Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankfulness (Days 11-15)

I have to admit that I didn't plan on writing every 5 days. It has just worked out that way. However, my OCD is SO. VERY. EXTREMELY glad it has!!

November 11/Day 11: Today I am thankful that God is always in control of ALL things, even when it feels like everything is spiraling out of control. Several days ago, my last remaining great-grandmother passed away. I know she is in a better place and that her pain was enough and her years beyond what most people even hope for that everyone knows that it was time. It was "easy" to let go - relatively speaking. Today, I learned that my grandfather has recently had a heart attack. He is home and doing much better. It does remind me though how fragile life is. In the midst of those things, our van has been having some transmission trouble. Hopefully we have it figured out and fixed now . . . hopefully . . . and today our washing machine quit on us. It was old and we knew its time was coming (though we secretly hoped for longer!!). It was used for several years, given to my sister who used it for several years, and then passed to us. We've had it for almost 2 years. It has served me faithfully! :-) All that said, here at the end of this day I am so completely ready to "throw in the towel" (pun intended!!)!! I'm thankful that I have a God who has a plan and that even when things seem to be going wrong, they're actually going perfectly according to His ultimate plan.

November 12/Day 12: Today I am thanking God for my brother and Courtney. The way they stand up for each other blesses me. The way they love each other is obvious to everyone who meets them. Their love for God is infectious. I'm so thankful they are a part of our family. We have many, many memories - some good, some not so good - and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I love you guys!!

November 13/Day 13: Well, I moved away from the area literally weeks - if not sooner - after Rachel and Daniel got married. So, I don't know Daniel very well. I do know that he loves God and my sister and his kids with everything in him. I know that he takes care of Rachel and that her best interest goes into each little decision he makes. Today, I miss Rachel. We had a special year together when we shared an apartment in Seabrook. We created so many memories in that little two bedroom place. There was LOTS of laughter and a few tears. There was even some disgust over moving the washing machine (came with the place) out from the wall and finding a pacifier from the previous renters. :-/ Dis-gus-ting!!! We even "weathered" a hurricane together (again, pun intended!!), and prayed like crazy during that storm that we wouldn't lose anything. The day we went back and found that the water had risen to almost the ceiling of the second floor . . . well, let's just say, we were never more thankful for a third floor apartment!! I love you both, and I'm extremely thankful for you!!

November 14/Day 14: Today I am thankful for my broken washing machine!!! (When I'm at the laundromat tomorrow with a week's worth of laundry, someone please remind me of this!!) I have had 4 days of NO laundry! I know most families only do laundry once a week, but in a 6 person family where only one person can do it and 3 of the 4 kids wet the bed almost every night, well, I usually do at least 2 loads a day. This has been somewhat of a restful week. Okay, okay. You got me. There is nothing restful about my life!!! :-) However, I got some cleaning-out done and got caught up on some chores and paperwork and miscellaneous stuff that I had fallen behind on doing. So, for those reasons, I'm thankful for the broken washer and the week without laundry.

November 15/Day 15: Well, it's 3:02 AM so the day hasn't really started yet. I don't know what this day will bring (besides LOADS of laundry and some grocery shopping and planning for our week trip to Gran's!!!), but I already know what I'm thankful for on this day. Today, I am thankful for my husband's job. Truthfully, his annual income, for our size family, is considered poverty - and that's before insurance and taxes. His bring-home pay would shock most people. However, we have never gone without. God has provided time and time again. His paycheck covers all of our bills and buys our groceries in full. I used to be frustrated with his job. I used to think he wasn't getting paid what he deserves for the number of hours he puts in. That may all still be true, but at least he has a job. There are so many people right now who don't have that blessing. They don't know where their next meal is going to come from. It may take extra planning on my part and little bit of a struggle to fit everything into the budget, but at least I know that I can go to the grocery store today and pick up the things I need. I will be able to buy diapers and formula and baby food. I will be able to pick up the food we need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will be able to buy our shampoo and soap and all the other things we need. So, on this payday, I am so very grateful that God has blessed my husband with a job that provides exactly what we need. Proverbs 30:8-9 - "First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankfulness (Days 6-10)

November 6/Day 6: Today I am thankful for my sweet Samantha Brooke. When she was an infant, we did not get along well. She cried every time I held her. She wouldn't even eat for me. I had to put her in her carseat and prop up the bottle. I was depressed and cried all day, every day. She was a difficult baby and cried all day, every day. I thought we would never bond. Today, I am glad to say that we have such a precious relationship. Though those first few months were extremely difficult, I would not trade them for the world. They have magnified the greatness of our relationship now. She is snuggly and sweet and loving. She can be terribly clingy, but after a year of not wanting anything to do with me, I'll gladly hold her all day long - although I wouldn't mind a shower or a trip to the bathroom by myself once in a while!!! I'm super thankful for the blessing she is in my life. I thank God daily for allowing this precious girl to be a part of our family - even if I was originally upset that she was another girl instead of a boy!

November 7/Day 7: CJ, CJ, CJ - my life would not be complete without him! Oh how thankful I am for this little boy that has so completely captured my heart. One little glance was all it took. I will never be the same. The way he watches me as I walk through the house doing my chores. The way he sits in his swing, staring at me from across the living room as I work at the kitchen sink. The way he gently places his hands on my cheek every time I pick him up. The way he grins from ear-to-ear, his eyes almost shut when he sees me looking back at him. They way he laughs when I talk to him. No, I will NEVER be the same. I have SO greatly blessed.

November 8/Day 8: Grandparents. Where would we be without them? Well, probably not in existence! :-) I have been blessed to, not only have met but also to also remember a set of great-great grandparents, a set of great-grandparents and two great-grandmothers, and two sets of grandparents on my dad's side; two great-grandmothers and a set of grandparents on my mom's side; both sets of Chase's grandparents. That is a LOT of people! My family has had its share of issues - of course, whose hasn't??? - but I also know that I am loved and cherished and cared for. I know that I would be welcome in any of their homes at any time of the day or night. I know that I am prayed for. As for Chase's family, what a wonderful blessing they have been. Both sets have welcomed me into their families and made me one of their own. I have no doubt they love me as much as they love their biological grandchildren. What a heritage I and my husband and my children have been given.

November 9/Day 9: Today I am thankful for Lillian. She is a very loving little girl. God knew what He was doing when he placed her in my care while her parents are working. She is the perfect fit for our family. She gets along with my girls and she LOVES CJ! She is always hugging and kissing on him. She is very kind and gentle. Her sweet giggles are infectious! I look forward to having her in my home each day. Her parents, also, are a joy to know. They are kind and understanding. They love their little girl, but they also know that in a house with 4 other kids, things happen! They are flexible and easy-going. Not only is the family themselves a blessing, but the job itself is also a blessing. It has provided for unexpected expenses on more than one occasion. God always knows what He is doing!! Today, I know recognize His will as a blessing in my life.

November 10/Day 10: Today, I am thankful for my church family. We have not gotten super close to anyone because we haven't been able to attend on a regular basis. Between sick kids, husband with allergies, and an undependable vehicle, we end up missing more than we attend! However, I know that when are finally ale to attend, we are always welcome. It doesn't feel awkward to walk into our SS class after being gone for several weeks. It feels like going home. Thank you, God, for this wonderful blessing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankfulness (Days 1-5)

Every year, in November, people all over Facebook do a daily "I'm thankful for . . . " status. I've never participated. Probably due to being depressed, I've stayed away from it on purpose. "What if I get a few days into it and can't think of anything else?" "What if I don't have 30 things to be thankful for?"

I know, I know. Ridiculous. I can see that now. Now that I'm taking my meds, I think like a normal person. Now, I know I have TONS to be thankful for. 30 days isn't enough to list all of the ways I have been blessed.

So, this year I started on November 1 . . . and made it 2 days! I have been too busy with the 5 little people in my care to sit down and write it down each day. Who has time for an in depth post on Facebook with 5 children ages 8 months - 4 years running through the house like wild maniacs???? Not this girl! (Plus I spent the day yesterday rearranging and cleaning out closets! That might have had something to do with lack of time.) Besides that, there just isn't enough space on Facebook to go into detail about why I'm thankful. I like words. :-)

With that said, I decided to share it all here. This first post is a catch up of days 1-8. Here goes.

November 1/Day 1: I am so very thankful for my mom and my mother-in-law. I have been blessed with two women who love God more than anything this world has to offer. They are both a godly example of what a mother and wife should be. I have two sets of footprints to follow. I have two women I can call at any hour of the day or night to get advice. They are both kind and gentle, sweet and giving. They love their grandbabies to pieces and are extremely helpful with them. They never complain about how many children I have and both love the fact that I would be perfectly content with having more! I have been greatly blessed! Happy birthday Momma! I can't wait to see you tomorrow Jenny!

November 2/Day 2: I am very thankful for the nieces and nephews God has given me. I don't live close enough to be well-known by them or to know them well, but I love them with everything in me. Dylan, Calum, Granger, Adilynn, Christopher Michael, Solomon, Abigail, Carrick, Kata, 2 on the way, 5 in heaven - I'm so very grateful God has placed you in my family and allowed me to be your aunt! Dylan, you may not have been born into this family, but you're no less special than the others. I pray you all grow into godly men and women and that you learn to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength". You are each special and unique and have been created EXACTLY the way God intended. Don't ever forget that, and don't let anyone tell you any different. You may not be perfect - we were all born with a sin nature - but you were perfectly created by a perfect God. He knew what He was doing when He created each of you as the precious person you are. I can't wait to see you guys at Christmas! Happy birthday Dylan!!! I love you all more than you know!

November 3/Day 3: I have been blessed enough to have 3 fathers, and I am very thankful for each one of them and the role they play/have played in my life. First and foremost, my biological father. He was a godly man and a wonderful example of what a husband should be. He was my father, teacher, principal, and pastor. He filled every leadership role in my life. He was worthy of being followed. The only selfish moment of his entire life (at least, the 20 years I was a part of it!) was the one that ended his life. Other than that, he lived his life according to the Scripture. I am so thankful for the years God allowed me to call him Daddy. I am also thankful for my stepfather. Though I was grown when he married my mother, he has stepped in and taken ownership of his role in our family. While my mom and siblings and I all remember my dad vividly, our spouses and children never met him. Tim is the only one they've known in this role. He has been a great father-in-law, an amazing grandfather, and an awesome substitute father. I'm not glad Daddy passed away, but I'm glad Tim has been there to help pick up the pieces and to take over the roles he left behind. Last, I'm thankful for my father-in-law. He is always looking out for our best interest. He loves to teach new things and provide information for us. He is helpful and kind and caring. He is loving and gentle. He loves his grandchildren and always has room for them on his lap - even while watching the Cowboys! Thank you, Shawn, for helping Chase fix our van today!!!

November 4/Day 4: Happy 3rd birthday to my favorite Jennifer Bryce. Though you have the ability to drive me crazy at times - most times!! - with constantly getting into things you shouldn't (stickers, taking a bath in the kitchen sink, board games, my makeup, need I list more???), I love you more than you could ever know. You may not have been my first baby, but you changed my life - for the better - when you were born. Our family would not be the same without you. I thank God for you everyday. I hope and pray you have the greatest birthday and enjoy your "blue birthday" (cake)!!!!

November 5/Day 5: My precious Elizabeth Ann. You made me a mother. If you had never come along . . . well, I don't want to imagine how my life would be different now. It would be quieter, for sure, and I would be sleeping through the night(!), but there wouldn't be near as much joy or excitement or wonder in my days. Your "why?" can make me crazy and your attitude is enough to drive me insane(!!!), BUT I still wouldn't trade my life with you for all of the quiet and sleep in the world. You have been a HUGE help to me in recent days as I try to juggle taking care of Samantha, Lilly, and CJ. I couldn't do it without you sweetie! And of course, your pickiness at the dinner table always leaves us with plenty of leftovers for dinner the next night - though I'm not sure how your tummy feels about that! I love you baby girl, and I'm very thankful to God for giving you to us!

Because my wild hooligans have infiltrated my living room instead of destroying their room upstairs (aka playing) like they are supposed to be doing, I'll have to end this post here and finish catching up tomorrow!!!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."