Tuesday, November 24, 2015

G.I.G.-Day 23

 It is late, so I will cut straight to the chase.

Today I am thankful:

1. For "free" fun. We volunteered to help with the Zero Waste effort at Gonzaga and it was a lot of fun.

2. For ice cream in waffle cones. Especially if it is free as a "thank you" for volunteering!

3. For french fries. Especially when they are steak cut.

4. For kids who appreciate simple pleasures. I would like to think they learned that from me and their dad.

5. For being together as a family. I am truly thankful for this every day, I just happened to mention it today.

6. For my brother-in-law Daniel. We lovingly call him "the Lorax" because he is jut the "greenest" guy I know. I appreciate many things about him, not the least of which is his passion for sustainability and incredible knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. I am thankful Katy (and God!) brought him into our family.

7. For samples. The kind they give out from Costco. They are just fun!

8. For kind strangers. You don't realize how many opportunities you have during the day to really be nice to someone, until you are on the receiving end in a service position. I am glad that some people are really out-of-their way kind.

9. For car washes. Especially after you car endured a ridiculous wind storm and has been filthy for a week.

10. For time to catch my breath. It seems life has been incredibly hectic for like...the past year! Yesterday and today have been a pleasant opportunity to not feel like I was going non-stop.

11. For chances to share my opinion. I am not always right, but it is always nice to feel heard.

12. That my grandmother seems to be doing better. The doctors feel like they have handle on what happened over the weekend and she seems to be on an upswing.

13. For my Keurig. My afternoon cup of coffee is one of my favorite rituals. I don't think I can actually operate a "real" coffee pot, so I am thankful for my little one-cup wonder.

14. For mocha mix. It makes my coffee just perfect!

15. For a trash dumpster. I have T.D.A. That stands for "Trash Day Anxiety". It is hereditary, I got it from my mother. Having a dumpster that I am *not* responsible for taking to the curb is the cure for TDA. It is one of those ridiculous little things, but honestly: I am grateful for it.

16. For fresh contact lenses. If you don't wear contacts, you won't understand, but putting in new lenses-it is so wonderful.

17. For hand-me-downs. For both me and the kids. It is a great way to help the earth, and my pocketbook! And my kids actually think hand-me-downs are better than new clothes. They are more special to them!

18. For a generous family. Curriculum, clothes, and a million other little things (especially cups of coffee!). All my extended family is willing to give with no strings attached, and it makes my world a better place.

19. For this time of year. And I don't just mean Christmas. There is something I really love about November. It holds so much promise.

20. For thoughts of heaven. I have been reading C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle" with the kids, and the images of heaven that he paints just fill my heart with joy.

21. For gift wrap. Wrapping wins over bags any day in my book-and presentation is everything!

22. For laughter. God was so gracious to give us humor and the ability to appreciate the funny side of life. It makes things bearable.

23. For public bathrooms. I am pretty sure that we take this for granted far too often. If you have ever had need of one and been unable to find one, you get why this made the list!

    The randomness clearly never ceases! Are you thankful for bathrooms today, or something more serious?

Monday, November 23, 2015

G.I.G.-Day 22

    Sometimes the loveliest days are the ones that you are not expecting to be particularly lovely, just rather ordinary. That was today. Nothing special, but that was part of its charm.

Today I am thankful:

1. That even though the power was still out at the church, we had service anyway. It was a particularly good service, too.

2. That we have someone in our church who plays acoustic guitar. So that we could instruments to go with our singing, even without power.

3. That people were good sports about the whole thing. Sometimes it is hard, especially as adults, to put up with little minor inconveniences, but no one complained.

4. For hot showers. I do not lack appreciation for being clean, but not only that, but for how nice the whole task itself is.

5. For a little time to myself. I do not often have time alone at home, but today I did. I don't like to spend too much time by myself, but as it is a rare occurrence, I appreciated it.

6. For old movies. I adore the styles of the fifties, and entertained myself today by watching several classics I had never seen before.

7. For God coincidences. I had just written #6 when I got a text from Joel that he was with my sister, Kelly. Her car had been broken into while she was at work, and he "happened"  to be nearby. He was able to be there in 5 minutes to help her get things figured out. That, in my mind, is God working things out in His perfect way.

8. That she is safe. I am sad that someone thought breaking her window was an okay thing to do, but glad that she wasn't physically harmed in any way. Because windows can be replaced but sisters can't.

9. That I had a chance to  put Matthew 25:35 into action. I often miss those opportunities to "feed the hungry, and clothe the naked" because I overthink it. That didn't happen today.

10. For having dinner with my sister, Katy. We haven't had much time to see each other lately, so it was nice to hang out.

11. For our space heater. We don't use our baseboard heaters (for a myriad of reasons) and we don't need to with that little thing. It makes our living room toasty.

12. That ribbon was on clearance. In colors to match my Christmas decorations and coordinating gift wrap.

13. That I was able to make some progress on some projects on my list. I actually have a whole notebook dedicated to activities, to-do's, and events in the next few weeks. It was nice to check some things off!

14. That my basil is thriving. I am a notorious plant killer, and I have had this plant since September. I'm pretty sure that is a record!

15. For Master Blasts from Sonic. If you have never had the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dream...well, I'm sad for you. It's epic.

16. For pebble ice. Also from Sonic. (That one is for you, Kate. ;) )

17. For deep conversations with thoughtful people. I love fluff, and superficial things at times. But other times I want to be challenged, and questioned. It helps me to grow and mature.

18. For listening ears. I am truly thankful for people who ask questions that they really want to hear the answers to, and are really concerned about you.

19. That I don't have an early morning. Because obviously, it is a late night-for me, anyway!

20. For lamps. I really detest overhead lighting, and I love how homey lamps make a place feel.

21. For Christmas carols. Yes, even in November. I won't apologize.

22. For keyboards. I don't think most of the time we even notice them, but we would be sorely tried to use all this technology without them. ;)

Despite the excitement between numbers 6 and 7, it was really a good day overall. How was your's?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

G.I.G.-Day 21

  I don't really know what is going on, but I do not doubt that the Lord placed it on my heart to do this gratitude challenge in a month where He knew there was going to be a whole lot going on. So far, my paternal grandmother has passed away, my niece has been hospitalized for a host of life-threatening issues, my town was hit by a windstorm that squashed decades-long records for power outages, and my maternal grandmother found out she has more cancer, after recent enduring chemo and radiation for brain cancer. And that's just the "big" stuff. Today, that same grandmother had to be rushed to the hospital with a very high fever, and we still aren't sure what is going on. It's hitting me pretty hard, and I am really learning to give thanks in all circumstances, trial by fire edition, if you know what I'm saying?

   And surprisingly (or maybe not so much so, if you are saved), in the midst of all that there *are* things for which to be thankful! I haven't really listed too many "big" things-and there is a reason for that: it is easy to give thanks for those usually. If you ask children, they can list those. But I think that true gratitude encompasses EVERYTHING, both things large and small. And I think that by choosing to focus on the not-so-obvious, which I kind of have to in the process of listing over 400 things this month, it hits on exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be a more conscious observer of all the great things in my life, to realize that in each and every situation there are things that not only should I say, "thanks" for, there are things which I *must* surrender praise to only the Lord for, as He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. No matter the size.

 So onto my list for today...
I am thankful that:

1. We had such generous donations towards Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. It is so fun to see what people were inspired to give.

2. They are all signed, sealed and delivered. At least on our end! It was quite the process to sort, label and get 37 shoeboxes to the donation site, but we did it! My organized aunt was planning on helping me, but since she needed to be with my grandmother, Kelly came to my rescue.

3. There are 37 children that we are showing the love of Christ to, in ways both tangible and intangible. If you doubt that these boxes are physical expressions of the Gospel, you need to go check out OCC's website.

4. We can be a small part of a big effort. There are hundreds of thousands of boxes delivered every year. We are a drop in the bucket-but all those drops together are creating mighty ocean waves. Being part of that is humbling.

5. The Gospel is for everyone. Rich or poor, near or far, old or young. God is so good...

6. Tomorrow is uncertain, but there is no need to worry. It is almost impossible at times not to worry. My grandmother is ill, my husband is not getting a paycheck, my future seems unclear. But I do NOT have to worry. I can choose to have faith and know the Lord is in control. It seems a pity that I only get to list this once, as I could certainly use the reminder every day.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

7. I do not have to lose hope. There is always hope-He is called Jesus.

8. I am being renewed day by day. Just like the manna the Israelites received, I get enough every day for each day. Never too little, never too much, but I don't have to worry about provision.

9.This is all just momentary. In the light of eternity, all our troubles are "light and momentary". Even when they seem heavy and eternal, they aren't.

10. We can fix our eyes on the unseen. It doesn't make sense, in human terms. But taken by faith, it makes more sense than anything in the world.

11. What is seen is temporary. Oh! I am sooo thankful that this isn't all there is. So, very, very, thankful.
12. What is unseen is eternal. That the most glorious things of all are most definitely ahead of me. That the very best, most perfect time in my life isn't in this life.

13. Scripture makes me cry. Almost without fail. And I am thankful for that because I am not a big "cry-er". If I am moved, it is pretty significant. And I am glad that the Word is one of those things.

14. I can be sad. Jesus was, and since He was perfect, I know that it isn't sinful. I can tell Jesus about my sorrow and He can give me peace. It might seem weird to be thankful for what most consider a negative emotion, but I see it as part of the humanity that allows us to not only understand each other, but recognize how badly we need salvation.

15. I have people with which to share my sorrows. Grief is bearable when borne together.

16. It won't last forever. See #9.

17. Most of my family are believers. Oh, how sweet it is to claim these promises and share these burdens together.

18. Every cloud has silver lining. But only for those who are in Christ Jesus. Without Him, there aren't even any clouds, only darkness. But for a believer, "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord...". (Romans 8:28)

19. Hymns. My mind is constantly flooded with Scripture, and that frequently brings old, familiar, comforting hymns to mind. It is so lovely... "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus...just to take Him at His Word, just to rest upon His promise...just to know, "Thus saith the Lord." Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er, Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh for grace, to trust Him more..." How can that not make you feel better?

20. I can sing. I didn't say well, or in public, but for a voice, and a little tune, even if it is only for myself and the Lord.

21. There are always miracles. I've seen them. And whether or not any of these situations that I'm experiencing today, or in the future, merits one I cannot say. But I am grateful for them just the same.

I know you are humming a hymn now. What are you singing? Is it a song of thanks?

Friday, November 20, 2015

G.I.G-Day 20

   Today was Jocelyn's party! I have heaved a gigantic sigh of relief, for sure. I really get worked up over this stuff, I know "first world problems", worrying that my kid's completely unnecessary, totally extraneous birthday shindig won't go off without a hitch. However, that's where I am right now, so I am just owning it.

Today I am thankful:

1. That the party is over! It is always lovely to look back on the memories, but you have to live through it first.

2. That I have (as Lisa Dawn put it) "an army of party minions.". Seriously, I do not know how people do these things by themselves. My family was *awesome* today. My aunt loaned her house and loads of her cute stuff (besides doing a billion other things), Lisa Dawn and Kelly pitched in and made decor and set up stuff, Katy came and "judged" the event, even my mom (who had just come home from my grandmother's funeral and had traveled all day and all yesterday!) came and did all the dishes. They are all lifesavers.

3. That my parents and brothers arrived back home safely. It is tricky time of year for a road trip!

4. For dinner with my parents. All my married life, until last year, we lived no less than 18 hours or more away. I am grateful that I can go to dinner with my parents, go home to my own bed and do it all again the next day if I want!

5. For my talented cousin, Cayla. She did all the chalkboard art for Josie's party, and it was gorgeous. She is a really cool teenager, and I appreciate her.

6. For my other dear cousin, Autumn. She is such a sweet and precious friend to Josie. She never treats Josie as inferior, even though Autumn is over two years older. I love their friendship.

7. For my uncle Cory, who even though he had a house full of little (loud!) girls running around, did not complain and he has to get up at 1am to go to work! He very kindly opened his home and never said a thing.

8. That the party went well. We had a few "adjustments" but in the end, I think all the girls had fun. If you weighed fun in sprinkles and frosting (it was a Cupcake Wars themed party) they had a blast!

9. For last minute ideas that worked. I did not do nearly as much party prep as I usually do, and even flying by the seat of my pants, it all worked out. Probably due much more in part to today's #2 than any of my genius.

10. For sprinkles. If you know me, generally I hate sprinkles. However, they were a necessary ingredient for pulling off this party, and they are pretty cute. They do get everywhere and taste gross, but they look cute doing it. And you must have them for a cupcake party.

11. For Jocelyn's guests. She invited all her friends from co-op. I know enough about this age to know that having 10 little girls who all get along, and are kind and thoughtful and godly is a *very* rare thing. She is truly blessed to have that group to call friends.

12. For having fun. My sisters and I all decided to decorate our own cupcakes, while the girls were working on their challenge. I love that we can laugh and have fun together.

13. For garlands. They make all parties, and lots of other things, better.

14. For Carson's good attitude. He was the only boy at the party, and he was so sweet about it. He was very excited to be a "judge".

15. That Joel is off for the season. It will be harder for our budget, but I am looking forward to having lots of time with him. Especially because...

16. We are going on a mission trip! I am over the moon to finally get to go on a short-term mission trip to a foreign country. We are joining my dad, my sister Lisa Dawn and my brother Luke on a trip to Honduras in January. It is the fulfillment of a life-long dream.

17. That the Lord is going to provide the money. We don't have it, but I believe we will. I don't know how, I don't know when. But I really feel like He called us, and I believe that He will provide. He always has, and according to what I read in the Word, He always will.

18. That He fulfills desires. I still kind of feel like the whole thing might be a dream. It has been something I have longed for since I was a child. However, every time I have prayed about going in the past the answer has clearly been, "no". This time, it was out of the blue (isn't it always?) and I am so grateful that the Lord does give us the desires of our heart-in His perfect time.

19. That I get to be a part of His plan to preach the Gospel to the whole world. That privilege blows my mind. He would trust *me* to share His plan of salvation? Whoa. That is a really big deal.

20. For a truly good day. Being thankful has been tough-my attitude these last few days has been horrible. I have been fighting to focus on the good. But today was a wonderful day, and I am going to be thankful for that.

Is there anything that you are thankful for that hasn't happened yet? Do you think it is possible to be thankful for future events? I do-because all the promises of God are true, even those in the future. Those are so secure, I can be thankful for them before they even occur! How about you?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

G.I.G.-Day 19

  I'm singing the same song I was last week: I am up to my eyeballs in party prep. This time it is for Josie's birthday, and as that is what has been consuming most of my time today, it is duly reflected in my list!

Today I am thankful for:

1. The party store. I didn't buy much there this time, but if you are looking for specialty items (especially of specific colors) you can't beat this place. It makes me happy-and thankful!

2. Walmart. I usually say how much I "hate" this place, but deep in my heart I am thankful for their selection, and the fact that I can get a wide variety of items there.

3. Balloons. I always say you need two things for a party: balloons and favors. As Pooh would say, "No one can be uncheered by a balloon"!

4. Perfect cupcakes. I baked 6 dozen cupcakes today. I didn't burn any of them, and all their tops rose beautifully! Win!

5. My Aunt's hospitality. I had planned on having the party at our church, since there is no way I could fit a dozen little girls in my teeny apartment. Buuuuut, it just so happens the power is still out there. :( So my Aunt Rachel to the rescue! She graciously offered to open her lovely home to the thronging horde, umm I mean party guests.

6. Amazon. They saved the day in the favor department!

7. Marshmallows. I really love marshmallows, and finding giant *cupcake* shaped ones? It was meant to be.

8. Ribbon. Seriously, party decor would not be as beautiful without it.

9. Frosting and cake mixes being on sale. Providential, this week, truly.

10. Flexibility. I am glad that we were able to move the party to a different location, so it didn't have to be cancelled.

11. Extra time. With all the cancelled activities this week, I had more time than I was anticipating. Which was wonderful, because I was woefully under-prepared.

12. Streamers. Another party classic.

13. Cellophane bags. I love these for a variety of reasons, but using them for packing favors is probably one of my favorites.

14. That my new phone came today. Self-explanatory.

15. That Joel was able to get my phones switched.

16. That all my stuff was able to be migrated to my new phone. This is especially important because I had tried to reset my phone to fix an issue and it *did* not respond well. I was really worried I would be starting from scratch with apps and contact info. No fun!

17. Printables. People who are willing to share their hard work on the Internet for me to use? For free? Bless them!

18. Paper punches. Any party decorator has at least a couple of these. I have a whole bunch and I use them all.the.time.

19. Evite. If having guests at the party was dependent on me sending invitations through the mail, let's just say we would be having rather "small" gatherings. I love that I can quickly send invitations for free (clearly an important feature to me!) and keep track of everything online means we aren't having parties with no guests.

 Note I did *not* put that I was thankful for parties...let's see what happens tomorrow. Pray for me!;)


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