today, i sit in my cozy office, in front of my new iMac.  a winter candle burning and christmas melodies filling the room with warmth.

today, my heart feels differently than it has lately. 

today, the chatter, and the hurt...the fear and the defeat have sizzled away into the wake of a river of gratefulness.  

and today, i sit and wonder...what changed?  

certainly not my circumstances, but my mindset and heart?

so why this light feeling all of a sudden?

for the past few months, i've been on a mission to find peace.  

to find a calmness and stillness in my soul that speaks to me and puts a warm comforting hand on my shaking heart.  

jesus is my savior.  he lives in my heart because i invited him there, and i'm used to feeling his ever-present spirit.  but in the past few months, i can't. 

so i've frantically searched.  talking, coffee, shooting, tea, working, planning, learning, wine, and busy-ness.  anything to try to stop my mind and to intervene calm.  and nothing works.  

last weekend, we got out our christmas decorations out while i gleefully listened to amy grant's new christmas album.  

i have this private tradition i take part in every year...well, i have a few, but one is that while i'm taking down the christmas decorations, i settle in and reflect.  and i give thanks for the memories and the people and the year that i've had the oppportuniy to experience over the past 12 months.  and i do this so deeply and so sincerely, that in the end, i feel exhausted..  praying and finding gratefulness for everyone that i love.  

this year, i don't know why.  without thinking,  i did it while putting up my decorations.  

pulling out each of my children's ornaments and finding gratefulness for every stage that God has allowed me to be their mother, and all the times to come.  and i remembered their chubby cheeks and the way their sweet baby breath would smell in the morning.  and the exhaustion i felt for so many years because of how close i had them together and the work that it took just to keep them clean, clothed and fed.  

twirling the very ribbon into my tree that i used to decorate my home for my wedding, i give thanks for the man i call my husband.  and how he loves me, and our children.  his fingers that carress the piano keys to fill our home with so much beautiful music.  the laughs that he brings from the moment he walks in the door, and the soft smile and thoughtful heart that can soothe even jordan's and my anxious minds.  

my mom who has braved so many battles and the warrior that she is in her love for those she treasures and the wars she battles on her knees.  her husband who gives and loves her with a love rarely witnessed in this world.  respect.  admiration. selflessness.  and i give thanks for his love and his life that God has kept here with us for yet another season.  and for the family that he had before us, that has extended our family and love endlessly. 

for my sisters and the bond we get to share.  and the babies that we get to love on together as we raise our families.  and the talents that those beautiful girls have and how they use them. 

and my brothers who are so precious to me, and share the same gushy heart that i have...

and for my mother in law and sister in laws and brother in law...and aunts and uncles and cousins that i get to call my own.  and how each of them give and enrich my own life, and the life of my family in ways too many to count...

and my precious friends who are life long, and life giving to me.  how they love me, and share with me, and GET me...

and for my business, and my home....and for things that i find so unimportant in life, but still, make my life so much easier and filled because they exist...

and for my faith and my jesus who ALWAYS shows up for me...

and i found stillness.  

my hear calmed.  

i forgot about the deadlines and the worry.

my gratefulness overflowed into peace, and my heart stilled...for the afternoon.  

sure enough monday came, and the fight began all over again.  an entire week of anxiety and issues to deal with and hurts and worries.  

so i prayed and searched deep into my soul.

i read.  i sought out God and His peace in every way i could.  

yesterday morning in tears, i told charlie....i'm going back to bed.  i need to think and pray and sleep. 

i did.  

and in the still the peace came. 

snow fell last night, and my heart soared.

today, an impromptu shopping trip with my girls, sherri and isla, and coming back home, i kept my gratefulness flowing.  while folding laundry, and cleaning up, i am giving thanks.  

and after the bustle and worries of life could gratefulness be a beautiful root of peace in an ever changing, perplexing and hurting life?  

Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Psalm 4:4

i'm sure i'll struggle in the days to come as i fight to combat the emotions this season and the world hand to me, but i'll learn and trust and search in the quiet.  and i'll give to Him.  and i'll be grateful.  Still.