Day 1: Keeping Watch

I’ve been out of commission for the past week due to a little surgery on my shoulder. As I rest and recover, forced to moved slowly through these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems like a fine time to kick off 30 Days of Joy. I hope you will join me as I look for the light in this blessed season of Advent.

Day 1

Keeping watch over me
keeping watch

Sweet Little Bit came to us in a most unexpected way. She was rescued by my mother many years ago, and to tell the truth, she was a dog I never paid any particular attention to. There were always so many dogs at Mom’s house—who wouldn’t want to be adopted by Posey Rigg when dinner was finished off each night with ice cream sandwiches for all? In fact in those days, Little Bit was such a strange looking little thing, as big around as she was tall, she looked for all the world like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon.

And then Mom’s health began to fade, and she ultimately moved into a skilled nursing facility that couldn’t allow dogs. At the very last second I put Little Bit in the car with me and drove her back to South Carolina, praying that when I arrived my dear husband (and our handsome cat) would both open their hearts to this funny looking little creature.

They did. And from that moment on, Little Bit has been our joy and my faithful companion.

How devoted she is. What a powerful reminder she has been, this week in particular, of the kind of love that says I am here, keeping watch. Rest.

30 Days of Joy

I’d love to let you know whenever there’s a new post on The Daily Grace. Just leave your email here!


Day 16: The Lost Art of Conversation (a redux)

Pam's living room, the perfect place for conversation

I believe our lives are defined by the mantra that plays in our heads. Here’s mine: I don’t have time. If I just had more time. Why is there never enough time?

I know, I know. It’s a matter of priority and focus. But — and you women know what I’m talking about — somehow it’s ALL priority. My children, my husband, my parents, my family, and extended family, and church, and clients, and causes, and on, and on. There are a thousand details to be managed and executed, and if you “just let that one go,” chances are good there will be a great big hole in its place. (Case in point: DINNER. If it’s not a priority, there isn’t any.)

And thus I rant. Until this week. When I Took Time.

I didn’t mean to. I joined a group of fabulous women for a little holiday gathering at my friend Pam’s house. And I packed a bag, so as not to face a late night 30-minute drive across town.

The evening was lovely in every way. And when all the Fabulous Ladies (I am inspired by every one!) had left for home, my hostess and I settled in front of her warm fire, faces washed and PJs on, and spent two hours wandering aimlessly through each other’s lives.

There was no television to watch. There were no emails to check, no texts to respond to. (And there was no multi-tasking, unless you count “throw-log-on-fire-while-having-meaningful-conversation-with-dear-friend.”) Instead, we sat there, person to person, face to face, and talked—uninterrupted—for a glorious, soulful, peaceful two hours.

The next morning, I woke up renewed. By taking the time to participate in real human conversation, by talking, and listening, and focusing on an exchange of perspectives for which there was absolutely no agenda and for which there would be no “completed” checkmark, I relocated a part of me that had become lost amid a million swirling daily details.

It makes me think about the insatiable appetite of this digital world we live in. How ironic that digital technology gives us the ability to make endless connections, and in our quest to make the most of each of them, we are forgetting what it means to really connect.

And so I vow: Rather than obsessing over my inability to out-manage my demand-filled life, I will, instead, focus on the human being RIGHT THERE who is trying to simply have a conversation with me. And for that moment, I will let the rest go.


This post first appeared on R/blog in December 2010. I hope you don’t mind that I repeated it here. It gave me a chance to step away from the computer and enjoy my 2011 fireside chat with Pam.

Day 10: Waiting and Watching, Watching and Waiting

I must have walked past that package 20 times, there underneath the kitchen tree. Large and square-ish, it was nestled in the back against the television cabinet, overwhelmed by bag upon bag of yet-to-be-wrapped treasures, bags of every size and shape, bags overflowing.

It huddled back there, a big gold box, crowded into a corner, waiting. Still, you’d think I would have noticed it, considering its rather large size and all.

But I didn’t.

And then we brought in the big tree, the real tree, an 8-footer now towering majestically over the living room, decked in white lights with branches and branches of ornaments, each a story, a memory, collected over a lifetime. And suddenly, there it was, the big gold box, wrapped and ready to be moved to its official holiday post, in the living room, under the real tree.

Where did that come from? I asked him, when the gold present came into focus, I don’t remember buying that one.

It’s for you, he said, smiling quietly. And so is this little one, a silver box with a pretty silver bow.

For me? I said, silently considering the fact that we hadn’t yet had the what do you want me to get you this year conversation. A pointless conversation, really, since he waits and waits and waits for an answer, an answer from me, an answer that never really comes.

Yes, he said. And these aren’t the best presents. Your real gift is there, on the tree. That white envelope is for you.

And just like that, just that quick, I am a child again, eagerly awaiting Christmas morning and the possibility of those presents, chosen just for me, gifts I will have looked at and considered all through the month of December.

I can’t wait until you open the envelope, he said. I already know it is the best present I am giving this year.

Me too, I thought. Me, too.

presents, large and small
to me, from him
gifts on the tree

30 Days of Joy