Considering the length of time that stretches between posts here, I might better say "Happy Holidays" to cover them all, in case I forget to update the blog and miss one! Seriously……
This school year has been especially busy for each of us. I have more students in my class than I have ever taught at one time before; Katie is growing steadily more excited (and fearful) about completing high school and starting the next chapter in her life; Dale is working hard to get caught up in some subjects and successfully master others; Ashley is enjoying volleyball season---with a little school work thrown in; Emily is slowly coming to the realization that the same woman who is a loving mother at home is quite a strict taskmaster in the classroom; and Chad hardly sees any of us!
We're very thankful for this short break for many different reasons. Of course, we all like time off, but this really gives us a chance to reconnect as a family. The kids are all home---no sports, no sleepovers (that we know of yet!), no extra-curricular activities. Chad and I actually got to go out last night for the first time in what seems like ages. We had such a good time just talking without being interrupted or overheard by the children! We laughed and loved and listened and loved some more. It's good to re-fall in love with your spouse once in a while. The girls were baby-sitting some younguns at our house while we were out; boy, were they exhausted once the little ones left! It's been a while since we had toddlers in the home, and they require a lot of energy. Plus, for some reason, the little girls were afraid of our dog……our little mop-rag of a dog. The cutest thing was walking in the front door and seeing the three-year-old sitting on Dale's lap on the couch!!! :-D
Many people at this time of year commit to challenges on Facebook or wherever, usually something titled "30 Days of Thankfulness." I applaud the idea; we all need to diligently be more thankful for all God does for us and all we have. I, however, did not take the challenge because I know me---I would forget to post on some day or another, and then I would feel frustrated about not fully finishing the challenge, and then I would get stressed trying to remember to not skip another day, plus I would have to keep rechecking my list to make sure I did not repeat some item for which I am thankful…….the whole thing would blow up! I would go from being thankful to grumbling under my breath about having to be thankful! Anybody else like that? So I decided to just list some things here for which I am thankful. (I feel like I should include one of those fancy lawyer clauses that states: the items listed here are in no way excluding or limited to the above-mentioned items, blah, blah, blah. You know---in case I leave out something obvious. Just fill it in mentally!)
My God. His love for me regardless and in spite of me. My husband. His love for me regardless and in spite of me. I hit the jackpot when I married him. My children. God must have thought I would be a good mother since He gave me so many, but I have often been tempted to doubt His all-pervailing wisdom in this matter! My sweet oldest, Amanda. I love you, baby, to the ends of the earth and back. Your beauty comes from within and your warm heart draws everyone close. My beautiful second, Katie. You are so much like me, it's scary. I love the way you are discovering yourself and how you find humor in most situations. I love you so much, sweetheart. My incredible son, Dale. Who knows who you might have been if the accident had not happened. (You probably would have been in a lot more trouble!!!) I love seeing who you are becoming now, how you are learning to work with what you have, how you are steadily pursuing that once-thought-elusive academic goal of graduating high school, how your sense of humor has stayed intact. I love you, son, more than I can say. My darling fourth, Ashley. You are so your own person! I love your laughter, your craziness, your beauty, your love, your zest for life. I love, simply, you. My precious fifth, Emily Rose. You grow each day and amaze us in new ways always. You are bright, loving, goofy, half princess and half crazy girl, special, and wonderful. I love you, dear heart. My church. I managed not to cry until I got to this line. You are my heart, my home. You have done so much for me and my family; you have stood with us when we needed support; you have wrapped us in prayers when we needed that blanket of love; you have helped us rear our children; you have taught us so very much. I love each member, each service, each moment of time we spend together. My godly upbringing. My parents instilled in me Christian values and godly principles by their teachings, their service, and their lives. These have stayed with me throughout my life, guiding my path and those of my children, showing me the way when life grew dark, helping me become who I am today. I love you both very much. My friends and family. I've already listed some of you, but I mean to include all of you, near or far away. Whether you are someone I see every day or someone I just reconnected with on Facebook, I value each friendship and look forward to interacting with you each time. Your lives, your input, your busy schedules help me keep my life in perspective. My country. God bless America, now and always. She has certainly gone off track from the direction her founding fathers laid out, but there is still hope. We Christians need to pray for her daily, stand up for what is right, and speak out against the wrong. I love my country and am so thankful to have been born an American. My job. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy being a teacher! I look forward to each day, to teaching different subjects, to seeing my students, to watching for the "aha" look on their faces when they finally get a concept, to helping them grow as young people. I love my students. I love each class that comes through my door. My salvation. I know, this shouldn't be this far down the list. I know God loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved, but the fact that He loves ME and sent His Son to die for ME is astounding. If I were not saved, who knows where I would be today. Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.
There are so many other things for which I am thankful that this blog would need to be a mile long to include everything! One last thing: I am thankful for you, the readers. You have kept up with this blog; you have prayed endlessly for my family; you have commented on occasion, letting us know you are praying for us or leaving some bit of advice for us to try; you have sent us Christmas cards and letters at different times of the year just to say hello; you have even gone out of your way to be a blessing by giving us gifts or dinner gift cards or other things you knew we'd appreciate. You have kept reminding us day after day, week after week, year after year, that we are not alone, that God has prayer warriors out there who bring Dale before His throne every day, that there are others who weep and pray and rejoice with us through ups and downs. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of our lives. You mean so much to us.
God bless each of you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Job 2: 9 "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?"