Simple Gifts

photo credit

I still remember a song I learned when I was…who knows how old I was?  I’ve known it for as long as I can remember.  The song, “Simple Gifts,” is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.  Would you like to hear Jewel’s rendition? (It’s the only one I could find on YouTube, so it will have to suffice.)  Here you go:  Simple Gifts

We have each been given gifts…gifts of life, gifts to give and receive love, gifts of faith in God or fellowmen (or both), gifts of writing, gifts of goodness, gifts to share and gifts to develop.  Gifts can be moments of peace and tranquility.  Gifts can also be found in packages of adversity, where we learn more about ourselves and our abilities to carry on and to triumph.  Whatever your gifts are, I hope that you will recognize that you are amazing!

In this post, I invited you to join my family as we have sought to recognize and develop the gifts we have been given.  Did you take me up on that?  We’ve had almost two weeks since that post, and I’m wondering what you have discovered.  I have been working on developing my gifts to cook and bake, to sing, and to continue writing and editing the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo…and I am working to connect with you through blogging while reading and commenting on your blogs.  I applaud your efforts.  🙂

While searching for our own gifts, let’s also look for the gifts of those within our sphere of influence.  Maybe someone did something kind for you.  (Yesterday, after a lengthy visit (with a somewhat fussy preschooler) at a store, I purchased said fussy preschooler a drink.  As we were shuffling items around a shopping cart, the two of us managed to dump said drink all over the floor.  And the drink was sticky.  And the floor was soaked with a big mess.

A fellow customer went to grab an employee, who quickly flagged the slippery, sticky area and mopped the spill.  I was so grateful for both of those people.  They took initiative and helped a tired mom with a fussy little person.  Sure, someone could argue that the employee was just “doing his job,” but to me his work meant so much more.  He was helping me rectify a mistake I made.  And I was grateful for him.)

Two Mondays ago, on our weekly family evening, we passed around papers where each person in our family wrote one item which we recognized as a gift in another person.  My page looked something like this:

You are good at playing the piano.  Mom is good at cooking.  Mom is very patient and forgiving of us.  You are so nice and you help me with everything! I wouldn’t have lived without you…literally! 🙂  You are very caring!

Now, while I wouldn’t own all of those kind thoughts from my sweet family (especially the piano one), some of the people who know me best have helped me see some of my gifts.  And, I think that since they were looking for positive attributes in other members of our home, they have each been more positive since the night we did that activity together.

So, in the busyness of this holiday season, I challenge you to take a moment to think of the gifts you possess that you cannot purchase from a store…as those may be the simplest (and most profound) gifts of all!

Third Time’s the Charm

So, I don’t often work much with clichés or colloquialisms.  In my writing classes in college, we were taught to avoid those types of fall-back phrases in order to explore new ideas and more creative ways to express our thoughts.  In the following cases, though, I have found the phrase “third time’s the charm” to be appropriate. 🙂

First Case in Point:  Dentists

Since our last relocation effort, I have neglected finding a new dentist for my family.  We had insurance issues…and distance issues…and personality issues.  We visited one for a dental emergency that wasn’t the best fit.  We visited another for a cleaning and an attempt to do some work, which also wasn’t the best fit.  Finally, we found a good fit yesterday.  And my child (who had experienced a traumatic dental experience) practically skipped home (figuratively, of course, since we drove), and I have been relieved that all went well.  Third dentist worked!!!!!  Hooray!!!!!

Case the Second:  Boots

Back in this post, I talked about my excitement related to FINALLY ordering brown boots…and how I sent them back.  Well, I ordered another pair of (unmentioned) boots in the meantime, and they were also a no-go.  I was getting a bit frustrated…but, fear not!  The third pair I ordered worked out beautifully!  I wanted heels (not riding boots) in a dark brown color with a more fitted shaft…and not too trendy so they last through several seasons.  I found a pair online that said they were over-the-knee (so I was a little concerned, since I wanted the boots to come just under my knee)…but I guess my legs are long enough that they fit exactly like I wanted them to fit!  Hooray!!!!! No more brown boot shopping for me!  Third pair worked!!!!! (Now, if I can just figure out how to treat suede so that they will be water-resistant…any one?  Any one?)

So, a song from my days of listening to and loving Schoolhouse Rock is playing in my head right now; I guess three really is a magic number.  Do you agree?  What experiences do you have when the third experience worked for you?

Sending hugs!!!!!

Cyber Monday!

Advice Yoda Gives - Black eye from black friday shopping you have? shop cyber monday from home you must

Of course, to follow-up with Friday’s post…it’s Cyber Monday!  And, I’ve written you a little song to celebrate:

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Happy Cyber Monday Middle-of-My-Story-Blog-Readers!

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Catchy, isn’t it?  🙂

In seriousness, here are a few sites with deals that came through my email that you might like (or you might not, but they are here for the taking):

Lisa Leonard – handmade jewelry and gifts…so gorgeous! (25% off purchase)

Vera Bradley – handbags and more in fun, washable fabrics (hipsters half-off and more deals)

Ruche – fun, vintage-look clothing for women (30% off all new arrivals today)

and, of course, who can forget Amazon and VS for holiday shopping?  Both have some amazing deals going…especially if someone on your list is looking for a Kindle Fire or needs a new bra (or two).

Which brings me to this question…where do you do most of your shopping? (& I’m wondering if you prefer the online route or actually visiting a store….)


Black Friday

black friday

(from here)

Do I even need to tell you how I feel about Black Friday?  However you may be celebrating Black Friday, though, I wish you health, happiness, and debt-free holidays!  Happy Black Friday (which has become a holiday in its own way, or so today would seem…)!


these boots are made for walking

***DISCLAIMER:  This post is filled with fragments.  If you have edit-while-you-read tendencies (like I do), you may want to forego this post.  :REMIALCSID***

I bought boots.  Well, I actually ordered them.  Online.  And I looked at all the photos.  And I read all the reviews (which were incredibly positive).  And, like a nesting mother waiting for her expectant arrival, I cleaned the house.  From top to bottom (except the kiddos’ rooms).  Like, I even vacuumed the stairs.  And mopped.  And wiped walls.  And guess what was on my doorstep?  A beautiful box from Amazon!  Hooray!!!!

With sweet anticipation, I sliced the tape and removed the gorgeous large box from its outer wrapping….

Wait, I need to back up a little.  I grew up in a warm climate.  A very warm climate.  And humid.  Very humid.  A few years ago, I relocated to another place (which, for all intents and purposes could have been virtually anywhere) which had seasons…you know, those things we learned about in school…and that James Taylor song?  Winter, Spring, Summer, & Fall?  Well, I could handle the Spring-Summer-Fall part…but this Winter thing was a bit unconventional…layers of clothes, and coats, and snow clothes for kiddos, and boots…really, boots?  Isn’t that what people wear on ranches?

I didn’t get too far into winter (or maybe even late fall) before I realized that boots were a necessity…snow boots, dress boots, everyday boots. I began shopping and thrifting around, seeking something fun and functional for this new season of my life.  I found and purchased some black boots at a store and wore them around, but they weren’t my favorite.  Then, I happened upon my favorite black boots ever–at a local thrift store.  I think I paid $8 for them.  And they rock. 🙂

I didn’t have nearly that luck with brown boots.  If you’ve seen my photos, you can see my brown hair, and I happen to wear quite a bit of brown because of it.  Well, I have been on the hunt for amazing brown boots since I found my favorite black boots…& they have eluded me.  😦  I still look in stores, thrift stores, and even have resorted to shoe shopping online (this was my first experience) in hopes to find that brown boot that suits my fancy.

…Okay, enter brown box on doorstep, ripped tape, new boot box…I carefully lifted the lid and the breath which entered my mouth with such force was unfortunately not one of gleeful excitement.  The calves were quite wide (which had been a consideration, but had not been noted in any of the reviews).  Still, I thought (hopefully) that I might just be judging too quickly, so I unpacked the packing, covered my bare foot in a thin sock, and slid toes, arch, and heel into dark brown leather.  I zipped the back zipper and stood up to find that the calf was indeed too wide for my leg.  Feeling deflated, I removed the boot, replaced the packaging, and placed the boot box back into its brown box.  So much for “brown paper packages tied up in string.”  These boots are not one of my favorite things.  😦

And I love shoes.  Take a peek at this photo…I didn’t even wear these shoes for the shoot, but I LOVED them and wanted a pic with the shoes!

Copyright Sarah Knight Photography

I’m totally open to boot suggestions, though!!! Feel free to link favorites! 🙂