I'm realizing that my recent posts have been less "uplifting" and more about "upchucking", so given today is the 19th day of the month, I thought I'd come up with nineteen things I'm thankful for. They will appear in no particular order and will range from mundane to meaningful - so, here goes:
1. The ability to eat and keep down food. Also, the way God designed us to heal and fight off nasties - truly remarkable.
2. "Amazing Race", "Chuck", and "Biggest Losers" - three shows John and I watch faithfully together and enjoy as our own cheap date nights.
3. A brilliant fall, and the change of seasons. While I might complain a lot in the winter and spring, I really do love Oregon and it's diversity of seasons. I can't imagine looking forward to Christmas when it's sunny and 80 degrees everyday.
4. The gal I meet with, Kara - and our connections with all of our church's college group. It's only been a short time we've all been involved, but already I see it being such a bigger blessing than I'd imagined.
5. That we can rejoice knowing Grandpa Pat is in Heaven. Mikayla talked last night about being sad about him not being around this Christmas and I pointed out to her that especially because we were not super close with him, it releases us to be even happier for him that this is his happiest Christmas ever (incomparably so), and that should help us to not be sad.
6. Friends that look after me and offer their support when I'm in need. Fortunately, through this round of illness, our family wasn't lacking in any major way, but I'm glad to know that when a time arrives (as it has in the past), I've got people in my court.
7. The thoughtfulness of a family we barely know, that gifted John last night with a full enchilada meal at the end-of-season football party, just because John has taken pictures at every game and posted hundreds of them on Flickr for other families to download. John was very touched.
8. My daughter - and the ways she reminds me of me. Yesterday she scoured her room to find presents for every member of the family and already has them wrapped and gift-tagged. Our house is full of pictures of Christmas trees and stockings that she has colored, as well as calendars that she has created to countdown until Christmas.
9. My son - and his random expressions of encouragement. Just when I'm entirely exasperated by his obliviousness, he'll say things like, "Wow, mom, it looks like you've got a lot on your plate" (as I'm preparing dinner, helping him with homework, and talking to John on his way home from work). Or, "Just in case I never said it, thank you for the ESPN game in my bedroom" (something we got on mega-clearance a couple of years ago). The other night he asked if we'd be doing the "Countdown Activity Calendar" again. When I said, "yes", he asked, "Will it be as fun as last year?" Oh, does that kid know the key to motivate me...
10. The school that my kids attend and how I feel safe that they are there - and the outstanding leadership of the new principal - I anticipate great things are around the corner for that school...
11. My dad's health and recovery from his heart issues - a huge praise!
12. The nifty ways that I've been able to purchase Christmas presents this year that have saved me quite a bit of money. From turning in "Coke Rewards" that I've been saving for well over a year, to turning in video games the kids no longer play with for credit for new games - and not to mention the buy one get one free offers - it's allowed me to stretch the limited budget quite a bit.
13. For a husband that loves me so much just the way I am. He told me today that his college guy told him last night that many of the college kids are watching us as role models for marriage - what a high honor, and I'm thankful that what we represent to them is truly what we are, and not an act.
14. For the ways I've seen God unfold his blessings on Michele's family. There was a time when the advice they were given by virtually everyone was "throw in the towel" - in terms of financial issues - and yet, God has been so faithful. Often not in the ways we would have guessed, or as quickly as we'd have wanted, but their testimony is now that much stronger. Two days ago, news arrived that relieved them of a major burden/concern that they'd had for a while. What a huge early Christmas present!
15. For my dog. I love Sydney - even when she totally aggravates me. Today we take her into Mikayla's classroom for show and tell - she'll be needing a bath...
16. For amazing Christmas music that fills my soul with praise and remembrance for the real reason this holiday was created.
17. For a neighbor that I carpool with, so I only have to drive the kids to school in the morning every other week.
18. For the Christmas adventures and plans we have ahead, and how they fill me with kid-like anticipation and excitement.
19. For the grace of God to give me the security that nothing will ever separate me from His love.