I am thankful
~ for breathtaking technicolor sunsets.
~for the freedom of summer. It’s still daunting to balance structure and flexibility in our days, but we really are having a great time.
~for a fun week of Vacation Bible School! The Littles had a blast with their crews and Cooper was on the Recreation Team. The GSM staff at Grace Community Church always puts on top notch events, and this year did not disappoint. As Sawyer has not yet completed Kindergarten, he wasn’t able to participate, so he and Tatum K had a little extra “Mama time” each night. We went on walks in our neighborhood with his patrol car, snacked on Frosty’s, and went to the Sonic playground. VBS always means a stretched schedule, hyper kiddos, and LAAAATE NIGHTS, but I love that they are all enjoying themselves with their friends and learning more about Jesus along the way.
~ for VBS “Family Night. The kids dined on hotdogs and snocones, and went crazy on waterslides. I’ve never let Sawyer participate on inflatables in a crowd before. Honestly, it was unspeakably hard for me. My anxiety attacks hit hard as I surveyed the masses of overstimulated children racing from one attraction to the next. My heart tightens again now as I write. No one ever seems to notice when I am freaking out, but Cooper was so kind. He reached over and squeezed my hand, “it’s gonna be ok Mom. Sawyer will be ok.” I’m not going to lie and pretend it was my favorite. But he had the time of his life. Big sister Samantha was his running buddy, and they and the others all jumped and climbed and raced and slid nonstop until they were soaked to the skin.
~ oh how a hungry heart yearns for encouragement. A kind VBS volunteer took the time to speak some thoughtful and edifying words about one of my children. It MAY HAVE BEEN the same child who had a rough week last week. And it MAY BE a child who doesn’t always inspire edifying words from their leaders. This gal spoke kindly and genuinely about my child, and her words were truly life-giving, as cool water on parched ground. It wasn’t a big deal to her…she was merely making an observation, a casual compliment. But to this weary mama, it was EVERYTHING.
~ for kind words from a kind stranger. A woman approached me out of the clamoring herd of sugar-and-waterslide-amped crazies at Family Night, introduced herself, saying, “You don’t know me, but I read your blog.” She spoke kindly about following along with our family, that she prays for us, thanked me for writing, and encouraged me to “keep it up.” I won’t forget that moment. Heather, I hope you’re reading this week. You blessed me so much! You didn’t have to speak up, take the time in a crowd, put yourself out there. But you did. You’ll never know how many times I wonder WHY on earth I’m writing these journals, wondering who in the world would care to read. And that day, at that very moment…I really needed that encouragement. You never know how your words may impact someone. We truly have been given the power of life and death in our tongues.
~ that I have found it extremely therapeutic to sit on the trampoline with a two-year-old. Hard to stay upset.
~ for a simultaneously harrowing and HILARIOUS adventure with the Tribe. We took an evening walk down our street, which has been under construction for several months as an extension is being added and new neighborhoods are being plotted out. The former cul de sac is barricaded off, and during the weekdays there is lots of tractor activity going on. But on this particular weekend evening, we decided to venture down the newly graveled road to check out the progress. It was a perfect evening, moderate temperatures, light breeze, right before sunset. The kids skipped along, and we all marveled at this new stretch of pavement that we had never seen before. Suddenly, Gavin squealed, “Ow! Something bit me!” I saw a giant horsefly buzzing behind him. I swatted at it, and it furiously continued to pursue Gavin, who took off at a run. Another swat, and I killed it. We have been bitten by these predatory bugs before, and their bites are super painful, and now everyone is terrified of them. About the same time as I swatted Gavin’s assailant, I saw Josh and Cooper running. “Horseflies!” they yelled. So we all started running back toward home. Off and on, each one of us were targeted: relentless angry buzzing around the back of our legs and necks. All the kids were screaming and twirling, trying to lose the flies. In between the screams, the rest of us were absolutely hysterically laughing at the absurdity of the situation. I’ve never seen my kids sprint so fast. I doubt we will venture down that path on our walks for a while!
~ for a loud and rowdy Cousin Crew for our kids to grow up with – and T shirts to prove it!
~ for the incredible growth I have witnessed in the young people in our church. This morning I could scarcely believe it…MORE THAN HALF of the worship team were teenagers! Carson Grace has been serving on the worship team for years, but now several others have stepped up, including Cooper running the soundboard, and one of his best friends had his first Sunday on the drums. I remember teaching all these kids when they were little, either in children’s church or Sunday school. And now they are grown, serving the Lord with their gifts. My heart is so full.
~ for a really special Father’s Day evening. We were all really bummed to find out that Josh had to work on Father’s Day, but planned to make the best of it and get together in the evening for burgers. Colton came over once he got off work, and it’s always such a blessing to have all our kids home. Dad’s menu: grilled burgers, Doritos, and yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing. After dinner, the kids one by one presented Dad with all his favorites: Martha White blueberry muffins, new outfit, pistachios, Oh’s cereal, beef jerky, cinnamon Trident, sunflower seeds, chocolate chip cookies, and a Whataburger gift card. They were each so tickled to bless him, and he was tickled and surprised at how well they know him. I love watching him be a dad. He loves us all so well. After all the Littles had shuffled off to bed, we had some time with the Bigs. And it got real. Really real. They opened up about some things, and we were able to listen and able to speak into their lives. Josh had a Word from the Lord that He put in his heart earlier in the day that was clearly prepared for THIS MOMENT. There were tears, and hugs, and it was proven that big kids are never ever too big for Mama’s lap. These are the moments that put gas in your tank when it’s empty, at least enough to get you over the next hill.
If you have an encouragement for someone…share it! Put some gas in their tank.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
“They’ve made me feel like a prisoner / They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal / Made me feel like a king
They’ve lifted my heart / To places I’d never been
And they’ve dragged me down /Back to where I began
Words can build you up / Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or / Put it out
Let my words be life / Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word / Unless it points the world back to You.”
(“Words” by Hawk Nelson)