Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

I recently heard someone say that if you fail to be thankful, there may come a time when you won't be able to see all you have to be thankful for.  I can't even begin to count all the time I've spent wishing and hoping and praying for a family of my own.  But, recently I've recognized a huge blessing that has come with being single.  I get to know my nephews and niece in a way I wouldn't have been able to if I had kids of my own.

A few weeks ago Tonya and Matt helped Mom and Dad put up their new TV.  I went over just to hang out and add moral support.  It was such a joy to watch Abby play with all those cardboard boxes and turn them into a house or a fence.  She has such an imagination!  Jacob is the ever-quite one.  I love to watch him study things.  At the end of the night, he shared his deer hunting video with us. It was so sweet to hear him ask his daddy to pray and thank God for what they were able to do!
Just last week I spent Wednesday joining Tina and her boys for dinner at Mom and Dad's. Mom fixed the boys' favorite: chicken & dumplings and, for dessert, homemade doughnuts. I remember driving home that night praying I'd always remember these sweet memories. The way Ethan beamed as he showed me how he'd set the table and assigned each of us a seat. The way we all had to share high/lows. They way Ethan held his tea glass and talked with hands. They way Garrett wants me to help him study for a test. The way Chase likes to give me a hard time. The way Garrett looks up to Chase and longs to hear just a few words of praise from him. The way Chase refers to Dad as the "bear" who hangs out in his den. (aka the basement) The way all three of them love to watch "Wild Hogs" with Pop and how all of them laugh and laugh.

Tonight Chase came over to eat pizza and watch the Biggest Loser with me.  When I picked him up we went to Price Cutter to get him some soda and Oreos.  He made my night when we told me he didn't really care about watching all of the show because he just came over to eat and talk to me.  Thirteen and he still wants to hang out with his Aunt.  How blessed am I!
Chase, Garrett, Jacob, Ethan, and Abby help fill such a void in my life right now. I adore them and love spending time with them. I'm so thankful I get to share so much of their lives!! There's not a luckier aunt around!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brushy Creek - October 2010

No cell phones, no television, no kids, no radio.  This little get-away was perfect!!

We didn't leave until I got out of school Thursday.  We arrived sometime after 7:00 and set up in the dark.  We were so excited it didn't matter!

The next morning we rode up to the lodge for breakfast.  (Dad says it's mile there and back.)  Can you see all the frost?  Let me tell you, it was COLD in the mornings!!  Friday and Saturday mornings were 27 degrees.  Brrr!!
Mom and Tonya at breakfast.
Me and Dad  (If you'll notice, I'm wearing 3 layers of clothing!!  Very uncommon for me!)
This was the near the end of the second ride on Friday.  Can you tell that Tonya is, well, uncomfortable?
Hi, Dad!
Look at that nice trail - no rocks!!  Great for lots of foxtrotting!!
Some of the trees had already lost their leaves.  It was nice, though, because you could see so clearly through the timber.
Meet Jo-Jo!  He's half Jack Russell, half chihuahua(sp?).  So cute and SO full of energy.  He came over to our trailer everyday for lunch.  Out of the goodies we had (ham, triskets, 7-layer dip, pickles, no-bake cookies, chocolate chip cookies) he loved the spicy Harry & David dip the most!  He couldn't get enough.
Every night we would drive the truck up to the lodge to shower.  There was wifi there so I was able to communicate with Tina through email.  We could also check twitter, and that's how Tonya kept in touch with Matt.  The only way you could get cell phone service was to ride to the top.  Saturday we made a trip up just to make a few calls.  Here's Dad checking in with work.
Look at that gorgeous smile!  I'd say she's having fun!
Right by where we camped they had an obstacle course for your horse.  You could walk them through tents, over tarps, through a car wash looking thing, over a teeter-totter, etc...  It was kind of fun.  Last time we went Dad took Stormy through all it!  Here's Dad showing Harley that all those milk jugs tied together weren't really that scary.  If you notice, Rowdy is right there with 'em.  He was just hanging around to make sure there wasn't any food!  :)
Everyone is stopped while I take off one of the many layers of clothes!  After just a couple of hours of riding, it was warm enough to ride in a long sleeve t-shirt.  Perfect riding weather if you ask me!
Thanks, Dad, for storing my extra shirts!!
The scenery was gorgeous!  I can't tell you what a stress reliever this trip was!
My favorite memories from this trip were the times we spent in the trailer before falling asleep.  We pulled out Tonya's delicious chocolate chip cookies pieces and enjoyed a cold glass of milk.  Then we talked and laughed until we fell asleep, or least until Dad started snoring anyway! 

Thanks, Mom and Dad for taking us!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Encouraging Word

A friend called the other night.  She called to pass along some kind words she'd heard spoken that very day.  She'll never know the way those words encouraged me and gave the boost I needed.  She didn't have to do it, but I'm so glad she did!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Running on Empty

Truth: No matter how hard I've tried to tell myself otherwise, there have been more days that I haven't enjoyed my job this year than in the previous 10 years combined!

Truth: This school year my quiet time has been minimal.

Coincident?  I think not!

Last Wednesday at Prayer Meeting it hit me.  When the job is done right, teachers give all day long.  Because I wasn't filling myself back up, it was hard to find more to give.  That's why I felt exhausted and depleted.  I left Prayer Meeting that night, called Kelly, and told her that we needed to started the Bible study we'd been talking about for several, several months.  She told me she'd planned on talking to me about that exact same thing.  Coincident?  I think not! 

I can't begin to tell you how my perspective has changed or all the ways I've seen God working just since I've spent more time seeking Him!  It's been amazing!!  It's so embarrassing to admit how I let busyness selfishness get in the way. By doing this, I had defeated myself.

I'm happy to say that we started the Beth Moore study of Esther today after school in my classroom.  It's my second time to do it, but I can't wait!!  There's an intimate group of five, and  I can't wait to share this journey with them.  Fill me up, Lord, I want more of You and can't wait to know you more!!

These lyrics from Hillsong's "You" is SO the prayer of my heart right now!!

"Steal all that is within me, 'cause I all want in this world is more of You.
In the less of me it is You.  Increasing as I fade away, your light for all the world to see.
God it is you, who breaks the chains.  It is you, who lights the way. 
And everything I am cries out for you.
  So make my life transparent.  Your life in mine displayed. 
And let every earthly glory go back to you."