Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thankfulness Thursday

It's a Thursday evening, and this was supposed to be the fifth Thankfulness Thursday post on my blog this month.

It's the 29th of the month, and I'm supposed to have posted my recap for October by now.

It's been two weeks since I started an impromptu blog post after something happened during my day that I really just wanted to share my thoughts on.

It's been over a week since I felt like I truly recovered from Write31, haha. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Writing is my thing, I truly *have* to do it. But writing for everyone to see every single day can be just as draining as it is helpful.

Life is full, and it's good. It's also cold, but don't tell my mom. But it's been too long - I've been so busy I haven't even journaled. And so - it's time to write again. Because it's just as draining to not write at all. And balance is key, right?

There are so many small things that I am thankful for right now. Sweaters. Soft blankets. (Y'all know my obsession with fabric. I know these things usually make the list... humor me. I'm always cold and I like to pretend I'm in a soft, warm cloud, okay ;)?) Being paid 2 cents to buy a book I've been eyeing for months now. Sandwiches made from leftover rolls. A walk on a chilly day with a couple of my favorite people. A crochet hook in my hand. (I have decided that I'm gonna start selling Granny square blankets sometime, y'all. They are so therapeutic to make. But they have to pay for their own cost if I'm going to keep making them, haha.)

The things that seem small, but really aren't. Putting up the Christmas tree with our favorite Christmas CD, hot chocolate, and spending the time reliving and adding to those traditions that make the season one I look forward to. A text from a new friend, letting me know that she wanted to pass on some information that she thought would help me. Kind words and a helpful hand. Isaac's laugh.

Some big things. All of you who have donated to little Scott's adoption fund. I can't thank you enough! And that Ronald has found his family, after being on the angel tree for 3 years now. How kind the Lord is! Finding unexpected blessings where I didn't look for them, and learning more about the balance of resting and investing.

I don't have a lot of time to sit and write down the things that make me smile in a day right now. It makes me sad. And yet, you know what, I am such a creature of routine... I would probably write the same things over and over, because they never get old. Snuggling Noah before we get up. Washing my hair. A cheery hello from the lady who bakes the cookies at Chick-fil-a. I love once-in-a-life things, too, but I find the most joy from consistent, anticipated, looked for moments. There have been a lot of those lately. So if my list looks the same as last year... it might be boring to read, but there is truly so much thankfulness that goes into the writing of it.

And I'm thankful for each of you who still check in on my little blog after it's been so quiet (after being so busy!). I know I have several posts I have promised to share that are still in drafts, but I just haven't been able to do them justice yet. I'm hopeful not to be quite such a stranger in the coming weeks. But no matter what, you each make me smile when you read and comment!

Rejoicing in Hope,

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign ✽ Meet Scott

Lookie who's back already ;). You knew you couldn't get rid of me, didn't you?! Haha :). I wanted to share some news with you today, so I hope you don't mind very much ;).

Welcome to November! I always love the start of a new month, but today is extra special, because the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign is open as of today!!! This means that from now to the 31st of December, Reece's Rainbow Adoption Agency is trying to raise 1,000 dollars for each of the sweet babies on the "Angel Tree"! This is something I look forward to each year, seeing all the awareness raised for each of the children and watching their accounts move up the tree, from 0 to 100 to 500 to 1,000... and knowing that it's helping each of those children have a better chance at being placed in a forever family to love them and protect them <3. In the past, I have donated to an account or two (usually the one furthest down on the tree, because it makes my choice easiest, because, in the words of Abbi, how do you choose how to help?!). But this year, I really wanted to do something a little more involved, and so, I am little Scott's advocate this year! You've already seen Scott on my blog last week, but please be introduced to him a little more formally...

You can visit Scott's page for more information HERE.
How do you choose who to help? It's so hard, truly, and I would love to see all of these children climb the 1,000 dollar wall this year, so please, help wherever you want! But, I chose to sponsor Scott specifically for a couple of different reasons. I started out looking through the files of 0-5 year old boys with "other" special needs on purpose because I knew that 1. Reece's Rainbow is known for their down syndrome focus, so many people would be choosing from the down syndrome pages, and 2. it's a known fact in adoption that boys are harder to place than girls, and so I wanted to up one of these little guys accounts, so that when a family came along for him, they had as much help as possible :). Then I combed through the pages, opened several accounts, narrowed down to the three who touched my heart with the least amount in their grants, and asked to be assigned one of the three, haha :). Scott's story definitely touched me - he's a little fighter, that's for sure! He'll be about 4 years old now, and I would love to hear that this little one who has been through so much was placed in a home!

I would be thrilled if any of you would like to donate to Scott's account - or to pray that he would find a loving, godly family to call his own! When you donate to a child's account, 10% of the money is dispersed in other children's accounts, as well, so you will really be helping multiple children :)! The goal is for Scott's MACC account to be at $1,000 by December 31st, and I can't wait to see what God will do with this year's campaign, not just for Scott, but for all of these little ones on the tree this year! And I want to thank each of you right now for every bit of help that you give <3!

Rejoicing in Christ,
Bri <3

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Reformation Day and Goodbye Write31!

Happy Reformation day, y'all!

October 31st...
...the end of a busy month.
...Reformation day.
...our "Christmas kick-off" evening.
...the end of the Write31 challenge.

Where has the month gone? 3 weeks ago, I was asking, "why can't it be Christmas right NOW?!" and "how am I going to keep up these posts this month?!" Today I woke up and thought, "How is it already the end of October?! It doesn't feel like it's time yet, the year just started and it was so far away!"

We had a fun, busy day today. After working a short morning shift, I came home, showered, and crashed on the couch for an unplanned short nap while my younger siblings watched a Martin Luther animated documentory... opps, haha. But then I was ready to go for all the other festivities ;)! We made little crafts to go with a bible study, treats, and read through some history books and Luther's 95 theses. And colored some beautifully detailed, reformation themed coloring pages, which always reminds me that I love to color and I never do it, haha.

After our reformation "party"... we celebrated our Christmas kick off with chili and a popcorn night with our first Christmas movie of the year :). (Except, technically not our first this year, because I didn't get to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" last year, so I made everyone watch it with me in early January this year, haha... so, first of the season?) Yes, I was counting down the hours until I would be making hot chocolate and could play some Christmas music. I am telling y'all, I am intent on living this upcoming Christmas season to the utmost. Don't ask me why it feels like such a big deal this year compared to others, but I am so happy it's close, haha :).

And now, as I am looking at wrapping this month up, the only thing left to do is post on my blog one last time! I made it the whole month. It wasn't easy, and there was really no theme or even as much prepration as I had wanted in my posts, but I persevered anyway, and I think that I am happy to have done this challenge one last time, before it closed :). The funny thing is, I still have 3-5 posts lined up in my head right now, even after writing for 32 days straight (I posted September 30th, too!). So, despite being busy, I hope to work on those here and there throughout the week and be able to share regularly here still, though not daily. I really do enjoy blogging, though I prefer to do so without pressure to achieve a goal, haha. I have enjoyed the friendships I have found through it, and I am thankful for each of you taking the time to read my posts on my simple little blog. Thank you for joining me this month!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and give you peace!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Train Whistles and Nostalgia

Out of the whole month, this is the hardest day to make myself post. It's late, and I am tired. I have already tried to start a post and it crashed, while it's so late it's technically "tomorrow". I honestly don't even care that much tonight, but I know I will hate it tomorrow if I skip today, so, I am trying my best, no matter the reasons I have not to. I can't do thought out, well structured sentences tonight. I'm not even positive what I'm aiming towards right now, haha. I am feeling nostalgic this evening (autumn = nostalgic. Sleepy = nostalgic. Cold snappy weather = nostalgic. Sleepy and cold in autumn = ...oh, y'all can't even imagine XD).

Am I the only one who feels like there is a difference between sleepy and tired? I mean, sometimes they are the same thing, but usually, tired is "get me to bed before I lose my temper" and sleepy is "life is good but I need to wrap up in blankets for a minute to truly enjoy it". Or something like that? Being sleepy is more content than being tired. It's the perfect state of mind to be in to dream, or look back and process in full measure to get the most out of the moments we have lived.

I remember that when I was little, I once read in a book that a train whistle signaled adventure, and just the sound of it could tranport your mind to another place. As an 8 year old, I fell in love with that way of looking at it. I remember staying awake on purpose many nights, just to be able to hear the train near our house before I fell asleep.

It didn't do me much good... I have never been an adventurous person. When I was little I thought that was because I hadn't found that "place" that I wanted to go to, and so I couldn't imagine it in detail. I would find out where that special to me place was someday and have a whole imagined adventure to go with it. But as I have grown older, I have realized that the reason I never saw *myself* on an adventure when thinking on them when I would hear that train was because, I am just not a traveling, wanderlust sort of person. I like the known, the homelike, the familiar.

So why did I always stay awake for the train whistle, when it never really made me feel those adventurous visions that it might hold for others? I really think, in large part, it was because that *became* homelike and familiar to me, after it stuck in my mind for so long. The sound never really said adventure to me, though I always thought of that quote. It usually, in my mind, turned smoothly to dreams or memories. It was a gentle, steady, rythmic sound... it's a very nostalgic to me, though I'm sure I didn't know that word at that time. To this day, a train whistle reminds me to stop and muse a bit, though not about going to places I have never seen, only heard of. I am content where I am. I don't want to travel the world. I want to remain with the familiar, I don't want to say goodbye.

But I can still dream - or remember. And it's just one of those sorts of nights, so I believe I will!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Little Town ✽ Trip to Aiken

I really wanted to visit a small town with cute shops and scenery for my birthday this year, but because the best was an hour away and the day was rainy with the coming hurricane, we decided to postpone it until after our birthday season and make a girl's day out of it <3. So today, Mama, Tori, Bethi and I took a day trip to Aiken! (And little Isaac was a very well behaved little party crasher, of course ;) <3...) It was so much fun <3! Aiken is a gorgeous little town (which was apparently awarded south's best small town of 2018!), and there was so much to enjoy.

First we stopped for coffee, which was a feat to accomplish, because everything was against that coffee... haha. But we persevered and enjoyed our drinks anyway ;), and were on the road! Our first destination was Hopeland gardens, which was a gorgeous small park. It had huge trees and lots of fountains/ponds.

Also, snow. Or the SC equivalent, Christmas lights being prepared for next month ;)...

Isaac was mesmerized by the water fountain!

This right here was some sort of gum tree... I don't remember which, because there were several variations there. But this one is supposed to be known in the south as one of the best for fall foliage, with lots of yellow leaves whrn the season turns... see how "yellow" they are? That's our fall this year, y'all ;P.

Tori said these little wood/tree whatever they ares looked like meercats sitting by the water :).

Our little buddy in the back <3. He did SO good the whole trip!

Yes, my phone camera is bad. Yes, this town is adorable anyway.

Isaac matches the horse in the art store! (And I do not, I know. Ignore me, he couldn't hold himself, hahaha! I wanted to get him "riding" it, but of course there was a sign that said do not touch :P...)

I really liked the clay sculpture art, for some reason! They were unique and fun.

We stopped at a couple of antique shops while we were there, and one of them had a whole wall of shelves... all of them ticking all together, it was such a fun sound <3!

Baby found himself in an antique mirror ;). He was adorable talking to his reflection. (A lady who passed us just could not handle how cute it was, haha, she had to tell him!)

Sadly, those books were not real, hahaha! But I thought this was gorgeous!

We stopped by a little sweet shop, and we had to pick up some taffy and other candies ;). We enjoyed some chocolate covered caramels on the way home, they were delicious! I overheard another lady in the shop saying that no small town was complete without a candy shop, and I whispered to Mama, "truth", haha. This particular candy shop sold popcorn - on the cob! I had never seen that before!

That window display <3. Decorating with candy - and so beautifully! I loved it!

I loved these flowers!

We stayed pretty much until the the shops we wanted to window shop through closed - and we didn't even make it to a couple, because they weren't open on Mondays! The town has a thing for horses (hence the horse Isaac matched ;)...), and it was cute to see the "yield to horses" signs with the traffic signals. (There were also signs to "please do not park for the health of our trees" around what looked like a dirt parking lot?) There was so much beautiful architecture, and cute items in all the local/handcraft/art areas, it was definitely everything I was hoping it would be!

As everything closed, we stopped to grab some snacks and head home, bringing home a pizza party so the rest of the family could help us finish up our amazing day!

Do you like small towns? What is your favorite thing about them/to do while you are there :)?!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3