TToT: Small Town Living

Earlier this week I had to make a short drive down Highway 24.  I decided to stop and take in the sights of Wamego, KS population 4,603.  Just about a block off main street they have the prettiest city park I think I have ever seen in a town this size.  Taking a walk through the park I knew I had my theme of thankfulness for the week: small town living.

I am thankful that I grew up in a small town where everyone knew who I was.  In college we were told to insure that every interaction we had in a school setting with a child was beyond reproach we should consider if we would be comfortable having it shown on the nightly news.  This was not a new concept to a small town girl who knew whatever I did in the morning would have made the rounds of town and gotten to my parents by the time I went to bed that night.  Lacking anonymity encouraged my best behavior…most of the time.  At the very least, it gave me a clear understanding of right and wrong.

I am thankful for the lack of traffic jams, for clean air, a slower pace of life, and big gardens.  I am thankful for zucchini that mysteriously shows up on your doorstep and parades where kids’ bikes with crepe paper woven through the spokes are the main attraction. I am thankful that not having ready-made entertainment options I learned to use my imagination, to create art, and to read.  I am thankful that I learned how to really listen to the stories when my mom sent me down the street to visit an elderly person to ease their loneliness.

I am thankful for soft, old quilts to lay on the grass; the big sky alternately filled with clouds or stars.  I am thankful for a place where the door is always open means both you are welcome here and we never have to lock the place up.

I understand that the allure of small town living is not evident to everyone–which, of course, is why so many towns in my state have populations of 4,603 or less.  The thing is, I find that just one more thing to be thankful for.


Complete TToT


Years ago I developed the habit of ending each day with a journal.  Each night’s entry was a very simple list–five things I found to be thankful for that day.  In 2011 I discovered Ann Voskamp and her book One Thousand Gifts where she urges us to celebrate “each moment for what it truly is– holy, ordinary, amazing grace”.  This is the week my list reaches one thousand gifts.

#992-1007 of my One Thousand Gifts

I am thankful for eyes that recognize a gift even in the minutia.

My daughter  made her choice for grad school (Yeah!) and will head to UNC Chapel Hill in August (Also Yeah!).  I am thankful she has this opportunity.

My other daughter has taken steps this week to be true to herself  finding strength to assert herself appropriately– even to her mother.

A lifelong friend is making a huge lifestyle change.  I am thankful for her friendship, the promise of what is to come, and the fact that she choose to share it all with me.

My corner of the world is full of blooms, and blossoms, and every once in a while a warm burst of sunshine.

I am thankful to be home for a change this weekend….even thankful for time to do laundry and clean the house.

How could I not be thankful for  a week that begins with Easter, and for all those I got to spend my Easter Sunday with?

Really, truly I am thankful for my life.  Warts and all…bills, dust bunnies…in the end the good so far outweighs the bad I couldn’t be anything but thankful.


TToT: Holy Week

#973-991 of my One Thousand Gifts


Holy Week for me began in Georgetown, TX.  We attended Palm Sunday service at the First United Methodist Church and were warmly received.  Palms were waved, favorite hymns sung.  It was wonderful.

Graduation is just a month away so this visit was filled with nostalgia for all the goodness of Georgetown…it’s beauty, safety, friendliness.  The fabulous places to eat.  The big sky and natural beauty of the area.  Bluebonnets and poppies each in their season (this time bluebonnets).  Relationships and  a great education.  Pirate bikes and the pirates who ride them around campus.

texas flowers

This weekend will take us to Oklahoma for more family time and the sharing of Easter.  Tonight we will remember somberly the sorrow that broke into the joy of Easter– for which I am truly thankful.

A Quarter Century of Motherhood: TToT

mothersday1990My first born turned 25 this week.  Twenty-five-years-old.  A quarter of a century.

Nearly half my lifetime ago I became a mother.  Looking at this photo of us on our first Mother’s Day through my bifocaled eyes today, I now believe I was about as much a baby at the time as she was.

There is so much about motherhood that I love, but these things make me particularly thankful:

The awesome responsibility for the sheltering and safe-keeping of small people. No other challenge in my life compares in importance.

Earning the trust of those little ones who relied on me.

The closeness and simple joy of breast feeding.

Memories of bath time and bedtime stories snuggly, warm and sweet.

The opportunity to have my child think I know everything—and then decide I don’t—and finally decide that even though I don’t know everything, I know enough.

The realization that there are things (people) for whom I would lay down my life.

Seeing other loved ones in the faces and actions of my children.

The gift of the long view–where I get to see the adult version of the traits and talents I first recognized in my small children.  What a joy to watch their childhood personalities lead them into their life’s work.

The memory of fluttery, shuddery movements inside me letting me know a healthy baby was really growing there.

The incredible sound of the baby’s strong, even heartbeat.

All the firsts.  First tooth, first step, first day of school, first love.

Watching my parents fall madly and helplessly in love with my children.

Feeling a deeper appreciation for my own parents and how they raised me after acquiring first-hand knowledge of what a difficult job parenting is.

And most of all–Two young ladies and a young man who need to do nothing more than be themselves to make my heart swell with pride, love and joy.


#932-951 of My One-Thousand Gifts

I could have predicted that I couldn’t do this one in 10.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

We have seen many lighted trees outside homes in Germany, but not any lights on the houses themselves.  The towns and cities are draped in strings of lights, but homes are very simply decorated with the exception of the occasional Santa Claus scaling the wall to gain access.  These guys are everywhere.

santas santa

He arrives a little differently in Germany than America perhaps, but Santa is definitely coming!