Friday, November 30, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 30

I'm thankful for how God reveals himself to me.  The Word.  Worship.  The saints.

Through the past year, I've seen myself and members of my family grow.  I know God is at work.  But I still struggle with feelings of unforgiveness, contentment and anger.  It hit me last night I'm stuck!  And even though I don't want to move forward in certain areas of life, I have to.

So, after my month of thankfulness, I'm ready to move forward.  It's not going to be pretty!  It's not going to be fun!  And if absolutely isn't going to be easy.  But I'm ready, because it's time.  And I'm thankful that God's revealed that to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 29

I'm thankful for the hints of winter... the chilly morning, the Christmas decorations, a warm cup of coffee, socks on little feet to help keep us warm, a fire in the fire pit.... I'm excited about the coming season of Advent, a time to rejoice in my Savior's birth, to marvel that God became a baby, and to be thankful for a means of salvation.

Month of Thankfulness... Day 28

I'm thankful for my "original" family

 My sister Megan, her husband Matt, and their two sweet boys Jeremiah and Ephram.
 My sister Shannon.
And my parents.

It's hard not having family right here in the same town.  And this year, it's been hard to be away from them.  But each of the people above have blessed me with their presence during the challenging times, but also in the blessed times.  Sometimes their presence has been physical, and they've gotten in a car, or on a plane, to come help us.  Sometimes their presence has been in prayer, as they prayed earnestly over my family, when I was struggling too much to know how to pray.  Sometimes it's been through a phone conversation, when I can laugh or cry, and receive love and encouragment.  Sometimes it's been through the internet... a Facebook comment or picture that made my laugh, a quick moment to chat, a Skype call to make me feel close, and e-mail with a bible verse.

All these things have meant so much to my family and I as we've faced this challenging year.

But I'm also thankful that they've been there during the happy times!  Knowing that my sisters and parents desire to be with us during whatever we have going on, is a tremendous joy and blessing.  I'm so thankful that despite the miles that have separated us over the past few year, our relationships are stronger than ever!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 27

I'm thankful for Benjamin!

I'm thankful for Benjamin's personality.  He's always bringing a smile to the faces of the people around him!

I'm thankful for his health.  5 years ago (today!) he received his cranio diagnosis.  That was one of the scariest times of my life, and I'm so thankful that he's grown to be such a strong, healthy little boy!

I'm thankful for how he's growing academically.  He's a very bright little boy, and it's a joy to be his teacher.

I'm thankful for what a loving big brother he is.  He and Timothy have formed such a special bond!

I'm thankful for the season of life he's in right now... showing his independence, but still wanting and needing him mommy.

I'm thankful for his passion for life.  When he decides he wants to do something, he does it was such passion and drive. 

I'm thankful for the young man he's becoming!  It's nothing short of a miracle to look at him, and see how God has protected him, and is growing him.  Though he's struggled this year as well, I praise God for how he's working in the life of Benjamin, drawing him to Himself. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 26

I'm thankful for Elizabeth/Missy/Sissy/Liz.

I'm thankful that I was able to witness her testimony, as she recited her life verse.  Despite the crappy road she's been on this year, she stood and said, 
"Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him    and show him my salvation.”  Psalm 91:14-16
I'm thankful she still has childlike faith.
I'm thankful that even though I've seen her question God's plan for her, she still trusts him.  She told me a few weeks ago, as we were discussing being angry with God, "It's not so bad when you remember that God does everything for a reason."

I'm thankful that though her life story has changed in a horrible way, she is not defined by the events of the past.
I'm thankful for the way she sings at the top of her lungs in worship.
I'm thankful for how her relationship with her brothers has grown stronger.
I'm thankful that she is still comfortable around her Daddy.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to see God at work in her life.
I'm thankful for her personality... even when it's driving me crazy!
Just like I said yesterday, this has been a hard year for all of us.  This year has changed Elizabeth's life.  I've had to watch her grow up in ways that I hate, in ways that an right year old shouldn't have to grow up.  She's seen a dark, sinful, horrible side to this life.  But she's made a profession of faith, declaring that this is not her home, and that she has an eternal hope in Christ.
Though I can't yet say I'm thankful for the events that put her on this road, I am thankful for God's presence with her during her times of trouble.  I'm thankful for the way He is continuing to work in her, carrying out her sanctification.  
And I'm so thankful that one day, He will wipe away our tears and our faith becomes sight.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 25

I'm thankful for Mighty Micah.

This year's been a hard year for him.  It's been a hard year for all of us!!  And in the midst of it all, I'm afraid that there have been times when Micah's just flown under the radar.  Despite how quiet he can be, we've seen how much he's struggled this year.

He's struggled with why bad things have happened to our family.  But he's learned to walk in faith.

He's struggled with why his sibilings sometimes get more attention than he does.  But he's learned what real hurt looks like, and how to sit in sorrow with people.

He's struggled with big salvation issues.  But then has reconciled these issues, making a profession of faith, joining Curtis and I for the Lord's Supper each week at church.

He's struggled with school.  But he's learned more than just letters and numbers.  He's learned how to be brave, and face challenges.

He's struggled with anger towards someone who hurt his sister.  But he's learned forgiveness, and how to pray for your enemy.

The struggles Micah has faced this year have been more than a six year old should have to face.  But he stands, with the rest of us, stronger, in faith, ready to see what God will do for our family in the coming year.  I'm thankful for Micah!  I'm thankful for how God has worked in his life, growing him into a strong, brave, young man.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 24

I'm thankful for Timothy, my full of life and personality, two year old.  He keeps me on my toes, but I'm daily touched by his sweet heart.  He is the most "momma's boy" out of my boys, and I'm cherishing it.  I love sitting and talking with him.  This time last year he was only saying a handful of words.  Now, he's sharing the most interesting and hilarious thoughts with me. 

Though is saddens me a bit that my baby is growing up so quickly, I'm thrilled with the little person he is, and who God is making him to be.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 23

 I'm thankful for Black Friday sales!!

Last night two friends and I braved the lines, the chaos, and the parking lots to score some sweet deals.  Thought I got several great deals and finished the kids' Christmas shopping, the thing that I'm most excited about is our new fire pit.

Ever since we borrowed our friends' fire pit, Curtis and I have been talking about buying one of our own.  Imagine my excitement when I opened the ads and there was a fire pit, normally $70 for $30!!
Apparently I wasn't the only one looking for this great deal, because I got the LAST fire pit!!  I was thrilled!

I can't wait to start spending time with my sweet family, around our fire pit, making sweet memories together.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 22

I'm so thankful for my life!  I'm thankful for where God has me, right this moment.  I'm thankful that I can trust his will for my life even when it makes no sense.  I am thankful that I am His child, saved by grace, loved with an everlasting love.

And I'm thankful that in His plan for my life, I got to be the Mommy of these four amazing, lively, joy filled, hilarious, tender hearted children.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 21

I'm thankful for fun moments where I don't have to act my age.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 20

I'm thankful for the Word.  I'm thankful for hearing my children recite their life verses at a poetry recital for co-op today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 19

I'm thankful that our schedule is calming down and that we can take time to enjoy each other.

Month of Thankfulness... Day 18

I'm thankful for faithful friends.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 17

I'm thankful that my children are all strong and healthy, participating in their favorite activities!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 16

I'm thankful for a child's amusing perspective on my life.

Today, Elizabeth and I were working in the kitchen together.  She was enjoying wiping down the stove, and said, "I hope when I grow up I can be a maid or a nanny!"  "Or maybe, " I told her, "you could just be a mommy."

She snickered.

And then informed me, "Yeah, but you don't get paid for that and it's harder!"

No joke!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 15

I'm thankful to have working smoke alarms.

That's what I kept telling myself this morning when Timothy and I were woken up by all the smoke alarms in our house going off.  Curtis turned the heater on this morning for the first time, and apparently there was a little dust on the heating-coil-thingy.  By no means was our home filled with smoke, so it's nice to know the smoke alarms are working well and are highly sensitive.

When I was a little girl, I had reoccurring nightmares of our house catching fire.  I remember my parents walking me through the house, showing me that the stove was off, the blinking light showed the smoke alarm was working, and going over the family escape plan.  Now that I'm the mommy, I still like the reassurance of the blinking light, showing me the smoke alarm is working.  And this morning, I got to see first hand how well it works!

I'm also thankful that my the oldest children are aware of the escape plan.  When Timothy and I came out of the bedroom, the older kids were nowhere to be found.  When they heard the alarm and saw a bit of smoke, they booked it outside.  Yay for being prepared!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 14

I'm thankful for a warm cup of coffee on a chilly morning, a warm breakfast, and having a fridge full of possibilities. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 13

I'm thankful for the fun personalities of each of my children.  And I'm thankful that I can sometimes capture their personalities with a camera.
 Benjamin... brave, ready to be a hero and save the day, yet always putting a smile on my face.
 Timothy... attitude!!!  But under that tough face, you can tell he's just a momma's boy.
 Micah... Full of physical energy, always pushing himself, but not liking failure.
Elizabeth... sweet, people pleaser, who doesn't mind following in her momma's footsteps.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 12

Monday, Monday, Monday.....

As a new work week begins, I'm very thankful for my husband's job.  I know that, though it's hard and exhausting, being a stay-at-home-homeschool-mom is a huge blessing.  I'm thankful that Curtis is a hard worker, who has enabled me to stay home.

Now, I just have to live like I believe being a stay-at-home-homeschool-mom is a blessing.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 11

 I'm thankful for RUNNING!!!!  I never really thought I would say that... 

In the past year, I've begun running to help me maintain the weight I've lost.  Today, I participated in The Color Run.  It was nothing short of a blast!!  The color Run marks the second 5K I've run this year, and I also completed the Warrior Dash (5K + obstacles and MUD!).  I'm thankful for these physical challenges.

And I'm also thankful for my amazing husband who got all four kiddos to church, while I took a Sunday morning off Mommy Duty to go to Houston for this.

Month of Thankfulness... Day 10

I'm thankful for Reformed University Fellowship.

Even though I wasn't a part of RUF in college, I've been blessed to be a part of ministering to college students in RUF.  And a funny thing has happened as Curtis and I have been ministering to these kids; they've ministered to us!  These students have shared happy times, hard time, they've bought us meals, gone running with us to relieve stress, come to our kids' games, planned birthday parties with me, babysat for us so we can go out on dates, and pointed us to Christ when we're struggling.  They've inserted themselves into our lives, bringing us so much joy!  They've loved our children.

Below are just a few of the students who I am blessed to call friends.

Friday, November 09, 2012

I'm thankful for this sweet new smile that Micah got today.  Could he be any cuter?!  I had always thought the answer was no.  Apparently, I was wrong.

He sure does look grown up.....

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 8

I'm thankful for our beautiful new home.

I'm thankful to be away from the horrible neighbor who hurt my child.

I'm thankful to feel safe in my neighborhood again.

I'm thankful for the new memories we've already made in this new house.

I'm thankful for how this house has quickly turned into a home.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 7

As I sit here, struggling with a sinus infection that is kicking my butt, I'm am so very thankful for antibiotics and steroid nasal spray! 

I'm also thankful for a husband who went out last night, when he would have rather been watching the election night coverage, to pick up my medicine and even brought me a special treat to help me feel better.

And I would wager that my children are a bit thankful that mommy isn't going to be a hardcore homeschool mommy today.  :-) 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 6

Add caption
 Election day, 2012.  The news just called the race for presidency, and President Obama has been re-elected.

Today, I'm thankful that even when the outcome of an election didn't go the way I had hoped, that I was still able to vote.

It's so easy to forget that there are women around the world who aren't allowed to vote, simple because they are women.  It's easy to forget that there are countries were democracy doesn't flourish.  I'm thankful for where I live, and the privilege I have to vote.

The above picture is a little election humor for you.  It's amazing to see how many people think one candidate is the hope for our country.  But we're simply voting for a sinner.  God is the only hope for our country.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

Father forgive us... heal our land.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 5

 Today I'm thankful for the ability to read.  I'm thankful that I've been the one to teach my children to read, and see the light in their eyes when they read for the first time.

Today, I saw that in the eyes of Micah.  He's been a struggling reader... nervous to read... afraid of failing... settling with Bob Books.   This morning as we were beginning our school day, I gave my sweet son a dose of harsh encouragment, and placed a Little Bear book in his hands.  I could see it in his eyes... he was convinced he couldn't read "a real book".  But then, after only one page, I saw the change in his eyes as he realized HE COULD read real books!!  That simple moment meant so much more to me as a mom than Micah reading a book.  I saw my son's bravery.  I saw how he wanted to give up, make excuses, throw a fit a quit.  And then I saw him soften, become brave, and try. 

That moment is why I love homeschooling.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 4

This semester, Curtis and I have been doing some hard work alongside of our children, in a battle for their hearts and attitudes.  As any parent can relate, this has not been an easy or fun battle.  Some days I see huge progress, and other times I'm left in tears and in prayer, knowing I can't do any more in my own strength.

And in the midst of the battle, I'm thankful for laughter and teachable moments.

One such moment arrived on a Monday morning.  Elizabeth was struggling to be obedient to me as we started homeschooling.  Since she and Micah have made professions of faith this year, I've been trying to remind them of the power of the Holy Spirit as they fight against sin.  I had a long conversation with Elizabeth about how she was struggling against the old, sinful man, and the new man, seeking to glorify God.  I also talked with Micah and Benjamin about the stuggle Elizabeth was having, encouraging them to show grace to their sister in her time of need.

We made it through the morning, and Curtis came home for lunch to serve as back up.  Benjamin sat next to him and said, "Daddy, Eizabeth is having a hard day.  See, she has a war inside of her.  A war between the Holy Spirit and an old man."

While Benjamin clearly didn't fully understand the point I was making, I was thankful for that teachable moment.  And a time to laugh!

Month of Thankfulness... Day 3

16 years ago, which for those of you keeping track was half my life ago, I moved to Texas.  I was not at all happy about the move, and I was more than ready to let anyone around me know how I felt about this hot, miserable state.  If you had told me 16 years ago that I would still be in TX, that I would be happily married to a Texan, and have four little TX babies, I would have been horrified. 

Yet, here I am!  Very thankful for where God has me.

So while I still hate the weather here, today I'm thankful that I have a home in Texas, and I'm raising four little Texans alongside my wonderful Texan husband.  I'm thankful that God's plans are so rich and full.  I'm thankful that he just smiled at my teenage angst, and kept me on the road to his perfect plan for my life.

(I think somewhere deep inside, my 16 year old self is freaking out about all this.....)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 2

This morning, I'm thankful for a sweet husband.  As we walk through the trials and challenges of life and parenthood, it's easy for each of us to put our marriage on the back burner.  We both know it will be there when the storms of life have settled, because we made a promise to each other.  But sometimes, when the storms are particularly long, we forget to go back and focus on our marriage the way we need to.  This morning, Curtis showed me that he loves me, cares about, is praying for me, and that his priority isn't his job, or the kids.  His priority is me, our marriage, the foundation of our home.  And I'm so thankful to be married to that kind of man!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Month of Thankfulness... Day 1

As I hear my children working on their morning chores, I'm thankful for what big helpers they are.  Sure, there are times when they make ridiculous messes, add to my work load, or try to find the short cut.  But overall, they really are good helpers.  It's encouraging to see how far they've come, and what amazing people they're growing into.