September 5, 2011

The Good Life

What a week, what a weekend, what a crazy, busy, wonderful life!
I have not seemed to have had a second in which to think, these past few days! 
Although the hectic pace never seemed obvious at the time (what a blessing!), looking back I was just going and going and going, without so much as a pause for breath! 
But a holiday is upon us, and although every day for the past several months of Summer has been pretty much a "holiday", I somehow managed to use the official title given to us all and set apart on our calenders as an excuse to be excessively dissipated, yet at the same time get more things done that I've been procrastinating on for a long time than I ever thought possible. 
But I'm getting far too much ahead of myself. 
As today is Monday (holiday or no), I'm going to make good on my promise and join Rachel at Dramatic Elegance as she counts up her blessings each week. I think there ought to be some sort of blog sticker created for this that we can pass around, so more people can count their blessings each Monday, and maybe find in it the same beauty and charm that I do. Mr. Monday and I are on very good terms indeed. 
My blessings today (to name but a few) are:
1. My fellow bloggers. All of you are so fantastic. I love each and every one of my followers, as well as the people I follow who don't even know my blog exists. I've been especially blessed by three in particular this past week, as these kind ladies have bestowed upon me the following blog awards:
Thank you ladies so much for blessing me (and making me blush)! I'm sorry to say I don't have the time at the moment to be able to fill out the questionnaires and pass them on, but know that I am extremely flattered and thankful!
2. Lovely neighborhoods, and the ability to explore them. When I mentioned above about getting things done that I've procrastinated on, this is one of them. Repeatedly for the past year or so, I've meandered past a certain neighborhood on my ways to and from work and the library, and often yearned to walk through them. I have a thing for beautiful houses, architecture, gardens, and yards. This neighborhood has caught my particular attention because, unlike all of the other subdivisions around here, it is older. The houses are one-of-a-kind and stately, the yards spacious, well-tended, and tasteful, lots of room in between lots and yards (our subdivision is just one example of the hundreds in which the houses are smooshed together like sardines. It's atrocious!), and-most importantly- there are trees
Living in a desert area where all of the divisions are newer and they plant these tiny twigs in the front yard, I am infatuated with any neighborhood where the houses are lovely, older (even if only by ten years), and adjoined by beautiful gardens and established trees. So many of the houses in this particular division were surrounded by veritable havens of green and dappled light. I was utterly enchanted as I meandered through it and admired them all. I was even able to adopt a park bench for a while and do some writing (Yes, I carry writing implements with me in my messenger bag when I go exploring. There's also a sketchpad and some pencils too. Don't judge). It was a perfect morning.
3. Fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly the kind that are free. There are many people at our church who have vegetables and fruit growing in their gardens, and come Summer and Fall there is always a back table laden with produce free for the taking. Yesterday's finds included fresh-off-the-plant green beans, some bell peppers, a carton of blackberries, and some squash varieties. I think my mother grabbed some vine-fresh tomatoes and pickling cucumbers as well. I seem to have nabbed some okra somehow, so now I'm looking into cooking methods.
There is also a fantastic farmers market happening daily outside our local Albertsons, where a few of the nearby farms have banded together to sell their produce gathered fresh almost daily. The greatest find this past week has been red pears of the juiciest flavor at only $0.58 a pound, and this year's first pick of gala apples- Oh! Heavenly, juicy, crisp, sweet, flavorful apples!- at a mere $0.99 a pound. All organic, unsprayed, and delicious. I could just about die of happiness.
4. Picnics. I adore picnics. I've been having them more and more in my backyard at lunch time, especially as the kids are in school and there is a sense of utter peace over the house and neighborhood. Another two blessings that tie in here are...
5. The cooling weather (Rather sudden and seemingly arrived the same moments as September. Mostly apparent in the cooling off at night- down to 40 degrees- and a pleasant breeze that makes the still-hot days much lighter, and, thus, outdoor picnics far more enjoyable), and...
6. My new-found strength to eat. 
And strength it is indeed. I'm still struggling daily, obsessing over meals and food, constantly thinking about it, and hearing Vanity worry every other moment, but through God's grace and strength I am eating far more normally. I'm learning to ignore Vanity, having finally figured out that I can't get her to shut up at the moment, I can just instead contradict, disobey, and laugh at her. She hates to be laughed at. Which makes me laugh even harder (whilst I nom away on a sandwich). My latest triumph being today's picnic outside. I made up a new sandwich that is definitely going down into my recipe book: it's a PLT- Pear, lettuce, tomato- sandwich. It's constructed the same way I normally make a BLT (Note: I use cream cheese, not mayo.), only I replace the bacon with some slices of red pear. Oh, sweet Jehoshaphat, is this sandwich an absolute delicious dream. Make one- just be sure to use whole wheat, toasted bread, cream cheese, and the freshest, ripest produce you can get your hungry hands on. 
7. The ideas and inspiration that God continually gives me. I was worrying yesterday afternoon about the state of my Winter boots. At six years old and having been in a state of wet disrepair all of last Winter, I've been fretting about what I'm going to tromp around a cold New York in, as I can't currently spend money on things like boots (Saturday was my last work day, remember? And I have to buy expensive plane tickets and support myself- jobless- while at the facility. In New York City. Which is an exceedingly expensive place). But inspiration struck while I was- of course- knitting!
Why not make a pair of boot toppers for my much-beloved pair of galoshes! Then I can wear fuzzy socks as well and not have to worry about buying new boots! Brilliant! 
(In case you're wondering what boot toppers are exactly, they resemble wide legwarmers that fit inside of boots and fold over the top to keep your legs warm in galoshes/wellies. Below is a pictorial example.)
I'm now making boot toppers and wool socks like crazy as the days of expected departure draw ever-nearer. I'm still praying that with my new-found success and strength I will be able to stay at home and improve here, but I'm trusting this completely to God's care. He knows exactly what I need. 
8. My church, my Pastor, and the sermons I hear there. 
The past few weeks and the coming ones have been focusing on trust: an area in which I am finding myself more and more lacking. Trusting God. It is so easy to speak of, yet so hard to do! The past two weeks of sermons have been both hugely convicting and exceedingly helpful. I can't thank God enough for knowing exactly what I need to hear and then using my pastor to speak the words.
Well, I did intend to post a fantastic recipe for some marvelous pumpkin scones on here today, but I think that could and should wait for tomorrow. In the meantime, how are all of you spending your Labor Day?
This brings me to an excellent question: Why is such a holiday- one that I, at least, spend in laziness and nonchalant dissipation- referred to as "Labor Day?" I ask ya!
Have any of you been experiencing even the teensiest bit of Fall weather yet? Any changing leaves? 
What are some of your blessings? 
I'm off to go knit my boot toppers some more, meander around the neighborhood, and then enjoy a classic film with a pot of Earl Grey tea and a pear-ginger-raisin muffin (The latter occurs somewhere around 4:30, though). 
Cheerio, all!


Chad and Jessica's Family: said...

Hi Grace!!!

So very excited about # 6 above all. That indeed is a praise and a breakthrough. I know that you can continue to "laugh at vanity"..... we all need to do that, because she is deceitful and nasty!!! :) Including me. The Lord desires our hearts to be beutiful and pure before Him and that is such a wonderful thing that I need to remind myself about. He is so good to us, huh? Well, I enjoyed chatting for a second yesterday. You are precious!

Much Love and Prayers~

Jessica/ Mrs. Argon :)

Chad and Jessica's Family: said...

Oh my, I spelled beautiful wrong, forgot the "a"!!!! Just had to inform!

kimberly said...

It's always so nice to make lists of things to be grateful for. It really puts a new perspective on things. :)
Great post.

Gabrielle said...

Grace, I found your blog again, I know not how....and have been reading through the entries. My heart has broken for you, I have prayed for you, I have seen your appearance when coming into the library be explained....

I will be praying for you as you, Lord willing, head to New York. God has an amazing plan for you in all this, I know it!!! If you can, stop in the library on Saturday. I would love to give you a hug and say good-bye.

The growth God has taken you through has been amazing to read. You are quite a young woman, girl. Quite a young woman. You take care!!!