Thursday, August 21, 2014

one thousand gifts

several months ago I was challenged by my sweet friend kristen to read the book "one thousand gifts" by ann voskamp. reading this book has been life changing. the dare is to live fully right where you are in life. "live full of grace and joy. it is possible, widly." the idea is to get a journal & write 1,000 gifts that you already have. not gifts that you want. write down the common everyday things thats you are grateful for. the small things. so I began my list:

1. children napping
2. thunder booming
3. hearing birds tweet & chirp
4. air conditioning that cools

no matter what your circumstance. no matter how difficult life seems. live fully.

19. faithful friends. Sarah. Abbey. Jenn
20. new friends. Amanda. Ashleigh
21. holding Ava - anytime of the day
22. the way Ava smells after bathtime
23. God's provision 

live fully. that's what I strive to do. that's my plan. each day comes with lots of great moments and some moments that are trying. but it is me that chooses how I will remember my days. will I take for granted the small moments? the moments that may not seem to matter? in her book, voskamp says, "do not disdain the small." if we miss the small moments, which make up the big moments, then we ultimately miss out on life. we miss out.

55. kisses on the neck
56. a spirit filled church
57. snuggles that last for minutes not seconds

I had recently been finding myself complaining. complaining about Ava whining. complaining about not wanting to go to the grocery store. or about Bryan coming home late from work. and then I heard it. wake up! look around and see all that is good. all that I do have. all that God has given me. I have been blessed. Ava might be whining, but she is alive and she is healthy! I may not want to go to the grocery store, but I do have a vehicle to get me there. and I do have enough money to pay for food. I do have an amazing husband who comes home to me every night after spending the day providing for our family. I cannot forget this. I cannot take these moments for granted.

87. sand between my toes
88. the flicker of fire from a candle
89. warmth from the sun

I am blessed. I am grateful. I am thankful.

130. pruned toes after bathtime
131. hearing mama come from Ava's lips

I choose to be grateful for what we have. for what has been given to us. to be grateful even when things don't go exactly the way I desire. voskamp also said this...this is good: "as long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. joy is always possible." read that again. joy is always possible! when we choose to give thanks in all things then we will always possess joy. how amazing life would be! how it can be. but you see, this is not new. this concept isn't new. in the bible we read in 1 thessalonians 5:18, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." God's will is for us to give thanks. from the beginning we are to give thanks. even in the deepest darkest tragedies there is always something to give thanks for.

152. Bryan's homemade chicken noodle soup 
153. a good pedicure
154. baking cookies
155. road trips with girlfriends

the next time you find yourself complaining. grumbling. suffering. unsatisfied. --- remember what you do have. remember what you are blessed with. remember to be thankful. grateful.

"being grateful for what we have today doesn't mean we have to have that forever. it means we acknowledge that what we have today is what we're supposed to have today. there is enough...and all we need will come to us."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Canadian Vacay

We recently got back from our 2 week vacation on Aylen Lake, Ontario Canada. Between all the laundry and cleaning out bins I managed to upload all of our pictures. Bryan jokingly proclaimed that we didn't take enough pictures of Ava...haha...give me a break! She's our first babe!! 

We had SO much fun on our vacation this year. We hadn't been to Canada with the family for 3 years due to other travel plans. Bryan's family is like my own. It was nice to spend quality time with them. {I did miss my brother in law & sister in law who weren't able to make it}. It was a nice little getaway. no phones. no tv. no internet. a true escape. 

We left from PA to Canada bright eyed for our lengthy 12 hour trip.
Ava did nothing short of amazing! She managed to stay entertained while awake & slept peacefully for naptime. Only around dinner did she start to get a little hangry! Hah! But who doesn't?!?

Even though it wasn't sunshiny weather everyday we still enjoyed the cooler temperatures.  
We did A LOT of relaxing. a lot of eating. and a lot of laughing.

It was so hard to pick just a few of our pictures to share. I hope you enjoy!! 

The tube was a huge hit for children both young & older! What a great investment! No one flipped or fell off, but there were definite moments where I thought I would go skipping across the lake!

We spent a lot of time on the dock. watching the water. watching the passersby.  We had to watch Ava like a hawk because she always managed to find the edge of the dock. 

Bryan & Eric took the boys fishing. Bryan ended up catching the biggest fish the cottage has ever seen. They all had a blast. 

One day we took some of the kids to Blueberry Mountain. We didn't bring home as much as they did last year, but blueberry pancakes & blueberry coffee cake was enjoyed! 

We spent lots of time on the boat. Sometimes I went along for the ride. Other times I rode on the tube. Ava seemed to enjoy the boat rides too! 

The three youngest Boyes cute!! Anya Jane is 13 months, Ava Gabrielle is 9 months, & Austin John is 6 months. 

We didn't go canoeing nearly enough. Bryan & I went out one time with Ava for a short ride before dinner. I didn't have a bad view either --- I got to watch my hubby paddle! 

Bryan spent many days on the lake wakeboarding. I, on the other hand, went out 1 day, but the water was SO cold.

Some of the girls of the house spent an afternoon painting our nails. I pampered the girls and painted all of our toe nails...including the 2 baby girls. It was so much fun! 

The annual Leaning Birches cottage family picture. Such a great looking bunch!! I love my family.

Our last day was spent packing the remaining luggage and coolers. {And taking family pictures of course! hah!} Then we drove off for that sweet American soil!