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Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Second Half :)

Here's the rest of the list:

16.  I am thankful for modern technologies/appliances.  I especially love my little laptop (an apple fan for years, I took a leap of faith and have been trying out the google chromebook, and it is surprisingly efficient for all of my needs right now as long as the internet is working), and my iPhone.  When nursing Jonah, all I have is one free hand, and when he's half asleep I can play on my phone.  It sounds trivial, but many days those nursing times are my only free times to sit down, and so a little facebook surfing, playing "Matching with Friends", checking out things on Etsy, pinterest, and BibleGateway, are all just so enjoyable from my little phone wherever I happen to be.  As far as technology/appliances that I really appreciate though, I also particularly love the internet with it's social media sight that allow me to keep in touch with so many friends and learn new things.  When I was teaching I loved the smart board/Promethean board in schools.  At home I am fond of the baby monitor, microwave, the refrigerator, the stove, dishwasher, the toilet (can you imagine outhouses or bedpans? Yuck!). For transportation our van is crazy useful.  I was amazed at Boston's public transportation technology, and I do love a good plane ride now and then! Yay for these technological inventions and conveniences!

17.  I am thankful for the beautiful contrast of a bright cornflower blue sky against the rich Autumn red and yellow leaves.  I am particularly impressed by God's creativity with season changes, and I do enjoy all of them, but the change from Summer to Autumn is by far my favorite.  I love the slight chill in the air, the smell of woodsmoke, the fiery colors on the trees, the sudden sweet lack of humidity, and the scarf and sweater wearing. Mmmmmmm Autumn. We took the kids to a state park the other day and it was so peaceful and beautiful and fresh feeling. This is not that park, but a picture of this beauty somewhere:

18.  I am thankful for those peaceful moments when all the kids and babies are asleep, either during nap times in the day when big kids are at school and we manage to get both babies asleep, or late at night. During the day time we spend this time cleaning, exercising, or cooking.  Sometimes John and I spend these times together, and sometimes one of us is already asleep.  At night, alone is solitary and quiet but together it is warm and cozy feeling. Either way, the brief child-less-ness is joyous.

19.  I am thankful for my feet not staying fat and swollen after Jonah was born.  This may sound silly, but when you go for about 3 months straight of ugly, fat, swollen feet and ankles, to return to your normal feet, you have a whole new appreciation for them!  I remember being so very happy when Jonah was about 5 days old and I looked down and saw my old feet had returned!  While the rest of me is a little slower to bounce back to all of it's pre-pregnancy looks, my feet bounced back like champs! I appreciate them so much more than I used to! Here is a video of me playing footsie with Jonah when he was 4 months old.  He seems to like my feet too. :) But really, you should watch his sweet little face. He has the cutest smile. He was totally worth the fat feet and everything else pregnancy brought.

20.  I am thankful for the huge kitchen here.  I have never had so much cabinet or counter space in my life! The island is so helpful! Now technically it's big because we could be cooking for a maximum of 16 people, but right now with our total of 5 big people to regularly cook for, it is very spacious.  The rest of this house has lots of perks, but the kitchen is the most useful. I have cooked more here in the last two months than I think I have in the last year, and this kitchen has made it a pleasant task.  My parents and brother Kris came down for Thanksgiving, and my mom and I cooked all day together in here and never got in each others' way, and used the two ovens and two microwaves constantly. John even came in and cooked the dressing and green bean casserole. Three cooks int he kitchen, and no space/room problems. It was so much fun! (I think I am allowed to post pictures of the house, but I am not certain, so I have to ask, and then will give you all lots of pics if I have permission!)

21. I am thankful for coffee.  I don't have to have it every day, and since I nurse I can only have one cup a day anyway, but it is a special treat for me.  I have recently tried to cut out all fructose corn syrup/corn syrup in general, so I have had to change what I put in my coffee, and I like it even more now!  It's like I can feel hot energy sinking down into my bones and getting me revved up. I used to put about 2 tablespoons of dry powdered creamer in my coffee, and now I use 2 teaspoons of liquid Vanilla syrup, just like the coffee shops! Even though the coffee is darker, it is sweet in a different way. :) A teaspoon of natural cane sugar and a dash of salt still cuts the bitterness! I even like the way  a smooth mug feels in my hands. I like mugs that have been given to me as gifts. My dear friend in Boston got us matching elephant mugs and I left them in Alabama on accident. I have to pick those up the next time we go home. I really want to drink coffee in them! This is one of my favorite mugs right now:

The color is more turquoise than blue though. My mom gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. 

22.  I am thankful for God's faithful provision in our lives.  There have been times where money was tight, and we tried to budget more carefully, but we have never had to go without.  Just when we needed a job, God always put us right where He wanted us. I am so thankful that God has granted us so much financial peace. Now we are trying to be good stewards and are saving half of our income towards adoption.  Living on half our income has required some budgeting, but we are never in need.  We know that wherever our future adopted kids are going to come from, it will require a minimum of $10,000, so we need to have that ready. Speaking of adoption...

23.  I am thankful that God has called us to adopt, even though we have no idea when/where we will get our kids! We know we'd like two, and we think domestic, but we're not sure yet from where God will lead us adopt.  John was first called to adopt while on a mission trip in the Philippines.  He said "They throw away little girls like trash over there," and so he always really wanted an Asian baby girl.  I felt called to adopt when I found out about the AIDS epidemic in Africa leaving over 20 million children orphaned, and children raising children, because their parents died from this disease.  I always thought I'd get a baby from Africa.  Then God has used our foster kids to melt our hearts for domestic adoption when we thought we would get our last little baby girls.  God had other plans for them though, and our babies may not even be born yet.  So, that is why I say we don't really know yet, but I am thankful that we can pray and dream and prepare for them.  I am so thankful for friends who also have a heart and passion for orphans and adoption too!  I love keeping up with other peoples' amazing stories of adoption.  Here's one we've been really praying for a lot (and are getting so excited for!): Nathan and Kimberly Neely in Huntsville Then, I don't know these people but I enjoy reading their stories! Lots of cool adoption stories!

24.  I am thankful for food.  I really enjoy eating.   I think that's why I can't lose my last pounds of baby weight. I remember at school I'd tell my students every day before lunch that they should be so thankful for food because lots of children around the world don't get to eat lunch, and sometimes don't get to eat at all.  I have never had to go hungry, and it breaks my heart to hear of those who do right here in the USA and all across the world.  If you have internet service at home, chances are you haven't had to go hungry either, so please remember those people who don't get to have a Thanksgiving feast, and ask God how He'd like you to help.  On a less depressing note, I love food, and pinterest is making it worse.  I have been finding recipes on there like crazy and just trying a few a week.  Most recently, I tried Pumpkin Dump Cake (not too rich, almost light tasting) and Strawberry Pretzel Salad (traditional yumminess).  Both were a huge hit! I enjoy eating. Food tasted even better when I was pregnant too!

25.  I am thankful for laughter. I take great delight in laughing.  I like to laugh at John and Jonah, my crazy family, funny movies, and clean jokes. Even more than I enjoy laughing, I enjoy hearing babies laugh.  Jonah's little laugh is so sweet!  I like hearing my friends' babies laughing.  When I taught 1st grade, I loved making the kids all laugh.  I would read aloud in super silly voices to try to be as entertaining as possible.  I even watched a Profession Development video once that talked about how the brain works more efficiently, and students learn more when they are laughing and having a good time.  I then tried even harder to make them laugh. When I am sad or upset, I just want to watch a comedy. Laughter really is the best medicine! Can you imagine life without laughter? That's a sad thought! Here's a little Jonah laughter:

26.  I am thankful for round analog clocks.  I like to have a clock in most rooms in the house because I do not like to wear a watch.  I don't know if it's bad that I like to be constantly aware of time, or just shows how much time I spend thinking about time itself.  Ever since I began teaching, I started on a quest to try to fit more into each moment - at work and home.  During the school day you try to cram so much in that you get this new appreciation for time and minutes.  I would feel so guilty if I thought I had wasted the kids' time. Then I worked so much that first year, that I wanted to make the most of every moment I had off at home. Now I think of time mostly in reference to the babies - what time did he wake up last? When did they eat? Is it nap time yet? How long has he/she been asleep? Should I wake them up now? Do I have enough time to fit in a quick workout? How long have I been feeding him back here? Did I fall asleep? How long ago did we eat dinner? Is it somebody's bedtime yet? These are the reasons I look at the clock most of the time. However, I also find them to be pretty.  I think if I could pick a favorite shape, it would be the circle.  I like the perfect roundness.  I like big fat round clocks with pretty numbers. I do not like digital clocks much, they seem so technical and straight and sharp. I am thankful for the analog clock. Although, in some ways, it makes me sad to think of spending so much time thinking about time, time that we can never get back. How awesome is God that he lives outside of time? That blows my mind. Here's one of my favorite clocks in the house:

27. I am thankful for nature in general. I love to be outside in God's big beautiful creation. Growing up all over the world has allowed me different perspectives on this lovely planet. My earliest memories are from Germany, and specifically being up in 'Hitler's Hideout' and wanting to reach out and touch the clouds, and walking on "Volks marches" with my parents, sitting on my daddy's shoulders, being able to almost touch the trees as we walked through long paths of wooded, hilly land.  Then I remember the blazing dry heat and flatness of South Dakota in the Summer and the blizzards in October and throughout winter that let me make a million snow angels, snowmen, and just play out in that bright whiteness of sparkling snow.  Then the nature in England was very green.  It rained so much there that all the plants were always lush and pretty.  In Idaho the big expansive blue sky touched the ground on all sides because there were no trees. There was no humidity and the sky was always such a deep blue it instantly made me happy and calm.  It was mostly warm there, but even in the colder months the sky was clear and glorious.  Then living in Alabama and now Mississippi, both places have a lot of trees and grass.  Tennessee had some rolling hills up when we lived in Clarksville, although Memphis area was much more flat.  The south has taught me to appreciate the trees. My mom said she missed trees when we lived in Idaho, but I didn't because I was so enamored with the sky.  I think after the last decade in the south though, I would miss trees too.  I am so thankful for nature.  I love the sky, the trees, mountains, and water. Creeks, lakes, and the ocean are all so lovely and calming and peaceful. We have such a great Creator! I miss spending more time in outdoor activities.  I must work on that!

28. I am thankful for the five senses. I love the smell of wood smoke that reminds me of my Granny, and the way Jonah's hair smells after a bath.  I love the feel of warm water on cold hands or touching satin.  I love the limited sight that I have (and praise the Lord for contacts!) of all God has made. I love the taste of strawberries,  dark chocolate and a thousand other things. I love the sound of moving water and laughter and music. I would struggle if I lost one of these.  I jokingly like to say I'd give up taste so that I could lose weight, but I would really miss it. Food with texture only and no taste would be so disappointing. 
The teacher inside of me is feeling very visual tonight. :) 

29. I am thankful for my past. Of course there are things I regret, and things I wish I could go back and change, and do better.  However, I know that Romans 8:28 is so true in my life. God HAS worked all things together for my good.  All of my sins, my mistakes, my failures, have been used to lead me to where I am today.  I would not be interested in adoption, working as a house parent, married to John, mommy to precious Jonah, if it were not for the choices I made, both good and bad.

30.  I am thankful for this poem, which puts into perspective all the little things I did not think I was thankful for, but that I am when the author puts it this way. I hope it blesses you too! Let us all be thankful for our many blessings every single day!

Thankful For...
The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.My shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I'm alive.Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends who are thinking of me.Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, I thank Thee Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, I thank Thee Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, I thank Thee Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, I thank Thee Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, I thank Thee Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry; 

Even though the routine of my job often is hard, I thank Thee Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

 Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, I thank Thee Lord, for life.

-- Author Unknown

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