A few years back, we told the two oldest grandkids we would start saving all of our change
to spend on a trip to Disneyland.
Over time, we had a collection of pickle jars and other assorted containers filled with coins.
The grandkids often asked if we had enough money saved yet.
They made many attempts to count the change,
but gave up long before even one jar of coins was totaled up.
My brother is currently working in Hong Kong and has been encouraging us to come and stay in his house in Southern California.
Our second born daughter, son-in-law and two oldest grandkids took him up on his generous offer to use his home for their vacation.
A week later, our son-in-law flew back home to work and our youngest daughter flew down to join her sister, niece and nephew.
A few days later, we joined them at my brother's.
The time had finally come to spend the pickle jar money.
We went to Knott's Berry Farm, California Adventure and Disneyland.
It was so much fun and so worth the anticipation and the wait.
At ages nine and ten, our two oldest grandkids were able to enjoy all of the rides,
yet were still young enough to be enchanted by the whole experience.
They were also old enough to endure arriving when the park opened,
waiting in line for the most popular rides,
and staying until the park closed.
They all flew back home yesterday,
but the Hubs and I are here until next Saturday,
resting, relaxing and recuperating from two full days of theme park fun.
When we get home, it's time to start filling up those pickle jars all over again.
There are two younger granddaughters who will want their turn at Disneyland a few years down the road.
In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)
-the Hubs excitedly calling me outside to see an unusual bird that we have yet to identify
-a check in the mail from my first attempt at selling some items on consignment at
-watching the two youngest grands while their mama and daddy are at their small group
-youngest granddaughter, age 20 months, saying "I love you"
-we're all packed, all checked in online for our flight and ready to leave in the morning
-God's help to get the list of to-dos we needed to do done before leaving town
-thank You, God, that our first real vacation since the summer of 2011 begins today
-a safe flight
-meeting our two youngest daughters and our two oldest grandkids at Knott's Berry Farm
-Knott's famous fried chicken dinner
-the long awaited, long anticipated trip to Disneyland
-no unbearably long lines!
-oldest granddaughter still young enough to be excited to see the Disney princesses
-only grandson dancing with Phineas and Ferb
-all of us reliving the scary Space Mountain experience from when our girls were little
-hot days that turn into cool evenings with nice breezes
-the light show and fireworks at the end of the day
-the Hubs making all of us a yummy breakfast
-enjoying my brother's backyard
-going to the beach
-chips, salsa, guacamole and Chipotle burritos bowls to go
-youngest daughter, oldest granddaughter and me enjoying my brother's outdoor spa together and playing "what is your favorite..."
-a sweet photo of the two youngest granddaughters texted to us by our oldest daughter
-a safe trip home for the two youngest daughters and two oldest grandkids
-driving up the coast to Newport Beach
-catching up on my Bible reading and journaling and hearing God speak to my heart
-coffee and time with Jesus and praying for our church at home
-going on a run with the Hubs
-driving on the coastal highway beside the beautiful sea crowded with sailboats, surfers and paddle boarders on this lovely day
-dinner at together at Islands...my favorite place for fish tacos
-a quiet, peaceful, relaxing evening together