Every Ordinary Day Is Truly An Extraordinary Day

July 28, 2015



A few years ago, a girlfriend called to tell me that she had just heard the most wonderful sermon at church. It was an usual phone call, because church, religion, prayer, they weren't part of our normal conversations, but she was so taken by the priest's words that day, she just had to share. Apparently, the big news was that every ordinary day was truly an extraordinary day.

Well, ok.

Thanks for sharing.

I had laundry to do, kids to feed, beds to make and a grocery store to get to. Frankly, ordinary didn't sound all that extraordinary to me. I wasn't missing her point, I was into the whole thankful movement. I had a gratitude journal. I got it. It's just that I'd been immersed in a decade of ordinary, and all of its mundane glory, and frankly, I wasn't all that impressed.

I was living it every day.

And then I wasn't.

I believe the miscarriage came first, fourteen of the best and worst weeks of my life. The deadening depression lifted just in time for the breast biopsy - negative thank goodness, but with a strong history of breast cancer in the family, it was a terrifying time nonetheless. I came up for air right before Mother's day. We were having a delightful celebration at my house, when my mother passed out in the driveway and broke her hip. That was the beginning of her slow descent into Parkinson's.

After many falls, daily phone calls that she was hurt and too many ambulance trips to count, we decided that my mom could no longer live on her own. She would move in with my sister, who lived around the block from me, she and her husband had extra space. It was settled and construction began to make the house more suitable for my mother's rapidly declining health.

She moved in right after Christmas, just as my sister was diagnosed with cancer. It was decided that my mother should be moved again, perhaps in with my other sister, also an empty nester. The ink was almost dry on the contract when my brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. Not one, but two separate kinds.

Every single day the phone rang with some other catastrophe. Who was in the hospital today, what time was the surgery, what is the prognosis? It was overwhelming, frightening, stressful and I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Routine shopping trips, playdates with the kids and family vacations were constantly interrupted due to some emergency. The telephone became the harbinger of awful news and there was nowhere to hide.

Suddenly, my life was anything but ordinary.

It was during a quiet evening, the end of a day when nothing horrible had happened, that my friend's words suddenly came rushing back into my head. In a crystal clear instant, I fully understood the depth of the expression and the magnitude of her excitement that day.

I craved ordinary so badly, I actually ached.

I wanted boring family dinners, pizza or hot dogs, I didn't care, as long as we were all present and healthy. I wanted to fight about homework at the kitchen table and yell at my husband for leaving his size eleven shoes at the back door. I wanted to get aggravated about my cable bill and disgusted by the cat puke on the kitchen floor. I wanted to listen to loud music because there was a great song on the radio and not because I needed to block the barrage of terrifying thoughts out of my head.

I wanted those plain old, routine, monotonous, run-of-the-mill days back. Perhaps, I've romanticized them, in my head, but I don' think so. They were generally carefree and glorious. I just didn't appreciate them as such.

Today, my sister and brother-in-law are cancer free and making their way. My mother, well, she is end stage Parkinson's, living with my sainted sister around the corner from me. The ringing phone still makes me jump and my daily shopping or lunch trips with my mom have now become daily prayer sessions at her bedside.

In between visits, I spend my day doing laundry, feeding kids, making beds and going grocery shopping.

It's all very ordinary.

And yet completely extraordinary.

Are you days extraordinarily ordinary?





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75 comments:

  1. God Bless, I so understand. I have been there. Yes,I do love my ordinary days.

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    1. Thank you, Marty. I agree, those ordinary days so precious.

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  2. Oh my Dear!!! You have gone through so much...

    Yes, we do not appreciate ordinary days... Not soon enough...

    I do, oh I do! Appreciate ordinary days. But all we, who like me, are healthy 'olden', do. Or certainly should...

    Gentle hugs,
    Tessa

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    1. Thank you, Tessa. It has been a crazy time that’s for sure. I think you’re right, the older we get the more we realize how truly special those ordinary days are! :) Have a completely ordinary day, my friend! ;)

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  3. Hi Kim, My goodness can I relate to your post and journey. You've be through so much and came out of the side of ordinary and how wonderful that feels in our lives.
    My dad had Parkinson's and my mother with declining heath at the same time, took me from Texas back to my home state of Michigan to care for them many trips.
    Finally dad passed and I brought my mother to live with me in Texas till she passed away only 22 months later. Having been a caregiver, I know what you and your sisters are going through and it is not easy. Thank God your sister and bil are cancer free today.
    Yes, finding joy in the ordinary is a gift. God had a hand in your journey through your friend, sharing the message from church. Those words came back to you right at the time they were needed.
    Lovely post and so inspiring my friend. Thank you for sharing. Hugs, cm

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your own sad journey, Celestina Marie. I know what a heartbreaking time that must have been for you. Thank you for sharing. I think that is another thing that I have realized, is while my journey seemed so unique to me, it really is quite common. We all suffer sadness and have difficult points in our lives...and you're right, the words were a wonderful message, one I needed to hear. Thank you for your kind words! :)

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  4. Oh, wow, Kim...I read the title of your post and the words your friend gave you and I felt the same way you did at first...yes I keep a journal and every evening I think about all that I'm grateful for. But I also lie in fear as the dark brings back memories of a time when my life was picked up, turned over and dumped out. It seemed everyone in my family became ill at the same time or following closely after one another. I lost 8 close family member in 6 years. It was only when my husband was diagnosed with cancer that I knew those everyday moments and our mundane routines might be coming to an end and I had taken all of it for granted...even complained about how 'ordinary' my life was. We're okay now, but as I said, as I lie awake at night sometimes I have to remind myself how blessed I am that I'm not lying there alone, and it scares me to think that it can and will most likely happen one day.

    I give you credit for keeping your head on straight through your loss and your loved one's health scares, and of course, the physical and mental battles all of you experienced. All of you are true heroes whether you know it or not. No, we aren't saints or guru's or near perfect...we don't go about our day dazzled by how wonderful life is every single minute. But stopping and thinking how simple peace can be...that there are no phone calls or terrifying hours or days of "waiting for news". I know you are going through hell right now with your mother. I hope you have a good support system, which I think you do with your sisters. From experience, I think that's most important, and of course faith in whom or whatever you believe in.

    Love to you and thanks for being so honest and genuine.

    Jane x

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    1. Jane, I am so sorry for your pain, loss and sadness. Your story seems very similar and almost too much to bear. I am glad that your husband is doing well. It seems that so many people are going through the same thing, I wish they weren't. I do appreciate the ordinary, now, those quite moments. I started blogging as a distraction, to lift my head out of the darkness a bit. It's been a lovely way to focus on something fun and meet some truly wonderful people, like you!! :) Thank you for your own honesty and openness.

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  5. Wow, Kim! You were nearly pummeled to death with stressful situations! You poor thing! Makes me think of Job in the Bible who had so much bad happen to him all at once. I'm so glad your family is doing better. I can see why you would dread the phone ringing. Who wouldn't in your situation, ya know? Yes, the ordinary is extraordinary to one who's suffered so. Prayers for your dear mother!

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    1. Thank you, Kimberly. It’s been a rough ride for all involved, mainly for my siblings and mother who suffered so. Thank you for the prayers.

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  6. Yes, at the same stage of life here. The last three years have been one thing after another....waiting for the other shoe to drop. It gets really hard when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. We tend to "fake it to make it" and that sure helps. Sending hugs to you!!

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    1. I'm so sorry, Stacey. Waiting for that other shoe is an unnerving way to live. Like you, we're just putting one foot in front of the other, hoping for the best and trying to enjoy the dull and ordinary days! ;) Hugs right back to you.

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  7. Oh, Kim, my heart hurts for you. Your response to CelestinaMarie above about how your situation seems to be unique to you but is more common than you realize reminds me of the little ditty that floats around facebook about being kind to people because we might never know what they are dealing with or going through. Your blog posts are always upbeat and fun with no hint of all that you have been going through. I can imagine that this was not an easy post to write, sharing such personal and painful information. I hope that you take comfort from the good wishes and caring thoughts of your blog friends. Please enjoy your ordinary days when you can find them. God bless.

    Lorri

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    1. Thank you, Lorri. Your kind words and friendship always bring a smile to my face. Yes, I think you're right, you never know what people are dealing with behind closed doors. I try to be upbeat and positive and find the exquisitely unremarkable moments in every day and like you said, enjoy the ordinary when I can find it! :)

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  8. This series of events one after another....oh you have all been through so much. What a post to remind us that ordinary is good / blessed!! It is good that you sisters have one another to help with your mama...so sorry to hear that she's been going through this :(

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    1. Blogging has provided a wonderful respite, Deb. I get to focus on the exquisitely unremarkable things that I find in each day and share them with new friends, like you! :)

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  9. We've gone thru 4 cancers, heart surgery, leg surgeries..so many things that we are now thankful for every single ordinary day we are granted. At 81 and 77, we thank HIM every morning when we wake up. :)

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    1. My goodness, I am glad that everyone is doing well, now. It’s true what they say, everyone is fighting their own quiet battles…and yes, thankful for each day, for sure!! :)

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  10. Kim,
    I so get this. What a beautiful post. So happy everyone in your family is in better health and your mom is doing ok considering the Parkinson's. It is amazing how boring can become extra ordinary when you think about what others are going through. Lovely post. Touched my heart.
    Kris

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Kris. I guess it’s like that old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Ordinary is just lovely! :)

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  11. Wow! This post hits home for me. I am so sorry for all you've gone through but happy that you found some of your ordinary back. I love my routine and my ordinary days and whenever something upsets it, I can't wait to get it back. Even the week before going on vacation I am thinking about how it will be to get back home to my routine! I love the saying at the beginning. I might have to print it and frame it for the wall!

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    1. AnnMarie, you sound like me, I like routine and I never knew how much until it was gone. Thanks for your kind words...happy ordinary! ;)

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  12. Kim, what a beautiful post! I can relate to your words and have gone through some really hard seasons in my life. At some point, I decided to celebrate the ordinary. As a single mom, I did my best to teach my kids the same--every day is a gift. Thank you for sharing your heart!

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    1. Thank you so much. It seems a lot of people can relate. I love your point about the kids. It’s been a lesson for mine, as well, and in a world that values so many of the wrong things, a valuable one, I think. Perhaps it’s the silver lining! :) Thanks for sharing your own story.

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  13. Brought me to tears...I hear you...you have been through a tough time. You are such a trooper! Thank you for this as I sometimes forget that an ordinary day is just wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Kim. Didn't mean to make you cry! ;) I wish you many extraordinarly ordinary days!

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  14. Hi Kim, Wow! That sure makes one think......and be thankful! Especially now that I am battling Lyme disease. I am sorry about your Mom and know that must be painful for you. Nancy

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    1. Thank you. I wish you a quick recovery, Nancy. Being ill is not fun and can come with some real disappointments and upsets the ordinary for sure. I hope that tea with the grands helps!

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    2. CTC, hang in there. They are working wonders for Lyme now. Been there, gone through it ... you can do it!

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  15. Hi Kim,
    Straight from the heart. A beautiful post about REAL LIFE! I can relate as well. I have gone up and down, up and down!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carla

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    1. Thank you, Carla. It’s a universal theme, I suppose, and one that makes quiet sunsets, Sunday dinners and mail from friends so very special.

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  16. I'm sorry to hear that you've been through so much! The ordinary truly is extraordinary. We just seem to forget that sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.

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  17. Dear Kim... what a gift for writing you have! I think you should submit this to Readers Digest.. (seriously!). It is a truly extraordinary piece of writing that speaks volumes about life. Life has its ebbs and flows, and for whatever reason, when the waves begin to crash, it seems they crash all together, and life is a complete upside down mess... when it rains, it pours as the saying goes. Indeed, it does cause us to enjoy the quiet peaceful moments of life when life is gentle, full, and still, after we have been through the raging storm. I'm thankful to hear the good report on your sister, BIL and how precious the times must be with your dear mother each day. I'm praying for you, dear friend... and please know, indeed you are not alone, but of course in the thick of it, it does feel that you are. I think writing, and blogging does help us with the things we face in our lives, and the support and friendship from people we may never meet means so much. I know I have been so blessed by your writing in the short time since I was introduced to your blog... and your skill with words, and a sewing machine... (smile) are pretty impressive! Praying you have a beautiful and blessed day, and give your mother an extra hug from me :)

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    1. You are so sweet, such kind words and so eloquently written. Writing is my passion, that is for sure, I am so glad you enjoy it. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet. It does help to put things into perspective and adds some levity to life. I am sure there are those who read my blog and think, really, a ripped chair, is that really this girl’s biggest problem? Well, no, clearly it isn’t, but it’s so much better to focus on creativity than the crashing waves and pouring rain. And I get a pretty chair! ;)

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  18. OH WOW. Who of us, especially after a certain age, cannot relate to this. Thanks for the wise words. They ring a little too true.

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    1. It seems that too many can relate. Thanks for weighing in!

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  19. I remember that stage of life - I think they come in waves. That's the only way I know to express it...feeling so overwhelmed you can't breath.

    When I was in my 30's I was taking care of my mom, homeschooling our son, running back & forth 600 miles to my inlaws every few weeks because my father-in-law had cancer....those were the biggies. I asked my mom one day how she did it. How did she raise 6 kids (I had one) take care of an invalid husband, be there for her mom, ect & not go crazy. I was sooo tired all the time.

    She just promised me it would get better, easier. She said my son would grow up, she & my husband's parents would be gone some day & life would slow down & be easy. At the time it encouraged me that she understood - how could I complain compared to some of the things she'd been through anyway.

    Now I'm facing turning 50 in a few months. My mom has been gone almost 10 yrs, my father-in-law longer & my son is married. Life is very slow & 'ordinary'. My hardest decision is what color to paint my living room this summer - which seems so unimportant now that I have time to do it! Ordinary or not, every day is precious & full of things to appreciate. We just really understand that better after going through the crazy days.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Jenny. I am sorry for your losses. It isn't easy for sure. I remember my mother saying, "One mother can take care of ten children, but ten children can't take care of one mother." We used to answer back, well that's because they are all taking care of their own children! Then we'd all laugh, never dreaming that we'd be taking care of her. They say that we are the sandwich generation now, but clearly every generation is the sandwich generation. It's exhausting no matter who you are, and yes, it's been crazy, but my mom is still here and I try to cherish every moment with her and make them all extraordinary. oh and you already know my answer...paint it red! ;)

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  20. I'm sad to hear about all the heartache you have faced in recent years. My heart goes out to you, Kim.
    Your words are full of thoughtfulness that we all should take to heart. Yes, our ordinary days are truly to be cherished!

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    1. Thank you Sarah. I appreciate your kind words.

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  21. So sorry for the heartache you have suffered through, my friend. We all have our highs and lows but when you have so many lows, like you have, it's easy to forget the ordinary. Thanks for reminding me to recognize and be thankful for each ordinary day that comes my way.

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    1. Thank you so much and yes, I crave ordinary these days, Kristi.

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  22. Oh, Kim, I'm so sorry for all you've gone through. I've known for quite awhile that ordinary days are truly extraordinary and I can truly appreciate the simple things - grabbing breakfast out with my daughter once a week, days spent in the pool with my granddaughters, watching a movie a night with my husband in our pi's sharing some popcorn. It doesn't take much. I guess sometimes it takes loss or tragedy to figure this out. Wishing you lots of these simple, extraordinary days!

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    1. Your simple and ordinary days sound lovely, Susan! I wish you many, many more, too!

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  23. Oh Kim, I had tears in my eyes as I read this, thanks goodness for your sister taking care of your mom! I'm glad your sister and brother in law are cancer free. Sending hugs your way.
    Julie xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Julie. I appreciate your thoughtful words and hugs! :)

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  24. I really get this, Kim. After my late husband came home from the hospital after 10 days, this phrase became our answer to anyone who asked if we were having a good day, or how our day was going, etc.: "Any day not spent in the hospital is a good day." We lived that philosophy every day, and I continue to live it myself today. Thank you for sharing this, my friend. Love you. ~ Nancy

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    1. I am sure that you can totally relate, Nancy and I am so sorry again for your loss. I wish you and Dennis many lovely, ordinary days in your new red cottage! xo

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  25. I just want you to know how precious and dear you are! Ever since you and I shared some of our lives with each other, I've had you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Ahh, the magic of an ordinary day! Hugs!!

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    1. Benita, you are just a lovely friend, a true silver lining of this blogging hobby I have thrown myself into. I thank you for your sweet words and hugs and wish you ordinary days as well!

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  26. This is so beautifully written, Kim and I'm so sorry for all you've been though and are still going through. Yes, sometimes it seems more than we can bear and it's hard to find any gratefulness when everything is crashing all around you. I've been through a lot of horrible things in my life, too (including the death of my oldest son almost 6 years ago), so I truly treasure the ordinary, quiet days now...just my usual routine of housekeeping, gardening, errands, making meals, talking walks and doing yoga. Blessings and hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you, Melanie, I appreciate you kind words. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I cannot even imagine the depth of your own sorrow. Ordinary days do bring some measure of comfort, I try to find solace in them, when they pop up. I hope you continue to find it in yours too. Hugs right back to you.

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  27. Good God, Kim... that's an awful lot to deal with all wrapped up together. No wonder you're jumpy when the phone rings! I understand that feeling, although not as much has been thrown at me. Every time the phone rings after 11pm, I know something is wrong, because I've never gotten good news at that time of night.

    I'm sorry about your mom. I have that awful disease on both sides of my family, including Parkinsons and it's horrible to watch happen. I pray for a cure.

    If I was there, I'd give you a big ol' hug, but even though we're miles apart from each other, I'm here if you need anything.

    (((hugs)))
    rue

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    1. It’s been a lot, that’s for sure, Rue, and I appreciate your sweet offer of friendship. Trust me, if we lived closer, I’d be on your porch, sipping tea out of mason jar in front of Mr. Squirrel with you. If only!

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  28. Wow, Kim, you are such a beautiful writer and I am so sorry that you had to go through all that you did, but sometimes it helps to make us stronger people.

    My mom died from ovarian cancer just after she had open-heart surgery to fix a heart problem that she had throughout all my young years.

    My dad developed Parkinsons, after never being sick a day in his life, and went to live by my brother.

    While he was ill, my son got sick and passed away, and my sister was not able to come to his service as her husband was dying of cancer.

    I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I went through 3 surgeries as the doc cut my bladder during the cancer surgery .

    After that my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had a blood clot in my leg that resulted in the amputation of three toes on my right foot.

    I know a little bit about ordinary days and how they turn into extraordinary ones. My daughter and I are just fine now and we are having the most extrarordinary days. I am so glad that you and your family are all feeling fine now and thank you for sharing your story. I hope I haven't shared too much of mine!

    Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop and think how extraordinary the days are now as life gets moving too fast, and I start to fall into the same old way, but stories like yours put it back into perspective again. I am pinning the sentiment..

    Happy Wednesday to you, my friend!..Judy

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    1. Oh my goodness, Judy, you have been through the ringer. I am so sorry for all of your losses, especially your son. I am so glad that you and your daughter are well. I am not sure if I am stronger, but I started blogging to distract myself from all of the sorrow and pain and I have met so many wonderful people, including yourself, who have shared of themselves, and lifted me in the process. I wish you nothing but ordinary days, my friend and a wonderful weekend, too!

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  29. Oh Kim ... reading this post did bring tears to my eyes. I do think all families at one time or other do have their own trials, battles, illnesses to contend with. That is where faith, family, friends can help.

    A most thoughtful post and I so understand the yearning for an ordinary day.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan, I think you are right, faith, family, friends do help.

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  30. Kim, what a touching post! You really did have a lot to take the extra out of ordinary! I'm so glad that there is good news with your sister and bil!! Prayers for your sweet mother. It is hard watching them decline. I think so much of it has to do with our attitude and you my friend are going for the positive! Glad things are looking up! Every day I am able to climb out of bed is pretty extraordinary! lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Hi Jann, thanks so much for the encouraging comment. You're right, staying positive helps. I started blogging in the middle of this as a distraction and it has made a difference. It's hard to be down with so many lovely ladies sharing their pretties and kind words! ;) Thanks for the party!

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  31. Kim, so nice to meet you! What a beautiful friend to take the time to call and share. We have been trying to share inspiring messages with our lunch bunch friends because we all have been hit pretty hard and we need those glimpses of eternity to help us through. After going through my hardest times, looking back I have always felt that I have been "lifted on eagle's wings" and I know that Christ has helped me through and made it extraordinary.
    You have inspired me today and brought tears of gratitude to my eyes! Keep finding the extraordinary and sharing it!

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    1. Jacqueline, how nice of you to leave such a thoughtful comment. I am sorry that you and your friends have been hit by hard times, too. I have to say that my friend’s words have had a strong impact on me. I have found renewed strength in prayer and I share it with my mom. Thank you so much for the visit. It was a pleasure to meet you as well.

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  32. Sometimes life smells of beautiful perfumes, and sometimes ... it just smells. At this point, I consider each day as a present, and try to focus on the present time it has gifted. Ordinary is Okay for me.

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    1. Ha! Cheryl! I just love your comments. You always manage to bring a measure of levity to every situation. Please, keep it coming!! :)

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  33. Talk about your times of trial. Our family has gone through similar periods . Times when the phone rings and suddenly you have a stomach ache and dread answering it. You are absolutely right. Oh for the ordinary days! Visiting from SYC.

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    1. I am sorry for your times of trial as well, Susan. Seems like we've all had them...and that makes craving ordinary a universal feeling sometime. Thanks for the visit.

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  34. Beautiful . . .
    Goose bumps . . .
    Tears . . .
    I love to read you . . .
    Your writing grabs me, takes me . . .
    Truly . . .
    Extraordinary . . .

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    1. Lynne, your comments always touch me so. You make writing every piece so worthwhile. I appreciate your words and your visits more than you know. xo

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  35. Hi Kim....
    It's all been said, and better than I could ever say....
    I've been in your shoes and so I am just sending you a Texas sized hug!
    You are an exquisitely REMARKABLE person for sure!
    Be blessed,
    J

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    1. J, thank you so much. I am sending a big hug right back to you...although a Texas sized hug is pretty hard to match!! ;-)

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  36. This was a very touching well written post Kim. My story is different than yours...but I too have come to the place where ordinary is beautiful and it leaves me fully content. Praying for you......love you. Ronda

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    1. Thank you Ronda. I think everyone has a story that makes the ordinary days looks fabulous. I am sending prayers and lovely thoughts back to you and your little one for many, many gloriously ordinary days. xo

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  37. I've been there too! Prayers and hugs for you. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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    1. Thank you, Sherry. I appreciate it! xo

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