Two of my friends from church have been posting on their blogs thirty things to be thankful for in November. I liked the idea...reminded me of things my Grandma used to have us do as kids for Thanksgiving Day. My list is probably a bit on the serious side. But it has been a rough year and that tends to make one more contemplative! There really are lots of things to be thankful for!
1. God...I know it sounds like a canned answer, but this year I am so thankful that I serve such a loving God who has been there through thick and thin...before I call, he is there!
2. My hubby...I'm so thankful for my hubby. We found each other later in life, but he was definitely worth waiting for! :o) This fall I am particularly thankful, because when he was in atrial fibrillation with a heart rate of 220, I was afraid that God was planning to take him Home. I am so thankful he is on the road to recovery and staying home with us!
3. My kiddos...I have three who are full of too much energy, drive me nuts half the time and definitely make me exhausted. Many days I just feel too old to be a Mommy! But they are precious and beautiful and remind me of good things that I should not forget. They are a blessing I prayed for and hoped for, but wasn't sure I would be given. Even though my hair is now pretty gray, I'm so thankful for my three miracle babies!
3. My Grandma Hopkins...who is no longer living, but led me to God and taught me all about life, the Bible, creativity, gardening and being a Mom/Teacher! It's almost five years and I still miss her!
4. My Mom and my extended family who bless me in more ways than I can count. I miss them especially at Thanksgiving time.
5. The Christian Artisans list...a group of ladies (and one brave man!), who are creative, prayerful, genuine and loving! They enrich my life in so many ways!
6. The Internet...and access to it because it connected me to my future hubby and continues to connect me to those I love and provides many opportunities for me to reach out to others when I am not able to leave my home.
7. My new church home where the people are "real" and caring and do an awesome job at teaching and loving my kiddos.
8. My best friend Shelley, who is like a sister. It has been 14 years of laughter, tears, struggles and joys. She could not be more my family if we shared the same blood. We are so different and so alike. We are twins separated by nine years and two families! LOL
9. Laura...who is Home with Jesus now. She taught me a lot about being a woman and a wife and influenced my children in ways that will never leave them. She was the hands and feet of Jesus to our family, reaching out willingly and uncomplainingly when she saw a need! This Thanksgiving she is free of tears, free of pain and free of cancer! Halleluia!
10. Precept Bible studies from Kay Arthur's Precept Ministries and my Precept Group which included Laura and also my friends Debbie and Vera. I have learned so much from these Bible studies and I feel they have grounded me in my faith.
11. Photography...It is difficult to explain but this is so intertwined with my relationship with God. His creation brings me such joy and I love to capture it, previously on film and now with digital. It's hard to imagine life without a camera.
12. Scrapbooking...A wonderful creative outlet for me and a way to share my photos and what they mean to me. I have met some awesome friends this way, especially Sonia and Pam!
13. My Daddy, who turned 13 on Friday the 13th. I am thankful that he quit drinking and grew up so that we could share the last few years of his life in a loving and two-way relationship. I am most thankful that He accepted Christ as his Savior so that I can see him again some day.
14. Andy, who stepped in to be my Dad during the years my Daddy was not able to be there for me. I learned a lot from him and I am sorry that he was taken from us far too soon!
15. Laurel Community Baptist Church and my Koinonia Group from the 1990s...Laurel is my "home church" in Washington. I have made so many important friendships there and they have loved me through thick and thin.
16. Blogging...it's a fun outlet and a way to share with friends and family.
17. Knitting...It has been a faithful companion through a lot of ups and downs in my life. I love to discover what will unfold between my fingers!
18. Spinning...which I am still a newbie at, but provides me relaxation (and much frustration at times) and a sense of joy and accomplishment.
19. Quilting and sewing which are major ways for me to show my creativity.
20. Color...which drives most of my creativity in all its forms!
21. Instructional television shows that teach about decorating, arts, crafts, history, travel etc.
22. Genealogy...a fun pursuit which stretches my mind...it's like a mystery and a puzzle and a treasure hunt roled up into one!
23. Music...it soothes my savage beast! LOL It makes me happy, joyful, excited, sad, contemplative and surrendered. I enjoy listening but I also enjoy participating in worshipping God through song.
24. My years working in pediatrics and the wonderful teachers I had in Drs. Kuiken, Johnson, Gass and Ban. They taught me as much about parenting as they did about medicine!
25. Abbie...my kitty...for me a house is not a home without a cat! :o)
26. The opportunities I had to travel to Europe when I was single. They were a lot of fun and I learned as much about myself as I did about the different cultures!
27. My marriage, which is a sanctuary.
28. Thanksgiving...a day which was a huge and joyous feast in Mom's matriarchal family. It always included guests who were widowed, poor, alone, in need...people who had lives and stories and gifts to add to the mix...people who taught me that life is not just about my own peers or my own circle, but that it is complex, rich and interesting. My Grandma always turned our thanks to God and the food wasn't bad either! :o)
29. The ocean...where I find solace, restoration and inspiration!
30. The birds eating outside my window this fall, putting on their own little show!