Sweet, Sweet Virginia: The Gratitude List

We've had some opportunity, lately, to ponder what's important. We've had chances upon chances, tossing and turning in a late autumn bed to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere that isn't here. And when we imagined, we could only go back to thinking about all that we do hold dear here. And in our thoughts and in our hearts, the list grew long. The children sent their lists to their Daddy, the day he told them they were staying. And then, they set about singing exuberantly to a tune sent to them by a Virginia transplant who blooms with us every spring along the banks where Cub Run meets Bull Run. (We tweaked it a bit for our purposes) They sang this song for him, live, as the first Christmas present of the year. They have all been sick and their voices still sound it, but they agreed to record it because I want to keep it forever:-)

I kept my list tucked into my heart, thinking I'd never forget these things, this lesson in gratitude and noticing. But in the past few days, as the dust has settled and the chores of real life have mounted, I find my awareness fading. So, it's time to commit them here, lest I forget them altogether. In no particular order:

~Bailey (and her mom)

~Relatively light traffic, compared to Los Angeles, and the fact that I can get just about anywhere quicker if I stop at the airport and buy a pack of gum;-)

~Street signs with names I recognize and the fact that I actually know my way around

~Memories that spring to life at Accotink Park, on Donegal Lane, and just driving by the Byrd library.


~Bluebells. Gosh, I can't imagine not having that week to mark spring's effusion. Bluebells, bluebells, bluebells.

~The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. And someday I won't have to look it up to get those words in the right order.

~The National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Art

~The Smithsonian

~RFK stadium--it's a ridiculous soccer venue, but I love it in a sort of sentimental way

~D.C. United and a place for Paddy to come home to

~the ferry to Poolesville and playing soccer at Muldoon's Farm, especially early in the morning, especially in the fall

~Speaking of soccer, McLean Premier Soccer, every well-organized, Type A, intense,  happy bit of it

~And speaking of MPS, the D-Bs, every wonderful one of them.

~Homeschool ballet, budding friendships and

~Big brothers playing football nearby

~Tea with Marisa

~Mary Kate and Bonnie

~Frozen nature walks, the new favorite kind, with Carter & Ronan & Mackenzie

~Mary Chris and the new discovery that we can escape to Starbucks for an hour and the world doesn't stop, indeed, my heart is filled and I come home better for it.

~Speaking of Mary Chris, I think she and Jen and I might just have discovered that we love hanging out with paper and scissors at my dining room table. There's more of that in the future.

~Loudoun Community Midwives

~Fr. Taylor

~Catechesis of the Good shepherd

~Youth group at St. Tim's

~Mel and Gracie. Oh my. Mel and Gracie. Can't imagine how we would have even begun to say goodbye.


~Local godparents who really do make a difference in my children's lives.

~Megan, who is closer now and who is homeschooling now.

~The sushi restaurant where everybody knows my name. Come to think of it, they know my name at the bank and the grocery store and the coffee shop, too. And I know theirs. It's my town.

~This big house. It's full right now, beds and boys and bodies everywhere. I've spent hours and hours on real estate websites looking at Los Angeles houses. Words cannot convey how grateful I am for my house here. I have new resolve to use every square inch wisely, to be a faithful good steward of space and a willing and cheerful cooperator in God's plan for hospitality. I may be an introvert, but I know that He intends us to entertain angels here.

~Fr. Peter

~the chapel at George Mason


~Knowing I can go to Charlottesville any time and that sweet city holds the memories of my heart and the essence of home: Grandpa, Barbara, and a soft place to land.

~Jan, Richmond, and meeting halfway in Fredericksburg

~Felicity Town

~Cousins, MM, and Uncle John.

~Grandma and Granddad, here for the important things and the every day things. Always.



Counting my multitudes with the gratitude community...