Saturday, November 23, 2013

Giving Thanks - Week Three

My take away from this week, is seeing God in the beautiful ordinary.  He is working all around us - in the people we interact with, in the ways we relax, in the grocery shopping, in cheap, quiet date nights, in small blessings and great.  Week Three...

Day #15

Okay, you all knew this was tonight's Giving Thanks, right? My baby, my last born. 

Since he was about 18 months old, I have said that, lest we should think we have all the answers, God gave us Dylan. He has kept us hopping ever since and I couldn't be more grateful. 

His passion to pursue his dreams, his transparent honesty throughout some indescribably difficult parts of life, his ability to encourage and lift up others, his desire to use the talents he's been given to glorify God and help others - all of these things inspire me.

I cannot wait to see where this kid is going, but I am certain the journey there is going to be amazing for us all.  Thankful

Day #16 

Today I am thankful for my newest son. This young man has been around since he and Erin were 13 years old. He joined our family officially in 2012, but we counted him long before.

I have discovered in the years we have known Jeff that one of our greatest blessings as parents is seeing our children find a spouse that completes them. Not in the sense that neither was whole alone, because they were. But they fit. Where one is weak, the other gives strength and vice versa.

He is so good for my daughter and, I believe, she for him. He works hard, he lives well. He is loyal and kind, he's quiet, but you should definitely listen when he does speak. (And he's handy to have around when you need someone to reach things that are up too high, or your car breaks down  ). He also, with Erin, loves the youth in our community and has spent countless hours investing in the young men here. And -- he loves my daughter.

As our kids have grown up, one of my best friends and I would often, in describing a new young person to the other that they had not met, would say, "He could marry a daughter," or, "She could marry a son."

This boy? This boy could marry a daughter - and I'm so thankful he did.

Day #17

Today I am thankful that I can run. I cannot run fast, and (at least for now) I cannot run far, but I can run. 

It is my mental health therapy, quite honestly. It is a time between me and God that allows me to pray and meditate and process in ways I don't seem to be able to do anywhere else. 

I can work out my anger, worries, frustrations and stress on bad days. And on the good days, I can glory in the beauty of creation, both around me and in the sheer wonder of our body's ability to keep pushing, growing, accepting challenge.

I am grateful God made us to push ourselves. Not everyone can run, but everyone can find that thing that helps them focus and clears out distractions so they can hear God. That thing that clears their head and allows them to see the beauty around them. That thing that pushes them to be better - physically, emotionally, relationaly, spiritually.

That's running for me, and I'm thankful.

Day #18 

Today I am thankful for the myriad of people that have had an impact on my kids. There is no possible way I can list them all because there have been so many through the years.

- Teachers and older youth when they were much younger. They were beautiful examples of love. They still have sweet memories of babysitters and Sunday school teachers to this day.

- Youth pastors and sponsors in their youth. Even those that had to move on were, and are still are, a huge part of their lives. I love how they love my kids.

- Our friends that have loved my kids like their own and have invested in them in huge ways. They have spent countless hours praying for, teaching, encouraging and loving our kids; being beautiful examples of how imperfect people love and live and forgive in the context of family. Some of my kids' best friends are in these families.

- Super Summer leaders and camp leaders, karate instructors and tumbling coaches, cycling coaches and voice teachers. So, so, many willing to invest beyond what they were paid to do. It was so much more than a job.

- Friends and leaders in the churches that adult life has taken them to that keep loving them when we aren't there all the time anymore.

- Our family. Wow. We just have the greatest family - all the way around. They love us and our kids and have been exactly the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, that my kids need.

The list is so long. My attempts to think of them all will fall freakishly short.

When they were babies, I had this very misguided notion that Brian and I could be enough. I was very, very wrong. These people have added depth and beauty that only community can bring.


Day #19 

Today I am thankful for ordinary days. Quiet early morning, house cleaning, laundry, hair cut, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, quiet evening with popcorn and a movie with my man. I don't want to forget to be thankful for the beautiful ordinary.

Day #20  

Five years ago a lady I admire more than I can say began to dream of using her passion for cooking to help others in our community - single moms; people at the end of their paycheck, but still needing to feed their family; the weary - whoever a warm, nutritious meal would bless. And she did it.

With a little planning, and no idea of what was ahead, she began. The first week, about 60 meals were served and we were beside ourselves with excitement.

Five years later, that precious woman has moved to another community, but her legacy continues. Every Wednesday night. We served 539 meals tonight.

Tonight I am thankful for the people that serve in this ministry. It is one of the most rewarding kinds of tired I know. It cannot be done by just the few of us that cook. I am so thankful for those that give up their time to help pull this off every. single. week.

I am thankful for those we serve. Each week they are a blessing and we have learned much from so many of them.

I am thankful for those that give - many of whom don't go to our church or, with a few, even live in our community. God is using their resources to bless people every week.

We have seen God do amazing things - truly miraculous at times. Our church is small and does not have the bank account for this endeavor. Some weeks, honestly, we know we'll be shutting the doors the next month without a far, we've always had the miracle.

God is good. We are thankful.

Day #21

Okay, tonight is short and silly. I'm thankful for Netflix and figuring out that every episode of Chuck is on there. I've never fully accepted that it ended, so...Tonight? The pilot. Woohoo!

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