Wednesday, November 20, 2013

20 Days of Thankfulness

So, it's November again, and for those of you who haven't been following along over on Facebook, it's the time of year that everyone begins posting all the things they are thankful for.  Rather than doing one a day until Thanksgiving, I opted to just do 20 Days of Thankfulness this year, because today we are heading to Alabama, and who knows how often I'll actually check in while we are gone.  This year I'm doing a count down from small things I'm thankful for to the things I'm most grateful for, just to be different, since everyone else is pretty much doing the exact opposite.  I've posted these nightly on Facebook, but to recap, and add today's...

Day 1 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Food
Tonight, I'm going to start with food. I have never truly been without, and when you stop to consider the plight of so many others in the world, that is really truly amazing. Even when we were out of work, we always had food on the table. Furthermore, we've never had to exist on a tiny portion of rice and beans either, it is rare that we have a meal with no meat. We always have enough left overs for lunch the next day, and have been blessed with so much. Thank you Lord, for an abundance of food. (And especially bacon, and chocolate, and...)

Day 2 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - the Dishwasher
I got to thinking about my list, and food really should have been day 11, but in any event, along that line I am thankful for dishwashers. Every single time we live in a house without one I say never again, and then we end up in another house without one. I have a really pretty brand new one, sitting in the wrapping, just waiting for Gary to get the lines run. Today I am thankful for all those marvelous time saving devices in my kitchen that mean I don't have to spend 23 hours a day in that room. I don't have to traipse out in the cold to milk a cow, fetch butter from a spring house, chop and bring in wood for the stove to cook bacon and biscuits. I have a toaster oven and microwave for when we are in a hurry. I have a great blender and coffee pot as well. All these things free up more time to spend with the kids, to laze around on a Saturday watching football with Gary, to load rediculous numbers of pictures to Facebook and stay in touch with all of you, to spend time not cleaning and prepping for the next meal during quiet time but reading the word or even taking a nap along with the kids. I'm very thankful for my modern conveniences, and I'll be even more thankful when Gary gets my dishwasher hooked up. Hint, hint.

Day 3 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - my Camera
I am thankful for digital cameras. Moments like now when Britt and Ruth and Daddy are playing wii, and Britt blasts his 11th stroke back all the way almost to the front of the fairway. I can save videos to watch later when I am trying to remember why we had a kid, let alone more. I can capture in still pictures the crazy look in Britt's eyes when he laughs, Ruth's pudgy pouty checks, and Rebecca's serious looks. I can take loads of crummy pictures and only keep my best, and one of these days I will learn how to use it and take spectacular pictures.

Day 4 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - the Computer
Tonight I am thankful for my computer, and all the interesting people that live in it. After a day of no adult conversations, where all talk revolves around dinosaurs, poop, and "where is my monkey?" It's nice to be able to dust off my brain and check in with the rest of the world. Besides, it's what keeps me going on Monday. Because while I am stellar at organizing, I HATE to clean, so I bribe myself to finish the next job, and then I can check in on Facebook. No matter what's going on or what time it is, there's always someone else to talk to and procrastinate with. The internet is an amazing revolution to life as we know it when we stop and think about it. The kids could get on skype last night with the grandparents. I can check out prices and reviews on just about anything before we go and buy it. I can even balance the checkbook and pay bills while doing the laundry. Talk about multitasking. The best part though, is being able to share snippets of our day, and check in on everyone else. And know that even when everything in our world today is up in the air, there is still something right in your corner of the world, and when it's not we can always encourage and pray for one another.

Day 5 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - our Bed
I am thinkful for my bed. I started today at 6:20, in order to make my doctors appointment and lab work at 7. I came home tag teamed out with Gary so he could head into work late, we did haircuts, and made it back home for lunch and 5 hours of school. Then I headed to Harrisburg where I swung by Staples before making Mothers Night Out with our STARS Homeschool Co-op. I made it back to the house about 10:30. Since then I have finished lesson plans for this week and next, and Gary and I have gone over some fun budget stuff, since he didn't review it the other day. After a crazy busy day there is nothing I am more thankful for than our foam, ever so soft, fluffy bed, piled high with blankets and down comforters. Night all!

Day 6 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - a House
Tonight I'm really thankful for a house to live in. It's not ours, who knows if we'll ever have one of our own. It's not the Biltmore Estates. It doesn't have every modern high style commodity, but it's the place we currently call home. It's dry and relatively warm. It's mostly de-varmintized. (Love how I just invented a word there, dontcha?) I've gotta admit after 8 months of work, I'm happy with what we've been able to do here. The look of delight on Ruth's face with her purple room. Britt's excitement over getting to have a dinosaur shelf AND a horse shelf in his room. Seeing Gary mold into his falling apart chair at the end of the week. I think having a house with space to stretch out in, and yard to run wild in, a place to call home is about as close to satisfied as we can get this side of glory. It might not be much, but it's ours and I'm so thankful for it.

Day 7 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - the Car
I am thankful for our car it's good reliable transportation, through some very generous help from my grandparents while we were unemployed it is also paid for. It gets us around town, it even takes us on the 260 mile roundtrip to Church each Sunday, and I've never heard it complain. It's taken us on countless trips to see the family keeping the road warm between Alabama and Florida. It handled a blizzard in Iowa right before Christmas last year when we drove out and back for a job interview. To have a car that works with room to pile all of us and our stuff into, without a car payment currently hanging over our head is one less worry, especially for me when I have such a talent of worrying over the worse case scenario for everything.

Day 8 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Extended Family
And while I was going to save this one for later, while I'm on this topic. I'm thankful for our extended family. Gary and I were both raised by good people, with loving and giving grandparents. They gave us their time, they did things for us, and made priceless memories. We have amazing aunts and uncles that not only provided us with the cousins we ran wild with but balanced love and accountability. Who were sympathetic when our parents were so "mean" and yet steered us back toward them. They were the people that encouraged us and keep us going when we were out of work. Rather than discourage and tear down they gave money, they helped with the kids, and they let us know any time they heard of a new job opening. They packed us up and sent us off when Gary went back to school and when we found work. They repaired and worked on houses to be sure that the kids had a good, safe home. No man is an island unto himself, and we wouldn't be were we are today without our families.

Day 9 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Heat
I'm very thankful for heat. Those of you who know me much at all, know that I'm am always cold. I doesn't bother me to wear my jeans and a 3/4 sleeve shirt most of the summer. It's 72 in Florida all winter and I've got on the thin sweaters and long sleeve shirts. We got to visit my in-laws meat locker, I mean house, and I'm sitting under a blanket on the couch. That's just me, I'm always on the cold side. Now that winter is rapidly approaching and the wind is up, and the temps are steadily dropping, I'm incredibly grateful for HEAT! I think the cost is outrageous, I didn't even know that people heated their house with anything other than a normal A/C - Heating unit. But I'm very thankful for heat, for electric blankets, for Gary getting up to get me hot chocolate, so that I can stay huddled under said electric blankets with the heat blasting. It would be a long cold winter, where I slept all day and never climbed out of bed without heat.

Day 10 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - A Clear Mind (Mostly)
Tonight I am thankful for a clear mind. Though some of you might be willing to debate that I have a mind about me, that I've not lost all my sense, or that I ever had any mind in the first place; I am thankful for a clear mind. I can meditate on all the blessings the Lord has given me. I can study His word. I can solve all the world's problems from the passenger seat of the car while Gary drives home. Ok, so I might not be that talented. I have watched many dear Elders so strong in the faith as their minds grow dim before they pass away. I have seen many others that never had the ability to deeply ponder all of those amazing things that make up life. While, it carries the dual burden of also worrying and stressing. I think it enables us to see the beauty in life all the clearer because we understand the troubles and hardships. I hope that I might always possess my right mind.

Day 11 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Job
I am thankful for Gary's job. I think this will easily make my top 10 list every year for the rest of our lives. I will never be able to adequately explain the fear, the uncertainty, the trauma of not having a job. To this day I cannot explain how we survived so long other than to say God Almighty Himself sustained us. I would have never willing signed up to living in the great Arctic North, above the Mason-Dixon line. However, unemployment gives you a whole new perspective. I was gung-ho about the move to Pennsylvania. What is even more unbelievable is that for the first time in married life I feel like we are actually making financial progress. Gary has a good paying job where he enjoys going to work each day, and Lord willing, this one appears to be a job for the long haul. We know that this job and each paycheck is a gift from the Lord, and I am so thankful for a small amount of financial security and peace of mind that steady work brings. It is definitely a huge blessing that I won't be taking for granted ever again.

Day 12 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Health
I am thankful for our health. You may know that I have been working on Button Buddies for one special kid. We have spent a lot of time praying and talking about several special kids. Perhaps, I was just really sheltered and didn't know how good I had it, but growing up I can't think of anyone I knew who struggled with any serious illness. Maybe it is more common now, maybe I just am more aware. So many struggle with such serious problems, and I know my problems are just "first world" problems. I have no idea why God has been so gracious to our little family. None of my children, Gary or myself have experienced any major health problem. We are no better than anyone else, we don't some how deserve better than normal health. And yet it is another blessing that has been freely granted to us. I am so thankful for our good health, and continue to pray that the Great Physician would grant healing to those others we so love.

Day 13 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Homeschooling
Tonight, I'm thankful for the freedom and ability to do something, that I never even expected to be doing.  I am thankful to be homeschooling the kids.  I won't rehash it here, but this is not something I even really wanted to do, before we started.  It has only been 3 months now, but it has been in some ways the BEST 3 months since having children.  I love watching their face light up when they make a connection between something we've read and something they see in real life.  I love their curiosity and desire to learn.  I love how Britt thinks that everything is school, and how he tells me that everyone is his teacher.  I like watching Ruth develop her own opinions and preferences.  I have learned more about dinosaurs than I ever knew there was to learn, I have found that math might could be fun after all, and I have been continually surprised with their abilities.  Many of which I didn't even think they had before we began.  I have to admit, being in the passenger seat, watching as life's discoveries unfold is really amazing.  Listening to them tell Daddy at supper all they learned that day, and knowing that I got to do that with them, is really fulfilling.  I always knew I wanted to teach, but I am thankful that the Lord gave me my own to teach first.

Day 14 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Rebecca
I am thankful for our newest addition - Rebecca! You knew I was counting down to the kids, you just didn't know when I would get there. I am starting with Rebecca because she had a particularly great day. Oh course, she so rarely has bad days, she is our easy, happy go lucky child. I have enjoyed her as a baby more than the others, but then again, maybe you just enjoy the one that's currently giving you the most snuggles. She is so eager to do what everyone else does, that she never stops moving - crawling, pulling up, cruising, just bouncing, and now sometimes even standing without holding on. She is so excited that we have started some finger food this week, and wants what everyone else is eating. It is amazing to watch her eagerness in all things. She loves me best, says Mama anytime she is upset, and real does give the best snuggles. And oh! The way she laughs when you cover her in kisses. I love you, Sweetness and Thank God for you!

Day 15 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Ruth
I am thankful for Ruth. She has gotten so "grown up" in the last 6 months. She holds her head and hands just so when she is making a point, and she has her own opinions about everything. Today in the car Britt asked if animals go to Heaven. I told him that some people thinks so, but I don't. The little copy cat said I don't think so either, and Ruth pipped up with, "well I know there are animals in Heaven." Still later we were talking about how I don't like Coke, I like Dr. Pepper, but Daddy likes Coke. Britt who cannot taste the difference says I only like Dr. Pepper, while Ruth chimes in "I like it all." She picked out a bazillion things for Christmas today, and when I told her that Momma and Daddy would be getting her only 3 things her reply was "well it would be ok to get some things now too." I can see some of my own OCD tendencies in her, just in weird areas, like always wearing her jewelry just so or her bow on the same side as Hello Kitty. Her Daddy has always called her "sweetheart" though she insist her name is Ruth, I think of her as a cross between 100% pure condensed sunshine and a firecracker. I picked out her name in high school, and day dreamed what she might be like, but she is better than any thing I thought up. I am incredibly blessed to call her my daughter.

Day 16 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Britt
I am thankful for Britt. The little boy made me a Momma. He is so strong willed, so curious, so determined. He is my little Auburn fan and he just laughed himself silly tonight at seeing Aubie dressed up as Thor. He so tender-hearted and wants to know why he can't make things better, and says he is all grown up and a super hero so he will rescue everyone. He is eager to fix and help around the house and is growing into a a real helper. He is both incredibly frustrating some days and incredibly amazing. I can't imagine how my life would have been the last 5 years with out him.

Day 17 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Gary
I am thankful for my dearest Gary Britt. He is such a blessing in my life. He sacrifices so much to take care of us, and never complains. I have often asked him why he sticks around despite the fact that I am strong willed, not so submissive, and sometimes just downright unlovable. He could trade me in for a newer year model that actually cooks. I worry that sometimes I am more burden than helpmeet. He always tells me that it is only a good burden, and that he stays around not because he promised me that he would if I would behave, but because he promised God that he would regardless of anything else. That attitude and devotion in all things is an amazing blessing in a husband. I love you, and thank God for you daily dearest.

Day 18 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - The Written Word
I'm thankful for the blessing of the Word. I have often said, that Christ could have come and saved us, and never told us what he did. But He gives us His word that we might have joy here in knowing that this life is not it. That we don't need to fret and worry and be anxious over the future because He paid it all. The gospel is good news! Throughout history it wasn't as readily available as it is today. Sometimes a family or congregation would only have a book, or a few chapters. Sometimes they would cram and memorize as much as possible because they weren't guaranteed to be able to keep that. Other times they weren't able to read the scripture for themselves, either because they were incapable of reading, or in other times because they didn't speak the language of the scriptures. How blessed indeed are we today, that we have the Bible, that we can read it, that we don't fear someone seizing it from our homes. And yet, how often do we take this immense blessing for granted? We should be the most well versed people of the ages, and how often do we let them sit gathering dust? I have tried to be more diligent in reading the scriptures, but often fall short. We should never forget what a blessing they are to have.

Day 19 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - The Church
I am thankful for the Church. God made us to be sociable creatures, and we are born into families, but Psalms 68:6 talks of something even sweeter than our natural families, "God setteth the solitary in families:" I believe this points ahead to the Church. Some may not have their natural families with them anymore, or maybe others are estranged, but through adoption God makes us His Children, and then we can enjoy the blessings of the Church the fellowship of like minded people of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I have been a member of three different local Churches now and can attest that we need one another for encouragement and correction. I feel immensely blessed to have found Old Carroll and Bro. Jonathan who has a wonderful gift to pastor. God knew what he was doing when he instituted the Church, and everything about the way it is structured is for our good. may we never take it for granted nor neglect in attendance or in our duty toward in supporting her with not only our money but our time and prayers as well.

Day 20 of my 20 Days of Thankfulness - Salvation
Finally, as the apex to my thankful post, I am eternally grateful for the gift of salvation (no pun intended).  I cannot ever adequately express the sweet comfort and peace of Christ's completed work.  It has so reassuring to know that He loved us so much that he left nothing to chance.  He didn't leave any portion of salvation in our hands, but performed it to the uttermost.  He can save the child who dies before birth in the same way as the old man on his death bed.  He can save those who have grown up knowing off him from their earliest memories, to those who never heard.  He can save those who refuse to live God honoring lives just as easily as those who choose to take up their cross and follow him.  There are absolutely no limitations on our God, not how well we behave, or if we believe, or any of that.  He did it all, He loves and cares for me in a way I will never fully grasp let alone understand.  BUT because of this, I try each day to please him and be worthy of the great blessing he has bestowed on me.

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