all grace, all the time

Hannah on the beach this summer; I should have named her Grace. [Photo credit: Aleana Riddell with Riddell Me Photography.]

Over three years ago, I instituted a new category here called “Made My Day.” The list of Made My Day posts, however, is decidedly skinny. I think it speaks to the desperation I was living through back then: I was in a new job, a new town, and in the throes of writing an unsuccessful dissertation. I was exceptionally manic: grateful to be employed, grateful to be closer (5 hours instead of 12) to family, grateful for kind new colleagues, grateful for how easily my kids had transitioned to a new school. But each night I would lay down and the hideous truth of my life crushed me: my job — along with all the new things I was grateful for — was hanging by a slim, fraying string. I would lose it all if I could not get through the dissertation.

So, I began the exercise of forcing myself to practice grace. Because the crushing desperation was not creating the best environment for writing anything, especially something like a dissertation. So, I’d lay in bed and thank the universe for my cool dry bed and for the clean sheets. I recognized every small comfort and event I could claim some happiness from. But misery would seep in and fill the spaces between my moments of grace, and it was keeping me from writing anything. And while I tried to force myself into writing the small gratitudes I observed, clearly desperation won.

But today the Made My Day category returns. I am all grace, all the time, y’all. Watch out.

Made my day (yesterday): Went water skiing for the first time in probably 2 years. The opportunities to water ski are few and far between — you have to finagle your way into friendship with someone who has a boat. Growing up, my dad and aunt both had ski boats, and we’d spend a few weeks each summer on Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, Iowa, skiing through the slimy mud. But now Jackson has a friend whose dad has a boat and a place on Lake Charles, and we received a fortuitous invite last weekend to hang out. Water skiing is awesome. It is fast and exhilarating and a damn good workout. It totally made my day.

Made my day (today): One of our favorite local restaurants, Mexitaly, makes a Seafood Spanikopita Pizza. Fresh pesto, tomatoes, garlic, fresh spinach and feta cheese plus shrimp and scallops. I know it sounds a little bit insane, but holy good gravy it’s awesome. Brian ordered it a few days ago, and even though I avoid eating wheat now like the plague, I had to try it. I ended up eating two pieces, it was so good. But as I was eating it, I was thinking: this doesn’t even NEED the crust. I would totally just eat some spinach and seafood and feta and garlic all sauteed up with a dollop of pesto. And tonight for dinner? Brian made it. I don’t have a pic because we ate it wicked quick. Recipe forthcoming. But it totally made my day. YUM.


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