A beautiful sunset greeted us as our flight landed home in Portland.
Our son-in-law picked us up at the airport in our car that they had used while we were on our vacation.
It was a happy excuse to have to drop him back off at his house and to get to see our two youngest granddaughters, (and our daughter of course).
When we pulled up to the curb, four year old granddaughter ran out the door and down the sidewalk, her blond little braids flying out behind her.
She had the book The Kissing Hand in her hands and wanted me to read it to her.
First, we gave her the new Minnie Mouse pajamas we had bought for her and her sister in California.
She loved them and was especially happy that they are soft and cozy.
Soon, she had me in the rocking chair, she was sitting on my lap, and I was reading the book to her.
When we got to the part where the mama raccoon kisses the palm of her baby, I went to kiss her palm, but she refused because she already had a kiss in her hand from her mama.
Youngest granddaughter was already asleep for the night, so we had to go home without getting to see her.
When we got home, our house sitter had left our home spic and span,
and had a fresh bouquet of flowers to greet us.
We unpacked our suitcases and sank into the familiar comfort of our own bed.
I woke up to the sound of the Hubs leaving for the church,
the closing of the door,
the reassuring sound of him locking the deadbolt behind him.
That noise makes me feel loved, like he cares enough to take a minute to make me feel safe.
I looked at the clock and it said 5:27am.
The Hubs gets to the church hours before everyone else to get his heart and mind ready for the day.
I dozed back off and finally stumbled downstairs to make myself some coffee at about seven.
It was good to be greeted by everyone at church, them happy to have us home from vacation,
even though things went well while we were gone.
Of course, the sweetest greetings were from our two oldest grands, who always come into the church and give us big hugs, like they haven't seen us in forever.
The presence of God was especially sweet today.
I felt like I could dance, kneel and bow low, stand with hands raised and tears running down my face all in the course of this one morning.
God continued more of His good work in my heart that He had begun on vacation.
The Hub's usually goes back to the church after lunch.
He likes to be around the building during our spanish service in the afternoon and youth group in the evening.
But, today, after a lunch of spicy chicken pad thai, he decided to come home.
We stopped on the way and bought groceries.
The cupboards were bare since I hadn't grocery shopped before leaving for vacation.
When we got home and the groceries were all put away,
the Hubs laid down on the bed and turned on some football.
I picked up a book I had just been given.
I read the author's other books over and over as a young wife and mama,
so it was like reconnecting with an old friend to read her words again.
Eventually, I ended up dozing off, taking a little Sunday afternoon nap.
As I was typing this blog post, my son-in-law Facetimed us so we could see youngest granddaughter in her new jammies.
She's all about Papa and kept asking to talk to him.
She cried when her daddy made her say nite-nite to us.
Tomorrow I have a list of to-do's to tackle,
but this day was a just right, slow and easy way to re-entry back into real life.
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)
-vacation morning, waking up early, reading awhile, dozing back off
-He's got my life in His hands, I have nothing to fear
-a soaking tub full of bubbles and a great book to read
-beautiful relaxing time by the sea, dolphins cavorting just off shore!
-my favorite soft cozy sweatshirt for coolish mornings and evenings
-walking, walking, walking to find The Cheese Shop in La Jolla
- the lamb sandwich and their famous flourless oatmeal cookies that made the walking so worth it
-seeing Old Town in San Diego that we had missed last time we were there
-buying new Minnie Mouse jammies for our youngest granddaughters
-back "home" at my brother's house after being out and about all day
(so beyond grateful for the use of his house for our vacation)
-the color of the sea
-beautifully written words that touch my heart
-walking to the jetty
-a friendly fisherman showing me his catch
-eating outdoors at a restaurant by the pier in San Clemente
-sweet, slow mornings out on the patio, sipping coffee and having devotions
-finding a huge antique mall, enjoying looking, but not being compelled to buying anything
-the old stone walls of Mission San Juan Capistrano
-walking by the sea, collecting white stones
-a phone video of youngest granddaughter trying to sing "Have Patience"
-reading that things are going well at home on Facebook
-visiting with my nephew
-a long walk on the beach
-staying until sunset
-breakfast and a good visit with my nephew
-a safe flight home
-a beautiful sunset to greet us in Portland
-seeing our granddaughter, giving her her new jammies, reading The Kissing Hand with her
-greetings from everyone glad to have us home
-big hugs from the oldest grands
-sweet presence of Jesus at church
-the surprise that it rained while we were in church
-spicy pad thai for lunch
-the Hubs coming home for the afternoon
-cupboards, freezer and refrigerator restocked with groceries
-a Sunday afternoon nap
-facetiming with the two youngest grands