Ten Things of Thankful | Friends and Family Edition

What a couple of weeks we’ve had around here!

It all started with celebrating 24 years of marriage a couple of weeks ago. I am so thankful for my sweet man! I am blessed to have met him when I was 13 and married when I was barely 20. He is a wonderful man, husband, father, provider and friend.

I am also thankful for my bestest friend since high school, Kristi. She celebrated her birthday the day after our anniversary. She is someone who I don’t get to see often enough, but she is the hardest working, most generous, loyal, trustworthy and awesome person. She has been through a lot the last year and she never fails to give anything less than 100% to her family, her job, her church, regardless of what else is going on in her life. She is amazing and I am blessed to know her.

Kristi and me collage

mockingjaypumpkinThen, there was Halloween. My kids have always enjoyed dressing up. Each year they plan their costumes way ahead of time. Last year was the first year they did not trick or treat. It was a little sad, but they both still wanted to dress up, but they stayed home to pass out candy. This year, Halloween started out fun. Clyn cleaned out the pumpkin, Emma sketched a Mockingjay on our pumpkin (Y’all do know about Hunger Games, right??), and Jacob carved it. My contribution was the photo you see here! HA. It looked pretty cool and some people knew what it was. The true HG aficionados, anyway.  Jacob was dressed as Uncle Si, of Duck Dynasty fame and Emma was dressed as Dorothy. They both looked so awesome! We handed out candy for a bit and then Emma went over to her friend Harper’s house to pass out candy. We had lots of trick or treaters and ran out of candy a little before 8, so, along with Uncle Si, The Hubs and I headed back inside and turned off the porch light.IMG_5026

And that is where the fun ended. Because about 15 minutes later, I received a call from Harper’s mom saying that Emma has been bitten by a snake. A copperhead, which is native to our area. Emma stepped down the front porch steps to hand a kid some candy and felt something stick in her foot. It was dark on the steps and who in this world even begins to think that a snake would be hanging out on the steps?? Fast forward, and Harper’s family rushed Emma to the emergency room at our local hospital. I met them there and Hubby followed me in his car. I arrived just as they were wheeling Emma back. I am pretty sure that I got there in record time. God saw fit to make sure every every traffic light was green between my house and the hospital. It was pretty miraculous. A couple of hours later, Emma was receiving the anti-venom. And a couple more hours later, Emma was being transferred by ambulance to the large hospital in the next town (about 30 minutes away) that has a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), where she could be monitored very closely. We spent Halloween night there and the next night in the intermediate intensive care unit and then she was released late Saturday afternoon. She missed a few days of school, but she is slowly getting better each day. Yesterday, was her first day without using her crutches and I think she overdid it. Maybe walking around at the fair all afternoon wasn’t such a good plan. But today she is resting. Throughout the whole process, there was, and is, much to be thankful for:

  • It was Emma who was bitten instead of one of the little kids who was trick or treating. Venom doesn’t have to travel as far in a little one.
  • Emma received treatment quickly, thanks to Harper’s family getting her to the ER so fast, and ER staff who understood the seriousness of treating snake bites in a timely manner.
  • We were able to get to the hospital quickly to be with Emma…it is no accident that all those lights were green!
  • The hospital had the anti-venom in their pharmacy.
  • Emma did not have an allergic reaction to the anti-venom. And it did its job and halted the progression of the venom.
  • God sent people to treat and care for Emma in both hospitals who knew what to do and how to treat snake bites and who were wonderful with kids.
  • No surgical intervention was needed, as it sometimes is with snake bites.
  • My brave and amazing Emma, who kept her sense of humor and was so strong. She really is something special.
  • The massive outpouring of love and encouragement to us and the prayers of so many—it was just amazing. And meant so much to all of us.
  • The miraculous peace I felt throughout the whole thing.
  • Emma is getting better every day.

It is during times of crisis that you truly appreciate what you have and who you have. I could see the grace of God in the face of each doctor, each nurse. I could feel the prayers and love of so many.

As I looked around the pediatric intensive care unit and saw the lives of children literally hanging in the balance, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, knowing that my daughter would leave that hospital and she would return to life as usual, enjoying all the things she did before. I knew there were some families who would not have that. I met one such mama in the family waiting room as we both were getting some coffee. We can’t understand why things happen as they do, we can only embrace those who are suffering, give them a word of encouragement, and whisper a prayer for them. And never forget to be grateful.

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On the weekend, I link up with the Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop to celebrate all the things I am feeling especially thankful for this week. You can join in the gratitude at Lizzi’s blog—Considerings.

Ten Things of Thankful

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I am a screw up.

It is confession time.

I went to the gym this morning and then promptly came home and decided to live dangerously and totally negate my morning workout by eating a big ole spoonful (okay, two) of raw cookie dough, even though the packaging clearly states not to do it. Ooooh, living on the edge!

You should also know that I talk to other drivers when I am driving. Other drivers in other cars. Yes, I realize that they cannot hear me. (Emma is good at reminding me of that fact.)

cray cray mom

I ask them (kinda loudly) what the heck are they doing?! I tell them to pick a lane. I suggest that they get off my road. I demand that they go at least the speed limit. (Is is really too much to ask??) I am especially annoyed by the drivers who refuse to speed up on the off ramp as they are merging onto the highway. In the past, I have discussed the fun I have at the four-way stops here in my state.  I also tell other drivers that I am going to “chop” them, while making a chopping motion with my hand, which is code for “You don’t know it, but I am totally flipping you off right now.” (Thanks, Mom, for giving me that one to use. You are so busted!) And I have been known to drop a choice word or two on them occasionally.

I’m just being for real here.

I think it’s fair to say that I have an issue that needs some work.

Okay, I have a lot of issues that need some work. But hey, don’t we all??

I am not perfect. I don’t claim to have it all together. I have done things I am not proud of. I behave badly at times. And there are lots of other things I won’t confess to…here, anyway.

I am a Christian. And I screw up on a daily basis. Ask my husband and my kids.

I realize that there are people in this world who are looking for me to screw up—who are looking for professing Christians to screw up—so they can say, “See, I knew you weren’t really a Christian.”

They won’t have to look too long or too hard if that is what they are basing my Christianity upon, because in my human-ness, I am going to screw up. And if that is all Christianity is—not screwing up, being “good”, behaving a certain way so that other people can judge that I am a “good Christian”—then what is the point? It just becomes a bunch of rules. Being a Christian is not about rules; it is about the heart.

In my heart, I want to do better—I don’t want to curse at the other drivers on my the road, or my trash can after I’ve run it over because it got left at the end of my driveway. I pray each day for God’s help to be the woman He wants me to be. 

But it is out of love for Him and gratitude for what He has done for me, that I want to love more, give more and do more—for Him. I don’t want to just do good things or be a good person because some people think that is what Christianity is.

What I want more than to be a “good person,” though, is to know God more and be more like Him. It is out of that loving relationship that good works, good attitudes, will come. Not the other way around.

Love. Mercy. Grace. Relationship. Good stuff.

There is nothing I can do to be good enough for God. I can only rely on the fact that God loved me first and saved me by grace. His gift of grace. And it is His mercy alone that allows me live another day.

And boy, am I thankful, because, I am pretty sure I will continue to just stink things up—trust me, I can be a hot mess. Only Jesus is good enough, was good enough, to redeem all my mess. Nothing other than my faith in Him and His willing sacrifice for me, makes me acceptable to God.

And so, we all find ourselves in desperate need of mercy and grace.

You. Me. Everyone.

The man who was rude to you in the grocery store check out. The cheeky teenager who stole your space in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The frazzled mom who was yelling at her kid inside the Wal-Mart. The smarmy politician. The drug addicted prostitute. The kid down the street who hurt my kid. The murderer on death row.

And me. Because I am no better.

God has mercy and grace available for them, for you, and for me. And if God can withhold judgment from me and pour out kindness on me that I do not deserve, then I need to work a little harder to pour that out on others as well.

And I do have to work at it. Somehow, for some reason, it seems really hard to withhold judgment and pour out kindness while I am driving. Why is that?? But I’m working on it and praying that I can screw up less (not just in the driving department!) and love Him—and everyone else—more. I want my kids, and those on the outside looking in, to see and know that even though I am a screw up, God still loves me and gives me grace and mercy. And that same love and grace and mercy can be theirs too.

21 Yet there is one ray of hope: 22 His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.                         Lamentations 3:21-23, Living Bible

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Ten Things of Thankful, with a Spanish flair. Kinda. You’re welcome.

It’s Saturday! And I am thrilled to say that I’m actually going to get my Ten Things of Thankful post up on SATURDAY this weekend! HA! Woooo!

It is almost 10 am here and all is still silent, except for our little Lubie bird chirping and pecking away happily at his bell in his cage. Emma is off at her “other family’s” house, Jacob is snoozing it up and Clyn had to go in to work for a bit this morning. So, here I sit. In my jammies, sipping on my English Breakfast tea, which is now slightly cold because it is chilly here, y’all! Woke up to temps in the upper 30s, which is cold for the end of October in South Carolina! I am currently refusing to turn on the heat, because I am sure that next week, we will be back in the 80s or something like that. When I turn on the heat, that means it is winter and I’m not ready to let go of fall just yet.

On that note, I will go nuke my tea….

…and we’re back! That is much better!

I almost got completely sidetracked (shocker!) by a tempting email from Snapfish telling me I can order my Christmas cards NOW and get 50% off my order. I’m not going to lie, I went and looked and clicked around and almost got stuck there! Oh my, the ADD is kicking up for real today!

On to the business at hand!

This week…has been long. Not in a bad way, but somehow yesterday morning when I was driving to the gym, it occurred to me that Monday seemed like a long time ago. Partly, I think, it is due to the fact that my poor, sweet hubby has been working extremely long hours this week. A project of his this week has required him to be at work really early, 5 am early, and to stay really late. One night, I am pretty sure he got home around 11:30. And he is back there today, Saturday. He is my thankful thing numero uno. He works so hard and is so conscientious about his work. I hope those people know how blessed they are to have such an employee as my man! But if they don’t, I do. And I know that everything he does is for the kids and me.  And, no, he does not get paid overtime, as he is a salaried employee.

Thankful thing numero dos and tres. (Do y’all like my Español, by the way?? HA!) I am thankful for my hilarious daughter (thing dos…literally and figuratively). I’m telling you, she makes me laugh so hard sometimes that I snort and tears come out of my eyes. She is medicine to me. She is also an excellent student, who, along with tons of her peers, was honored for her academic achievements in a ceremony this week at school. She is so nonchalant about it all, which is funny to me. Girl! You got all As in  every subject last year, for the whole school year! It is okay to be happy and proud of that! But no. It is just what she does. Nothing special. Whatevs. Again, hilarious. But we are proud…Look at her and Harper, aren’t they lovely? Yes, they are. And did you even know you could “letter” in academics?? I didn’t. I only thought you lettered in athletics. Shows how much I know. After the ceremony, we enjoyed a fun dinner with Harper and her family (thing tres)—they are a fun and crazy family.

IMG_5021

Thankful thing numero quatro and cinco go together. (Okay, I’m just going with it now. I started a pattern and I can’t simply abandon that pattern. That would just be wrong!) So, I made a new friend this week (thing quatro), which I always love doing! She is a sweet, wonderful lady in my town, who emailed me this week, out of the blue. (Seemingly, but I do not believe in coincidence.) She was emailing me to invite me to participate in a day-long Christian women’s conference that is being held at her church in January (thing cinco). I was pretty freaked out. I’ve never stood up in front of a group of people to talk about anything. I’m not counting my students because that it not stuff I have to come up with out of my own head! And I’m not counting that speech class I had to take in college, because they actually give you a topic to talk about! This would be leading a small breakout session in a topic of my choosing as it relates to encouraging women. Really? It blows my mind that, first of all, any more than 5 people actually read my ramblings on a daily basis and, second of all, that I would have anything of value to share with a group of women. It is very humbling, but also a very exciting opportunity that I have agreed to take on. Sometimes we have to go do that thing which we are so afraid to do; otherwise, how do we stretch and grow? The people I love have all told me they believe in me and to go for it. And so, here I go. Pray for me, y’all!

Thankful thing numero seis. This weather does make me happy. It makes me think of James Taylor’s song, Walking Man (see video below…I do LOVE ME some JT—not to be confused with Justin Timberlake. Sorry, Justin, James Taylor is the original JT. Just saying. The man’s voice is like butter!). “…The leaves have come to turning and the goose has gone to fly….The frost is on the pumpkin and the hay is in the barn…” These are the lyrics that come to mind when I see that early frost. I love getting the sweaters out to wear and walking out the door to that clean, crisp smell in the air. It also makes me think of the county fair and that makes me think of funnel cakes. Mmmm, I can smell them now! Our local fair starts next week! Funnel cake, here I come!

Thankful thing numero siete. Jacob’s school had fall break this past week. So, it meant we were not traipsing back and forth. Our evenings were our own and he actually got ahead on his assignments. We crank back up in full force on Monday, though. But before we know it, the holidays will be upon us and he will have completed his first semester of college! My mind is blown.

Thankful thing numero ocho. I managed to do some laundry this week. Not nearly enough, but, hey, at least my man had some clean underwear.

Thankful thing numero nueve. I am so excited and, frankly, shocked, that I already have some Christmas gifts checked off my list! This is so crazy. I NEVER shop for Christmas before December. Never. In fact, I usually make it a rule, because I find it so irritating that Thanksgiving is pretty much ignored. Anyway, I ordered something for my mom that should be arriving at my door today! Can’t wait to see how it turned out. I can’t tell you what it is! She might be reading! Winking smile But she is going to love it! (Read that in a sing-songy voice, okay?) I have already gotten gifts for both my brothers and their wives as well! As siblings, we do “couple gifts”, so I have something for them that I think is a big score! I love it when I actually get a good gift idea, that is personal, that I am sure the recipient will love! I usually struggle in the couple gift department, because the gift I end up getting is usually always more geared toward one half of the couple. And then it doesn’t really feel like a couple gift at all.

Thankful thing numero diez. Humor. Y’all know how much I need the funny in my life. Please enjoy this:

This made me laugh. so. hard. And I do not lie when I say my face was hurting and I was crying with laughter. Poor Amy. I really hope Ellen pays her well. Pretty sure she is scared of her own shadow and that Andy, well, he is one angry scared person, right? The year Amy went through the haunted house with her mother was pretty hilarious as well. So so funny.

Have a wonderful weekend—stay thankful and stay funny!

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On the weekend, I link up with the Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop to celebrate all the things I am feeling especially thankful for this week. You can join in the gratitude at Lizzi’s blog—Considerings.

Ten Things of Thankful

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Filed under Gratitude, Humor, Kids, Music