Sara Frankl
About the Author

Sara Frankl entered into the arms of Jesus on September 24, 2011, but her legacy of choosing joy lives on. Her blog, Gitzen Girl, is about her commitment to embracing the story God had for her. Her illness stripped her of the potential for a job and family and status,...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. Dear Sara,
    Your gift to me on your birthday humbles me, pierces me — so gently, so lovingly. Beautiful heart! You bring such glory in the gift of your words. I pray His blessing on you this day, His cherished one. Thank you, Jennifer

  2. Happy Birthday Sara! The last few weeks here in Scotland the early Spring sunshine has been shining and everything blooming and growing. Across the street from my church there are two stunning lilacs. One deep dark purple and the other pale, light lavender in colour. I honestly become like a little girl again each time we are at church. I have to cross the street after each service to bury my nose in their blossoms, taking in their heavenly scent. I don’t care who sees, who laughs, or who wonders. I have to do it. I have to smell their heady scent, to take in their tiny delicate petals and revel in the glory of the creation by my Creator. You are so right. We must make the most of everything…. this is one way that I have admittedly been doing just that!
    Bless you sweet sister. xo

    • oh, Stephanie… I LOVE the image of this in my mind. i’m sure every single person is looking at you and wishing they were living with your abandon πŸ™‚

  3. Sara,
    Your post was great and you painted pictures in my mind the way you described things. The video was really good also!

    Sunrise is my favorite time of day and I see it most days. I am amazed at the beautiful colors that our God pours across that morning sky. I know there are little things I am walking past each day but I do pay attention to these details for the most part.

    Each morning as I take my little dog outside I am listening to the birds sing their songs and I think, God knows what they are singing about! I look at the thousands of stars in the deep blue sky of the early morning. This morning as I went out in my flip flops, I felt the wet dew on my feet that will eventually dry as the sun comes up.

    I had read your story on your blog but I didn’t realize you couldn’t even open the windows in your condo! I am trying to teach my children to notice the little things also and my 8 yr old boy is a sunset lover! He will spot a beautiful sunset before any of us and he knows God painted it for us to enjoy! Both my children love to stop and smell the flowers at 8 and 12 I hope they continue to do that!

    I hope you have a wonderful day today! Thank you for the reminder to stop and look for God all around me!

    • lisa, you’re doing an amazing job with your kids. it is the dew on the grass and the birds serenading us that can change our whole outlook on our day. sometimes it is just that simple… i love that they are learning it through watching you!

  4. Thank you!
    I will stop “searching” for something on the internet that will change my day….and go sit in the garden to read my bible….enjoy the sunshine, the gentle breeze, the birdsong, and the sight of my washing drying.

    Thank you so much for this gift to me today x

    Happy Birthday to you!
    May you be blessed today x

    • oh, is there any better smell that sheets fresh off the clothesline? i loved those nights when i was little and i could bury my face in the pillow. thanks for the reminder of that memory!

      • Yes, they smell so so good.

        You really made a difference to my day yesterday, thank you!

  5. Hi. I’ve been homebound since surgery two weeks ago, so am only just getting a taste of to what you refer.
    Today I was able to go out on my back porch at about 6:30 a.m. The birds are sooo active then. One flew down and landed just a few feet in front of me. Beautiful, black and white stripes on its tiny little head. Such a masterpiece by Our Creator.
    Happy, Happy Birthday to you. Thanks for your uplifting messages.

    • i loved those moments… when a bird would settle or a dragonfly would flit nearby… it always felt like a little nudge of love from the Creator to me. i’m so glad you got to be out today and am praying for a speedy recovery for you!

  6. Happy Birthday!

    Thank you for sharing the video & your thoughts/ideas/emotions…………….
    You are such a gift to us.

    May God Bless you & Keep you.

  7. Dear Sara – happy birthday. Beyond happiness I wish you a deep settled tangible touch of joy & peace today. You exemplify those traits every day to us, but today I pray it comes back to you 10 fold. Thank you for giving us the gift of your wisdom, insight and knowledge. It is a gift I treasure. I appreciate you and your ministry. You matter and make a difference here each day. May the LORD bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you even more, lift His countenance toward you even more, and give you His peace as I pray you are windswept by the Holy Spirit today πŸ™‚

    • thank you, sherri… reading your comment – the joy and peace was felt and received. thanks for coming and sharing my birthday with me πŸ™‚

  8. This post moved me beyond words. How true it is to say that in the busyness of life we often don’t take time to count our blessings.. . . and yes, we walk past the sunshine, the flowers.
    My boys found an empty nest two days ago and we brought it home. Perfectly stitched by a momma bird. I’m not sure I would have stopped to take notice of it.
    It sits on our homeschool table now. Beautiful.
    Today, I will cherish every second. I will take your sweet words into my often ungrateful heart, even when I try to be mindful of His blessings in the everyday.
    Happy Birthday! Such a beautiful soul you truly are!

    • sometimes i think God puts children in our lives to teach us those very things… to remember the wonder of it all. i love that you’re a mom who soaks that in with them πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful Sara! And an excellent challenge that will bless everyone who takes time to savor something.

    Though our worlds are different (I’m not homebound) I can identify with what you are saying. Since almost losing my leg and almost dying in an accident … I appreciate the ‘little’ things of life so much more. I realize that if I’m intentional about having my five senses engaged in an experience, it’s more meaningful. But it’s amazing how easy it is to get back into the busyness of life and forget that (though I never thought I would) so thanks for the reminder!

    I will carry your reminder with me this weekend as I head to a cabin along a creek for some biking, hiking and kayaking with friends.

    Happy Birthday!

    • πŸ™‚ I love that you took something difficult… horrific… and changed your life. learned the lessons that were there for the taking. i hope you have an amazing weekend!

  10. to answer your question and bless you……reading this to my 8 and 7 year old girls..that they might grasp this LONG before I ever do…

  11. Gitz – today is my 40th birthday! So your reminder – your words are especially powerful today. Words do make a difference. They move you – and I have seen you use your God-given gift of words to bring people to the moment – the moment God has given them over and over.

    You are a treasure!
    Happy Birthday to you! To us!
    I know God has great surprises in store for you today!

  12. Sara,
    What a beautiful post. You have a lovely way of taking us out of the computer and into the heart of God.
    We were discussing thankfulness last night in our Bible study on Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Sixteen women signed up to read, discuss and pray together. I am emailing them this post as it touched my heart. We all realized that we are not grateful – our ingratitude has kept us from living full lives.
    As we live each moment of the day we want to seek God in every minute.
    Blessings to you this morning,

    • isn’t Ann’s book stunning? i love a book that completely changes my vocabulary in the way her’s has. I’m so thrilled you all are loving it.

  13. Thank you for such an encouraging post! I have been homebound for almost a year, and it can feel like I am the only person in my generation who is experiencing this. I can say with a mutual experience how true your words are! So much to appreciate and such lessons in being thankful for everything. I do savor the moments of planting flowers, of spoken voice when someone calls or I call them. Each day is an opportunity to encourage someone, either tangibly or spoken. Thank you for that gift today. May you have the most blessed birthday of all.

    • i know what you mean, patricia… it can be so isolating and you wonder if anyone else is going through the same. i have found that my biggest joy still comes from the moments when i can be there for someone else. the ways of doing that changes, but i’m so grateful when it happens πŸ™‚

  14. Happy birthday! Thank you for such a beautiful post today. I was walking into work this morning thanking God for the fresh cool air, the birds chirping, for my health and for my beautiful family.

    Sometimes we never know why things happen to us…why God allows certain things to happen. But I can assure you, God is working through you to to touch the lives of many women! Thank you!


    • what a perfect way to start your work day. i’m sure your attitude of thankfulness rubs off on those around you as well!

  15. Happy birthday! And if I could wrap my arms around you and give you a hug I would.

    Right now I’m remembering the only family reunion my mom’s side of the family had when I was kid. I remember the blackness of the night sky, broken only by the light coming from the house and the outside garage lights on my parents’ farm. There is the crunch of gravel underfoot and the creaking of the trampoline springs as people jump on it. Then there is the laughter of my rather proper aunt as she gets on, in her red sundress, for a few jumps as camera bulbs begin to flash to capture the moment.

    • oh, that was the most vivid visual… thank you so much for sharing that story with me. i’m smiling and treasuring it πŸ™‚

  16. The birds singing in the pre-dawn dimness. . . I’m slowly learning them but can’t identify their songs yet. . .
    The second hummingbird at our new feeder on the porch, how fast its wings move, almost invisible like fan blades. . .
    A rose slowly opening on the table. . .
    Puppy kisses. . .

    Happy birthday, dear girl! May God grace you with new delights to soul and senses within the boundaries your health requires. May He give fresh joy for what has been taken away.

    • i love that you’re learning their songs… my Grandma Rita is that way… she can tell a bird by it’s song and I think that is a beautiful testament to her heart. As it is to yours.

  17. WOW! Happy Birthday to you…. and thank you so much for opening my eyes. Today, I will LIVE… completely, totally, in the moment.

  18. Thank you for your words of wisdom, and for sharing a joyful spirit amidst your pain. I pray that you will be blessed with a very special birthday today, and that you will sense God’s love all around you. My gift for you (as you asked us to savor something that we normally would have missed) is that I had a grateful heart as I did my exercises this morning. I do not enjoy exercising at all, but I realized this morning that I should be grateful to be able to move freely, and without pain. Thank you for sharing your birthday with us and for your gift of gratefulness.

    • i love that gift. i can’t do physical therapy any more, but when I used to I would thank Him for being able to move with the pain… even the things we don’t enjoy are an honor sometimes, aren’t they?

  19. You are choosing to share your birthday with us…….such a personal blessing you are. Thank you for living for what really matters and pointing us in that direction. God bless you totally with His riches in Glory. For all time…..and for HIM…..HAPPY! HAPPY! BIRTHDAY! OXOXOX

    P.S. I love in the fall listening to the wind rustle the leaves on the trees & especially the wind in the pines…..sounds like the HOLY SPIRIT as described in Acts at the day of Pentecost. Smiles to you!

    • Jude, that is a GREAT one… i also loved walking along sidewalks crunching the leaves beneath me in the fall… there is no sound or smell like it, is there?

  20. Thank you for you humble reminder and encouragement….I feel like I am waking from a long hibernation….living life going through the motions. But the Lord is awakening me to His Love and Grace that fills each moment of each day. I now pause long enough to really smell the honeysuckle, study the clouds, drink in the rain…….. He is also reminding me of gifts of the past…..things I took for granted…..thought I desired …..but in His Love I am also going back and fully taking in mercies He gave….little miracles….and some really big miracles. Great is His faithfulness.
    I pray that His presence will fill your home….wrapped in His arms of Love. Thank-you for your Love of the Faithful One…..and from there your love shines to others.
    Happiest Birthday……

    • I think that’s the lovely thing about the memories He gives us… we can still go back and savor the things we took for granted. it really is never too late to appreciate.

  21. Happy Birthday, Sara! πŸ™‚

    Today, I am feeling none too well, but I was able to keep my 5:30am date with the garden hose anyway. At this time of the year, we have daylight at that hour and it’s a good time to do watering of my little herb patch before it gets too hot.

    Although I came right back in to crash… I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air, singing birds, smell of escallions, and the smell of water squirting from the hose. There is just something about water……

    Thank you for your encouraging words. πŸ™‚

    • There IS something about water, isn’t there? I would live in a hot tub of it if I could. πŸ™‚ I’m sorry today is not a good feeling day for you, and am saying a prayer that the latter part of it improves steadily…

  22. Best wishes for many, many returns of your special day. My husband and I had a date this morning while waiting on the train for work. We were early and decided to grab coffees and have a conversation. What a treat. When he had to leave, just outside the driver’s door we stopped, gave each other a hug and kiss (he smelled so good) and I was on my way. I thanked God out loud for giving me that man and our time.

  23. Thank u Gitz for your words, and thoughts and video. Have struggle with my words
    U have given me cause for thought today. May god continue to bless u. Hope your birthday was a great one. Xo. Doris

  24. Happy birthday to you, sweet soul. I don’t know if you can hear birds from your condo, but I love their calls in the morning, and I will now think of you when they start singing at dawn.

    Yesterday I was thinking of you when I realized there were so many things I could do with my hands around the kitchen and around my apartment, that you could not do. It’s almost like I was anticipating that you would write this for us, and so I was starting early!

    I have been pretty depressed the past several years, due to unemployment and financial problems, and very ill family members. one of whom passed away suddenly this year. So I have not been getting outdoors much. I live in a big city, but there are still some trees (lol), and I also, like you, love breezes and fresh air.

    So, as a gift to you on your birthday, to show that what you wrote impacted on me, I am going to really make an effort to get outdoors more, and I will think of you when I do this. I appreciate the ability to go outdoors so much more since I have been reading your blog, and I am determined to not let depression keep me from this gift.



    • I’ll be praying for you, Janet. That because of your choices and actions to get out and move and enjoy that your depression lifts and you have many more good days ahead… thank you for gifting me today.

  25. Have a blessed birthday sweetie!

    As a gift to you I will enjoy the mountains of E. TN, the sunsets, listening to birds chirping, and watching animals walk around.

    I enjoy walks with my hubby, listening to music and dancing. Each time I do something I will thik of you!

    God Bless!!

    • I saw the mountains in Colorado once when I was younger and they AMAZED me. It would be an honor to share in them with you today πŸ™‚

  26. I love you, friend. I savor – as often as possible, including today – the smell of my baby girl’s head. Even when she’s throwing a fit and hugging me in an effort to manipulate me (yes, it’s true, she does it), I sniff her baby girl head and give it a kiss. I can’t stop.

    I’m also going to truly enjoy the cooler, fresh air we have today. (Maybe it will get me through our next 90+ degree day!)

  27. Today is also my birthday. I have been struggling long and hard with postpartum depression and am having a rough day, but I will savor the many facebook birthday greetings and head out to check on my lilacs with my three daughters.

    Happy Birthday.

  28. Happy Birthday Sara!!! It’s hard to believe that this is one of the first of any other blog I’ve ready in over two years….. and it was for me. What you wrote today, was without a doubt you being used by God, to gently remind me that I have been taking for granted and “missing” the life God has blessed me with. I find myself rushing through my days, just getting stuff done that needs to be done….but never noticing and soaking in the little things that in a moment, could be gone. Just wanted to say thank you for using the place in life you are in to help the rest of us see things from a whole new perspective. It’s amazing to think about just how much your life is counting for, and you never even get to leave your home. Thank you.

    • hello, friend! i’m so glad you chose today to peruse the blog… it’s good to see your face again. thanks for sharing in it with us.

  29. Happy Birthday, Sara! And thank YOU for the gift you have given me with this post today…this morning I have savored the sweet spring air, here in NYC, along with appreciating the thick, rain clouds that are approaching…you are so right, THESE are the true gifts of life!

    May God bless you, always!

    • Thank you, Patricia… I think we must have the same weather happening as you here in Iowa πŸ™‚ I’m saying a little prayer of thanks for you there as I sit and watch the clouds here.

  30. Incredible post. Love the video and moved deeply by your words. Thank you.
    Thank you for reminding me of the things that really matter.
    Thank you for inspiring me to recall the little things of my day that I might have otherwise overlooked or taken for granted.
    I chose to savor the memory of the gift of waking up to the sound of rain outside this morning.
    I am grateful for a girlfriend to text with during my day.
    I cannot believe how blessed I am to pray over babies as I rock and feed them during my weekly volunteer shift at the local orphanage. Their smiles melt my heart. Their cuddles leave me feeling as if I am the one getting loved on each week. Something in their eyes makes me think as if I have caught a glimpse of Jesus this side of Heaven.
    I am amazed that my teen gave up his Friday night to hang out w/ his family.
    I am giddy over the bedtimes giggles of our eight year old.
    I am hanging on to the feeling of being hugged by the best 11 year old hugger on the planet.
    I am captivated by the memory of the late afternoon sunlight as it illuminated her ocean blue eyes, highlighted her strawberry blonde curls, and caused her freckles to sparkle like a star lit sky.
    I am surprised by joy as I recapturing the awe of watching my miracle man play soccer like a pro when the doctors could promise he’d ever crawl, walk, or run.
    All gifts on your special day.
    Thank you birthday girl for the reminder that EVERYDAY is a miracle.
    Happy Birthday from Hong Kong,

    • Kim… this filled me up more than you know. Thank you… and I love rain waking me in the morning πŸ™‚

  31. A Blessed Happy Birthday Sara! Thank you for your incredible words and the very touching video. Today I rejoiced in the ability to run my final double digit training miles (10) for my upcoming marathon in Edinburgh. The buzz of running a bit harder and faster especially on the downhill bits were exilerating. I noticed the flowering blackberry hedges knowing that in several months I’ll be back to harvest them. I felt the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze, the sweat dripping down from my forehead into my eyes, the growing lambs in te fields, the young calfs with their mothers, the startled phesant as it flies away from it’s hiding place.
    I thought of why I run, why I put myself through the over 500 miles of training to do 26.2. (this is number 9 in 5 short years) again and again.
    It all comes back to because I can….so that when I can’t Sara…I will have a memory troft …to bring these back into focus.
    Thank you for your blessings, thank you for you.

    • Oh, Mary. EXACTLY. Do it simply because He gave you the gift of being able to. I forgot about the feeling of sweat dripping down your face and the way the cool breeze on those drops of water cool your skin.

      What a gift.

  32. Thank you for this.
    I’m reminded to enjoy the sound of the chaos and loud din of my raucous house. And I’m thankful for the gift of my (unpeaceful πŸ™‚ family.
    Thank you for helping me to appreciate them.

    • Stephanie… sometimes the most unpeaceful houses are the ones with the loudest amounts of joy. πŸ™‚

  33. Sara,

    First let me say: Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!!!

    Amazing post. You have such a beautiful way of writing to inspire others. I have forever known that my sense of smell was the most treasured sense I have. I would rather go blind or deaf than lose the scent of grass, of my daughter, of my memories. You have reminded me again to get out there and enjoy these amazing blessings God has given me.

    I pray that your day is as blessed as you’ve made mine. God be with you, Sara!!!


    • I’ve been surprised by how much I miss smells, too. I so agree! I can close my eyes and still see so much in my mind… but capturing smell is a whole other thing.

  34. Happy Birthday! TOday, I am going to put away the computer and go spend some time outside with my husband! I am going to enjoy a great meal with him! And spend some time with 18 year old daughter as she prepares to move away for college!
    Thanks for giving! HUGS to you!

  35. Happy Birthday, Sara! Thanks for blessing me through your words! You always inspire me! Sending you a hug!


  36. Sara, Happy Birthday to you and thanks – for as always, making me stop, ponder, wonder and stand amazed. Thank you for reminding me to savor the little things, and especially those things right around me. Today it is sunny, not a cloud in the sky with a warm breeze and I breathe in and breathe out in awe and thankfulness. – Cori

  37. Thank you! Your precious words have reminded me of other precious words that my father spoke to me when I was a child. He was blind farmer and I had just returned home from a long walk and was describing for him the spider webs with dew sparkling on them. He told me how much he wished he had cherished every day of sight and that he wished that he had stopped working long enough to notice the beauty all around him. Thanks for the reminder!!!

    • do you know what a gift you were to him? describing the dew on a spider web, i have no doubt, is something he treasured in his heart as a gift from you.

  38. Hi Sara! This was heart-changing! I stopped for a moment to think about what I have in life now (even after a part of my dreams were shattered last night). I`m glad I have very encouraging parents, and sisters who listens to me and cries with me. I feel loved and cared for because I can feel that they also feel as I feel and they understand my heart. It gives me the courage to stand up again, be strong, and move on.

    Thanks for this post! I also love the video! Blessings!

  39. Sara!

    Happy Happy Birthday! My 40th is coming up soon. . . and I’m still stuck at 25 in my head. πŸ™‚

    Today, in honor of your birthday, when I run outside, I will appreciate the warmth of the sun, the heat of the day, the smell of the hot asphalt and the sounds of my shoes hitting the pavement. No headphones.

    Happy Birthday.

    Love you!

    • what a gift, Mary! i’m imagining all those things running right next to you. the way the shoe sticks to the asphalt on those days when it’s too hot to run but you do it anyway… i loved those days.

  40. Surely πŸ™‚ So I went all “Robin” and thought I’d make gluten free cupcakes for birthday week… but I am no Robin, at all, and they were less than cupcake -like despite being vegan-ish. So Grandma offered to have the college bakery make cupcakes- cherry pink with pink frosting… and I savored every last sweet, delicious cherry goodness sugary morsel I could in the one I allowed myself today. In honor of you… gluten, sugar, and dairy included with my big fat sugar overload! Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!! I have huge gratitude for all you have taught me and continue to teach me. You are one of a kind!!

    • oh, you indulging in sugar yum makes me SO HAPPY on my birthday. i love you, precious friend. you are all the gift i need πŸ™‚

  41. Happy Birthday to you!
    You are amazing – and I pray for you often…
    Thank you for this post.
    Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for every simple beauty – like cherry tree blossoms fading into little green cherries – sunlight streaming over the house, trees moving in the gentle breeze….
    God Bless you!

  42. I am sitting here with tears running down my face wishing I could give you a great big hug and give you a chance to experience again the things that you make me stop and appreciate.

    Right now, I’m stopping to smile at my three youngest kids, wearing their pajamas and paper hats from The Varsity, playing Wii and singing that goofy “Friday” song.

    I hope my card gets to you in time for your day!

    • you have hugged me so many times in my heart… you have been a great joy that has blossomed into my world πŸ™‚

  43. Happy Birthday! Here is God at work: I was thinking of YOU today – as I chose which blogs to read – chose incourage. I was thinking about you – and how your perspective on life has made me appreciate mine. I opened incourage, thinking I would search for a post by you, and THERE you were at the top – today! My son, GP, who is 10, was dx with trigeminal neuralgia on Mar. 29. He doesn’t go outside because it makes his ear hurt more. We started the blog as a place friends/family/doctors could read about him. He is happy today, because he is screaming less. I am learning from him! I read Psalm 144 today and KNOW that God is our hero, our rock, and our rescuing knight. He brought YOU to my mind today…and there you were! Coincidence???……I think not!! πŸ™‚ Laurin

    • what an honor to be here with you, Laurin. Praying for you son right now… that relief can come to him today.

      there are no coincidences in my book πŸ™‚

  44. HOw sweet you are to offer us this gift! I hope you day and year are utterly blessed!!
    I savored yesterday – just a plain old ordinary day with my 5 year old dancing in the kitchen on my yoga mat while I cooked, just watching him and enjoying his quirks and his smile as he jukes aorund being himslef. I think I missed (took it for granted) with my first 3…
    going to the creek and the sun on my back, the sound of 5 boys playing and swimming and catching sharp-clawed crawdads, and them smell of grilled cheese sandwiches in the car on the way to baseball. The enormous smile on my 5 year old’s face as he rounded third on his first ever homerun. I want to store them all up, I re play them at night as I drift of to slepp, I write them down so I will not forget how GOOD HE IS…
    Glad I had an opportunity to type a bit out as well…

    • I think that is the best gift we give ourselves… collecting moments that are worth keeping. Always picture them in your mind so you don’t forget… because there are few things sweeter than a five year old dancing πŸ™‚

  45. You have filled me with such gratitude. Grabbed me by the collar and “jerked a knot in me”, as we southerners say. Thank you for making me snap out of my own head. We all have our own full plates, but today? I’m pushing it back and stepping away from the table of worry/stress/details.

    Happy Birthday, lady. Hope we do you proud. πŸ˜‰

    • I’m so glad, Lesley… because we don’t need to worry if we trust our God to handle it. I promise the more you focus on His gifts, the less there will be to worry about πŸ™‚

  46. Happy Birthday Sara! May you know how you have touched me/many (from reading some of the comments) by sharing your story.

    Thank you for blessing me/us with your honest and gentle words. I confess that I am often distracted and still learning the practice of daily gratitude.

    I’m sending you a big HUG and praying that God would continue to bless you with His amazing Spirit as He shines forth as GREAT in your writing.


    Soul Stops -in process…

  47. Dear Sara,

    Thank you for the wonderful gift you’ve given me on your birthday. Today, I have taken time to appreciate the way the sunlight feels on my upturned face and the way the breeze lifts my hair ever so slightly on the walk to my car and caresses my cheek with it.

    I’m a church secretary, and I’ve also taken time today to think about how easy it is for me to put my arms around strangers who walk in here off the street, to hold their hands and pray for them, to spill out God’s love on them. You’ve reminded me how precious that human contact is, and how it can encourage and strengthen people who are hurting.

    Happy Birthday, Sara!

    • the gift you give those who come in, Katrina, is amazing. after my dad died this year, the number of elderly ladies who came to the wake and said he was the only one who hugged them every week when they came to church both warmed my heart and broke it. that contact and love is so essential…

  48. What a great post! Now I need to get rid of the tears so I can see the screen!

    My current thing is something from my 12-step “basic text”. There are stories of finding recovery at the end. Stories from around the world. The last one I read blew me away with something the lines of: There are no bad days, only good days & learning days.

    It really struck a chord in me. To find the good in the bad. And then to learn from it. If it’s not a sunny day, no big deal, I am alive & the sun will shine again. If I feel unwanted by a potential employer because I’m an addict in recovery, I try not to take it personal. I do work in a potentially high-risk job as a pharmacist!! My husband lost his job. I’m still waiting on the learning lesson from that, but he got a small severance and we still have a roof over our head. Topping the 1st set of mountains while driving west, I can see Mt Rainier, if it’s not cloudy. To see that mountain NEVER gets old. My goodness!! It towers over everything. Majestic. Beautiful. If I don’t see it, I KNOW it’s still there. Some 60 miles away, but looking like it’s over the next mountain.

    That’s my visual for you. I am grateful to be able to go outdoors. And if I close my eyes, I, too, can feel that breeze. Feel that sun. Breathe that air. See that mountain. That is my gift to you (that and a card full of hugs). There are pics on my facebook page if you want to see the glory that God has put in my way!!

    You are a blessing in my day. Love you & hugs!!

    • SO true, Shellie. everything is just a moment… a step before we take the next. i love that your text resonated with you.

  49. Sara,

    Thank you for such an amazing post! In honor of your birthday, I took a walk outside. I paid attention to the birds singing, the breeze on my skin, in my hair and the trees. I smelled the fresh air.

    You, your post and my walk were such a blessing today!
    Thank you and God bless!

  50. Dear Sara,

    How I wish I could bring you to my house! This morning my smallest son and I enjoyed the sun as it shone in next to my reading chair while birdies chirped outside it in the not-quite-blooming crepe myrtle trees. Then we went off for a while, singing down the highway with our windows down, enjoying that we COULD put the windows down (our old van’s windows did not go down). We stopped for lunch at the new “whole foods-a-like” grocery store and were amazed at the variety of fruits that my little one had never seen before (mangosteens! purple cauliflower! star fruit! the spiky one we couldn’t find a name for!). We came home and watered the flowers with our giant squirt guns (so much more fun than water cans). And now we’re enjoying some rest time in our quiet, dark living room before the rest of the boys come home from school.

    Thank you for that video and reminding us to take joy in all our little things that we take for granted. Hope you have a delightful birthday. πŸ™‚

    Love, Lisa and Greg (the smallest one)

    • will you adopt me?!?!? because that sounded like the *most* perfect day. thank you so much for sharing it with me. πŸ™‚

  51. today i was driving to work in the dark and wrestling with God about my attitude toward an unexpected situation that arose last night that will be experienced tomorrow night. i was almost to work, 10 miles of this griping, when the Holy Spirit reminded me of Ann’s words about EVERYTHING being eucharisteo. so i chose consciously to let go of my resentment at not being able to have something go my way and chose to be thankful for it instead. it changed me in a heartbeat. i felt myself relax and i sensed an abrupt change in my perspective and emotions. if the Holy Spirit hadn’t slowed me down, i would still be stuck where i was this morning at 6am. praise HIM.

    another thing i savored, which i normally don’t, is driving with my windows down this morning. the air was the perfect temperature–cool, yet not too cool–and smelled of wild lilacs. they are prolific and something i don’t remember from years past, even though i’ve lived here almost 5 years! i LOVE the scent of lilacs, and the purple variety have already bloomed, so i’ve reveled in this surprise this year.

    thanks to you, also, i prioritized my day off yesterday and had some wonderful quiet time with my Savior. i savored this too.

    hugs, sweet sara.

    jenn in GA

    • oh, jenn… i know exactly what you mean. ann changed my vocabulary and put a word to how i want to live my life. eucharisteo can really change us… thank you for sharing today and reminding me as well πŸ™‚

  52. oh my friend!! you are never far from my mind as i get to do the “ordinary” things called life. recently as i have been given back a great measure of my health, i have caught my self saying out loud “LIVE your life, sheryl…LIVE it”. i don’t want to do just do life, i want to be fully engaged. i have the blessing of carting kids around. i have the blessing of scrubbing floors. i have the blessing of sitting through freezing cold soccer games. i have the blessing of paying bills. i have the blessing of pulling weeds. i think you get the picture. YOUR life has impacted mine in ways you will never know.

    i love you, sara!

    • sheryl, i am SO HAPPY you are having a rebound in your health. you have no idea how that brightens my heart for you. and you’re right…. you know better now. you know to treasure every moment. what a gift.

  53. Your thoughts are beautiful. God is using you in a mighty way. To not take any minute for granted has been on my heart, especially this week, and you culminated my thoughts down. Thank you for sharing. You have a gift from God. Many blessings.

  54. Lilly sleeps beside me as I type. She is 15 months old, our youngest grandchild and the sweetest daily reminder of God’s grace in my life right now. Her hair is wild, she loves to laugh, she communicates amazingly well with a vocabulary of maybe six words. She is learning to be independent but still loves to be held. “A little child shall lead them…” the prophet Isaiah says. “Unless you become….” Jesus tells us. You, sweet Sara, have discovered this truth in profound ways whether you know it or not. We who read your words and carry you in our hearts, holding you before our God – we know it. You lead us with your open heart, your ability to be frank (without ever the slightest trace of self-pity) about how dependent you are, the hard-earned wisdom you share so graciously. Happy, happy birthday to you, Gitzen girl. So very glad you were born. You SHINE.

  55. You just keep giving, don’t you sweet friend? Thank you for giving me a grand appreciation of this cold, damp, windy spring day that I would have otherwise whined about. (I was going to say it’s a lot like your place INSIDE – oops, just did!) But your sunshiny face was the best – the very best. Love you!

  56. For your birthday I’m offering you the gift of an incredible dogwood tree in full bloom wrapped in the heady scent of newly opened lilacs. It’s topped off with a brilliant yellow bow of forsythia. Each blossom is twinkling with crystals of newly fallen rain. As you open your gift, the pungent smell of fertile soil rushes forth. Sunlight brushes the tips of your fingers bringing them to life and a warm spring breezes strokes your cheek. Your birthday sees the earth coming back to life after being long buried in the cold of winter. God offers us his beauty in celebration of the day you were born! May God smile on you daily, may his blessings continue to illuminate you and may this year bring you rebirth in His name…

  57. Many things are running through my brain, but the one that keeps circling is from Emily’s final monologue in Our Town.
    Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute?
    Stage Manager: The Saints and Poets, they do some.

    Today, I cherished a warm summer breeze, a coconut creme frapp shared with my boys, a letter from my grandmother, and the voices of my loved ones of my answering machine. I will continue to look for the beautiful moments…

    • oh, i love Our Town too, Stacie. and she’s so right… but we all just need to be poets of our own every day moments…

  58. This is so timely. Just yesterday I was walking in my neighborhood thinking about how the smells of dirt and decaying leaves and flowering bushes and plants all together smell like “spring” from my childhood. I am living again geographically close to where I grew up and am enjoying all the smells that bring back those days.

    Thanks for the reminder and have a marvelous birthday!

    • i often wonder about that… as i’ve only lived one place my whole life… if different seasons have different meanings and memories depending on where you live. I wonder what spring in Georgia is like and winter in Maine. i love that we are all here to tell each other and share our worlds πŸ™‚

      • spring in GA is very different from spring in IL and IN, where i grew up and lived until 5 years ago. for one thing, spring is much earlier in GA; perhaps it’s because we’re closer to the equator. consistent sunshine in february and never really having frozen ground for months and months and months results in blossoms in march. when we went back to IL at the end of april, we were able to experience spring for a second time, because everything there was just beginning to leaf and bud!

        winter in GA can’t smell like winter in IL because there’s so much more moisture in GA than there is in IL. still, i love a good snot freezing air to inhale in the middle of january in the midwest. i don’t miss shoveling the snow, though. well, maybe just a little…

  59. Happy Birthday, Sweet Sara!! I have been thinking of you all day and hoping that your day is a good one. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy every moment of every day and to appreciate all that surrounds me. I like to think I don’t take much for granted, but I know that at times I do. Today Emma has been watching videos of when she and Jack were born. It made my heart swell with happiness to watch myself in those awesome first moments with my kids. Not only seeing my tiny babies again, but seeing Kate as a 3-year-old becoming a big sister for the first time and then seeing Emma as a 3-year-old becoming a big sister as well. It reminded me to try to hold onto each day and enjoy each moment as it comes. Some of the moments I’ve enjoyed today: Emma wearing her fancy dress and graduation hat around the house all day, complete with bracelets, a purse and a little bit of Barbie make-up; Jack telling me for the 1000th time, “Me hold you” (meaning, pick me up Mommy) and then giving me big slobbery kisses; Kate returning home from school and telling me about her day; and Matt calling from work just to say hi and to check in with us. Sara, you are an obvious joy and blessing to many, many people. I hope you remember that every day.

    • aww, ripple. i miss you so much. i hope you know and always remember what a blessing YOU have been to my life. i wouldn’t trade our friendship and memories for anything in the world. I love you, friend.

  60. oh my gosh that video about broke my heart. Especially since my prayers and my devotional just this morning and what God has been working with me on is the power of Words. Wow.

    I am savoring…
    * the misty rain spitting on my face
    * the sound of the thunderstorm on my roof
    * a hug from my Gumpee

    • i love a good thunderstorm, but i have no doubt your hug from the gump was the best πŸ™‚ love you, friend.

  61. Five minutes ago I was lying across my bed, irritated by all the sand that fell off of my little boys when they came in frim the sandbox to escape the hot sun.

    A change in perspective and I’m rubbing my legs through the evidence of their fun day of play. It is rough and scratchy. It feels interesting. I can change my sheets but sand will be in my bed again tomorrow. What a sad day it will be when little boys don’t run wild, sand pouring out of pockets full of sand and when drains don’t clog from little heads washed free of sand. I’m going to remember these days fondly and suddenly the sand isn’t an irritation.

    • this comment made me SO happy, Kaira. you are a wonderful mother because you simply took a moment to love your boys exactly where they’re at. you made me smile today. πŸ™‚

  62. Oh my goodness! Thank you. You celebrated your birthday by giving all of us a gift we will never forget.

    Sara, your life is a gift to all who have come in contact with you whether in real life or wherever we are when we read your precious words! I am going outside right now…(right after I blow my nose and wipe away the tears) and just breathe in the outside.
    I love you, friend!

  63. The smell of honeysuckle blooming….. and the laughter of 2 boys who love to drink their sweet nectar!

  64. Dear Sara,
    At the age of 68 some look back and wish for what “used to be”. At this miraculous age the Lord is teaching me exactly what you wished us today..slow down…He has spoken to my heart….and when I have forgotten what He said there have been times He, in His love and merc y has “sat me down”. Oh what joy He has showered me with as I have taken time to notice ALL He has placed around me to remind me of who He is and who I am because of Him.
    Today it was an ordinary trip to the grocery store that turned into an extraordinary opportunity to witness how He blesses us..moment by moment.
    Thank you for your powerful post today….I pray that you and the Lord have celebrated as only the two of you can ..Happy birthday precious sister. Love and Hugs, Judy

    • i feel like God has “sat me down” in my life to remind others to sit down on their own in theirs. So glad you cherish your moments…

  65. Thank you Sara and Happy Birthday!! Today I have my two sweet grandsons with me. Four and 17 months. I smell little boy sweat from playing and crying hard and laughter that is the sweetest sound I know. I really do try to cherish every day and every moment that God has given me because I do know that life can change in an instant. I confess however that I am such a “doer” that I get so busy with my to-do list most days that I tend to lose sight of what matters, but God is good and He will just stop me in my tracks sometimes with the sound of a bird, the smell of jasmine around my swing, my mother and grandmother’s (who are both with Him) flowers blooming in my yard and He says “I love you Sharon in spite of your busyness. Remember to love me back”. I do. I praise His name for giving me gifts like reading your blog today. Bless you this day and forever!

    • what a beautiful way to think of nature… him saying Love Me Back. thanks so much for sharing here today.

  66. Happy Birthday Sara!
    Thank you for sharing your heart on this beautiful day! Earlier the following words were shared with me:
    In God’s heart you are created, chosen, celebrated and cherished!
    Celebrating you today and hoping that you remember that God celebrates you everyday! May we never miss an opportunity to share the words of God to the world.

    I always knew May 13th was a special day – it happens to be my birthday too!

    • Happy Birthday, Lori-Anne… [I’m Sara Anne, too]

      I hope you had a day filled with more blessings than you can hold.

  67. what a powerful video!!! and gitz…you are amazing.absolutely.amazing.
    love your heart. so beautiful.
    and since you asked. here’s a little bit of what i savored today.
    the feel of a jump rope between my fingers as little girls giggled and laughed trying to figure out how to jump. throwing my arms open as others tried to slam dunk a kickball into my “basket.” the way 40-50 feels chilly after a tease of an 80 degree day and the way my toes felt a little numb in their flip flops. an adorable note saying “i like you” from one of my girlies. the feeling and warmth of my sleeping bag that i still sleep with on my bed partly because i like it and partly because it reminds me of africa and how i just haven’t stopped sleeping with it since then and being thankful for the room to curl up in and rest my head and just be.

    • Katy, do you have any idea how lucky those little girls are to have you? i’ve been praying you find your way back to Africa in the way and the time God needs you there. they will be lucky to have you as well.

  68. Sara, you have touched my life in SO many ways without knowing it. I have woken up for the past week or so with pain in my hips BUT, I constantly think of the pain you endure everyday and I THANK GOD that I can get out of my bed, walk to the bathroom and get on with my day. When I take a ride in the car, I think God for the beautiful day. Now, whenever I smell grass that has just been cut, look up at the stars, feel a breeze or the sun on my face, I will think of and pray for you. You are my true inspiration to live a life of gratitude. God bless. XO, Pinky

    • it is such an honor to be a part of your day with you, pinky, and i’m saying a prayer for your pain and hips right now. keep me updated on how you are, ok?

      • Just last night I was wondering if changing my meds. from Lipitor to Crestor is making my hips hurt. I remember when my Dr. changed it, he said HE couldn’t take Crestor, it made it so he could barely walk up a flight of steps! I guess I better go talk to him again!!! You are too sweet to even worry one little bit about ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXO, Pinky

        • do talk to him, pinky. i took a cholesterol medicine for a short time [i can’t remember the name, tho] that totally increased my bone pain as well. it can really make a difference.

  69. As I write (for the first time), I am listening to and watching a fericious thunderstorm. Because of your words, I am savoring every moment of it. I have always loved big storms, but today I am really paying attention. It makes me feel safe and happy to be tucked away in my house, safe with my family. Thank you for your wonderful message and video. We all need to slow down sometimes and enjoy the wonders God has given us. Happy, happy birthday and thank you for opening my mind, heart and soul today!

    • I feel the same way about strong storms, Wendy. So thank you so much for savoring it for me as well today πŸ™‚

  70. my fritz, you make my heart (and my eyes!) full. i am so grateful for the gift you are to me, every single day. happy birthday, my amazing friend. thank you for being who you are.

    • right now, i’m laying on my bed and i pulled that super-soft white blanket from shannon up over me. it’s seriously so soft that i constantly catch myself running my hand over it just to feel it. my window is cracked open and there’s an ever-so-slight breeze coming in. along with sounds of cars driving by, the occasional freight train, and when i stop and listen close (for you), i hear birds. quiet but unrelenting. as though their hearts are bursting with joyful contentedness. beautiful.

      thank you for helping me to embrace my moments as they come and soak in the beauty i so easily take for granted. with each precious thing i notice today, i am thanking God for you. and celebrating you in my heart. i love you so.

      • I’m laying with the same super soft white blanket from Shannon… i love that. i love that we have the same over all these miles. thank you for sharing your moments with me… for carrying me with you…

  71. Happy Birthday to You!
    Your recent posts have touched my heart in such piercing, positive, and encouraging ways. I can’t begin to thank you enough. God is preparing you for blessings beyond your wildest dreams! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. May our loving most gracious heavenly Father continue to richly bless you!

    • I feel like I’ve already received those blessings here today… getting to share my day with all of you…

  72. WOW. so funny that I didn’t read this until now, because I have spent my entire day doing just that. I sat on a dock for hours today, feet splashing in the water, clouds fluffy and a sky that was so blue I was pretty sure God was playing with the saturation slider. You saw it. I sent you the video. Because every second I was out there, much like every time I see a rainbow or feel the sun or the wind or the rain or smell the air, you truly are who I think about. Because I know it makes you happy too, even though you can’t experience it anymore. You have changed my whole perspective. And I love you more than you know. Happy birthday, sweetheart. You are such a gift to me.

    • you, my girlbuckle, honor me so much. every day. you have managed to make me feel like i am a part of your world, your life, your experiences. I wish i had bigger words to tell you how grateful I am for you. you are loved beyond measure, friend.

  73. Happy Birthday! And thank you.
    My wife is in Iraq and my 3 kids drive me insane most days, but today, thanks to you….

    I have smelled my 1 year old’s skin, and once again, see him for the amazing blessing that he is.
    I have smelled my 5 year old’s hair, and took the time to brush it for her like I know she loves. Most days I’m too busy.
    I have smelled my 9 year old’s shoes, and don’t get me wrong, his feet STINK, but they stink because he went with me on my run today. Most days I go alone, before they wake up.
    Things get hectic and I sometimes sulk about “poor me”, but I needed this today….on YOUR day.
    A very humbling thank you!

    • Toby… it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen you pop up. It made me smile and was a gift to me today. thank you, friend.

  74. Last night, it was getting late and my boys needed to be in bed. I’m a stickler for getting as much sleep as possible – when they’re sleep deprived, life isn’t pretty. But we spent about 20 minutes wrestling on the floor instead of getting ready for bed. Yes, they were in bed much later than necessary, but the time with them was magical. The connection we all made with each other was so much more valuable than a few minutes of sleep!

    Happy birthday, Sara. I pray that our blessings become yours. πŸ™‚

    • “but the time with them was magical” … I’m not sure there are any better words to sum up exactly what God wants you to feel. that your moments are magic.

  75. Happy Birthday, Sara — This is “happy birthday” #145 here πŸ™‚ Don’t we wish that smells and tastes could be transmitted virtually? I’d waft you the damp smell of grass coming in my back door. At your suggestion, I’m going to go outside and sit and watch our bees buzzing to and fro, at their hives. I can’t give you anything today, but I hope in a few short years, when we’re both in that new, green earth that God is making for us, we will run and jump in the grass, and enjoy all the things you’re missing now.

    • thanks for taking me with you outside today… and I so look forward to the day when we’re all together in the place where outside is the norm and joy is unrelenting.

  76. happy birthday:) i enjoyed your posting… i remember days of which you talk about. my life has changed and i treasure every breeze, scent, flower i see or smell. thank you !

    today i smelled the dirt/compost we put in the garden beds…reminded me of a farm!!!

    • this made me laugh, because I grew up on a farm and every time we could smell the pigs dad called it “the smell of money”

      hadn’t thought about that in ages…

  77. As soon as I read your post I grabbed my boys (5 and 6) and headed to the couch and taught them to sing row row row your boat in a round as I have read that you liked to sing. They are typical boys and there was much giggling and tomfollery, but we finally did it. And it was magical.
    As I was hauling in all the garbage my kids manage to accumulate in my van I soaked in the sun, enjoyed the fluffy clouds that were floating and stopped to really look at the neighbour’s grass. (we are in a new house so we do not have any.) It is that deep deep shade of new green that lasts for such a short while but screams “Spring is Here” the whole time.
    Happy Birthday Sara.

    • oh, I LOVED this!!! my friend has two little boys and if yours are as rambunctious as hers I’m sure it was a roaring good time πŸ™‚ thanks so much for taking the time to tell me about it.

  78. Your words touch my heart like they have so many times. This life is full of so many gifts and your words are a true gift from God. I thank you and praise Him for you.
    I would be honored if you checked out my blog…you are one of the people who inspired me to start a blog this March.
    In Him,

  79. Sara, exactly one month ago today my dad died. He’d only been sick 7 weeks and we only had a “true diagnosis” for 2 weeks and 1 day … and then he was gone. In the end there were numerous simple miracles (mom calls them little, but my God is bigger than that). My sister and I were both able to be at his side. The better priest for the job was able to be there to give him the Sacraments. That giving and exchange gave ME peace about where my father is for all of eternity. And that was just in the first 24 hours.

    My own birthday is on Monday. I have been repeating to myself, and a couple of friends, that I am already disappointed about my birthday this year. In part because a wonderful friend made last year’s birthday absolutely wonderful and in part because i don’t want to have a birthday without my Daddy. But that wasn’t an option I was given.

    So my gift to you, and to me, this weekend is to breathe in this fresh air outside my window. To listen to the patter of rain on the roads. To walk or bike outside in fresh air and sunshine (hopefully, if the clouds clear tomorrow). To spend time at friend’s homes laughing and eating and watching something on a television. To go to church on Sunday and fully 100% engage in singing worship to my Glorious God. I will spend my weekend trying to remind myself of you and what your wish for this birthday is. And trying to do that for you, and for me.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Oh, I know, friend. My dad died this year – completely unexpected and sudden – and I was trepidatious about today. about doing this without a call from him. I am so very sorry for your loss and will be praying for you in the coming days and especially on Monday. i will carry you with me here in my heart and pray that you feel unexpected love and joy and peace in the most unexpected moments.

      sending you love. and wishing you birthday joy.

  80. Sara, your posts (here and on your blog) always carry such real power and honesty. Thank you for always sharing your heart.

    Thank you for that video today, too. I love words, and I love the strength and love they can give. I pray to wield them well, though I know I do that imperfectly.

    Intentional living is so important, and it’s one of the many blessings I’m praising Him for having me experience as a mother. My son pulls me into the moment when my busy, crowded brain tries to toss me in the past or thrust me into the future. (You kinda HAVE to be in the moment when a wildly charming toddler is racing to the stairs or giggling without restraint.)

    I choose to intentionally see His grace everywhere today. And to notice His blessings in the earthy smell of dirt of our freshly planted seeds and vegetables. To feel the comfort and awe of the way my son’s hand rests on my arm as he falls asleep.

    I just noticed the first lightning bug of the season the other day, too. It reminds me of chasing those flying lights in the yard as a kid (and, I think I did that last year, too, hah).

    Thank you, Sara. Happy Birthday! I’m pretty sure you’ve blessed us all more than we could ever repay you.

    • thank you so much, caroline. i do think those sweet moments like your little boy resting his hand on you as he falls asleep are the sweetest most tender moments. i love that you take the time to notice and cherish them.

  81. Sara-
    Happy Birthday!

    Your posts speak to my heart! I am so thankful I found your blog (thru Henry). You are an amazing woman. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

    I often get caught up in my “to do list”…but I’m really working at staying in the moment. So, I’m off to hug my beautiful sleeping kids. THANK YOU!

    • thank you so much, cari… i think if we put “cherish” on the top of every to-do list it might help us remember it more πŸ™‚

  82. Sara: Happy Birthday! And thank you for the gift you’ve given me. Not just today but every time you write. You are always a gift.

    Today I got to dig in the dirt. I am clearing out an area for our vegetable garden, it is an area that was overgrown with weed trees. It is tough digging and it was humid here today so the sweat was dripping! Thanks for reminding me to savor the moments that made my sore muscles.

    • oh, humidity will get you every time! πŸ™‚ so glad you got to dig in the dirty today, friend… and love that you’ll get to enjoy the veggies as the “fruits” of your labor!

  83. Dear Sara(h)…
    You have no idea how powerful your words were. Thank you for this gift & on YOUR birthday, no less. I had a very beautiful moment on my drive home from work. A song was playing…Amber by 311 and although I know he wrote that about a girl, I couldn’t help but feel like I was having a moment with my Jesus. the colors of the sky was a beautiful mess of oranges and pinks and blues & I felt soooo small while feeling so intimate with Him. I hope this doesn’t sound weird but I just wanted to share my moment with you.

    • “a beautiful mess of oranges and pinks and blues” … oh, those skies are so rare and so amazing, aren’t they? i saw a sky like that after my friend’s little girl had passed away and I wondered if she was coloring in heaven. so no, it doesn’t sound weird at all. we’re supposed to be intimate with Him. that’s the goal.

      thanks for sharing with me πŸ™‚

  84. Happy Birthday, dear Sara!

    On Thurstday, I have finished my Master Programm. In a few days, I will be an officially
    graduated Master of Science.
    I am “homebound” in a very different way, I am mom of three boys. My husband has a good job and we own a small house.
    I always dreamd of working abroad, running a ranch or farm anywhere, but not to stay in the big city I have studied at.

    Today, for you, I want to be proud to have finished my Masters and I will find a nice job here and to be totally happy with it.

    Thank you sooo much for your post.


    • Congratulations! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! is that weird? because i don’t really know you? but i so am! sometimes we have to let go of some dreams for a period of time to fulfill what God needs from us now… but maybe a ranch is in your down-the-road dreams. i pray wherever you land, you find it filled with joy.


        I am a frequent reader of your blog for the last two years. You always encouraged me to go on with my studies. You are an important part of my everyday life and I wish, we could meet one day (but I live in Germany so it is not very likely, but maybe…)

  85. My son fell asleep in my arms before nap time yesterday. Instead of putting him in bed right away, I stopped for about 10 minutes and just enjoyed holding a sleeping baby. At the same time I watched my four year old play outside, and I realized I won’t have this forever. So I just sat and soaked them in as they are now. My two “little” boys. My two gifts. Thanks for the 10 minutes of just realizing what a gift a moment is.

    • oh, steph, i love this. i can’t really hold kids and babies safely anymore, but reading this i could almost smell that sweet baby smell that stays on you after they have snuggled for awhile. i love that you will always have that moment in the archive of your heart. πŸ™‚

  86. Hey,

    The other night after we put our toddler to bed, the hubs and I were laying on the couch with the windows open for one of the first time of the spring and I was stressing about finances, evening plans, the to-do list, the trip we were taking tomorrow, everything under the sun. Suddenly it was like God said “snap out of it!” And I smelled the sweet spring air and felt the gentle breeze and I thought “what am I doing?” I spend most of winter dreaming about nice weather! I gotta run after my toddler now, but thanks for the reminder and have a great birthday! God bless!

    • what a perfect moment! i think He wakes us up in those moments to remind us that if we really trust Him, the worry will dissipate. and it did for you only because you were willing to let it. good for you πŸ™‚

  87. yesterday, i went to get the mail with my two year-old son and two month-old son. my two year-old was riding on his little scooter, and taking his sweet time. i kept telling him to hurry up. at one point he stopped, got off his scooter, and walked over and picked a blade of grass with his chubby little hands. it was such a good reminder to me. God made that grass for us to enjoy. it really was beautiful – so green from the rain earlier this week. what was i doing, hurrying inside to…do dishes? what? why?

    it was a good reminder for me that i want to take my boys outside every day. i WANT them to get dirty, and really smell and feel the world. and i WANT to enjoy those moments with them.

    thank you for getting us thinking about this. hope your birthday was lovely!

    • it’s hard for us grown ups to look at everything as “new” like they do… but i swear that’s why God keeps giving us children… so we can remember that each blade of grass is a treasure. you have a sweet and smart little boy there πŸ™‚

  88. What a beautiful reminder and convicting as well. Even though I have temporarily been in your shoes having had 2 bone marrow transplant and not being able to be exposed to anything, I find myself forgetting. Forgetting all the everyday things that I’m now (3 years out of my last transplant) finding myself whining about. I longed to be able to do the everyday when I couldn’t and was so incredibly grateful when I recovered. I needed this today! Thank you for your words breaking through my humanness. You will remain in my prayers….you are reaching many!
    Bless you dear sister πŸ™‚

    • it’s so easy to do, Deb. i even do it in my limitedness… think how i don’t want to get up to refill my water because of the pain of walking. and then i remember that it is such a gift that i can still walk at all with my walker. it’s the goal of always being present and intentional – we’re all working on it πŸ™‚

  89. So, I thought I would share my Marlin Perkins (?) moments from yesterday with you. I was out walking my dogs and noticed down a little hill from the sidewalk that there was a Great Blue Heron wading in the shallow of the pond. I’ve never seen one so close up, and stood for a good, long moment watching him. Cooper wants to chase him . . . “no, Coop, leave him be.” then I noticed a little turtle out in the pond “Really? Yep, it’s a turtle, alright.” out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse a little swallow zipping down. He skims across the water to catch a bug or two, I guess. Thank you Lord, for letting me enjoy your beautiful and amazing creation! But we’re not done! I turn to walk along again, and there is a black snake crossing the street in our direction with, believe it or not, a mockingbird chasing him along saying, “go AWAY!!” so we stop as he comes into the grass, then begins to cross the sidewalk. Cooper wants him . . . Definitely no! But I let him sniff at his tail, which causes him to stop and, shall we say, observe us for a moment. Then he is on his way. It really is cool how snakes move along. Anyway, once again, a mockingbird is on his trail. Amazing. So now, I think that the Lord must have blessed me with these “nature moments” so I could share them with you, Sara! I hope they are a nice little birthday gift. I think about you a lot and learn so much from you. And I thank the Lord for you, too.Β  Your sister in Him, Ellen

    • you had me at Marlin Perkins… I loved Wild Kingdom! πŸ™‚ And it sounds like that perfectly describes your walk. WOW. thank you so much for thinking of me and giving me these great visuals. you made me smile. πŸ™‚

  90. hearing my children laugh and giggle downstairs as they chase each other about on this rainy saturday morning… feeling the instinct to tell them to quiet down. remembering your words here, and not. : )

    “That’s the best gift I could receive this year. To know that my life taught you something about your own.”

    happy birthday sara. and *thank you* for the gifts you’ve helped open our eyes to!

    • this made me smile, amber. i remember talking on the phone with my friend Susie once and she was telling her kids to quite the laughter down when suddenly she said to me, “What am i doing? i just basically told my kids to stop being so happy.” It made me laugh and also realize that we all do that so often in life when we’re busy. i love that you let them giggle away today πŸ™‚

  91. I just want to thank you for reminding me how important life really is. When i almost lost my life 3 years ago it woke me up and made me realized just how important life really is and how important the people i share it with are also. I was diagnosed with crohns 10 years ago and until 3 years ago didn’t think it was a big part of my life until it almost took it away from me. Now every day i try to appreciate what i do get to see and experience. I just wanted to thank you and wish you a happy birthday = )

    • crohns is a tough diagnosis, tonya, and i’m so glad you’re here today to tell us about it. saying a prayer for you and your health right now πŸ™‚

  92. Happy Birthday, Sara – going out in the rain today to garage sale with my daughter – was thinking of not going because of the weather, but thinking of what you said … and being reminded of the taken-for-granted privilege of being able to feel the wind & the rain, I’m going and feeling & probably getting soaked. Guess I needed a good washin’ anyway. πŸ™‚ Bless you as you continue to faithfully administer God’s grace through your GIFTS! ~ Mela

    • hi, sweet {and probably rain soaked} friend! have i ever told you that i start singing your songs in my head every time i see your avatar pop up? i don’t know if i ever properly thanked you for sending your music after dad died… it blessed me thoroughly…

      • That makes me so happy that you sing when you see me, because I know how much you love to and that you have that gift as well. And, you did thank me – it was such a small thing … I never know about sending the music – I mean it to be like a well-written card – saying lots of things I couldn’t fit into a small space – it’s just me and my story charted to music. Delighted you are enjoying it. I look forward to your posts and my daughter is in love with Riley – she loves all his different looks. πŸ™‚

  93. I am so touched by this post I felt the need to comment. I found you through The Nester. I have seen this video and it’s so compelling! One of my favorite parts of my day is picking up my kids from school. I’ve dedicated my life to being a SAHM which is rewarding, fulfilling, and exhausting! I love to see the genuine bliss on my 3 kids’ faces when I get them in the afternoon. Their smiles show pure joy and love and it melts my heart each time.

    I hope you have a wonderful and blessed birthday!

    • *smiling* … my mom stayed at home and she always had little individual snacks ready for us six kids when we got off the bus. she said it was her best time of day because it was when she got the scoop on ours. i’m sure your kids will remember and appreciate you in those moments just like i do my mom.

  94. Dear Sara, wishing you a very happy birthday…truly you are a testiment of strength and courage. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding me not to take things for granted. May God bless you abundantly!

    • thanks, liza. and i have been blessed abundantly… i have more love in my life than anyone can deserve πŸ™‚

  95. I hope you had a nice birthday. The video is very touching. When I was in my twentys I went through many surgeries that in the end took away most of my hearing and we did not know if I would ever hear again. Instead of letting it ruin my life, I decided to go back to college and continue living life the way I wanted to. Instead of having the glass half full I kept filling it back up. Eventually I was able to wear hearing aids and I can hear better but I will never get my hearing back as it was, but I am ok with that. I went on to finish college and I am now happily married with 3 children. Today is my birthday and I took my children out with me to buy roses for my flower gardens. I try to always do things in my life that I enjoy because to spend time doing things that are unpleasant are mostly a waste of our time. I am so happy I came to visit.

    • “Instead of having the glass half full I kept filling it back up.”

      i love this visual, alaina. and happy birthday!!! πŸ™‚

  96. Happy belated birthday! I just came across your blog(s) and could not stop reading your story and your wisdom. I went through a few months of constant pain and bedrest/housebound due to my pregnancy with triplets. A far cry from what you experience daily, but having had a taste of it, it gives me an incredible admiration for your strength and faith. I read your post this morning and was able to approach my day with a more grateful mindset. Moments such as watching my triplets (now 3) tackle and run with their daddy in the grass or playing “camping” with them, had a much more heart-touching impact. All thanks to you. No longer a stranger. A sister in Christ.

    • triplets! wow. you were a supermom the minute you got pregnant πŸ™‚ age 3 is such a fun time… so glad you are enjoying your moments.

  97. WOW! Thank you so much for your thought provoking post!

    Today is a day when one could be depressed. It’s a foggy, driizzly day that dashes any hope of puttering in the garden. It seems like it has taken forever to turn into spring and now it looks like it will rain for the next 7 days! But although we couldn’t exactly work in the garden, my husband and I did tour the front yard and then the neighbourhood armed with our umbrellas. Everything is so nice and green. And the rain has cleared all the pollen out of the air so my husband can enjoy being outside without his allergies making him miserable.

    Hope you have a great birthday!

    • it’s raining and cold here today, too, but i’m so thrilled you found the beauty in it where you are. i laid with my eyes closed and listened to the wind whip as the drops of rain hit the windows. a bit of a symphony as well πŸ™‚

  98. As my husband bent over to brush his teeth, I was grateful to see in the mirror all the beautiful gray hair he’s got.

    As we drive through Alabama today we are seeing much devastation following the recent tornado and storms. But hearing the testimonies of how others are helping those who lost so much is refreshing.

    No rain today. The skies are bursting with clouds over rich blue. The van windows are down and we’re not sweating. The smell of freshly mown grass is in the air.

    And my lungs inhale and exhale. And I had the use of my bare feet to push the wooden swing. I love its rhythmic creaking. And seeing the geese parents nearby with their eight puff-ball gosselings, all plucking treats from the ground.

    It’s a wonderful happy birthday indeed, my dear. God bless you.

    • i can hear that creak of the swing… we had an old wooden porch swing that i loved growing up and it was one of my favorite spots on the farm.

  99. We have a nest and a few baby birds on our front door right now — yes, our front door! Momma bird built her nest in a basket of flowers I have hanging from the door. We have put up a sign inside to remind ourselves not to go out through that door. A door that normally is constantly revolving with 3 kids running in and out every day, so it’s no easy thing to not use that particular door, but so worth it. The birds are sparrows, and I’m daily reminded how God’s eye is on the sparrow and how much more He loves ME!

    • oh, that’s one of my favorite songs! and what a *perfect* place to have that reminder. that His eye is on the sparrow just as it’s on all of your comings and goings πŸ™‚

  100. thanks for sharing brought a tear to my eye and today I took my teens to a living history event where they made rope, butter and other things and enjoyed living life I enjoyed watching them THanks for sharing

    • we traveled to Living History Farms when i was in school and i remember finding it fascinating. love that you are sharing that with your kids!

  101. thank you for your birthday present. i know many times we take each day for granted. i just hurt my back yesterday and have been thinking how much we take our bodies for granted and what they do for us. i am sorry for your situation but know that you can still touch each life for good! thank you for this awakening! happy birthday!

  102. Today I laid in bed with my three year old at nap time and savored the moment she put her arm around me and told me she loves me. Thank you for your post!

    • oh, that is a beautiful and sweet moment… and will always be an equally sweet memory for you now as well, i’m sure.

  103. As I was putting some mail in the box, I took in a deep breath and smelled the wonderfully sweet scent of honeysuckle growing up a fence across the road.

    Happy Birthday!

    • i love all the comments about honeysuckles i read here and on twitter yesterday. such a perfect time of year to enjoy them…

  104. Tears! I can hardly say to you what this post does to my heart! This crazy up and down Iowa weather has gotten me in frustration and really why? I wallowed today because I should of been camping with my family but alas the rain and coolness showed up again. I wallowed because we had ballet pics this morning for Lil girl and it was a bit overwhelming as those things tend not to go on smoothly. I wallowed because hubby napped twice today and all I wanted to do is be out in the great outdoors with Jo distractions of daily life. Then I read your post. Watched the video tears streaming and looked up from the kitchen counter i was standing at and truly became aware. I recalled the cool wind on my face earlier today as I chatted with hubby in the fresh cut grass. The smell of the rain coming. The sweetness of hubby and Lil girl napping together on the sofa. The moment of the present, Cooking supper with baby girl on my hip. And it dawned on me. This life isn’t full of inconveniences, it’s full of blessings. That I have my family home with me even if a few are napping. That I can stand in my kitchen and cook supper and balance baby on hip. That the rain coming means my garden gets a good drink and maybe we will eat some good home grown food this summer.

    that life isn’t about wallowing in what can’t be or isn’t. It is thanking Him for what IS. I do not have to go camping to enjoy the weekend, there is beauty and joy in the here and now! And What a shame if I miss it!!!

    Oh thank you Sara. You’ve no idea the way God uses your words to weave His into the hearts of others! You are a blessing and happy birthday to you from another fellow Iowan!

    • you just filled my heart up to its limits… we all have those days of frustration, but the way you turned it around? beautiful. thanks for sharing!

  105. My one little word is joy! I found your blog because you choose joy. I have recently moved and had not been using my back door at all. One evening I came in the back door and was greeted by two very large bleeding hearts. My most favorite flower is a bleeding heart. I was so blessed that God had shown me such joy. This morning I was out early and saw that most of the blossoms had faded. But in looming closer there are a few new shoots. I find that in the busyness of my life I often miss the tender new shoots that are just as glorious as the full blooms. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy all my moments.

    • “I find that in the busyness of my life I often miss the tender new shoots that are just as glorious as the full blooms. ”

      This is a perfect metaphor for so many of life’s moments…

  106. Happy Birthday Gitz! I am so very glad you were born, and I believe you are well worth celebrating!
    Today where I am it has been gloomy and wet and raining all day (sigh) … which means that the dry hills around here may not burn this summer and the grass is growing quickly enough to need to be mowed again. My pup gets wet and grubby on her excursions to the backyard. I put off my o\plans to go to the years first Market Garden in our town because of the cold and damp; but probably I should have braved it. All the vendors went to alot of work to be there and will continue to show up faithfully all season long through to fall. Some of my favourite moments are watching the seedlings poke up through the earth and the wild rapid growth of my bleeding heart bush. Blessings on you today Gitz.

    • thank you, Annie! it’s been raining all day here, too, and I swear my hosta are growing right before my eyes!

  107. Happy Belated Birthday! I just found your post because of a wonderful link. I am so glad that I did! I followed you over to your blog and just wanted to share with you that my children are, at this very moment, also dancing to Lawrence Welk (LW he is affectionately called in this house) as I type. No, not boy, girl – three girls but they are taking turns being the “boy” dancing. They have a baby brother who will get his fill of dancing in a few years. Your post really made me appreciate this evening here with them, despite the messy floors and unfolded laundry sitting around. Thank you. God Bless.

    • Betsy, that’s AWESOME! those are seriously some of my fondest memories… I was convinced I was going to be Sissy of the Bobby and Sissy fame when i grew up πŸ™‚

  108. Thank you Gitz for being another voice God is shouting at me (in a sweet way) through. : ) He’s teaching me thankfulness in a whole new way and I’m thrilled that I’m finally learning I think… Thank you for being one of His messengers.

    • What an honor, Melissa May. Have you read Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” yet? If you feel God calling you to thankfulness, it’s a must read. It will change your thinking and your vocabulary. I love it.

  109. Spent the afternoon at a backyard party with a friend I haven’t seen since highschool, that has the sweetest spirit of anyone I know! Came home and felt I hadn’t enjoyed this beautiful day enough outside, so I came to sit in my backyard and enjoy the breeze as it russels through the trees, the birds chirping, and then decided to bring modern technology into it all and brought out my laptop and came across your page through The Nester. Now I’m savoring this time outdoors! Thank You! Happy Birthday! Be Blessed! Enjoy! The sun is setting, the birds are chirping as I write and I send that through with this comment!

  110. Dear Sara,

    I’m a little late coming here, but I did want to chime in and wish you a belated Happy Birthday. This post was beautiful and touching. Thank you!

    I have a chronic illness that has continued to degenerate over the years. Currently I am mostly homebound, but I can usually get out of our apartment in my wheelchair once every week or two. Tomorrow when I go out, I will think of you. It will be exausting for me to go to my son’s Cubbie’s awards program, but I will cherish the time and be thankful for the outing, thankful to be seeing other people and different walls.

    My husband picked up a bag of dirt today so that I can sit outside on a cool day next week and plant broccoli and okra in our big pots. I miss walking and hiking and running outside. Those have been taken away from me, but I can still sit and put my hands in the dirt and plant vegetables and flowers, and for that I am so thankful. I will enjoy those things for you this week. I will get wet and dirty as I plant my vegetables. I will enjoy the fresh air and take a deep breath. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


    • I’m sorry for your struggles, too, Rachel. Because I know that no matter how positive we are, some days are just plain hard. But I’m saying a prayer of thanksgiving for you that you have such a beautiful heart and a loving family to go along with it. Thank you for taking me with you as you plant the veggies and breathe the air. It’s a privilege.

  111. Hi Sara-
    I live to see the sun rise and hear the birds chirping in the morning, love when the breeze blows in my window and makes the curtains billow, and when the moon shines in on my bed at night. My grown daughter’s and I get all excited when it is a full moon and known that our beds will be lit my the moon. I sleep so much better feeling the connection to the earth and world around me. I cannot imagine what life would be without these simple things that most don’t take the time to notice. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of these little things. It is my hope that you will be able to feel the suns rays on your cheeks if only for a few hours one afternoon, and that a breeze blows through your condo and freshens the air so you sleep peacefully and soundly with little or no pain. My dream would be able to sleep on a hanging swing bed on an old fashioned sleeping porch. I am filling a pin board on Pinterest with images of them. That to me would be pure luxury. Waking up to the sunshine, a breeze, and chirping birds, and at the end of the day falling asleep under a starlit sky.
    God Bless-

    Happy Birthday –
    My best- Diane

    • I LOVE how you pay attention to your life, Diane. I’m grateful now that I paid as much attention as I did when I did. I can’t open the windows and have the fresh air because my lungs can’t take outside allergens [i live in a controlled air environment], but I love hearing of others taking their moments and appreciating the breeze. Does my heart good πŸ™‚

  112. I picked up some koi fish babies and put them into our pond. Watching them swim freely made me value my freedom. Thank you for putting life in perspective by helping me realize what is important. A reminder that no matter how bad things may be on a given day, I have so much to be grateful for. God bless you on your birthday and everyday. May you find blessings in abundance multiplied by the blessings you give others!

    • having your own pond must be so wonderful… you have an instant place to go for a break and a deep breath. lovely πŸ˜‰

  113. Happy (belated) Birthday! Today I spent the day at a family party I was not thrilled about attending. In your honor, I thank God for the loving, accepting and encouraging family I have. We don’t all agree, we don’t all have the same beliefs, but we all consider each other family. We are not all blood related, but the generations before me have shown us that we are family. That we have a bond because of where we’re from and who raised us. We love each other and travel hours (some by car and some by plane) for a party to honor one member of our family. I savor the loudness of our voices, the two languages spoken, all of the ladies’ perfumes and the men’s colognes. The loud laughter and the squealing children. It was great to be surrounded by everyone. Happy Birthday, and thank you, Lord for my family.

    • isn’t it amazing how the things that can drive us crazy are also the very things that fill us up and make us loved? love that you saw that in your family today!

  114. […] One post is my own, Risky Business, where I talk about the risks and rewards of letting go of control in our life, and one is a challenge from Sara Frankl to actually NOTICE and APPRECIATE the beauty we already have in our life, Don’t Miss It. […]

  115. Sweet, Beautiful Sara…I thought of you as I watched my son at his tennis lesson. I listened to the ball “pop” on the court after he hit it and thought of all the times I’ve heard that sound but not stopped to appreciate it. Thank you for opening my eyes to it today! It’s a little thing, but really not-so-little at all.

    And that video? W.O.W.

    I am praying for you right now, beautiful girl. I pray I get to meet you this side of heaven. If not, I pray our mansions aren’t too far apart! πŸ™‚

    Last…I like the way you spell your name. It’s the same way my sister spells it! πŸ™‚

    • what i’ve learned is exactly what you realized today… there is no little thing. they are not so little at all πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing that with me today. seeing everyone live fully in their moments fills mine exponentially.

  116. Happy Birthday Sara! Today I will focus on the smell of my daughter, who to me still smells like that baby I brought home from the hospital four years ago. I will take the extra time to feel the sun on my face and smell the roses in my yard that I always take for granted. I will relish the smell of fresh cut grass and the backyard BBQ. I will take the extra time to feel the grass on my feet, instead of worrying about getting dirty or tracking mud into the house. I will take a walk outside and remember how incredibly blessed I have been, and give thanks. Thank you for helping me to remember that life really is about the little things.

    • i loved the visual of this whole comment… especially your sweet four year old being loved as the baby you first laid eyes on. what a gift!

  117. Sara — I came to your post today from The Nesting Place. Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for the insightful gift you have given so many people on the anniversary of your birth. We all want to touch the world and to leave our own imprint, to say I was here and I made a difference. You did that today.

  118. As I read this, my two big kids are in my bed next to me. I realize we haven’t done “family night” in bed for a while (mainly because most nights become family night!). But tonight, neither could sleep so I invited them to sit next to me as I read my favorite blogs. I read them outloud – including this one. THIS is what I might have missed today. This moment to share a wonderful story with them. This moment to remind them God’s blessings are all around them. This simple few minutes with them before they sleep. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

    • what a good mom you are – i hope you also dwell in that moment. that you have two big kids who want nothing more than to sit with you. what a blessing. πŸ™‚

  119. I came tonight, via your website.

    Heavy in my heart ,with so much loss, yet joyful in my spirit, by so much more that has been gained.

    I watched the video with tears in my eyes, read your wish and headed straight outside into the coolness of the night air.

    There is a breeze tonight, a cool one, carrying with it, the smell of the big magnolia tree that is across the street.

    I stepped into the grass, barefoot, feeling the chilly blades between my toes.

    I walked over to the gardenia bush at the end of the porch and just stood there with my nose buried in one perfect blossom.

    I look towards the Heavens where my Father is looking down upon you as well as me and I said a prayer for you tonight…

    Just you.

    It is a honor to read your words and I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

    Thank you for the humble reminder that no matter what we are facing, we need to take a moment to just breathe in our surroundings.

    Hugs, Prayers and Love. πŸ™‚

  120. Wow, a powerful post. I came here via Nester. Thank you for your thoughts. I look back on my day now and cherish it even more and look forward to the opportunity tomorrow brings. Thanks for helping me see that. Bless you.

  121. Hi Sara, I too came here via Nester, thank you for your gift to me and so now I will share my gift to you. I know that you are in incredible pain I have read of your suffering and my heart cried out for you and I used to feel sorry for myself for being in pain and bedbound but I then after reading yours decided to change my life. My pastor at church gave me Joseph Prince’s book Destined to Reign and I started to have hope, thats all I put it down to. After 25 years of pain I now drive and today I took my husband to the airport, and sang all the way to church making up my own songs of praise because my heart is full of joy. I am determined to live everyday and you were a catalyst my love
    so thank you
    I now live in Cairns Australia and Sara you will now be in my prayers and may my love and hope touch you
    God bless

    • i’m so glad for you that you found what you needed for relief. i have great hope that God can use me, even in my circumstances.

    • i just came from your site… and it made me SMILE and bring back memories of my own First Communion in my own veil with a crown made of pearls and a twirly white dress. And I too remember the party full of people I loved. what a perfect day for you all… thanks for bringing back my perfect memories. πŸ˜‰

  122. Thank you Sara, I truly hope your birthday was filled with blessing after blessing. I enjoyed this reminder to stop and take everything in. When I was a young girl I often would swing on the swings as high as I could and just take it all in, pretend that I could reach up to heaven and just memorize all the special moments in life and even just memories of the simple moments in life such as swinging in the swing. I can remember doing this well into my 7th grade year. Now that i am a mom of 2 beautiful girls, one step-daughter and an older step son I am so glad to share those memories with them. Thank you for your words!

    • as a kid, i loved hearing stories of my parents at my age… all the wonderment of “you did that, too?” πŸ™‚ I love that you have such formed and happy memories to share with your kids…

  123. What a gift you have given! Just saw the wonder in the eyes of a two year old as she was amazed at the “flowers” blooming in the patches of weeds here at the baseball fields. Thanks and Happy Birthday!

    • oh, that’s so sweet! i remember my niece once commenting on all the beautiful yellow flowers at my parents house… suddenly dandelions didn’t look so bad πŸ˜‰

  124. Thank you for the reminder to savor the small things in life. Happy Birthday – we are very close in age. I will turn 38 in July. While sometimes I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, I have been humbled many times about how your life is so much more limited than mine and that you have the best attitude about your limitations and choose to glorify the Lord through it. Thank you for your outlook on life, your appreciation of the “small” everyday things, and for inspiring me to look beyond myself and enjoy the moments and blessings the Lord has provided for me. I hope this next year brings many more of God’s blessings for you, that your pain will be controlled and that you will have many happy memories to cherish. God bless and thanks again! πŸ™‚

  125. That was absolutely beautiful. My husband and I own some land in Southern Colorado. It was logged before we bought it but never cleaned up. There are piles of stumps and branches everywhere. We were working on it a couple days ago. It is hard work and seemingly never ending. After we quit we both looked around and decided that life does not get any better than this!!! Thank you for making me realize again how lucky we are to be living the life that we are living.

    • cindy, i’m thrilled for you. i’ve been to Colorado twice in my life, and both times I left saying that i could have stayed there forever.

  126. Happy Birthday! Your story is amazing and your request like a wake up call to enjoy EVERYTHING about life. Its raining and cold here today after several days of warm spring weather, and my kids are both sick. After reading your post, I am sooo gratefull for the quiet moments with my sick little ones. The warmth of their little bodies curled up next to mine on the couch, with their small little hands curld around me, is a memory I never want to forget, or take for granted. Thank you for reminded us that life passes sooo quickly and to not forget all the little memories πŸ™‚

    • thank you so much, mel. i remember feeling a little guilty when i would be happy one of my nieces or nephews was feeling a little under the weather. because i relished in their snuggling in close and wanting me to stay with them. those moments when i could wrap them up with all of me and give them what they needed.

      moments to be cherished, indeed.

  127. I do take in a lot during one day. But only because I had the guts to quite working. I knew I needed to. I had been running around like crazy for years, I stopped to look but longed to do so. I lost health over it. So I had to quite all together, give up work and get back to where God wants me… taking in the simple but most precious gifts in life, like the ducks in the little ditch behind my house, the heron that flies over, the birds that sing early morning or at night before they go to sleep, giving me the right schedule for a day. The little lams that were born, a bright blue sky and I can go on and on. I am so thankful I am here where I need to be. It’s not about wealth, nor is it about possessions. It’s about being and great and just things come from that. I do appreciate your reminder every once in a while. You rock!

  128. Today is cool and rainy in Northern Georgia. Out my window I see the bright yellow Stella Dora blooming and then it was matched by Mr. Yellow Finch at the bird feeder. As I ate Sunday dinner I looked out to see 2 chipmunks scampering over my flower bed and 4 mourning doves pecking around for goodies for their dinner. The cooler weather seems to have brought out the friskiness of these little creatures and they were also joined by a gray squirrel. Have blessed Lord’s Day!

    • frisky is the exact word that was running through my head as you were describing your own little wild kingdom! πŸ™‚ so thrilled the day held so much beauty for you.

  129. As I read this, I had a new puppy on my lap (who adopted ME-he can’t sleep without his head on my lap), and I’m looking forward to getting up at 4:15 am tomorrow, like I always do for work, so I can watch the sunrise. I’m a bear before my third hit of caffeine, but tomorrow I will watch the sunrise while I sip my tea.
    And? thank you. May you be blessed with the richness you have shared with the rest of us.

    • oh, i have a pup who must be touching me at all times, too. i thought he was attached to me but now when he is laying away from me for any reason i find myself feeling a little lost without him πŸ™‚

      and a sunrise… it’s been ages since i’ve seen one but the ones in my memory are divine. praying you get a spectacular one in the morning…

  130. Dear Sara,
    Happy Birthday. I ran across your post from a facebook acquaintance and clicked. I was so moved by your words. I do not know you nor do I know your story. But, my heart began to weep. I am 39 this year as well. It is strange to think of being in my late 30’s. Today it’s raining in Central Oregon a little chilly. The Earth is moist and fresh. The apricot tree is full of blooms so bright and beautiful. I took my 12 yo son out the back door and we stood with our faces pointed to the sky in the rain. The rain was light and cold. We decided to check our chickens and their new coop. The were all hunkered down under the coop staying dry. I just want to thank you for this brief interruption in our everyday to stop and appreciate life and the beauty that surrounds us. PS I took a deep breath for you. God Bless. Michelle

    • i hope you know what a gift that is to me… to visualize you face up in the rain… taking a deep breath… breathing it in with your son… makes my heart happy to live it through you all here πŸ™‚

  131. Dear Gitz,
    I had a very wonderful day, thanks in a large part to you and your sweet words. We took our eight year old out to eat a hot dog for his birthday, then from there on to the football field for him to hit the blocking sleds (his choice!) and a movie. As I watched our little guy dream big dreams and grow up before my eyes, I savored it all the more as I thought of your post. What a wonderful gift it was to document the chili running down his hands, to smell the cool, sweet grass at the football field, to take in a movie with loved ones, yet it is so easy to take it all for granted and I thank you for your reminder. Love and best wishes on your special day.

    • thank you, rachel for coming to share with me. i love the details you held in your heart… chili on his hands… sweet grass on the field… each tiny thing makes such a big impact on our hearts. happy birthday to your sweet boy πŸ™‚

  132. {{Gulp}} I saw this post ON your birthday, but since I had already sent you a birthday greeting, I didn’t take the time to read; actually, I probably didn’t have the time to read since I was so preoccupied with plans for my daughter’s high school graduation party and preparing for a houseful of family and friends to descend.

    oh my. Oh My!

    Sweet, sweet Sarah…wow. You’ve rendered me an illiterate :). <--- please let that make you smile :). You, like few (if any) others give me reason to stop in my tracks and reorient my perspective to Thoughts Eternal and Things Important. What a gift you offer all of us! I wish I could change your circumstances; I can't help it--though I know God is working MIGHTILY in and through your life, I don't want you to suffer! But, oh, sweet sister, you honor your Father (and your father, too πŸ™‚ )! Thank you for stunning me with your words. I wasn't prepared for this; I shall reread and consider what you ask of us...and I know when I close my laptop I'll look at everything around me differently. I love you.

    • oh, love. i thought of you and prayed for you so much this weekend. i know it was a huge one for you and i was praying for your moments. they way you love and care for me means the world, so i can only imagine the impact you had on your daughter during her celebration.

      you are a gift. and are treasured, friend.

  133. I’m usually in such a rush to get my littlest one to bed (he’s 2 1/2). I tend to rush through the bedtime story, get frustrated when he won’t settle down and skip out of the room to catch up on my shows when he’s finally asleep. After reading your post last night I was overcome with regret for how I had been treating the bedtime ritual. So when I put my little guy to bed last night we snuggled while we read and I laid down with him and prayed as he went to sleep. We were both so relaxed that we drifted off together. My husband didn’t even bother to wake me, and my little guy slept wrapped up in my arms all night. It was wonderful and peaceful and I can’t believe that I needed to be reminded to enjoy my child. There’s going to come a day in the not so distant future when he won’t need me like he does now, and probably won’t want me around so much either, so I need to soak it in while it lasts because these days are so precious and so limited.

    Thank you for the reminder. God bless you and keep you!

    • oh, becky. THIS was a gift to me… that something i said helped give you a peaceful night snuggling with your boy. so happy!

  134. Thank you for your words, and the video.
    I live in Vancouver, Canada… we have had 7 days of sunshine in 2011. I love the rain – missed it when I lived in eastern Canada during university. I love the excuse to curl up on the couch and read on a rainy day, or listen to the rain hit our roof hard as I drift off to sleep. But sometimes so many grey days can cause a weariness…

    Today when I was teaching Sunday school, I sat with a 5 year old who loves the rain. She told me that she gets to use her beautiful umbrella with yellow and blue butterflies. So we drew a picture together, of the sun hiding behind clouds, and little Alena walking through puddles in pink boots with her beautiful umbrella.

    Thankful for the nourishing, refreshing rain.
    Bless you!

    • what a blessing you were to that little girl! [and she to you]

      i notice SUCH a difference when i look out and see the sun shining, so i’m grateful it shines more often than not, but i love a good thunderstorm. cozying up under the covers and hearing the rain hit the windows is so relaxing. i get it. πŸ™‚

  135. Happy, joyful, wonderful birthday. On your birthday I was driving through farmland as far as the eye could see. My children and I were singing praise songs from Sunday school, very, very badly. We stopped frequently to take pictures of funny falling-down barns. We reached our destination and bought two baby chicks, as fluffy as cotton candy and much, much sweeter. We drove home exhausted and happy. Four of five children fell asleep. You and I have very little and everything in common. I am raising five children on a hobby farm in Oregon. I am outside every day, sunny or “Oregon sunny,” which means dripping wet. My children and my husband are my ministry in both directions; they minister to me and I to them. Some days I feel I can barely catch a breath. Some days that’s from busy-ness and some days that’s from breathtaking beauty. God’s gifts are abundant and I am so very glad we have Him in common. Blessings from your sister in Christ from across the nation. May the peace and joy that passes understanding be yours and may you feel the sun on your face in such a real way that you are tempted to open your eyes to check whether you’re outside basking in it. Thank you for all you do and for continuing to point your readers and friends to the blessings of life that nothing can take away. I am so thankful to have found your web site.

    • oh, miriam… you and i would have a great time because that sounds like a fantastic day to me! thank you SO much for sharing πŸ™‚

  136. Happy belated Birthday! How special that you are responding to all the posts!

    The video was a great reminder of how our words need to be encouraging, all the time.

    So what did you do for your birthday?

  137. This morning I remembered your reminder and before I hopped in the car to leave for work, I stood still on our hilltop. I feasted my eyes on dew-drenched, everything green. Mist hung in the valleys. Clouds rested against the mountain tops. Birdsong filled my ears. The world was fresh, quite, wet, wonderful, I breathed deep.

    Hope you had a joyful, blessed birthday!

    • I hope you know what it does for my soul to hear this. To think of you taking a moment like that. thank you!

      • You are more than welcome! Thank you for reminding me to slow down and allow myself to soak in the beauty of His creation.

        I went to your blog and read your birthday post. Wow, what a God-blessed, people-filled day! *smile*

        Thanks so much for posting that video at the top. It really challenged me. I think I’ll go watch it again.

  138. Happy birthday, Sara. May all of your wishes come true for you. Thank you for sharing that lovely video. Today I savored the chicken pot pie I made for dinner. Not just eating it, but everything about it. That there was chicken left over from Sunday dinner to make it, that I know how to make it, that I had a nice clean kichen in which to prepare it, that everything worked – from the stove to the recipe, that my loved one will be delighted with it, there is so much in such a simple act, and I am grateful for it all. THANK YOU for reminding us so eloquently.

    • I LOVE your train of thought on this. My friend was lamenting about the price of gas the other day and she said, “There is no way you can make a positive out of that.” And I told her that she had the gift of an education to get the job to make the money to afford the car to drive that needed the gas. And the ability to go out and do her job. Sometimes it just takes us getting ourselves back to the basics.

      But I agreed with her that the price of gas still stinks πŸ™‚

  139. I wanted to thank you for writing that you would pray for me – (many posts above…) – I am still thinking about what you wrote about what you wanted for your birthday – I will pray for you, too –

    Blessings, Janet

  140. — The pop-pop-pop of a gentle rain on an umbrella.
    — The speeding legs of a robin as it raced across our neighborhood street in front of our van (instead of flying… I thought it was a quail for a minute)
    — The smiles of passers-by in the grocery store at my little Incredible-Hulk-masked shopping companion (just a warning – he isn’t a great grocery-cart driver but he’ll keep you giggling)
    — The way the mist swallows up the top of the radio tower into nothingness

    Happy birthday!

    • i LOVE that you’re a mom that lets him just wear the mask. you’re teaching him young to grab joy where he finds it. good one, mom πŸ™‚

  141. Husband left early, he had to teach this morning. His kiss was left on my lips. I stretched and lazily rolled out of bed. I shouldn’t have been lazy, I still had cleaning to do. Got the kids breakfast and then school, and a pot of coffee. Then another. More laundry. Sounds of kids laughing as they jumped on unmade beds. The rain of the night dried to a lovely spring day, one I could leave my windows open for. More coffee. My babysitting girl came over, making the babble of little voices heard everywhere. They jumped and played and fought, one had an accident, we cleaned it up. I sent them outside. My oldest yelled “Mama, Mama” and came hobbling over. She had stepped on a nail. Really? NOW? My inlaws are coming in an hour! We cleaned her up, and listened to her moans. Another accident AGAIN!!! I think everyone wanted me for something, a drink of water, a book, a wipe. Then naps. The inlaws came, and were wonderful. Why did I worry? Why was I frustrated? And pizza was wonderful outside, and I am loved and needed, and Was exhausted.
    All of this was my day, but I counted it as tiresome, weary, Until I read your post. Thank you for my day, you gave it back to me in the light of grace. My selfishness had crawled close to haunt me. You pointed the rays of truth, and made me grateful for all of my nothings, that are somethings because they are mine. Because they have been given. Sara, thank you, your gifts are bountiful, just like your Father’s. Oh yes, and Happy Birthday

    • this was my favorite line: made me grateful for all of my nothings, that are somethings because they are mine.

      you are also something because you are His… I love that you turned around and saw your day with the same loving and grateful eyes that He uses when He looks at you πŸ™‚

  142. Happy (belated) Birthday, Sara! I was sitting at the table with my morning coffee catching up on the last few days of posts – and after I read yours, I stopped. I poured a little extra java in a larger mug and went out to the back porch to sit, soak in the sun, soak in His presence, hear the birds, smell the neighbor’s grass in the midst of being cut – and really be with all the things I so easily overlook. Thank you for making me pause in a new way this morning.

    • thank you so much for coming back here to tell me about it. it does my soul good πŸ™‚ have a great day…

  143. Coming in way late on this one – I kept trying to get the video to load before I read the post (I follow instructions!) but it wouldn’t load at work then my internet went down at home!

    However, when I finally did read the post (had to skip the video) I just had to comment. After reading this we discovered a nest of baby robins in a small tree by the front of our garage. I made sure to show it to my three year old daughter. And we stopped to check on them every single time we got home and she asked instead of being too rushed to stop and take a moment to enjoy the beauty. She’s been talking about those baby birdies non-stop.

    • this made me smile! i’m sure those are the memories that your sweet girl will remember most… that mom took time with her. what a gift.

  144. I savored something weird today. I savored my husband taking care of me after I threw up at work. When I was alone, no one took care of me – I had to take care of myself. But today, he just took care of me, without question and every time I apologized for being sick, he told me I had nothing to apologize for.

  145. Belated Happy Birthday Sara, and thank you so much for reminding me of all the many great and wonderful blessings I have in my life. Your words made me weep. I wish you all the great and wondrous blessings in your life. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I shall go about this day, and every other day, with more gratitude because of you. God Bless you.

  146. Thankyou for sharing that. I needed to be reminded of that. I smelled today my daughters fresh shampooed hair with her morning breath πŸ™‚ I ‘m thankful for that gift today.

  147. These scriptures i will treasure all the more … to know a greater Love, to Love more.

    Your gift of joy has blessed me forever …

    ” … as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
    2 Corinthians 4:18

    ” For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

    β€œThe eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

    “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him” (Deut. 33:12).

  148. wow, great video and amazing attitude.
    I live in teh foothills in California, where it is very hot in the summer. Now that the nights are cooler, teh early morning smeel of the cedar and pine is heady and refreshing, and I inhale deeply.
    We had our first rain and the rain on dry grass makes us giddy with delight as our brains register the hope of coming water to our parched earth.
    My garden is still going, as we are at 3,000 foot elevation. As I pinch back the mint plants to ready them for snow, I savor each whiff and bring the tops inside for a vase by the kitchen sink. My sweetpeas are still flowering, adn those blooms last a few days on my window as well. sweetpeas are my favorite scent of all. I will remember to pause more often as I go in and out my door to be grateful God gave me my sweet peas so late in season this year.
    All of these scents, my roses included are wonderful…but teh BEST scent of all is my young son’s tossled clean and dry hair after being in the sunshine.
    Bless you.

  149. Rain. It rained today. The sky was dark when it should have been light, sprinkled with dark grey clouds that hid the sun. As the clouds were rolling in and the raindrops began to fall I was consumed with conjuring up a plan to escape the wet hair look before 9am. I became overwhelmed with staring at the sky and looking at the beauty of the clouds. They weren’t white against a blue sky, there were no rays of sunshine coming down from above, but there was beauty in the sky none the less. Rain is a brilliant thing that makes things new, makes things grow, washes away dirt and pain and sadness. I love a good storm, even more than protecting my hair on my way to work. I walked outside and looked up at the dreary grey sky…and smiled.

    I will remember to be thankful for the rain as much as the sun, rainy days remind me to pause and relax and slow down in this fast paced life…and take a deep breath.

    Every day is a gift and I will choose joy even when the rain is pouring down.

  150. Our dear Miss Sandy, just figuring our her ‘ipad’ and doesn’t always spell things well. She sends us all scriptures each morning. But this one made me laugh from very deep within…..a choking laughter that makes me feel so good. “Who will have all men to “behaved” and to come unto the knowledge of the truth…” And I think God laughs with me……..

  151. I am thankful today that I found your blog through Ann V.! This post renewed my desire to embrace being a writer and to wield my words for good and not for evil. Being a writer has been a dream for my entire life and after many false starts, I have returned to my first love and am asking God to bless it. This post was a little affirmation I needed (words are so important and so pwerful!) AND it was dated May 13, which happens to be the day I suffered a miscarriage in 2008 (which was a huge turning point in my life that God used for good) and the day my baby boy came home from the hospital in 2009! πŸ™‚ Your story is so inspiring and even though I just met you, I will be praying for you in the final days of your journey. I look forward to meeting you in Heaven and in the meantime, I know it must mean the world to you to know how many people you have brought closer to Jesus. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.
    P.S. My other joy today? My two-year-old’s pudgy cheeks and squishy thighs and being home with him to squeeze him and love on him. I am so deeply blessed.

  152. Thank you so much for this.

    I am grateful that as a University professor I get to help students understand really hard scientific concepts. The light of joy on the face of a particular student who was so struggling tonight made every minute of teaching worth it today!

    I am also grateful for the hike I took with my husband on Saturday, holding his hand. And my children’s hugs. And our crazy, prolific pumpkin – it’s taking over our yard and it’s gorgeous in it’s rambling with dark leaves, bright blossoms and not-yet-turned orange orbs!

    Thank you for blessing us on your birthday. Happy Birthday.

    God Loves You and So Do I,

  153. The glow of purples at yesterday’s sun set…. the way my sons lips are so warm and soft when he kisses me… how a deep little laugh really is inviting, my husband’s strong voice and I have the blessing of serving this family here with love. Your words do make me think, make me long more for the daily thanks I want to live. Thank you for sharing your moments and encouraging me to live! I recieve this gift, Angelia in TX

  154. Thank you, Sara, for the beautiful life you have lived! And for helping me to see how very much I have to be thankful for. We lost our 16 year old son, Caleb, last year unexpectedly. He lived a life of eucharisteo all the time. I think of him all the time, with his smile, his willingness to help, his ability to see everything as a gift. I know that you are on your way to heaven soon. Sometime after you get there Sara, will you look him up and tell him how much his mom and dad love him, how proud we are of the way he lived his life, and how he is still teaching us all how to live a life of gratitude? He may even be one of the ones to greet you when you get there because he always welcomed people, wherever he was. And Sara? Sweet Sara? When Caleb died, I had such an incredible peace with the thought that flooded my mind (that I am confident was from God) that Caleb wouldn’t choose to be back here with us if he could; that being in the presence of God Himself was beyond belief, beyond amazing. I wish you sweet peace!

  155. Thank you Sara, for such a beautiful reminder…We lost our dear daughter in Feb this year..she left behind a 2 1/2 yr old boy and gave birth to a 24 week little girl posthumously who is now our little “miracle” for whom we are so thankful! God has been faithful and the giver of Grace…I, too, am so proud of my daughter and the testimony she bore while in the hospital for 2 1/2 mos….fully conscious but unable to speak due to a breathing tube keeping her airway open…God’s Grace was so evident! She made a tremendous impact on the entire hospital and is still having a tremendous witness…Thank you so much for sharing this…I have been trying to live in eucharisteo ever since….A friend sent me the book, One Thousand Gifts, and that combined with so many scriptures God had given me made me realize that peace comes in the giving of thanks for ALL things! I am so thankful for my grandson who has comforted me in his childlike way, and for my beautiful grandaughter who is a testimony to God’s grace..(according to the doctors, she shouldn’t even be here! But God has other plans!) I, too, am thankful for things like being able to smell fresh coffee, hearing my grandson singing as he waits in his bed in the morning for someone to come and get him, for nights when I can sleep, for memories that are precious and sweet altho somtimes bittersweet…When you get home, please look up Jessica and tell her we love her and are so proud of her….

  156. Reading your post, I paused just as my daughter was belting out a tune on her toy harmonica. because of your words, instead of saying “Please quiet down”, I told her that was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. Thank you so much.

  157. […] to watch American Pickers and that I think of her every time I see a pretty sunset or a full moon~because she asked us to notice.Β  I hardly knew her at all, but I couldn’t help but be moved by her.Β  People like Gitz have […]

  158. Wow, this made me cry. I rarely watch videos and only did so here because Emily @ Chatting at the Sky mentioned this blog post as one of the Top 10 of 2011. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I plan on sharing it, as well.

  159. Thank you, and happy birthday, everyday. I will think about this often, and I will think of you when the breeze blows in the fragrance of the grass, and the sun beats down on my closed eyes. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful.

  160. “bending down to pick up something dropped” After being recently pregnant and having to have others do my “bending” for me, it is so nice to bend myself to pick up something. This is something I never appreciated before! πŸ™‚

  161. I stood outside this morning in the wind and just felt how wonderfully calming it was. It is going to rain today and it is cool, windy and cloudy. Not normally the kinds of things I like, but this morning I stopped what I was doing and just stood on the back porch and experienced what I usually try to avoid. It was refreshing. I thought of you Sara, as I often do and my heart clinches a little bit. I miss you and your wisdom but I am trying to enjoy all the things I take for granted. Thank you for that gift!