‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight . . .”
Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848.
November, the month of being thankful and choosing joy amid the darkening skies. For our Colorado-dwelling, tiny house family of five, it has been nearly a year now of remembering and writing down the simple gifts that come through our lives.
And truly, I don’t know how I would make it through sometimes without saving these memories in this way! I encourage anyone reading to do the same.
Because it’s in the recognizing, in the thanking, in the looking for God, that we come to a place of joy almost regardless of circumstance.
So here are our November moments of joy.
I Choose Joy
- Thanksgiving and Harvest festival at church, all in one week. A big shared potluck, lingering conversations, and thankfulness for all God has done this past year.
- A good friend bringing delicious potato bacon soup, salad, and wine on Big’s birthday. And again on my birthday! Chipped beef, rice, salad, and cherry cream pie. I’m beginning to think that November is a month of feasting…
- Holding and snuggling a sleeping baby in my arms every afternoon.
- In an otherwise mild and sunny month, a snow day, the kids scurrying about in their snowsuits.
- Making pancakes by myself late at night.
- Reading Little House in the Big Woods in the evenings on the couch. Chopping wood, dressing up for town days, boiling pumpkin on the stove, dancing to fiddle music . . . wait, is this the Big Country/Liberty family or the Ingalls? It warms our hearts to see the kids leaf through the many illustrations and ask us to keep reading.
- Soaking up the sun’s slanting rays on a mild, waning afternoon outside with the kids on a beach blanket.
- Witnessing friends processing their own venison in their garage, grinding enormous tubs worth of meat to make sausage. Meanwhile Dad, Uncle, and Little Sister headed out for more hunting! “We’ve been doing it this way for 45 years!” they enthused.
- A surprise Thai lunch date with Big. At the beginning of the meal: “wow! We could eat here every day!” At the end of the meal: “wow, this food is rich. I am done!” But really, have you ever had a delicious, spicy-sweet curry on coconut rice? So good.
- Baby Hazelnut walking all over the house! Ok, it’s a tiny house, but not to her, right?
- A young family from church visiting, the husband and Big working on the door so it fit properly and the wife and kids and I hanging out over coffee, juggling the five energetic kids!
- Waking up morning after morning being surrounded by deer! Watching the young buck chasing the does around and around our house. Baby Hazelnut talking excitedly to them and pointing.
- Big giving massages to the giggling kids and drawing T-Rex Whales with Rig.
- Party at some friends’ for their 5-year-old. The more we attend this family’s four-times-a-year parties, the more we learn about and get attached to the grandparents and extended friends. A diverse bunch!
- A good chat with the farmer’s wife when they arrived back from a trip.
- An otherworldly sunset one evening, with an inverted rainbow in the clouds.
- Big Country’s new job…a mix of processing scrap, logging, demolition, a bit of welding, and who knows what else. He is looking forward to working for a friend and starting a new chapter. And his new logging boots make him a full two inches taller – up to Michael Jordan’s 6’6″!
- Staying up talking with Big by the firelight, reading articles to each other.
- The sweet voice and hugs of Firebell.
- Decorating for Christmas! We hung a dozen snowflake, heart, and rocking horse ornaments from pine boughs friends gave us. It feels homey.
- Manly little Rig enthusiastically splitting small logs with his hatchet and chopping pumpkin with his chef’s knife. “I’m helping us heat our home and eat!”
- A birthday party with friends, all four of us celebrating our 35th! Chicken salad, baked brie, homemade chocolate cake . . . we were spoiled. So good to visit and just laugh at being right where we are: 1982 babies, three kids each, workin’ and hustlin’ toward a yet-unknown future, with our loves all around us:)