Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 30}

I can't believe it's been thirty days....I can't believe it's nearly December. Let the whirlwind begin! I have so much MORE to be thankful for---this is one of the reasons I did this again this year. It's been a good exercise for me to continually be aware of my blessings. I will forever be grateful for your support---via facebook, email, comments. I have been overwhelmed with those of you who have prayed for me and my family. How very blessed I am to have so many friends. So THANK YOU for all of that love---So many of my friends from "the past"---(hee) have contacted me and have been so kind. If you have called---my cell phone is on it's last leg, and often if I'm with Joshua I just don't pick up the phone. I don't want to talk about all of this in front of him---so please understand that sometimes I just think I'll call you later---then it's three weeks later all of a sudden....HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?? SO, I "end" this month with a heartfelt thank you to you--those who have put up with posts about my dog and my scrapbook! ;D  This blog has always been a place for me to just share part of my life---so thank you for embracing it and me. I hope your Advent season is the best yet and that you are truly searching for the Christ in your life on a daily basis. Thanks for reading! I will be posting more this month---but much of it may be different than November--more pictures, more crafts, less talk...well I say less talk---but we'll just see about that!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 29}

Oh my---I'm not going to make it by "the 29th" for my 29th day--oops! I TOLD myself I'd get to bed early tonight, but I AM a music teacher with a big program to do next week and there is much to be done. SOOOOO, I'm a little behind on posting to the blog!

I can't believe an entire month has gone by and I haven't posted about this girl:

She has been such a blessing to me---of COURSE she has---but I'm talking specifically about helping me in my single motherhoodness (yes, I just made up a new word and I LIKE it.....making up words, that is!!)~I have amazing friends who help me with Joshua as needed---but sometimes it's best to just ask a family member. Caitlin has been willing to do anything I've asked---she's driven to my house, run Joshua around, picked him up at school, etc. She has stood in the gap for me when I needed someone---and all of this with a BABY, too. Joshua LOVES hanging out with her and her family---and I love that. There aren't many 10 year olds who have the joy of being an uncle and brother in law! He likes that part of his life. It's been a family joke for sometime now that Joshua didn't know Caitlin existed for the first few years of his life---he knew Hannah---but Joshua even called Caitlin, Hannah and Caitlin has INSISTED that Joshua didn't even know she was around during those years---well, HE DOES NOW!!! She is IN his life---often at her own inconvenience. It has been a HUGE blessing to me not to mention fun for Joshua to hang out with his older sister---oh, and while he's at it, he can be a cool brother in law and uncle, too! So, thank you Caitlin---for your selfless, easy going way---for always trying to work it out so you can be available to help me. It doesn't go unnoticed--and I'm SO grateful. I love you and I'm so proud of you~

Monday, November 28, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 28}

Oh---the late night post---THIS is why I was posting late at night for the NEXT day's I didn't look down at 11:32 with the day almost over before I had a moment to write up a post! BUT, here I am---tonight I'm grateful for perspective. Don't you LOVE that? It's funny, Joshua has been studying the Renaissance in class and one of the things they have studied is "perspective"---looking at a "picture" of something (drawn on a flat surface) that appears to get smaller as it "moves away from" the viewer---that's definitely NOT an expert definition---but this is how Joshua and I have talked about it. I had never really THOUGHT of it in art---until he and I began to discuss it---yes, I'm a loser about the visual arts---I try, but it's not a natural inclination for me!

I mentioned last night that we were studying for his history test and this whole concept came up---like a short answer sort of question that he'll need to know about--so we had some time to discuss it. After I put him to bed, I began to think about perspective---and how it really does change the way one sees something. Perspective---for me is often the act of "stepping back"---in my mind to get the whole picture. This has been a useful tool for me as I've walked through the last few months. I have had to "step back" and see the bigger picture at times---about numerous things---to really understand something. It's a good thing. I couldn't help but be reminded of 1 Corinthians 13 when Paul spoke of perspective or clarity in the last few verses.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

These verses reminded me that "love" to a young child is really different than what "love" is to an adult.....I think some of the reason why is perspective. Don't get me wrong---there's MUCH more to it than  just perspective---but I feel like ALL of the growth that happens to us gives us perspective---it's like a mad cycle. Turning round and round until we have the proper perspective of Christ---I think my cycle will turn awhile longer---but at least it's turning, I guess. See you tomorrow, I hope!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 27}

WOW! I can't believe Thanksgiving break is over and it's time for school to start back! I don't usually cook on Sundays, but tonight I had some steak that needed to be cooked, so I made a nice meal for me and Joshua. We were watching the Patriots game (he's a BIG fan of all teams Boston---who knew?) and I was wrapping garland with lights---it seems that ALL my garland needed new lights this year---ugh...that takes SOOOOOO long---but, I digress. I decided we'd eat in the den and finish the game together. After we prayed, Joshua asked, "Why are we having such a nice meal?" Sad---I know. "We are celebrating going back to school", I said. He dropped his fork and just looked at me---"....because we only have THREE WEEKS left until two more weeks off!!" I continued! WHEW!!!  SCORE!!! Does this teacher/mama know kids, or what? He decided he would still eat with me since I added the second half of the sentence and we enjoyed our meal. After dinner, we cleaned up, he helped me put up my garland outside (yippee!) and then we headed upstairs to decorate his tree. Of course, when we arrived, we found that the lights on his tree don't work this year---great. So yet MORE lights had to be replaced. I just giggled and began the process of cutting off the lights---it's one of those trees that the lights come ON the tree, so they are practically HARDWIRED on! As I did the tree, he played Legos and we talked, studied for a history test, talked some more---made some decisions that needed to be made. It was an "ordinary day"---like many days I've spent with all three of my children. I treasured this day, though---I wish I could convince young mothers to do this! It's so hard when you have three young children around---you never get a moment to yourself, you never have an adult conversation between the hours of 8AM and 6PM...the ordinary can seem so mundane. But I will tell you---on the other end of parenting---that your children REALLY DO grow up too fast, they really do leave home and go to college and meet someone, fall in love, get married and move away (even if it is only a few miles.) They aren't living in your home anymore---the treasured moments come less and less often. This is the way it is supposed to be---but it's not fun. I am so grateful for some perspective as I parent my third child---I was selfish when my girls were little. Don't get me wrong---we read a lot of books, played lots of dress up, had tea parties, doll drama, played "newscaster"---and I watched MANY, MANY full on ballet productions. AND, I was engaged with them, but I think part of me just longed to be doing something else. I hope I've not just confessed what no other mother has ever felt, because I may be quite ashamed of myself if so. I think this is probably a normal response to living the life of a stay at home mom---it is the hardest job ever.  I LOVED it---but I wish I had treasured all those moments more. I have always been struck by the " but Mary treasured up all these things pondering them in her heart" verse in the gospel of Luke. I have wondered why this was written---was it just for the harried mom who needs to be reminded that these are the beautiful things in life? I needed this reminder often,  because now---on the other end, I realize it is gone in a blaze---and before I know it this boy will be in the CrAZY Junior year, or going off to college or meeting his bride at the end of the aisle.

WOW----again, that sounds so dramatic! But that's how fast life goes sometimes. I hope you will join me in treasuring all that happened today---perhaps your children are already gone--but you can still treasure the beautiful moments in your day. Maybe you are the mom stuck at home with three kids---or whatever random number---just find ONE thing today and "treasure it up and ponder it"---save it to remember at another time. I hope your day was a blessed one. Thanks again for stopping by!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 26}

Today, I am thankful for the Body of Christ---one person in particular---who would be mortified if I publicized who he is. He has reached out to my son and thus to me several times in the last year---always at times when I wonder if the Lord didn't just prompt him to do it. He is a giver---I know of several times he has reached out to bless people/organizations who need it---monetarily. Again---it's totally confidential, so that's all I'll say. God used him in my life this week to meet a need. One that I couldn't have met---and I don't really want to say that HE did it, because I truly believe this is the Body of Christ working in the most beautiful way.....he would never want any glory, thanks, or accolades for doing what he can do. I can do other things in the Body---this is what he can do. SO, today---for this man---doing what he can do--what he's GIFTED to do--in the body of Christ to minister to another member---I am thankful. Praise the Lord.

Friday, November 25, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 25}

Oh my! I'm so late today---so sorry about that! I did this today:

This is actually a picture of last year's Christmas stuff---I didn't take a picture of it this year---even though this room is now a beautiful APPLE GREEN and it looks so pretty---I figured you could figure out what I was doing with any picture! Actually, most of what I did today was put lights on my garland for my deck---I had NO idea it would take me so long---THAT is why people buy garland with lights ALREADY ON-----AHHHHHH! GOT IT!

Anyway, it's done now, so that's good. I hope to get a lot done this weekend. Next week will be crazy for me, so if I don't get a lot done this weekend, it just won't happen. I'm so grateful to have a day to get started on this.

I am looking forward to this season. Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. I love how festive everything looks, I love my home at Christmas---I'm no Martha Stewart, but I do enjoy adding extra color and fun to my home at Christmas. I love wrapping up pretty packages (and tying them with string---had to say it). I AM using brown paper packages this Christmas---just so you know! Lots of brown paper, red ribbon and newsprint/music print. It ought to be fun!

Anyway, today I'm grateful for a few things---for the start of the Christmas season---White Christmas was officially viewed today---we didn't finish it, but we started it and that is a big deal around here! Christmas music was turned on. Garland was put up....I'm grateful.

I'm also grateful I survived yesterday---that sounds quite dramatic, I know. I don't mean for it to---but it was a hard day for me and I'm just glad to have made it through that "first" major holiday. We took pictures for my Christmas card---here's a peek---yet another thing to be thankful for. In spite of the circumstances I find myself in---I have a beautiful life---here are a few reasons why! I hope your "black friday" was a great one---I didn't go to ONE store---I usually do---but the internet called! Let me know how YOUR Thanksgiving was!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 24}

Today's post is about hospitality. The following text is a sermon in itself---no need to come up with 'points'---just read this and say a prayer. DONE---
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   
Romans 12:9-21 show

Today I'm thankful for these two people. These are my parents---Barbara &  Harold O'Chester. Of course, one has to be thankful for the people who brought you into the world, cared for you, cheered for you, etc. I'm at their house today. When I was growing up, we always had "extra" people at our Thanksgiving table--not just family. We always had Thanksgiving with another family in Austin. Our extended family was far away and we weren't able to get there for Thanksgiving---they were in the same predicament, so they always had dinner with us. But my mom's house was always open to others, too. If you were alone on Thanksgiving and she heard about it, she would expect you to be around our table. We have done the same thing at our home---I love having "extras" around the table. There's always PLENTY of food---that's for sure. My mom's desire to have people over developed a strong sense of hospitality in me. I don't think this is a "giftedness" in my mom as much as it was a compassion for others---the desire that you not be alone on special days. I hope I have instilled that in my own children--I would have a table full every year at any holiday. I am so grateful for parents who instilled this in me. It wasn't something they "tried" to do---it was one of the things I absorbed. My sister Shannon has organized her neighbors to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for the police department in her town this year---the WHOLE department! A couple of years ago she did this for the fire department. Now, she does live in a smallish town and the department isn't huge, but still, it's a testament to her hospitality that she would think of these who have to work on a "family holiday" and organize this dinner. My oldest sister, Jennifer just made a HUGE fajita feast for all the administrators at her school. Her department could have ordered pizza or something simple, but she wanted to make it special. I'd like to think that the three of us have this heart because of the beautiful example of my parents. I am grateful today for numerous things about my parents, but this is the one I'm highlighting today. I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family and friends and that you take a moment to have a grateful heart today---no matter what your year has been like, there is SO much to be thankful for. Remember the words of  Paul to the Romans---and show hospitality.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 23}

Today's post will be short---I'm up late again and I'm sleepy! ;D I am so grateful today for my childrens' friends. All three of my children have been blessed with such amazing friends---One of the things I love about reading my kids' blogs and tweets is all the beautiful experiences they have with their friends. What a gift from the LORD that they can love well and be loved. I do know that not everyone has this experience---so I know it is a gift and often thank the Lord for the blessings of friends in their lives.

 Caitlin has numerous friends, but these two have been such dear friends to her. AND, I LOVE this picture and desperately wanted to post it here!! HA~

This sweet girl is Eve Taylor's namesake and she's precious---(and I get to work with her, so that's cool, too!)
 Caitlin after she had just had Eve---with some of her friends--

Hannah is so blessed. Not only does she have a SCORE of friends from "home" (that's here), but she has found some wonderful friends at Davidson as well---one that is like a soul-mate it seems. I  KNOW that doesn't happen very often, so for this I am grateful. I think it has made this first semester so much easier for her---and let's face it---LOADS of fun!
 Living on campus and having a rainstorm can bring out the ingenuity in a Davidson, Hannah and Maggie and Aric are sporting trash bags before they dash across campus to their dorms.

Hannah and Maggie in the mountains of NC

And THESE girls---the besties since 4th grade.....this was taken in Boston at the TBB graduation. They all flew up to be there with her---Kristin was still in finals---LOVE.....TWUE LOVE.....

And again, in Boston when the tears weren't flowing as freely!

And then there's Joshua---he is equally blessed with good friends. You've seen different posts about them---one of them is this kid----GREAT KID! I look forward to watching these boys grow up---I hope they will continue to be close---

I hope my children have the opportunity to make many more friends in their lives--- but I do hope they will maintain THESE friendships as well---there's nothing better than an "old" friend! Thank you Father, for the gift of friendship. I pray you have good friends in your life and your childrens' lives as well. Thanks for reading---I am just blown away by the fact that you stop by when you have a minute---what a treat for me to get to ramble to so many people!! Enjoy your holiday tomorrow---can you believe it's Thanksgiving? CrAZy!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 22}

I am so thankful today for Connie Burnham. Connie is the friend I've known the longest here in North Carolina. (Don't you love how I avoided using the word "oldest"?) I've searched my computer for a picture of her----I KNOW I have some, but I can't find them. I met Connie when David was on staff at a church in Henderson while he was still a student. Her youngest was Caitlin's age and we became fast friends. She's one of those people that is just easy to talk to---and you KNOW I can do some talkin'!

As the years passed, we left that church when David started teaching at the Seminary and we began going to church in Raleigh. We still got together as families and Connie and I would get together whenever we could. Our friendship truly developed over lunches and the occasional trip to the lake. Before I knew it I was pregnant with Joshua---I had told her my suspicions pretty early---she understood the situation I was in: two older children and one shocking pregnancy!!! Her kids have a similar spread to mine---two older and then 8 years later ANOTHER! I've watched her parent her children and learned from her. She and her husband seek the Lord and I've been able to see His hand on their lives over these last 15 years. As I've begun to work more, we seem to have less and less time together. We did get together this evening for an early dinner. She knows me as well as anyone here---she is very encouraging, but not afraid to offer advice. She's the true friend. She is the friend that you can depend on. I love her laugh---although lately we haven't laughed as much as we used to---I know that will return. As I reflect on my relationship with Connie I am grateful for a long time friend---one you are comfortable with; you don't have to pretend to be something you're not, or feel something you don't, or like something you don't. It's just easy.....I could go on and on about my friendship with her---but let me just say this---

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik

This is the friend that Connie is to me----she has blown her fair share away after speaking with me. I am truly grateful for a friend like her. God blessed me immensely when he brought her into my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 21}

What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday I wrote a post about my experience with "John"---it was a hard Sunday--a good one, but hard. I am thankful today for my place of worship-Providence Baptist Church. Below are some truly random ramblings that came out of my worship experience this week:

This week I had invited a new family from school to come to church. They had already been invited, but it's a pretty big place so I offered to meet them there and get their kids where they needed to go. What a beautiful thing to see the body of Christ embrace them and care for them. When I arrived I saw that they were already there in the lobby---being greeted by two other Trinity families who recognized them and were taking care of their needs. It was funny, I sat with them in another location today---I realized I had NEVER in my 12 years at Providence sat in this part of the church---isn't that funny how we get stuck sitting in the same location every week?  Do you do that? Anyway, as I sat there, I noticed people I've never seen before. I usually sit on the other side of the building and I do see the same people most weeks. I think that's what makes a large church seem small---- But as I sat there in a "new environment", I realized that all of these people are experiencing life---they are in different places in their lives. I began to think about how you meet the LORD wherever you are---no matter what you're dealing with in life---the Lord meets you there. If you are in rebellion, he pursues you. If you are hurting, he holds you in his arms. If you seek wisdom, he freely gives. He is there. He is faithful---now, he's "here," too---I'm not saying that he only meets me at church---but it is good to hear his voice---to hear him speak from God's word while you ARE there. I never want to go to a church where he isn't exalted---my church isn't a perfect place---mainly because it's filled with imperfect people---but there IS no perfect church. I have been in "church" work much of my life---I KNOW that working at a church is no different than working somewhere else. There are frustrations in any job, any organization you are a part of. BUT, I think the difference is that at least people are seeking the face of the LORD---and should be willing to try to make things right when they offend.

God is a good and faithful God and he pursues us. I'm struck by this fact that he pursues me. The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE--the One who holds it all together pursues ME because he LOVES me. I always think of how I love my own children and how I pursue them and long for a relationship with I long to spend time with them....then I think of myself and my time with the Lord and I'm often ashamed of the time I have for Him. But every week I can gather with other like-minded believers and be reminded of God's sweet grace that is lavished on me in Christ.

I think a beautiful picture of the family of faith happened Sunday night during the baptism service. One of the girls who was baptized tonight had the most beautiful testimony. She has down syndrome and she answered some questions that our pastor asked her. She shared her story of her walk with Christ and then she sang two verses of Jesus Paid it All---- I just sat there in tears (again---not the right mascara---yeah....apparently, lesson NOT learned). It was just a beautiful night. I was thrilled to hear her sing. I taught her siblings in Children's Choir years ago---and there was just this connection to her whole family as I heard her stand in front of the entire church and sing. What a blessing---SO glad I got to be a witness to it. All of this made me more grateful for this family of faith I'm a part of. I hope you have the same experience where you worship. I'm so grateful for the body of Christ called Providence.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 20}

I had a relaxing Saturday----YEA! I did a little work when I first got up, but I got a little crafty today. This is my therapy, I've decided, and I have very little time to do it---SO, when I have an opportunity, I take advantage of it! I can't get into details about what I made today---but I will do a post about this in a couple weeks. I'm working on Advent gifts---and I'm packaging them at this point....what a lovely day of therapy. ;D I think it's healthy to just do something you want to do every now and then. I'm so thankful for some time to think, relax and play with paper! Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 19}

WOW! I can't believe it's November 19th already. Have you done any Christmas shopping yet? I have done a little, but not much. I am so happy to see this weekend here---I have been waiting for this weekend for awhile now......I have all of next week off! YEA!! It is a beautiful thing! I have time to get some things done around my house and start getting ready for Christmas. The next two weeks after Christmas are pretty crazy, so I'm really looking forward to having some time to do this. I know that many schools don't have the entire week off, so I'm grateful that mine does. SO, TODAY, I'm thankful for my week of rest and preparation for the beautiful season in front of me. Here is a list of things I'd like to get done before I head back to school on November 28th:
  • Clean and rearrange Hannah's room (on a small scale---I sort of messed it up when I stole her desk to put in my room, so I'm working that out.....yeah.......)
  • Finish Advent gifts
  • Take some pictures for Christmas cards--everyone LOVES this, btw
  • Enjoy some family time---Hannah and Caitlin and Carson will be in for Thanksgiving, so I'm looking forward to some family time.
  • Start decorating for Christmas---yes, I know, Thanksgiving is next week, but I really won't have time if I wait until I go back to school, so I'm starting early. This is new for me---excited about that!
  • Get into the attic and make some headway rearranging, throwing out, giving away----I'd like to just take everything out and start over, but the walk in is in Hannah's room and she will be home, so this may have to be a January/February project---
  • Go to Goodwill with a load of items to donate---look for a few things to help in Christmas decorations---boots for the front porch are on the list........
  • Oh, yes and blow more leaves---I took a picture one day after I had posted about mowing and making up words to Adele's big hit---yeah, you wouldn't have known I had ever mowed---SO.MANY.LEAVES!!!
That's probably more than I'll get done, but it's a worthy list! Oh and we'll eat some and watch some football and probably do some other things. I'm just looking forward to being together. And if nothing gets done except cleaning Hannah's room, I'm OK with that, too. I will have rested and had a week of family time, and I'm always thankful for that---God is good.

Friday, November 18, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 18}

Today I'm thankful that we have children when we are young! I kept this beautiful child Thursday night--not a great picture---but, still beautiful! She WORE ME OUT!!! I only had her for a couple hours and I was EXHAUSTED! HA!!! She is busy, busy, busy! I think the Lord definitely knew we needed to have our children when we had the energy to keep up----ugh! Perhaps I'll do better Friday when she comes over to see me....prayers are coveted!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 17}

Today I'm thankful for waterproof mascara---seriously. I cry alot.....and it seems that on the days that I tend to cry, I have on the old pink and green Maybelline mascara and it goes everywhere---it's NOT pretty.

SO, I'm thankful for the waterproof stuff that I can pull out for "special occasions"---

Please don't be concerned that I cry alot---I've always been an easy target for tears---I cry at Kleenex commercials, YouTube videos, when a friend tells me any story about her kids---yeah, that's me.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 16}

My sister Shannon sent me this beautiful video on Facebook the other day---I think every parent.  should watch it. It's a bit long, I'll admit, but it is really lovely. I have already posted about my Project Life scrapbook that has really helped me focus my perspective in 2011. This video is about that very thing---about not just remembering the "big moments"---those seem to stick in our minds. The things we miss when our children are gone aren't the birthdays or holidays---we likely still celebrate those with our children---for now at least. What we miss are the ordinary days---snuggling with your kids first thing in the morning, laughing hysterically at the dinner table, watching the favorite movie for the 22nd time----THIS MONTH, cleaning up the skinned knee for the 3rd day this week, sitting at the table doing homework---AGAIN.....the ordinary days.
I have not read this book by Katrina Kenison, but this video is from her blog--and about her book. She is reading a portion of her book to some friends---I loved it---it's a beautiful reminder of how I want to live my life. I wish I had been more deliberate about this with my girls---ugh. You have to just let some stuff go---my girls aren't GONE though---and I can still cherish every bit of time with them. I can still have many "ordinary moments" to share with them and treasure the ones I shared with them in my home. I hope you'll take the time to watch the video--even if it takes you a few days to get back to it. It's worth it. Today, I'm thankful for an ordinary day---Joshua and I played football for about 40 minutes before it got too dark, we had a simple spaghetti meal, studied for a test, hung out, read and went to bed. An ordinary day--for this, I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 15}

Thank you so much for your kind words about my last post---I fear I was misunderstood and I wanted to clarify it. I'm not "hiding" at church because I feel ashamed or embarrassed---well, I'm sure there's something to that---but, I'm "hiding" because I just hate the look on people's faces when I tell them the news. I don't want to see that look, so I just try to talk to people that I know already know. There are numerous people who know---but the one's who don't always want to hear how everything is, and I'd rather not tell. SOOO, please don't think that people at my church are judging me, or being unkind or uncaring---quite the opposite is true. People have been extremely kind and supportive---but their initial reaction is one of deep sadness and shock and I just hate producing that in people, so I'd rather let someone else tell them!

So, today's "thanks" is pretty different than yesterday. I was going to head in another direction, but I have some work to do for school and I'm moving toward the sleepy place---SO, here it is: I'm grateful this day for a sense of humor! I LOVE to laugh---one of my favorite things to do is sit around the dinner table and visit and end up just laughing uncontrollably.

This was brought to my mind today as I was mowing the lawn---now, I know you Texans and Oklahomans who are reading this are thinking---WHAT? MOWING YOUR LAWN IN NOVEMBER? yeah, welcome to my own personal hell! NOT REALLY----I really never mind mowing---it's just getting out of the house to do it, ya know? Anyway, Tall Fescue grass is a cool season grass and we start mowing here in late February, early March and don't finish until around Thanksgiving. It's at least 9 months a year---and in growing seasons---yes, SEASONS, fall and spring---you have to mow about every 5 days or it's so long it drives you crazy. (ahhhhh, the rambling!) Some of you may remember last years' post on leaves here---leaves are a huge part of my November! EVERY YEAR.  This picture is from last year, but I didn't get one today!

Anywhooo----I was out mowing and I was running out of light. If you've been a friend on my fb page for long, you've seen numerous "mowing in the dark" posts in the last year. Well, it gets dark SO early now that I really didn't have much time. I was having to empty my bag after one walk up my side yard---and then again at the back because of the PILES of leaves---it was CrAZy! By 5:30, my tree covered lot was pretty dark---the street lights are on---people are driving by with their lights in my eyes---I got so tickled at what my neighbors must have thought---"there she is again, mowing in the dark." I just began to laugh out loud. NOW, don't get me wrong--I've cried many a tear over all that has to be done around here and I've felt pretty sorry for myself at times---(just keeping it real), but you know, I didn't have to mow today---so, no one was twisting my arm to make me stay out there---I'm just stubborn that way, I guess. BUT TODAY---I just made the conscious choice to laugh and not cry. I think we often have choices like this. I am grateful for the laughter today.

I actually began singing "Rollin' in the Deep" with new words---about my leaves---yeah, Adele has NOTHING on me. It was quite moving, I'll tell ya. I was TRULY cracking myself up---SOOOO, laughter----it's good for you. I always hear that Steve Green kid's song, "A joyful heart is good medicine, good medicine a joyful heart." Anyone else raise their kids in the 90's and remember these? I can still sing all the words---but I'll spare you....oh, and I'll spare you the stupid lyrics to my "Rollin' in the Leaves", too---be glad. Be VERY, VERY glad. Oh, and be happy---laughing is fun!

Monday, November 14, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 14}

This year as I embarked on my Thirty days, I began writing the posts the night before and scheduling them to post the next day. I have continued that just because it's been convenient---so, as you are reading my "thanks for Monday", it's actually ABOUT my Sunday---you didn't really need to know that, but it made me feel better to say it!

Since I have "worn the t-shirt" and told everyone about my situation, I may as well tell you about today. It's not pretty, but it's real life---and I am so grateful in the midst of it for God's gift of grace and compassion that I HAVE to tell you. SOOO, today was Sunday---I dread Sundays----seriously. Just don't like 'em. But, I have a ten year old, and he needs to go to church. Again, I KNOW I NEED to go to church, too, but frankly, I don't really want to most weeks. It's not because I don't enjoy "being with God's people"---even though I sit alone most Sundays---or because I don't hear from the Lord on these days, or that I am not lifted up by being in the presence of the Almighty with his people---it's none of those things. It's the experience I am about to tell you about that make me want to stay at home.

I have told several people over the last couple of months that I just try to hide on Sundays---they are my least favorite days. We were a high profile couple in our church----David taught a Sunday School class, was an elder, etc. Many people knew who we were. The problem with Sundays is that people really don't know about our situation---I mean it. I spoke with two STAFF WIVES in the last month who had NO IDEA what was going on. Now, please don't get me wrong---I'm not mad that they didn't know---just quite shocked. It is a beautiful thing that people aren't gossiping about my family---but I told one of these ladies recently, "It's not gossip anymore---it's the facts. And I'd love it if you'd tell everyone you know so I don't have to." This has been the hardest part of Sundays. I go to church while Joshua is in Sunday School right now, so I have to wait for him to get out of class before I can leave. A Sunday doesn't go by that someone doesn't ask me about David and how everything is going. Or I get the "You're still here? When are you moving?" I have tried to find someone who knows to talk to so I don't have to tell anyone else at church. I figure if I can just keep carrying on a conversation then perhaps no one else will come talk to me---it hasn't typically worked, but it has been easier on me this way.

Why is the telling so bad? It's not really the humiliation---even though that is part of it---it's just.....well, frankly---no one can believe it. I have had ALL SORTS OF REACTIONS---I have had someone truly freak out---and tell me it wasn't true and that I had to be joking---and almost get angry with me for saying it;  I've had someone nearly faint---really; someone went off on ALL MEN and became almost hostile to be around; some just want to hear what happened--how did it happen, did we go to counseling, how long has this been going on, tell me, tell me, tell me. It's awful--honestly. It's so bad that I end up comforting these people much of the time, which isn't a bad thing, but can be pretty awkward considering the circumstances.

But today, today was the day I was dreading---I saw "John" today (name has been changed---just in case you know him). I have been trying to avoid John---I know that's awful---but it wasn't because I didn't want to see him, but because I didn't want to TELL him. I didn't even mind him knowing, but I didn't want to do it. You see, John LOVES my husband. He just felt like he had learned SO much under his teaching and couldn't ever remember learning this much. David and I watched his precious wife of 50+ years die of cancer and went to the funeral and wept and rejoiced all at the same time. He felt a kinship with David--he had shared several meals with him and time talking about life and God's word and numerous things. Every time he saw me he'd politely ask me how I was and then the question would come, "How's David?" The last time he asked me, I should have told him, but I just couldn't do it---I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news---I wanted David to tell him---NOT ME. I didn't really care WHO told him, but just NOT ME!!

I've avoided him off and on---and felt terrible, because I love this man, too. And today, I kept hiding, moving, trying to turn just in time to not be seen....and in my desire to be invisible, I turned around and there he was---right in my face. And he said, "you turned the wrong way". It was time, I decided---"Dear Lord, please prepare his precious heart." And he politely asked about me and the kids and then the dreaded words, "How's David?" So, I said it---"David has left me, John". And the reaction that I KNEW I would get, happened---he questioned me---hoping he had misheard. But after I clarified it, he began to weep and just buried his head in my shoulder---it was awful. I stood there in the middle of the church lobby trying to comfort this hurting man. He just couldn't believe it. Really---his reaction was more of shock than anything else.....that's what most people are dealing with when they hear it. But as I held him several times over the next few minutes, I wept with him---not for me, really, but for him. Because he was hurting.  I could understand his pain---his shock, his bewilderment at this horrible news. And as I stood there---with my boy watching in the background, I remembered that there is grace given to me for THIS day---not for the entire ordeal at once, but for today. And as I pondered the whole thing this afternoon I have been taken back to a passage in 2 Corinthians 12 -

1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Now, please, don't get me wrong---I have no idea if this situation is "a thorn"---and I've always been a bit squeamish when people try to tell me of their own 'thorn'---I'm quite sure I've never suffered like Paul--even on my very worst day. BUT, I can tell you, that as I stood there with John, feeling quite vulnerable---not only with him, but to any onlookers, I was able to let it all go to provide comfort to a brother and friend. This is just God's sweet grace in my life. This wasn't me. I wanted to run, I HAD run when I would see him coming over the last month or so. I'm a coward---but GRACE abounded in my life. I didn't DO anything...God did. I really had no choice but to talk to him---he totally surprised me as I turned around. God blessed me in several ways---first to be able to just be honest and TELL John what was up and then to honestly hurt with him as he dealt with his grief---that I was able to be honest with Joshua as we got into the car and he was curious what that was all about. That I was able to reflect on this today---a day of rest---and be grateful for the moment to "wear the t-shirt" one more time---to be transparent with someone who loves me and only wants God's best for me. This was such a gift. I am grateful today for His grace in my life---it's not the way I would have wanted to see it manifested in me, but I'll take it. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 13}

Today I'm thankful that boys are SO easy! (well, most of the time!) My mother in law once told me that she'd take a house FULL of boys before one more girl. (Sorry, sweet sister-in-law Pam). She was right! SO EASY! If you can stand the energy of the boys, it's a breeze.

So, Joshua had a friend over Friday night to spend the night. I made an easy crockpot meal for dinner---a simple chicken dish. You would have thought I was the best cook in the south according to Joshua's friend---

For breakfast, I was the QUEEN OF THE WORLD!!! I made these:
Yeah, Star Wars pancakes---Yoda's ears got a little done, but guess what--BOYS DON'T CARE!!! I MADE STAR WARS PANCAKES!!! heee~ I bought these Pancake molds  a couple of years ago when Joshua was really into Star Wars. They are still at Williams Sonoma if you are interested--

This is Joshua's plate---butter, syrup and powdered sugar---ick! There was bacon, too---and again, bacon made me the queen of the world----

Then there was lunch---Joshua's request---please don't call Social Services on me---cheese sticks (the breaded ones), macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk....and, at my insistence they ate some mandarin oranges! Whew---so there was SOME fruit served today. Again--you would have thought I had won a "Chopped" competition to hear the compliments! Hysterical!

So, the old saying, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach" must early. Boys are all about food----well, food and shooting things---but that's for another post. I'm so thankful for a happy son, with happy friends, and that I can still, for a few hours be the hero---even if I don't deserve it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 12}

I'm thankful for some time at home today. I don't work TEACH on Fridays, but usually I have to go to school to work. There's just too much to do and not enough time to do it, so I work on Fridays. At least when I do work, I have the freedom to work from home. That is always a blessing. Today, however, I didn't do school work. It was a nice respite. I DID LOTS of work at my house---some serious cleaning took place, but I SO enjoyed myself. I long to be home more. That's all I ever wanted to do. I am grateful for the ability to do my job and my job has blessed my family. I love my students and am so grateful for my time with them, but I LOVE being at home more. My children couldn't have attended Trinity Academy had I not worked, but I never wanted a career---I still don't. Well, perhaps I should rephrase---the only career I've ever truly wanted was wife/mom. SO, being at home fulfills me---it FEEDS my soul. I am praying for a day soon that I will be able to be at home again--even if I need to work, hopefully I will be able to work from home. The school keeps growing, so my hours keep growing. When I first began I worked about 12 hours a week----no more!

So, I have rambled on about work, when what I'm thankful for today is time at home---THIS is the greatest blessing---to have a quiet day at home to catch up on some things. I could work this way everyday for a week and I'd still have plenty of projects in my house, but at least I made some headway today. It was a good day---and I am grateful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 11}

I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of all of you---those who have taken a moment to read my ramblings; who have taken a moment to write a comment or an email or a fb message to encourage me. It has been precious to me---and something I will not soon forget. I was talking with a dear friend a couple days ago and the blog came up. He asked me how I really was because when he was writing his blog no one ever knew when he was down because he could keep it from his audience. I giggled at that later because I thought---oh my---I am SO transparent---there is NO WAY I could keep anything from anyone! Transparency isn't always a good thing, of course. I think however, it is who God made me---I'm sure I could use a filter occasionally! HA~There are a few bloggers that I used to read who seem to have the perfect life. They NEVER talk about anything going wrong on their blog---that's certainly their choice---BUT, I just couldn't read them anymore---my house will never be that clean, my children's clothes will never be that cute, my awesome thing that I make will NEVER look that get the picture. I have tried to be real on this blog---for the first couple years it was just a place to share the crafty stuff I had made. Occasionally I go back and see all sorts of things I'd change now, but it's where I was at the time.

Well, this afternoon I had something happen that just totally threw me--it brought up SUCH sadness, grief, anger, pain, etc. I just cried and cried---everyone has days like this---I know this, but I'd rather not! As I began to think about what I would write in my post tonight I wondered what---after that---I could be thankful for. Now, please don't write me the list of 1,000 things----I already know them. I just wasn't feeling it. I sat down and wrote a friend a quick email to share the yucky thing and awhile later I received this beautiful, beautiful note from her. As I read it, I cried more than I had over my pain. It was just what I needed. She encouraged me, she cried with me, she HEARD ME.

But then she pointed me to Jesus. She encouraged me to "crawl in His lap and tell Him how much it stinks, and He will sing over you and comfort you in a way none of us can. He's just such a beautiful, forgiving, all-consumed-with-love-for Kathleen kind of God." She pointed me to Jesus.

Oh, how I need a friend like this in my life--especially now. One who will point me to Jesus. And I will say, she always does. Last year I did a post of my friends here. These friends are still part of my life. These are the ladies who have walked me through the darkness. These are the ladies who have loved me and prayed me through many other things in the last few years. I LOVE them. I love their families. I love their pets! ;D I am SO grateful that God, in his rich providence, saw fit to knit my heart together with women who love Christ and want me to love Him, too. WHAT A TREASURE. SO, today--I'm thankful for my sweet friends. I have other friends---some of them "old" friends who have known me for so long and do the same things with me---we just don't have as much occasion to see one another. THIS is for my Raleigh friends: Anita, Susan, Robin & Kristin.

I long to be a friend who will point my friends to Christ. What a gift this is to others---Lord, may this be true in my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 10}

Isaiah 55

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
hand I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

This passage has come to me several times over the last months as I pondered what was going on in my life. The thought that keeps coming back to me as I think of the changes in my life is that God knew we'd need this boy:

I had no way of knowing even a year ago that I'd be in this place---that we all would. Carson has provided quiet stability to all three of my children. It's amazing that God saw, God knew, God provided. Joshua LOVES Carson, Hannah does too. (oh, and Caitlin likes him OK, too!)  When they came to us and wanted to marry so young, I had no idea what the Father knew----but He did. 

And God knew we'd need HER:
A dear friend of mine and I often talk about how holding a baby is just free therapy---(in a good way!!) especially for those who don't have "a baby" anymore. There's just nothing better than snuggling up with a little one....and when that little one belongs to one of YOUR babies----oh my! THE BEST! WHO KNEW that this precious gift would grace the world last February 28th? Our loving Father did. I often think I owe Caitlin and Carson an apology that they didn't have long to be married without kids because the Lord knew I'd need a baby to bring such JOY into my life!!! (Yeah, it's all about me!) 

I had planned for this post to be this beautiful treatise on the way of the LORD----yeah, that hasn't happened. It's bedtime and my brain isn't really awake. BUT, today I'm thankful that the LORD SEES! He KNOWS. He loves. He KNEW what my life would be like during these days and  that these two (among MANY OTHERS) would make me smile just to think about them. For THIS I am grateful~I hope you have a lovely day today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 9}

Tonight's post is entirely different than most I have posted---part of the reason is it's coming up on midnight and I'm exhausted and I'm just starting this. I had another post in the works, but I think it will take awhile.

Today I am thankful for Pinterest---yes, I said it.

"I'm Kathleen and I'm addicted to Pinterest."

"Hi Kathleen"

What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can organize things that you find on the web. You can see other peoples pins/boards and be inspired by them as well.

I've been known to call Pinterest my favorite time waster. I don't have much time to waste lately, but occasionally I'll go on a Pinterest binge and I'll get on there several days in a row---I can't ever just look for a minute---it takes awhile for me to "browse" all my friend's boards.

This isn't something I couldn't live without---but it's inspiring---fun, and it's a good way to get to know someone as well--you can see what they pin to their boards and figure a little out about them. LOVE THAT! It's like peeking into their house without the arrest warrant!

It's been a nice escape when I needed one---and, OK, a time waster when I didn't. But either way, go look around. You don't have to be a "member" to look around! But, if you ask for an invitation---don't say I didn't warn  you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 8}

Today's post may seem a bit silly to some of you, but I believe it was what God used to pull me out of the darker places I was in early in the year. Christmas had been especially hard for me and it wasn't long afterward that I saw this blog post by Becky Higgins. It was instructions on how to use her Project Life scrapbooking system. This is a system that ends the idea of the 12 hour scrapbook page---instead you get everything in a box to complete a scrapbook for an entire year except your pictures and words. WHAT? AND you don't just capture the "big events" in life---birthdays, holidays, graduations, etc. You document YOUR LIFE----you take a picture a day and document it. So, I purchased the entire kit for $54 (I think) and I began. For that money I received a binder, page protectors, journaling cards, a stamp for the day, month & year, truly everything I needed to get started except for pictures. I have actually kept up with this during the year and it really has been an amazing blessing. Many of the photos are just from my phone---a dated blackberry, but I let go of that perfectionism and realized that sometimes a memory is worth capturing even if the picture is bad!

With all of the sadness going on in my life this year, as I mentioned before, I began to change my perspective on my life and look for God's beauty in everyday. In a way, this system forced me to look at all the blessings in my life---the little ones and the big---and capture them for this book. I have been so encouraged as I've looked back through the pages and been able to smile at how great my life is ~even in 2011~

Below are just a few pictures of some of my pages--I really don't have a way to photograph them well to do them justice, but I think you'll be able to "get the picture". Becky has revamped her kits this year. I have a bunch of stuff already in my cart on Amazon----soon I'll hit the "Checkout" button and I'll be starting another year of remembering God's blessings in a tangible way. If you are a scrapbooker who feels like you can never get it done, why don't you check this out? It has changed my crafty life! Many great scrapbookers use this system now. For me, it was what it took to take my eyes off of myself and put them on the blessings from the Lord's hand. For this reason alone, it was worth every penny.

I have added pages in for special events---this is Joshua's class Valentine's Party this year.

I took just a FEW pictures of Eve's birth----I have enjoyed adding in extra pages as the event warrants. I ended up buying another binder and have almost filled it. So, for 2012, I'm going to purchase 2 binders from the beginning.

Here's an example of a more "everyday" page---not such a momentous occasion---even though it was my first ceiling to scrape!

One week in the summer---

random pictures from a week in April

another page with 5x7 inserts added~

That's it! Again, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "a scrapbook changed your life"---and I can truly say---YES---GOD used this crafty project to change my perspective on my life and for this I'm SO grateful~

Monday, November 7, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 7}

WOW! I was working on another post for today, but something interrupted me and now this HAS to be today's post! That one can wait for another day!

One of the saddest parts to me about all the changes in my family is not my own personal sadness, but grieving for my children. I have amazing children, who all seem to be "Okay"---as one of them recently told me, "whatever that means have a new 'Okay' now". But, I know this affects them---obviously I'm with my son more than my daughters, so I see the affects on him more than they. He has a lot of trouble sleeping these days. There are likely several reasons for this, but suffice it to say, it's a major struggle for him to get to sleep at night.

Tonight (Sunday, 11/6) was another such night and he came into my room very anxious. As we began to talk about things I just felt prompted to ask him again about his relationship with Christ. He "said a prayer to ask Jesus into his heart" at a camp one time, but I know he didn't understand even the basics of what that meant. I'm not in his head or heart, but I just felt like he needed to trust Christ. As we began to talk it out it was one of those beautiful moments in parenting when you wish it was being recorded so you'd never forget any of it, but recording it would just be wrong---you know what I mean? We had a sweet conversation about his heart and where he was with Christ. As he began to talk through it all, I could see him resisting and the LORD was pursuing him so hard. Finally, I asked what was keeping him from trusting Christ tonight;  He said he KNEW he would just weep and lose control and this pride was keeping him from coming to the LORD. He finally said he wanted to trust Christ and give his life to him. We went into his room and knelt at his bed and he prayed the most beautiful prayer---honestly---just beautiful---full of his desire to KNOW God and walk with him. He was thoughtful and purposeful in his prayer and I was convicted that my prayers are not this thoughtful most days. OUCH~

There is NO GREATER PRIVILEGE than leading your child to Christ---I have been fortunate to be with all my children at this sweet time and I am SO grateful. SO, now, my entire family is sealed in Christ. This day, uh, yesterday for you!---November 6, 2011 is a blessed day. Praise the LORD with me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 6}

I'm thankful for a day to rest. Now, I don't mean sleep----just to NOT WORK! This school year, I am working long days and spending quite a bit of time working at night---I think most teachers probably do this. It is exhausting---and you never feel like you can catch up, so it's just depressing! (dramatic, much?) Yesterday I was home alone for much of the day and I just played with my paper! If you have visited this blog very often, you know I like to create things with paper and stamps and ink. That's what I did yesterday. I have had very little time to do this---and when I have had time, I didn't have the creative energy. I didn't do much stamping, but I began some special things for my kids for Advent---what fun that was. I'll show them to you later in the month when I finish them. I think it's healthy to have a hobby--even if you don't get to do it very often. Whatever yours is, you should take the time to do it every now and then. I hope you have some time to play today. Thanks so much for stopping by~

Saturday, November 5, 2011

{Thirty Days of Thanks~Day 5}

I have so much to be thankful for---and this is SUCH an obvious one---but it's not JUST Joshua---even though I'm SO thankful for him. BUT, what I'm really thankful for today is the true privilege I have to be such an intimate part of his life. Stay with me, now---when both parents are in the home they share the duties/privileges of parenting-one parent will take the kids out to play, another will do something else--then vice versa. And, of course, you do lots together as a family, too, but you don't do EVERYTHING together. But when you are alone, you "have" to do it all---hanging out, throwing the ball, doing the homework, running him around to activities, etc. For awhile after "the craziness" started I was so overwhelmed with doing everything with Joshua----I didn't really mind, it was just so, well, ALL THE TIME.  And here's the grateful part: I have just turned those weary, frustrated, scared thoughts on their heads. I began to look at the entire situation as a blessing---not that I had the "duty" to be with my son 24/7, but that I GOT THE PRIVILEGE to be with this amazing boy 24/7. Now, I am not naive; I know there will be plenty of times in my future that I will be wishing for a moment alone---BUT, I have also raised two daughters already and realized that the time went by TOO fast. So I am capturing those rogue pity party thoughts and remembering how blessed I am to be able to be this sweet companion to this amazing 10 year old.

In early 2011 I began to realize that I had to be more engaged in Joshua's life. I was trying to come up with things to do together that we both enjoyed. We read all 7 of the Harry Potter books together while he was in 4th grade---his first time! After we finished each book we'd watch the movie---(this was a VERY BIG DEAL because we Nelson's are just a little bit freaky about Harry Potter. If you don't believe me, see this post, and this post, and this one. You get the point.) He taught me how to play chess (I'm really awful---which is quite fun for him), we play a lot of Uno or Go Fish, etc. But, thanks to the Madden 2011 game for PSP, my son is now a HUGE----dare I say, OBSESSED NFL fan.

Now, I grew up watching Staubach, Ed Too Tall Jones, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Randy White---yep, I watched football EVERY Sunday---I KNEW football, I knew Professional football. I hated the Steelers. And the Redskins---I was die hard. THEN came Jerry Jones---he fired my coach and it was ALL OVER. I'm serious---I probably hadn't watched an entire pro game that wasn't the Super Bowl (commercials---you know?) since that fateful day in February of '89. We filled our football void with a much more satisfying football scene---college ball. SO exciting---fun, more unpredictable--did I say FUN....Vince Young's amazing performance at the Rose Bowl in 2006---you get the picture. So, it happened to be a pretty bitter pill to swallow when my son became obsessed with the NFL---I was over them---I was DONE---Sundays are nap days.....but there was this little thing called "engaging".

I had printed out a free printable from one of my favorite bloggers, Becky Higgins that says this: The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship. SO, whatever the task---homework, lego building, reading together, yard work, the PURPOSE is to STRENGTHEN the relationship. This was a little quote that just stuck in my head. And whenever I found myself wanting to run to my room and hide when my boy wanted to go throw the ball or play chess, I would remind myself of this. It began to change me--It changed the way I looked at each "task"---not just with Joshua, but with my girls, my friends, my co-workers. This quiet little quote became a screaming mantra.

SOOOOOOO-(I warned you I was a rambler) two weeks ago, I found myself driving up to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC and hiking up to our seats at my first NFL football game.
We were 3 rows from the top---NEVER AGAIN will we sit so high---I nearly had a heart attack the third time we went up----but, Joshua and I went to a Panthers game....we were there.
 We saw Cam Newton's dance upclose and PERSONAL---well, not really "close", but you know what I mean---LIVE, in person! We spent 6 hours in the car together---what a privilege!
 We picked up Hannah for dinner and had such fun----we got to see her new ink (I feel so cool just typing that---HA!) We made a memory that will NOT be forgotten (except the 32nd row part---I'm trying to forget that!)
SO, my grateful heart today is so glad to have the opportunity to develop a deep relationship with my son. I would LOVE to have his sisters back at home and have that much time with them. That's not possible---so I will appreciate the unique opportunity before me and be thankful.