When I Say Thanks

Say ThanksWhen I say thanks, it isn’t automatic.  I have to be really intentional about it.

For thanks is not my first language.

Actually my first language is selfishness. It is humanity’s first language.  It is our default. It is MY default.

So if we begin to live a life of being thankful, of noticing and seeing and receiving anything with thanks, it is when we put down the expectations and recognize our utter dependency on others’ kindness.

And my Chris and I have been recipients of such kindnesses–undeserved, unexpected…but beautiful overflow.

For instance, this new suburban I mentioned? It was HELD for us.  It is the first vehicle we have purchased, since Chris’ wonderful Avalanche (that became broken bread to provide for us in time of need). We sold it.  And truthfully, it brought us pain EVERY TIME we thought about it or saw another Avalanche on the road.  We felt bereft and stolen from, but even so it was not what we deserved, no.  It wasn’t like that. We appreciated it.  And then Chris lost his job…and the truck paid for four months of expenses.

So a little over a week ago, Chris drove to Wal-mart and saw this vehicle.  We met with the owner and drove it to see what we thought.  It was a Saturday, so there was no financing it that day.  On Monday, we began to explore the options with our bank.  And even two years after bankruptcy, getting a loan is hard.  But God?  He really made it doable for us.  It shouldn’t have been. It took a week, but it happened.

The owner told us later that they had a few other calls for their vehicle, but they held it (A WHOLE WEEK!) for us, because they felt like it was ours!  Not only that, but they filled it up with gas.

We felt entrusted with a gift.  We said THANKS.  We meant it.

Another instance, two years ago we were able to refinance our home under the making housing affordable act–during bankruptcy. Of all those going through bankruptcy, few were able to use this.  The lady at the mortgage company told us so.  We made it under the wire.  But not only that. No.  Also, we had to make an extra house payment.  And we didn’t have it.

So a friend knocked on our door and handed me a check for what we needed.

I cried then and there–making him so uncomfortable.  We wanted to pay it all back and made it halfway through, then he said to accept the rest as a gift.  And because of this gift?  We have been able to recover financially faster.  So this thanksgiving, we are sending a gift to say thank you to him and his family.

Because we mean it.  Because we are grateful. Because we know that nothing we have comes from us…it is all a gift.

When I say thank you, I say thank you because I can.  I have the daily choice to bless others, to thank them.  And so I make it a priority to NOTICE…and then to thank.

You can , too! Make saying thanks a language you speak, fluently.

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November Currents

This month’s November Currents is bringing about some really neat things the Lord is doing–we are joining a new church and have already begun serving with the young adult class.  We showed up Thursday night and just connected with those, who God brought our way–college students, young marrieds and young adults, who have begun their first job and are far from home.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to walk in God’s calling.  It just feels right.

Also our original home group from our old church will ALL be joining us for Thanksgiving.  It is truly a miracle that we were able to invite and hear each one say YES!  I just know that God has us together for this special time and place–perhaps to say goodbye, even.  I just can’t wait to see what He’s doing for that day.  It is a set apart time with people, who have walked with us through almost 8 years of ups and downs.  Just such a privilege to call them friends.

Finally, I have a couple of new web design projects coming up along with my regular work.  And I have a short-term scoring opportunity for Pearson in December, which will greatly help us for Christmas money this year.  God is so good to see our now needs and meet them. I love His ways and am so very thankful.

Current Read: Amanda Cabot’s With Autumn’s Return and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien for the first time!

Current Playlist: Our Winter 2014 playlist is done, as of today.  I love putting together eclectic music that my whole family will love!  Here it is:

Do Life Big Jamie Grace
This Little Light of Mine Addison Road
Burn Bright Natalie Grant
I Won’t Forget Anthony Evans
When the Boys Light Up Newsboys
A Mighty Fortress Christy Nockels
Already Home Thousand Foot Krutch
Broken Lacrae and Kari Jobe
Center of It Chris August
Cornerstone Tim Neufield and Audrey Assad
Crazy Love Hawk Nelson
Can’t Shut Up Anthem Lights
I Need You, I Love You, I Want You Tenth Avenue North
Because He Lives Crowder with Bill Gaither
You’re Not Alone Owl City and Britt Nicole
God of My Everything Bebo Norman
Song to Sing Manic Drive
He Never Failed Me Yet The Choir of Montreal

Current Color(s):  Today I wore my favorite shade of green.  It is sort of a light, sprucey color.

Current Food: Chris just made our practice run for turkey this year–we worked together to make a nice spread of gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls and apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream.  It was delicious.  And the tryptophan is about to kick in any minute now for a nice winter’s sleep.  (I know it’s not really winter, yet.  But alas, Colorado did not get that memo!)

10155003_10152535155872087_7418820481685765299_nCurrent Favorite Favorite: Friday I drove to my favorite place to read my Bible and pray.  So I decided to see if anyone had prayer needs for which I could pray.  An unbelievable outpouring of need happened over the next hour.  And I was privileged to lay person after person and situation after situation before the Lord’s throne.

Current Addiction: The new Starbucks Praline Chestnut Latte– it is delicious

Current Wish List: I really need a haircut and color soon.  It’s been since the beginning of the summer.  And my hair is longer than it has ever been, I think. I could just go ahead with dreadlocks… :) Just kidding.
Current Need:  An organizer/calendar for the new year–does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Current Triumph: Just in a really good place right now with the daily schedule–keeping in balance my family and work responsibilities, as well as taking time out for friends.  Even exercise!  Chris and I have been going early in the mornings, which suits me better time-wise (but oh, it is hard to get out of a toasty bed into the cold, cold temps!)

Current Annoyance:  Kids interrupting when Chris or I talk.  It is beginning to get under our skin. We try to gently say, wait your turn.  But I admit, sometimes, we get aggravated.  We have not arrived, yet and are still learning good ideas for parenting our crew.

10408079_10152522427407087_4432956226038809704_nCurrent Blessing(s):  From last month’s wish list I wrote, “We need a new vehicle soon. Our suburban is not long with us.”  THE LORD DID IT!!!  We have a new (old) suburban.  I love it, love it, love it!!  It is maroon, has heated seats (Thank You, Jesus!) and a six disk cd player with Bose speakers.  I am a happy, happy girl!
Current Outfit:  my zoo giraffe t-shirt and yoga pants
Current Excitement: We have some fun plans coming up for the holidays.  They haven’t all been worked out, yet.  But I am excited, just thinking about them!
Current Project(s): Knitting open-handed gloves for the girls for Christmas
Current plans for the day:  It’s the end of the day!  So bed is next.  But tomorrow I am finishing editing a book (at this point of the book anyway) for a godly man, who will be bringing such a wonderful word of freedom to other men.  I cannot wait to share it with everyone!

 

That’s all for this month, friends!  Share yours in the comments, if you decide to play along.
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Following the Bread Crumbs

Well now we have shared our story up to about June of this year. You can read it all here: One, Two, Three, and Four, in case you missed some of the story.  And I know this opens up a LOT of questions for you.  It does for us, too.  So we understand.

But ONE thing I do know, God never begins a journey for us without us telling others about it–anyone, who will listen.

Not because it is about us, no.  It is actually more for the hearer than the doer in almost every single case.  So this story?  It really is about you.  It is about listening to God’s prompts in your own life. It is about following Him, where he leads–yes, even if the weather is not your favorite. or the pay is not as good, or there will be trials, or you are leaving your whole family or if you actually end up with some sadness from loss on the other end of a journey.  I know.  We know.  We have lived it and seen. 

But the rewards?  They are beyond your imagination. These nine years in Colorado have brought us gifts of love, sacrifice, birth, adoption into many families, abundant care, laughter, joy.

…I remember that first week we lived here.  It was October, and the weather had turned cold.  Our belongings had not arrived, yet–and they wouldn’t for two more weeks (for the company we chose, poorly, took our stuff to Dallas, unloaded it, reloaded SOME of it (yes, we were missing things) and then took it to Tennessee on its way to Colorado (yes, I know it is not on the way!)). In that first week, we were given $11,000 in cash. Really.  We were given coats for the kids from a neighbor, who knew that we Texans had NO idea what we were getting into with Colorado weather. We were given friendship and tender care.  It was amazing.  It was a balm, as I needed that tender care, for I had some un-write-able hurts from the move.  And time does not heal wounds, no.  But God does.  Oh He is so kind.

God has something specific for YOU to do on the pavement today.  It matters.  You were created for it!

Back to our now story. My heart is that you will follow God, no matter what.  For what He gives cannot be taken.  The love He shows is enough to cover the pain of loss…and sometimes He shows it through people, who don’t know you, but love you like they do.

We have a place here in Colorado.  We could stay and live it out all our days.  We are comfortable here.  We LOVE it.  In fact, I have wanted to do this, so I guess today is as good as any, here is a picture mosaic of some of what we have seen here.  You need to know this, we are living every day here in Colorado like it is our last here–savoring, soaking up the days, being intentional to see things, experience them and love the ones here, right now.

ColoradoMosaic

(This is the way we should always live, wherever we are! Don’t you think?)

But we have heard God say go.  And we believe it.

I began the story with my experience.  And over time ALL of our family has come to believe it is true.  They have all discovered it on their own.

Noah came in to where I was working in August, and I mentioned something about college.  And with the biggest DUH sound in his voice, he said, “I’m going to A&M.”  I said, “Oh, you have come to that decision now, have you?”  And he said, again as if I was so very slow, “Mom, I have always wanted to go to A&M.”  Alright then. I see.

But will he miss his senior year here with his friends?  I don’t have an answer for that.  We just don’t know.  I feel like (and this is totally my gut and not based on any fact) it will be next August.  But I do not know.  Nor does Chris.  We both rely on the leading of God.  And for now, we are following the bread crumbs to this point in the journey.

Kylie is nervous and excited. She loves Texas, too!

Tabor and Sydney are both ready to go now.  They have the heart of a child to go and be adventurous…and to believe God for BIG things.

For Chris, he still has an important job to do here.

He is still working, though his company has gone through some MAJOR changes and upheavals in the past few weeks. We don’t know how long Chris will be needed, but we plan on staying, as long as he is needed…and God knows that. And I believe that what Chris brings to the table for this company may very well be the life of the company.  Does that sound prideful?  I only mean that like Joseph, God’s blessing abides upon Chris, and God’s wisdom is in Chris.  So he is a valuable resource for them.  Perhaps, it was for such a time as this that Chris was brought in and hired there six and a half years ago. I pray daily for God to bless Chris and bless his company.  And He is and has.

On the practical side, A&M is doing a push to have 25,000 engineers by 2025, and they are planning on growing their program.  They are planning also to hire folks, who have been in industry (like Chris has been for 19 years now).  These are just facts.  Chris has applied for a job, beginning next fall, but all we have heard so far is that they have received it.  There are some additional steps for Chris to take, and he is in-process with those.

Then we wait. And while we wait, we live the life we have been given today.  We live on purpose, like it counts.

And I will be honest with you, sometimes we have waited LONG in these journeys–to the point of us looking completely foolish. Just ask our Sunday school class from Texas, when we were coming here.  It seemed to go on a long time. I have a written version of it somewhere, perhaps I will post it sometime.  It was to the point, where people thought we were crazy.  Ask them.  (Feel free to leave a comment, if you remember thinking this, friends.  We would love that!)  It will likely get to the point, where people begin asking (like a woman due any day to give birth), when are you leaving and haven’t you left, yet?

So that may happen again.

But God is the God of time and timing, so I trust His timing and care over us in the in-between time.

We have moved churches, which was a hard, but prayerful, decision we made back in August.  We know we are to work with young marrieds and college students, so we wanted to find a place where we could NOW serve.  And so we are, beginning this week–joining Woodmen Valley Chapel and serving with their young adults.  It is never easy to leave a place and people, whom you love and who are like family to us.  But God has been readying us to go, and this is our readying process right now, even when it would be easier to stay and not make any waves.  We want to walk in it and not just talk about it, but mostly we want to walk lovingly (and I believe we have).

We have obstacles.  You may or may not know this, but we went through the hardest season back a few years ago–and it included Chris losing his job (the one that brought us here) and then bankruptcy.  The job loss meant four months of hard times, selling Chris’ vehicle and basically using that to pay bills. But we also saw the most wonderful provision and care in that time and the time to follow! Even after the new job, it eventually led to bankruptcy.  You can read more of our story here.  So bankruptcy may be a huge obstacle.  We own our home…and we do not know if we could own another.  Also financially, we are recovering still…in a better place, for sure and certain, but the idea of coming up with even the cost of moving and readying a house to sell?  Well, that is daunting for us.  Please pray that we will have exactly what we need.  And no more.  Just enough.

We have some EXCITEMENT, too!  Finally, one of the greatest parts of this new venture is to take a dream Chris has of serving with his friend Greg in India.  Greg had posed some engineering/design obstacles to Chris in October 2012.  Chris then felt led to go to India and see what the obstacles were and perhaps come up with ideas to help.  Well, now Chris is thinking of framing a class to do just that–to take a trip to India (and perhaps other places) and have the students come up with some designs to help them in practical ways.  This is part of the mission and calling on Chris’ life.  He has a gift of making things work and designing them–it is totally God-given.  And I believe that part of our journey will be missional in this way–to help the nations and to be a light in dark places.  We are here to give others a leg up, and I pray Chris can frame a class to do just that.  Who knows if one (or many) of those students might have such a vision to see something no one else has ever seen and to make it?  It is going to happen.  I just know it. It is the heart of an inventor, which comes straight from the Inventor, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

So we run His race, following the bread crumbs home.

Will you run, too?

I think the story is in-process…and I will share more, as we can and as we know.  Stay tuned!

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