Each day is filled with the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds.
For some days, most of that time is basically "fluff", the stuff that has to happen to keep your life moving, clean clothes to wear, food to eat, and all the other necessities.
But every now and then, within a very small part of that day, terrific things happen in usually very short amounts of time, but have an incredible impact on our lives.
When I got to Sunday School Sunday morning, I realized I felt so genuinely happy that I could bust. It pleased me so much to report to Mom and Dad about our wonderful activities the night before and know that they would truly be pleased and rejoice as much as me.
This is a definite benefit to the Sandwich Life.
I subscribe to one of those hokey, life reaffirming, enewsletters and for Sunday their words seemed to echo my feelings:
The gratitude you feel when you contemplate your good fortune can put you in a positive and optimistic mood today. Others sensing your confidence may look to you for guidance because they wish to draw upon your talents and the wisdom of your experience. Their attention can inspire you to take a long look at the abundance you have acquired as you have progressed along your life's twisting path. Surprise may be the first emotion you feel today upon realizing how many blessings you have received.
I guess I was surprised to realize how many blessings I have received. Two of the most important are my girls.
Saturday started with another adventure with Mom, Dad, girls, and me going to Costco.
I do not understand it.
They are through within a few minutes and grieve spending $20!
I come with a basket so loaded that I wonder if I needed a second one and mine costs $200! And I did not buy a LOT of things I wanted. I am still trying to be careful with our money and buying only those items we must have.
Instead of our usual hot dog or german sausage sandwich though we headed home.
A big priority for our shopping trip was to purchase a birthday cake for Annabel.
Her birthday is July 24, but this will be her FIRST real birthday celebration.
Some have asked if they don't celebrate birthdays in China. I'm really not sure what families do. I know most of China considers New Years as the day they become one year older.
But for children whose primary residence has been an orphanage, it doesn't matter what the typical family does in China, there is NO money to celebrate birthdays.
So I have wracked my brain for months on how to make this one special, especially since she is turning 12, but fun enough that all the kids can enjoy it.
Annabel was very deliberate in selecting a cake.
It did not bother her that I had not pre-ordered one with her name. The choices were all beautiful and a little overwhelming. She turned down the cupcakes, citing they were too big and we would have to cut them in 2. She is so practical!
It came down to balloons or a rainbow and the rainbow with the sun and clouds won.
We were planning to take it to the swim party for the children adopted from China.
This party was even further from home and was not over until 9:30, but until then all the kids had a great time. I treasure the time to sit and talk with other moms and compare notes on our daughters' developments. It's wonderful too to have a group of kids who are as naive and innocent as mine. I LOVE for them to associate with kids whose home life does not consist of a drunken parent, moms with a different boyfriend each week, but instead a life where the child is treasured and nurtured.
By the time we sang happy birthday and everyone gave their personal best wishes, Annabel was beaming. This was all about her and she was beside herself with sheer enjoyment. To top off the greatness of sharing HER cake, was also the gifts she received.
She could not believe people had bought her presents. She was so excited she wanted to stay up and play her new Nintendo game and wear her new shirt to church.
We got home late and all had to take showers.
Our usual bedtime starts around 8:30 but during summer has been pushed back to 9:00. We were finally getting home and in bed by 10:30! So there was no nintendo playing then.
Annabel grabbed Nina, the dog, and told her to get in bed with the "birthday girl". Then for only the second time in almost a year, she gave me a kiss good night.
Even though I felt like I could easily sleep through the snooze several times, the girls got up and ready to go to church without a complaint. No whining that they were tired or wanted to play. They knew they needed to be at church and immediately prepared for it.
Now Annabel's new shirt did not quite match anything she had and the resulting outfit was colorful, but she was so proud of her shirt, she didn't care.
So with all these blessings and then the eagerness of my parents in hearing the reports of the night before, how could I feel anything but the awareness of the blessings I have received?
And so while we had many hours, minutes, and seconds in our day, the true blessings were observed in very brief moments, but the joy will last a lifetime.