having a 24 hour stomach bug last winter, shortly after we moved here. At the time the only person I knew locally whose number I had and would have trusted to look after Brooklyn while I tried to muster the strength to sit upright, much less walk, was both pregnant and a med student - not someone that I wanted to share my germs with, and Adam was at work, during a time that he wouldn't have been able to leave early and actually got home unusually late that night. We both survived but it wasn't pleasant (if my hazy memories serve me right, I think that was also the day that Brooklyn had an extreme diaper malfunction all over the living room carpet...)
The second is the impending arrival of Sprout. I would highly value being able to have Adam present when Sprout arrives, but that means that someone else will have to be with Brooklyn. In the best-case-scenario, our friends downstairs could stay with her until one of our parents got here (which would take a minimum of three hours, assuming good driving conditions and that they left immediately) - but Sprout is due in early January, which is not a season conducive to good driving weather, and during which time many people leave town to visit family. And then there's the following fun of having a helpless newborn and a rather active and curious toddler all to myself at home.
When we bumped into Mrs Beverly at Walmart, that alone was extremely uplifting. It's the first time I've run into someone here that we met here and knew well enough to stop and hug and chat with for a few minutes. But her phone call about an hour later reduced me to tears - I had mentioned Adam having been out of town for awhile and the thought of us here with no family and him gone bothered her enough to call and say that she remembered being a young mom and that if I ever needed backup because of illness or just general pulling-my-hair-out loss of patience, or an adult to go have coffee with (with or without Brooklyn) then to please, please know that I was welcome to call at any time.
That's probably the first time I've ever had an offer of help of that magnitude from a nonrelative - and it's definitely one of the first that I've been inclined to actually take seriously. Mrs Beverly heads the quilting ministry at church (and she's a very patient and encouraging teacher to new sewers), and she's the one who asked around to determine interest levels and gave me the contact info I needed to get a knitting class going (without really asking first, just knowing that I was passionate about knitting), and also got us in touch with the 20s-and-30s group at our church (after asking if we were getting connected and finding out that we hadn't been).
Even if I never call on her (although, I'd like to, if only to get to know her better) just knowing that she lives nearby and is willing brought me a sense of peace, relieving some of the underlying tension that I've held inside since we moved here. It's an answer to prayer, besides being something that I think deserves a thank-you note...
833. Not having had to buy postage stamps since May, despite writing more letters than before - some were given to me, and I keep finding partial sheets just before I run out
834. Watching Brooklyn practice getting on and off the couch - she was so pleased with her success!
835. A fridge well-stocked with tasty food, all ready to reheat, following a combined effort with Adam over the weekend
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: