If you are on Facebook at all, I'm sure you've seen your news feed full of the "thankful status posts." I find it so encouraging to read all the things my friends and family are thankful for throughout the month of November. It makes me wonder what our lives would be like if we could carry that outlook beyond the screen, iPhone, iPad, or even just the month of November? Would we be changed? I think we would. While I haven't participated in the "thankful status updates" myself, I have been having fun reflecting and thinking in the days leading up to Thanksgiving about all God has graciously (yes, GRACIOUSLY--I didn't earn any of it) blessed my family with. So, to copy my friends on facebook, I've been inspired! I will do my own list of things I am thankful for. One for each day of the month of November.
I am thankful (read blessed, grateful, so happy to have, overjoyed with, etc.) for:
1-The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What a gift! I'd be so lost without it!
2- My church family. I have learned SO MUCH about what it means to live my life with a gospel focus there. Best church. Ever.
3-My wonderful husband who tirelessly goes out the door each and every day to earn a living in order to provide for his family. And he does it without complaining--not something I can say about my work ethic... Then comes home to chaos and a frazzled wife and still keeps a positive attitude. I am thankful for his insight into things and his leadership. I am thankful that he loves me. The real me. Not the "I want you to like me" me.
4-Jacob! I love his curiosity, desire to learn, and that he is just....like...his...DAD!
5-Joshua! I adore his free abandon and total spunk. This boy loves life (and food)!
6-Gracie Beth! God knew just what I needed when He gave me her...
7-My parents. They sit and just simply watch my kids play over Skype. Sometimes it is because the kids asked to talk to Grandma or Grandpa on the computer. Sometimes it is because Mommy has been home alone all day long and needs another "adult" to keep me company. And so, we just sit...on Skype...watching my kids play. Somehow a long day alone gets easier with their "company." I love them.
8-My in-laws. I am so thankful I don't have any of "those" stories to tell about my in-laws. I have never felt anything less than loved and a total part of the family. I adore how they adore my children and I learn daily from them about living Christ out through sacrifice and love! I am thankful my children see them so often.
9-My sister, Jennifer. Sometimes my sister calls me to ask me if I've bought a birthday gift for so and so and when I say no, she just sweetly says, "okay, then you now owe me $20" and buys an item she's found on super sale and let's me look like a super cool Aunt. I love that. I love that she "gets" that I don't exactly get out to leisurely shop often with three kiddos in tow (is anything leisurely with three kiddos in tow?). I love that she shows up at my house at 8:30AM just to see my kids for 10 minutes between appointments.
10-My sister, Wendy. She's my deal finder, internet searching, research question go to girl! If I can't find an item I want, she finds it for me and sends 3 links and 5 photos from her iPhone for me. I love that she has truly become a Michigander and loves her home. I love that she stays home and raises her boys.
11-My brother, Bill. I am thankful for his legacy as a Ruth. I am thankful he works hard and is passionate about what he does. I love that he now has a job he loves. I LOVE to tease him about UK basketball...
12-My sister-in-law, Shelley. I love that she loves my brother! I love how she is raising my nephews and how hard she works. I do not know how she works as hard as she does, at a job as demanding as it is, and does so much with her boys on top of it. Shelley is super mom.
13-My other sister-in-law, Jenn. What a sweet, loving, kind spirit! Jenn just oozes love for the Lord and I adore that about her! I love how she longs to see our kids and giggles at our silly videos on facebook. I love that she took time out of her busy day to send a worn out mom a sweet encouraging note. I love her music and to listen to her worship!
14-My brother-in-laws. Joseph, Chris, and Luke. These guys are alllllllllllll so very different, yet I feel like they add so much that is unique to our family. Joe is super protector and I know if I ever need someone to get my back when Chris is gone, he will drop everything to be here. I love that he secretly has a really soft spot in his heart for Jacob. Chris is my go to man when I need help with anything techie! I think I call him every single year at Christmas to help me with my shopping for MY Chris. He will do anything for me and much like Wendy, send me 3 links and 5 photos from his iPhone. I love how he was there for me when Joshua had his allergic reaction to eggs and we were introduced for the epi pen...talking to me from work to confirm what I was seeing and helping us navigate all the doctor visits. Luke is an awesome video game player and Jacob adores him. I love that Jacob adores him. Luke reads Bible stories at night with all the voices and I think that is pretty darn cool, too.
15-NEPHEWS! God has blessed me with some pretty awesome nephews! Andrew is AMAZING with my kids. Amazing. He is growing up into such a young man and I miss having dance parties and jumping on the bed with him, but I love having "real" conversations with him too. He does "cool" stuff too and Jacob loves to watch him do those things. William and Ben live too far away! I adore how William is sooooooooooo sweet with Grace. Super sweet. Smother her with love sweet. It makes my heart melt. I love how Ben is a man of few words and wants to sit on my lap still and be my partner when we play games I'm not good at. I love his laugh. Anderson and Jonathan are too far away too! I love how quietly talented Anderson is. Swim team, piano, great student, math wiz...the kid picks up anything he tries. Jonathan is totally a DUDE. I love that he is ALL boy. I love him in his smart man glasses and hearing my sister shriek when he gets a touchdown in football.
16-My home. You know, I struggle with this one sometimes. I struggle with contentment. Oh, how I would love a larger home to open to others often, but you know, this is where God has us and He can still us our hospitality through our small home. I am thankful we are cozy and snug here together. I am thankful to be safe from the elements.
17-Provision. I am thankful I can make a menu plan, go to the grocery and shop, buying the healthy things I desire for my children, and have no fear of whether or not the money will be there. This goes back to my thankfulness for the hard working hubby.
18-Our van. When you have three kids a large car that your WHOLE family fits in at one time is a big deal! I'm thankful God provided this for us right when we needed it most.
19-Access to His word through the Bible with no fear of persecution. I'm so glad that when I have a question about life, I can go to His word and He is faithful to provide an answer!
20-Jacob's school. I am so thankful for our school decision for Jacob for this year. What a wonderful first school experience he is having and we are so blessed and thankful! I pray each year can be this meaningful to him. Would you join us in prayer as we make some tough choices pertaining to school for next year in the very near future?
21-Teaching BFG. I love teaching our two year olds! They are so much fun!
22-Chocolate. I can't let this one slide by. I love chocolate. All shapes and forms. I don't really discriminate.
23-A washing machine and dish washer. A family of five produces a lot of laundry and dishes in a day. I'm glad I don't have to do any of those things by hand. And I complain that I have to hang the laundry up.....
24-Sewing and a sewing machine. I have found so much joy in creating things and doing it fairly successfully! Sewing makes me feel all homemaker-ish. Ha, ha.
25-For sound guidance of friends over parenting issues. Chris and I are the parents we are because of our church body. We would not know what we were doing without them. They challenge us to think outside the box and I love it.
26-Pictures. There is just something so fun about going back to look at old photos! I'm thankful my mom taught us to keep photo albums and trips home always involve a stop in the den to look something up in a photo album. I love remembering things and enjoying those memories.
27-Motherhood. I love being a mom! It is the hardest job....ever. Some days I want to submit my resignation and quit--or at least submit a lot of PTO all at once, but in all seriousness I adore my children. I love watching them bloom. I love pouring into them all of God's goodness.
28-Computers. I'm so thankful I have access to things like Skype so my parents can see my children grow and randomly sit "with" me to watch them play. I love e-mail and facebook. I enjoy keeping up to date with my nephews and siblings through technology.
29-Praise and Worship. I love to sing. I love to praise Him. I love to praise Him through song.
30-For this exercise. Actually making a list of the things I am thankful for makes me realize I have little to complain or sulk about and lots and lots to praise Him about.
So, what about you? What are YOU thankful for?