During the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought a lot about being thankful. I came up with my pat answers for the table go round. But since I've been on the earth for 32 years now, I decided I would come up with 32 things to thank God for this year...here's my list:
1. Of course I'm thankful for my life in Christ. How freeing it is to know I have eternal security and a life in heaven with my creator, saviour, friend, redeemer. My confidence and esteem comes from Him only, because without my Creator, I have no life.
2. I'm thankful for the man God gave me to live out my life on earth. He's a calming factor for me (most of the time!) and he's a great partner in this crazy thing called life. He's a wise financial manager, and a dedicated, hard working family man.
3. I'm thankful for my son. Wow, what an amazing child. He has brought so much laughter in to my life, and keeps me on my toes, that's for sure!
4. I'm thankful for my friends, the one's that have worked through my struggle with keeping in touch. Malisa, (I miss you!) who I haven't seen in about 10 years, although I know if we ever see each other again it will be like we've never left each other's side. Lorena, Shannon and Lindsay, my playful, encouraging women of faith who have kept me from going under these past 6 months!
5. I'm thankful for my parents and my relationship with them. I talk to my mom every other day or so (no less than once a week) for advice and encouragment. What a change from 10 years ago!
6. I'm thankful for my brother, Alex, who is quite a hoot. And he's introduced me to things like X-games, skateboarding, and crazy music. He's also quite the writer and drawer...very creative.
7. I'm thankful for my other brother, Mike, and his wife Katie, who have given me a brand new nephew this year. Dylan Michael, I'm storing up lots of kisses for our first meeting, so beware!
8. I'm thankful for my mother-in-law, Deborah, who is very supportive and sticks up for me when her son is overly obnoxious ;) She has also been very supportive of our adoption and how we are raising Eli. She also does a lot of gardening for us when she comes to visit.
9. I'm thankful for my sister in law who takes the teasing Dave would normally reserve for me when she's around. She's a pleasant, friendly gal who doesn't know a stranger or enemy. She's a great example to me of giving of yourself to others. She also happens to be the mother of my darling two nephews, CJ and Sam. And she's married to the best Italian cook you'll ever meet!
10. I'm thankful for my house. Although it isn't a mansion, or even all that big, I'm thankful that God has plopped us down in a great neighborhood with great neighbors. And it doesn't take all week to keep it clean!
11. I'm thankful for being a stay at home mom. This, folks, is my dream job. And for a while, it looked like it would never happen because we would never have kids. But now I have the priveledge of cleaning up poopy diapers, stepping on toys with small, sharp parts, and giving all the kisses and hugs a boy could dream of!
12. I'm thankful for extended family. My grandmother, aunts and uncles, along with Dave's extended family, have supported our adoption this year, too. Not many have families with open arms like ours.
13. I'm thankful for our health. Although Dave has some health issues, we are relatively healthy and able to be active and productive citizens. Not everyone can say that.
14. Speaking of being citizens, I'm thankful for my country. Although much is going on that isn't good for us as a society, God has placed me in a country that still allows me to worship Him openly, without fear of persecution (like jail, beatings, or even death).
15. And speaking of worshipping, I'm thankful for a solid, Bible teaching, preaching church that doesn't allow what's going on around them to sway their teaching or preaching. Our society shouldn't dictate what in the Word we believe. We should stand strong and true to The Truth.
16. And speaking of Bible teaching, I'm thankful for BSF, which has lead me in to a deeper relationship with the One True God, and a deeper understanding of who God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit is and what their relationship to each other and me is.
17. I'm thankful for service. I love to give my time and energy to others, and being involved in a vibrant church allows me to serve others for Christ.
18. I'm thankful for our Drama ministry, which is focused on how to glorify God through the arts. I've grown a lot in my abilities and confidence through Christ, and being in the Drama programs is a testamint to that.
19. I'm thankful for my dog, who is very therapudic. He's a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too.
20. (This one's for Dave) I'm thankful for our cars. We have two newer, almost paid of vehicles that are wonderful. In this economy, we are truly blessed.
21. I'm thankful for Dave's job, which allows me to stay at home with Eli. He's in a new position, which is fullfilling for him, and makes him a more fullfilled man.
22. I'm thankful for games. I love to play games that involve words, like Guestures, Catch Phrase, and Taboo. And I'm glad God gave me fun people to play with since my husband only likes things like Checkers (because it's the only game he can beat me at!!)
23. I'm thankful for the traveling I've done in my life. I've been to France, Germany, Ecuador, Canada, Mexico, and Ukraine, which was phenominal. I've traveled by car down the east coast, the SE, Montana and New Mexico, and by plane to CA and Nevada. Boy, I've been lots of places.
24. I'm thankful for seasons. I love the weather here in Michigan. Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather cools down, and the leaves pop with color. Winter is fun because it gets even colder...and SNOWS! The snow around here is just enough to get your feet wet, but not so much that you can't leave your house. And then comes Spring. Just when you've had enough of the cold, God melts the snow, and color resumes as the norm. The grass is green, the flowers bloom in every shade of every color. And then the heat goes in to overtime! Our summers are short. Just the way I like it! The weather turns warm just long enough for you to get sick of it and then fall comes creeping in again!
25. I'm thankful for those serving our country, the men/women overseas in our military, who keep me safe from foreign harm. The men/women in the military here, who gather information for those overseas. And for those in public service, like firefighters and police officers, who risk their lives at minimal pay to keep me safe in my cozy little house with my sweet Eli and handsome husband.
26. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go to Ukraine and experience the culture for 6 weeks. What a dream come true! And the fact that everything went so smoothly is another thanks in and of itself!
27. I'm thankful for music. I love to belt it out in the car rocking my head to the beat, clapping while sitting with Eli, or just closing my eyes to hear people praise the one and only God. Sometimes in church, when the band stops playing and it's just voices, I feel like I'm in the crowd at Jericho and the walls of the church are about to come down because our praises are so powerful!
28. I'm thankful for digital pictures. Technology has made it a lot easier to get pictures back and forth to family.
29. I'm thankful for rest. I don't get nearly as much as I used to, so it's much more appreciated now!
30. I'm thankful for food. Boy, do I love food! If you're a chef and you want to try out some new recipes on me, come on over! I enjoy tasting new foods, but I don't always enjoy the new foods I taste!
31. I'm thankful for the Bible. Many people wonder what it would be like to experience all the miracles Jesus did while He was on Earth, not to mention the crazy miracles recorded in the Old Tesiment. But I'm not sure I'd just jump right in. Now we are blessed with God's written word, His love letter to us that shows us His character, immense love for His creation, and desire that all come to know His Son.
32. Ta da! What did I save for last? I'm thankful for BLOGS that challenge me to do things like this! I thought it would be much harder than this, but I could go on and on about things I'm thankful for. So, I guess I'm also thankful I have so much to be thankful for!