5 Minutes of Joy: A box of Trash

Good and precious gifts from the past few days:

Nasturtium…remembering their spicy kick for the first time in a long time.

A budding dill spring on the counter, picked by little fingers

A perfect spiral of curls

Kate telling M she’s going bye-bye.  M saying, “No, you’re not.”  Kate walking out the door, and M falling into panic-stricken screams – At four AM.  (Some pretty hilarious sleep walking conversation…once we got the situation under control, we couldn’t stop laughing…at 4 AM.)

4 faces that I love illuminated in the soft light of the movie theater

B, carefully and intentionally using every fiber of his being to reach out and feel his Daddy’s head beside him, fingers stretched in love and adoration.

Fiction – escape in stories and the deeper understanding of life that can come in them.

The power of words

Word’s between father and son – spoken, mouthed, heavy on the vowels.  Words that are the work of coordinating and striving with every fiber of B’s being – to tell his Daddy that he loves him!

Words that give life, grace.  God’s word.  Jesus Christ.

Words between sisters as they learn to joke with one another

Words across multiple states from my mother – words of encouragement and truth

B’s ability to use his eyes to give us words (you can hover for captions):

Actions that speak love, needing no words…from my Dad

The long days that leave me in tatters

John giving me time to step away

scribbling in my journal,

writing on real paper



That the absence of help, gives me more appreciation for the times that those helping hands do arrive

Solitude – I think God has me on a journey to appreciate this, and I’m not yet at any summit…but I’m climbing

The INTERNET – this marvel that allows me to connect with others  across continents and states

The whir of B’s feeding pump first thing in the morning.  (Yes, this thing does make me batty, at times, but I do well to be glad that it exists!)


A box full of paper towel rolls, sprite bottles, string, alka seltzer tablets, etc …Odd, and yet, made me tear up!  This came from a friend that saw on facebook that I felt the need to “unplug.’  So, she copied pages from her favorite science projects with her own little ones.  She put them in a binder, typed out other favorites, wrote a note, wrapped it all up and sent it across the country to me.  I know how long it takes me to round up ingredients while my little ones need me, so I can only imagine the time that she put into finding 50 or so odds and ends for this package.

Leslie took the time to care.  She empathized.  She thought about how my little boy loves the way things work, but can’t even grasp a toy car, or screw-driver.  She thought about how I need to move away from this silly box of light and darkness (always looking for something crafty to call THIS computer, but never quite finding it, silly me) and how, having all the ingredients right there, how could I but help do these things with my little ones.

Leslie took time out of her hectic summer days with her own busy little boys to do all this for me.  It means the world to me.  That box full of what might look like well-organized trash – it lets me know that someone out there cares.  It ministers to me beyond words.

We made our lava lamp this week.  My boy beamed.  He (and his sisters) beamed even more to show his Daddy that night.  He couldn’t really hold it or shake it, but he knew what was going on, and he loved watching it!

Leslie didn’t think about all of my little boy’s limitations and say, I can’t help.  She thought about what he can do, and gave me her precious time to let me know that she cared.

This was a gift, straight from God and I’m so thankful for it…for friends far away and precious moments, in-between the crazy, with my kids.

Leslie  and Molly live in completely different parts of the country.  They’ve never met.  They both really and truly heard me a few months ago.  Without my asking, they told me they’d pray for me during my arsenic hour.  They put reminders on their phones and did this daily…for me.  Honestly, during the last very hard months of the school year, with an uphill battle, these prayers and the God who hears were my sustaining grace!

Our “arsenic hour” for us is that time when

  • the nurse has left for the day,
  • nap time is over,
  • dinner needs making,
  • therapy is going on in our living room for B and
  • the girls need managing, in order to not be running in and driving the therapist up the wall every 2 minutes.

In this hour, my friends have prayed. 

What greater gift can a friend give, special needs or not? 

Who can I serve?  Who has a need that’s tugging hard?  Can’t I help them by lifting them up in prayer?  Even if I don’t leave my house this week, I can do that.  Who is feeling incredibly alone and needs a friend?  Can’t I find 5 minutes, or 30 to pick up the phone?  We think that our list of errands  HAVE to be done, but if we don’t go to the grocery the day we plan to, what then?  Will we starve, or is there still a cupboard and freezer full of food?  A wise woman, who helped raise me up spiritually, once said, “When you have nothing left, find someone to serve.”  If we dwell on what we lack, we will always lack the good and precious gifts that come in serving others…and I’m not sure that there is anything that can compare with them.

And Leslie…I’ve only ever spent a few hours in person with her.  She married my cousin right around the time things went south with B…but between text messages here and there and facebook we are – friends.

I don’t know whether she likes to paint her toes or eat french fries, but I know that her heart is big and being broken for Him.  I know this because of the actions and words that flow out of her.

I don’t have the friend thing figured out, by ANY means (and I often feel…lonely), but I’m learning when to give thanks for the little and big surprises, for the quiet and for the gifts God has around the corner!

…it is clear that intercessory prayer is not something general and vague, but something very concrete. It is interested in specific persons and specific difficulties and therefore specific requests. The more concrete my intercessory prayer becomes the more promising it is…

…intercessory prayer is a gift of God’s grace for every Christian community and for every Christian. Because God has made us such an immeasurably great offer here, we should accept it joyfully. The very time we give to intercession will turn out to be a daily source of new joy in God and in the Christian congregation.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

On Mondays, I take five minutes to write the things that I am thankful for.  I say 5 minutes, but maybe that’s just an ideal.  (It’s easily can add a few hours to fix all of my typos and round-up pictures!)  I make an effort to do this daily, but on Mondays I share! This project has been a HUGE blessing to me! I’m not sure that there’s a better way to start the week! 

10 thoughts on “5 Minutes of Joy: A box of Trash

  1. The gift of a friend, precious, no matter the distance. A good friend is like a hug straight from God. My favorite on your list is “Words that give life, grace. God’s word. Jesus Christ.” And those curls, I just want to reach out and pull on them:) Blessings!

    • Yes, I LOVE the idea of care packages! I’ll never forget a really sweet one we got for a home date night from a teenager. She had just heard about what happened to our son, and responded straight from her heart. Memories from 6 years ago fade in slow. I had to right this to remember. Thanks for stopping by Shari!

  2. I am so blessed by your writing and your photos and videos Miriam! You are an artist and thankyou so much for sharing. Love and Prayers, Maryann

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