I am thankful:
~ that Tatum K quickly recovered from the mysterious fevers and was back to her spicy self on Monday. She awoke in the morning ravenous after her 5 day fast, asking for “Momo” (no she’s not referencing that horrible meme, that’s her word for OATMEAL), and staunchly DEMANDING that I SING TO HER WHILE SHE ATE! First “the monkey song” (5 Little Monkeys) and then “Shunshine.” Yep, my girl’s back!!!
~ for another afternoon of coffee and rain showers. I’m not sure why, but I’m mildly obsessed with being snuggled up in the comfort of my covered patio watching the rain and wind and thunder and lightning. I love watching the pool boiling with raindrops, watching the tall trees bend and bow and sway, and marvel at the unexpected strikingly bright blue skies bursting through the clouds in between.
~ also still mildly obsessed (maybe more than mildly according to my husband) with our personal backyard wildlife refuge. I’ve developed a keen eye for the bright green anole lizards atop our back fence, and am always scouting for our cardinals and hummingbirds. My camera sits at the ready by the picture window over our sink, and I’m always excited to get a new shot. (FINALLY got a hummingbird!) My dear darling husband is SO OVER IT, but he dutifully ooo’s and aah’s over each day’s pictures. I fear this is part of getting older? Birdwatching? Who cares – I like it, and it makes me smile to think how pleased Grandma Grace would be. So there.
~ for an impromptu play date with dear friends. I love when our non-schedule allows for the very best parts of life to just happen.
~ for the first delicious ripe tomato from our little garden.
~ for the encouragement from the Lord given through the mouth of a child. One day this week, a day that had potential to be a sad one, Sawyer said out of the blue, “Mama, do you know that in heaven, there’s a river? It’s called the RIVER OF LIFE!” His blue eyes sparkled, and I could see he was thinking and thinking…He ate a handful of popcorn, dusted off his hands, and firmly declared, “Ugh! I just wish I was in heaven RIGHT NOW!” Oh my sweet, sweet boy.
~ for steady work for Giddyup & Whoa. This little business of ours was a leap of faith, and I can’t express what a blessing it is for people to chose to work with us. Anyone can shop anywhere. You can get lovely signs at Hobby Lobby. But when you support a small shop like ours, a real person does a happy dance when you place an order. And when you have 6 kids in private school and 1 headed off to college, that happy dance is REAL! I took the next step this week and launched our G&W Facebook page. We launched Instagram last Thanksgiving, and the response has been great, so we are hopeful that this next platform will be successful for our business. Putting yourself “out there” is scary. What if nobody likes our work? What if someone says something hurtful? What if we crash and burn and look like fools? (Que anxiety’s grand entrance…). But that’s where we (I) have to remind ourselves that if everything is an offering to the Lord, then we only need to focus on pleasing HIM, not worry about pleasing anyone else.
~ for PURE JOY! MY dear friends have had their greatest dream realized this week: the birth of their son!!!! After years of trying, praying, waiting, and trusting God, they were chosen by a birth mother. They then embarked on the journey of falling in love with this dear young woman, building a relationship with her, and welcoming her into their family. Being present at the birth of their son is something they will always treasure, as they will treasure the brave woman who brought him into the world and handed him to his Mama and Daddy. The love that this little boy was born into is beyond explanation. Adoption is the most amazing thing, inexplicably woven of joy and pain and sacrifice and promise. Adoption was God’s idea: He adopts us as His own children, giving us His name and full access to the Kingdom. This sweet baby’s arrival brought a fresh opportunity to sit down and talk with my Littles about their adoptions. We’ve never hidden anything from them, but it just isn’t a topic that comes up very often. They asked some questions about this adoption and about their own (and Sawyer was quite confused and actually a little frustrated to find out that he WAS NOT adopted.) It was a really sweet time talking with them about how loved they all are, both by the people who gave them life and the family whose name they share. “We love because He first loved us.” 1John 4:19
~ for the kindness of friends and strangers who step up when it all hits the fan. Friday was Tyler Cattle Barons’ Little Wranglers Roundup, a super fun western-themed event for childhood cancer families at a local horse park. The Littles have been eagerly looking forward to it. And I was so looking forward to writing this week’s Gratitude and detailing the fun they had. Unfortunately, it was a rough one. BIG SIGH. I originally wrote out the whole story…but it was just too long to even get into. Let’s summarize with this: We went. We had drama. There was even a brief visit to an ambulance. At least we ended on a good note with Pokey O’s ice cream and cookies. We got through it due to the mercy of Jesus and the kindness of others. (Oh, and the kids all had a blast of course.) A million thanks to the Curtis family and the Cattle Baron’ volunteers who loved on our family. And for God’s mercies new every morning. What would we do without them?
~ thankful to have Cooper back home after a fabulous week at Pine Cove Camp. He had a great time, reconnected with old friends and met new ones, and got a fresh reminder of how much the Lord has done for him. Such a blessing.
~ for God’s promise of a rainbow after rain. I had the great honor and privilege to attend a baby shower for Jonathan and Shelby (otherwise known as Sophie’s mom and dad). They are expecting their son Connor, and what joy it is to celebrate with them!
What a week. Our life really isn’t that much different than yours. Yes, we have a pretty giant Tribe. But we are just another family trying to take care of each other the best we can. We’ve had high highs and low lows. We all have insecurities and ugly fears that come knocking in the night and keep us awake. We’ve walked through sickness and loss and joy, just like you. I think mostly we are all alike in more ways than we are different. So let’s celebrate one another’s victories instead of falling into a comparison trap. Comparison has always been the thief of joy. But here in the age of social media, there is an undeniable new level of interpersonal MEASURING going on. Have I made as many picturesquely happy memories this week as that family? Does my dinner photo measure up? How many friends/followers do I have? Am I too “extra” or am I not enough? We need to find a way balance the impossible:
minding our own business without being blindly self-focused;
being content with what we have while still reaching for our goals;
believing God answers prayers while at the same time trusting Him when He doesn’t do it like we thought He would/should;
knowing that we were lovingly created for a purpose in the image of God, but that so was everybody else!
We all need to press in to Him, and press on each day, loving and encouraging each other as best we can along the way. I’m so thankful for all the people who have invested in me and in my Loves. I pray that we are raising kind humans who will invest likewise in others.
Thanks for giving thanks with me!
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:2-5