I am thankful:
~ for HEALING! The Rucker Tribe has survived the Great Flu of 2019. Oh, we still have some sniffles, snuffles, and coughs. And sleep is still hit or miss (mostly miss). But it is a vast improvement over last week to say the VERY LEAST. Thank You JESUS! And thank you to all of you for reaching out with your kind words and encouragements.
~for all the funny little memories at Christmastime. For the kids’ love of EVERY Christmas song, and how they sing out with all their hearts. I love that Tatum K doesn’t know who Santa is. She just points when she sees a picture or an inflatable and says, “look mama! It’s a May-wee Cwis-mas boy!” We have had fun running errands together, she’s my little buddy while kiddos are at school. She attracts a lot of attention wherever we go, so stinkin’ cute in her little boots and messy bun. At this store she found slippers that matched her little sherpa jacket, so she had to give them “a lovey.” Oh Lord, let her stay my sweet tiny Tater.
~ for puzzles. I forget how fun puzzles are.
~ for a wonderfully special occasion worthy of celebration: Grandmommy’s 70th birthday! Aunt Polly hosted the gathering, and we feasted on brisket and chips and dips and a charming custom purse cake topped with FON-DANT. We all laughed and made Grandmommy cry, and celebrated the legacy of the lovely, godly lady we all love so much.
~ as always, Grandmommy’s birthday also marks the start of the greatly anticipated tradition: 12 Days of Christmas. Each night we gather and sing the song, and then open our thoughtful treat and take our picture. The kids absolutely love the whole process, and I am so thankful for all the work that Grandmommy puts into it all. These are memories that will last forever. I am a sucker for traditions, and it fills my heart to see the smiles of my babies beside the tree. Day 1 was sticker page nativities. And you have never seen such joy as they each diligently worked on decorating their own paper.
~ for such a fun Christmas party with our small group from church. The adults had organized a rowdy (and rather cut-throat) white elephant gift exchange. The kids were very intrigued by the idea (I mean, OBVIOUSLY they saw a bunch of gifts and wanted some) so I quickly gathered items from around our house to put together a white elephant exchange for them. None of them had ever played it before, so it was a little challenging. Sawyer ended up with the dud gift: a ladies bracelet and a coupon. He was NOT IMPRESSED. Nor was he gracious about being disappointed. There were tears. Everyone else had fun though. I’m thankful for such a fun group. As you can see, I was in a PARTICULARLY FESTIVE mood.
~ for a new-to-me treat: baked crescent rolls filled with melted chocolate chips and drizzled with powdered sugar glaze. Just STOP IT!
~ for last minute Giddyup & Whoa orders. you can imagine how tight the budget gets with nine kids at Christmas time. Even though our focus is definitely not on spending a lot on extravagant gifts, all the expenses just all add up faster than the deposits. Every order is truly a blessing, and we are so grateful for the way God provides! It is such an honor to be trusted with bringing to life special mementos for people.
~ for amazing and inspiring connections. I got a sign order this week from a lady I did not know. She had taken my card at the show at the Foundry several weeks ago and just now contacted me. She came to the house to pick up her order, and we had the best conversation! She is also a mother of 9, and we have several common friendships. Such a small world. The sign she had me do for her was so unique and personal, my very favorite kind of sign to paint. A saying with personal meaning that you’re just not going to find hanging in Hobby Lobby. She had asked me to paint “Love is the Tuesdays.” It’s a lyric from the song, “Tuesday’s,” by Jake Scott, and it was a gift for her husband. She encouraged Josh and I to listen to the song, which we did later that evening. The song is advice given by a father to a young man who is asking to marry his daughter. “No it’s not Hollywood son ’cause troubles will come / But it’s the best decision you’re ever gonna make / And you’ve got my blessing but just hear this lesson / Twenty-seven years and all I’ve got to say / Is it’s not just picture perfect dancing in a white dress / It’s not just rainy days where nothing stops the fighting / It’s not just highs and lows and champagne toasts / I’ve come to know that love’s not only the best days or the worst days / Love is the Tuesdays”
Isn’t that just the truth? Love is the everyday moments that happen in between the highs and the lows. So blessed by the song and touched by the sentiment behind the sign order.
~ for an amazing accomplishment for my INCREDIBLE HUSBAND! A few weeks ago he took the step of faith to enroll in an online real estate course, and this week he completed the first class and ACED his first exam! So proud of this remarkable man of mine and excited to see what doors God will open down the road!
~ for the kids’ DARLING Christmas program at church. From our Tribe, we had scintillating portrayals of an angel, King Herod, and Caesar Augustus, as well as 2 eloquent narrators. There is something so pure about seeing the story of Jesus’ birth through the eyes and lips of children. And even seeing how beautiful and grown up Samantha and Kora are. Zoe sparkling in her tinsel halo. Sawyer, serious as can be, sternly barking out his line, and Gavin’s dramatic death on stage. Even Tatum K’s spontaneous interruptions asking when it would be “cookie time.” It was just so very special.
Before the Children’s Program, Becky the Children’s Pastor, asked the audience to pause. I LOVED how she said it. “Let’s just pause a moment to make some room. We can’t appreciate a gift we are given if we don’t take the time to realize how much we NEED that gift.” Advent is the season of waiting. Waiting expectantly for the birth of the King. Waiting longingly for His Return. But do we have room? Are we too busy and distracted by the cares of this world? By how many friends/followers/likes we can accumulate? By having the Pinterest-perfect porch display, ugly sweater, or charcuterie board? By buying the perfect gift to outdo what we gave last year?
Quieting our heart is hard. Waiting is hard. What are you waiting on? What prayer are you praying that has not yet been answered? My heart aches with the weight of some of the things I wait for, long for. But I know God sees me. I know He cares about the things and the people I’m asking Him for. He saw the needs of the people of Israel. He had a plan to meet those needs. He has a plan to fulfill every need. But for now, we wait. Creation is groaning for our Coming King. We ache for healing, for reconciliation, for restoration. We cry out to Him for a Breakthrough. And sometimes every single thing our eyes see looks like failure. Hopeless. But the God of Hope is working when we cannot see. And thankfully, His power is not contingent on our faith. I thank God for that every day. Because my faith feels so small and my vision falls so short. But God. So whatever it is you are waiting for, don’t lose heart.
He is working.
He is coming.
And He’s always right on time.
So let’s pause a moment. And let’s make some room for Jesus in our hearts and our schedules this week.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalms 27:13-14)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed….We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:18-19, 22-25, 28)