Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's the Little Things

The other day our family had this deep and meaningful discussion about seasons. My husband's favorite season is spring because of the new life we see budding all around us. Everyone in the family, except for me, enjoys winter the least because of the dreary, death like feeling with barren trees, dormant plant life, rainy day after rainy day in our area and the inability to be outdoors as often. I see winter as a warm, cozy time with the family all gathered together on winter evenings. We enjoy baking, having company over, the warmth of our wood stove, snowy days and lots of reading.  One of the kids joins me in great appreciation for fall. We find it amazing that God can take even the death of leaves on the trees and make them brilliant in color. We love the beauty of fall, warm cozy fires, crisp cold days, walks in the cool, fresh air and the beautiful mountain scenes that surround our valley.

Everyone loves summer in our family, because of the warm temperatures, soft, green, lovely, freshly mown grass, green on all the trees, more hours in the day, long walks with our Golden Retrievers as a family, playing in the nearby creek, camping, hiking, swimming and vacationing, bon fires, barbecues and warm summer evenings sipping iced tea on our porch while watching the kids play in the sprinkler.

I don't know, I simply can't decide which season I like best and I suppose that's why I love the area in which we live. We get to enjoy all four seasons. Each season is decidedly different from the last and although our state is notorious for the huge amount of rain it receives, it also boasts of the beautiful, lush, greenery as a result.

All of this to say that spring has sprung in our state and we are enjoying it!

Last week Brandi and I took the kids outside for a good walk up our long, steep hill and out to play, run, hike, climb trees, build forts and make memories on our property. We played and snuggled with our Golden Girls and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on our faces.

This is one of the things I love most about God. He is so creative. He blesses us in countless ways, every day. We just have to open our eyes and notice. He gives us gifts....little gifts, each and every day.

One of the reasons my camera is always within my grasp, is because it is one of the ways I can show appreciation for those little gifts.

Please enjoy my gratitude through the lens of my camera and I challenge you to open your eyes to all God has blessed us with to say He is here. He is amazing and He loves us!

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“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Alahna, Cooper and Tessa Brandi, Levi and Tessa Mae

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful.  They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Brandi, Tessa and the kiddos Jackson and Cooper

"Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning." James 1:17

Kids and Tessa Levi, Alahna, Cooper and Tessa

Baby smiles and giggles are some of the greatest gifts ever. I don't know why, but baby giggles, baby feet, baby smiles....they are just so beautiful and precious. Children's voices raised in song bless me to tears too.

Smiley Cooper

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:18

"This earthly life is a battle,' said Ma.  'If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another.  It always has been so, and it always will be.  The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and more thankful for your pleasures.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

And God provides plenty of opportunity for us to be content. Just look around you when you are tempted to complain, or you feel down and challenge yourself to find just one little thing to be thankful for.....and maybe one way that you can be a blessing to someone else who is feeling down. Giving thanks is contagious. It really is....and it's addicting. Once you start looking for the light and beautiful things in your life, the darkness dissipates. Once I start giving thanks, it amazes me how many more things come to mind, that I can thank God for.

Here is one thankful thought on my heart for this day. The children God has blessed us with and that they love Him. Last night one of our daughters gave her testimony at youth group. She was nervous and a little scared, but she really wanted to share her love for Jesus, her gratitude that He saved her and her hope that any kids who don't have the hope she has found in Him, might be reached through her testimony and the joy and hope she has found in Him. It was outside her comfort zone and she did it anyway. As a Mom, when you see your kids willing to reach out even though it's's truly amazing. When you see your child care about others and out of gratitude for what they have, they are willing to share and desire to share in hopes of helping other's one more thing to give thanks for.

Natalie's Testimony, YG


  1. Oh yes Jana, I so hear your grateful mommy's heart, isn't it a Blessing to hear our children testify of the Lord and care for others? Such a Gift! : ) Your daughter exhibits such a sweet and naturally beautiful spirit there... <3

    I know how ya feel on those seasons. I love the fall and spring, I love the winter but it does seem more intense here in the country. I'm learning to enjoy those summer months a bit too here, the pretty sunsets and such, it's kinda nice!

    The camera, I really should do the same. I'm always seeing something and then I don't have my camera, sometimes when I *do* have my camera then it seems I take too much and don't enjoy like I should! Aaagh! *big smile*

    I loved seeing your walk with your precious children and fur angels...So adorable.

    Thanks for sharing your life Jana, I love that quote, I was *just* reading that one! Isn't that funny? Kindred spirits indeed! : )

    Love to you dear friend, ~Amelia

  2. Amelia, thank you. :) And true...the balance between no pictures and too much picture taking is a tough one for me. I see everything as a moment to document and sometimes it drives my family crazy, but then they are grateful to have all the pictures to enjoy later on. :) Sometimes I purposely leave my camera at home, but most of the time it's in my purse and actually last November, I was really glad I had it with me at Rich's Uncle's wedding because last minute, their photographer couldn't make it. I got to photograph my very first wedding and it was SO much fun! It was the best way to love on them as a new couple and such fun to gain some experience with a wedding. :) It's always so nice to hear from you. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and grew up on her books, then read them all to all of our kiddos. Such good stuff in those old, more innocent times, right? Blessings to you today, and I look forward to catching up with you over at your blog! (((hugs)))