Bronwyn is all into coloring right now. I'm not sure which she likes better: coloring on paper or eating the crayons.

A friend recently closed her email to me with the hope that I could find common things to be grateful for. I feel like there’s been an abundance of those around here:

>Clean windows (and the energy to have washed them)

>A child who’s happy even though she’s in a body cast

>A surprise baby shower (!) on Saturday, held by some of our friends from Gabriel’s class at school. Gabriel had known about it for a long time but just led me to think that we were getting together with a few of them for tea, because Bronwyn and I hadn’t seen them much since school started this fall. When we walked into the house, I saw a pile of gifts, which seemed odd, but it still didn’t register until everyone yelled, “Surprise!” I was completely shocked and still feel overwhelmed at their kindness. We had a great afternoon, full of good food, games, and fun. It was nice to get to know those girls a tiny bit better.

>While I partied, Gabriel came home and worked in our front flowerbeds. (We don’t have much landscaping around here, but what’s here has been neglected and overgrown for years.) We had started earlier in the day, and I figured that was all that would get done since I thought he’d be at this “tea” in the afternoon too. When we came home a few hours later, the flowerbeds were raked free of litter, dug up, weeded, perennials thinned out, and mulched. It blesses me every time I look out the window and see those beds. The amount of work they needed felt overwhelming to me, and I’m so grateful for Gabriel taking the time (a big sacrifice for him) from other priorities to do outside work for us.

>The fact that it’s only a matter of about four weeks until this baby comes. (Eeek!)

>The kindness of strangers. Here’s the story: I need to get a learner’s permit to drive our car, since we changed insurance policies to one that requires each driver to have at least a learner’s. (I had been driving on my Canadian license, but this company doesn’t accept that.) I’m not especially grateful for THAT, but the blessing here is how I’m getting the training CD that helps you prepare for the test. I could buy it, but I didn’t really want to spend twenty euro on it. This morning I called UCD’s library to see if they have it, hoping Gabriel could pick it up for me. The librarian I talked to said, no, they didn’t have it, but she has one at home that I can borrow. If Gabriel can come in tomorrow, she’ll bring it to work with her. !!!

I should do this more often; it reminds me just how many “common” blessings I have.

Happy Monday to you!