Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks on Friday

I'm thankful that my cousin, Ron, married someone from Cambridge, Ontario because I get to see them at least once or twice a year when they journey north to visit Tammy's family. Our families spent the morning together playing, talking, crying (the kids ... not us adults). It was really nice. We shared what's happened since the last time we saw each other. We exchanged prayer requests. We complimented each other's kids. We laughed at how our little reunions are going to be for our kids what the Pamer reunions at the Rural Life Center in Mansfield were to us! Yes, I'm thankful that Ron and I both married Canadians because we do enjoy our little family get togethers!

I'm thankful for personal mail. I got a piece today! Well, it wasn't exactly "personal", but it was addressed to me in inked handwriting and the card inside had wonderful and crazy pictures of my family on the front, so I guess it was personal mail! I got an official invitation to the annual Schley Family Christmas Celebration and Allyson put a little thumbnail photo of everyone who came last year to our Mashed Potato Contest Christmas Celebration. This year we're doing CHILI!!! I'm a little afraid to compete because I've heard of some of the concoctions that Gabe has made, and I think there have been rumblings that Chad is pretty good at combining ingredients for a chili. I know that the Bockas love to try new and unusual things, too. I'm afraid my chili will be bland and without anything fancy because I'll need to make sure that my family has at least one option of something that they would be willing to eat. It may end up looking and tasting like plain old tomato soup in the end, but at least I'll know they won't go hungry.

I'm also thankful that so far the weather reports are saying that our huge storm isn't supposed to hit until Sunday night. We have a busy weekend coming up. We're having a baptism at our church this weekend and we're expecting a lot of people to come! Many of them will be travelling from out of town, so if this storm could hold off until Sunday night like they're predicting, I would really, really be thankful!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks on Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for my family that called to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving today, knowing full well that it wasn't going to be celebrated here like it would be with them. It was fun to talk to see Christopher talking with Grandpa on the phone. He was trying soooo hard to see him in that phone as he checked it out over and over again. He knew it was Grandpa, but where was he? I'm thankful I could hear Mom in the background making her potatoes to take to Liz's because it made me feel a little bit more a part of the celebrations today.

I know I've mentioned this one on and off in various ways, but I am so very thankful for my husband and my boys. Today while I was at school visiting Timothy's classroom, Fred not only gave Christopher his lunch, but he also cleaned it all up, changed his diaper AND had him down for his nap - all in the short hour that I was gone! Was that a blessing or what?! And my boys ... I am so thankful for them! I had a conversation recently with another mom of all boys and she was saying things like, "Having all boys is such a hard job, but God knew! His plan is divine and He has a reason for this and just hang in there" etc, etc. She made it sound as if it is a sorry lot in life to have all boys. I disagree!! I prayed that each one of my babies would be a boy and God did allow that for our family! I LOVE having all boys! This isn't meant to start a debate on whether or not all girls are better than all boys or having a mix is the ultimate. No, I'm just stating the fact that I am so thankful that OUR family has been given three boys! It's noisy. It's rough at times. It's definitely NOT feminine around here. But I am thankful for this house of men!

And now as I write this late at night, I am also thankful for a quiet house. Everyone is in bed and there is only the hum of the appliances (and this old, scratchy computer) to be heard. Ahhhhh. Another day is put to rest and I can say from my heart that my children saw and heard Jesus in me today. Some days that's a little fuzzy because of ME, but today was a good day and I'm thankful for the peace in our home and in our hearts. When my day starts out with Him, we do really well walking together through our day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful on Wednesday

I'm thankful for my clean kitchen floor. My socks aren't sticking to it any more. Christopher isn't stopping to poke his fingers in an unidentifiable blob. Fred's not pausing to look around to see what crunched when he walked through. Stephen and Timothy aren't running up to the rug under the table to wipe the crumbs off their feet. I know. This is all so pathetic to post on here so publickly, but come on! Don't try to pretend that you've NEVER had your kitchen floor this bad either! No need to confess here. I'm just commenting that I'm very thankful for my clean kitchen floor. It should be clean for about nine consecutive hours before it gets trashed again.

I'm thankful that our school has such an open door policy for parents' involvement. Tomorrow I am going to Timothy's class and he is thrilled beyond words that I'm coming to watch him work and play and eat, he said. Timothy's teacher is a sweet, super-organized woman that LOVES teaching kindergarten! I never, ever have to wonder what's going on in that classroom because she communicates with us parents so thoroughly. I am thankful for her and for our school.

I'm thankful for the prayers of others. We really do appreciate the prayers of everyone this past week. We have been in a lot of turmoil because of the work situation and some of the events that have come up in the past few weeks. It's been difficult to separate worry and trust because of the complexity of events that have taken place, but the prayers of other brothers and sisters are felt so clearly in our lives this week with another wave of peace and I am so thankful for those prayers! How can I pray for you, now?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks on Tuesday

I'm thankful for deals. Any kind of deals. I got quite a few the past few days and I'm so thankful for them! Yesterday I got an almost brand new pair of sneakers (running shoes for you Canadians) for Timothy FOR FREE! I belong to the local FullCircles Yahoo group (used to be Freecycle ... look it up!) and someone posted an almost new pair of shoes in Timothy's size. I stopped by her house and picked up a wonderful pair that Timothy can leave at school, now that he has to wear boots every day (how did winter get here so fast?!).

Today I got another deal. In the weekend paper there was a coupon for the Second Cup coffee shop at the mall. "Treat A Friend" it said. So I did. A friend and I met with our kids at the mall this morning for a buy-one-get-one-free specialty coffee. Mmmmmm. I think I liked the visit with my friend much more than the coffee, but without that coupon, I'm sure we never would have met for coffee this morning. I don't go to the mall. I'm a bit repulsed by the commercialism that is out there, so it was quite fascinating for Christopher and me as we also lapped the mall several times to get in a little bit of a workout together as well.

And my last deal of the day: the 50% off products in the bakery at Zehrs, our grocery store! I had a meeting at school tonight, so afterwards I zipped over to Zehrs to grab few items before heading home. I always check out the 50% off rack and sure enough, because it was already past prime shopping time (10:00pm), they were clearing out all the items that are dated for tomorrow and sticking 50% off tags on them! Woohoo!! I got a few loaves of Fred's favorite sourdough bread and I stuck them in the freezer! I really wanted to pick up the box of cinnamon rolls that was there, too, but you know, the bought ones are never as good as homemade anyway, so even if they were 50% off, they'd be a disappointment.

Today I am thankful for deals of any kind! Have you had any good ones lately?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks on Monday

Today I'm thankful for my dental hygenist and my dentist. They did a wonderful job of cleaning my teeth and talking to me while their hands were in my mouth. Why do they ask me questions when they KNOW I can't answer them?! It drives me nuts because I really do want to respond, but by the time I have my mouth back under my control, they've already moved on to another subject! I feel so unfinished when I leave the dentist, but oh, so clean and fresh and ready to go! Our dentist office has a very laid back staff and atmosphere. The ladies behind the desk know us all by first name and comment on how much the boys have grown and ask how things are going with my mother-in-law taking so much care of my father-in-law now. It's kind of nice. So I'm thankful for our dentist.

I'm thankful that we still have dental insurance, too! Unfortunately, I have to have another filling replaced because my old ones have loosened. I'm NOT thankful for that, but I'm thankful that our insurance is still intact for me to be able to fix this now!

I'm thankful for Hebrews 12:1-3. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." These verses have been ringing in my mind all day. What an encouragement that there are so many brothers and sisters out there surrounding us, encouraging us to run our races without any extra baggage, encouraging us to keep our eyes on Jesus because His race was much more difficult than ours could ever be! He endured the cross! But look where He is now! He's at the right hand of the throne of God! What encouragement! Look to Jesus. Look to Jesus. Look to Jesus.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful Saturday

I am thankful for a 5 year-old's reasoning. Stephen told us last night as we were shivering in the cold van, "I know what the perfect season is for the middle of winter! SUMMER!" How brilliant is that?!

I'm thankful that Fred realizes the importance of spending time one on one with his kids. This morning Timothy and I went out to the store together and this afternoon Fred took Stephen. They went all over the place, but the highlight of Stephen's day with Daddy was definitely the surprise trip to the glow-in-the-dark indoor (obviously!) mini golf place! Stephen has been telling us for weeks that his favorite sport is golf and now he finally got to play on a real, authentic mini golf course with Daddy! We have pictures ... but they're on the camera. Some day I might post them. Fred is a wonderful father to his sons and I'm very thankful for him!

I'm thankful that even though some of this week's meetings with the company that purchased our business did not go well, actually, they were almost the opposite of what we were hoping for, we still know that God is in control of the whole situation! God has plans for us. He's been fine tuning them all along. All of these changes are scary and exciting at the same time. I'm thankful that most of the time we are able to just sit back and watch what God is doing and the times that we get a little scared about what's happening are not too intense. Sure, they are there! No question about that, but God has filled His Word with so many precious promises and words to strengthen us. We cling to those and I'm thankful that those strongholds are there for us!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

1. I'm thankful today for my neighbor, Lisa. Lisa and I have a standing agreement that if one of us can't be at the bus stop for whatever reason, the other one will take our boys (she has two) home until we can get there. Fred and I had a meeting today to go over some of the business related issues that are still swarming around and I was supposed to be done at 3:00...PLENTY of time to meet the boys at 3:48! Well, thankfully, I was able to call Lisa in the middle of the meeting and ask her if she could please help me out today! We weren't able to pick up the boys until 5:20!! I am sooo thankful for Lisa today! In two weeks she's going to be thankful for me because she'll be in the same boat and I'll have her boys for several hours after school as well.

2. I've probably mentioned this in one form or another before, but I'm thankful for the internet and the immediate information that is available. Last night I had to scramble to find a recipe for butternut squash. BAM! There it was! Tonight Fred is sitting in his big, black chair referencing some legalities regarding our company's sale. BAM! The information is right there! During the day I want to see how my family is doing, or what they're doing. I get on the internet and BAM! They are right there! I love the internet for the positive reasons that it exists!

3. I am thankful that Fred's company has offered him his "old" computer from work when he leaves next week. His "old" computer is so fast that it's going to knock my socks off! Don't ask me what kind it is (because all I know is that it's black), or what the speed is or any other details. All I know is that I am thankful that they think that this "old" computer isn't really worth anything to them, so Fred may as well take it off their hands! WOWEE!!! I'm actually going to be able to get some productive work done on that computer for a change! Unless my hubby decides that he is going to keep it for himself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful Wednesday

1. I'm thankful for my dishwasher. Mom always said we didn't need one growing up because we had five of them already (hardy har har), but I bet if she would have had one back then, she would have been just as thankful as I am right now!

2. I'm thankful for safe and conscientious drivers. The short drive to church tonight was quite slippery and I'm thankful for all those cautious people out there who took things slow and gave everyone a lot of space. I love snow from inside the house, but I don't like driving in it at all!

3. I'm thankful for Stephen's cooperative spirit today. He's not always cooperative, but likes to push his limits. Today he helped clean up the mess that Christopher made without complaining. He ran around the house this morning looking for things to do, although I am SURE that had something to do with earning his little teddy bear pieces that he turns in for time on the computer. He helped me get the table ready for lunch. Yes, he was quite cooperative. Life is so much more peaceful when even one boy is behaving this way!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

1. I'm thankful for kids' CDs that have scripture put to music. We have been listening to Steve Green's Hide 'Em In Your Heart CD in the van lately and I just love listening to the boys belt out the words "A joyful heart is good medicine" or "Keep your tongue from evil, keep your tongue." But the one I love hearing them sing the most is "Children obey your parents in the Lord!" Stephen is so cute because he's getting to the age where he's catching on to the words that he's singing so he'll be blasting that song at the top of his lungs until he catches my eye in the mirror and then he just grins a sheepish grin at me ... but keeps on singing, just not as loudly.

2. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit's conviction in other people's lives as well as mine. Linda, a dear friend of mine from ages past, called me out of the blue today! I think that the last time I saw her was at my wedding reception in Ohio almost ten years ago. She said that I have been on her mind so much in the past few weeks so she had been praying for me and finally tracked down my telephone number so that she could call to see how I was doing. What a wonderful, but brief, phone conversation we had today, all because she followed through on her conviction from the Holy Spirit.

3. I'm thankful that today was Kindergarten Observation Day at school. I was invited in to observe Stephen at school today for a half hour. This is in preparation for our first parent/teacher conference, or parent/teacher interview as it's called here. Stephen was a bit disappointed when I got there because he said, "You came just when we started our work! Now you'll only be able to watch me work and not play!" That's quite alright with me since I usually see him play and not work! It thrilled my heart to watch him work diligently on his task, and how he wanted to please his teacher by doing a good job. I also saw some perfectionistic tendancies showing, but I'm just going to pray that God will use those and direct him toward "thoroughness" instead of perfection! Stephen and I bonded a bit more today as I spent time with him in his classroom watching him. I could tell that he was thrilled that I was there, and I was just as thrilled to watch this little man interacting in a different environment. Call me a proud mama if you want, because that's what I was today!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thankful Monday

I'm thankful for the beautiful snow we woke up to this morning. Once again around 7:05am, Timothy was fully dressed and ready to go shovel the driveway. I made him wait until after breakfast, but he was out there and shoveling and sledding for most of the morning. I wish I had a video clip of him blazing his tobogganing trail down the hill and then his squeals of laughter and enjoyment when he'd get to the bottom! It was so much fun to watch him!

I am thankful that a missionary family canceled out on going to Claudia's house this past weekend because that meant that she had a ton of food that she needed to share with someone else. WE were the chosen family and we had a wonderful time there tonight with Oma, Opa, Evelyn, Esther, Wolfgang, Kelly, Henry and all the little cousins. It was so nice not to have to think about cooking tonight!

I'm thankful for Christopher's two-year-old pronunciation because it always brings a smile to our faces (and sometimes some real belly laughs, too)! On the way home from Claudia's tonight, we were counting "ki-mis vites." Know what that is? Here's a hint: people put them on their houses around Christmas time and it just brightens up a house with beautiful colors! No matter how many times the boys would repeat, "No, Christopher! It's CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!" he'd still say, "ki-mis vites?" with that little voice inflection that indicates a question. What a cutie!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend of Thanksgivings

We've been gone this weekend and thus my silence the past few days. This has not stopped me from being thankful because, actually, I am very thankful for this past weekend! It was almost, ALMOST a mini-vacation!

This weekend we were in Windsor for several reasons. Last year, Violet went to Paraguay on a work team and met Karen. Karen sent back some mandioca flour and some authentic Paraguayan Farmer's Cheese with the work team to give to me. Somehow this stinky cheese ended up in Violet's possession and the dear woman MAILED, by ExpressPost, this stinky cheese so that I could make real chipa! What a thoughtful act that was! The next thing I knew, I was inviting her and her family to spend the weekend at our house a few weeks later and that was the beginning of a friendship for all of us! I am thankful that Violet went to Paraguay and met Karen because it caused us to connect with each other!

I am also thankful for Levi, Violet and Tim's oldest son. He is Stephen's age and the boys just love him and his little brother, Jaden. They talk about Levi all - the- time!! This weekend was such a joy to watch them play together and form a friendship as only little five-year-old boys can do!

I'm thankful for Violet's husband, Tim, who's sense of humor really helped to dispel the mounting frustrations of an over-tired four-year-old boy who just lost it royally at the lunch table. While Fred was in the other room trying to help our Timothy gain control, Violet's Timothy was keeping us all in stitches with his comments. Thanks, Tim, for the comic relief that we needed!

I'm also very thankful that we had a three hour drive there and back this weekend because it gave Fred and me SIX whole hours to talk to each other, and mostly uninterrupted as the boys napped or kept themselves entertained most of the way. We had a lot to talk about, and the theme that came up over and over again was that no matter what happens, we want our trust to be in the Lord and we want to be thankful for His care.

Let me explain a bit ... Fred has been working for the company that purchased our computer business this past spring. He was the only salesperson, working to keep six technicians busy. This company has decided to restructure and model themselves after their Calgary office and that meant that they were going to eliminate the sales position and just have the techs do their own sales. Fred has tried to negotiate with them and help them to see the danger in adding one more responsibility to already-overloaded technicians, but this structure works in Calgary, so they are bound and determined to try it here as well. So ... Fred's last day is December 5. We don't know what God has in store for us after that because there doesn't really seem to be anything opening up at this time, but we are trusting that God will provide. We both have a peculiar sense of peace that is carrying us right now, and I'm thankful that our trust is pushing out the worry. That's not to say that there is no concern whatsoever and that we're just living happy-go-lucky while the "day of unemployment" looms closer and closer. No, there is concern, especially on Fred's part, but still, we have a peace that God is very much in control. And that's a good thing because we have NO control, so we may as well submit to that ultimate Authority and let Him have that control!

How am I thankful in this situation? Oh, for more reasons than I can list here right now! For one thing, God loves us and has a plan for us. He will provide. I'm thankful that both of us watched our parents struggle with these very issues when we were children. I never knew that my parents struggled until much later in life because they always made it seem like we had everything in the world that we needed! Now I am much more aware of what my parents went through when we were younger, but at the time, we never felt we lacked one thing! I wish I would have understood this all back then because maybe I would have appreciated it even more But then maybe not. I was probably still an egocentric child who wouldn't have cared. But now I do, Mom and Dad, and I appreciate all that you did for us back then when you had nothing! You've taught me contentment and how to live off of nothing. Our family will be just fine because of your example.

Ok. I'm going to stop for tonight. It's late and I feel I'm getting wordy so it's probably best that I just go to bed now and stop rambling. Just to summarize though, we had a wonderful weekend visiting Tim and Violet, Levi and Jaden in Windsor and I am thankful for our very real conversations and discussions and the sweet fellowship and encouragement that we shared. I'm also thankful for six whole hours that I spent talking with my husband, praying together about our future, and the fact that we are both determined to praise the Lord and trust in Him no matter what! I'm also thankful for my bed that is calling me now. Good night.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday's Thankfulness

I'm thankful for other people's blogs. I really enjoy reading about my sisters' lives and my aunt and my cousins and my childhood friend and others. What a great time in history that we live in! Could you imagine how much closer our forefathers would have been if they had been exposed to email and blogs and Facebook and IM and texting and all that stuff? I just love it, and I'm thankful that I can communicate with my family on such a regular and inexpensive basis this way! I miss being with them all personally, but I love catching up on here!

This morning, Timothy reminded me that we can be thankful for the pouring rain because that means that we get to use our umbrellas. Hmmm. Good point. What's the use of having an umbrella if we can't use it?

I'm thankful for my neighbor, Kelly. I am expecting a large Watkins order and I had hoped it would be here today as I will be gone for the next few days. I didn't want to leave the boxes sitting on my porch, so Kelly offered to stop by and take them home with her if she sees them here tomorrow after we leave. She's so sweet. She has three little girls, so our households are completely different, but we get along great and don't let those opposite-gendered offspring keep us from spending time together. I believe God has brought Kelly into my life because she is going through a lot of difficult times and she is searching for something. She doesn't know yet that it's God, but I can tell, and I'm thankful for all the hard questions that she throws my way, and I'm even more thankful for the answers the Holy Spirit gives to me at just the right time! Pray for Kelly. She is asking and seeking, and she needs to come all the way to the knocking stage because the door will be opened if she does!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday's Thankfulness

I'm thankful for memories. Tonight as I was working on another batch of cookies for an order we have tomorrow, I was thinking about Grandma. I have such vivid memories of me kneeling on her vinyl covered kitchen chair, leaning up over the counter in the kitchen while she cut out cookie after cookie after cookie at Christmas time. I never thought about it when I was a little girl, but there were only two people living in her home at that time, yet she was always making huge Tupperware containers full of cookies! Who in the world were all those cookies for?! (That was a rhetorical question! We know who they were for! They were for absolutely anyone who walked throught that door ... especially all the children that knew exactly where those cookies were kept!)

I am thankful for songs that pop into my head that are perfectly appropriate for whatever I'm thinking about or going through at any particular moment. And I love that when I burst into song (as off-key as it may be at times), sometimes my kids will join me with a load of enthusiasm! Usually they're wonderful, uplifting songs, but then some days are like yesterday when I couldn't stop singing, "Five green and speckled frogs sat on a speckled log, eating some most delicious bugs. Yum! Yum!" Anyone know that song? I sang it almost non-stop yesterday until Stephen ran into the kitchen clutching his ears yelling, "Mommy, please stop singing that!!" Despite those odd ones thrown in there, I really am thankful for the songs that God puts into my heart that make me just burst into singing!

I'm thankful for my sister-in-law, Evelyn, who is here visiting from Salt Lake City right now. Whenever Evelyn comes for a visit, all the sisters and sisters-in-law try to get together for a breakfast with Mom Weinhardt. Tomorrow we're going to go to The Fireside Restaurant in Kitchener and I think that all of us are going to be able to make it this time. I love listening to the servers' questions when they are at our table, "Are you all related?" "Yes, sisters and sisters-in-law, and our mom." "Wow. How many of you are there?" "Well, four of us are sisters and the rest are our brothers' wives." "Wow. Oh. Wow. There are eleven kids?! Wow." At Henry and Jo's wedding we even just went by "Brother #6" and "I'm the wife of #6." It got too confusing to say names any more. Anyway, I digressed. I am thankful for Evelyn and for the rest of Fred's family because they love to get together as much as my family does, and I'm thankful that sometimes it's just the sisters that get to visit. It cuts way down on the crowd.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday's Thankfulness

I'm thankful for little boys' naptimes. I was able to cut out about 350-400 little holly leaf shortbread cookies this afternoon while Stephen and Timothy were at school and Christopher was sleeping! Whew! The orders are starting and I need to stay on top of things here. (ohio_mom ... I had lots of scraps today and contemplated saving them for your tummies - er- house, but some other little tummies got here first. Sorry.)

I'm thankful for lurkers. I got to hear from one of my lurking friends this week and found out what's been going on in her family lately. She's a busy woman, yet she took the time to write to me and tell me a bit of what's going on in her life. I wish she would take the time to blog, too, because I LOVE her style of writing ... it's just like the way she talks. There's lots of honesty sprinkled with dry humor and a hint of sarcasm at times. I've missed talking with her and I'm so glad she wrote to let me know she's still alive!! :) Enjoy your busy weekend, Lurker! You'll be fine! You always are.

I'm thankful that the boys love bran muffins. We've had a bit of a "problem" as of late that has required some additional bran to be incorporated into our diets, so I'm glad that when I make bran muffins for them, they gobble them up. They have no clue that it's for their own good. There is a down side of eating lots of fiber, though, and little boys think it's terribly hilarious. For some reason, when one of them had their little gaseous reaction today, the other shouted, "Attention students!" at the same time and they both cracked up. For the rest of the evening we would hear little toots and then someone shouting, "Attention students!" and then gales of laughter. Sigh. I thought I could teach them to not make this an issue, but I'm not sure anymore. I'm still thankful that they like bran muffins, though, because we have them often and I like them, too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday's Thankfulness

This morning I was woken up by an excited four-year-old voice saying, "Mommy! Snow is coming out of the sky! Can I eat breakfast and go shovel the driveway?" Thankfully, it was almost time to get up anyway, and how could I have been upset with him with such enthusiasm coming out of his whole being?! I was thankful for the childlike excitement that a simple snowfall can bring. It got me all excited about the day, too!

I'm also thankful that guardian angels protected that same little four-year-old boy a few hours later as he tumbled head first down the basement stairs! I heard the bumping and banging and ran over just in time to see him skid down the last two stairs, down onto the concrete floor at the bottom. Of course there were tears and hugs and prayers, and I'm thankful that a little neon-green Diego band-aid fixed a tiny scrape on Timothy's hip bone.

Today I am also thankful for humility and forgiveness. Last week a dear Christian friend of mine accused me of something that I did not do. She was quite adament about it, yet if I wanted to, I could have forwarded an email that proved my innocence, but I didn't. It wasn't worth the fight. I apologized that I had caused confusion and pain for her, but also stated that I believed that I was innocent. The Lord gave me the grace to forgive her there on the spot and to even forget the whole incident, and that's why this morning I was surprised by a phone call from her. She called to apologize for her accusations last week and said that she realized she was wrong and asked for my forgiveness. Wow. Her humility in coming back to me humbled me!! I assured her that I had already forgiven her, and our relationship is restored! Asking for forgiveness and the act of actually forgiving someone is NOT an easy thing! Many times relationships are sorely bruised and damaged beyond repair because there is not a complete attempt to reconcile and forgive. I am so thankful to say that this situation seems to have played out exactly how God wants us to react. I can't take credit for it. I know it was the Holy Spirit working in both of us and I am so thankful to have been a part of such a humbling experience. I'm also thankful for my sister in Christ who also allowed the Holy Spirit to work in her heart and make things right. I have a greater respect for her today because of this, and a greater thankfulness for healed relationships!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday's Thanksgivings

I am thankful for our church's Sunday School program. Because I am involved as a teacher and a parent, I am very aware of what goes on behind the scenes and in the classrooms. Many years ago, a few Sunday School teachers were convicted that our children need to be memorizing scripture at a very young age, when it is easy to be implanted into the hearts! Every week the children ages 4 and up receive a new verse printed out that is their verse of the week. Our boys are currently going through the 10 Commandments and this year we have been putting their verse cards into a little pocket photo album that we keep on our kitchen table to read every day. Stephen said the other day, with such excitement I might add, "Pretty soon we're going to have our own whole book of commandments right here!" I teach the Grades 3/4 class and our verses are a bit more difficult, but it just warms my heart every Sunday when the kids are so excited to recite the verse that they learned that week. I always make sure that I teach my class the entire meaning of the verse so that while they are learning it throughout the week, they can understand every word and why it is such a powerful verse for their lives. I am so thankful that at such an early age our children are hiding God's Word in their hearts! We don't know what the future holds for them, but if they have this Word in their hearts now, they will be able to draw from a Source that will guide them every step of the way!

I'm thankful for competent leaders in the church. Bear with me, I'm on a Sunday School kick here tonight. This afternoon I had a Sunday School teachers' meeting and our superintendent is such an excellent administrator and I am truly thankful for him! He and his wife make an excellent team as they are on the ball and on top of everything! When you see Brian outside of a Sunday School meeting, you see a meek and quiet man who loves the Lord and his family. When you see Brian at work inside a teachers' meeting, you see a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and is able to be diplomatic and patient with awkward situations and firm, yet full of grace, when direction needs to be clarified. He knows how to run a meeting efficiently, bringing us back on topic when we start to wander. He addresses sensitive issues with such a strong gentleness that I sit in amazement at how he handles these situations. He is also very convicted that our jobs as Sunday School teachers have been given to us by God and we must make sure that our walks with HIM are as close as possible, because that is the way that we will be provided with the wisdom that we need as teachers. I am very thankful for Brian and for the many hours of work and love that he puts into his position of leadership in the Sunday School!

Lastly, since I really am on this Sunday School kick, I must say that I am very thankful for my Sunday School class that I teach. Today our lesson was about Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus. Wow. I just love teaching new words and concepts to children! We started out by talking about the word conversion and how this is simply something that changes from one form to another like a raw egg going through a cooking process, converting into something that is edible. We talked about people we knew who have been converted from a sinful life into a Christ-filled life. They look the same on the outside, but on the inside, they've gone through a heart-changing process that converted them into a new creature. The kids were so into the lesson that when I saw that we only had two minutes left to wrap everything up, I wanted so badly to ignore the time and keep going! My prayer for these third and fourth graders is that God would use my words to teach them lessons that they will remember in the future. I pray that something that I am able to explain will click with them, either now or in years to come, that will help them draw closer to the Lord. I love these kids and I'm so thankful that God has chosen me to be a privileged teacher of this class!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday's Thanksgivings

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband! He has been wonderful about taking care of the boys last night and today while I was busy with my Watkins events. Last night he took them to Oma's house for supper and then stayed to let them play until it was time to come home for bed. Whew! I don't know if he'll ever realize what a blessing that was for me to have them occupied somewhere else for a few hours last night! Today I had a Watkins table set up at Cambridge Christian School's bazaar and he brought the boys (AND a bunch of things that I had forgotten since I had to leave the house at 7:30 this morning in a brain fog!) and let them play some of the games and eat a hot dog and french fries and run around with their cousins for a bit. By the time I got home this afternoon, Christopher was down for his nap, the other boys were playing quietly and the house was in pretty good shape!! My husband was wonderful this weekend! (Now, I forgot to tell him that I have a Sunday School teacher's meeting tomorrow afternoon and he'll have to entertain the kids alone again.)

I am also thankful for the example that my parents and grandparents were to me. Ok, you all think this is going to be super serious and mushy, but I have to be honest and say that the example that I am thankful for today is the example of their gift of conversation!! Yes, my mom, the WalMart greeter and my grandpa, the man everyone knew, were great examples to me! This morning as I was talking with customers at my table, I realized how freely I could just chat about anything with anyone! This is definitely because of the example of those influential people in my life.

I'm also thankful for our fireplace tonight. We haven't wanted to turn on the furnace just yet (it's ONLY November 8!!), but it's cold in here tonight! Our fireplace is burning beautifully and it's so cozy and warm. It's especially comforting because it's been rainy and drizzly all afternoon.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Thanksgiving

I'm thankful tonight that our Open House is done! It was a lot of work. It was fun. It's now over! I have exactly 9 hours to sleep and gear up again for tomorrow's Bazaar at Cambridge Christian School where I'll have my Watkins table set up. Despite the rainy weather tonight, we had a nice and busy turn out at the Open House and we now have lots of Cookie Kitchen orders for Christmas as well as Watkins orders that I need to place! Thank you, Lord, for providing customers when they are needed!

I am thankful again for my friends and neighbors who helped set up and tear down everything for the Open House tonight. They provided me with artistic flair and fun and encouragement and I had a wonderful time with them.

I'm also thankful for the sleep that I hope to be getting soon here because I'm exhausted and I have another long day ahead of me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday's Thanksgiving

1. I'm thankful for my friends and neighbors who are helping me get ready for my Watkins/Cookie Kitchen open house tomorrow night! We've invited the neighborhood and friends, and friend's friends, etc, etc. Sounds like we'll have a nice crowd here tomorrow night, and for that reason, I'm thankful for the help! We're also having a table for my friends' business, postScript. They custom design address labels that are super classy! I also have another friend who will be setting up a Tupperware table, so you see that I needed help to get things ready! It seems like I just get one area of the house cleaned and ready and one of the three anti-helpers (as my cousin, Mark, calls his son) comes in to do his thing. Tomorrow is also a PD day (professional development) for the teachers so there is no school. The open house starts at 4:00 and that means the boys will be here allllll day! Normally I wouldn't mind that except that there are a lot of things already set up for tomorrow night. My wonderful neighbor has invited the big boys over for a play date during Christopher's nap time so that I can put everything back into order again before 4:00. She's wonderful!

2. I love the sounds of a train-loving two-year-old. Woooohoooo! Choochoochoochoochoo! Ding Ding Ding Ding! Where's Thomif? Where's Thomif? Oh. There is! Woooohooo! (Now, picture a little boy also running around with a big Thomas face made out of cardboard and elastic around his waist. You now see what I am thankful for!)

3. I'm thankful for being physically able to have fun with my kids. This afternoon after school we had a great time in the living room. I had moved out a lot of the furniture in preparation of the open house so we had LOTS of room to play! We played London Bridge and Ring Around the Rosie and Pickle Pops (remember that, Mom and Dad?), Log Roll where one person lays on the floor and everyone else has to roll over them. We just did a bunch of playing and laughing and having fun! I'm thankful that even at my age I can get down on the floor and have a blast physically with my kids!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday's Thanksgiving

1. I'm so thankful for the beautiful weather we had yet again today! The boys decided that we needed to take the long-cut up to the park today. Whew! I wish I would have been wearing shorts and a tank top by the time we got there! The long-cut, as Stephen calls it, is going on a dirt path straight up a steep hillside pushing a close-to-30-pound two year old in a stroller (because I wanted to get there faster????). It may be a long-cut, but it's also the workout path! I guess, in that regards, I'm thankful for the warm weather and for the workout path that we took to the park!

2. I'm thankful that Roger and Amy are finally in Papua where they've wanted to be for quite some time!

3. I'm thankful that when I'm at my wit's end with the boys, God will give me another unique idea to try with them and it always amazes me how well it works! (Did you know that it's much more fun to pick up Legos when you pick up all the green ones first, and then the blue, and then the yellow and of course you always save the red for last? Try it the next time YOU have to pick up Legos!)

4. One more for today ... I'm thankful for the cuteness of fresh hair cuts on little boys. Even though they were squirming like crazy through the whole thing, I don't think I did too bad of a job! I'm also thankful for my RubbaScrubba brush that whisked those little irriating pieces of hair right off of their necks! The boys look so nice and clean and fresh again!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's Thanksgiving

1. Today I am thankful again for my sister-in-law, Jo. Jo told me several weeks ago that her birthday present to me was a night of babysitting so that Fred and I could go out to celebrate my birthday. We finally coordinated things for tonight and I am so thankful for Jo and her love for our kids!

2. Because of Jo's birthday gift to me, I am also thankful for taste buds. Fred and I enjoyed a delicious meal at the Mongolian Grill tonight. Yummmmm! This is one of those places where you get to create your own stir fry with your choice of ingredients and your own concoction of sauces to make the perfect stir fry! The guys manning the huge grill were feeling a bit burned tonight I think because my stir fry had hints of being over done, but it was still absolutely delicious! I'm thankful for taste!

3. I'm thankful for peace. Tonight when Fred and I walked back in the door after our evening out, it was very peaceful in the house. Jo said that she thought one of the boys was still awake, but I didn't hear anything except peace. Peacefulness in a home is one thing, but peacefulness in your heart is another. With the way world events are unfolding these days, it's easy for people to have the opposite of peace in their hearts because of all the uncertainty, but if you have Christ in your heart, controlling your life, you can have peace even in the middle of the worst storm! I'm thankful for peace in our home, in our hearts and in our lives because of Jesus!

PS I'm also thankful that today is Election Day so that this circus of campaigning can finally end!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday's Thanksgiving

1. I am thankful that I had 30 minutes to run to the store today BY MYSELF!!! Liz just posted on her blog that she was thankful her kids went along grocery shopping with her ... NOT ME! I'm thankful that they all stayed home with Daddy! It's sheer torture at this stage to take them all out in public when only Christopher can ride in the cart and he loudly protests about that the entire time when he sees his brothers running free. I can't stand taking them all to the store at the same time. If you ever want people to notice you, no need to wear flashy clothes or dye your hair a weird color. Just take three little boys to the grocery store, especially when they're tired, hungry and bored! Oh yes! I was thankful for that quick, solo shopping trip today!

2. I'm thankful for the boys' cooperation today at home. They were so much more pleasant and obedient today than normal. They would put away the toy/game they were playing with before getting out another one. They asked for things politely. They didn't fight too much. They did complain about supper, but I was kind of expecting that since I made split pea soup. They were a true joy to have around the house today ... and that's why I let them stay at home instead of taking them shopping with me! No need to ruin a good thing!

3. I'm thankful for my grocery list. I use a template that breaks my list down into categories of veggies/fruit, meat, dairy, household items and miscellaneous items. I also have a spot at the bottom of the list that shows my menu for the week so that I can buy accordingly. I love my list, but since the file is on the hard drive that I don't always have access to, depending on how Fred has adjusted my computer at any given time, I am not always able to print out the blank sheets to take with me. I am so used to "my" grocery list that when I just write things down on a plain piece (or scrap) of paper, I usually end up forgetting a ton of things because they're not in the right order. Oh my. Am I a perfectionist or what?!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Month of Thanksgiving

For us Americans, November is the month of Thanksgiving. I'm a bit out of sorts here in Canada because our Thanksgiving is already over when in reality, it hasn't even begun! (Sorry, Canadian readers.) My cousin Allyson, Aunt Heidi and sister Liz are all posting things they are thankful for in the month of November. I am joining them, and I encourage you to also share your thanksgivings this month and all through the year.

1. I'm thankful that prayer is not limited. My brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world can be praying for the same thing and God is delighted to hear us! Because of our tumultuous week, we have been reassured by the Body of Christ all over that we are being lifted up to the Father through prayer. I am soooo thankful for that!

2. I'm thankful for the nap I had this afternoon. I don't often have the pleasure of being able to nap, but with a crippling migraine this morning (compounded by the fact that I was teaching the 3rd and 4th graders in Sunday School today), I knew I couldn't function without one today. After some Extra-Strength Tylenol (for which I am also thankful!) and a two hour nap this afternoon, my migraine is gone and I am back to normal!

3. I'm thankful for honesty between friends. A friend shared a struggle with me this morning at church that left us both in tears (good tears), but the honesty that was shared opened our eyes to the need of encouragement in so many people. I appreciate that my friend can share her struggles with me and vice versa. I think everyone needs at least one of those people in their lives!

Thus starts my month of thankfulness!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

According In My Lations

Last night we were driving home from a family swim and we passed a Burger King. Fred and I listened in on the boys conversation in the back seat.

Stephen: Is that the Burger King with the playground?
Timothy: I don't know. I can't see.
Stephen: Do you think Daddy will stop and get some french fries?
Timothy: Wait! I'm looking! I can't see. Is there a playground?
Stephen: When we stop at the traffic light, then I can see.
Timothy: Well, according in my lations, I see no playground.
Stephen: Then I guess we're not going to stop.