Friday, December 20, 2013

The Santa Hat

As I dug through our Christmas boxes a few weeks ago, pulling out decorations and trying to keep all things breakable out of Baby Blue Eyes' grasp, I ran across an old Santa hat with holes cut out of it.

I had to pause.

This hat holds a lot of memories.

The first Christmas I spent with Sultan, I bought him this Santa hat. I cut holes out of it so it would fit over his long horse ears. It was ridiculous and he hated it. I can't count how many times he tossed it off into the dirt.

But I made him wear it every year.

I remember our first Christmas together. It was cold (for Phoenix) and we rode to a nearby Baptist church to take pictures.

That was the beginning of a Christmas tradition.

Humiliating my horse became one of my favorite pasttimes.

I was always sure to give him plenty of Christmas treats--carrots, ginger snaps (his favorite), or a warm bran mash with candy cane pieces.

To make up for the Santa hat.

I think he was grateful.

I will keep the Santa hat with our Christmas things, to help me remember.

Missing him,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Camping Fun

Instead of going on any big vacations this summer, we went camping.
We camped near Kelly Canyon, in the middle of a spacious meadow full of all the dirt Brown-Eyed Boy could dream of.
We camped in Sedona, in the shade of towering red-rock cliffs, watching as a gorgeous thunderstorm rolled in.

We camped at Lynx Lake in Prescott, where my husband got addicted to gold-panning and the boys played from sun-up to sun down.

But my favorite camping trip was the one we took just a couple weeks ago...

in our very own yard.

It was awesome. No packing required. We just slapped the tent in the yard, sat around the firepit eating hot dogs and s'mores, watched a movie, and went to sleep. We didn't even need the air mattress, because our grass is so soft. We got our camping fix in and we barely had to leave the comfort of our home.

It was all Brown-Eyed Boy's idea.  

I love s'mores,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The List

A month or so before Thanksgiving, my Dad challenged me and my siblings to make a list of everything we're thankful for.

He based his request off of this story.

Of course my competitive nature kicked in, and I immediately went to work on my family's list, determined to beat my brothers and sisters.

But then, a couple weeks into the list, something happened.

I started to change.

Instead of grumbling about every little hardship, I became a lot more cheerful. It was hard to be negative when I was constantly focused on my blessings, always on the hunt for another one to add to the list.

When an old blanket shredded in the washing machine and scattered pieces all over the laundry room, I was grateful it wasn't a blanket anyone in my family was attached to.

When my husband and the missionaries ate every last bite of dinner before I got home from work, I was grateful that the soup I had improvised that morning had turned out so good (but I was a little mad that I hadn't gotten to try it).

When my children woke me up before sunrise, I was grateful that I could open my eyes to see their beautiful, smiling faces.

When days I thought I would spend with my husband were spent with him working for hours at his side job, I was grateful that he loves me enough to do everything he can so I can eventually stay home with our kids.

And so the list grew. Even on my worst days, I found so much to be grateful for it overwhelmed me.

Our final count: 1,055 things to be grateful for.

But that's only because Thanksgiving came and I forced myself to stop.

I am trying to keep that spirit of gratitude with me. I am a much happier person when I focus on the good in my life instead of the bad. And there is so much good.

The Lord loves us. If we just open our eyes to see His blessings, we will find them all around.

Grateful for gratitude,
The Brown-Eyed Girl