I sit here in our home office at the desktop computer in quietude.
The only sound reaching my ears comes through the open window. An occasional car or truck rumbles by. A bird tweets (in a much more pleasing way than 120 characters). A slight rustle through the leaves of the trees faintly catches my attention.
This house, recently filled to the brim with people, laughter, and lively conversation interspersed with little girl squeals of joy, babbles of baby talk, and excited tail wagging and loving licks from the grand-doggy, now sits silent. For over two weeks, it’s been a hot bed of activity and I enjoyed every single second of it.
Shortly after Papa and I safely returned home from our vacation, my oldest sister and brother-in-law arrived from out west for a long overdue visit. It’s been two long years since my two sisters and I have all been in the same place at the same time. And we are a close family, not in miles but in heart.
When the three of us are blessed to be together, we always plan a “Sisters’ Day Out,” which includes going out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and lots of shopping and sharing in between. This time we had more than one opportunity for sisterly togetherness.
My oldest sis, B, has a lovely hobby – she makes and sells the most beautiful jewelry. As we three sisters sat at my kitchen table one afternoon, B showed us hundreds of pieces that she had brought with her. My middle sister, C, and I picked out the ones we liked best and then the thought occurred to me that we should share B’s talented gifts with friends.
So on the spur of the moment, we planned a jewelry show open house in my home and invited friends to come take a peek, enjoy a glass of lemonade and a homemade cookie (thanks to sister C, who is gifted with the cooking and baking gene), and just have a little bit of fellowship in the middle of the week.
Wow, it was fun! I enjoyed opening my front door to all the lovely ladies who joined us and they seemed to love viewing and buying my sister’s handiwork.
A few days later, our back door opened and we welcomed our oldest daughter and son-in-law from down South and our son, daughter-in-law, and baby granddaughter #2 from the state next door.
All came in to celebrate the 4th of July holiday/weekend with us and spend time with their aunt and uncle from afar. Sister C and her family, including my nephew, his wife, and two sweet little girlies joined us as well.
Much good picnic food, fellowship, and a few fireworks, followed by an evening bonfire with sparklers and s’mores, made the fun complete. We even threw in a few hysterically funny and boisterous games of Speak Out and Apples to Apples. Some of us laughed so hard our jaws ached!
While we sat in the cool of the summer evening, watching the fire, catching glimpses of fireflies in the dark, gazing up at the stars above, and licking sticky marshmallow off our fingers, I couldn’t help but stop for a moment to give thanks for moments like those.
Moments – even though there aren’t as many as we would like since our loved ones are stretched out across the country – when we can sit in the comfort of our family circle with love and feel that all is right in our world. At least for the moment.
Blessed moments. And at the risk of sounding like a sappy Hallmark card, those blessed moments, surrounded by my family, are what makes my heart happy.
And better yet, I know to whom I must whisper my prayers of thanksgiving – the One who provides every moment of love, grace, and gratitude.
The holiday and family visits are now over. One by one, vehicles packed with luggage and people drove up our driveway after hugs and even a few tears mingled with Papa’s and my goodbye waves.
Yet even now, in the quietness of an empty house, my mind sings the old hymn refrain: “Blessed quietness, holy quietness, blest assurance in my soul,” and I whisper my gratitude to God.
Because even in the quietness, He gives me assurance and peace and yes, happiness for moments like these.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~ Denis Waitley