1. Every Thursday when I sit down to write this list, I am absolutely blown away by how quickly the weeks are flying by.
2. Maya is doing very well these days: a bare minimal number of accidents. She has found three spots in the house where she likes to lie down and take naps. We are still surprised to "catch" her just chilling out. We always expect to find her burrowed down into a hamper someplace, chewing on our dirty clothes, but more and more we are finding her in some cozy, sunny spot relaxing.
3. We have been blessed with some wonderful, soaking rains this week. Yesterday morning when I awoke, the sky was dark, and my spirits were light. After several hours of downpours, as the sun broke through the clouds, I looked up into the heavens and gave thanks for the sparkling puddles on the lawn, the driveway, and the street. Later in the afternoon as we drove through our neighborhood, I said to the children, "I bet the trees, the flowers, the grass, and the farmers are happy about the rain." I know that there aren't many people who rejoice in rainy days, but anyone who has seen the ravages of drought understands how precious water is and never takes rain for granted. More rain is expected tonight.
Today's shopping list for Target will make up the rest of my list:
4. Five reams of copy and printer paper
5. Paper towels
6. Toilet tissue
7. A large crockpot
8. A blender
9. Rubbermaid storage containers
10. Garbage bags
11. Ziploc bags of various sizes
12. Microwave popcorn, pretzels, and chewing gum
13. Hair clips and elastics
15. Laundry detergent, bleach, and stain remover
16. Breakfast cereal
Okay, so I went beyond thirteen. That's appropriate because I went beyond what was on the list for Lois' Lodge. What is Lois' Lodge, you ask? It is a residence here in the Charlotte area for women who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy and need a place to be fed, nurtured, and supported while they make the decision about adopting out or keeping their children. The residents can range in age from 14 to 40 years of age, but they have all decided (before arrival) that they will go through with the pregnancy and give birth to their children.
The home itself is spectacular. Down a long driveway from a busy road, it is a large log home with high ceilings, fireplaces, charming and cozy corners for reading, writing, and getting to know one another. The Lodge can house up to six expectant mothers, but currently has only three residents. Some of the women are students; some of them are working. They come from many races, socio-economic backgrounds, and family backgrounds. They attend cooking, childcare, exercise, and birthing classes. They are taught to sew, clean house, and take care of themselves.
Anyway, today the children and I went to a local supermarket where we had all our coins counted - $66 worth! - and then we took the profits along with an unredeemed gift card to Target where we loaded two carts with things on the list and a few goodies that weren't on the list.
As we walked from the car to the supermarket with the weighty box of change in my hands, I told the children that the prospect of buying those things for those three girls was more fun for me than going Christmas or birthday shopping for the two of them. You see, we can buy whatever we want for ourselves whenever we want. Steve has a fantastic job (for which we are enormously grateful every day) that provides not only everything we need, but also everything we want. To enter a store with a list of things that we can buy for someone who otherwise wouldn't have a blender, a crockpot, or copy paper is truly a joy. To stroll through a store and pick out a few treats that weren't on the list of "needs," but would certainly appear on a list of "wants" made us all smile.
As we left Target with bags and boxes of stuff all around us in the minivan, I called Steve from my cell phone and left him the following message: "Once again, I've been reminded of what a great team we are. You have the gift of giving, and I have the gift of shopping. Who could ask for anything more?"
For a few moments this afternoon, Kristiana, Daniel, and I understood first-hand the truth of a statement we've all heard many times: "'Tis better to give than to receive." That feeling alone deserves thirteen adjectives, exclamations, and hurrahs all its own! Perhaps it will inspire thirteen encore shopping trips on their behalf.
Check them out at www.loislodge.org