Part of the reason I started this whole blog-a-day thing again was in an effort to put into words some of the deep changes brewing in my spirit.

I figured looking at my many blessings and those things I am blessed to enjoy was the perfect place to find the inspiration...but then the cars, yep cars, started to have major and minor issues. The kids got sick. I have been trying to keep some annoying illness at bay, life squeezed in and I wasn't able to connect the photo the same way I wanted the end the posts felt a little ... flat.

So now I'm going to try to get it right. Bringing this little treasure into the light and not tucked away.

It's precious few times when I can actually pinpoint the start of God doing a major internal change in me usually only shows when I look back at who I was and think "Wait? how did I get here?"

This time is different, and I say is because I know I still don't know the whole magnitude.

What started on a runway in Toronto is still stirring today. I see the steps, I see them small and imperfect, but I see God guiding them.

I am once again awestruck at His deep love for me, and His perfect design and craftsmanship...not just of the human person, but the human soul and spirit.

My heart longs to pour this all out as an offering to God and a testimony of His great love and yet, every time I try words fail me.

I believe God is preparing my heart for, not a battle, but a rebirth of some of my personal passions and joys. That He is bringing me to a place to see that He has my destiny and His blueprint for how I can be used in accordance with His plan...but that He is so loving, kind, and good that it will come with much personal fulfillment as well.

Can you imagine? Just to think of it overwhelms me. To think that the God who created all that is and will be, has on His holy agenda, that which will bring me a little smile and fuel a great, personal, passion. The amazingness of that simple truth is humbling beyond words.

In this past year I have mourned deeply as what I thought should be, didn't match what was. As I laid dreams and desires at God's feet only to walk away with them unmet. I trusted God and His wisdom but I ached at the many prayers answered "No." I wept bitter tears more times than I care to recount or admit as the road map for my life took turns I'd never have drawn in. I have struggled with feelings of being left behind, forgotten, unimportant, unremarkable, and in between, waiting on the "next". I admonished myself to wait on God, to live in the middle, to trust. I have trusted, but perhaps grudgingly. Knowing God's plan was perfect but pouting because I didn't have to like it.

Yet here I sit tonight, with nothing changed, no neon sign pointing to Next... no detours to point directly back to the path I long to be on, and still the whole thing is different because God is molding me in the circumstances I live everyday, with the circumstances I live everyday.

He is reminding me that every passion I have He designed, not for my frustration but for His purpose and my joy. That my greatest joys are found in living His purpose.

In this I am truly and utterly blessed.

I hadn't intended to take weekends off from my blog-a-day thing but I find that, each day, my time for sitting alone and thinking , and sharing gets swallowed up.

When we started school this year I scheduled in an hour block of time for me to just be alone...I've not taken one of those hours in the last three months. Something always presses in and takes hold. I guess without a recharge it's hard to sit and pour out more of me?

Today I didn't get that hour either...but I still found time to recharge. My kids had built this pretty amazing fort in the hallway,tall enough for an adult to stand in even, and I heard them all laughing and calling me. When I peeked my head around and saw the massiveness of the fortress I'll admit my first thought was "that's gonna be a pain to clean up" but I stopped myself from speaking the words. I listened to the laughter, saw the sparkles in their eyes...looked back around at the chores undone, and the school books not yet opened and I decided to do the most important thing and crawl in with them.

I layed there with the youngest alternately pinching my nose or demanding back 'scritches' for about a half hour. I took pictures with my cell phone and let them do the same. I forgot about deadlines and expectation for a minute and found time to unwind, right there in the chaos.

I'd say I learned a lot in school today!

There are many things about childhood that appeal to me now, as an adult, that I wish I'd have appreciated then.

Scheduled and expected play time. Now it takes so much work, and planning, and sometimes a little guilt when you "should" be doing other things, to play. Playing is a lot more complicated than a bucket and the park. There is gas money, and hours of operation. There is driving, and sitters. There is matching much work to play. But as a lid...we just played. Everyday. It was expected and encouraged.

Someone to pick out my clothes! Ugh...I wish I had someone to do that now.

Most of all though...naptime! What a beautiful and wonderful thing that I balked at while my pre-school teacher Miss Cathy tried every bribe and disipline she had to get me to lay quiet on my cot. Thinking I was being tortured for what I now know as one of the sweetest splurge.

There are several ingredients that add to a naps magic.

Location is key. A Sunday afternoon nap in my own bed will be delicious and cozy...but they don't hold a candle to a nice long nap on the couch. There is something so special about the stolen time there, right out in the open.

A good blankie. While I have been known to doze without, the sleep is never quite right without my favorite heavy quilt covering me. Even on a warm day the weight is like being snuggled by God, it's that amazing.

Background noise. I know, how can noise be good? It's not the noise so much as the drifting off with the tv on or the kids chatting with each other. It's like hitting pause on the real world and just taking a tiny vacation.

Finally, duration. This is a much contested detail amongst my fellow day sleepers...but I still belive a daytime nap can be too long. Don't misunderstand, I don't subscribe to the 20 minute power nap by any stretch. There is a ballance between having "wasted" the whole day with a nap and the nice hour long break. The trick is to get enough sleep that you have that "What an awesome nap" buzz when you wake up and ander ever so slowly back to your daily grind. Generally with a smile that makes you feel like you've gotten away with something.

I am so sorry I ever missed this blessing in pre-school.

Every year when the weather starts to turn colder and we start to get intermittent rain showers my mind wanders back to a time when too young kids were falling in love and begining the adventure that would change their lives forever.

In the midst of homeschooling the kids, changing diapers, and watching my husband do the job of ten men...I remember what it was to jump in his car on Saturdays and head off to any number of random places...cinnamon flavored 7-11 coffee in hand.

When I look out the kitchen window and can scarcely see the house in front of me, I think of what it was like to wake up to love letters, damp with dew, left on my car's windshield...or flowers strewn in my car after school.

As we busily plan for the holiday season my mind wanders over our first Christmas spent with friends, laughing over silly gifts and rejoicing at the life we hoped to create together.

Each hazy fall day that we hurdle in front of the heater I can still remeber the chill in my bones from rainy walks outdoors.

I am grateful for every fall day I have spent in the last 16 years, sharing the joy with my very best friend and husband, who has been my constant source of God's love and strength here on this earth.

As a kid, I remember, every time I felt sick or emotional my mom would tell me to "take a hot shower". Somehow the shower was supposed to be a magic curative for any and all things.

Still, I took all those showers, and often I did feel better after the near scalding water soothed my tired muscles and teen girl emotions.

I wonder if that is why I still relish my beloved evening showers? So hot I am usualy several shades of red and thirsting for a glass of water when they are over.

With the three of my kids homeschooling I don't really have a lot of "me time" or even a small amount of quiet most days. In the shower I do though. More often than not I still get interrupted by some Lego or remote control ownership crisis, but still, a majority of those steam filled minutes are my very own. I unwind from the day and let my mind drift. I can talk to God or plan a grocery, writing it on the steamed up shower door. I can have the fights I'll never have in reality. I can day dream about what Eden might be doing now. I can cry loud and bitter tears.

In the shower I escape to a place that is wholly my own. It is the best therapy I have ever had...and the best medicine. Who knew my mom was right all those years?

When it comes to things to be grateful for I have no shortage...God, family, friends, food, shelter, hope, peace... That's a whole week right there.

Today I was reminded in so many ways of the good and amazing friends I have, and how they come along in their own unique ways and add so much to my life. The lives of my family. How they add strength, support, encouragement, laughter, and joy to my life.

I mentioned the car yesterday. I have a newish van, just a hair over 3 years old. I love it so much it surprises me. It's the only real luxury we have...and it's not even top of the line.

Yesterday with the whole family in tow I turned the key in a Smart and Final parkinglot and got...nothing. Well, not nothing...clicks. Dead battery. We were so not prepared for that expense or the detour of the day. My dad came and gave my car a jump and off we went to Sears to replace the battery...what should have taken 20 minutes somehow took over an hour and we were out a nice chunk of change but on our way to fax some letters at a friends.

After being inside for 15 minutes I turned the key again to head home and this time there really was nothing. No click...just dead.

Another jump and we made it home with the burden of a very big bill facing us the next day since the warranty on our van had just barely expired.

There was so much to be grateful for in that whole expirience though...a wonderful husband with whom I laughed and chatted in some rare stolen moments, friends willing to and able to help get us home safe, peace in knowing it would be a finacial hit but wouldn't break us...

So on to today and why I chose to highlight good friends.

I never had to wonder today if I'd be able to juggle the kids and the car. I knew I had somene willing to jump in and save me, even if that someone wasn't thrilled about babysitting I knew their love for me and my family would be enough. I didn't have to struggle for words to say or the strength to say them when I arived at the dealership to make a case for warranty coverage... I had friends at home offering up prayers for me and the voice of another in my ears who had walked me through the right words.

I had encouraging texts and messages reminding me that God himself was in control.

Who isn't blessed by a network like that?

Later in the day when all was well, when the many hundreds of dollars of repairs I anticipated were nothing more than a tiny and free piece of metal, I even had people to rejoice with, pehaps the best gift of all.
Remember when I said that I get sick everytime I do a "month of blogging"? Well, after last months epic Blogtober fail, I was really excited to spend the month of November focusing on gratitude and my many blessings. I debated posting last night for my 1st day's entry...yet decided that would be a tease.

Cut to today. Still no illness but the great curse strikes again as several hundred dollars of car repair and several hours of lost time eats most of my excitement for today's post...but I adjusted my attitude and readied myself to share...only to have my computer decide to, for no known reason, refuse to login to blogger!

So with space limited by a text post I will just be grateful for the man who made me laugh through all the stresses of the day.