at church last sunday, we got 'homework'... it was funny when we saw that. and we have YET to do it. but i think that it will be very beneficial & we WILL do it...soon. it was our Thanksgiving sermon & it was great. we love our church, how they speak the truth. we come out of there feeling renewed & ready to conquer the world! :)
anyways, the homework was listing like 25 things you were thankful for... not like, "i'm thankful for my car, my sewing machine, my clothes, my hair stuff, my makeup..." or "my brother christian, my brother jonathan, my brother justin, my brother jeremy, my brother jarryd, my sister..." the challenge was lumping family & friends together...or household goods together...or...well, you get the picture?
so, i found a little ditty like there over at Lauren Rebecca...here. it's called Me: A to Z. i thought it might be fun to give it a little twist for Thanksgiving & do what i'm thankful for... i think this is actually going to be pretty tough. we definitely don't give thanks to the Lord of the universe ENOUGH. that's actually something that adam is really good & prayerful about & i need work... as in, i need more focus in doing it DAILY. after all, we wouldn't have ANYTHING if it weren't for God's grace. one thing that i've worked on doing when i crawl into bed is going through each & every thing that i'm thankful for. i...mean...everything. things that normally just taken for granted...and i try to be specific.
"Dear Lord, you are the best gift giver of all things undeserved. Thank you for adam. thank you for his sense of humor. thank you for his patience. thank you for us finding each other. thank you for our puppies. thank you for this nice, warm bed. thank you for all luxuries...we all really have it quite well. thank you for our hearing. thank you that i can hear the wind, rain, birds outside, leaves. thank you for my sense of smell...even with stinky things. :) thank you so much for my eyesight. i take these things for granted. please soften my heart to be continually grateful for you. thank you that adam still has eyesight. thank you that i can feel pain. and joy. thank you for showing yourself to me & causing me yearn for you. thank you for dying on the cross, so we can all live in you glory someday..."
and i just let it trail off until i fall asleep. it really causes you to step back & think of everything that you've been given. and how much you really don't want for. what is needed He WILL provide. He WILL. believe that. He is faithful.
Thanksgiving for ME: A to Z
a. adam. i could quite possible take up the rest of this blog saying all the ways i'm thankful for him. so, for now, i'll just stick with his name... :)
b. breathing. by God's grace, i wake up another day & it's a wonderful gift... now, i just need to get better about having this attitude in the very early morning or when i'm having a rough day!
c. Christ's ultimate sacrifice for me.
d. doggy pals. our Truman & Sydney. our little friends. they truly impact our lives & are our buddies. we will always, always have little pals around. you can learn lots from them & they are extremely loyal & make you happy.
e. eating. tastebuds. enjoyment of food. (this may possibly be a duplicate from s, pastor :)...?!)
f. family. friends.
g. God's AMAZING & AWESOME grace. (for justin -- correct context, i'd say :) )
h. hospitable attitude. i really do like 'serving' people when they come over... and in my work at job. i try & look at it as a way to be more like Jesus by serving others in all that i do. granted, i don't always have this attitude, but i am thankful that i have it...and others have it... *sidenote* i learned hospitality from my mother. she's so accommodating. she's really is a great woman with a giving heart. thanks, ma...for showing the light of Jesus when you or i might not have even realized that's what it was...
i. interactions. i am trying to share my faith more & more. letting the Lord's spirit work through me & being mindful that He alone is the one making this happen. it is not of myself, but of Him. and He is the one providing these divine interactions. they are testing, but i am thankful for them, none the less.
j. job. while there are definitely things that i do not like about certain jobs, i'm thankful that i have the ability to work. i have the ability to contribute to our little family. this is one thing i definitely must get better at. regardless of the people or situations, knowing that God is in control is working is a blessing.
k. kisses & hugs. warm embraces. from adam. & from family. & friends (not the kissing part!). just knowing that you have a community around you who is loving you & you're loving them. knowing that you have endless support & that someone has your back.
l. luxuries & home comforts. i wouldn't normally say we live 'luxuriously' like the people in Beverly Hills... or wherever... but really, list all the things you have, all the things you're thankful for... and think of all the times we think that we have soooo rough & then look at people who literally have nothing. they are some of the most thankful people you'll ever meet. because anything is so exciting! we really do have it quite well... and dare i say...luxurious. with our 15 blankets, couches, tvs, 100 kitchen utensils, 'decorative pillows', memory foam pillows...etc. i mean, we have it pretty good when we can shop for decor that just has no other purpose than sit there & look pretty. :)
m. maternal instinct. i'm not a mommy yet, but seeing how intricately-created the mother-child relationship is...or the pregnancy...or the cocktail of hormones when the baby is born...i'm just aghast, nervous, excited, scared, looking forward to being a mommy. haha, enough up & downs, eh?
n. nature. if you need proof God exists, just look around you! :) really though, some of the most amazing things you will EVER see are found in God's nature...
o. omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Heavenly Father.
p. peace. adam & i have had a couple INCREDIBLE moments where we felt the Lord's calming presence flowing over & around us. it was the most indescribable gift of peace.
q. hm...still thinking.
r. respectful disagreeing. now-a-days, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks you can insanely dislike people's actions, but love the person. hate the sin, love the sinner. and oh man, differences in politics, abortion, gay marriage -- forget having a civil conversation (not all, just A LOT of people). so, when i come across someone who can share their ideas & i can share mine, have a civil conversation & still move forward with a relationship, i am thankful for that. i may be completely frustrated & confused by their point of view, but actually being able to have a 'respectful' conversation without yelling & name calling is...nice. more should try it! :)
s. senses. i'm probably missing some, but sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, pain, temp & more (yes, google DID help me).
t. tough love. from parents or adam. i know that may sound silly that adam can give tough love, but it's true & i'm thankful. it's normal for parents, i'd say & i'm thankful that they did... i may not've been the best kiddo :) ha, but if it weren't for their upbringing, my brothers & i would be a whole different ball of wax. and i'm thankful for the tough times with them. it's made us closer today. so, let me explain adam's tough love in which i'm thankful for. let's just say i entered our relationship with certain 'bad habits' that past relationships let me get away with. immature ways i talked or acted. adam does NOT deal with this. and sometimes i didn't/don't appreciate his 'tough love' until looking back & seeing that i don't act so dumb or talk so rude...and that's when i start appreciating it. he holds me accountable & to a higher standard that makes me better myself. and for that i'm thankful.
u. unexpected kindness. i love surprising people with little things just to let them know i'm thinking of them... i expect nothing in return, really... BUT, when people surprise me with little kindnesses, i am overcome with joy & happiness. it puts a grin on my face from ear to ear & i am overcome with gratitude. and you know, even walking around the mall or wherever & having some random person smile & say hello warms my heart... it seems that type of kindness is less & less these days. and when i see it, i appreciate it. side note, people hear a lot of bad... i mean, go to a restaurant & usually the staff hears complaints...apply that to any job. so when someone does good, adam & i try to tell them. people are shocked. they think something is wrong. they wonder why we're saying that... did we have a bad experience before, they wonder? nope, just want you to know you're doing great. and you know, i think that is one way of sharing the Lord's sunshine, too! it puts a little joy in that person's heart.
v. vision. really i wanted to put creativity, but c was taken, so there's vision. i am so glad, most times...:) how creative people are. and how God has given me the gift of creativity. i always feel so accomplished after a creative project. it's an outlet, usually. and i'm thankful for it & have big hopes for it some days.
w. wealth. this sort of ties into 'luxury & home comforts'. we would never think of ourselves are super rich...at least the monetary kind of rich. but again thinking that God has entrusted us with what is His here on earth is a blessing. we haven't always looked at it like that. it was tough tithing at first. i mean, that's a lot of income. but looking at it from a point of view that... it's God's money. you're just the manager of it here on earth. has really helped. and also, that you wouldn't have anything at all, except for his grace... and now, we're joyful givers... "God loves a cheerful giver!" 2 Corinthians 9:7 and you know what, he's always provided...
x. hm...still thinking.
y. hm...still thinking.
z. hm...still thinking.
so, there you go. this may just be the longest post ever, but it's definitely something i wanted to share. i hope that the Lord blesses you & your family & your friends today & always. have a great Thanksgiving day & know how much you have to be grateful for!