Monday, April 30, 2012

School, Safety, Friends, and Frustrating People

Thursday was our big school auction. It was my first time to be front and center as the PTO treasurer and I'm thankful it went smoothly.  I'm thankful it was successful, but mostly I'm thankful for my mom who came down (with a hand-tied throw for a donation) and worked the check out table with me.  It's the only reason I wasn't drowning by the end of the evening.

We went camping on Friday night and I'm always thankful when we're with the a large group of young boys (aka the cub scouts) when we all come back with all eyes, fingers, toes, teeth, organs, etc, in the same place they were when we left.

I'm thankful on Saturday that we had to pack up camping early to be back for the OKC Memorial 5k the next morning.   It meant that when the huge storm hit that night, we were safe in our house and not in nature.

For Sunday I'm thankful for our small group.  We've been meeting together for a while now but Sunday night was a step up to the plate moment.  My MIL ended up going to the hospital (all ended up okay- and for that I'm thankful too) and we were suppose to be hosting the study that night.  When the group showed up, they prayed for us and for my MIL, one couple offered to watch the boys so I could go to the hospital with LK and then they washed dishes that were in my sink.  The group in that moment was Christ with skin on.

And today- it's one of those days when I'm trying to be thankful for the difficult.  I'm trying to be thankful for my neighbor.  Not for the one who brought me peonies this weekend that have my kitchen smelling lovely every time I walk in.  Not for the one who bakes us organic Christmas cookies each year.  Not for the one who comes over and talks travel and kids and life.  And not for the one who feeds my dog treats and for whom I care a great deal.  I'm talking about being thankful for that neighbor.  For the one who makes me want to put my house on the market so I don't have to live by her anymore.  For the one who wants to talk to me about everyone else.  For the one whom I've made mad and now wants to talk about me to everyone else.  For the one who has me missing our wonderful neighbors at the old house.  I'm trying to be thankful for her.  To be thankful that in her words that she is telling to others, I have the chance to self-reflect and see if there is a seed of truth.  And I'm thankful that this morning God really opened my eyes to show me her life.  Moved here from a place she loves because of her husband's work- a place very different from her home.  Hates the schools and is now trying to homeschool a child she has admittedly said she has very little control over.  Hates the city and misses where she was.  Can't move from her home because it's provided by her husband's job, etc, etc, etc.  Today I'm thankful that God showed me that what she says and does on the outside is likely a reflection of the lack of control she feels on the inside.  And let's face- I'm not always the easiest person to live with when I feel like everyone else has control but me. 

Lord, help me to remember that glimpse into her life when I am faced with difficult encounters.  Help me, even when I don't know how (or when I don't want to), to be an instrument of your peace while not simultaneously rolling over to play dead.  Help me know that balance.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I met Amy this past fall after the ladies' class I taught. We had a brief conversation following the lesson about our foster care and her work as a nurse in the pediatric wing of a hospital. Nothing big or monumental- but then God doesn't always do that does He? This was just one of those quiet- "you'll need this later" moments He gave me. And this week- I needed it. We've been facing some tough decisions on our path of adoption this week. And it's been hard to know where we're stopping short on God. Where we're deciding that He might not be big enough. And where we're simply stopping with wisdom- knowing that which we cannot handle. And as all these questions swirled around, I thought of Amy and thought she might know. But our one conversation did not besties make- so I didn't run over and call her. But tonight- as we were walking into church. As I took the other door even though we were running late, I walked in right behind Amy! I'm thankful she took the time to listen to my questions. I'm thankful that she spoke blatant and honest truth about it all. And thankful that she said God is big enough. But that doesn't mean we have to go down this road. I'm thankful that she spoke soul-freeing truth over me that if we choose yes, that is God's plan for this. And if we choose no, that too is God's plan. I'm thankful that she let me cry in front of her, and thankful that she cried with me too. Thankful that she took the time to care. And thankful that she reminded me that some of the best stories have rather unexpected twists.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Small Group, Extra Time and Cowboys

Small Group: Sunday night we had our small group at the G's house. They've been married less than two years and this is their first house. She was so excited to show us around. So excited to open their home to us. I'm thankful for their marriage and the joy they have together. I'm thankful for the blessing of their first home. And I'm thankful for our small group and how we have grown together. May God continue to bless our time together.

Extra Time: I woke up Monday feeling like I had a salad plate sized day and a charger plate full of things to do. More do to than day to do it in. But I stopped and prayed. And remembered to breathe. And remembered to take the time to do what I could do right then. And so I did. And I chipped away at this and that. And I tell you what - I believe God gave me time to clean the showers. I know it because mornings never have that much time. But this one did. And I'm thankful for that time.

Cowboys: Tonight was my last Mother-Son BBQ at church. ISH and Geo have now both outgrown it. But I'm thankful for the years I could go. Thankful for the people who organize it. For Charlie (a real OK cowboy) who entertains. And for the wonderful memories I have with the boys from our adventures there.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

TMc and My Grannie

Friday night we went to hear my friend TMc tell the story of how God has worked in her life. She is an amazing woman not only because of how dedicated she has been over the past three years to letting God rule her life but also because she is bold enough to let others know her story so that they might be able to open their lives and let God have control. I'm also thankful for my Grannie. Saturday night my SILs and I decided enough pinning on Pintrest, let's get to work. We're sooo Little House on the Prairie. ... Or perhaps we're not. The skirt-making that was suppose to take 30 minutes went on for about 3 hours and when all else failed- I had to call Grannie to figure out what the issue was. She saved the day! I'm thankful that Grannie has been and continues to be a part of my life. I have so many wonderful memories with her and it's because she's taken the time to be with us and make memories with us. I'm thankful for life lessons she has taught on how to be faithful even when life is hard- because "God never promises anything different." I'm thankful she can talk me through loosening the bobbin tension over the phone. I'm thankful we will get to go to France together soon and have another trip together for the memory books. I am thankful for her in these and so many many more ways.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Past Three Days

Three days of thankfulness have past. So here they are. Over the past three days I have been thankful for ... That I was asked to be on the PTO board for the boys school this past year. I always feel like the 5 year-old in a room full of adults at things like that-- never really sure who thought it would be a good idea to bring this "kid" in here and let her start making decisions. But Thursday as I was addressing the PTO meeting and making comments on the budget I actually felt like a grown up. But more than feeling more like a big person, I'm thankful that I stopped making excuses and just got involved in their school and have been able to know people better. My friend Anne and that she texted and asked me to come visit. I'm thankful for a mother who is willing to watch the boys so I can go and for a husband who not only agreed that me going to see her would be a great thing but then quickly transferred the needed miles to my account so I can go see her. And again I'm thankful for Israel, but not for the experience so much this time but the lovely miles I earned by going that are allowing me to go and see my friend of ... eeek... almost 20 years!! Coffee with Aubrey today. Life circumstances brought us into a very unique bond that I'm thankful we have together. I'm thankful for the fun new adventures they are starting in their life and the way she graciously lends support for the adventures of mine.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Park

We bought this house just over a year ago. The reasons why we were looking to move didn't pan out the way we thought but in the end, we have this house. A house by the park. The park where ISH and I spent time this afternoon feeding ducks (and squirrels), climbing trees, and playing tag. I spent that time taking mental pictures (as well as a few real ones) of him as he fearlessly climbed to the top. As he road ahead of me on his bike. He's growing up every day. But today I'm thankful for this house, that is so close to the park, where I can spend special time with my children.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A safe night

It was a busy weather night last night. I'm thankful that nothing came near us. I'm thankful that in my approximately 31 years of living in Oklahoma, I've never lost anything in a tornado. Never had any damage. And thankful that as far as I know, no one I know has had damage this go-round either.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Reminder

This is one of those days that was just simply lived.  By that I mean it was just a day. 

It was here and there and appointments and projects.  It was home study updates and lunch on hold with an airline.  It wasn't stressful.  It wasn't leisure. 

Today was in the flow.  Not a rushing flow, not a stressful flow, just a flow.

Nothing amazingly beautiful happened today to be thankful for.  Nothing horribly frustrating happened either- a day where I would try and find something out of the ashes to rejoice in.

It was just a day. 

It's Thursday.  Did I say my prayers today?  Maybe that's why it wasn't surrounded in grace and mystery- because my head woke up focused on tasks at hand and not looking for the mystery, looking for how God was calling me into Him.

But I will not judge it.  Some things are meant to be judge, some things needing to be judged.  But this was just a day.  I can't judge it. Shouldn't judge it.  Just look, learn, and do better tomorrow.

Because today was a reminder day.  A reminder to wake up and seek Him- a reminder of how different it makes everything look.  A reminder to look for the mystery.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ish's Eyes

We met with the eye therapist today.  Our 50 sessions has ended and it was time to assess where to now.

The short of it is that things are progressing, both eyes working more now, almost all the time, getting stronger and learning what it means to get along.  For this I am immensely thankful. 

The whole process of the brain, and vision, and how our bodies compensate to make out of whack things clear is really fascinating and very complicated. I am thankful for people like Dr. White who understand this more than I and who, along with his team, is working very hard to help ISH see better.  What they are doing will have a profound impact on his future and I am thankful that they are here.  Thankful that they are literally just down the road.  Thankful that I am not the mother who drives in from no less than an hour away (one way) with two other kids in toe.

And after assessing it looks like our pockets will be a bit lighter yet again this time next week as we agree to another 20 sessions.  Therapy until September at least.  But I am thankful that this commitment will not mean rice and beans for us.  It's not how I want to spend this chunk of change mind you, but I am thankful that I can spend it on something that will help ISH's future. And thankful that I can pay that and still run the air conditioning the summer, still keep the lights on after dark.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I was pretty sure that by being gone from the middle to end of March that I would miss the excitement that comes for me each spring when I see that my plants have survived another year. (Imagine if I'm that giddy of plants what the boys birthdays must be like!) But I didn't miss it! I have daylillies just starting to bloom and ajuga that has flowered so nicely. And the barberry that I thought had been the victim of the drought is thriving (a lesson in that somewhere I'm sure). I'm thankful that God saved some of the blooms and berries for me when I returned.

Monday, April 9, 2012


We went to our first LTC this weekend and unless you've experiences thousands of kids in one place presenting puppets, drama, art, chorus, poetry, Bible knowledge, and more- it's hard to explain.  Needless to say I walked around wide-eyed the whole weekend. It was a huge event.

But more than giving Geo the chance to work as a group on a project and hone his knowledge of Genesis, I'm thankful because I was able to talk with members from my church that I'd seen around, but never really fellowshipped with. 

I'm thankful for all the adults who told me how wonderful Geo is to work with.  It's nice to know he's not just a great kid at home.

And I'm thankful that we stayed the whole weekend.  Some people go home late Saturday night but we decided to stay and experience the whole weekend.  It wasn't a normal Easter Sunday service as it was very much absent of frilly dresses and bonnets- but instead perhaps the emphasis was placed where the Easter Sunday (every Sunday) emphasis should be- the communion of the body of Christ.  People who don't all know each other, but whom have gathered together because we have one in common- the blood of Christ and the saving power of his resurrection.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Unique Experiences, Answered Prayers, and Family

I'm thankful that on Thursday Geo was able to attend a dinner with my dad where he sat with former and current political figures from our our state.  It's not often that at 8 years old you can have such unique experiences.  I'm further thankful that he carried on conversations with these people and was able to feel comfortable in his skin around them.  I'm thankful that at a young age he was able to conduct himself well in potentially intimidating circumstances.  May he never loose this ability.

I'm thankful on Friday that-- well how to summarize Friday.  I was stressed before it began.  Yup, that sums it up pretty well.  S-t-r-e-s-s-e-d.  And then I tried to remember that stress is something I create when I begin to focus in more than out.  Something that starts to creep in when I begin to assume that I am most important and my control of a situation and having life fall just so is key.  But on Friday I'm thankful that I stepped back to remember I am not the axis and life will go on even if I'm running late.

I am also thankful on Friday that while I was stuck on Broadway because of a stalled car, trying to remain calm as I watched the clock tick closer and closer to the doctors appointment I needed to be on time to so I could be on time to get my SIL so I could be on time in Dallas for LTC-- trying to remind myself that I need not be stressed- I'm thankful I offered thanks for that moment.  Thank you that I live in a town where there are roads- good roads that lead to good doctors.  Thankful for medical professionals and insurance that allows us to have well-child check ups.  Thank you for healthy kids who only really see the doctor on such occasions. Thank you that I have a car to drive. ...thank you ... thank you ... thank you. And as I inched closer and closer to the appointment I'm thankful that the Lord provided (and yes I believe he provided it) a front row spot so that even with all the delays, I wasn't late to the appointment and I wasn't late to get my SIL and I wasn't (even with Dallas traffic) late to LTC.  All without getting stressed.

Today.  Today I am thankful that I was able to spend time with several parts of my family.  My extended family doesn't look like what I thought it would.  And sometimes, in an effort for inclusion, there are tightropes to be walked.  And feelings to maneuver. And it can be difficult.  And it can be messy.  But I'm thankful that my children have people in their lives- people they call family- that we love no matter the ways they were joined in this walk with us.  I'm thankful for watching my parents make lemonade.  And I hope I am able to model the same to my children. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

LK's safe return home

LK ended up with a business trip that he needed to be on right at the end of our Israel trip.  So we flew from Tel Aviv to Newark together and then I left him to come on home and he went to a conference in Baltimore.

But he is home now.  And for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks we were together this morning as a family, back in our routine.

I'm thankful that while he was gone I was able to manage with the boys on my own (it helps that they are great kids) and everyone made it to school, the laundry was done, dinner was had, and beds were even made (normally LK's job).... Though I did forget to make coffee for myself the first morning back (Yes, he brings me my coffee in the morning.  Such a spoiled girl am I.) 

But while I was able to manage it by myself- it is good to have him home.  Good that managing it on my own is not the status quo.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mrs. Paula, my neighbor

I am thankful that I was able to see her today, talk to her about her mother, listen as she was real with me about her loss. Thankful that she was on my mind not more than a hour before. Thankful that I can be there for her. Lord comfort Paula and help me be your hands so that I can show her your love.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Being Back Home

My silence over the past few days doesn't mean I haven't been thankful.  (I have been).  It only means that I've been out of the country and the internet was not always readily available.  So from my counting that's 10 days (including today) that were not cataloged with thankfulness. 

Now it's not that I feel all puritan about this and feel like logging these is to warding off bad luck as is salt thrown over the shoulder.  But still, for good measure- 10 things I'm thankful for-

1. A vacation where I didn't really work.  I think I answered only a handful of emails and successfully passed on clients I could not take care of at that moment.  I use to never do that- work all the way around while I was on vacation.  Sure, not having ready access to internet every day helped (a subset blessing then if you will), but really it was nice just to be on vacation.

2. All the wonderful things I learned and experienced while in Israel.  I will never,  never, read the Bible the same.  It hits me in ways that unless you've been there I don't think I can accurately put into words (there's a shock- me at a loss for words) but it just made the history of the Bible- the backstage knowledge of the stories- come to life.

3. What I learned by watching Alan.  I'll admit, my attitude towards taking an almost 50 year old sometimes mentally wacky blind man to Israel was not what it should have been.  But to see his hands experience the models of the sites, to see him take in moments on his mini-tape recorder, his own "photography" of the trip, to hear him sing at St. Anne's- I was blessed.  And humbled.

4. At the same time I'm thankful Alan did not try to head squish anyone on either side of the Israel-Arab conflict. 

5. Spending the time in Israel with LK.  It was a blessing to be there with him.

6. Climbing the Southern Steps of the temple while reading the Psalms of Ascent out loud with Dad. I'm blessed to have him as my dad.  I'm blessed for the role model he is and thankful that I was able to live that moment with him.

7. LK, Dad and I running in each place we stayed.  It was a neat check box to tick off while we were traveling and a goal I had set for myself back when I first started jogging.

8.  A safe flight home.  When we hit turbulence I still listed to God the reasons why it would be a good idea for him to let me be around and not die in a crash. But this time, thanks to new thoughts stirred by One Thousand Gifts, I also added in there- but if You do decide to let us crash- I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on it being the best answer for everyone in the long run.  And yet, I'm thankful he didn't see my end of life as best just yet.

9.  The memory of Geo seeing me across the soccer field and running to jump into my arms and hug me.  Almost 9 years old but still overtly happy to see me.  When I am old and have forgotten everything including my own name, dear Lord, please let me remember that moment.

10. Playing backyard baseball with the boys tonight.  I can remember DrEAM and I playing it as kids in our envelope-sized yard complete with ghost runners and made up rules.  And tonight I was able to relive that with the boys.