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One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Category Archives: Thanks

As the year begins its rapid close, it seems most appropriate for us to pause and give thanks. It always seems to me that I am most thankful when I don’t think about all the things I want or have, but when I think about how the things I do have meant the most to me. When I value what I have been given, my heart seems to flow out gratitude. Not only gratitude, but a desire to help and give to others around me.

As I continue to prepare our home and hearts for this season of thanks, I found this little saying.

ThankfulsayingFeel free to copy the image for your own printing pleasure. And please, take the time this month, to share the things your treasure the most with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Be sure to check out some of my other posts about things I’m thankful for

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Today I’m thankful for my brother and sister in-laws.

They sure do put up with a lot. I love when we get together and they compare notes to our family’s weird quirks.  Could be any thing from how we sleep with our elbows above out ears to silly food preferences. (Thank you dad.)T hey listen to our family memories every time we relive them when we talk about those “fun times” growing up. They are loving and patient, and gladly partake in the craziness of being in our family. Every one of them fit perfectly, as if they were a missing piece that found its place when they shrugged normalcy to the side and jumped into marriage with both feet. They are not my sibling’s spouses, but really are extensions to our families. They are sisters and brothers. They are friends. They are love.

Today I’m thankful for my brother and sister in-laws.

Hallelujah

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1

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Today I am thankful for friends.

“I know a way to stay friends forever,

There’s really nothing to it,

I tell you what to do, And you do it”

                             -Shel Silverstein

Of course these are not really the kind of friends I’m talking about.

I’m thankful for the friends that love me for me, and even though I am completely wrong, totally obnoxious, fully opinionated, and supremely demanding and selfish. There is not need for pretense or make-believe. You are who you are, and they love you anyway. You can talk every day or a year in between (heaven forbid) and you pick up at that very moment that you left off.

Today I’m thankful for friends.

She gave thanks to God and spoke about the (Savior) to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:28

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Today I’m thankful for my siblings. All 6 of them.

There are too many of them for me to take a day sharing about each of them, because I have so many more things to be thankful for and the month is gone.

Let’s just say, that growing up was always very interesting. 4 boys and 3 girls (plus the parental units to guide them) made for a good life. I remember people always teasing us about being Catholic (which we’re not). As if we didn’t realize that we had a big family.

We grew up in an age of innocence. (of course every child should feel that way.) There were no set belt laws (so my little sister and I rode in the back of a station wagon); we could drink water out of the hose; McNuggets were new; you could trade a Tootsie Roll Pop wrapper with an Indian and a Star for a free candy. You wouldn’t waste an afternoon playing video games because although Pong was fun, you could only beat that ball around so many times. Good memories.

We never had a lot of things growing up, and the things we did have were always from a yard sale. (It’s kind of funny to compare growing up with Alan, because all his toys were new from the store, but we had them later from a garage sale.) That didn’t really matter. I remember friends would see how we played together, and I think they were jealous of what we had. Each other.

Of course, with 7 kids there was also a lot of sibling rivalry and teasing and fighting. I remember one of my brothers said to me, “I’m the only one that gets to pick on you.” This was after he defended me from a mean boy at school.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I finished up a calendar I have been making with pictures of all of us from this year. Now that we are all grown, we live in separate states and towns. I was filled with a sense of gratitude for these reasons: Even though we live many miles apart, we still see each other as much as we can. (I have many pictures of us gathered in varying numbers through out the year.) The other thing that I am most thankful for is that we have healthy relationships. I know I’m not the best at keeping in contact with them (and vice versa), but when we see each other there aren’t any guilt trips about not keeping in touch. There are no awkward moments of time passed. We’re family, and that’s enough.

Today I’m thankful for my siblings.

These are my two sisters and their families with my parents

This is a picture of 3 of my brothers with my family (I'm the one holding the camera)

This is my other brother with my sisters' families.

I know. . .it’s a big family. and I LOVE it!

You are my God and I will give thanks; You are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 118:28-29

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Today I am thankful for Missionaries.

I am quickly humbled when I complain about some trifle inconvenience to my day when I think about how little I truly sacrifice. As part of our Christian faith and association, our church, and many friends we know, have counted the cost and willingly (and often sacrificially) moved their families to a new home around the world. They have given up conveniences for trials; friends and families for strangers; modern technology for old, weathered, and often outdated; safety for danger; the known for unknown; and even health for sickness.

And they count it as nothing.

This morning I was reminded of that sacrifice as I was preparing for our Awana missions time. This evening we will be praying for Missionary Kids. When I was getting the prayer list ready, I came across a request for a child’s parents. They aren’t sleeping at night. Oh sure, I have nights when I can’t sleep because of extra elbows in my back, or I drank too much coffee, but again. . . trifle.

Today I am thankful for missionaries.

I took this picture this summer while I was in Ecuador.

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 

4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 

5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 

6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:3

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Day 15?!? November is flying by way to fast.

Today I’m thankful for my parents (in-laws).

Not only were they incredibly patient and loving to Alan during his most insane years as a teen, they have lovingly and unconditionally accepted me into the family.

I have never felt from either side of Alan’s parents the typically portrayal of the in-laws. They have always been great sources of love and guidance as Alan and I have “grown-up” into adulthood.

I don’t call them “mom” or “dad” like some daughter-in laws may. I think it’s because I look to them as friends. They aren’t replacements to my parents, but are part of our loving family and friends.

It is a true blessing to feel love and acceptance unconditionally.

Today I am thankful for my parents (in-law).

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Today I’m thankful for my parents.

This picture was taken several Thanksgivings ago.

I think that when you look at a person’s parenting style, you should look to see how the kids turn out, although this isn’t always the case (sometimes you have great parents with kids that make you scratch your head in wonder, and other times you have terrible parents who manage to turn out pretty decent kids). Oh sure, my parents could have done things differently, I fear that most people feel that way. When you have 7 kids, your bound to make mistakes along the way, but as a whole my parents did an incredible job in raising us.

When I think about my dad as a father, I am most grateful. A testimony to his love and dedication is seen in the way that my own brothers father. They each love their kids deeply and take (or took) the time to invest in their lives and interests. My dad would even show interest in our friends lives, modeling a father figure to them as well. When I think about my dad, he worked very hard to provide for our family, and made sacrifices of his own interest in order to provide for us.

My mom fills my heart with gratitude as well. It is a blessing to know her as an adult. She is not only my mom, but a best friend that I can call on at any time. Growing up, we never had to worry about things around the home, because our mom took the time to care for our needs. She (unlike myself) never complained about cooking, and doing laundry, making sure we had what we needed for school. But she also would take the time to share her life and interests with us.

My parents took the time to invest in our lives. They put their own wants aside and made huge sacrifices. They both have exemplified hard work and dedication, along with honesty. Their love for God was never pushed on us, although they took the time to teach us about their faith in God. I have many memories of family outings and day trips. Most of all my parents demonstrated unconditional love.

It is a testimony that they have been married for nearly 50 years. Their love for one another is not based on any modern notion of love, but the kind of love that puts the other first.

Today I’m thankful for my parents.

17 I will thank the LORD because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Psalm 7:17

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