Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things I Love Thursday

Happy Valentine's Day!

-- or the Jubilant kids' version: "Bow-wem-times Day."

Valentine's Day provides an opportunity to think about the many facets of love. (Of course it also provides opportunity to make Hallmark's shareholders a bit deeper in the pockets.) I certainly am no stranger to the warm-fuzzies that cute cards and a box of chocolates can evoke. And I do my best to make sure my loved ones know I love them and am thinking about them.

For this post though, I thought I'd break from the mold a little bit and share a few things that have nothing whatsoever to do with "Bow-em-times" but make my heart go pitter-pat just the same.

*Tree-lined driveways. This is a two-fold sigh. For some reason I cannot identify, it represents luxury for me. It also is reminiscent of the summer camp where I worked as kitchen help for a couple of summers in high school and then again as a counselor for a couple of summers in college. These summers hold some of my most cherished memories (-- and some of my most angst filled ones, to be honest). They also held great moments of growth in the areas of service and self-awareness.

*Hot Chai Tea. I love a cup of hot tea in the morning (Now that Starbuck's Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is but a distant memory). Right after the two older kids are off to school and the younger is engrossed in his daily dose of Little Einsteins, then it is my time for a daily dose of calm. And for some reason the chai tea from Tastefully Simple makes this ritual extra special. The aroma is enough to send calming vibes all through me. What a great way to start the morning.

*GGB's (Great Grandma Blessing's) "killer" brownies. Oh. My. Goodness. My grandma makes the best brownies ever and she leaves the center of the pan perfectly goo-ey. These brownies are to die for -- hence the name. Caramels, nuts and various sundry goodies are packed into this recipe. A little piece of heaven right here on earth. I sure hope I inherit this recipe, but not for a very very long time.

*A fresh pad of paper (and newly sharpened pencils). Perhaps "fresh" isn't exactly how you would describe a ne'er been used pad o' paper, but it's definitely how I describe it. There is something exhilarating and a little daunting about it's possibilities. Silly or not, I feel a responsibility to make sure my creative attempts are worthy enough to besmirch paper perfection.

* A new novel from a favorite author. Sitting down and cracking open a book I've never read from an author I love is always frought with excitement.

*My worn out leather bound Bible. It is the one my parents gave me when I was in high school, so it has my maiden name in gold foil letters on the front. This Bible in particular is special not only for the message it contains inside, but also because it represents a time in my life when I had the whole world before me. I began taking my spiritual life seriously during that particular time. I was growing out of the teen age angst phase and into a time when I began truely trusting in The One who gives hope and peace that passes all understanding.

*A new pair of shoes. Totally self-explanatory. I'm just sayin'.

*Wendy's spicy chicken and fries. While I haven't indulged in quite sometime, due to my weight loss efforts, this is a meal that to me is a mini-celebration.

*Newly fallen snow (that I don't have to drive in). The pristine quality of untrod snow makes me believe in the good in the world. Kind of a leap, I know, but there you have it.

*Pineapple and Strawberries. These two fruits represent summer to me. My favorite fruit in my favorite season.

*Someone else doing the dishes. Wanna score points with me? Offer to do my dishes. Are you listening, honey?

*76 degree weather with a slight breeze. Again, the summer thing.

*My mom's piano playing. Hearing her play is like my very own concert. What she can do with her fingers across those keys is amazing. It's a talent that I'd envy -- if it weren't a sin, that is. It gives me a new respect for her as a person above and beyond the role of mom.

Simple things like these are treasures, more than chocolates and flowers. Silly as it may sound they are the things that God chooses to speak His love to me. And I'll take it. Every time.

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