look at the beauty, right in front of you...

In my cup::
A green smoothie. Yes, I am making an effort to lessen the fluffy parts of my middle section. More veg is required and this is one way I can handle it. Apple, spinach, a drip of honey, celery and baby kale. Oh yeah. Yum!

Sitting in::
on the floor in the living room watching two four year olds navigate between the Barbies and the Legos. It's quite fascinating to listen/watch how they share...or not. Four going on forty. Seriously, they really are like menopausal women. Flame on...flame off...tears...hugs...rinse...repeat. 

Listening to the sounds of::
The "Wizard of Oz" Soundtrack. It's a favorite. The funny part is listening to the girls sing along or at least try to. 

The sun is::
Shining. Thank you Jesus! Finally. 

Courtney memory::
The wall in my hallway. The individual photos were taken when each of us was 18 months old. See any family resemblance? LOL! The one of the two kids was taken when Courtney was two and Jman almost five. One of my favs. Then there are the First Communion photos of Court and I. Again...very special to me. 

Something beautiful::
I am working my way through each room in my house, deep cleaning and de-cluttering. It is quite the task. I have completed two rooms with four more to go. I am seeking beauty and peace in getting rid of stuff that is just weighing down my mind, heart and house. My prayer is I will be ready to pain walls by September. We shall see. 

Something Stylish:
I am wearing yoga pants and a tank top. I know, sexy right? Nope. Just easy and allows me to move easily as I clean out book cases which is today's big task. In between Barbies and Legos that is. 

What's on my mind::
This weekend the family gathered to celebrate the high school graduations of my three nieces. Twins Erin and Kylie and their cousin Jessica. It was the first time the entire family (save one brother who lives in Cali) has been together since Courtney's funeral. It was surreal but OK. 

The hugs received lasted a little longer than usual and that's OK. It's funny. With my friends I talk about Courtney al the time. With family it's a little more difficult. I don't know why that is it but it just is. I am hopeful that in time it will get easier to do. Time will tell. 

I am determined to not dwell on the misery of losing my girl but to see and appreciate what is right in front of me. My family and friends, who still need me in their lives. There is joy to be found in those relationships. Simple, beauty and joy in what remains. 

What I am praying for:
for my sweet friend who is undergoing some serious persecution and alienation due to her beiliefs. I pray God stands with her and she feels His strength. 

+ for my sister who is going on a mission trip overseas. That she is safe in her travels and that the kids she will be working with will be open to hearing God's word. 

+ for friends who are trying to have another baby. If it be the Lord's will, that He bless them abundantly. 

+ for everyone who has a lost a child. That God comforts them and brings a smile to their face at some point this week. 

+ that the weather stays clear for our family photographs this week. SO very tired of rescheduling due to rain. 

for my son and my husband who are both in the midst of transitions and change. They are not big fans of either. Really NOT big fans. 

+ for all the Mama's of special ones I know and love so much. For strength, wisdom, perseverance and understanding in the vocations of motherhood. You are never alone. 

+ for our finances. The budget is tight as we begin to pay down the last four years of Courtney's medical/daily care debt that has been sitting on credit cards for some time. One month at a time. One day we will be debt free. I know it. One day. Until then, it's the chicken and pasta diet.   

+ for the church. It is filled with brokenness and broken people. For God's mercy and guidance.

Adventuring in the kitchen::
I created a new pasta salad recipe this weekend. Simple and scrumptous. It was a HUGE hit at the family party. Check back in tomorrow for the easy and tasty recipe. 

Tonight we are having shepherds pie with left over mashed potatoes and homemade beef filling. It's going to be quite tasty I think.  

Sewing with my Bernina:: 
This week it's baby and toddler dresses. More on that later but let's just say...so much fun!! 

This week will bring::
Our family portraits on Wednesday evening in Annapolis, MD by the waterfront. Please Lord let it now rain again! I have everything pressed and ready so we just need to get the photos taken. I know the boys are not really looking forward to it, but I kind of am. It's time for this next step. 

:: giving thanks for
#2275 ~ #2296
* family, large and small
* my husband who is always willing to go the extra mile to make me smile
* homemade bread fresh from the oven
* raw honey in hot tea
* farmer's market season
* friends who answer the phone at 2 a.m. and don't complain or say you're insane
* the sheltering tree of prayer
* Nordie's midsummer sale
* window shopping with my Mama.
* my parish family who has just embraced us in our grief and has been so wlecoming and gracious these last few months.
* four year olds pretending to go after zombies and then take a break and play Barbies
* the magic of age four
* spending time with sisters and sisters-in-laws
* watching the cousins play with each other even though the age spread is 25 to 4. It is a blessing. 
* fresh strawberries...prepping for jam making
* marinara on the stove for hours
* garlic bread...just garlic bread
* receiving pen pal letters in the mail
* a bed made with fresh sheets
* fluffy pillows on the couch, surrounding me in comfort
* a great movie shared with friends. 
* YOU!

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