Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Thanks

Over on Facebook, a lot of my friends have been listing something they're thankful for each day of November.  Believe it or not, there have been critics who post that "we should be thankful all year long" and openly refuse to participate.  Yes, it's true.  We should be thankful every day of our lives.  I agree and try to practice thanksgiving all year long.  But think about it... the very history of Thanksgiving is when the Pilgrims set aside a specific time to express their gratitude to their Heavenly Father.  Here are a few things I've listed that I am grateful for: 

Our home - I am thankful for a cozy home.  We've made so many memories inside these four walls.  I'm grateful for the hard work Chris put into this house to make it HOME.

I'm thankful for Chris.  My sweetheart.  My BFF.  God has blessed me with a Godly husband who is also a wonderful Daddy to both our boys. 

 Photo: Thankful for my sweetheart, Chris! God has blessed me with a Godly man who is a wonderful provider, an awesome daddy, and my BFF! I'm so grateful God put us together!

Godly parents - who in the toughest battles of their lives, have kept God first and trusted Him explicitly.  They are an wonderful example of Christians and parents.

I'm beyond blessed when it comes to material things... I sometimes think of all our stuff as "clutter" but the truth is, if I've ever needed anything, God has provided my needs.  And my wants too. 

Second hand clothing.  Wow.  I have been blessed to have a wonderful neighbor who passes on her son's clothing to me.  She buys quality clothing and lots of it.  Then passes them on to me at a fraction of the price.  If I took the same fifty bucks to Wal-Mart - or even a consignment store, my boys would have very little clothing.  As it is, their closets are overflowing.  I've also been blessed with two wonderful sister-in-laws who pass on their boys clothing.  I know there are people who have issues with second hand clothing, but I'm extremely grateful.  We've saved hundreds - maybe thousands - of dollars! 

Sundays.  One of my favorite days of the week.  A time to worship my Father.  A time to rest (sorta!).  A time to fellowship.  And of course, football.

I think it's very appropriate that Veterans Day falls in November.  I am so thankful for those who've given service to our country.  Their sacrifices humble me.  Who am I that they would fight for my freedom, my country, and my life?

Food.  Aren't we all thankful for food?  And I'm thankful for November sales.  I love to stock my freezer full of cheap food.  

Deer meat - not the cheapest food in the world, but seriously... I am thankful to have added 77.5 pounds of fresh deer meat to our freezer.  That will feed our family all year long.  

Opening morning's harvest  - including a 9 point buck!

And while we're on deer... I'm thankful for Elijah. He's a sweet lil 5 year old who absolutely loves to help with the deer. He is such an example to me. He patiently waited nearly two hours for us to have meat ready to grind. When he finished grinding, he immediately started helping me weigh the meat for bagging. The whole time he was singing and being silly... Making the whole job a lot more fun!! I was sad to see him go to bed (an hour and a half late because he begged to keep helping!).  This is the boy that made me Mommy for the first time.  He's brought so much joy to our lives.  I love this boy!

Photo: Deer processing!! It's a family business. I always dread it every year... But this was a small buck so it didn't take too long!! Elijah is our official "Grinder Man!"
Our lil helper!

The universe... our Creator has such a vast imagination.  I know my personal world is very small.  When I stop and think about all the amazing things God created, it really blows me away.  I'm so humbled by His creation.  Stars are just one thing that completely overwhelm me. 

Gabriel. Our little unplanned surprise.  What would I do without that little man? Today, I dressed him tiny jeans.  As he walked away in those little big boy pants, I was struck with awe over God's amazing plan to bless me with such a sweet baby.  What first seemed like such a shock has become one of our life's greatest blessings - in more ways than one. 

There are so many more things I'm thankful for.  This time of deliberate reflection on things I might have otherwise taken for granted has been good for me.  I must be one of the most blessed people on this earth.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall Party vs. Halloween

We had quite a fun time at our Fall Party last night.  There was lots of food, crafts for the kids, a pinata, and some great fellowship.  I really hope this becomes an annual event for our church because it was honestly: a good time!  Thank you to John and Elisha Porter for hosting all of us at your home!

Elijah has reached the age where he's started asking "why can't I go trick-or-treating?"  And I'm doing my best to explain...

When I was a kid, I was allowed to dress up and trick-o-treat.  Dressing up was limited to "non-scary" costumes - although I do remember one year wearing a sheet as a ghost.  Chris, on the other hand, was raised exactly the opposite.  He tells stories of sitting at home with all lights turned out because they didn't want people stopping by for candy.  So when a couple with exact opposite feelings on Halloween marry, how do they settle their differences?  I wanted our kids to have the memories of trick-or-treating while Chris said there was no way.

As I explained to Elijah, the Halloween I knew and loved was so innocent.  There was no blood or gore. No amputated body parts. No murder scenes.  The scariest costume I remember seeing was a Frankenstein and a witch.  It was just about the candy and having fun acting out your character.   But now, even as an adult, I avoid the Halloween aisle like the plague.  Not because I'm scared, but because I'm actually quite grossed out by the amount of walking dead, zombies, blood, gore, and general ick I see.  It's been very easy for me to tell Elijah "we don't want to participate in that".  

I am not trying to change anyone's beliefs or trying to condemn anyone for trick-or-treating.  Because honestly, I'm still asking myself: what's so harmful in knocking on doors for free candy?  And what is the difference in having a Fall Party vs. a Halloween Party?  The Fall Party's I have enjoyed in the past have been basically the same as Halloween party's.  Except for one very big difference: no references to death, witches, blood, or the other spirit dimension.  So as I recited to Elijah, "whatsoever things are pure, good, lovely... think on these things"...  Of course, candy falls in that category too! Right?  Hahaha!

My lil hunters!

Craft Time!  Their hand/arm was the tree!

So careful with the glue and placement of leaves!
Pinata chaos!!