Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 30--Fin

Well, I did it. I combined a few days, but I did thirty days of thankfulness. And the thing I am most thankful for...the thing that all of my thankfulness hinges on...is Jesus Christ.
See, He gave me friendships that won't end here, but will continue into eternity.

He gave me a husband who loves me more than I deserve.

He opened my womb and gave me the Shorties.

He also gave me bonus kids that are of my heart if not of my body.

He provided us with many wonderful church families who love us and care for us.

He gave me a job that I am beyond grateful for.

He meets my needs daily.

But most of all, He came in the form of an infant born in a manger among animals. All sin requires a blood sacrifice as payment. Sin is the barrier that exists between us and God. Christ came as the ultimate sacrifice for the remission of sin.  He offered up His body as a blood sacrifice for my sin when He took my place on the cross and died so that all men could be reunited with God the Father. And without that, we face eternal damnation in a place called Hell.

There is only one way to go to Heaven when you die--you have to realize that you are born into sin and that there is nothing you alone can do to reconcile yourself to God. You have to believe that Christ came and died in your place--you deserved the cross, but He substituted Himself as payment for your sins and my sins. Finally, you have to confess with your mouth and in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. And for that there is no amount of thanks that I can possibly offer up to God except living daily in His will, seeking holiness, admitting my failures, and asking forgiveness.

The Christian is called to a life of thankfulness, gratitude, and holy living as a result of an inward change of heart. I am a sorry Christian many times, but I've never been sorry that I am a Christian.

Colossians 2:6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 29--Friendships

I have a lot of acquaintances. I also have a lot of people around me that know too much personal information about me (and I don't care). But I don't have a lot of close friends. It's hard to develop friendships in ministry.
Me and Jeri. What is up with my
hair and why didn't someone say
People put on their "I'm with the pastor's wife" persona, and that's a tough nut to crack. No one wants to cuss in front of the preacher's wife. Or have a messy house. Or burp. Or admit that they know the words to AC/DC's Dirty Deeds album. (I think they dial the Jesus Channel up for the first time on the car radio if they have to drive me somewhere.)

And if you won't let your guard down, it's awfully hard to let mine down. So, The Husband and I made a decision long, long ago that we'd just be us and let God figure out who likes us and who doesn't. As a result, I'm the same all of the time; whether or not you can handle that is your problem. (Because I DO know all of the words to the Dirty Deeds album, and my dial goes to eleven.)

Lilly, Memaw, and Carter--
we don't get to see her
nearly enough!
I've been known to let an expletive fly. I've been known to poot and blame it on the dog. I've been known to smile and nod like I'm listening when I've actually dozed off on you. I don't return texts or emails in a timely manner. I can barely find my cell phone, much less keep it charged, so it's like a miracle if you happen to catch me with it in any kind of proximity. I don't call to "see how you are". If we want to do something, I have to put it on the calendar four weeks out, or I don't have time for you.

I'm on a tear about something half of the time, and I've got my face buried in a book the other half. I have family obligations, church obligations, The Husband obligations, work obligations, school obligations, Shortie obligations...it's overwhelming sometimes. And some of this is preacher's wife stuff; some of it is just Charlotte stuff. It's terrible to admit this, but I am an awful friend.

So, today I am thankful for everyone who loves me anyway.

Lynn and Tracy
Tracy is going to have a stroke if I don't learn how to text her back, but I'm confident that she loves me anyway. I swear I'm going to actually attempt to keep a charge on my phone and check it at least once daily. :-)

Jeri is going to think I've fallen off the face of the earth if I don't call her and check on her, but I'm confident that she still loves me anyway. I've got you the funniest card ever sent to someone who has been ill, and when you get it you are going to laugh out loud--I'm talking snorting laughing. I'm going to attempt to mail it this week, and I'm going to call you about going to lunch over the Christmas holidays.
Kayce and Me, NYC

Kayce probably thinks we are never going to dinner again, but I'm confident that she still wants to go when I have time and that she still loves me anyway. I've got consignment store fever again, and she's got the cure, so when I call you get in the car and we'll be off on another adventure!

Gretchen and Summer
Summer, I'm still praying for you, Girlfriend, and I swear I'm coming to see the new house. I'm confident that she still loves me anyway.

Laurel is just as busy as I am so she's probably worrying that I don't love her anymore either, but I still love her and know that she still loves me anyway. I'm coming to see One Night in Bethlehem, Girlfriend, because I know you're up to your eyeballs in it by this time. Can't wait to see you for five seconds that night! :-)

Me, Kathy, Lela
 Lela? Lela! Hello? Is this thing on? Let me know when and where. :-) I'm confident that you still love me anyway.

Jenny and her super
fun self

Jenny is still waiting on that girl's night out that we've talked about for an age, but I am confident that she still loves me anyway. And we'll go this year--movies, shopping, sitting and staring into the quiet. I promise two things: one, no kid-friendly foods and two, no clean up duties afterwards.

Shelley? Wherever you are, Girl, I still love you.

This is hardly an exhaustive list. You get the point.

Lilly and Shelley

Friendships take work. And time. And mutual disclosure. I  need to work harder at cultivating my girl friendships. But even though I am a terrible friend, I am thankful that God has blessed me with people who are amazing friends to me even when I am not an amazing friend back.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

30 Days of Thankful--Day 26, 27, & 28--I'm Reaching Here.

Saturday--started to clean out the living room cluttery areas to be able to move the furniture around and put the tree up. Quit to go watch the Iron Bowl. Roll Tide. (Hard to be excited when you beat the equivalent of the the Locus Fork high school squad.)

Sunday--started to get the tree, but rain, rain, and more rain. Instead, graded 48 horrifying Critical Character Analysis papers from 7th-12th graders. Debated suicide by chocolate covered almonds, but reconsidered and had a turkey sandwich between five hours of church services including a human video practice.

Monday--it's freezing out and drizzling, so there is a fifty/fifty chance of no tree again today. (Wondering at this point if we are going to actually put up a tree.) Read four of the worst repeating poems ever written in an English class. I'm not kidding:

Imma bee
I fly and fly
Into the sky.

Imma bee
I buzz and buzz
and I'm full of fuzz.

Imma bee
I fly and fly
until I die.

Did I mention these are ninth graders? I weep for the future. (I still love them, but Keats and Shelley they ain't.)

Need a fix of Christmas Vacation to get past the rainy day blues.  That, some Kipling, a large cup of coffee with flavored creamer, and a nap and I'll be right as rain. (What does that MEAN?) Guess what I'm thankful for today?

Some days it's harder than others to figure that out for me too. So, if you struggle with things not being so rosy, just remember, you could be reading ninth grade poetry for your living. Ahem.

Philippians 4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 25--The Experience is What You Make of It.

So, in our house we are big on "experiences". It's why when I took the girls to NYC this year, we had dessert at midnight. It wasn't really about the cheesecake. It was about being able to order dessert in a diner with other patrons at MIDNIGHT, because in rural Alabama everything closes at 9:00, and you certainly won't see anyone else out and about at that time of night (unless they are shooting off fireworks or spotlighting deer). Ahem.

We ordered the cheesecake at midnight after the theatre for the experience of it.

The Wonder Twins excited about their first Black
Friday shopping extravaganza.
Black Friday is sort of like that with me. I like the hustle and the excitement. I have a short list of stuff I hope might happen, but it's really about the cafe latte at midnight, seeing the people huddled up in sleeping bags, sitting in camping chairs, wrapped around the Best Buy four hours before it opens. It's about getting those pajamas you didn't know you wanted for $4.88. It's just...an experience.

Needless to say, the Wonder Twins were on FIRE to go Black Friday Shopping this year (me, not so much), but I let them talk me into it. Literally armed with $20.00 cash each, we headed out at 8:30 p.m. (after a long day of three Thanksgiving Dinners) to our local shopping mall approximately 40 miles one way from our house. The girls were freaking out excited. They laughed so hard at the folks around Best Buy and Target. We drove past the movie theater to see what was playing, but nothing we were interested in was on at 9:30. So, we ate hash brown rounds and flavored water and wandered into Wal-Mart at around 9:45 p.m.

That red thing at the bottom of the photo is one of the
cardboard kiosks I refer to in this blog.
Wal-Mart is the Big Momma of Marketing Strategy. They have one sale of stuff at 10, another at 12, and another at 2:00 a.m., so you just keep standing and standing and standing and buying and buying and buying.

Since we didn't have anything in mind, we just waited for that rush to subside and then picked over the leavings, harvesting quite a few fancy bargains. The girls just liked the excitement factor, but it's also a powerful Real Life Teaching Moment happening all around you.

So, we talked and people watched and wandered around until I saw something really choice on sale with no one standing in front of it. Huh. I looked at the girls, they looked at me, and I asked if we want to go for it. They both eagerly nodded, even though it meant two hours standing in a line that may or may not get a little rowdy.

I'll tell that story in a moment, but here are some Life Lesson Discussions in Wal-Mart standing in line for a popular electronic from 10:15 until midnight:

1) Now, the Wonder Twins are as tall as I am, so this isn't some kind of child endangerment issue, but there were some folks who had baby-babies and toddlers in that store. Like I saw several six-weekers in there. No joke. Are you crazy? DHR ought to set up at the door and if you took your preschool kids into that mess they ought to be taken from you, SHAME ON YOU!

2) You also have the unique opportunity to see what the Real World looks like for a few, brief moments, and it's the best argument ever for private school. Piercings, tattoos, boobs hanging out everywhere...a chance to see live and in person that the whole world is not on your wavelength. (Yes, I am insulating my children, and your point is.....)

3) People have equal parts nutcake and good Samaritan in them--it just depends on which side is being fed more at the time.
All of those VERY large men waiting to mob the
Boost Mobile phone display.
I'm standing on the side of the aisle with MP3 players and cameras. All super low priced. On the other side, only a cardboard kiosk standing chest level across from me is Teresa, a merchandise manager. Teresa is blonde, late 40's/early 50's, and weighs about 100 lbs. To my left is a police officer who is trying to manage about 50 very large males who are waiting to snatch and grab 15 Boost Mobile phones (15 phones/50 large people = this is Trouble Brewing). I am pressed against the cardboard kiosk approximately 18 inches from Teresa who is on the other side in front of some touch screen Smart Talk Mobile phones, and we are surrounded by 150 or so people.

Now, the folks on my side of the cardboard box are moms trying to buy cheap MP3's and point and shoot cameras for kids. There's not much aggression at all, we are laughing, know each other's names by the two hour wait ending, etc. On the other side, waiting on the cheap phones are a large group of young who are pierced, teeth rotting out of their heads, tattoos, pink bras showing through tank tops (It's November), and just a different sort of group.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Because I am Me, I start making jokes, singing carols, and doing a little dance every time we count off five minutes. I also realize that the crowd is large and becoming agitated, so I send the girls and our buggie off to produce to wait on me, just to get some space (okay, a LOT of space) between the Boost Mobile Maniacs/Straight Talk Maniacs and my offspring.

I grasp that perhaps Teresa is on the wrong side of this box, so I jokingly say, "Hey, I've got a GREAT idea! I'm the preacher's wife and this is like a gift from God! I've totally got a captive audience here, so I'm going to share the gospel with all of you." :-) I get a few laughs, and then I do it. I tell about Christ coming as a baby, but not staying that way. I tell that He came to save us from our sins and that if we repent and seek Him, He will be faithful to hear us and forgive us and restore us to the Father. I even pray at the end (at which time exactly eight or nine cell phones fire off, so I know that the Holy Spirit was moving). I'm not particularly good at sharing my testimony like this, so it was a personal spiritual victory. Now, in front of me, everyone has gotten quiet, and even if there were some eye-rolls, everyone was tolerant.
The girls entertaining themselves
while we wait.
About ten minutes later, all heck broke loose. Someone snatched a Boost phone five minutes before midnight and that was the mob cue to attack. Teresa didn't stand a chance. She was not only being crushed half to death, and I could see her face pretty well since she was trying to come over that cardboard on top of me, but she was being pushed down by people taller and bigger trying to reach over her. All thoughts of getting my hands on a stupid music player or camera were lost in that second, and instead of reaching for those things, I reached for Teresa.

I pulled her back up to her feet from the floor (on the other side of the cardboard box, so this was quite a leaning act), and began screaming, "Stop! Stop! You are NOT animals!" at the top of my lungs. (How loud was I? The twins heard me in the produce aisle screaming from the electronics department.)

I guess someone saw my superhero body suit and matching cape under my Alabama sweatshirt, because everyone froze for three full seconds, giving me plenty of time to move the kiosk (and the people pushing behind me) about six inches, enough for Teresa to squeeze through to our side and directly into the arms of the police officer. I'm not going to lie, I thought for a second that crowd was going to crush that woman on the floor. She thought it too based on the crying and ambulance that came afterwards.

The girls entertaining themselves
in the produce aisle with my
phone, far from the action. Evidently,
there isn't a rush on onions.
I made sure she was okay (this took a little time), and me and my empty arms carrying no bargains headed back to the produce aisle to collect my children. When I rounded the corner, there were the twins and three people who had been around me while we waited those two hours. Those three people--two women and a man--collected between them all of the things that I had been waiting on but missed out on when I got Teresa onto my side of the kiosk. They didn't have close to my personal order, they had it exactly:

Four MP3 players--one in each color, matching earbuds--all four colors, two cameras, two cases--one in each colr, two SD cards, etc. I almost cried. Those people took care of me. God took care of me through these people.

We were in line to check out, laughing and talking and full of excitement from how God had blessed us, and a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Ma'am? I heard what you said in the back, and, well, we've put three of these ticketed doorbuster 32" HDTVs in our buggy, but we only need two. Would you like the third one?" I asked what I had to pay her for it, and she laughed, "Nothing! I couldn't figure out how I got three in the first place, and then I heard you share the gospel and saw what you did and we just want to give it to you."

The one thing that The Husband really, really wanted this year that I had no hope at all of ever getting my hands on, a flat screen HDTV at a doorbuster price (because that's the only way in the universe we would ever afford one) fell right into my lap.

Are you kidding me? I'm right you know; sometimes it's just about the experience.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 22--I'm thankful for Twilight.

Every knows I'm a complete Twi-Hard. And I'm the pastor's wife. I have absolutely no problem with either of these things--they are compatible in every single way in my personal spiritual walk. In fact, I checked my oldest girls out of school to go with me to the premiere. My pastor husband teases me, but he doesn't care either, like when I had a Twilight party at the parsonage where me and the girlfriends watched the first three films back to back on a Saturday night.

The book series is incredibly moral and good in its entire storyline, unlike the popular Disney movie, Tangled, which I think is the most morally irresponsible, repugnant film ever marketed to children. I'll compare in a moment.
Twilight is a coming of age story about a girl who is new in town. She happens to fall in love over the course of time, with a boy who is a vampire. Now, on the negative, we have some lying and she has a boy in her bedroom--both absolute no-no's. But there's no cursing, no drinking, no drug use, no partying, and no sexual activity in the entire series.

Discussion Number One:

There are no such things as vampires or werewolves. If you in any way think that there are, you have issues that are so big you probably need to seek medical attention and get medication. I'm serious. There's also no Easter Bunny, no Santa Claus, no Narnia. There are no fairies, no Peter Pan, no Tinkerbell, and no "good" pirates (they are by definition thieves, murderers, looters, rapists). There are no talking bears with furniture and porridge. There are no talking ogres or pussycats who wield swords. There are no talking chipmunks or garden gnomes or toys that come to life when your back is turned.
If you participate in any of those things, you are committing the same "sin" of Twilight using vampires as the fairy tale vehicle through which to move the story. Same exact deal--it's make believe. Because VAMPIRES DON'T EXIST. Shocking, I know, but still true. See, you want to pick and choose your make believe characters when they suit you. Beowulf, anyone? The Velveteen Rabbit? Ahem.

(Fairy tales also include every Karen Kingsbury novel ever written, The Chronicles of Narnia. Peter Pan. Watership Down, Toy Story, etc.)
Mark Driscoll
Discussion Number Two

If you quote anything by Mark Driscoll to argue against Twilight, I know exactly where you stand in your spiritual walk. He is a foul-mouthed borderline heretic. He's nauseating and not a Godly man or Godly example. I'd be bad careful who I quote and follow, because you discount your argument using that man's opinion (or quoting Joel Osteen).

Spiritual Lessons From Twilight:

1) Die daily to your sin.
One of the mainstays of the story is that the Cullen group of vampires (who don't exist)  who aren't related, but are drawn together by a mutual agreement to live a different, morally righteous lifestyle are supposed to, by their very nature, kill humans to live (much as we kill and eat animals to live). They don't. They have made a conscious, deliberate decision NOT to live this way, and although it is completely against their natural desires and drives, they die daily to that desire and live as "vegetarians" only living on the blood of animals.

Doesn't that sound like anything you know...a group of non-related, like-minded people who deny themselves and their base nature and instead decide to follow a higher path...hmmm...it'll come to me I'm sure.

2) Self sacrificing love is the only kind of love there is.
Throughout the story, everyone of the Cullens, Bella, Jacob, and Edward all put aside their personal desires and wants for the needs of others. Continuously. Multiple times in different ways. They all seek to meet the needs of others first and foremost even if it costs them something personal. If I start listing examples, I'll never finish. Bella sacrifices her life for Edwards. Edward leaves Bella when he thinks it's the best thing for her to keep her out of danger. Jacob leaves when he thinks he might hurt Bella. Bella puts her own life on the line about five times over the course of the series to protect those she loves. Hello? There is no greater love than this that a man sacrifice his life for his friends? Hello?

3) The love interests wait until marriage simply because it's the right thing to do.
Well, I'll be. Name ONE non-Christian book that has been read by MILLIONS of young ladies that ENCOURAGES ABSTINENCE AS THE ONLY WAY. Go on. I'm waiting. And the MAN is the dominant, deciding factor in the fact that they wait until marriage.

4) Abortion is NEVER a choice. It's murder.
When Bella becomes pregnant AFTER THE MARRIAGE AND HONEYMOON, she is physically in danger of losing her life and yet she chooses NOT TO ABORT and sacrifices her own life, literally, for the baby. Hello? Tap, tap, tap! Is this thing on? Name ONE secular, popular book that preaches this. One. (I'm still waiting for your answer in number three...)
5) If you don't like it, just don't participate.
I have no problem if you don't want to wear pants to church on Sunday morning. I don't think it has to do anything with my spiritual walk, so I don't care what you wear or what I wear. I don't care what version of the Bible you are toting, just bring the Word with you when you come, and if you don't have one, we'll get you one free of charge. I don't care if you want to argue Santa or not, just let me and my house do what is best for us. (The deal that it's 'lying' doesn't fly at our house--I'd better not ever hear you singing that song in front of me and then use the word "wee wee" instead of penis you LIAR! Because there is no such thing as a "wee wee". (See how stupid this argument sounds?)

6) If you haven't read it, shut it.
If you didn't vote, I don't care about your opinion. If you haven't read the books, ditto. Just go on your merry way and leave me alone with my little joyful moment. Or do you want to post on Facebook that Santa's a fake and the Easter Bunny is dead too?

Contrasted with Lessons from Tangled, the Popular Disney Movie from the Pit of Hell
I hate this movie. I think it's spreading propaganda of the worst possible kind and through a cartoon, so that it appears innocuous, making it dangerous.
  • Your mother is your number one rival in beauty and relationships.
  • She wants to steal your moments.
  • She's a witch.
  • She wants to keep you locked up and prevent you from having autonomy or making decisions on your own.
  • Only your biological parents love you, not your adoptive parents.
  • It's okay to sneak out, disobey your mother, go off into the woods with a boy your age who you KNOW is a thief and a liar and gang member, spend the night with him in romantic circumstances, lie to people along the way, break the law numerous times, because you are trying to have an adventure, and that's what really counts.
  • You should be romantically involved with a thief and a liar in the first place.
  • You should listen to him over your parents, because he LOVES you. (ahem) 
If you own this movie and call yourself a Christian, you should get up right now and toss it in the trash and go get you a copy of the book Twilight where the girl waits for marriage, chooses a boy with good intentions who lives exactly like he says he does. A book where the boy is attempting to deny his sin nature daily and live a righteous life, who formally introduces himself to the daddy and brings the girl home for dates where they spend time with his family, who waits until marriage. A book with a strong pro-marriage, pro-family, pro-life agenda.

Yeah, I can totally see why you think that stinks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 21--The World's Greatest Mom Title

Not only did I let this photo shoot
keep on going, this was our
Christmas card.
 Today I am thankful for the title of World's Greatest Mom. (Why are you laughing?)    

It could happen. I mean, we all have our good points and our bad points, the goal is just to get the good to outweigh the bad, right?

So, if we're being honest, here are some reasons why I should and shouldn't be awarded the title...

Let's see...on the negative side...

I'm a terrible housekeeper.

I'm an average cook.

I'm too busy.

I'm distracted most of the time.

I've got a line of folks waiting on me for something, most of whom I can't actually help.

I ignore my kids often.

I have potty training photos of all
the Shorties, and I'm not afraid to use them.

I ignore my husband even more often.
I left a kid once at a fall festival, not at our church, but across town. I didn't even know she was gone. They called me and asked if I'd forgotten something, to which I promptly responded,  "Um, not that I know of."

I never check texts. I almost never check email. And I don't answer my phone half of the time. I am not dead or ignoring you, I just forgot about it. Really.

You absolutely have to brush your teeth before you're getting a kiss.

You can't have a phone until you can drive.

I told you so.

You can't wear make up until you are in high school.   

You can't go on a car date until you can drive, and I have to know his family, his address, where he goes to church, and every single other person he has ever dated or been friends with. (I'm not joking.)

I have stacks of random stuff from one end of the house to the other that you aren't allowed to touch. (Seriously, we're like a couple of stacks away from being an intervention on Hoarders.)

We don't go to the doctor until an appendage has fallen off or you've barfed up a lung.

I hate television and go through the house randomly turning them off in the middle of your show and might even include a lecture about losing IQ points for watching it.  

Nutrition failure even in diapers

Homework is your problem, not my problem. Figure it out on your own. No, I don't care if you fail--I didn't fail, you failed. (No mercy.)  

I once spanked the wrong kid and then, instead of apologizing, I screamed, "Well, I'm sure you did SOMETHING today that I missed!" and stomped off.

No, I will not help you clean your room, hence it is YOUR room.
Once I get in the bed and nest there, I'm not getting out unless you have set something on fire or fallen from a great height.

But on the positive side... 

You can totally build a wicked fort in my living room anytime you get the yen.

I served cake for dinner once.

Absolutely you can feed
yourself. No worries.

We have gone to the movies (like in public) in our pajamas more than once.
You never, ever have to wear a hair bow or anything that qualifies as "itchy" if you don't want to. Not even to weddings or funerals.

If you can't eat chocolate while wearing it, we aren't buying it.

We're having a tea party right now at 8:00 on a school night complete with the For Good Wedding China. 

We have art supplies in every single medium randomly placed all over the house, so feel free to create something at will.

I have 18 kinds of sweetened cereal in my house for dessert or if you don't like what's on the table for supper. (Hey, the box says 'fortified with vitamins and minerals'.)
There is no bedtime on Friday night.

I will stay in the bathroom with you while you throw up.

You can sleep in the bed with me if you are throwing up.

I will kiss you all over even if you do have a fever.

Sure you can hold the baby by yourself even though
you are only two.
I have eyes in the back of my head and will use them for good and evil.
I will answer any question, any time, honestly, even if it makes me uncomfortable.  

I have endless quarters for gumballs. I never, ever run out. You can always have a gumball.

Mommy and Carter

You can have open drinks and popcorn in the Yukon. It's just a car; you are my Shortie.

If you're a Shortie, there's nothing you can tell me to make me not love you.
    Lilly and Mommy

30 Days of Thankful--Day 20--The Little Things

And today I'm thankful for...
Kids running in the first frost of the year. We need
to get out more.
Crunchy grass--you know, the first frost that covers the ground in sparkly sunshine and kids who want to run in it.

The prize in the Cracker Jack box--it usually stinks, so the kids don't fight over it. (For very long.)

The fact that my kids still think the biggest treat ever is "going to the gas station" after school once a week for a snack.
A dog that is fully potty trained and doesn't shed.

Funny kids. (Sometimes on purpose, mostly on accident.)

My mother, who always unloads the dishwasher.

Elise, who always loads it. (Sometimes)


A husband who, even though I'm 'healthy girl', always brings me chocolate covered almonds, Just Because.

Being able to walk to church.

Not having to wear a skirt to that church.

Being able to take a nap on Sunday afternoons.

Sometimes, it's just about the little things...

30 Days of Thankful--Days 18 and 19 Too Many Reasons to Count

Today I am thankful for a long list of ordinary things:

1) Indoor plumbing.
2) All of the appliances in my house.
3) Central heat and air.
4) Comfortable clothing and shoes.
5) Enough to eat.
6) Access to medication if we are sick.
7) So much to eat that we throw food away because it spoils.
8) Soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
9) Medical care thirty minutes away in any direction.
10) Family and friends all around me that would come in a moment's notice for any reason I call.
11) Fire department right around the corner.
12) The ability to worship this morning without any fear of my government.
13) A Bible to carry with me to service and study from during the week.
14) And the list could go on a hundred pages long...

Think you don't have reasons to be thankful? Maybe you aren't looking hard enough.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Days 16 & 17

Okay, I didn't skip Day 15, I just posted it as a Facebook message that indicated I wasn't publishing my ranting blog about The Husband's crazy relative, so, I said I was thankful for self control. Ahem.

Day 16-17 are another combo, so I saved it.

Today, I am thankful for Anticipation.

(Get it? You had to wait a day to get to the blog of thankfulness? :-) Okay, so maybe I was the only one anticipating it, but it's still funny.)

I'm anticipating the new Twilight Saga movie, Breaking Dawn so much that I can't breathe. Every time that the previews come on the TV, my mother, myself, and the Wonder Twins begin screaming the second the reel stops playing. We are anticipating it so very much that I've pre-ordered tickets, and if I didn't live an hour (literally) from the theater, I'd have been at the midnight showing tonight.

There is something about being excited about an event that is the embodiment of Happy. It crosses your mind and you smile. You daydream it. You are giddy for no apparent reason. We anticipate all sorts of things like big vacations and weddings and first dates and first kisses. We wait and plan and get wound up about small things like a trip to the beauty shop and ice cream sundaes after dinner and back-to-school clothes shopping. It's a tiny rush.

The key to a life lived and a life well-lived is anticipating the right things. See, I'm really, really, REALLY excited about going to Breaking Dawn--I mean breathing hard excited--but I've got many more important things that I anticipate every day:
  • Tonight I'm teaching the Youth Bible Study, and I can't wait to see them and hear them and be near them! How cool is it that I get to teach youth?
  • I'm taking my mother and E-squared (shhhh...they don't know yet) to see Breaking Dawn on Friday (I even have our tickets!) and getting to go with good friends who share my obsession! And there's going to be POPCORN! Whoot! (Sometimes, it's the little things.)
  • I'm going to the first home basketball game on Friday, and I am going to cheer on the entire high school until I am hoarse and they threaten to eject me from the game. Cool!!
  • I'm going to a wedding on Saturday, which means that two people fell in love and are taking vows before God the Father. Go Marriage!
  • Sunday I get the privilege of going to an adoption celebration for a family who are adopting, proving that God is still in the business of answering prayer! Go God!
Instead of moaning about how busy we are going to be, I want to be the kind of person who is constantly anticipating the next movement of God in my life. And as a Christian, the biggest thing that I'm anticipating is the return of Jesus Christ. We sometimes get so busy doing "stuff" that we forget that we are wired for anticipation by our very design. How cool is that? So, what are you anticipating or is your life one dreaded thing after another? Maybe it's time to re-evaluate. :-)

Luke 12 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”