I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
The year of 2011 will go down as the year of rest and peace. We spent the year basking in the uneventful. Here are the blessings we celebrated before the Lord this year, as we gather to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, I will rest and bring praises to the Lord for all that He has done and provided for us over the past year.
Health & Wellness:: The past few years we spent a lot of time at the doctors office, on medication, recovering from colds, RSV, allergies, and ear infections. We worked through intestinal issues, constant vomiting, neck pain and many other issues. The year of 2011 will go down as the year we as a family started a holistic journey to becoming more healthy and aware of the foods that we consume. We discovered that most of Abby's health issues were related to an egg allergy, she is also allergic to homogenized milk. Most vaccines are made out of eggs so each time we had a new round of shots she would be sick for months. It took a long time to figure this out, now that we're aware of her allergies, she has flourished and grown in personality and vocabulary - because she is no longer perpetually sick. We also are singing praises for Abby & Gabe's asthma which has been prevented through diet and more natural methods of care. We're so excited to not have them inhaling steroid medication 3x per day! There are no words to express the joy in seeing the personality of my daughter take shape. Her constant sickness left her unable and unwilling to interact much with her environment, she rarely talked and learned to walk much later than I expected. Each time she was healthy, her personality and physical desires became evident, but quickly she would become sick again and retreat to her silent and sleepy self. We are now 7 months into a clean bill of health - she has learned to walk and talk! Abby's personality is flourishing and wildly happy. Her giggles and high pitched voice always makes me smile!
Family Time:: I'm so blessed to have the best family, my children and husband are the most blessed things to be around. Their presence brings me such joy! I find myself laughing or singing or smiling just being in their presence. My husband is a "glass is half full" type man who always challenges me to look at the world with thankfulness. He is a person who fills the cup of our family and invests a lot of time training and investing into our lives. My husband diligently reads God's Word and then imparts the Word of God into our children's hearts each night before bed. I teach them too around the breakfast table many mornings a week - that is a huge blessing that many women's aren't home to be able to impart. I look at our family and feel so blessed to be living out the Word of God each and every day - the great, the murky, and downright humiliating. It is all being messily lived out each day, which gives us a huge avenue for deep and meaningful discussions. I just love my family so much and am thankful for the Lord for crafting these lives together. I'm thankful for my sweet boys Drew and Gabe who make being a mother so enriching. Their minds are active and excited about live and about learning about God. I just love these two sons of mine who I know will grow into fine men with great ideas and perseverance for God and His wild plans!
Brotherly Love:: This year I'm so thankful for my husband's relationship with his family. Especially his father and brothers. The very essence of who I married is woven deep into the brotherly love John experiences as a child. These brothers were the ones who protected and loved him for who he was. They kept the bullies from kicking his crippled legs in school and blessed him with passionate ideas about manly things like guns and hand crafted skills. My husband is a hard worker and loves to get his hands dirty fixing or creating things. I love it that we sit at the table at night and I see the sweat and tears he poured into it - the memories of working on the benches with his dad the week our first son was born. I smell the workbench in the garage and still smell cigar smoke from his fathers pipe. These men in John's life taught him skills that are being used by God to bless widows and improve communities.
Nana's: I am blessed to live close to my mother. I get many perks like her watching the kids so John and I can go out on a date. My mother is a woman of love who is a giver of time and smiles. She adores all her grand-kids and invest all her free time in their lives. She loves to have them over for sleepovers and reads them books at night. I am blessed to watch her care for my Nana with joy and honor. The process of caring for the parent who cared for you is a hard change that is unfamiliar. There are few books on how to care for aging parents with grace and dignity and she models to my sister and I how to truly love even when it hurts. I respect my mother and am so blessed to have a heritage of women (my mother and Nana) who are nurturers and creative and willing to live with little so they can invest much.
As we close out the 2011 year, I am in awe at how the Lord has shaped me and shaped my family. We have grown so much closer and more committed to service for the Kingdom. The year of 2011 will be remembered as a year of learning contentment, rest and peace. We began to look at stuff as distractions and giving as an investment for all eternity more so than ever before. We saw the Lord bless us beyond our wildest imaginations and discovered that the gift of giving is far more meaningful than hoarding time and possessions for ourselves. This year the Lord also imposed on me a deep sense of needing to rest - rest in the Lord's provision, rest from activities and investment into our family. This was the year where we were enriched by just being together and not running from activity to activity. Thank you Lord for being active and penetrating in our lives - we are truly blessed to have a God who unites us all together and then draws us to Himself.