Archive for the ‘Thankfulness’ Category

Abundance: I Don’t Have to Start a Fire

March 18th, 2018

Have you ever considered that for most of human history, if you wanted to eat hot food you had to start a fire?

I’d defrosted some BBQ Pork from the freezer, intending to put it in the crockpot this morning before church. But instead, I had to throw together a Sunday school lesson (what happens when one teacher is gone for the week and then two more get sick? Well, the one that’s left makes do!) and neglected to put in the pork. So we microwaved the pork when we got home from church.

And then, while I was cleaning up dishes, my PrayerApp reminded me to give thanks to God for the material blessings he has given us.

That’s when I started thinking about the abundance I enjoy.

I don’t have to start a fire.

Instead, I can start one of my two crockpots (if I remember in time). Or I can throw food in the microwave. Or fire up my propane range with the turn of a knob. Or I can stick food in one of the two ovens I own (convection or standard).

That’s right. I own SIX food-heating devices (and that’s not counting the specialized water heaters I have – an electric coffeepot and tea kettle – or the waffle iron or George Foreman grill).

We have such an abundance.

Thank you, Lord, that I don’t have to start a fire.

Thankful Thursday: Rest and Routine

April 13th, 2017

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After all sorts of bellyaching about how Tirzah Mae is no longer napping and how that’s throwing my routines off and messing me all up, we have found a new routine and one that’s working pretty well.

This week I’m thankful…

…for new bedtime routines
It used to be, I’d brush teeth with Tirzah Mae, read her a Bible story, sing her a hymn, and pray with her before putting her to bed. Then I’d nurse Louis and put him to bed. Finally, I’d fall into bed exhausted myself. But Daniel has wanted for a while to do family devotions – and he decided that Tirzah Mae’s bedtime routine would be a good starting place. Now, Daniel changes the children into their jammies (usually while I do some cleaning up around the house) and then we sit on the couch together for a hymn, Bible reading, and family prayer. Then I brush teeth with Tirzah Mae and put her to bed while Daniel sings to Louis and puts him to bed. Once Tirzah Mae is in bed and while Daniel is still putting Louis to sleep, I finish tidying the house.

…for a clean house when I go to bed
Thanks to this new bedtime routine, I have gone to bed with a clean house all. week. long! It’s amazing. I write it on my daily thankfulness list every night. Where I used to be too exhausted to tidy before bed (even though I knew I’d feel so much better in the morning if I did), now the tidying is just a part of the routine, and it’s working well.

…for better sleep
We cried it out at naptimes two or three weeks ago (praise God for giving me the idea to do it at naptimes instead of overnight – SO much easier when I’m not exhausted and when I have plenty of household tasks to distract me), and while Louis is still waking up anywhere from 2-6 times a night, he’s not needing me to nurse him all the way to sleep. I nurse him until he’s done and then lay him down sleepy but still awake. He usually protests with a single cry when I close the door, but then falls right asleep – which means I can fall right back asleep too.

…for a later starts
Tirzah Mae has always been an early riser (4 am as an infant), but now that the days are getting longer (and maybe she’s wearing herself out with all the learning and growth?) she’s sleeping a little longer. Even if she isn’t sleeping longer, she’s become more and more inclined to just sit and look at books or go into the living room and quietly play with her toys until I wake up. Which means I’m able to get more rest when I need it.

…for quiet time
After abject failure when Tirzah Mae was in the process of giving up naps, I’d despaired that I’d never be able to institute a “quiet hour”. But I decided to try again last week, and what do you know? Tirzah Mae complained a little at first but then found ways to busy herself in her room such that my timer (I was trying for 10 minutes for a start) went off and she kept playing happily. I checked on her after another ten minutes and she’d curled up in bed and fallen asleep. By day 3, she was contradicting me when I announced it was quiet time. “Rest time,” she said. Well, okay then. Either way, I’ll take it.

…for a day of rest
I’ve wanted to make Sundays a true day of rest for quite a while now, but it just never seemed feasible. There was too much to catch up on. The house was always a mess, I never quite managed to get Sunday dinner in the crockpot the night before, etc. But I decided to give up the excuses and just make it happen. Sunday afternoon, I clear the table and wash the dishes – but I don’t do laundry or extra cleaning. As soon as lunch dishes are done, I hole up with my journal and reflect on the past week and make my plans for the up coming week. Then Daniel and I have our “family planning meeting” (not about birth control :-P) and we eat leftovers for supper or work on supper together. It’s a lovely day of rest.

I am so thankful that God created us for times of work and times of rest. And I’m thankful that He is teaching me ways of making time to rest.

“And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.'”
~Mark 2:27-28 (ESV)

Thankful Thursday: Progress

January 19th, 2017

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Sometimes I get so caught up in the day to day struggles (dishes, laundry, not sleeping consistently for a couple of years) that I forget that we are making progress. Sometimes slowly and steadily, sometimes in leaps and bounds, sometimes in fits and starts. But progress is being made.

This week I’m thankful…

…for increasing helpfulness
Tirzah Mae now consistently helps with cleaning up the house, wiping up spills, setting the table for meals, clearing the table after meals, and dishing up her own food. She takes such joy in being able to close the dishwasher and empty the dustpan. She is growing in ability and in obedience – and it is wonderful to see.

Swinging, a favorite pastime

…for increasing vocabulary
Tirzah Mae is also growing in communication skills. She has spent the last week identifying colors (which means only the red cup will do – but which also means I’m able to communicate instructions or directions more clearly). She is able to tell things she remembers, to identify things she’s thinking about, to communicate what she wants or needs. It makes life so much less frustrating when she can tell me what is bothering her instead of trying to guess vainly.

…for increasing mobility
Louis has started to roll in earnest and to scoot a little – which means he spends a lot of time amusing himself with whatever he can find on the floor. His increased mobility means more work for me making sure the floor only contains acceptable items, but less work because he entertains himself for greater periods of time.

Louis eating table food

…for increasing order
It’s so easy to get discouraged with the state of my home, with how never-ending the task of “picking up” is. But our home is becoming more and more orderly. The house gets “picked up” daily, the dishes don’t pile up, the bed gets made. The toilets don’t have rings, the underwear gets folded (eventually). The house is coming into order.

…for increasing patience
There was a time, not so long ago, that I’d snapped at the kids every day by the end of the day. I’d get frustrated and impatient with them, I’d snap at Tirzah Mae to “just…” whatever. I’ve been praying that God would work the fruit of patience in my life, that he would put a guard over my tongue. And he has. By God’s grace, I am holding my tongue more and more – and even better than holding my tongue, I’m feeling and acting compassionately with my children. This is the work of God – an ongoing work, but one that is showing progress.

I’ve been reading Ephesians in preparation for this semester’s Bible study on Ephesians, and have been struck by Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church:

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,”
~Ephesians 1:15-17 (ESV)

It’s so easy to only pray when things are going horribly – and to just plain forget to give thanks. But Paul hears of the Ephesians’s faith and love and this causes his heart to swell with thanks to God and with petitions for the Ephesians.

As I think of the progress my children, my home, I myself am making, I too am moved to thanksgiving. God has shown abundant mercy to our family – I pray we would continue to know Him more and more with every passing day.

Thankful Thursday: Winter Light

January 5th, 2017

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Sometimes blogging silence means inactivity, as thoughts and words and actions slow to flow like tar. Other times, blogging silence belies activity as life lived takes precedence over life recorded.

While the former has frequently been true of my own winter silences, this year it is the latter that is most true.

For this year, this winter has been my BRIGHTEST winter since I began blogging some dozen years ago.

This week I’m thankful…

…for Winter Blues and light therapy
After reading the section on light therapy in Norman Rosenthal’s Winter Blues, I purchased a therapy light and began using it. Light therapy has made a huge difference in my energy levels and quality of life even as the days grew shorter and shorter this fall. Thanks to light therapy, I’ve been able to maintain household routines, to continue to interact socially, and to experience wonder this winter.

Louis grinning

…for baby smiles
Louis is the happiest baby. He smiles, he laughs, he smiles some more. He loves diaper changes, hugs, tummy time, and toys. He adores his big sister and laughs when she tickles him (even if she’s sitting on his belly while doing it.) He dotes upon his papa and gazes at him with unabashed admiration and joy when papa gets home from work. Even as I write this, Louis is playing his own form of peekaboo on the floor beside me, grinning every time I look over and cooing when I’m not looking to encourage me to look. His smile is a light that makes me shine too.

…for preparation for people
We had my family (an extra dozen people) over the weekend after Thanksgiving – and the preparations for their coming gave me the motivation to complete all sorts of projects I’d been procrastinating on. Making curtains for the picture window in the living room. Organizing my craft room. Unpacking the rest of those boxes in the basement and getting them put where they need to be. With the extra energy afforded by the lamp and the extra motivation afforded by the prospect of family coming, I got more done this winter than most – and productivity always brightens my day.

Tirzah Mae smiling

…for a toddler voice singing
I’ve been singing to Tirzah Mae since she was born, but she only rarely joins in. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard her join in. But this Advent she started singing all by herself. She’d cuddle her dolly and begin to sing:

“Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
lay down his sweet head
The stars in the manger
look down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus
asleep on the hay”

Not only this, but “Jingle Bells” and “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (just that one line) and “Frere Jacques” and at least a half dozen other songs with recognizable lyrics and tune.

Hearing her sing – and especially hearing her sing about Jesus – delights my heart and brightens my life.

…for Emmanuel
The song that Tirzah Mae sings the most, and the line she repeats most often, is this:

“Rejoice, Rejoice
Shall come to thee
O I-i-is-ra-el

Of all the things that have brightened this winter, this is the most wonderful.

God with us. Emmanuel.

I am thankful that

“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

~Isaiah 9:2-7 (ESV)

God has made Himself to shine before us in the person of Jesus Christ.

That is reason to give thanks. That is reason to rejoice.

So I do and so I shall.

“Rejoice, rejoice –
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

Thankful Thursday: Flexibility

September 1st, 2016

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I don’t consider myself to be the most flexible person (either physically or dispositionally). I like things the way I’ve arranged them and don’t tolerate changes well. Which is why I’m so thankful for the grace of God over the past week in a) enabling others to be flexible to make things easier for me and b) enabling me to be flexible when I needed to be.

This week I’m thankful…

…for back to back appointments
Louis had his two month well-child appointment last week and I needed a thyroid check as well. When I called a few weeks back, the receptionist was happy to reschedule us slightly so Louis and I could have back to back appointments (especially handy now that we live a half hour away from the doctor’s office – and now that I have two kids to get ready for trips out!) And for Louis’s four month appointment? We were able to schedule that back to back with Tirzah Mae’s 2 year appointment. Perfect.

…for flu shots
It’s earlier than my reminder to get my annual flu shot (my phone rings in October to remind me to get it), but I heard that Walmart has the vaccine and remembered to ask my doctor if he had it too. He did, so I won’t have to remember to arrange getting one in October because I’ve already got it taken care of.

…for different patterns
Louis’s 2 month shots (combined with my flu shot) completely kicked our butts. The day was disrupted first by the appointment, then by Louis’s need to breastfeed continuously. There was no way I could complete my ordinary routines. But I always feel awful when I spend the day simply sitting around breastfeeding. So, rather than playing catch-up and getting frustrated that I couldn’t catch up, I made myself a little game to help me still accomplish something around the house – and it worked. I gave Louis the attention he needed and managed to not end the day frustrated over how little I’d accomplished. Win-win.

Tirzah Mae exercising
An old photo of Tirzah Mae and I exercising – Tirzah Mae wanted a knee brace just like mama’s

…for substitutions
I can hardly believe it. I ran out of pinto beans with bean burritos on the menu. But I had just enough black beans to finish out the recipe. Then over the weekend, I started tomato soup going only to discover that the can of tomato juice I’d thought was still in the basement? Not there. But I did have some diced tomatoes that my mom had canned for me in tomato juice. They worked perfectly (and I’m double checking my pantry before I start a recipe from now on out – relying on memory when it’s been two and a half months since I was in charge of cooking full-time is bad news. Which reminds me, have I mentioned how thankful I am for the many women who’ve been providing me with meals, either in the freezer or freshly prepared, so I didn’t have to cook for TWO MONTHS after Louis’s birth?!?)

…for my husband’s flexible schedule
Daniel is blessed to be able to set his own hours at work – which means if Louis didn’t let me sleep overnight, Daniel can take Louis and let me sleep in and then go to work after I wake up. Or he can come home early if my day isn’t going well and make up the time later or work from home. I try not to take advantage of his flexibility, but there are times when Daniel’s flexibility is a major sanity saver for me. I am so thankful for him.

…for an unchanging God
Life with littles means plans change in an instant. Baby’s hungry? Drop everything. Blow out diaper? Drop everything. Water emptied all over the living room rug? Drop everything. (And dozens more reasons to drop everything!) But even as my schedule must flex, my priorities must change, my routines must be disrupted, I can rest knowing that God never shifts, never changes, is never disrupted. As he gives me grace, I can fix my heart, my mind, my emotions on his unchanging nature – and allow his unchanging grace to help me be flexible with the other stuff that does change.

Thankful Thursday: Abundance

August 11th, 2016

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“Had God brought us out from Egypt
And not visited them with judgment
Dayenu – We should have been content”

So begins the Dayenu, recited or sung at the annual Passover Seder.

At the end of each stanza, we recite dayenu – a word roughly translated “it would have sufficed” or “it would have been enough.” Martha Zimmerman, in her book Celebrate the Feasts (which first introduced me to the Hagaddah) translates dayenu as “We should have been content.”

This week I celebrate abundance. I could have so much less and it would have sufficed. I could have so much less and been content. Yet God has given an abundance. And I am thankful.

This week I’m thankful…

…for meals brought to my home
IF I only had the meals I’d been able to prepare and stash away in my freezer for when the baby came, dayenu. Yet God has blessed me with a dozen more freezer meals from family and friends, and with hot meals arriving at my doorstep three days a week – even now, seven weeks after Louis was born.

…for rain to water the newly planted grass
If the grass had been planted and I’d had to water it, moving sprinklers every half an hour, dayenu. Yet God blessed us with rain after two days of watering – and I’ve only had to water minimally since.

…for a second chance for my tomato plants
Had I only gotten a couple good crops of tomatoes with only a couple dozen pints canned, dayenu. Yet God sent rain that perked up my plants that had almost completely lost their leaves – and they’re flowering again.

…for multiples of pumping supplies and baby sleepers
Had I only one set of pumping supplies and a couple baby sleepers, dayenu. But God has blessed me with two sets of pumping supplies (through no act of my own), so I can relax after pumping without having to get the supplies cleaned. right. now. And God has blessed me (through the generosity of strangers) with a dozen baby sleepers, so I can wait days between loads of laundry (well, baby laundry, anyway :-P)

Such an abundance. More than I ask or think. But all these gifts are nothing compared to the ultimate abundant gift.

I can’t say it better than the Dayenu already has:

“Had God brought us into Israel
And not sent the Promised Messiah
Dayenu — We should have been content

Had God sent the Promised Messiah
But not grafted us into Israel
Dayenu — We should have been content

Had God grafted us into Israel
But not made us full heirs with Christ
Dayenu — We should have been content

But praise be to God
He has showered blessings on us,
More than we can count:
God brought us out of Egypt
And visited judgment upon the Egyptians,
Cast down their idols
And slew their first born,
Gave us their riches
And parted the seas for us,
Let us walk the dry sea bed
And drowned our pursuers,
Kept us alive forty years in the wilderness
And fed us with manna,
Gave us the Sabbath rest
And led us to the foot of Mount Sinai
And there taught us Torah
And brought us into Israel
And there built the Temple.
He has sent His Promised Messiah
Who has atoned for all our sins.
He has grafted us into Israel and made us full heirs with Christ.”

~ Rebekah Menter’s Dayenu

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

Thankful Thursday: Milestones

August 4th, 2016

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It seems this week has been a milestone week. Life is resuming after the recent crazy pause. So many good changes, so many wonderful firsts.

This week I’m thankful…

…for a switch to demand feedings
Unlike Tirzah Mae, Louis did not come home from the hospital giving clear hunger cues. Instead, he seemed perfectly content to just sleep until we woke him up to eat. As a result, I maintained the hospital schedule of every 3 hour feedings. And let me tell you, scheduled feedings are exhausting. But over the last week, Louis has started giving better and better cues. This weekend, we switched to demand feedings – which gives me a lot more flexibility with my own schedule and Tirzah Mae’s.

…for 6 pounds at 6 weeks
I weighed Louis on a whim, the day before he turned 6 weeks old. Actually, I weighed Louis three times the day before he turned 6 weeks old. I couldn’t believe my eyes, which is why I kept reweighing him. Our little boy is getting big (he’s ready to move out of “preemie” sized diapers to “newborn”!)

Louis looking cute (as usual)

…for restrictions lifted
Since Louis is six weeks old now, that means I’m six weeks out from my c-section – and am officially okay to resume normal activities. Which means I can lift Tirzah Mae onto the changing table. Game changer, people.

…for meeting with small group
I haven’t met with our small group from church since we met in my hospital room the day before we had Louis. But this week, our group brought snacks and gifts and met at our house. Each member of our group has been so supportive during my hospitalization and this postpartum period – taking care of Tirzah Mae, bringing meals, asking how I was doing. But it was delightful to be back with everyone all together again.

…for an outing
I took Tirzah Mae and Louis to my 6 week appointment, but otherwise haven’t taken the both of them out of the house without Daniel’s help. Until this Tuesday. It was time for Kansas’s primary elections and I had items due at the library, so we suited up and took off. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad to know that I can do it!

…for grass
After almost two months of waiting for our grass to be planted, the fellow with the seed drill finally came out on Tuesday and planted our grass – which means I’m watering like crazy to keep the almost 30,000 square feet we just planted wet in this hot Kansas weather. But it’s planted! No more waiting. Now we’re just working, working, working. (I’m better at working than at waiting.)

The seed drill ready to plant our grass

As I write up my thankfuls this week, I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes (sung to Pete Seeger’s tune and echoing with The Byrds’s voices in my head):

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

I am thankful for these seasons that God has given. But most of all, I am thankful that, in every season, God is faithful. He holds us in His arms in the stormy seasons and in the calm. He is forever worthy of praise.

Thankful Thursday: Borrowed Time

June 2nd, 2016

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Since I’ve reached the point in pregnancy where I was already hospitalized with Tirzah Mae, every moment seems overwhelmed with wonder.

I’m in my own home! I’m not in the hospital! I still have a (decently) clean house! I am still making my own food! I’m walking on my own two feet! I’m not hooked to a blood pressure cuff 24/7! I am drinking and peeing on my own power! I don’t need daily ultrasounds! I don’t have to lie still for two hours so the nurses can get a 20-minute “strip” of baby’s heartbeat and my own uterine contractions!

Even the most mundane things feel surreal – as if I’m living in borrowed time, magic time.

I have a normal pregnancy at this point.

This week I’m thankful…

…for a walk in the park
As this pregnancy continues to progress, exercise becomes more and more difficult. My knees and hips are looser and my balance is off – making it harder to do the squats and lunges that are the staple of my lower body routine. I’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands (not uncommon during pregnancy) – making push-ups impossible and my other upper body activities (with free weights) more difficult. But I’ve been on bed rest before and there’s no way I’m letting myself decondition to that degree if I don’t have too – which means I need to find a way to keep active, even if I’m less motivated to do my usual routine. Daniel has been obliging, taking a walk with me along the river on Saturday, and running circles around Tirzah Mae and I as we strolled around another local park on Monday. I’m still aiming to do my usual routines at least once a week (an upper body, a lower body, and a core routine) – but it’s lovely to mix it up with some outdoor walking every other day or so.

…for a strong finish
I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching 3-year-old Sunday School this year. It’s been stretching in the best way – helping me to hone in on the main point of a text, encouraging me to think of activity “centers” that can spark conversations about the “big ideas” of a text. It’s also been stretching in a not-so-fun way. It’s the weekly struggle to get out of the house to be at church half an hour before Sunday School starts, with Tirzah Mae’s bags packed for both nursery (during the Sunday School hour) and the service (where we try to keep her with us.) Now that Sunday School has switched to its summer schedule, I’m glad to have a respite from the mad dash on Sunday mornings – but I know I’ll miss the lesson planning and brainstorming.

…for a landmark day
Tirzah Mae turned 19 months on Tuesday – which also means that it’s now been 19 months since my uterus was cut to allow her to enter the world. It’s best for a uterus to have 18 months to recover from an incision before it has to endure labor again – and mine has now had its 18 months plus one.

…for a good report
Yesterday’s OB visit was unremarkable – which is remarkable in and of itself. My blood pressure there was the same as its always been, my urine showed no protein. No concerns. I should keep doing what I’m already doing. I cried with relief as I drove on to our next task.

…for convenience items
I love to make our own bread, our own yogurt, our own laundry detergent. I can make a higher quality product for less money, and I enjoy “doing it myself”. But as this pregnancy progresses and I need to get off my feet more frequently, I’ve been reminded of the blessing that is prewashed lettuce in a bag, prebaked bread (also in a bag), and the first container of laundry detergent I’ve bought in six or seven years. I don’t have any intention of permanently switching to those products, but it’s nice to have them available when life intervenes.

And when I get done listing the nice-things-I’m-thankful-for, I fear that I may fall into the trap of thanking God only when things are going the way I want them to. I pray that isn’t the case.

Because ultimately, not being hospitalized isn’t the greatest blessing of this week. All the many wonderful conversations and conveniences aren’t the greatest blessing. The greatest blessing is that…

“Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

What! All this, and Christ too?

Thankful Thursday: Mother’s Day

May 12th, 2016

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This week I’m thankful…

…for help from my in-laws
Daniel’s parents visited Friday and Saturday. They divided their time between playing with Tirzah Mae so I could work on indoor pursuits undisturbed and working with Daniel on lawn stuff. With their help, a tree was cut down and about a half dozen more were trimmed – with all the brush taken back to our palatial brush pile – all without me lifting a finger or swelling an ounce. Nurseries were inspected, potential tree species evaluated, books on landscaping consulted. And despite not going out for every meal (in fact, we had some of their friends over Friday night), the house was in order when they left. It was a delightful visit.

…for a wonderful mother’s day
Daniel and Tirzah Mae took me to Pizza Hut for lunch after church – but Tirzah Mae must have been just exhausted from the excitement of having her grandparents there, because she fell asleep while we were still eating! She napped all afternoon, giving Daniel and I some wonderful “just-us” time (a rarity since we don’t have family in town and since I generally need more sleep than our toddler does!) We talked and digged through boxes in search of a missing notebook and just generally spent time together. It was wonderful.

…for a thunderous evening
One of my favorite memories with my own mother is going out onto the front porch during an evening thunderstorm, taking in the sounds and sights and smells and feel of the storm. The wind whipping just the barest spray of the storm on my face. The thunder rumbling from afar, the rain pounding on the pavement and unsettling the leaves on the trees. The dark sky occasionally made bright by lightning flashes. There is little better. I’ve been dreaming of a good prairie thunderstorm since we built Prairie Elms – and this Monday, we got one. Our small group was cancelled due to the storms, so Daniel and I and Tirzah Mae stood on the front porch, enjoying the back end of the springtime storm (which was blowing rain and hail at a 45 degree angle from the west – I was glad to have an east-facing porch!)

…for encouragement and prayers
As I enter the scary season of pregnancy (for me), I have been so blessed by those who have encouraged me with truth – reminding me that God is in control, that His purposes are good and cannot be thwarted. I have been so blessed by those who have prayed for me – and who have let me know that they are praying. I have been so blessed by those who have offered for me to text them, to call them, to arrange a get together anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed and need someone to remind me of truth. God has been gracious to grant me friends such as these.

…for an eternal promise

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
~John 10:27-30 (ESV)

When the clamoring voices of fear and “what if” crowd in, the promise of God remains sure. As one of Christ’s sheep, I do hear His voice. He knows me. I do follow Him. He has given me eternal life – and nothing can snatch me from His hand.

So I am thankful that I can say with the hymn-writer:

“Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.”

Thank you, Lord, that you are sovereign over all things. Thank you for this week’s blessings, for the things I can clearly see as good gifts from your hand. But thank you also that you are sovereign over the waves that threaten to capsize, the winds that blow off course. Thank you that even these are good gifts from a gracious Father’s hand. Grant me grace to trust you today and every day.

Thankful Thursday: Generosity

March 17th, 2016

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This week I’m thankful…

…for help hanging a mirror
Daniel arrived home Friday evening to find the house a mess and his wife frustrated. I’d dragged all the wallhangings out and laid them out on the floor to arrange them before hanging them on the wall. But when the time came to hang the big mirror that’s the centerpiece of the dining room arrangement, I couldn’t find the stud-finder (and that mirror DEFINITELY needs to be hung on something more sturdy than drywall!) I emptied all our toolboxes on every available surface in the kitchen and only found the studfinder (in the back of my car) after several hours of searching. Daniel was gracious to help me carry all the pictures and whatnot back downstairs and help me put away the rest of the tools – and to help me hang that pesky mirror right then and there.

Mirror wall in dining room

…for a birthday burger
We enjoy Red Robin, and belong to their loyalty club (or whatever it’s called – we get promotional emails and they give a free burger during our birthday months.) After the frustrating mirror incident (during which dinner was NOT made), we went out for my birthday burger. It was just the break I needed – and I enjoyed a delicious mushroomy burger (Daniel’s not the biggest fan of mushrooms, so when I make mushroom dishes at home, it’s usually pretty subtle.)

…for kitchen projects completed
My husband could have done all sorts of things with his Saturday morning. He could have slept in or watched television or read a book or worked on his personal projects. Instead, he woke up early, took off to the Home Improvement store and set to work installing my magnetic knife rack in the kitchen. And, since the drill was out, he hung my swinging towel rack while he was at it too. With those two tasks complete, my kitchen is complete. It feels nice, awfully nice.

Knife rack all suited up

…for a birthday windchime
I already wrote about this, but the windchime has been delighting me all week – whether it’s catching a glimpse of it out the window or hearing its music on a windy day.

…for a generous loan
A friend who had a baby the summer before Tirzah Mae offered to loan me some of her maternity clothes. Tirzah Mae and I went over Tuesday for a playdate/clothing try-on session – and I walked out with almost 2 dozen articles of maternity wear! I’m probably set for most of the remainder of this pregnancy.

…for the generosity of God in Christ
These gifts of patience and time and food and help and objects and clothing are all wonderfully nice. But nothing can compare to the generosity of God, who gave HIMSELF. Even if my house remained a mess, the studfinder remained missing, my husband hadn’t provided help, the burger hadn’t been free, the kitchen hadn’t been completed, the windchime not given, the loan of clothing not made – the gift of Christ is beyond what my heart can bear.

What? All this and Christ beside?

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
~2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)

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