This is my last weekly gratitude post. I have really enjoyed the accountability of thinking through even the hard days and finding something in them to be grateful for. Last week, I read these words by Ann Voskamp - "That which I refuse to thank Christ for, I refuse to believe Christ can redeem." I hope and I pray that I remember those words in the hard days. If He really is in the business of making "all things new", I have to remember and believe this. All of this sounds like this week was terrible. Really, it wasn't. There were hard days and really good days. Here is the reader's digest version.
20th - Sunday was a really good and really busy day. There was an amazing message about the dangers of refusing to be grateful (only a few days after reading Ann's brilliant blog post mentioned above). The 1st-5th graders have already raised enough money for one Water of Life filter. We had a good fellowship time with our small group and a good turnout for the college ministry. And I got to watch my kids and their excitement over Anma time when my mom came over to keep them for me to go to campus church.
21st - I enjoy Christmas shopping far too much. What I enjoy even more than the shopping is the deciding what to buy. What is even more fun than that is an email telling you that the perfect gift for your husband just landed you $10 to spend whatever way you want when you've been eyeing a toy for the youngest that you just couldn't justify this pay period. I also love being asked to do things. I think it's because I generally lack initiative and insight, but I really do want to help. I got to do a little of that on Monday, too.
22nd - This website brought me far too much joy for one afternoon. Fair trade shopping and some profits go to a few different hunger-fighting charities. There's some fantastic stuff on there, too. There was also shopping in our brand new huge Kroger and cousins playing until after bedtime. I remember the day being harder than this, but now I can't even remember what was difficult about it.
23rd - This was my Yeimi's birthday. My little Guatemalan princess turned 6.
We celebrated with brownies, candles, and the birthday song and documented the whole thing with pictures to send to her. In the words of Lily, "That's Yeimi. I want to hug her." I also made four loves of pumpkin bread deliciousness that made the house smell wonderful.
24th - Thanksgiving. Don't underestimate a simple recipe. I made cinnamon pie again, and it was still wonderful. Cinnamon is, without a doubt, my favorite scent and flavor so this was a big satisfying moment for me. The day alternated between awkward and fun, sometimes in the same moment. But the day was good. Long, but good. The girls couldn't have behaved better, the food was good, and there was some great company.
25th - We decked these halls yesterday. Stockings were hung by the chimney with care. This is the first year we've had a mantle and it had top priority. The kids were so excited, and I am already hearing the batteries wearing down in all the snowglobes and singing Christmas critters.When I was checking my email, I also found a free download from Shaun Groves from the Compassion Advocate Network. I am so thankful for his clear focus. You should watch this and then buy his latest album, Third World Symphony.
26th - The day is still early, but I am so thankful for eight, count them, eight full and straight hours of sleep. The girls have been waking up at, literally, all hours of the night, and it has been hard. Last night, neither one of them called my name from 8:30 to 8:20. It was WONDERFUL. And I've already enjoyed a rare Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, thanks to some leftover gift card money. The girls are enjoying Christmas suckers at the table beside me and all is well. For the moment.
This does mark the end of my weekly gratitude posts, but I hope that it is only the beginning of a life-long habit. Counting your blessings sounds trite, but it honestly works. I hope to keep it up, and even write them down in a notebook. I've tried it before, but I'm hoping that I will stick with it this time.