Sunday, November 29, 2009

giving thanks

i just don't know where to start when i consider all that i have to be thankful for. God is so good. and i am very mindful of the fact that it is easy for me to be thankful when i have a beautiful new home and do not worry about paying for the groceries, while others have lost jobs or are struggling in other ways. but i am even more thankful for the intangibles. these are things that can never be taken be taken from me, my salvation, God's love for me, an eternity in heaven when this life is through, my love for my family... it is for these things that i give thanks more than all else.

november was busy, but i will end this month with a few pictures: our anniversary, caleb and mark's birthdays, and thanksgiving, of course.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35

Let them give thanks to the Lord for
his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:8-9

anniversary roses to celebrate 16 wonderful years together
thank you, mark. for an adventure filled life, i love you!

i am thankful for C, born on a snowy day
a few days after thanksgiving,
14 years ago!
B looks on as C opens a gift from her:
chocolate nesquick, his favorite!

look! a smile from mark!

a thanksgiving toast

mark carving the turkey

the kids are so blessed to be able to enjoy a thanksgiving with their grandparents.

a crazy game of 4-sided chess! i love the fun of a good game.
i am so thankful for family times like this.

everyday gift: a holiday to reflect on our many blessings

Saturday, November 28, 2009

the least of these

it was cold, raining, and already dark at six o'clock on a sunday evening, the kind of night you want to stay home curled up under a blanket reading a book. but monday was coming faster than i wanted it to and my kids would be looking for something in their lunch boxes, so i had to go to the grocery store. i literally had to drag myself out the door. i made my way quickly through the grocery store aisles, filling my cart with all of the necessities, plus nonessentials that we don't think twice about buying. i hurried to a checkout line with only 1 person who looked almost finished, a young mom whose kids were bickering. i smiled to myself remembering when my own were that young and sitting in the grocery cart. i remembered how stressful it can be to have young ones along while shopping. the mom scolded the kids, then turned to the cashier apologizing for something, while trying to get through to someone on her cellphone. there was more going on here than i first realized. the cashier turned her "open" light off and recommended that i change lanes as they had run into a problem. so i moved to the next lane and began unloading my groceries. i could tell now that the girl in the other lane could not pay for her groceries and her cellphone was not getting any reception inside the store. she asked the cashier if she would hold her order while she stepped outside to call. my heart was breaking for her! i thought i should just swipe my debit card for her! ...but i didn't. we walked out into the rain almost at the same time. from the parking lot, as i loaded my bags of food into my van, i could see her standing in the drizzle, having an emotional conversation on her phone. and i began to pray for her asking the Lord to send her some help. i felt a nudge to do something, but what? surely she would not welcome a stranger at this difficult moment. what would i say? i drove away with her in my rear view mirror, praying.

i could not get her off of my mind. why didn't i help her? i was praying that someone would come along, but i think I was meant to be the answer to her prayers somehow. regret washed over me and i vowed that the next time i wouldn't walk away. the next often do i run into a situation like that? i mean, it's not like people are knocking on my door asking for help...

and then last sunday, my pastor preached a message on matthew 25:40, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." as i listened to the message about extending ourselves outside of our comfortable circles and sharing the love of God with others through practical means, it brought that experience back to mind again. the Lord was really speaking to my heart. i have been so completely blessed and i need to share it. i prayed that God would bring another opportunity to me and that i would have the courage to follow through with boldness...but it's not like people are knocking on my door...

later that same afternoon i was in the house relaxing while the kids were playing outside enjoying the sunny day. S came in with a serious look on his face, "mom. someone needs you outside." oh? did B get hurt? "no. but someone needs you!" i walked outside to find a 14 year old girl, out of breath, asking for a ride. it seems she had a fight with her boyfriend and he dumped her out of the truck, a ways from town. she ran. "i know i'm just a stranger to you, but do you think you could help me?" i gave her a glass of water and got my car keys. during the ride which was further than i expected, she spilled her sad story. i was able to share how God had helped me in times of trouble and that He would help her, too. i told her she was beautiful and valued by God who loved her and created her for a purpose. when we arrived at her sister's house, i gave her a new testament and asked if i could pray for her. she looked a little taken aback, but allowed me to pray for her safety and future. and then she was gone.

yes, God had brought someone knocking on my door asking for help! it seems unbelievable. i wonder if i did the right thing for her, not knowing if everything she told me was true or not. i pray that i took her to a safe place and that the words i shared would come back to her again and again. i pray that the Living Word that i placed in her hands would open her eyes to the Truth. but i will have to leave all of that up to the Lord. all i know is that i asked God for an opportunity to show His love and He answered that prayer.

everyday gift: a second chance

Monday, November 2, 2009

ready to spin

well, i finally came to the realization that the 18 raw fleeces stored in the garage were just too much for me to handle. the slow process of washing and carding such a large amount of wool was overwhelming. and then we had to move it somewhere when we sold the house. so i took a little trip to High Prairie Fibers and enlisted abi to process my wool. i cannot tell you what a relief it was to have that job taken care of. last week i went back to pick up the processed wool, it is now in clean fluffy strips of roving, ready to spin, and there is A LOT of it! almost 40 pounds worth of roving! several of the fleeces i took in ended up being of inferior quality, not worth keeping. sadly, bathsheba's black fleece was among these. but the rest came out beautifully. i will be spinning all winter long!

B and i love to visit abi's little farm/mill. in addition to their sheep and wool processing, they take in and care for abandoned, homeless, or sick exotic birds. they have an entire building devoted to these birds. B came away with a large flight feather from a blue and gold macaw, it is a prized possession!

a rainbow of wool
dark brown wool from a jacob sheep (?), gray jacob, shalom's gray (cheviot/shetland cross), hosanna's silvery gray (shetland), jubilee's oatmeal (shetland), snowflake's yellowish white (cheviot), roxie's bright white (cheviot).

sweet hosanna's wool on the spinning wheel

everyday gift: wool in a rainbow of natural colors, waiting to be spun