All posts by Jessica

Quilts of Valor

Last week, when I visited the quilt shop down the street, I was asked if I could manage to get my grandfather into the store this Saturday (10/22); as they wanted to honor him with a Quilt of Valor for his service during WW2 and since.

Quilts of Valor is a national organization that makes quilts for soldiers abroad and at home, soldiers in hospitals, and those who have served in past years. To date they’ve given over 57,000 quilts. Many quilt guilds and individual quilters throughout the country work on these quilts and then donate them to Quilts of Valor to distribute.

Needless to say, my grandfather was very touched that he had been chosen to receive such a quilt.

Just for the record, he’ll be 92 in December: He signed up to fight 1 year, and ended up serving for 5. He fought throughout the Pacific and Europe and Northern Africa: He was buried alive at Anzio and had friends die in his arms, he was among the first troops sent to Pearl Harbor after the attack.

His fighting in World War II is one of the things I am most proud of him for. As I said to him, “It’s because of you that my quilt patterns are in English and inches, not German and metric”.

Lenten Dare 2011 – My Gifts

Edited to Add (March 1, 2017): During Lent 2011 I had decided to write down 25 gifts from God that I discovered each day of Lent. My goal was to have come up with One Thousand things that I was gifted. These posts had been spread out over the course of 25 posts per day, but I’ve consolidated them all here in one post. One thing that I feel I need mention is that this list was compiled before we knew we were pregnant with the triplets; we had actually already had two failed cycles, which makes the gifts all the sweeter.

Here we go!

A Lenten Dare Finding God's Gifts in the Everyday1. A bathroom floor that is so much easier to clean
2. Mirrors that are covered with face smears and little hand prints
3. Snow that turned all the ugly brown back to shimmering white
4. A husband who works without ceasing for his family
5. Family dinners with the three of us
6. That I’ve been able to be a SAHM
7. Having our own chickens for eggs
8. Owning a grocery store
9. A husband who eats [almost] whatever I put on the table
10. A MIL who sews!
11. The internet
12. Credit card companies that remove a late fee, 1 time, as a courtesy
13. 30% off at Koh.ls
14. A paycheck
15. A daughter who gives the most amazing bear-hugs
16. A mom who really does try to so hard to please everyone
17. My newly repaired (AGAIN!) camera coming in the mail today
18. Birds chirping outside my window in the morning
19. Hearing the geese flying northward (spring IS coming!)
20. A quilt shop down the street
21. Running water!!
22. An oil furnace that we can run when we run out of wood
23. The skills to make our own furniture pieces
24. Babysitters that I can TRUST with my daughter
25. Friends that GET IT, whatever “IT” may be
26. Avocados
27. Sunshine amidst the bleak winter
28. Rose-y red cheeks from being out in the cold
29. Hearing “Mommy”
30. Listening to conversations between Matt and our little girl
31. A shelf full of foods that is always full
32. A neighbor who plows our driveway for us and refuses payment
33. Listening to my daughter talk to herself in the morning over the monitor
34. For our home to be high enough up that we don’t have to worry about flooding
35. Customers who come in regardless of the weather
36. A car repair bill that was less than we feared (Thank you LORD!)
37. Sweet potato fries
38. A little voice saying “avocado”
39. Comments :-)
40. Bare ground (even if it is surrounded by ice and snow)
41. Chickens that didn’t eat their own eggs today
42. Falling back to sleep for a few more hours after Matt leaves (at 5am)
43. Getting new netflix movies
44. Finishing a mind-blowing book
45. A husband that is willing to deal with a screaming child that only wants mommy
46. Bananas with peanut butter
47. (from Matt) A loving and caring wife
48. Cars that run
49. A loving and supportive family
50. A roof over our heads
51. Listening to Matt read to Ave
52. Customers that give you fantastic compliments on their dinners
53. Listening to rain on the tin roof of the porch
54. Having enough food in our house that I’m actually overweight (trying to see the bright-side here)
55. Thank you cards from special people
56. That our town hasn’t flooded (yet)
57. That bears say “ach-ooo”
58. Totally random kisses
59. Finding old pictures of Matt and I
60. Tucking Avelyn in at night
61. Reading the Bible to Avelyn before nap/night
62. Actually WANTING to read the Bible
63. Mud….because it means spring is on the way
64. Washing machines…because it means I don’t have to go down to the river and beat our clothes on stones
65. Baby monitors
66. Dogs that insist on curling up in your lap
67. BIG yoga balls
68. The library
69. New books to read to Ave
70. Her excitement at having new books to read
71. Having employees that you can trust to do a job
72. Employees who want the business to succeed as much as you do
73. Wash baskets…..they’re great storage
74. Windows
75. Hair ties
76. My mom getting me my own copy of One Thousand Gifts :-)
77. Seeing more of the ground
78. Walking past my flower bed and seeing the first bit of green
79. Being able to make it from the house to the car without ice skating the whole way
80. Seeing old videos from my GRANDPARENTS’ wedding
81. Wonderful In-laws
82. Vinegar: It’s good for you and it cleans good!
83. Honey and all it’s yum-alicious goodness
84. Cloth Diapers
85. My Dad’s corned beef
86. How many of my “gifts” are food related
87. A new magazine!
88. Sitting down with Matt to talk
89. Thinking about our garden and what we’ll plant
90. NOT getting flooded (we’re in the clear!)
91. A shower that doesn’t have a curtain attacking you
92. Finishing projects
93. A stove….because I don’t have to stand outside over a wood fire to prepare dinner
94. Seeing old friends with their little ones
95. Getting me through the week (as I worked a lot more hours in the store)
96. Having all of our parents and grandparents living so close
97. Seeing the new developments Ave makes on a daily basis
98. Mechanical pencils….I always have to have a point!
99. Hot showers
100. Down-time with just me and Matt
101. Church family that accepts Ave and all her boisterousness during service
102. Listening to Matt and Avelyn sing together
103. A daddy who is willing to change explosive poopie diapers
104. Toilets in our house
105. Irish Soda Bread that didn’t burn
106. Enough money to pay the bills
107. People who ask “how are you?” (and mean it)
108. Freshly bathed dogs
109. Winning $50 off our next photo session in the Fall
110. That we have enough (of whatever) to share it with others
111. Locks on doors (particularly those of little ones)
112. Baby gates
113. Freshly popped popcorn (the old fashioned way)
114. Great books!
115. The ability to read
116. The ability to see
117. Clean bathtub
118. A God who loves us for who we are….flawed and sinful
119. A God who wants us to KNOW Him, to REALLY KNOW HIM!
120. Fresh Fruit
121. Naps
122. A dinner I didn’t have to cook
123. Unexpected visits from my mom and sister
124. Sound machines (aka white noise)
125. Windows that let the outside in
126. Catching snowflakes at night with Ave
127.The muffled silence of snow falling
128. Roller coaster arms down a bumpy back road
129. Butterfly kisses
130. Reading books together
131. Playing scrabble with Matt
135. Frost glittering in the sunrise
136. Smell of crayola crayons
137. An already unloaded dishwasher
138. Doctors
139. Pop-up books
140. Cloth diapers drying in the sun
141. Cloth diapers lined up on the line in color order (ROY G BIV)
142. Clear blue skies
143. Warmer temperatures
144. The cool side of the pillow
145. Crackers and cheese
146. Girls’ clothes
147. Fresh sheets on the bed
148. Sheets that fit so tight they won’t come off
149. Prayer lists
150. Smoke detectors
151. The tree outside my bedroom window
152. A change jar (a reminder that we have extra)
153. Tape
154. A working camera
155. A video camera
156. A cleaned up sewing room
157. Avelyn taking a good nap
158. The incredible-ness that is weather
159. Dancing around the living room with Avelyn
160. Colorful afghans made by my mom
161. Coloring
162. Cute cloth diapered bums
163. Finding happiness in someone else’s joy
164. signing my name “Jessica M. White”
165. Listening to the river raging behind our house
166. The silence of snow fall
167. Tulips
168. Little chicks peeping
169. Companies that return phone calls (from Matt)
170. Computers that work (from Matt)
171. Sharp razors (from Matt)
172. The huge white tree in the distance (our own Tree of Gondor)
173. Warm bread with butter
174. The wind chimes “singing” in our apple orchard
175. The satisfaction of a job well-done
176. Pain (for it is through pain that God does His most awesome work in us)
177. Grace
178. Memories of my German grandfather (maternal) singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and dancing a jig on St. Patrick’s Day
179. Memories of my Irish grandmother (paternal)
180. Corned Beef and potatoes
181. My daughter’s fascination with a [tightly closed] tube of lotion
182. Sunshine warm on my arms
183. Hands to hold
184. A strong back to work
185. Crocuses
186. Walks in the afternoon sunlight
187. Bath-time
188. Packages in the mail
189. Playing in the yard
190. Water dripping steadily off the roof, as the sun beats down on it
191. Spinning around the living room with Avelyn
192. A little girl who puts her dirty clothes in the hamper
193. without being asked to do so
194. A husband who comes home every night
195. Erasers
196. Being Irish
197. Irish Music….always gets your toes a-tappin’
198. Cardinals flitting among the branches….chasing each other
199. “Silver white winters that melt into spring”
200. My dad
201. Morning sun burning off the fog
202. The fact that there is morning sun and fog
203. Freshly scrubbed floors
204. Running around a field with Avelyn
205. The ability to physically work
206. Driving along, when a bird flies right above your car, so you can see it’s wings spread out
207. Sudden realizations
208. Completely random, but totally relevant, scriptures
209. Poopie diapers (I’m weird, I know)
210. My dad’s homemade meatballs
211. Strawberry-Banana Smoothies
212. Quietly sitting and reading to Avelyn
213. The first 60* day in probably 5 months
214. Days when we’re done with dinner by 6pm
215. Friday night take out dinners (from The Market Place, of course)
216. Another recovery for my dad
217. A cold glass of water when thirsty
218. Pulling out the spring decorations
219. Finding delicious new recipes
220. Quiet time with just Ave
221. Quiet time with Matthew
222. Talking with Matt before we fall asleep
223. Good night kisses
224. Down blankets
225. Hearing the birds all going crazy in the tree tops
226. Trees creaking in the wind
227. Comfort amidst the storm
228. The tingly feeling of warmth after being outside in the cold
229. Finishing a wall hanging I’ve had for a year
230. Getting our taxes done
231. Not owing
232. Kissing the underside of Ave’s neck
233. Smelling Spring in the house
234. Driving with the windows down
235. Ave’s smiles and giggles as the wind blows her hair
236. Piles of laundry (we have more clothes than we need)
237. Taste buds
238. God always gives us what we NEED
239. Seat belts and car seats
240. The words “I love you”
241. Knowing those words mean something
242. Not being alone in this life
243. Living slow
244. The dog pooped all cleaned up from the yard
245. Avelyn sitting and “reading” a book
246. Having actual conversations with Ave
247. Checking on Avelyn at night, with a flashlight, just so I can see her sleep
248. Sunshine warmed floorboards
249. Leftovers
250. Full moon over the tree tops
251. The joy Avelyn brings to us, by bringing joy to others
252. Gray hairs
253. Compassion
254. Spring snow that disappears as quickly as it arrived
255. Wrestling with Avelyn
256. Tall glass of ice cold milk
257. Sun pouring through stained-glass
258. Freedom to worship
259. Wisdom earned and learned
260. Flying in a plane above the clouds while the sun rises/sets
261. Hearing the same bird that I have listened for every morning since I was a little girl (red-wing blackbird)
262. Scratch of a pencil across paper
263. Meals with Matt’s family
264. Meals with my family
265. Cross stitch blankets made by my Oma
266. Family that treasures old pictures
267. Writing a note to someone….the old fashioned way: Paper and pen
268. Bedtime prayers
269. Glasses (so I can SEE!)
270. Cursive writing
271. Stacks of books to be read
272. Checking another book off of my To Be Read List
273. Smelling “spring” in my house
274. Laughing with my sister in law, Megan
275. Having the right to shoot a gun in our backyard
276. I’m a MOM!
277. Salt for melting ice
278….and adding flavor
279. Stickers
280. The way Avelyn’s pony tail just fountains from the top of her head
281. Fish kisses
282. Scrubbing Ave’s face (even though she doesn’t like it)
283. Delicious homemade soup
284. For a husband who makes delicious soups
285. HOME!
286. Bathtime
287. Bubble bath
288. Getting through the day, when we didn’t get much sleep
289. For people who read my blog
290. People who comment
291. Soap
292. Perseverance
293. Prayer!
294. For other people who are listing their one thousand gifts….reminding me of ones I haven’t thought of or remembered
295. Singing
296. Forgiveness….received and given
297. To do lists
298. …scratching things off on the to do list
299. Succeeding at something that I’m not sure I would be able to
300. Blog friends
301. Beauty of snow sticking to the branches
302. Neighbor shoveling our sidewalk
303. Garlic
304. Spices
305. Herbs
306. Great new ideas
307. Dairy Farmers
308. Truck drivers
309. Trust
310. Breathtaking views
311. Realizing how ENORMOUS God is
312. That no matter how minuscule we are, He still loves us
313. Time to read
314. Planning our veggie garden
315. Having Matt home at a decent time
316. A little girl who smiles when I come back and shrieks for joy
317. Making my husband smile by doing something unexpected
318. Getting more accomplished than I expected
319. Avelyn’s feet…such delicate and beautiful things
320. Saying grace together as a family
321. Three toothbrushes in the bathroom, because it’s NOT just Matt’s and mine
322. Sleepy good morning kisses
323. Sleepy good bye kisses
324. Piano music
325. Making bread with Avelyn
326. Seeing a laughing little girl in my rear view mirror
327. Sunshine when it’s supposed to be snowing
328. Another quick snow storm
329. Spaetzle and Goulash (I’m working on a recipe post)
330. Playing with the snow INSIDE!
331. Lying on the floor with Avelyn
332. Tracing my foot and Avelyn’s, side by side
333. An almost “close” Scrabble game with my grandfather….darn those triple word squares!
334. Sunglasses
335. That our little local theater gets some amazing performers
336. Wooden spoons ;-) (No I did not use it on Ave)
337. Seeing my tulips poking through the snow
338. Reading the lists of others 1000 gifts at A Holy Experience
339. Being able to run
340. Beauty amidst pain
341. Playing in the mud
342. Warm toes
343. Kicking a ball around with Matt and Avelyn
344. Comments from new bloggers
345. Getting rid of things we don’t use
346. Hand lotion
347. Getting a great picture of Avelyn
348. Snow sliding off the roof and THUMPING on the porch roof
349. Setting a breakfast menu for the week
350. Ave’s excitement when she hears the car door slam: She’s actually speechless when she realizes Matt’s home, all smiles.
351. That I’m married to my best friend
352. That God brought this amazing guy into my life
353. For a husband that chose me and our life, over a profitable career path
354. His kisses
355. The silly “seductive” looks he gives me
356. His smile, as though I am the only one in the world for him
357. The feel of my hand in his
358. He accepts and loves me for me
359. He doesn’t ask me to change who I am for him
360. That he still finds me attractive even though I am nothing like the person I was 11 years ago (’bout 50lbs heavier now)
361. How he will tell me what I need to do, when I don’t want to make the decision
362. His love for Avelyn
363. How he works so tirelessly and without ceasing…and how it’s always for others.
364. He deals with and accepts all of idiosyncrasies and quirks
365. That he lets me drive (I get car sick)
366. He listens to me
367. The butterflies I still get in my stomach when I think about him or see him
368. He he does for me….whether it’s helping around the house or with a project
369. He genuinely likes my cooking and is open to my experiments
370. How he compliments me, whether its how I look, the food I made, or a project I finished
371. He does those things that I don’t always want to do (mucking the hen house)
372. How he puts OUR goals and desires before his pride
373. He gave me my daughter
374. How we’ve grown together from the dork 17 year olds we were when we started dating
375. That he has been my first kiss, my love, my life, my husband, my partner in crime….until the end
376. The strength to get through difficult things
377. Email reminders of His love
378. Setting up play-dates with friends
379. Helping someone else dealing with infertility
380. Family visiting
381. My mom for never giving up on her kids
382. My dad for loving us through it all
383. Making a connection with someone, on some level
384. The smell of the air coming from the dryer vent
385. The cold on a sunny day….making you feel alive
386. A daughter who accepts without question
387. Looking back on your life and seeing God at work
388. Knowing that even in the darkness He was there, working it for good
389. Instrumental music that just grabs you
390. Opening my eyes to seeing all His wonderful gifts
391. Hot showers
392. Beautiful poetry
393. A mother in law who’s willing to fix my jeans so I can get some more wear out of them
394. Matt’s grandparents, they came into my life just as I was losing 2 of mine
395. My grandfather, that he is still here and still has it all together
396. Holding Avelyn’s hand walking down the sidewalk
397. A song that just speaks to your heart
398. Having so many people in the world that bring such goodness into your life (writers, musicians, etc)
399. Saying “no” to Ave
400. and standing fast to it
426. How God can use the most painful things in our life for good
427. That there is treatment available to a friend diagnosed with skin cancer (may it work!)
428. Making enough of dinner that I could put some in the freezer
429. Sisters who visited us today
430. Wisdom as to what to say
431. All our meals planned for the week
432. Truth
433. Loading the dishwasher (because it means I don’t have to do them by hand)
434. That even when this list gets hard to add to there is always “one more”
435. The patience to deal with a little girl who thinks she’s 2 (Terrible 2 that is)
436. Laughing at British humor….there’s nothing quite like it
437. Unker’s
438. Chickens that lay enough eggs to provide the money to buy their feed
439. Water from the door of the fridge
440. Being entirely caught up on the laundry
441. Sleeves dirty with the hand prints of the little girl who sat next to me at dinner
442. Shout sticks
443. Advertisers that get the information right the first time!
444. The ability to see color
445. Choosing to live life fully
446. Choosing to see the good
447. Choosing to trust
448. Taking one of the most painful things in our  life and helping others on their own journey through
449. Using our pain to glorify God
450. Rejoicing IN all things
451. Homemade pizza
452. Looking at the clouds
453. Seeing one in the shape of an angel’s wing
454. Walks on beautiful afternoons
455. Vinegar
456. Great gifts (to give)
457. A quilt shop down the street (also dangerous!)
458. Friendly strangers
459. Ave saying “Hi lovely ladies” (I adjusted it Barbara ;-)
460. Little girl chuckles
461. Inspiration from other blogs
462. The ability to create something from confusion
463. Finding beauty even among the confusion
464. A blank sheet of paper
465. Knowing that even when I don’t like what’s going on, God is at work
467. Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness
468. Our pastor’s first grandchild arriving safely into the world: CONGRATS!
469. That there are people who are willing to FIGHT for what is right
470. Managing to get us all through the winter without any major illnesses (KNOCK ON WOOD!)
471. Not missing my old job one bit :-D
472. That we put our faith in God to give up a paycheck and be a stay at home mom
473. And it’s working!
474. A pile of snow that was 15′ high reduced to only a few feet
475. Grace….breath in*breath out*breath in*breath out
476. Feeling Avelyn’s hand in mine
477. How big her “little” hands are getting
478. Jelly hand prints on the furniture
479. That even when people in our life are out of control, He is still in control
480. Mashed sweet potatoes
481. A fresh, warm towel after a shower
482. Avelyn say “I’m sorry”
483. The comfort of repetition
484. Through pain we grow….whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual
485. A warmed bed
486. A God who believes in us, even when we don’t believe in Him….or ourselves
487. A mom who prays without ceasing over all her children
488. That we turn a knob and not only have water, but it’s clean…drinkable water
489. A returned smile (or comment)
490. Awesome clothing finds! (Thank you Baba)
491. The steely gray sky of an impending storm
492. The desire to “hunker down”
493. Imagination….what an awesome gift!
494. Morning prayers
495. Finding easy (FREE) patterns for adorable girls’ clothing
496. For seasons, both in life and weather
497. The thrill of impending company
498. Quietness
499. Being still…..
500. That in only a few short weeks I’ve noted 500 gifts I’ve been blessed to receive from our Father; and that’s just the things I’ve noticed.
501. Birds singing while the sun is out and it’s snowing (only in upstate NY)
502. The printing press, without which I wouldn’t have….
503. …a house full of books!
504. A husband who helps me speed clean the house
505. Having enough…..
506. Patience
507. Money
508. Time
509. Tissues (for the sick baby)
510. Lists (I love lists….obviously)
511. Deep insightful authors (AW Tozer
512. For will-power, through Him (only way I have any)
513. That I can just KNOW that HE is GOD, and that is enough
514. Things that make us stop and think….really think
515. Great old hymns….that I somehow still remember
516. A husband who is a handy-man
517. A father in law who took the time to teach his son how to build/repair/construct etc
518. Watching Ave actually start putting puzzles back together
519. Vacuums
520. Having another snow storm pass us by with just a little of the white stuff
521. Even though it still snows, SPRING IS ON THE WAY!!!!!
522. A $45 credit from Brecks (MORE FLOWERS!)
523. How God uses color….every infinitesimal detail and shade
524. Matthew being home by supper-time
525. A sick baby who just wants to cuddle (NEVER HAPPENS!)
526. A very sick baby who slept well last night
527. Humidifiers
528. UNKERS!!!!! (AKA Amish Origins)
529. Positive pregnancy beta for a special blog-friend!
530. Prayers for babies answered
531. Seasonably warmer weather
532. A hobby that Matt enjoys: Beer!
533. A hobby that I enjoy: Quilting/Sewing
534. Ave taking a couple of really good naps today
535. Finding (new to me) great blogs/websites
536. Getting things organized on the computer
537. Comfy clothes
538. Aunt Kate bringing “cookies” for a special little girl
539. Yeast: Beer, Bread…to name a few uses
540. All we have to do is ask Him
541. The freedom to decide how we educate our children
542. That even though I completely overturned the 375* fryer with oil, no one was hurt
543. A faithful husband
544. The promise of church tomorrow
545. That Little Miss is starting to feel better…..I think
546. Love without ceasing
547. Unconditional love
548. Love undeserved
549. Remembering something you’ve forgotten
550. Forgiveness from a little girl who you had to hold in a death grip to give her the Tylenol she needed to bring down her fever
551. Holding a sick baby in a darkened room
552. Feeling her muscles and bones beneath her clothes and remember feeling those through my tummy
553. Ave standing on a stool helping Matt bottle his beer
554. Doctors who don’t think you’re just an overprotective mom
555. Good health insurance for Avelyn
556. No ear infection or respiratory infection
557. That Ave isn’t a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis like I am
558. A much needed nap this afternoon by Miss A
559. That we see Him and His gifts even more obviously when we need to be reminded of them
560. Knowing that everyone is home, safe and sound, in their beds where they belong
561. Lying in bed next to Matt as the rain pours outside
562. Cut fingernails
563. “up peas” with up stretched arm, stopping mid-way because she forgot to sign “please”
564. Patience to go on when I’m sick too
565.Advil cold and sinus
566.Sleeping eyes of Avelyn: long, dark lashes against soft, creamy skin
567. Kicking a ball around the store with Avelyn
568. How excited Avelyn was when she saw a table and chair her size
569. A day that feels like a cool summer’s day (must be the humidity level)
570. Easy dinners
571. An early to bed night
572. Seeing the trees tapped for maple syrup
573. Maple Cream
574. Maple Candy
575. Grade B Maple Syrup
576. A whole months meals planned
577. My Oma for my love of sewing
578. My Opa for my faith
579. Tissues! Tissues! Tissues!
580. A little girl who is starting to feel better
581. A mommy who got a nap in this afternoon (thank you daddy)
582. Yummy family recipes
583. Chapstick
584. Hand lotion
585. Coconut oil for sore noses
586. Silly dogs that sleep on top of each other
587. I am loved despite my imperfections
588. The red haze of buds on the trees
589. Snow that didn’t stick….at all!
590. Steamy showers that help stuffy noses
591. A little girl plunking away at our piano
592. For books that convict
593. Gummi chicken feet….yumm!
594. How God uses our children to open our eyes to Him
595. Matt getting my car in the shop to get the snow tires off
596. Matthew home safely
597. A little girl who’s interested in cooking
598. Old movies
599. Ice cream (from Matt)
600. Hot Fudge (from Matt)
626. The way the sun pours in through our bathroom window
627. Wooden drying racks
628. Our American flag snapping in the wind
630. Homeopathy kits
631. Neti pots
632. Finding delicious new recipes
633. Family Life Network
634. Church bells on Sunday mornings
635. My eardrum isn’t ruptured
636. Taste buds (how many things wouldn’t be on this list if it weren’t for them)
637. Clearing out stuff
638. Seeing our neighbor and their daughter (who we haven’t seen since the snow started in October)
639. Ave smiling and clapping
640. How she encourages others
641. Anticipation and excitement about our night out tomorrow
642. Monkey sounds
643. Favorite memories of beach vacations (particularly since it’s gray and gloomy here and no vacation in sight)
644. A fridge full of food
645. Chocolate covered faces
646. That I don’t have to be supermom
647. That I don’t have to do it all myself
648. That God has blessed me with a willing and understanding husband
649. God’s gift to us of our talents
650. Using our gifts to glorify Him
651. Avelyn being tossed up in the air
652. Taking a family walk (with the dogs)
653. Family time with Matt’s parents and sister
654. Ave’s first Baptismal blessing (she was baptized last year on 4/11)
655. Being able to donate money
656. That our God has raised Lazarus from the dead
657. That all, whether we realize or accept it, is being worked for the Good of God’s plan
658. Today’s gospel reading in church
659. Doing devotionals together as a family
660. Buds on my forsythia and flowering quince
661. Afternoon naps with Matthew
662. Key lime pie
663. Not bringing home any leftovers from dinner….as good as they are!
664. The dilly-daffils getting buds on their tips
665. Flowers randomly popping up in the yard (thank you previous owners for planting things in weird places)
666. That our Lord has conquered!
667. The promise of rebirth: In ourselves as well as nature
668. Ave’s hysterical laughs as Matthew tickles her
669. Flannel sheets
670. Walks to the brook behind Matt’s parents new house
671. Throwing stones in the water with Avelyn
672. The promise of fun and new memories
673. Hearing: How many of these gifts would we never know if we could not hear
674. The awesome gift of “family”
675. Catching moments
676. The beautiful weather we’re having today, after a dreary week of rain
677. Getting the car cleaned inside and out
678. Cloudless skies
679. The SMELL of clean
680. My sister babysitting Avelyn tonight
681. One of my favorite meals (we only have it when our dance is held at this one place): Chicken and halupkis!
682. Dancing with Matt
683. Laughing with family friends we haven’t seen in a long time
684. My head is slowly getting better
685. We’re surviving the longest span of being sick every (Ave’s been fighting her cold since April 1, me since the 4th)
686. The ability to change: Whether it’s ourselves or our environment
687. Ave’s fascination at seeing a robin
688. Actually seeing a robin…..first time this year!
689. People working in the community garden in the field behind our house
690. Folks stopping and saying hello or waving
691. White laundry flapping in the sunshine
692. Getting dressed up
693. Matt being dressed up
694. A God who put so much beauty in our world…just for us to enjoy!
695. Open windows without the heat on
696. Scotch tape….fixing books that get ripped
697. Ave waking up happy from a nap
698. Meandering around the backyard, enjoying
699. That we have been forgiven: “You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin” Psalm 85:2
700. Favorite old hymns: “For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies……”
701. A hand up
702. “I’m the thorn in Your crown, and You love my any way”
703. A warm spring morning
704. Water tumbling over rocks and laughing
705. Seeds
706. Sheep with their thick woolly coats
707. Lambs playing
708. An unanticipated 75* day…..weird!
709. Turning the furnace off (we’ll see for how long)
710. Impending thunderstorms
711. A first splinter removed without too many tears
712. Sharp needles
713. My sister’s wonderful dinner and dessert
714. It’s 9pm and still 70*
715. The excitement of planning a special menu
716. Mailing cards :-)
717. Remembering to mail them on time
718. Hearing the birds still chirping after it’s dark
719. Almond Oil
720. That as tough as it’s getting sometimes to think of gifts, there is still always something
721. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Eph 2:8
722. Beauty in unsuspected places
723. “Secret” hideaways in nature: Trees bending low over a little brook
724. Anticipating the sound of peepers every evening
725. Getting all the supplies together to start our seeds
726. Tomorrow is a new day
727. Nose bleeds that stop relatively quickly (me)
728. The day can always get better
729. Getting all of our veggie seeds planted
730. Sheets on the bed that aren’t flannel
731. Saying it was “too hot” last night
732. That my mom gives me her Country Living mags
733. How ice makes a booboo better
734. That I was created to be my husband’s helper
735. A little girl now saying “oww! oww!” so you’ll kiss her boo-boo
736. Seasonably cooler weather
737. Crispness
739. The world refreshed after rain
740. Buds slowly opening, revealing the green within
741. That I am surrounded by family
742. That I really don’t “relish” my alone time but thrive on having my husband and daughter near
743. Hearing my husband laugh in the other room
744. That love is an action word (stole this from another blog)
745. An aloe plant from my mom
746. The know-how to do things
747. The desire to change, for the better
748. Adorable little boys that make me laugh (Josh Flitter as Eddie Lowery in “The Greatest Game Ever Played”
749. The anticipation of Holy Week being upon us soon
750. Daring to dream
751. That God specializes in messes
752. Easter outfits planned and organized
753. That we can learn from our mistakes
754. Raindrops clinging to bare branches
755. Actually HEARING the peepers for the first time this spring
756. A little girl asking what happened to her neigh-neigh…complete with sad face (the dog chewed up her wooden puzzle piece of a horse)
757. Come up with new design ideas for our bedroom (gray floors?)
758. A sneak peak at Ave’s beautiful Easter outfit
759. “Open the eyes of my heart Lord”
760. Waking up in the night hearing the rain on the tin roof
761. That no matter how many times I falter, I can always get back up
762. The feel of piano keys beneath my fingers
763. The special love of grandmothers
764. That even when my prayers meander, God hears what I mean
765. That even when I fall asleep praying, God hears
766. The sense of smell
767. Being able to smell again
768. Life – Physical and Eternal
769. Redemption
770. Ave running around the store with a bucket on her head (AKA Hat)
771. Reading an Easter Devotional with Avelyn
772. Seeking gifts
773. Finding gifts
774. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Luke 11:9
775. Safe travel for friends
776. Thinking I’m going to wake up to a  gloomy day, and the sun is shining!
777. Design plans  that worked out….finally….after several hours of attempts
778. How perfect God’s paint palette is
779. Pieces of worn blue glass
780. Finding out how to do a batch of photos in photoshop
781. Ave’s giggles after she throws rocks in the water
782. That we have such a huge field and river behind our house
783. That we fortunately live high enough up from the river that we don’t have to worry about flooding
784. Good naps
785. That even if WE give up, He doesn’t
786. Massages a la Matthew
787. Seasonable weather
788. Free things
789. Old can become new
790. Reinvent things…whether it’s fabric, furniture, or garbage
791. For a God who works in us, even when we don’t realize it
792. That my daughter has a roof over head, clothes on her body, and food in her tummy
793. That everyone I love is safe and provided for, at least physically
794. Snapshots of life….caught on “film”
795. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
796. I come from a line of strong women
797. A little girl content to play in her crib a bit longer, letting me finish what I was doing
798. Yoga balls
799. We’re all healthy again….I think
800. Muddy knees….my own
801. That God works on us the way water and sand work on blue glass….slowly, patient smoothing our edges
802. Dimpled hands
803. Scraped shins
804. Safe travels for Matt to his retreat
805. That even when we give up, God doesn’t
806. My meds ending up being cheaper than originally quoted
807. My mother for being an awesome example of a wife and mother
808. Parents who have set a wonderful model of marriage for us
809. Girls’ dinner at my in laws (while the men-folk are at a vestry retreat)
810. “Face time” at dinner between Avelyn and her cousin Clare
811. That Ave will grow up with a cousin so close in age to her
812. “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all”. Laura Ingalls Wilder
813. Our God is an awesome God!

814. Seeing how Ave and C’s personalities are developing and growing
815. Oatmeal scotchies…yummmm
816. An adoption that was up in the air last week, looks as though it’s going to happen for a friend and her family
817. Finishing my clothespin bag
818. Warm dogs on cold feet
819. Beautiful quilts
820. A wonderful explanation today on FLN about Palm Sunday and the deliberate significances that occurred (Christ arriving on a donkey as opposed as a horse, for example)
821. Yummy, and good for you cookies….Thanks Kate
822. “I would have despaired had I not believed in the goodness of the LORD.” Psalm 27:13
823. A daughter who never ceases to amaze me
824. Hope!
825. That there is LOVE in the world….REAL love
826. Matthew getting home safely
827. Avelyn and I having a good couple of days while he was gone
828. That Matthew had a good experience at the vestry retreat
829. Great first ultrasound for a friend
830. Family hugs :-)
831. There’s always another gift
832. Matt agreeing to build us a closet in our bedroom
833. Making my mom cry….in a good way :-P
834. Hearing the wind whipping around outside while comfy in the house
835. Ave sleeping through the night….we’ll see if it happens again tonight
836. Andy Griffith show on netflix: yay!
837. The first daffodil blooming in my flower beds
838. Actually seeing colors in my flower beds
839. Getting plants from my mother in laws gardens
840. Having had the whole bed to myself last night
841. Ave’s excitement at Daddy getting home (she hadn’t seen him since Thursday)
842. There is no limit to how much love we can give
843. That miracles can, and do, happen
844. Ave announcing to all “peepee” or “poopie”
845. Seeing our friends and their little girl, who is getting so big!
846. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
847. That with Him I can do all things
848. With Him, all things are possible
849. Clearing out and organizing a couple of kitchen cabinets
850. Prospect of a family vacation next year :-)
851. Muscles stretching from the winter as I work in the garden
852. Feeling the sun warming my back
853. Zumba
854. Cuddling on the couch with Little Miss
855. A semi-productive weekend
856. Freshly washed curtains in the kitchen
857. Clean windows (in the kitchen)
858. Spinach
859. Managing to deal with a hissy-fit and not give in
860. Looking through old pictures of flowers I’ve taken
861. Toothbrushes
862. Tooth past
863. Floss
864. Dentists
865. New words
866. “Touch”
867. “Toy”
868. “Naugh-ee” (naughty)
869. “A bite”
870. Palm crosses
871. That Matt actually knows how to make palm crosses
872. The seed of an idea…which prayfully turns into something
873. Comfy clothes
874. Microfiber dishtowels (great for cleaning windows)
875. A step in the right direction
876. “Cast your anxieties on Him because he cares for you”  1 Peter 5:7
877. My mother in law and sister in law watching Ave for the day so I could clean
878. Having a completely clean upstairs
879. All the windows and curtains on the first floor cleaned and washed
880. Simplifying
881. Boxes of things to donate to Sal’s Boutique
882. Having the whole guest room cleaned out and up for company
883. A washer and dryer that have worked all day, without a problem….I would’ve been a while at the river scrubbing otherwise
884. A tailbone that is sloooowwwwlllyyy getting better
885. A husband who helps clean the house on his “day off”
886. Finding a bunch of stuff while cleaning that belongs in the “gift” box
887. FINALLY figuring out a sewing pattern….we’ll see if I can figure it all the way
888. That Ave missed me today while she was with Baba and Auntie Meggers
889. The first of our seeds sprouting
890. Ave asking to go “nigh-nigh”
891. Hand me downs
892. While cleaning finding a bunch of my grandmother’s sewing patterns and supplies
893. Remembering how she would teach me to sew
894. That I have a brother and a sister
895. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
896. A quiet dinner just Matt and I
897. Salad….love salad
898. The input of others
899. Tums
900. That I seriously have come up with NINE HUNDRED different Gifts that my God has given me!
901. A day spent with my mom and Ave
902. Avelyn being so sound a sleep that you could hold her and walk around with her cuddled in your arms
903. The patchwork of greens that is stretching across the countryside
904. Finding a shirt at the consignment shop
905. Pizzeria pizza
906. A neighbor that already has mowed his lawn, releasing the sweet smell of fresh cut grass
907. A gloomy day which turned into a beautiful afternoon
908. Matt and I sitting on the back deck to eat dinner
909. The heady smell of hyacinths filling my house
910. Checking a few more things off of my to-do list
911. The breathtaking colors of an unexpected sunset
912. My mom buying hyacinths for me
913. Good feedback from people
914. Managing to get another room cleaned in the house
915. That I am unafraid of powers tools
916. I’m able to take on construction projects on my own
917. Cute summer clothes at the consignment shop
918. Walking with Avelyn to the neighbors and seeing their bunnies and guinea pigs
919. Ave squeeking back at the guinea pigs
920. Matt being somewhat talkative
921. Going to bed early enough to read for a couple of hours
922. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
923. Good friends and neighbors
924. Doing all for the Glory of God
925. Books you can get “lost” in
926. Not having lost a library book (in spite of their saying I had)
927. Play-date with a friend
928. Ave having fun and playing with another little girl (only 6 weeks younger….closer in age than their mommies’ 2 months to the day)
929. Getting up early and getting things accomplished
930. Being reminded how blessed we are to own a grocery store
931. The Last Supper
932. Even Jesus being betrayed was worked for good
934. Having dinner ready to eat and all the prep cleaned up before 1pm
935. Sitting down to enjoy dinner together
936. Communion “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. ” 1 Corinthians 11:26 937. How good Ave is with her “please” and “thank yous”
938. New books for Avelyn
939. I’ve been looking at something for weeks and didn’t realize until just now it is a gift
940. Getting Matt’s matching tie, for Easter, done
941. Sitting on the couch next to Matt, watching a movie, and doing handwork (sewing)
942. Avelyn is surrounded by 6 aunts and uncles who love her, and more than double that in great aunts and uncles
943. Fun packages in the mail
945. Trying new foods and finding I like them
946. How well Ave plays with other kids
947. Having a new recipe come out all right
948. That it was snowing, because at least it didn’t stick :-P
949. Bible readings with Ave
950. That our dogs didn’t get sick from the chocolate chips Ave fed them while I was cooking dinner
951. That I have awesome blog friends who are always there for me with support and great advice (even if I never meet some of them)
952.
Getting all of the birthday and thank you cards I needed to written and mailed on time
953. Having dinner with great friends
954. Wonderful devotional reading for Good Friday
955. That our Lord willingly gave his life our sins
956. Apples to Apples
957. Friends that you don’t have to care what your house looks like or what the meal is to have over
958. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”  – John 3:16
959. Fish and Chips
960. Rachel’s yummy Torte
961. Friends who just love on Avelyn so much
962. Laughing so hard you think you’re going to wet your pants
963. Joining hands in prayer
964. New supplies arriving (stay tuned for details :-)
965. Friends who hopefully will be moving in next door *please Lord*
966. A Husband who loves me and totally makes me life
967. That I only have to catch a few words of his conversations to know exactly what he’s talking about
968. How quickly the words “thank you” flow from Avelyn’s lips…without being prompted
967. That he was humiliated, desecrated, and destroyed by our sin and for our sin
968. Acceptance and love of one and other
969. Friends who help clean up and do dishes after dinner
970. Not feeling guilty because my house isn’t perfect or because the said friends do help do dishes (this is huge for me and honestly there are VERY FEW people I allow to help me do cleanup and host)
971. Sitting and enjoying
972. Silence…a few moments of it in a crazy busy day
973. Matt and Ave giggling together over ridiculous things
974. Avelyn: Absolutely every single little thing about her
975. Emotions: How devoid would life be if we didn’t feel ANYTHING?
976. Time with family we don’t see often
977. Knowing that God is with those who are not here
978. I have a God who lowered himself to become human, like me
979. Who was willing to have himself humiliated for our sake
980. “Not my will but your’s Abba”
981. Getting everything done in time for company (down to the minute!)
982. The clouds stretching out before the sun, rays piercing every direction
983. Beautiful warm weather, completely different than predicted
984. I got more by taking on something this Lent, than giving something up
985. The blogs and thoughts I’ve received from others about my/their 1000 gifts
986. Avelyn playing with my cousin Sarah
987. All of us going for a walk in the field, and enjoying the unsuspecting sunshine
988. Waking up on Easter morning to sunshine instead of rain
989. Avelyn dressed in all her beautiful glory
990. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25-26
991. New clothes for Avelyn (LOTS of new clothes)
992. Family pictures
993. A completely clean house
994. “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  “He is not here, but He has risen” Luke 24:5-6
995. Rebirth….in nature, in ourselves
996. The Lord is faithful
997. I accomplished my goal……1000 things in 40 days
998. My sins have been forgiven, if I only believe
999. The tomb was empty
1000. THE LORD IS RISEN

 

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Here is the Best Irish Soda Bread recipe, from the Irish Heritage cookbook. I kind of consider myself an expert on soda bread. I’ve tried numerous different recipes, but this has been my favorite.

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe from @JessicaMWhite.com

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut oil, you can also use butter…which is a lot better than vegetable oil)

1 cup golden raisins

1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

Combine dry ingredients (including raisins and caraway seeds). Add in eggs, buttermilk, and oil: Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake at 350* for 35-/+ minutes.

There are few ways to bake this bread:

1) You can either do it as a free form bread (meaning just pile it up on the center of a greased cookie sheet) and make one large (or two smaller), slightly flatter, loaves

2) Use a greased 9″ spring form pan….this will take longer to bake, closer to 50-60 minutes, but will give you a large, round, slightly higher loaf

3) Split the dough between 2-8″ layer cake pans and bake 30-40 minutes, this will give you 2 smaller but round loaves.

Enjoy!

a Simple Christmas

This year I just don’t have it in me. I’m not even sure why, but the whole idea of hours of baking and decorating and getting the house Christmas-ified is just daunting. I’m excited for Christmas, but the Christmas I’m excited about is a quiet, small
Christmas…a Christmas that’s more about a barn than bedlam.

So what am I doing for Christmas?a Simple Christmas @JessicaMWhite.com

We got our tree this past Sunday and I put it up with lights on Monday, during nap time. We’ve hung one paper ornament on it and I’m not sure how much more will go on it. The tree is beautiful as it is. Our nativity is up, and so are the stockings. My village isn’t making the trek to the piano this year {it would be way too much work to keep James and Elanor away from it}.

I don’t want our Christmas to be a season of “No! Don’t touch! We look with our eyes, not our hands.” I want it to be a season of love and gentleness, a season of exploring, without the fear of breaking some thing. We have 3 two year olds this Christmas, you can imagine the exploration that will be going on!

We’re sticking with our 3 gifts policy: A book, a gift from Santa, and a gift from Mommy and Daddy. Matt and I even have taken a restricted policy on gifting between us, not because the budget is tight {whose isn’t?!}, but because there isn’t anything we need or want badly enough. There’s no point in buying a gift just because you have to buy something.

I’m only baking 5 or 6 types of Christmas cookie, instead of my usual 12 or 13. The idea of hours in the kitchen, getting frustrated with little hands that want to help, just doesn’t make that appealing to me. All of the cookies that I bake, will more than likely be hand-delivered to our neighbors over the next few weeks.

Christmas cards? Yes, I’ll do those, but only because I absolutely love sending and receiving Christmas cards {want me to send you one?} Christmas lights outside? I have candles in the window, does that count?

As for the tree….we’ll see what happens. We may just end up with our Truth in the Tinsel ornaments on there, and the ornaments that came with The Greatest Gift. And you know what, I think I’m ok with that.