We put up our 2016 thankful tree! We traced handprints for the branches this year and we have Bible verses that we are working on memorizing every week that are about being thankful. Each day the kids all say something that they are thankful to God for and then we add leaves to the tree. Their answers are sometimes silly and sometimes serious, but they are all things that we are thankful for . . . today the kids said they are thankful for Squishy (Joshua’s nickname), Gabby, bunnies, making stick people, Jesus, and fluffy wookies! I am so glad that I started this tradition in our house! Here’s a walk down memory lane of some of our thankful trees from years past.
Here’s our 2011 tree with Joshua and Eliana
Our 2012 thankful tree with Eliana and Isabel
Our 2014 thankful tree with Danielle
Our 2015 thankful tree with Danielle, Eliana and Gabrielle
This is a four generation photograph of my son, me, my Dad and my dear sweet Grandma.
I missed an early morning phone call from my Dad and when I called him back he asked if he could call me back. My heart sank and I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach. I sat and waited for the call instead of going about my routine of starting Bible Study for school. The girls were busy playing with dust particles in the morning sunlight that was streaming in from the living room window. The dust was transformed from dirt into something very beautiful as it floated through the sunbeam. God makes all things beautiful. My Dad called back and said that my Grandma had passed away. I knew he was going to say that. The day turned dreary and gloomy after that and it even rained all day.
Life doesn’t stop when you find out someone you love has passed away. I don’t remember doing much these past few days. The kids are alive and fed and they are wearing clean clothes. Our routines have been more laid back. I am trying to take it easy, but I have seven little people who are depending on me. They take turns snuggling with me. They have given me hugs and kisses. They have sung to me. Miss E keeps singing, “I’ll Fly Away.” We had a few partial days of school.
My Grandma loved the sunlight. She loved praising God and singing, “This Is The Day that the Lord has Made.” During prayer request and praise time at church she would always say that she wanted to thank God, for what He had already done and for what He was going to do.” Her faith was faith of expectation. She loved her family fiercely and I hope that I love my family as much as she loved hers.
Losing my Grandma has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I am sad and my heart hurts because of how much I am going to miss her, but I know that her legacy, and especially her legacy of faith will live on in me and in my children. The kids have seen my sorrow but they are also going to see my joy because I know that my Grandma isn’t truly dead, but she is alive with Jesus right now. Joy in the midst of sorrow is a wondrous and awesome thing.
I’m thankful for new life. A few days ago I was able to photograph a brand new baby girl. It reminded me of all that is good in the world. Only God knows the plans He has for this precious little one.
There is much hope in new life. God has given me a new life through his son Jesus. I no longer have to live in bondage to my sins. I get to live covered by love and forgiven of my sins. God makes all things new.
One of the first things that I read today was that one of my friends, who is my sister in Christ, lost her baby in still birth. I am completely heartbroken for her. We do not know why this life was lost much too soon. I know what it is to hope for a baby and have that hope shattered into a million tiny pieces after experiencing miscarriage.
Death is a part of life. Death is reminder that this life is not all that there is and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are only a speck in the great cosmos and our life is only a vapor. There is no life without death. If you want to have a new life in Jesus the sinful part of you must die in order for you to have a new life with God. Earthly death is not the end for those who believe in Jesus. It is only the beginning of an eternity spent with God.
I am thankful that I can look at life and death with hope. In life and death there is hope for today and hope for eternity.
I am shocked at how much Miss Danielle has learned to do this week. She was sitting up while leaning on one arm and doing an army crawl for a couple weeks. Then she was sitting up on her own and crawling on all fours the next day. The day after that she pulled herself up onto her knees and yesterday she pulled herself up to stand next to her toy piano and the couch. One thing will lead to another and soon she’ll be walking, running, and jumping on her own.
Although I wish I could slow the growing process down for my kids I want to help them grow to be their very best. I think it’s the same way with God and his children. God wants to help us grow to be our very best.
I look back on my life, at my past, and I see how I have gotten to where I am right now, and how God helped me grow all along the way. I stayed up late one night reading through one of my prayer journal from my last years of college. That year was a turning point in my life. There were so many different people’s names were found on the pages of my journal. Most of the people in my prayers are people I still keep in touch with now via Facebook and e-mail.
My cousin wrote about the birth of her son the other day and it reminded me that it has been 14 years this month since I went on a mission trip to Alaska! I am blessed to still be in touch with many friends that I met that fateful summer! That summer 14 years ago changed how I see my relationship with God in that it became much more personal. I learned that Jesus wants me to talk to him 24/7, and to include Him in every part of my life, because He is walking with me every single step of the way since I decided to follow Him.
This quote from Oswald Chambers’ book “My Utmost For His Highest” fits nicely with what I have been reflecting on,
“A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him.”
God has been with me and He is always with me. He never leaves me. God knows where I am right here and right now and He knows how I need to keep growing. He’s always had a plan for me and He’s not finished with me! What I have been learning about most these days is love, but I’ll share more about that in another post. How are you growing?
Seems like my prayer list is pretty long these days. I went to bed once but couldn’t get my thoughts to turn off and then the baby started crying again, so I’m nursing the baby and blogging.
God needs to be made priority # 1. Nothing else matters more.
Teaching my kids that God is priority # 1 is my # 1 job. If I am not living this out every day I am failing.
Two basic rules: Love God. Love Others. Following these two rules take care of so many issues.
If every single thing someone talks about is about themselves, they might be selfish.
The more love you give the more you get. If you don’t SHOW any love, you cannot expect for people to show you love.
There are some things that should never be said via text message!
Clicking on the “like” button on people’s photos or Facebook status doesn’t show anyone that you actually care. Just Clicking the “like” button doesn’t count as communication. Calling a person and actually talking to them face-to-face is so much better. You know if someone who actually clicks “like” cares.
When you hurt someone you can’t just take it back. If you are expecting to mend relationships it is going to require WORK and lots of it.
Anger is an ugly thing. Keeping anger in check is always wise.
I have a friend you is pregnant and she has had “all the time sickness” for weeks and weeks. Babies are parasites sometimes. If I was ever that sick I would never have had 5 kids.
What are you praying about?
You never know what a two-year-old boy might be attached to. Today we had our Pontiac towed to a mechanic so it could be fixed. As the tow truck driver was putting the car onto the lift I told Joshua to look at the truck with Daddy’s car on it. I was not prepared for his troubled and upset response. I guess I only expected him to think the lights on the truck were cool. Instead as the tow truck pulled away he began crying and said, “Oh no, they taking my car away!” A few hours later when Andy mentioned the car Joshua sat in the chair by the window and began crying again and saying he wanted Daddy’s car back. I had to assure him that they were taking it to be fixed because it was broken and that we would in fact see the car again. It was cute but it was also heartbreaking. I never thought about him reacting that way and thinking that they were taking our car away forever. I knew that the car being towed was a good thing, but Joshua did not.
I will confess that in my 30 years of life there have been a lot of things that I have been attached to. Over the years I have had several things in my life “towed away,” causing me sadness and grief. I have lost material things that meant a great deal to me. I have lost loved ones through death and through the breaking off of friendships or relationships. Looking back I can see how these losses no matter how painful have made me better. Like a child in the moment, I could not see past the loss, but like a parent God knew what was going on even when I didn’t understand. Looking back I see more clearly.