Gratititude and Simple Joys

Natalie writes:
The Thanksgiving season is upon us, and, appropriately, I am currently enjoying a great book I received from my dear friend Abby. The book is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Vosklam. The book is a semi-memoir of a woman who finds spritual healing by listing a thousand blessings that God has given her. It is an excellent gook and it has really helped me this past week to try to slow down and recognize the beautiful moments and blessings in my life. Here are a few:

--Sami padding down the stairs in the footy pajamas yelling "mommy!" when I come through the door.

--the color of Ella's eyes as she day dream out the car window, unaware that I am watching her.

--the way my tension melts away when I feel Thomas sit by my side.

--the diamon-white color of the full moon on a breezy autumn night.

--Kathy in her robe on the front step giving her granddaughter one last kiss good-bye, even when she knows she will see her again in a few hours.

"Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life--even the hard--is made up of minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole...There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in the one small thing. The moments will add up."--Ann Voskamp

The rest of this week will be filled with planning menus and shopping trips, home repairs, and sitting arrangements in preparation for Thanksgiving. It is my hope that in the midst of the business, I can take time to honor what this holiday is truly about.

It has been 9 months since we last posted a blog...so to try to make up for some lost time, here are some photos of the growing girls.

Ella and Sam as Kun-Fuing Power-Puff Girls at Halloween. Their Aunt Nenni made them these awesome costumes! Hiya!

Natalie at her 31st birthday party with all the Dennison grandbabies. Johnny, Wyatt, Sam, Piper, Ella, Lily. Love it!

Ella and Sam carving pumpkins on the deck. Sam insisted on scooping with her own Sam-sized spoon.

Sam enjoying a late-summer ice cream treat from the ice cream man.

The whole family at a Ernie and Jo Ann's wedding.

Thomas and Natalie--9 year anniversary date.

Ella is thriving in first grade at Hickory Elementary School. She adores her teacher and comes home almost every day and changes into her "teacher" clothes and plays schoo. She is a great big sister who goes out of her way to help Sam and check up on her . I am so proud of my big girl.

Sam is a giantess. She is almost fully potty trained and is learning to say new things each day. On my day off on Friday, we had a great time watching the squirrels look for pumpkin seeds on our deck while we ate lunch. "Yook! Skerrel! Where go skerrel? What he doin??" We had so much fun.

Today Thomas asked Sam to go upstairs and get dressed--something she did not want to do. She showed us her contempt by sighing deeply and dropping her arms to her sides in exasperation--just like a 16 year-old :). How does a 2 year old learn to do this? My whole body shook trying not to laugh aloud.

Thomas and I are busy--though trying to cut back on things to slow life down a bit. Things are good, lots of changes --more updates to come!


Something About Ella

There is just something about Ella.
It's hard to put a finger on it, but there is something there unlike any person I've ever met. It's not that she prays when she is upset, that she takes an extra snack for a kid at school or that she dances and jumps around the house when almost any sort of music is on. It's not that she hums the worship songs I play on the guitar when she is coloring or that she has 50 "favorite" stuffed animals.
She is just Ella, created by God and sent to bless us. She doesn't fit into a plan that Daddy has, God has something much more amazing in store for her...
...she is just JOY.

As I was editing pictures today I started to see a running theme...
Princess Minnie Mouse Ella and her Grams.

Ella and her Uncle Al.

Ella and her cousin Johnny sharing the new piano.

Ella and her friend Morgan, who lives across the street.

Ella and Sophia enjoying the hot tub at Grumpy and BaBa's house.

"Daddy, I sure do miss Sophia."

"Daddy, really! I sure do miss Sophia."