I have neglected this space for a while because it feels like ALL the things have been happening. I think the first thing was my husband, James’ Grandfather passing away. The guy was a legend. He joked about where they were going to put his monument when he was gone! He was monumentally important to a lot of people. His monument is in the people he left behind. My husband James and our sons are so much like their grandfather sometimes that each and every day I think about Bill Himelick, and I remember the great guy I loved!
Soon after the funeral various members of the family came down with an evil stomach virus. I lived through having 9 sick kids and a sick husband all at once. It was really bad. I think one of the worst parts of it was waking up at 3 a.m. and finding 7 out of 9 kids wide awake and getting sick. Spending two hours cleaning up horrific messes left and right was absolutely awful. I didn’t get sick, and everyone survived! I credit God, and my friends and family prayers with my wellness! I felt like I had survived a war! My hands hurt for days from washing them so many times!
After the sickness, Jonah stopped nursing. We were cutting back on nursing, but while he was sick I let him nurse a few extra times during the day to help him stay hydrated. I nursed my last baby for the last time without even knowing the next day he wouldn’t want to nurse at all. It was so bittersweet! My hormones are still not normal. I don’t really know what normal feels like. I have grown and nourished other humans for 15 years.
Now we’re facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools shutting down wasn’t a big deal for us. We homeschool all the time. I stay home with the kids and James works from home most of the time. Then ALL the things started getting canceled. Church got cancelled. Kids’ arts classes canceled. Homeschool co-op meetings got cancelled, and homeschooling while quarantined at home is much different than normal homeschooling. Our spring break day trip was canceled and spring break swim lessons were cancelled. I had a plan for doing some Easter photography sessions, but I threw that plan out the window before I even got a chance to pitch it to anyone! We wanted to spend extra time with James’ grandma to help comfort her in the loss of her husband, but we can only video call her right now. Thankfully, THE NINE, haven’t been making us too crazy. Our routines are comforting, but that is a blog for another day.
Deep breath. ALL the things are a lot, but there is one really big thing that is true . . . God is still in charge of ALL the things. Death, sickness, and plagues are no match for the almighty power of God. Life is full of many different seasons, but if you look, listen and pray, you will find God in ALL the things right along side of you!
Today Eliana, Andy, and I are working together to write what they are thankful for today. This is mainly because my brain is mush and during lunch today I opened the top of the ketchup bottle and almost poured ketchup into my kid’s cup. Yeah, so here are some thankful thoughts from little people.
She says she is thankful for everything God made. Sometimes the things that God made look weird, but I like them.
She is also thankful for people. She says she is thankful for all people in the whole wide world that she knows.
She got upset when I told her I was writing this to people; especially people who are strangers. I told her that it’s just to my friends and she protested that she doesn’t know all my friends.
She is also thankful for our fish. She says she is thankful for them because they are new. They are from our friends who moved to Florida.
Andy says he is thankful for animals.
He also says he is thankful for free will so we can choose stuff. We can choose which ice cream we want.
When I asked him what else he is thankful for he said, “I don’t know. I just give up.” Then he went away to watch his Daddy play Star Wars Angry Birds. I’m pretty sure he’s thankful for that game.
Our reef and theater were completely lost. My seven-year-old son was totally devastated. Okay, I’m not talking about an actual reef or theater but I’m talking about two games that my son and I have played for months building Nemo’s Reef and the Muppet’s Theater. I had to get a new phone and since I didn’t save our usernames the progress we have made can’t be recovered.
In just the last couple months, I have experienced the loss of my cousin, a former co-worker, a former schoolmate, and most recently a friend. In light of these deaths, I am reminded this life we have been given will not last forever.
Life is fragile, handle with prayer.
I gave my son the choice to decide whether or not to start the games over again. He chose to restart one game but not the other.
We do not know the number of days that anyone will have. We must choose how we will spend our time and who we will spend our time with each day. I’m thankful that this life is not the end for those who believe in Jesus and trust Him for salvation. I’m thankful that Jesus gives us a chance to restart our lives with God if we choose.
My kids made up a new song to use instead of “Ring Around The Rosy,” called “Ring Around the Chicken. Here are the words:
“Ring around the chicken, pocket full of chicken. Chicken, chicken, we all go chickeny.
After this they proceed to bock, bock, ba-gock and flap their arms like chickens. The older four sing together but even the littlest one joined in with bocks and arm-flapping. They are hilarious to watch!
After every one was in bed, I told James that I was going outside for a little while and he asked if I was okay and I told him, “Yeah, I’m really good.” He made the funniest face at me. I felt incredibly thankful and incredibly blessed and I wanted to enjoy the sunset. I got news that my blood glucose test was normal and my iron levels are good. I said goodnight to my crew. I made a little girl smile and laugh with a silly story about fluffy sheep. This was after she was oh so sad and she could not admit just how tired she was after we let her stay up just a little bit past her bedtime watching one of her favorite movies “Happy Feet.” A little boy wrapped his arms around my neck and hugged me tightly. Another leaned over his bed rail so I could plant a kiss on his cheek and he could plant a kiss on mine. A little girl climbed into her bed and as I sang her a song she put her arms around my neck and pretended to be asleep, but her sweet infectious giggles gave her away. One sleepy sweetheart fell asleep before goodnights, and she didn’t stir while the others were tucked in.
The sunset sky looked like cotton candy, with it’s hues of pink, purple, and blue. As so often is the case, I could not resist getting my camera out to capture some of God’s most wonderful artwork. No one paints quite like Him.
I started to type this while I was sitting on my front steps, but I got chased back into the house by the mosquitos. In spite of this, I still got to watch the lightning bugs come out and two robins perched on the fence undisturbed by my presence until I stood to go inside.
These are just a few of the things that give me a thankful heart. I love how God blesses us when we work for Him and we stop and realize He really is the Giver of all good things.
I got the idea of putting up a Thanksgiving Tree last year. Below is a photo of our tree from last year. Last year our tree was a complete success so I am doing this project with my kids again this year. Because my little ones are so young some of the things that they were thankful for were “little” things, but some of them were very heartfelt. I am looking forward to filling up our new tree. Teaching children to be thankful no matter what happens is a huge job. Life is not without disappointment and not without hurts. I’m excited to see what leaves they want to put on our tree this year.
During my devotion time this morning I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.”
This is what God wants for us! The Bible is packed with good advice straight from the Maker of heaven and Earth. This list is a great one!
I think thankfulness is a lot like growing tree. It takes time to cultivate but when you start being thankful your thankfulness grows until you are able to look at every single circumstance with a thankful heart.