Saturday, November 29, 2014

Still Thankful

I want to give thanks.

For family. I know multiple people who have family far away or family simply too busy, or family that does't speak to one another. But us, we have both sides so near and both sides who love Jesus. And we get together virtually every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both sides of the family under one roof. A pure miracle. A pure blessing from God above, whom I thank profusely. I can quickly forget my blessings.

For the Church. The soul-piercing teaching, the deep fellowship, the sharing of hardship, the lightening of loads, the women who love my babe in the nursery, the pastors who are servants. I'm thankful we are bound together by Christ. We are hands, feet, eyes, heads and elbows. All of us connected and one is not more necessary than the other.

For the Holy Spirit. God in us. Continually at work, convicting me. Changing me to be more Christ-like. Bringing understanding to my mind as I read Scripture. Telling me to speak love to my children. To put myself in others' shoes. To show love to my husband even when I'm exhausted and feel like telling him I'm done. The Holy Spirit breathes life into my soul.

For my home. It is warm, and there are those I know who have no money for heat and so they bundle up and live in a cold house. For a place to call my own, where I come to after a long day and seek rest. The place where I raise my children and live life with them.

For friends. God knows we need relationships. We need that encouragement along the way. Someone who reaches out to us and enjoys us for who we are. I am thankful to have friends like that. To be very honest, I don't make friendships easily. I am not life-of-the-party, it takes a while to develop closeness. God knows this and sees friends perfect to bring me out of my box and make me smile and share. "There is a friend that is closer than a brother."

For my husband. He has a physically taxing job but he comes home and give more of himself without complaining. He shows me sacrificial love. He's not perfect, but he's himself and doesn't put on a facade. He changes diapers now. He did housework on Thanksgiving even when I know he wanted to be watching football. He overlooks my quirks and gives me foot massages. He likes to workout with me. He tells me the truth in love, even if it hurts a little.

For my oldest. She is creative to the core, with art and science projects dotting our home. I like her complex mind. She and I butt heads much, but it is God's way of stretching me and reminding me of His grace. She is generous. Not a competitive bone in her body, she just has fun. She adores her baby brother. She loves God and is always teaching her younger siblings about Him.

For my second girl. Gets things done, keeps me on task. She loves wearing her dirty white shoes because they are beautiful to her. She likes to wear gorgeous dresses outside to play and I have to say 'no'. She focuses in ballet and thrills to dance. She is my affectionate cuddly one.

For my third girl. So much like me. Competitive to the core; independent; unafraid. Must wear a tutu every day but is not graceful or elegant! Has accidents and owies daily. Knows when she is in trouble and dawns her sweet smile to get out of it. She is quick to forgive and love. She is baby brother's biggest fan. Has brown m&m eyes that melt the hardest hearts.

For my baby boy. He is so good to me when he eats and sleeps. His light skin, blue eyes, coppery hair and barrel chest remind me of Daddy. He catches my eye until I pay attention. He pulls my long hair. He is teething and driving me crazy right now. His ultra-chubby cheeks are sweet to kiss. He enjoys splashing in the tub until I am soaking wet.

There is so much more I could give thanks for. When one gives thanks, it is hard to find fault. Yes, there is pain and hardship, but there is also strength, truth and love in Christ. And we have a choice. To turn to God in it, or to turn away. But even when we turn away, He pursues. Story of my life. God has given me so many second chances (and third and fourth).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Wonder of My Weekend

Surprise...I'm blogging again!

I've decided I miss this page.

I don't promise consistent posts, but hope I will post more in these cold months *impish grin*

'Tis the season for colds and coughs. We are almost healed from a long streak of illness. That's what happens when you have four kids and attend a church that is one-third kids (or so it seems)! My husband and I don't visit the doctor often. We just don't need to. We try to treat symptoms with natural approaches, and they usually work. However, after several tries with essential oils, honey, teas, sleep, diet change, etc...we decided it was time for our daughter to go to the doctor for her cough! And we are SO GLAD she did. She was the last one to catch this horrible flu-like sickness and it didn't seem to want to die a quick death. Within just hours of her taking her medication, there is a huge difference.

I am all about natural. Especially if you're an adult, we know how to care for ourselves (or should anyway). But God gave us wise doctors and modern medications for a reason. So we can live life when our natural approach just does not nip it in the bud. Thank goodness! Here is to returning to all the activities we had to forego because of this of ole annoying cough!

Last year around this time, I was pestered with morning sickness. Awful. I dreaded the holidays. Anything to do with food nauseated me because of all the dreaded smells and cooking. I even remember making some chocolate no-bakes and not being able to look at another one afterward. This year is a different story! I am ready to bring out the turkey, cranberry sauce, thankfulness tree, and start my Christmas shopping. A few family parties have got me in the mood for all things cheery and bright. We are very blessed to have family close, even more so, family that loves Jesus.

Speaking of loving Jesus, this weekend I had the privilege of attending a beautiful ladies conference. All we did was bask in the awesomeness of God. We were reminded of His glory, His love, His forgiveness, His promise of Heaven. So much more, too. I left feeling like I wanted more of God, like I wasn't satisfied and want to dig more in His Word and find out about His heart. That's a good thing, right? Just like friendships, where we want to know our dear friend's desires in life and how she/he thinks and feels, so it is with our Father God. One of the coolest things I heard this weekend, which was straight from Scripture by the way, was "when we were God's enemies, He crushed His Son for us. What will He do for us when we sin as His children? " Basically, our speaker was getting at the fact that we need to draw near to God when we feel shame from sin in our lives. We often shrink away from God in the dark corner when we've done wrong. That often puts us in a position to give more into sin. He wants the opposite. He wants our shame to be a gift to bring us to repentance, restored before our Father. He loves us so much. He doesn't want to afflict us. He has no desire to be angry with us. He wants a relationship and fellowship.

Also this weekend, my very dear friend took me out for a birthday lunch. Delicious. But more than the food, I enjoyed our talking. With 7 kids between us, it is hard to get that deep conversation in. What a treat a true friend is! Someone who cares to make time in this busy life to do something fun with you. Thanks Friend. You know who you are.

Today we had a fun evening with extended family. My husband's cousin and his wife and two kids came up to visit. Such good catching up. These kind of times are rewarding and you don't want to get back to the daily grind. Like I said, I'm ready for the holiday celebrations. Not all the gift and craziness, just the hanging out with friends and family part.

And now I have to clean up my kitchen because I don't want to see dirty dishes when I wake up. Some things you dislike so much you just have to do without thinking before you convince yourself to forget it!