Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful Today #22

#22- I am thankful for my puppy

On June 30, this past summer, we made the crazy decision to drive over an hour away to look at a little bloodhound puppy at a rescue shelter. We went to see a specific girl but she was a part of a large litter that had been abandoned. They were all together on a fenced in patio and when we saw her, we knew she was our Molly. All of the puppies were about 4 1/2 months old and adorable. They came running to see us, jumping on the fence and barking excitedly. And then there was a sweet red haired puppy who waited sweetly for her siblings to get done jumping around and go off and play and she walked over and looked up at us with her sweet, dark eyes. She stole my husband's heart at that moment. She just happened to also be the one we saw in the picture on a website and came to see specifically.

Molly is a wonderful puppy, we could not have asked for better. She is huge, at least 60+ pounds and is 9 months old. She is a lot of fun to play with and still has a puppy personality in the yard. But she can also be very calm and relaxed and obedient, not at all like a puppy. She is amazing with our busy two year old who is not always good with boundaries. She has never acted out at him, though he has deserved it plenty of times. He loves her and she seems to like, or at least tolerate, him. Actually, they are really becoming buddies. He looks for her first thing in the morning and she looks for him. Usually she barrels into his room when I open the door and about gets in his bed, covering him with kisses. She loves attention and wants to be wherever we are. She has also figured out quickly how to be a princess, finding the most comfortable spot in the room. If there is a blanket or pillow left around, she will be on it.

My husband has wanted a dog for a long time (as have I) and she has been exactly right. Sure she drools, but she is a hound dog. I love that we were able to help a dog that had a really bad start in life and provide her with a home. She is our pound puppy and I am grateful for her.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful Today #21

#21- I am thankful for my husband as a minister

Note that this is written on a Sunday, a very busy Sunday at that. So, that should show just how well my husband does at balancing ministry and family.

I think most ministers would say that their family is priority to them...but unfortunately a lot don't show that. I have been in church all of my life, have been involved in leadership either through my husband or me for several years, worked at and attended a seminary with pastors or pastors to be, so I feel like I have been around a lot of ministers. It is easy for one to say that the church never comes before family, but then I don't know how many I have seen not match that. It is hard to say no to things that seem like it would be good work. How does a spouse or child argue and ask for more time spent at home when it means taking the minister away from "God's work?"

I am grateful that my husband knows that God's work takes place at home first. Some would say that being a good family man is good for his church work...and I'm sure that is true...but that is not my husband's motivation at all. You see, my husband is a Christian way before he is a minister. How he conducts himself as a minister and his motivations in church work is completely reflective of his relationship with God. He doesn't act a certain way at church because it would be good for the church, he acts a certain way because he believes that is how he should live his life as a follower of Christ. He acts the same at a senior citizen's fellowship as he does when he plays volleyball in his free time (well...not exactly but you know what I mean!). I can say this because I know him better than any one else. I know him when he is full of life, happy and taking things in stride. I know him when he is tired, grumpy and frustrated. And he is still the same guy. He will display those different feelings, but keeps his character in it all.

And he makes us a priority. Now, this does not mean that he is home all of the time and skips out on responsibilities that come from being a minister. Rather, it is how he handles himself that makes those times not a problem for us as a family. I mentioned that today was a busy Sunday. Here is what it looked like: I stayed home from church with our son this morning- my minister husband told me I should skip church because it would be helpful as we are potty training. He wasn't worried that it would look bad to have his wife and son skip church. He leaves around 6:15 and came home around 12:30, normal schedule though he came home a little earlier. After a quick lunch it was nap time for the little guy and I joined in. My husband had to leave for a church event at 3:00, before we woke up and didn't come home until a little before 7:00. We went to the event for a little while. I could have felt like our family was put behind the church today. but I didn't at all. Instead of feeling like he had to do certain things at the event, my husband walked around with us and played with our son. He still got to talk to lots of church members, but he did that while holding his son and involving us in the conversation. As soon as he got home tonight the two of them were together nonstop until it was bedtime. And he was with us for the entirety of Friday and Saturday before that. Not only is it how he includes us while we're together but also because it is not a regular thing for him to spend way more time on church things than with us. Some days or some weeks are busier than others, like all careers or roles, but that just happens. A lot of ministers allow every day, every week to be filled up though because after all, it is God's work.

My husband is wonderful minister to our church, in my opinion, and it has everything to do with what is is based on- his relationship with Christ. He is genuine in his interactions and leadership because of that. He makes it easy for us to be a minister's family, even on Sundays, and for that I am grateful.

He works at a great church for this. The pastor is clear that he expects the church family to understand that the staff of ministers are husbands and fathers first. This is rare and it makes it easier for my husband to balance his time. And many of the church members seem to get this because the ministers have done this balance well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful Today #20

#20- I am thankful for my husband's commitment to getting healthy

When we were at a youth event, two friends of my husband were discussing their plans to begin a workout starting that Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. My husband had been looking for a workout and some guys to go through it with so he decided to join them. They started meeting at 6 am (!) to do P90X. It is 6 days a week for a total of 90 days and today completes their 90 days. Technically, it has been a week over because they redid the first week to allow some more guys to join in so I guess they did P96X.

I have heard about a lot of people starting P90X but I have rarely ever heard about people completing it. They complain a lot the first 2 weeks and then suddenly nothing is said about the workout (and according to my husband, it doesn't get any easier). So, just the fact that he finished is something to be proud of. They started with 3 guys, added about 7 within the next few weeks and 3 ended up finishing, with one of the guys being one who worked out on his own because of the time. So, my husband and one other guy relied on each other for the majority of the months to meet and keep each other accountable. So I am proud of him for even finishing!

I am proud of his commitment to do this in the right way. First, the guys planned to meet early in the morning so that it wouldn't interfere with the time they spent with their families. That is something to appreciate. Then they met 30 minutes earlier to accommodate some of the guys who wanted to join in. My husband will be the first to say he doesn't wake up early for anything except to go hunting or fishing and that is only a day or two. He hates waking up early. But, he has met at the church for the past 9o days at 5:30 AM! 5:30! A guy who hates waking up early has had is alarm set to go off at 5 am every day since early September. He even did that when he knew no one else would be there. I think the morning I was the proudest of him was when I heard him come back in the house at 5:45. He had forgotten his church keys and none of the other guys were able to be there to let him in. So, even though he knew no one else would be there, he drove home and got his keys and went back up there to work out for an hour. He could have easily gone back to bed and slept that morning but chose to stick with his commitment.

I am proud of him getting healthier. It would have been nicer for him to choose a time that I wasn't pregnant and feeling huge but, oh well. The workouts are known to be intense. I was tired when he just described the warm up! It is a video based program so he really could go easy on himself but one of the things I like about my husband is that if he is going to do something, it won't be half way. He and his buddy have really been pleased with the results and are going to continue the next level of the program, adding in the eating plan. It is easier for him to run in the yard with our son and puppy, he has more energy and just feels good. And he wasn't overweight by most people's standards when he started. He has a renewed desire to maintain the and build on the healthy changes in his body and eat healthier.

He is also being a great example to our son. He usually comes home right around the time J is waking up but sometimes J is up a little earlier. He always knows that Daddy is exercising. J "exercises" at school so he thinks its pretty cool that he and Daddy both do that! It will be a wonderful example as our son gets older to be committed to being healthy. Not to mention that it is a huge motivator to me! I can't do much right now, being pregnant, but I can't let my husband look good and then me not care about my health! So it looks like I'll have to start working out after the baby is born : /.

I am sure I lost most readers by now, but obviously I am really proud of my husband and for his care for his health, I am grateful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful Today #19

#19- I am thankful for productive days

Looking at the calendar, life is about to get crazy! As soon as we are home from Thanksgiving travels, Christmas celebrations go into full gear. We stay busy during the Christmas season but that is not said as a complaint. There is just so much we enjoy about the time that we try and do as much as possible. During that time, my goal is to finish my online school work that I am doing and each class seems to be getting longer and taking more time. When Christmas is over, we'll be less than two months until our little girl's estimated arrival. So, we decided it was time to get our house in order before it explodes with Christmas decorations, then needs to be made ready for a baby and then will be left ignored once a newborn arrives. We figured this was a good weekend to take care of some tasks and projects.

My husband and I are the type that we get things done by committing to work hard at it in one setting, not dragging a project out. It may not always be the best way to get things done, but it is how we are and we've learned to make it work for us. This weekend is one of those go hard weekends of clearing out and organizing. It feels good at the end of the day to feel closer to our goal.

It isn't the most fun of days, but spending it with my guys made it good after all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Today #18

#18- I am thankful for my little girl

I haven't met our baby girl yet, she is due in February. I got to hear her strong heartbeat today and feel her movements regularly. I am so grateful for her health and consistent growth and that thus far it has been a very healthy pregnancy.

I am so excited to meet Miss B. I adore having a little boy and would have been thrilled to have another, but I am overjoyed to have a little girl too. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother and hope to share that with Miss B. I love all of the sweet pink clothes, the bows, the pretty socks and am excited to play dress up!

I can't wait to get to know her and her unique personality. I look forward to watching her grow and for all of the ways she'll make us smile. I even look forward to all of the challenges that I know come with a baby because I also know that the joys far outweigh the hard times. I am excited to see her relationship with her big brother and for the fun we will have watching them together.

So today, I am looking forward to and grateful for my daughter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful Today #17

#17- I am thankful for my family's health

Tonight my son told me his neck hurt (pointing to where his throat would be) and his ear hurt. So, we are on watch now for signs of sickness in our usually very healthy little boy. I was disappointed for him, sorry that there was a chance he would be sick.

And then I read about a friend of mine who has a little boy close to the age of mine. Her two year old was in an ambulance, after being sick for several days, facing some serious conditions that might require surgery.
And then I read a blog that I follow (Bowen's Heart, mentioned in a past blog). This family finally got to take their 3 month old son home from the hospital for the first time today, knowing there is a future of further surgeries and challenges for him still.
Last night there was a commercial on tv about St. Jude's (I think) and my husband commented about our baby's health. We watched the heartbreaking pictures of the young kids enduring serious physical problems, both agreeing there would be little worse than seeing our own kids in those situations.
I have another family's blog that I have followed for several years, the Kelley's, as they have walked through the diagnosis, treatment and remission of leukemia of their then two year old little boy (who is now a 6 year old).

I am sorry if my little guy is getting to be sick. No mother wants their child to face discomfort. But I am absolutely grateful that this is all he'll have to endure right now. Our little girl is growing strong, all reports are that she is healthy and I'll get to hear her heartbeat tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful Today #16

#16- I am thankful for a few extra minutes of sleep

Ever since the fall time change, my son is sleeping past 7 am. Not much past, but past nonetheless! For any mom of a young child, that is valuable! It is a big deal for me because I am someone who enjoys a few minutes of peace before the day begins. Unfortunately, my dog still wants to be let out and fed around 6:30-6:45, which is when she was used to my son getting up (my husband isn't there, he's working out at that time). Even then though, if I haven't already woken up on my own, it means that I have a few minutes to myself. I get to turn on the news, make some hot tea and ease into the morning. That is a luxury that I haven't gotten to enjoy very much over the last 2 and a half years! My son doesn't exactly let us sleep in (and both my husband and I are night people, not the first ones up in the morning) so usually I am stumbling to his room as I hear him wake up and am thrown into the whirlwind of energy that comes with my son from the moment he wakes up.

As soon as I get used to one wake up time, it will change, but for now I am grateful for my son sleeping a little later.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful Today #15

#15- I am thankful for my son

My son is a two and a half year old, 3+ foot, ball of sunshine. He feels my heart with joy. He has a smile that melts you, a laugh that makes your heart dance and energy that will exhaust you.

He can send my head spinning with his questions, frustrate me when he throws fits and takes every bit of energy and time that I have. But the second I am not with him, I miss him. As soon as his eyes are closed to take a nap, my breath is taken away at how precious he looks.

I am amazed by him daily, just because of who he is. He makes me laugh both from his humor and just his simple mannerisms. He makes me smile at his thoughtful comments and I love to watch his imagination come to life. His creativity when playing is amazing to watch and the stories and ideas he tells us are so fun to listen to. His hugs are the best ever. He will go one hundred miles a minute, but still pauses to cuddle. He still thinks everything can be solved with kisses, and wants to make everything better for us. He shows thoughtfulness and sensitivity.

He is growing up so quickly. I wish I could bottle all of these moments and savor them forever. I have enjoyed what is already his past and am excited for his future. He is a precious gift and I am grateful for him.

Thankful Today #12- still thankful

#12- for a better attitude

If you were quick to read Friday's post, or now notice they are out of order, you notice something is different. I ended up having to remove Friday's thankful post because...well, I couldn't be thankful for it after all! But, it led to a different opportunity for gratitude so I am replacing the post.

The original post was for a fun surprise we got...and then I found out it was a scam on Sunday morning. I was so mad. I was mad at myself for falling for it. I am usually good at catching things but this one seemed so legitimate! Before it could get me into trouble I realized something didn't seem right and I did a little research and figured out the scam, but I was still bothered that I believed any part of it. I was really mad at the people behind it. I just don't understand why people are dishonest, cheat or steal. And I was very disappointed that it meant that I couldn't get something for my husband that was going to be a really cool gift. So, needless to say I was bummed. And then my son had an accident right after I found out about the scam after we'd had a really good day of potty training the day before. All of this while not sleeping well the night before. So I was in a BAD mood as we got ready for church.

Which gave me the opportunity for something new to be thankful for. I was thinking to myself that it was too bad that these things had happened that got me in a crummy mood because I was looking forward to this particular Sunday. And that made me stop and reconsider my reaction. I didn't have to be in a bad mood. I didn't have to let the morning's circumstances define my attitude for the day or my time in worship. In fact, I shouldn't. So I stopped and prayed that my heart would instead be focused on God, that he would give me peace about what I was bothered by and my attitude would change to one that was calm and positive. And that happened. I didn't feel bitter and bothered in the service, in fact I was more focused than I had been in a while. I enjoyed the rest of the day, especially the parts I had been looking forward to and it ended up being a great day. It wouldn't have been though, had I stayed bothered and let other things in the day just snowball and add to that bad attitude.

So I was thankful, that I was stopped from continuing my day in a bad mood. I am grateful that God can turn attitudes around, despite circumstances.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful Today #14

#14- for the last 7 weeks at our church

Seven weeks ago we started an focused emphasis at AB Church that concluded with a service last night. The focus was to be more like the church was intended to be, as described in the Bible. Our pastor taught from both the Old and New Testaments about how we were supposed to interact as a community of believers. The focus was particularly on having the generations represented in the congregation interact with each other. The real goal was to remind us that everything we do, we do as a part of a community. Romans 12 is an excellent passage reminding the reader of where their heart should be. In particular, Romans 12:15, addresses what it really is to be a community of believers- "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." It is about relationships with one another that is beyond the superficial. It is loving someone in the good times and in the tough times and walking through life together.

It was a great emphasis that included a sermon series, small groups that had generations mixed, organized activities to blend generational groups, families sharing dinners in each others homes and a concentrated effort to be aware of the people we have around us and to learn from them. The emphasis concluded last night with a special worship service that was wonderful. It was a celebration of who God has made us to be, saving us as individuals but growing together and moved to reminding us what we're then supposed to do together, which is share that salvation, love and unity with everyone else. This was just the conclusion of the focused emphasis but not supposed to be the close of the intentionality and effort. I look forward to the coming months to see where our church has evolved.

I grew up going to church with generations. We often picked my great grandmother up for church, and I sat in a pew with my parents, grandparents and extended family. I had both senior adults and college students who volunteered to teach when I was in the youth group, and was influenced by many adults who taught me as a child. So, I was excited to see this taking place where I attend now. I am grateful for this time we have had together as a church family.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful Today #13

#13- The sweet heart of a child

People talk a lot about the Terrible Twos and that Threes are even worse. I have a two and a half year old right now, so I guess I am in the middle of that. Sure, there are trying times when he is learning lessons and boundaries...but nothing harder than challenges that arise with an infant and probably nothing compared to what is to come. It is just being a parent I think!

What I LOVE about this age though, is I get to hear what he was thinking and some of those thoughts reveal such a tender and precious heart. The Bible speaks clearly about the goodness of a child's faith and I love getting to see what a heart can be like before age begins to change it. It stirs in me a desire to protect and nurture his heart, so that he continues to have that love and kindness, and even more to be an example of that.

Today reminded me how thankful I am for a child's heart, in particularly my child's. We packed a box for Samaritan's Purse's Christmas project- Operation Christmas Child. The idea is to pack a shoebox full of gifts for a child and that box will be one of thousands distributed across the world to kids, along with them hearing the Gospel. The giver chooses the gender and the age range. We chose a boy in the age range of 2-4 so that it would be my son's age group. I bought most of the gifts at a time that he wasn't there but had him help me wrap the box and put in the gifts. I told him the box of gifts was going to a little boy who lives far away who doesn't ever get fun presents and does not have many things. We also talked about this gift being a way we can tell this little boy that Jesus loves him. I was a little concerned that my son would want to play with or keep all of the little gifts, because I chose items that I thought a young boy would like based on what my little boy likes. But, he was so excited to make a present for a little boy that he did not even try to take any of the gifts for himself. He excitedly showed his daddy the box and found a safe place to put it so that our puppy wouldn't step on it. He can't wait to take it to church tomorrow so that we can send it to the little boy!

We're also potty training right now. My son got a bank in the shape of a dog last Christmas from his grandmother and he loves putting coins in it. I was trying to think of a reward for him as we potty trained and came across a stash of coins. So, we have been putting coins in Rufus the puppy bank all day as he has successes on the potty! I figure that it is a lot cheaper to give him coins as he learns than what we spend on diapers! The following conversation didn't happen today but another time that he was putting coins in his bank. I was just reminded of it today as we visited the bank a lot. A few weeks ago, I was telling him how good it is to save money and that one day he could use all of the money he saves for something special. His response- he wants to buy food for kids to eat. I would love to say that I taught him that...but I don't think I did. He heard it somewhere, maybe at school or church or on tv, and it stuck with him. When I clarified what he said, because it was not the answer I was expecting at all, he again said, with excitement, that he wanted to buy food for kids.

Tonight we told him how proud we were that he wanted to send a gift to a little boy and how it makes God happy because he wants us to be happy to give. I thought to myself how hard it is for adults to give up things that they would want so that someone else that they don't know would be able to have something special. I am thankful that my son has a loving heart and will work hard to make sure that continues in his life.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Today #11

#11- I am thankful for men and women who have served and currently serve in the military

On Veteran's Day it is easy to be reminded of the thousands of soldiers, both veterans and in active duty, who should receive gratitude daily. Today I thought of a few things that I get to enjoy due to someone, at one point in history, fighting to gain and someone still fights to protect:
  • Last night I went to the church of my choosing, out in public, with freedom to worship
  • A few weeks ago I was able to vote for government leaders of my choosing, without fear of being attacked and knowing the election results would executed with honesty and justice
  • I can write a blog or speak in public of my beliefs without being censored or arrested
  • My family can walk outside without fear of violence from unrest in my town or an uprising of war

These are things that are so easily taken for granted but I have to remember that there was a point in the United States history when none of these were something that an American could enjoy. There are people in countries across the world who still don't get to experience these freedoms. A soldier in the United States military was charged with the task of allowing his countrymen those freedoms. A soldier in the United States military is charged with the task of making sure his countrymen can keep those freedoms.

I am thankful for the veterans who have been a part of granting these freedoms for us by sacrificing their own life, comforts and well being. I am also thankful for the families who send their soldiers off to protect the nation, despite the hardship it causes for their lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful Today #10

#10- I am thankful for changing seasons

I don't exactly live in an area where season changes are quite as distinct as other regions, but I still enjoy the gradual transitions that the world around me goes through.

My favorite is the change to autumn, which is what has initiated my thankfulness today. Just this week I have noticed the trees have begun to take on beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. My son follows the example of my husband, pointing out the colorful trees to me because they know I love them (actually my son just points out any random tree, it is still cute nonetheless!) Though it is now warm again, the weather cooled for a short period and is supposed to cool again soon. Autumn may be my favorite because it brings relief from sweltering heat, ushers in my favorite holiday seasons and has the prettiest of scenes in nature.

I love season changes in life too, maybe another reason I appreciate the visible transition God puts nature through. I think knowing that times in life are just a season, as Ecclesiastes describes, make it easier to walk through the tougher seasons. Though there are some instances in my life that I would rather not have to go through, it is a comfort to come to the end of the season and see the new life coming with the next one. It makes it where I can learn from the time period, rather than be overwhelmed. And then there are some seasons of relief and peace, giving me time to prepare for whatever may come next.

I have no clue as to the scientific reasons for seasonal changes except something about the earth's revolution around the sun. I can enjoy the benefits though and be thankful that they come.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful Today #9

#9- I am thankful for my husband.

Remember, these aren't in order at all. I promise I am WAY more thankful for him than I am for hot tea!

My husband is who I need. He is the compliment to who I am, makes up for where I lack, stands beside me in everything. He is my greatest encourager and biggest supporter. He believes in me when I don't. He lets me shine without feeling threatened, only proud. He challenges me and listens to me.

He is a person that I respect. I don't use that term easily and it is an important quality to me. His character is solid and he is the same person at home as he is anywhere else, only I think we get the better guy. I can honestly say, I cannot think of a time I have heard him say something to the church congregation that does not line up with how he really lives.

He makes me laugh and smile like no one else can. He represents comfort and security. He is my favorite person to have a conversation with, whether a simple story or thought provoking discussion.

I get to spend my life with my best friend and for that I am grateful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thankful Today #8

#8- I am thankful for my church

If you have followed my blog in the past, you know this is something I really value. I truly love being a part of the community of believers at AB Church.

We have been a part of this fellowship for a year and a half and it began to feel like a family from very early on. There was something very right about being a part of ABC, something that could only be orchestrated by God. While we waited to see where we'd go after our previous church was closed, we had to believe that there was something out there that was worth waiting for. We can confidently see that now. After the West Campus, we couldn't go back to just attending a church with a bunch of people. We had been a part of a group that served together, loved one another, stuck out the tough times. Personally, it was a group that meant a lot to my heart. They were the group that treated us as peers even though we were the youngest couple in the congregation, celebrated with us when we found out we were having our son, encouraged us in a thousand different ways and taught us so much through their actions. My husband partnered with one of his best friends and worked with an incredible leadership team that he respected and loved. I didn't think all that could be replaced. And it can't. I still have sweet memories and warm thoughts when I remember those days together.

Then came AB Church. I love this church for a hundred reasons. My husband is on staff with a team that supports and encourages him, gives him freedom to use the gifts God has placed within him and that he loves serving with. As a wife, I am absolutely grateful for that in his life. We have some wonderful friends though this group that welcomed us in immediately. The congregation is very supportive of my husband's leadership and again, his age has not been a problem. He works with a team that not only has a ton of talent but has an incredible heart and within that team he has found some wonderful, encouraging friends. I have gotten the chance to serve again in ways that lift me up. Our son has been loved on and shown so much kindness and he absolutely loves going to church. And this group celebrated with us when we found out that we were having our second child.

But beyond just why it has been good for us, I love ABC for who they are. They are a community. Our pastor says he dislikes the term "volunteer" in the church. People are encouraged to serve within their gifts and that is obvious in how people work together. I again get to see a group working together, not just depending on the staff or leadership to do the work. People are invited into each other's homes and are a part of each other's lives. People can come as they are, recognizing that we are all people with issues in need of God's grace and work in our lives. It is a place where I feel that I can invite anybody, which is how a church should be. In all of that, we are challenged by biblical teaching that does not sway from the tough stuff.

I remember the first Sunday that I had to miss because of our son being sick. I had the feeling of disappointment that I wouldn't get to be there. We'd been a part of the church for a few months and that was a good realization to realize that my heart had started joining this group. Then, just a few days ago someone joked with my husband about another church asking him to work with them and my immediate reaction was that there was no way would I want to leave. Its good to feel that way again.

I am thankful that we get to be a part of ABC.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thankful Today #7

#7- I am thankful for hot tea

Okay, this may seem like kind of a lame thing to be thankful for in the grand scheme of life...and well, it is, but I am thankful for it nonetheless!

I have been drinking hot tea for as long as I can remember. I don't drink coffee (unless it is a fancy one filled with sugar and chocolate and things that make it not taste like coffee) but I do like apple cider, just not as much as hot tea. There are flavors I enjoy well enough but what I really prefer is Lipton's regular brew with sugar. That is it, nothing fancy! Other tea lovers probably are more cultured than I am, using loose leaf or finding special flavors or knowing the perfect brew time and temperature, but I am perfectly content with my microwaved cup of water with a tea bag dunked for as long as it takes for me to remember to come back to add the sugar. Usually I have to reheat it. But I know when I have a good mug of tea. My husband always gives me a strange look when I declare that out loud when I take a first sip. He so doesn't get it. He has the nerve to call it hot, brown, sugar water.

It is so much more than a warm drink that has a flavor that I like. It is a comfort. Drinking tea is full of memories. It is something I share with my mom and my sister and something that reminds me of both of my grandmothers. One of my favorite gifts I have ever recieved was Mrs. Tea (basically, like a coffee maker that brews a teapot of tea and keeps it warm). My mom, sister and I got it from my grandmother as a Christmas gift and we have used it for years. It was discontinued but one Christmas, my dad surprised me with my own Mrs. Tea that he found on Ebay. My mom, sister and I still always have mugs of tea when I spend time with my family. When one of us is making a mug for ourselves we offer to heat up a mug for the others. I still even have my favorite mug to drink from at my parents' house. It is a Suzy Zoo mug that she got for me before the first day of school when I was still in high school. At Christmastime we always drink out of the Christmas mugs, you just have to.

I almost always start my day with a mug of tea (notice I don't say cup, those teacups are just too tiny). I often have a mug when I am winding down and there are times I will have it in the middle of the day! It doesn't matter the season or temperature (though my consumption is definitely increased when it is cold or rainy). Pregnancy is throwing a kink into my hot tea enjoyment because decaf just isn't as good as the real stuff...but I still savor it. I am honestly bummed when I reach the end of the mug and would drink a lot more if the calories from the sugar didn't get me.

So you see, it is so much more than a favorite drink. It is an experience, a cup of memories and thoughts of my family and a pleasure. So I am thankful for hot tea.

Thankful Today #6

Sorry this is a day late

#6- Thankful for the time my guys have together

Saturday was an unusual day for me in that I had multiple events that my husband and son didn't go to with me. I had a luncheon and right before that, dinner plans were made for that evening to celebrate a friend's belated birthday. So, there was plenty of guy time for my two. The lunch time involved naptime for the little guy but the evening time involved eating Chicken Express (their favorite, not mine), playing outside and watching football. J was in bed by the time I got home but I got plenty of stories this morning about the fun he had with Daddy last night.

Someone asked at church this morning if J was at the age where he wanted me all of the time and I said "absolutely not, Daddy is the absolute coolest person in his world." But I don't say that with jealousy or bitterness at all. I LOVE that my son cannot get enough of the time he spends with his daddy and that he wants to be just like him. He mimics the actions Daddy does, repeats what he says and constantly talks about him. I am absolutely grateful that it is a good thing for my son to want to be like his daddy. I couldn't think of someone with better character, demonstration of faith and kindness to be the main example for my son as he learns to be a man of God. I know that is not the case for a lot of families in our world and it is something that I should and do have great appreciation for.

The cool thing is not only does my son adore my husband, but my husband adores my son even more. He loves his time with J and makes a very consistent effort to make sure he allows for plenty of time with him. If it will be a particularly full Tuesday away from the house, then my husband makes sure there is extra time on Monday or Wednesday to be with J and he is fully participating when they are together. They wrestle and rough house and do everything active boys do, but spend just as much time snuggled in the recliner reading a story together. He looks for ways to share experiences with J, not just the things my husband likes to do but will figure out the things that a 2 year old would value doing. There is no part of parenting that he is not fully involved in. He takes his role as J's father very seriously but loves every part of it, even the hard stuff because it is a part of getting to be J's father.

I am absolutely thankful that my son and husband adore one another and for how they enjoy their time together.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thankful Today #5

#5- I am thankful for Fridays

Fridays are my favorite day of the week, without question. My husband gets Fridays off because he works on Sundays and I have tried to not schedule things on Fridays so that we have time together as a family. Things come up of course but we really try to protect that day and it has become our day of relaxing together. It is nice having a day off that is different from a lot of people because we are able to avoid having events planned like there always seem to be on Saturdays and Sundays. They are usually a great time for us to connect and rejuvenate after the week.
Today was no exception. It started way too early with the little boy waking up at 5:50. He made the request for Daddy to bring breakfast tacos home after he finished exercising and of course Daddy obliged! We got some cleaning done together, all while listening to music and watching a two year old dance around the living room. He also "helped" sweep and everything seems to be more fun with his involvement. We then tried a new place in town for lunch and the afternoon was a quiet one, trying to make sure our little guy got a nap. This evening we went to the last home game for our local high school's football team, which we love doing as a family. It was a chilly night so it was perfect for snuggling under the blanket. Add on being given a foam finger and souvenier football and there was a very happy toddler.
Fridays are our break and retreat. And for those days, I am thankful.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Today #4

#4- I am thankful for my home.

I have a house and yard that I am unbelievably grateful for. Ours is a wonderful house for us. It is just the right size, is incredibly nice and has a back yard that is perfect for a little boy and a puppy to run around in. But I should be grateful for four walls on a stable foundation with a roof in a neighborhood that is safe, because a lot of people don't have that. And I am, extremely grateful.

But that is not what I am talking about when I say I am thankful for my home. When I say home, I mean what I find rest in each day. It is the place where I hear "Mama!!!" when I walk into the door, the place where I find peace, security and confidence, the place where I can be in my worst moods and best moods and still be loved the same. It is where my husband and my son are. And I am grateful for that place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankful Today #3

#3- I am thankful for the sweet, simple moments that made me smile today

I have been in kind of a down mood. Probably because I am 5+ months pregnant and sleeping is becoming less and less comfortable, causing me to be permanently tired. It is easy for me to get in a funk and let certain things get me down. So, I have been particularly glad for this blog project today because it caused me to appreciate things more.

Like this morning-
My husband got home from working out and our toddler was still asleep. He went to get cleaned up and the dog had already woken me up to go out and to eat so I went back to bed to watch the news (I don't normally get to do that because my son is usually the one who wakes me up and I don't watch regular television with him). Soon though, a smiling little sleepyhead walked down the hall and climbed into bed with me. He was greeted with the surprise of donuts that Daddy brought home and milk, quite the treat! Soon all three of us were settled into bed, eating donuts and sausage kolaches, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Then our "puppy" decided to figure out how to jump up on the bed. Our 65 pound, all legs, bloodhound puppy joined us in bed. The combination of an active two year old and huge puppy was more chaos than anything else but it sure made me smile.

This afternoon-
The sun came out. It was cloudy and rainy for the entire day yesterday and for all of this morning with a significant drop in temperature. It was glooooomy. So, it sure was nice this afternoon to look outside and see the sunshine. Now it is a beautiful sunny evening with cool temperatures.

This evening-
Just watching my son eat spaghetti was something that made me smile. He was just so cute eating it and then his messy face afterwards was pretty adorable.

So today, I am thankful that everyday there are little things in my life that make me smile.

***I had to come back and add another smile:
My little boy and I were reading a book together (he loves to read books with us). He wanted to read it again, after I finished, so I asked him to read to me. He said "you nuggle me and I read to you". So, I snuggled my little boy as he read his favorite Dr. Seuss book to me. The page read "BIG O, little o, what begins with O? Ostrich, oil, orange owl. O...o...O" and had a picture of an ostrich pouring oil from a can on an orange owl's head (don't ask me, its Dr. Seuss. He's weird). My son's interpretation of that page was "bird pouring apple juice on his head. We then read several more books while snuggling on the couch. As we finished one, he'd run to his bookshelf and get another and climb back in my laugh.
I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful Today #2

#2- I have the opportunity to vote in an election today and I was raised to see this as an important responsibility.

It can be hard to convince someone of the importance of exercising their right to vote. It is very easy to think that one person's vote really is not that important amongst thousands. I personally think that can be argued, but that shouldn't even be the reason someone votes. The reason we as Americans should vote is because we CAN. We have the right to do what millions of other people living across this world would give anything for, which is have a voice in who influences our laws, economy, rights and well being. People in countries in the Middle East literally choose to risk their life to go to the polls, because they find value in their vote even though their system has corruption. Our nation's history is filled with stories of men and women who sacrificed greatly to give people of both genders, of all races and all beliefs the opportunity to vote in the United States. I wonder how ashamed they would be of our nation now, or dumbfounded, to know how few people take the opportunity.

Voting has never been a question for me. My parents vote in most, if not all elections, in their town and provided the example that voting is something that someone should always do. My dad took me to vote in the first election I could participate in, the 2000 presidential election.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thankful Today #1

November is the month that reminds people to be thankful. I have seen a few people make a commitment to express thankfulness for each of the days in November and it inspired me. So here is the first of my daily posts of what I am thankful for:

These aren't going to be in a particular order, one that I am most thankful for over another, but Day 1 is the thing I am most grateful for and deserves my greatest and unending expression of thankfulness.

It is based off of this verse:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

#1- I am most thankful that I have received Christ Jesus as Lord and that I have a foundation that is rooted and continues to grow, am able to be strengthened and therefore can and should live a life that overflows with thankfulness.