Thursday, November 22, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 22}

Day 22 | Thanksgiving Day

This Thanksgiving was destined to be different, but I had no idea when I woke up this morning how different it would be. Caitlin and Carson were going to be with Carson's family in Rocky Mount, so it was just going to be Josh and Hannah with me at home. So, we accepted an invitation to the Guys' home and planned to join them today. I baked pies yesterday in preparation for the big day.

Little did I know that Joshua would wake up with a stomach virus. This meant Joshua and I would be staying home. I realized as Hannah drove away to celebrate in Rocky Mount with our new extended family, that I have NEVER missed Thanksgiving! We've always been at family's home or our own, so if someone is sick, you just put them in a bedroom and check on them, but you still GO and enjoy the family time.

It was a quiet, reflective day---not a bad way to celebrate Thanksgiving---I really had some time to thank the Lord for our beautiful life---it's not perfect, but it IS beautiful. We are so blessed to be able to share our lives with sweet family and good friends. I am not feeling great myself, so this has taken me MUCH longer than it should have. I will close now---but just know that I count  you among those many blessings in my life. Thank you for loving me and my family and walking through life with us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 21}

Day 21 |time with the kids~

I was so thankful today to have some time to hang out with Hannah and Joshua. I baked quite a bit of the day, so Hannah and Joshua had a Doctor Who-fest in the den---with fish sticks and custard....I think you have to be a Whovian to get that.....I'm just figuring this out, but yes, they dipped their fish sticks in the custard......ummmm, no.

When I finally finished making my pies, I went out and picked up Brave from Redbox and a pizza from Amante pizza. It's right up the street from us and one of our favorite places to get pizza. Anyway, sometimes it's just nice to do nothing together--I'm so grateful for some down time with my kids!

We are spending the day with Carson's family tomorrow in Rocky Mount. I'm grateful for the opportunity to join them for this special day of Thanksgiving. I'll load some pictures tomorrow, I hope!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 20}

                                                                          photo credit

Day 20 | God's Provision

I ran into Harris Teeter today for a few things I'll need to let the bake-fest begin tomorrow in preparation for Thursday. Thursday---Thanksgiving Day. A day that most of us will have much more than we could ever need---and we'll likely throw part of it out before we can eat it. As I was there, I kept passing a mom and her two preschool children. As I went from aisle to aisle walking by them, I couldn't help but overhear her telling the children, "no, you can't have this, no you can't have that." Now, I've done the same things with my toddler children---toddlers and grocery stores can be a mother's worst nightmare! But I couldn't help but wonder if they "couldn't" have these things because she just couldn't afford it.  I pondered this as I shopped the rest of the store and wondered what she ended up buying.

I left the store with 8 grocery bags and a more grateful heart. Even as my family has walked through various changes in the past 18 months, we have always had far more than we've ever needed. I don't have to worry if I can feed my family. I don't have to decide between paying a bill and buying groceries.  I know that many Americans live this struggle each and every month. I am SO BLESSED to NOT have to worry about this. I could talk about this for a long time---but I think we all know how blessed we are---sometimes we just forget to say it out loud---and acknowledge the ONE who gives us all that we have. So, I'm saying it---Thank you Father, Holy God, for your gracious provision in my life. Thank you for sustaining me and giving me all I need and much, much more. May I NEVER take for granted your good gifts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 19}

This picture is about six months old---I love it though. Today I was SO thrilled to have all of my "babies" in my house at the same time! That doesn't happen often enough for me (yes, I'm spoiled---it DOES happen more often than in some families, but I'd love it every week if I could work that out!) One of the things I love about having them all in the house is that they are STILL just siblings--even with the age differences...they pick at each other, laugh hysterically at each other, constantly tell me, "I was NEVER allowed to do that"---you parents know what I'm talking about. There's a lot of eye rolling and sighing----and I just LOVE it! I love to just observe them together---it's so funny!

I do love that siblings can say things to each other that the child would NEVER hear from their parents. I love that my children (and Carson when he's here) get along and for the most part, really enjoy being together. This is what I love about the holidays---and I'm so grateful for a few days with them in my home!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 18}

 Day 18 | Serving at Church

I woke up this morning and realized that I hadn't posted yesterday....I let it go! Yea for me! I stayed up super late trying to get some more Advent gifts wrapped and ready for all my children & grandchild & nephews....yeah, that's a lot of wrapping! I really enjoy it---but it's nearly 170 little packages to get together by December 1st!!! That's a lot! Anyway, I was busy doing that and didn't get my post up.

Today, I went to church where I have the privilege of serving in a one year old Sunday School class. We have the "oldest ones"---many of them have turned two in the past quarter or are about to. What a fun age! Our class is really happy most of the time---which is so nice. There are a few classes on the hall that have so many sad babies as I walk by each Sunday...I'm so grateful ours are a little more comfortable. We have a lot of consistency with the workers and I know that helps children this age.

As I was serving today I was reminded of all the years I was dropping off babies and preschoolers for someone to keep so I could just sit through the worship service in peace! Do you remember those days? It was an hour or two of adult interaction and I was SO grateful to have it! The children are so precious! I enjoy spending time with them and the people I work with each Sunday. Let's just face it---babies make you smile. They are always good for a hug or a giggle. I wanted to take a picture of my class, but I don't have permission to use their faces on my blog, so I decided I wouldn't.

Why am I teaching in the Preschool area? If any of you know me, you know that I really LOVE working with older children. How did I end up in a "ones" class? I needed a job that didn't require any preparation each week---I just don't have time during the school year. I knew I'd leave it until the last minute and that wouldn't serve the students best. I knew I needed to get back into a Sunday School class, but I really wasn't ready for an adult class---so I decided to serve some parents of preschoolers. I'm grateful the Lord showed me the need and I was able to say yes. I don't know if I'll serve in here forever---but it's been a nice transition for me.

Joshua and Hannah are here with me for the week and I'm really looking forward to some sweet time with them. They are downstairs watching a Doctor Who episode now---I'm not watching because I'm only in Season 3 and that would be WRONG to watch something from a later season until I'm caught least according to Hannah Nelson. This is her latest obsession and I don't want to upset the rules of the obsession.

So, today I'm grateful for an opportunity to serve the young families of Providence Baptist Church. AND I'm grateful to begin a week at home with my kiddos! I hope you are able to gather with your family this week and enjoy each other. Have a great week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 16}

Day 16 | Prayer warriors

I'm so grateful for godly women in my life who support me. There's a group of women in my life who are my prayer warriors--and I am theirs. We text or email each other regularly with prayer requests----and we KNOW that these requests will constantly be lifted to our loving Heavenly Father. What a treasure it is to have someone to stand in the gap for me. I have texted these women in all sorts of situations---from the craziest of places to say---PRAY FOR ME----NOTHING else could knit our hearts together like prayer does. I am SO grateful for them~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 15}

Day 15 | Warmth

Today I'm so grateful for my warm home. For my gloves for the drive home. For my umbrella and good shoes. Things I take for granted everyday.

Joshua and a friend play football most days after school while I and the friend's mom finish up our work at school. Today they went outside in that cold rain and played football for an hour and 15 minutes. Then, they came in to warm up and went out again for about 20 minutes more. I began to think that they could go out and get so cold (which I thought was crazy---but I'm not the mom who says, "it's too cold to play outside") because they had a warm place to come to when they got too miserable!

As I walked into my house after work---the programmed thermostat had done its job and my house was toasty warm. I had to pause and say thank you to a gracious God who is the giver of all gifts. Joshua was able to go upstairs and take a long, hot shower. I was able to prepare a hot meal for us and we were comfortable in spite of the wet, cold conditions right outside our windows.

I don't want to take these gifts for granted---praying I'll remember to be thankful throughout this cold winter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 14}

Day 14 | Choir---best hour of the work week!

Today is Wednesday.....I'm sorry---just as I typed that, all I could hear in my head was that children's song, "Today is Monday, today is Monday. Monday, string beans, all you hungry children, come and eat it up. Today is Tuesday, today is Tuesday. Tuesday, spaghetti, Monday string beans, all you hungry children, come and eat it up. Today is Wedn......"--you get the picture!? Do you know that song?

But, I digress......or do I? As I was saying, before I interrupted myself (which happens all the time as those of you who really KNOW me, know!), today is Wednesday. On this day, I have my favorite hour of my entire work week......EVERY. WEEK. Wednesday afternoon I have choir until 4:00pm. My choir is an auditioned group of 3rd through 6th graders at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. I LOVE this group of students! It's not just these particular students I love, but getting to work with a group of motivated students and just SING GOOD MUSIC!! The number has varied throughout the years--with 14 in our first year, 54 students now and various numbers in between. 54 students crammed into my classroom! We work HARD!! I could write posts and posts about this group---about these individual children. You see all sorts of personalities in a group like this and I love watching them work together throughout the year toward common goals. I could write about the boys in my group---particularly the third grade boys who are just there to go to Busch Gardens (we go to a competition there every year) and when they realize they have to put up with this crazy, picky, pushy lady for all those weeks, they suddenly decide that MAYBE Busch Gardens isn't so great after all!! I could talk about how they sing and they let me push them and push them and they KEEP giving me more. I love to watch my students go from the front row in third grade and move back a row every year. They finally make it to the coveted back row and they look at each other and roll their eyes, but they still sing their hearts out! I could tell you how Carol Riley, a sweet friend and grandmother to one of my choir members sacrifices her time each week to come and play for us. We learn SO MUCH MORE with her as a partner and I am SO blessed to have her.

This sweet/crazy/ornery group of children make me smile. I laugh hysterically while I'm with them. I leave there totally wiped out and full of energy at the same time. They meet a need in me---I'm not even sure what it is exactly, but why else would I spend the HOURS I spend on top of my 7 classes a day to teach them? It's not required---I just love it. I love them. They remind me why I went into teaching in the first place. I love children. I love music---in THAT order. I want my students to have fun with music and learn to love it, too.

Today is Wednesday---I had choir today---and I am grateful for each little face and voice in that group. I am blessed~

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 12}

My thankful heart is seeing that it's November 12th and freaking out a bit! I have a major production in a month and I feel SO FAR behind! I think I probably feel this way every year at this time--but it seems "new" to me every year.

Today I'm grateful for a few little things---nothings "major" or life changing to anyone---but I'm still grateful for them. I am thankful at this point in the holiday season that I can look again to the past and KNOW that "it" will all get done and  work out just fine. "IT" is all of the stuff that has to happen between now and the program date---and just the knowledge that I've done it numerous times before is a comfort to me. So, my heart can rest knowing that the All-Sufficient One has this more than handled.

I'm also thankful tonight for some extra time with Joshua to play a game. He didn't have too much homework, so after dinner and clean up we were able to sit and play Yahtzee of all things. I'm not sure when I last played it---but it was found in the "great clean-out of 2012"---and we played it tonight. There is something to be said about no screen time---it forces us to be together in a more engaging environment than just watching a movie together---we should play more games....real conversations happen over games---not so much over a movie. Now, don't hear me  and think I'm bashing the movies---because we Nelson's LOVE to watch some movies---but it was a refreshing flash back to when the screen didn't consume children---or adults. Sadly, I think those days may be gone forever. We do have screens everywhere---we are forced to use them for work, we have them on our laps, in our bedrooms, in our pockets and purses. I'm grateful today for this pause in the norm---this quiet game---well, if you've ever played Yahtzee, you know it's not a quiet game---that dice cup is the most annoying thing in the world......but, you know what I mean!

Enjoy your week---and take a moment away from the screen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 11}

Day 11 | Purging is good!!

I began cleaning out my attic today---I say "began" because there is still plenty to do, but I have gotten SO much done and it feels great. Now the challenge will be to get it all out of my house by next Saturday---that's the cut off date for me! Everything is in Hannah's room or in the dining room. If I've been through it and it's leaving my house, it's in the dining room, if I still need to dig through the box, it's in Hannah's room----I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know this!

I went through YEARS of things today---I opened every box and dug through it---poured over some of it---cried a little, laughed a lot, let go of a bunch of stuff we just don't need anymore. I'm not sure WHY I kept most of it, but it's time to send it to new owners----or the dump----quite a bit will end up there!

I'm grateful today for several things---that I'm healthy enough to work a long day----much of it spent hunched over in the attic or sliding under beams. I'm thankful to be reminded of many sweet times in my past. I think when you go through change, sometimes you get stuck in the change and you can't remember what the past was like---that it was good....not perfect, but good.  With that said, I'm grateful that I'm a saver---that I have scads of things to remember the beautiful. Sometimes you need something to look at and hold on to in order to remember the truth of the past---good or bad. This was a gift to me today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 10}

Day 10 | Seasoned parenting...

Today I'm grateful I've parented for a while now. I will not give details---to avoid embarrassment to the child---BUT, this process is easier the third time around. Granted, doing it alone has its challenges, but my years as a mom and likely my years in the classroom help me be a better parent. I wish I had had this wisdom with my girls! (They probably do, too!!)

I couldn't help but think of this verse today as I had to dole out some discipline.
    Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
(Romans 2:4 ESV)
God's kindness is meant to lead you---ME---to repentance. If he is our Heavenly Father and therefore, our parenting example in many ways, shouldn't I lead like HE does?  I don't know about you, but when I'm in the middle of disciplining, my first thought isn't "kindness"--or forbearance or patience, for that matter. As the benevolent dictator of this home, too often I rule with a tone that isn't kind---BUT, I will tell you, the kindness comes out much more often that it used to. I think the tricky parenting years may still be in front of me as I "parent" grown children (whatever THAT means---still learning there!) and I cope with a teenaged boy----ewwwwwww! I'm thankful today that my Heavenly Father is still parenting me along the way---teaching me to be a better teacher to my son. And I'm SO thankful for some experience that make the journey a little easier--He knew I'd need that about this point in my life, too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 9}

Day 9 | Baby #2 On the Way!

Today I'm so thankful to have another baby on the way in my little family! What fun for us to get to celebrate with Caitlin and Carson---such a gift! She is due February 18th! We will have a lovely spring around here!! They aren't finding out what sex the baby is ahead of time, so we'll have a GREAT surprise at the hospital!

And, btw, isn't she beautiful?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 8}

Day 8 | My colleagues

I'm so thankful today for my sweet colleagues at work. I'm blessed to work with some lovely, hard working, kind, hard working, funny, hard working, gracious, did I mention hard working?  women! Joshua woke up sick today---nothing too serious, but I could tell as soon as I entered his room that he was sick and wouldn't be going to school today.

I always feel awful when I need to miss school because sometimes they don't get a substitute for me....which means these amazing---hard working----women will have not one minute to breathe during the day if they don't have music. This leaves me torn---my son is my priority, but these women are my friends and we DO work together toward a beautiful goal.  Joshua was going back to sleep, so I decided I'd try to rearrange my schedule/combine some classes and see if I could just come home early. Every person I asked had the attitude, "What can I do to serve you? It was so beautiful. What a gift to me. I was able to rearrange everything and leave by 11AM----WOW---that was almost miraculous! These ladies are amazing! They are flexible, kind, generous, professional educators and I'm so glad I get to walk beside them.

Thank you ladies for blessing me today~

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 7}

If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
Samuel Johnson

Day 7 | Perseverance--
Last year this crazy kid received an award at school for his diligence. He IS a hard worker. He is a deliberate worker who pretends not to care about the results, but he does. I am continually learning from him---let's face it, I'm back in school now!!! We study together for everything! I'm hoping to learn math this time around---no, really, starting over and LEARNING MATH!

Joshua's perseverance is a beautiful lesson to me. The child is only in the 6th grade and he works harder than I ever worked in High School. Now, the work isn't necessarily as hard as it was at that time in my life, (or as it will be for him later), but the time commitment is definitely as much, if not more than it ever was for me. 

I am a hard worker---but I'm not sure I truly "labor" over my work like he does---I'm learning from him to KEEP AT IT. Even if the task seems impossible--it's always better to have tried and fail than never to have tried at all---right?

I'm so thankful for a reminder right here in my home to persevere---in ALL things, persevere. One of the verses I pray for Joshua is below---tonight as we were getting through the homework, I began to think of this and hoped and prayed that I, too would persevere---that I, too would be an example to HIM of perseverance. This was a humbling moment as I realized how often I have failed to do this. I'm thankful for these moments of truth in my life (and also that they can often be private and not in a humiliating way---which is also a possibility! ;D ) So, today, I'm thankful for my son---and his  example to me of perseverance---even when he doesn't know he is an example. I'm thankful for this hope---that "does not put us to shame because of God's love"---that is powerful knowledge! I hope you are thankful today for something---for many things!

    Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 ESV)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 6}

Day 6 | Reality check

So, I've already talked about voting on Day 2---and I was thankful for that. Today I'm thankful that it really doesn't matter who wins---I KNOW, I KNOW----some of you just left. But listen---I am thankful today that I live in a great republic-that I get to help choose my leaders (I'd help more if I lived in Ohio, apparently---but still.) Either way, I am so tired of 'American Christians' thinking that a "party" or a "man" will save us.

There is a person in my life who wants to help me---like, he (with his family) does a lot to serve me. The other day, I had asked him the name of a person to help fix my lawn mower and he wanted to pay for the fix----I just needed the name---this was a texted conversation, so I finally said, "Jesus is my Savior---not YOU!!" Would I love for him to pay for my fix?---Well, YEAH, but it's not necessary---and I know that he can use that money to help someone else who has a great need right now. That is the way he works---he gives. I'd like to say that to those who are mourning now because it looks like they are close to calling this election ---and not for the "American Christians' " candidate. I'd like to see us lift high the name of Christ as much as we have lifted high the name of "put favorite candidate here". Do we REALLY believe that one person holds that much sway over a holy God? UGH----it just makes me sad.

Today I'm thankful that I DO trust in this holy God; that I know He sees all and knows all and he can handle anything that may be done here.  I'd like to see a more civil approach to this process----among believers!!! Isn't that the LEAST that we can do as a "chosen generation, a Royal priesthood, a holy nation"? YES--- I could ramble on this topic for a long time, but I'm sleepy and my pillow is calling my name. I thankful tonight for Jesus. That He is the creator and He created all those in charge and we can trust Him. Goodnight---life will still go on tomorrow---no matter who wins!

Monday, November 5, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 5}

Day 5 | ...give thanks in all circumstances....

I teach music at a private school here in Raleigh. One of the things I do each month is expose my students to hymns of our faith that have often been forgotten. Now, this post is not going to be a diatribe on hymns or choruses or anything like that---BUT, it's context---SO, moving on....I was introducing our November hymn today. We are learning "Now Thank We All Our God" by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649). I was telling them about Rinkart's life and his inspiration for writing this hymn. He was the German pastor of a church in Eilenburg during the Thirty Years War. So many within the walls of the city were killed or they died because of famine or the plague. He was finally the only pastor left and conducted up to 50 funeral services a day. I can only imagine that he was exhausted and depressed during these days. Yet, when the warring subsided, he wrote this hymn:
Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
 He wrote a song of thanksgiving after living this insane life he was living. As I spoke to my students about this hymn, I couldn't help but think of 1 Thessalonians  5:18 that teaches us to "give thanks in all circumstances"...and not just that, but "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I was careful to say to my students that it doesn't say "give thanks FOR all circumstances, but give thanks IN all circumstances."WOW----this is a humbling piece of scripture.

I recently shared with a dear friend that I have just come to the place where I can truly say I am thankful for my circumstances. They have changed me. I am not the same person I was before I walked through this life---and I hope to keep growing and changing and accepting my circumstances. So, for Day 5---I am grateful for how a loving Heavenly Father uses his word and my own life to mold me into the person he sees in me. And I am thankful for my circumstances. This is a gift!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 4}

Day 4 | Iron Sharpening Iron...or smacking someone upside the head.....

I have mulled this over all day---I truly have so much to be thankful for and I feel like I say the same things every year! HA! BUT, this is a little different--so stay with me!  Today I was with some friends and everything that was said was so negative---I was shocked at my reaction---I just felt SO SAD when I walked away. Sad because I think people just don't realize how that negativity/being judgemental/having an arrogant attitude can CHANGE THEM into someone they don't want to become. I texted a friend and told her that if I EVER become that way, she has to promise to tell me. Her response was "I'll smack you upside the head"....and I think she will. It made me think of this commercial that I've seen lately--it's something like this one from the Super Bowl a few years ago. I have never seen an episode of this show, I just thought of this when my friend threatened to smack me!

 So, today I am thankful for friends who will DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to point me to Christ---even if they have to "smack me upside the head" to do it...grateful!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 3)

I'm grateful today for a Saturday with nothing on my calendar. Oh, I have SOOOOO much planned---but nothing has a timeline. Nothing HAS to be done today---oh, other than the "normal" Saturday activities---the lawn, the grocery shopping, the "cleaning of the house"--whatever that means, oh, and the watching of the BAMA vs. LSU game---ROLL TIDE! These are the things I do every weekend, so they aren't scheduled...they are just understood!

I love seeing my Google Calendar on a Saturday with the words "you have no scheduled events today". I WISH it meant I had no work---but it means the day is MINE! I can arrange my "events/work" in a way that pleases me. Joshua recently told me that he wanted to own his own business like the dad of a good friend of his, "because he can do the things he wants to do....and he has a TV in his office". YES, we all know that everyone who owns their own business just sits around all day watching TV and running from soccer game to soccer game. What I quickly told him was that this man likely works ALL THE TIME---morning, noon, night, middle of the night sometimes, because his work is always with him---not "at the office". BUT, hey, when you're 11 and you see this dad down in his office with a TV in it--you are likely thinking, "MANCAVE"---and that seems pretty awesome.

What is it about our lives that makes our TIME so valuable to us? Why do we so value time alone, or at least AWAY from the "normal" routine. I dare say it's because we are SO over scheduled in our society that we do not have adequate time for rest, for quiet thought. Even in our educational system there is RARELY time to "ponder"---we just push from one subject to the next, stuffing more and more into those thirsty brains---no wonder children are stressed out these days---we all are. BUT, I digress----sort of----TODAY, I'm grateful for some unstructured time. I had best get off the computer and start blowing leaves. I'm not too excited about that----but, at least I get to decide when I'll do it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 2}

Day Two | The Vote

Today I am so thankful for the right to vote. Honestly, I am always amazed that I get to take part in this crazy process. My whole family (birth family) is pretty crazy about politics---my parents have always been actively involved in the process. One of my sisters worked on Capitol Hill for years and still lives in Northern Virginia---which means you ARE involved whether you want to be or not. My other sister teaches American History and is a political junky---yep, she is. And then there is Kathleen---frankly, I'd just rather us find out the day before the election who is running and make a decision based on their platform and be done with it.....I think only the people in the news business and those near the Beltway are into the three year election process....BUT, I would NEVER think of NOT voting! SO, today, I did my civic duty---more than that, I was PRIVILEGED to get out there and vote. It was crowded---I had to park on Ray Road and walk to Lake Lynn center, waited about 45 minutes just to get in the door, walked in with my voter guide and cast my ballot. It is done. I was giddy as I grabbed that sticker and wore it all day---I may just wear it tomorrow! I think it's amazing that we get to vote---I LOVE the peaceful transfer of power---as I've grown older, I've watched as Presidents leave their home, shake hands with "the new guy", get on the helicopter and fly away. There is no rioting, no one storming the gates in protest---it's just the way it is.  I'm not crazy about everything in America---I'm not arrogant enough to believe that my country is any more "special" to God than another---but I AM grateful that I have this voice---It's a gift.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{Thirty Days of Thanks~2012; Day 1}

Hello blog---Oh, how I've missed you. I wish I had more time for you. You are dusty and neglected, but I am going to use you this month anyway.

I'm embarking on my Thirty Days of Thanks again this year. Once again, I find myself in the place of sincere thanks in all areas of my life. I think I am a changed woman from the woman who wrote last year, and I was last year from the year before. I know it is the goal in Christ to work out my salvation. I have SO much more to "work out"---but I am getting better at seeing the beauty in every day. At seeing things through the lens of Someone Else. There are plenty of areas of my life that I am not handling with grace, but I do feel like the Lord has allowed me to see beauty even in the ugliest of days...for this I am grateful.
NO, that's not what I'm thankful for today---today I am thankful for old friends.

Day One | Friends | The Meltons

Can I say "old friends"? Oh yes, it's my blog---I can say whatever I want!!!---you know what I mean. Friends from long ago. I must tell you, I have had the unique privilege to live in  6 cities in my adult life and I have DEAR, SWEET friends from each place. These are the friends you don't keep up with on a regular basis, but when you do, it's so natural and easy---just like it was when you were together many years ago. Just this week, I had the opportunity to visit with these friends-Doug and Lana Melton.

 I lived next door to the Melton's when I first had Caitlin. Doug and David were on staff together and we spent HOURS together sharing meals, watching movies, hanging out. I learned how to be a good mom by watching Lana parent her (then) two boys. She was such a great, easy-going mom and she helped me develop into a fairly confident mama. We moved away and our families grew and now our children are  growing up. They are marrying  and having babies! We rarely see each other anymore---it has been too long. Doug is a pastor and Lana works for Oklahoma Baptist University. It's hard for them to get away, but Doug came to speak in Chapel at Southeastern Seminary this week and we were able to spend two evenings together. It was such a joy to catch up--for Doug to have some boy-time with my boy and for them to meet this family.

They hadn't met Carson or Eve and Lana just kept saying how much she felt like she was looking at Caitlin all those years ago each time she looked at Eve---

I am so grateful for the chance to catch up and SEE these dear friends. Face to face---people who love unconditionally, who love my children because they love me and I feel the same way about them. These are once in a lifetime friends for some---I am so blessed to have been given many precious friends like the Meltons in my life---none share the same history with my family that these friends do---and that makes them special. But I am TRULY grateful for "old"---lifelong friends. I KNOW this is a gift from a gracious Heavenly Father--And I have to leave you with this last picture---here's Doug's "Mother" picture from Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels---I think you had to be there!