Thursday, November 24, 2011

24 Things I am Thankful for...

I have much to be thankful for- something I try to remember every day. Rather then try to post on facebook everyday what I was thankful for, I thought I would make a list here instead.

1. Luke- He is an AMAZING husband and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without him by my side.
2. Silas- I love this sweet boy! He says funny things that make us laugh everyday. He continues to have an amazing memory. He "read" to me an entire Curious George story tonight- from memory.
3. Eliana- I love this silly girl. She is silly all the time. Seriously. I am enjoying the time I have with her when Silas is at preschool. She is all girl- babies, pink, purses, and shoes.
4. Levi- He is 8 months old today. So hard to believe! He is probably our happiest baby (and that's saying something, because our other babies were happy, easy babies too!). He learned to clap his hands this week. There is almost always a smile on this face.
5. My parents- I love living close to them. They are not only my parents, but great friends. They light up our kids world, and ours too. They have set an amazing example for me, in marriage and parenting.
6. Kelly and family- My sister is one of my best friends. I so wish they lived closer to us! We talk multiple times a week (sometimes multiple times a day!). Her husband, Corey, is pretty amazing too. He has been in my life since I was 14 years old. He's a great brother. I adore Natalie, Connor, Teyla, and Kieran. They are awesome kids and cousins.
7. Michael and kids- Since becoming adults, Michael and I have been great friends. He is an awesome father to Jordan and Madison- and a pretty amazing man in general. One of the benefits of living in California was that we could drive down for a long weekend visit. I wish we could see him and the kids more often. Jordan and Madison are super fun kids- and Silas and Eliana love playing with them!
8. Jonathan and Kelly- Jonathan is 4 years younger then me and is a great little brother. (Which if you know him, isn't accurate. He's tall. I guess I should just call him my younger brother). Jonathan and I have done a lot together. In addition to growing up together, we worked together, we went to college together, and I was a a youth group leader at church for his grade. (So that meant retreats, summer trips, and missions trips together too). He married Kelly almost 2 years ago. And she is amazing too- a beautiful person, both inside and out. They are great for each other- and I know that God brought them together in His timing for each other.
9. Luke's family- Luke has an great family that I now how the privilege of being a part of. Often, Thanksgiving ends up being a big holiday for Luke's family- cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are all together. We have spent the last three Thanksgivings with his family- and we will miss them all tomorrow! Everyone lives in California- so we don't get to see everyone much. We miss them.
10. God- He is my life. Without my relationship with God, I would be nothing. Moving to Colorado has brought my relationship with Him to another level. I am learning to trust more, worry less. My favorite name for Him is Immanuel (God with Us).
11. Freedom to worship- I am thankful that we have the freedom of religion in the USA. There are many people in other countries around the world who don't have this privilege.
12. Our home- We moved into our home last January. It's great! Luke and I have always lived in apartments. We love having space (double the space of our last apartment). We love having a garage (especially when it snows). We love having a fenced in yard where the kids can play.
13. Our cars- We have two cars that seem to be sent from God. Both cars we got for a good price, with super low mileage. I am thankful that Luke has a car to drive to work. I am thankful that I have a car so that I can go to Bible Study, MOPS, and just get out of the house while Luke works!
14. Clean water- This is something that is so easy to take advantage of. So many people in the world don't have access to clean water. I am thankful that I do- and I want to help other people have access to clean water too.
15. Food- I love to eat. I am thankful for good food that God created for us to enjoy. And can I be specific and say I am thankful for Chick-fil-a? Because, I am! We love that place and eat their often. I am not sure I could live somewhere that didn't have Chick-fil-a.
16. Computers and Telephones- I am thankful for technology that helps us keep in touch with people.
17. Health- I am thankful that my family is healthy. There is so much sickness in our world. Being healthy is something very big that I am thankful for.
18. Mountains- One thing I love about Colorado is the mountains. They are big, beautiful, majestic.
19. Weather- I love weather. Specifically, different types of weather. Hot. Cold. Rain. Snow. Sun. Clouds. Hail. Rainbows. And Colorado has crazy weather. And I love that.
20. Friends- I am so thankful for friends. Moving is hard. And it's made me realize even more how thankful I am for friends. Friends that love us. Friends that encourage us. Friends who walk through life with us.
21. MOPS- I have been in MOPS for 4 years. And it's great. My MOPS group in California were some of my great friends- and still are now.
22. Bible Study- I love having the chance to gather with a group of women every week and study God's word. I have a great group here in Colorado, that I have unfortunately missed a lot this fall. Hopefully next semester I can make it more!
23. The YMCA- We became members of the Y when we moved to Colorado. I love being able to take the kids swimming there (and our Y has a great pool for kids). I enjoy working out a few mornings a week, while the kids play in childcare. And after I work out, I can take a shower without little hands banging on the door. :)
24. Our country- I am thankful for the many freedoms that we have in the USA. I am thankful for democracy. The United States of America is not a perfect place, but it's better then anything else.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! May it be a day filled with love and laughter. And a day to remember the many blessings in each of our lives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

For a few years, we have been participating in a project called Operation Christmas Child. OCC provides Christmas boxes to thousands of children through out the world. For us, it's a perfect opportunity to let our children learn and serve. People who live in the United States of America are RICH compared to most of the world. Check out the Global Rich List- it's an interesting website that helps put into perspective how much money we make compared to the rest of the world. Americans, by in large, are in the top 1% of the world. Over half the world lives on less then $2 a day- less then what many of us might have spent on coffee this morning.

I want our children to grow up with the realization that we have much to be thankful for. We are thankful for our home, for heat and water, for our beds to sleep in, for food to eat, for the freedom to go to church and worship God, for jobs, for cars, for health insurance. We are blessed. And I want our children to grow up being thankful- and realizing that there are many people throughout our world that don't have some of the most basic things, like clean water.

We started talking to Silas two years ago about how some children in the world don't get any Christmas presents. So we got a shoebox, took Silas to Target, and he picked out things for boy his age. We picked out some basic "need" items: a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a washcloth, a comb. Then we picked out "fun" stuff: a coloring book, crayons, a small toy, a shirt, candy, sunglasses, a flashlight... you get the idea. And the neat thing about it was that we were able to get Silas involved- and let him pick out things he would want to get himself.

So this year, we involved Eliana too. We went to Target and the two kids picked out all sorts of stuff to pack in their shoebox, so that a child somewhere in the world would get a present for Christmas. I put a picture of them in their shoebox. They are going to color a picture too. We want the children who receive the boxes to know they are loved. And that another child across the world picked out these gifts for them.

A girl at the Bible Study I have been attending grew up in what is now the Republic of Georgia. When she was a child, she received an Operation Christmas Child box. She was able to tell our group how much it meant to her as a child. It was neat for me to hear her experience- and to know that this very little thing that we do, does make a difference in a child's life.

If you would like to be a part of this, act quick. The last day to drop off  boxes is November 21st. I would encourage everyone to be a part of this project and help make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

Here is the stuff that Eliana picked out for her box.

Here is the stuff that Silas picked out for his box. 

To happy kids with their Christmas present boxes for a child in need.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three Things on Thursday

1. Busy. I feel like that describes my life right now. I need a day to slow down, rest, and get things done around our house. Maybe this weekend!

2. Conflict. I am not a fan of it. I would rather deal with a problem then pretend it doesn't exist. But when dealing with it, I still always get that sick feeling in my stomach. Because I don't want to hurt somebody's feelings and I don't want to get hurt either. How do you deal with conflict?

3. Luke took some pictures of this kids a week ago. And I am loving them! Here are a few: