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Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: First Half

     I enjoy reading everyone's "30 Days of Thanks" posts on Facebook, but I knew I wouldn't get on every day, and I hate starting something but not finishing it correctly (like posting one thing every single day), so instead I am going to list all of mine here, while catching you up on our lives and thanking some people who are a little overdue. :) For some reason, I tend to be a little wordy, so in realizing how long this is, I am going to do half now, and half later. 

1.  I am so thankful for Jesus Christ sacrificing his life to pay for my sin.  I am so unworthy, undeserving of his all encompassing grace.  I am eternally grateful that through Him I am adopted as a child of God.  I enjoy reading his love letter, his handbook, the Bible, for inspiration on how to lead my life.  I wish I could share this relationship with everyone.  For those who don't believe, I can only hope that I plant seeds and live in such a way as to glorify God with my life.  Romans 12 is my favorite chapter of the Bible, especially the beginning: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. Do not conformany longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12

2.  I love my husband! I have never been more in love with or thankful for my husband.  This job has forced/blessed us with being able to spend almost every waking moment together. I realize this might be difficult for some couples, but it's only improving our marriage so far.  We have a daily quiet time where we read the Bible, a few devotions and pray together.  That's my favorite part of the day with him.  I admire him most when he prays.  The other day I heard John pray with a lady on the phone. At first I teared up with pride and gratitude and echoed his prayer in my head/heart.  Then I though, "That was so HOT!" He's also a wonderful father.  From being foster parents now to house parents, and having one of our own, I can truly say I know he is a great dad.  He has changed about 7,453 diapers, fed numerous babies disgusting looking baby food, cleaned up puke, poop, and all other bodily and food-related fluids in between, and rocked babies and children to sleep uncountable times.  He was such a champ during Jonah's birth to encourage me and patiently wait on our little miracle through that 24 hour delivery process.  He also manages to make a bald head look handsome, (I don't even think I would like him with hair), keeps sculpted calves year round, and makes me laugh all the time.  I'm not saying he's perfect at all, and we most definitely have our disagreements, but I don't feel it's very kind to share his faults publicly, so instead I will only say that like all humans, he Needs Jesus EVERY SINGLE DAY! I'm thankful God brought us together, and brought us to this point in our lives.
Our engagement picture, 4 years ago, wow!

3.  I love my baby Jonah G! Being a mommy is a huge blessing! Psalm 127:3-4: 
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one's youth.
I think for the first 4 months straight I kept telling John and my family, "I love him so much more than I thought I would!" It is unexplainable how much I love him.  I mean, I always knew that I'd love my kids, but I had no idea how much! He is also far cuter than I expected.  I'm not quite sure why, but I was eagerly expecting a very shriveled, pale, semi-ugly little baby.  However, (and I don't think I am much biased) Jonah is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen! He gets more adorable every day.  I asked God for brown eyed babies because I just think brown eyes are so pretty.  Then God proved me wrong and taught me that ALL of his creations are beautiful when he gave my baby boy big blue eyes that look a lot like mine.  I have cried over Jonah so many times already that it amazes me.  For this baby I have had tears of utter joy, of gratitude, of something deeper than contentment, as well as tears of exhaustion and frustration, and even those tears of sorrowful fear when we had to take him to the hospital and it took a whole day for 3 doctors to come to the conclusion he had a whole lot of gas hurting his little belly.  I even cried during a particular moving scene on TV when a couple sent their child off to college, and I turned around in tears and told John, "I don't want Jonah to go off to college!" He laughed at me and said, "He's only 5 months old, babe!" Even though he's not perfect either, and is now in the grabbing-reaching-pulling Mommy's hair all the time phase (I scream and he laughs as he yanks a little handful of my hair Much harder than I anticipated), I love him.  I really love that kid. I am so thankful I get to be his mommy and watch him grow up every day. He can go to college if God calls him to, I guess.
25 weeks - he already had a big nose :) 

4.  I love my parents.  I am thankful that they raised me to love people no matter what their skin looks like, to love the Lord and find a good church home, to work hard at everything I do, and to stick by my family and friends even when times get tough.  I know they taught me a million other little things, like how to make omelettes, how to make my bed, and how to drive, but I think the most important thing they've taught me is how to express love.  Both of my parents are great about finding what makes me feel loved, and then building me up that way.  I can't count the times they've told me, "I love you. I'm proud of you."  This has made me try to find ways to express love to those who need it, (also known as humans), especially my family and students.  Now as an adult, my parents are even MORE helpful!  My mom came and helped us so many times in the last two years when we had kids and needed help.  The week after Jonah was born she stayed and helped out around the house, it was so nice.  She likes to joke about quitting her job as a school nurse to come and be a house parent with us, and I think that would be fabulous!  I really could happily live with her.  I'm so proud of them for being married for over 30 years.  They are inspirational people, and as I hope to glorify God with my life, I pray I also make them proud. Ephesians 6: 1-2: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
On my wedding day

5. I am thankful for my grandparents.  My Granny Em was a courageous woman who battled breast cancer for 12 years.  She just went to be with the Lord when Jonah was 10 days old.  Her leaving earth is still very sad for me although I know she is pain free and living with the Lord now.  I will tell you all about her sometime later when I can maybe cry a little less while writing.   Granddaddy Jim (my grandfather) is still living and continues to be a Godly example for his children and grandchildren.  They always created a home for us when we were moving around and went back to Clarksville in between new bases.  They were a great example of life long marriage, to love and cherish in sickness and in health. I love and admire them so much! 

6.  I love John's family.  Some people have a lot of issues with their in-laws, and I am being honest when I say that we don't.  John and I both get along really well with each others' parents.  Nancy and Max always make me feel like I am right at home when we visit.  Stanley visits Jonah almost daily, and takes us out frequently.  They all love us and Jonah, and we enjoy spending time with them.  I know that it's really a rare blessing to have in-laws that I don't have much to complain about!
Nancy and Max aka Nana and Peepaw

Stanley aka PawPaw

7.  I am thankful for my true friends.  In elementary, middle, and high school, I struggled to make friends.  I never had more than one or two good friends everywhere we went.  I think I used to be shy.  Hahaha! That's funny now because after moving and going to so many schools, I was forced to come out of my shell and open up more, but it really didn't happen much until college.  I prayed and asked God for friends every time we moved, and he always gave me just a few.  Then one day my third year of college, I realized that I finally had quite a few real lady friends!  As I've moved and taught the last few years, I've made even more!  We've really enjoyed making couple friends too.  I've gone on trips to the beach and the mountains with friends. This once lonely girl now has plenty of people she can call, text, or send a message to whenever needed!  Thank you God for answering that prayer abundantly! I have too many friend pictures to post!

8.  I am so thankful for my time as a teacher. Although I am not teaching right now, I do fondly remember the students and parents of the three years/classes I had.  I loved teaching.  I do miss it sometimes right now, but I am certain we are doing what God wants us to, and I love getting to stay home with Jonah.  I love little kids so stinkin' much! I love helping them learn and making them feel valued and loved.  I also really loved getting to know other teachers.  I was so very blessed to meet lots of wonderful teachers at Barker's Mill Elementary in Clarksville and Farmington Elementary in Germantown (Memphis), who love students, and care about the kids learning.  I am thankful for celebrating holidays, season changes, birthdays, and all the fun and hectic moments in between.  I know some day in the future I will be a teacher again, and I do happily look forward to it. 
Honea Hive Calendar

9.  I am thankful for the time we spent in Memphis specifically, with John in seminary.  It may seem strange to the world right now that we went to Memphis so he could attend seminary, only for him to graduate and us become house parents, which does not require a seminary degree at all, but I feel like God has been directing our path.  He taught us so much there, and is using us here and preparing us for more ministry opportunities in the future.  We met many great people in Seminary housing, and developed friendships with people in housing and with our church family at Bartlett Baptist Church.  I didn't think I'd like working with John in youth ministry that much, but I loved it!  I really liked meeting some great teenagers who love the Lord and desired to learn more about him. I enjoyed being foster parents even though it was difficult raising kids who weren't ours and then saying good-bye.  I loved the school where I taught with a group of amazing teachers, faculty, and staff.  I enjoyed being less than ten minutes from about 100 restaurants, 2 Wal-Marts, 2 Targets, 2 Kroger's, Shelby Farms (huge outdoor walking/running/canoeing public park), Jonah's great pediatrician, our church, a large mall, and countless other shops and things to do. 
30 weeks pregnant with our 2 foster kids at the time, over at Bellevue.

10.  I'm thankful we weren't sick while we didn't have insurance! We could have paid for insurance from my last job if we had needed it for an emergency, but we chose to try to save $1700 and not use the insurance for the months of September-October.  If we had to go to a doctor or hospital or something we could have picked up the insurance if we needed it, so it wasn't like we didn't technically have it, we were just trying really hard NOT to use it so we wouldn't have to buy it.  Praise God - All 3 of us were healthy and fine! Yay for new insurance and Jonah's shots! Thank you Lord for helping us save money! Thank you for working this time for our good and not letting us get hurt! Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.

11.  I'm so thankful for printed words in books and literacy in general.  I love reading.  I particularly enjoy my Bible and especially using Bible Gateway to read verses in different translations to gain new meanings and understanding to Scripture. I also admire Oswald Chambers'  "My Utmost for His Highest"devotions which help us to daily gain perspective on our human condition.  The book Adopted for Life  clearly gave John and I a better framework for our beliefs on adoption instead of just clinging to James 1:27 and the Holy Spirit calling us toward it.  The book "On Becoming Babywise" has changed my life in reference to getting Jonah and other babies in our care to be on a healthy sleep schedule.  The one month we deviated constantly from Jonah's schedule and spoiled him rotten by letting him nurse to fall asleep, he began driving me crazy wanting to be fed all the time, taking short constant naps, and only sleeping 3-4 hours at a time at night. The very first day we put him back on a schedule he slept 7 hours straight.  Four days later he slept almost 9 hours straight.  If you have an infant you NEED that book! It's never too late to start.  I also enjoyed reading "The Shack""Redeeming Love", and countless children's books by Mo Willems, Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Max Lucado (his grown up stuff is good, but his Children's stuff is better!). I enjoy Shel Silverstein's poetry, and cried the first time I read "The Giving Tree" and have enjoyed and cried over so many more books!

12.  I am thankful for physical health pretty much my entire life.  I had such a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  I enjoy exercise (I actually pull out my old exercise DVDs from when I was an instructor and have a blast working out alone in my living room on days I don't feel like jogging to the end of the driveway and back).  I rarely get sick, and now that I'm not pregnant my immune system is back to functioning at maximum capacity! (I caught a ton of viruses when I was pregnant: 3 stomach bugs that had me throwing up multiple times then feeling weak for a few days, 3 colds that lasted at least 2 weeks each of sore throat, sinus pressure, and lots of snot, and I got fever blisters a few times, but other than that it was a super healthy pregnancy).  I have heard several recent sad stories of difficult pregnancies, traumatic labor experiences, and people who just generally suffer from one physical ailment or another - young people with constant migraines, all ages of people with cancer, and I have to stop and constantly go, "Thank you, God for my health. Please continue to keep us healthy." I have never even broken a bone.  God's angels kept me safe during a particularly bad car accident 2 years ago.  I feel like as long as I get about 7 hours of sleep I'm usually pretty good to go.  I am so thankful for my health which affords me the freedom to do many things. Speaking of freedom...

13.  I am thankful for living in these United States of America.  It's actually taken me a long time to say that.  I used to really resent good ole' USA just because I hated growing up the military lifestyle.  I blamed America for robbing me of my daddy so many times growing up, and having to move and lose friends and struggle to find new ones.  However, I realize now that it wasn't ever America, it was my father's choice to serve his country that way, and I'm proud of him for it.  I am thankful that we have the freedom to vote, no matter the outcome. We have the freedom to worship God publicly, and live in such a culturally diverse place. It is land of free, because of the brave. I only hope that continues to be true. 

14.  I am thankful for the Baptist Children's Village where we are employed! I am thankful for the vision they have to provide children with a loving home and parents. I am thankful for the people who built this cool house we live in! I am thankful for our boss, Mark, with whom we really get along well. I am thankful for the fact that I get to decorate! Although several of the Bible verses we hoped to get for the walls haven't come in yet, and so we are leaving several main walls blank to be able to apply the verses and decorate around them, we have hung a few things, and bought rugs, and a new bed. It is a little awkward to decorate a bedroom for parents and baby to share, but I am trying to make it cute (photos when it's finished).  I am really thankful that God chose to let us take on this responsibility of helping more hurting kids.  I don't think we were bad foster parents, but I know we could have been more patient, more loving, more gentle with our words, more generous with our time to all of the kids we had.  I pray our parenting skills are getting better as God continues to break our hearts for his children.  I am thankful that they are almost done hiring some more house parents to join us down here!  

15.  I am thankful for baby entertainment/support structures/toys.  We have several of these colorful safe places for Jonah and the other baby to play in when they don't need to be held or we just can't watch them constantly.   I am so glad we have a safe place to put them down where they are happily entertained in learning about the world around them!  These things have really improved our quality of life from the first few weeks when all we had were their high-chairs, and Jonah's bumbo, that the other baby could crawl out of anyway.  From these saucer things, to the bumbo, to the baby swings, to the baby beds, and big stuffed animals I can prop Jonah up with, I am so thankful we have things to put them down on!
The bouncy swing that hangs from any doorway is so very useful and portable!

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! Thank you LORD!!!

1 Chronicles 16:8-12
Oh give thanks to the Lordcall upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles and the judgments he uttered,



  1. I enjoy reading your blogs every time :-) they are so honest and pure and feels like talking to you :-)
    you deserve the best, and anybody who has you in their life is very lucky. Including me. Big hugs..

    1. Awww I love you! You are one of those true friends I have been so thankful for the last, what...7 years now, oh my that makes me feel old! From Snow White to Auntie Ghazal, you rock!

    2. awwww..."from snow white to auntie Ghazal" made my eyes teary... I miss you and your little man. YOU rock ;)