I'm feeling wonderfully thankful today in the midst of a very tired week. Not at all the sort of week I was expecting...but sometimes God stops us in our tracks, gently moves aside our well-laid plans, and says, "here, have THIS kind of week instead."
I thought I would be at VBS every evening this week, but thus far I've not made it once. (And they have made it just fine without me. It's going well.) That's because over the weekend I came down with terrible congestion and a croupy cough, a couple of weeks behind the sweet girl (who is finally getting over it). My summer cold immediately seemed to take a dive into sinus infection territory. Awful pain and pressure behind my eyes and in my right ear. My whole face has been aching, especially on the right side, and it's seemed to move into all sorts of muscles so that my neck and shoulder hurt too. And I just keep coughing...
But wait! you cry. This was supposed to be a thankful post! Why yes, it is.
I'm thankful that I've actually had to slow down in the midst of a summer that's had so little time to slow down. The sweet girl and I spent Monday cutting out dozens of small pieces of craft foam for a VBS project (while I coughed and coughed and coughed...) and we've watched tons of the Olympics on our t.v. without cable that hardly *ever* gets decent reception but for some reason this time around is. Most of the time. Except when we have to stand in one spot to the left of the set when it decides to get the hiccups. And sometimes stand on one leg like storks or wiggle our bodies in a strange kind of olympic dance. But even that's been sort of fun.
It's been fun letting my ten year old girl stay up extra late a couple of nights so we can watch gymnastics. We've turned off all the lights except for the television and cuddled on the couch in our pajamas (while coughing, coughing, coughing...) and she has been enthralled by the women's gymnastics team. An unabashed Gabby Douglas fan (a picture of Gabby went up in her room today, and she spent part of the afternoon practicing tumbling on makeshift mats) and yet I've been happy to see that her love of the sport is not limited by her love of country. She has been highly impressed with the Russian gymnasts (that's my post-Cold War era kid!) and she worries about the morale of anyone who falls off beam or takes a big hop on a landing. I've loved hearing her chatter knowledgeably about routines and apparatuses, using the jargon she's picked up from commentators.
Then there's been the fact that, try as I might to get writing, cleaning, and lesson-planning work done this week, all the stuff I'm a month behind on, sometimes when you're feeling this miserable, you've just gotta read. Not that I need an excuse to read, but it's nice to be able to cushion your aching head and give in. I've been winging my way through Deborah Crombie's Kincaid/James series since spring, and I do mean winging. I finished the 9th book in the series this past week (Now May You Weep, another great one) and can't wait to pick up the 10th. Gemma is my favorite character, but I'm a little in love with Duncan (which makes sense, since Gemma is too). I've also been enjoying more P.D. James, both by book and video. I just finished the third Adam Dalgliesh book Unnatural Causes, and D. and I have been very slowly wending our way, mostly on weekends, through the mid 1980s mini-series adaptation of Cover Her Face based on the first Dalgliesh book.
And finally, are you ready for this? We're getting a vacation this month! Two nights/three days! Courtesy of several members of my extended family who know we are tired (and broke) and who want to bless us. I am so utterly grateful. Time to breathe, to enjoy some fresh air and green, to see some dear friends. I am very much looking forward to it.
There are other things that have blessed this week...Ted Kooser poetry, Simone Dinnerstein playing Bach on piano (on my CD player), a note from a dear friend who sent two lovely little keepsakes to the sweet girl from a recent trip to Italy. A sister visiting Martha's Vineyard, the island where D. and I honeymooned 20+ years ago in what feels like a fairy-tale from another age (and the chance to look at the pictures from that magical week...were we really ever that young?)! An early reader's copy of an Eerdman's picture book for me to review. Not having to cook much all week because everyone else is eating at VBS and I don't much care what I eat when I'm sick. Even some of the harder things -- a challenging and unexpected email conversation with a friend, a time or two when I've been tired enough to lose my patience with the sweet girl's worry struggles -- well, even in the harder things, I am feeling blessed to know I am growing and learning and God is still shaping me.
So...not the kind of week I was expecting at all. But the kind of week God wanted to give me. The kind I've been glad to receive.