Thursday, 26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I thought, in honour of the holiday, I would make a list of things I am thankful for this year.  So with no further adieu, the top ten things I'm thankful for, in no particular order!

I am thankful for my parents!  They have always done everything they could to make sure I have what I need.  From basic necessities as a child, to child care and financial help as an adult, they've always been there.

I am thankful for awesome in-laws!  How many people do you know who would voluntarily go on vacation to stay with their in-laws sans spouse?  Jonathan's mom and dad raised an amazing man.  They have always made me feel like part of the family, and I even got a little brother when I married my awesome husband (Love you, Chris!)!  Much like my parents, Jonathan's mom and dad have always been there for us whether we needed advise, or financial help.

I am thankful for my house!  For the last year, I have been able to walk through my neighbourhood and see how many homes have been forclosed.  Sometimes I take this one for granted.  On days when Jonathan gets stuck in traffic coming home, or I wish we had a little more space, or I see how much my home is actually worth now, (Yikes, we couldn't sell if we had to!) I get frustrated with it.  All things considered, though I am thankful for my house.  Nothing beats having your own space!

I'm thankful for my truck!  When people find out that we only have one vehicle they look at us like we're crazy, but I honestly don't mind it.  It's awfully nice to only have one to maintain and fill with gas.  It's been very reliable transportation for us, and I am so glad to have it!

I'm thankful for the internet!  Does that seem a strange thing to be thankful for?  With the internet, I'm able to keep in touch with friends than have moved out of state, family members I never knew, and Jonathan when he's out of town.  The vast majority of our homeschooling materials come from the internet, and I can keep up with current events easily.  Is it a silly thing to be thankful for?  Maybe, but we can't be profound all the time!

I'm thankful for my job!  When I was laid off in February, I was just scared.  I knew there weren't many jobs out there, and that finding one at even near what I had been making would be a stretch.  After several months of being unemployed, we decided that I would just stay home.  We were spending less on just about everything without me working, and that's what we had been working towards anyway, so why not?  It didn't take too long of that for me to realise that I need a little adult interaction, and a little more cash.  When a friend sent me a message to let me know that the music store he worked at was hiring, that was perfect.  Even more perfect, they needed someone to work nights, so I could still stay home with the kids during the day!  I "heart" my job!

I'm thankful for Jonathan's job!  This is the job that he searched so hard for for several years after graduating, and another one that I take for granted for sometimes.  Lately, it seems like if something can go wrong while Jon is on a show, that it will go wrong.  Nonetheless, I am so thankful that Jonathan has a good job that he enjoys, with a stable company which has allowed me to work part time and spend more time with the kids.

I'm thankful for my dogs!  These mutts are big ol' cuddle bunnies.  They sound big, and look tough, and help me feel safer when Jonathan is on the road.  They love to cuddle, and give puppy kisses, and keep me warm when I'm napping on the sofa.  Earlier this year, when someone let two of them out of our yard, we were devastated.  We searched long and hard for them, often losing sleep in order to look longer.  When Floppy found his way home, we were excited, and sad at the same time.  Calypso has always been a tough girl, and we assumed when poor, traumatised Floppy showed up on his own, that something had happened to her.  When she actually ended up in the shelter over two months later it was nothing short of a miracle.  These dogs make us all smile, and I'm so glad they're part of our family!

I'm thankful for my kids!  Of course, this should go without saying!  What can I say about my beautiful girls?  I am so blessed to have such wonderful children.  I love that we've chosen to homeschool them so that we're able to spend even more time with them, and develop their personalities in a way that they wouldn't be able to do in a classroom with 20 other kids.  They're smart, silly, beautiful, wonderful girls, and even when they're misbehaving I love them SO MUCH!!!  :)

Last, but certainly not least, I'm thankful for my husband!  I have the best. husband... ever!  It's true!  He spoils the heck out of me - certainly far more than I could ever deserve.  He provides for our family, and is an incredible father.  I could go on and on, but our anniversary is in a couple of weeks, and I'll save it for that post!  ;)

Well, there you have it, folks.  things I'm thankful for on this beautiful Thanksgiving morning.  What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, 16 November 2009

I wonder

What makes a church your "home"?  If you're anything like me, you grew up going to church and the people who go there always refer to it as their church "home".  Is it the place?  The people?  Or perhaps it's something more intangible than that.  From the time I was a child, this church captured my attention.  We used to drive by it and I would marvel at the beauty of the building.  Even as a little girl with no inkling that I would ever leave Walnut Hill I wondered what it would be like if I could just go inside.
Shortly after I turned 21, I left the church I had spent my teenage years in.  I was divorced, broken, and wanted nothing to do with church.  I never truly believed that there was no God, but I was quite certain that he wanted nothing to do with me.  I spent several months not bothering to go to church at all, but when I began to suspect that Jonathan would be proposing, I decided that I'd better suck it up and pick a church.  I still wasn't sure God cared, but I wanted a big church wedding.  I also had a vague idea that I wanted to raise my girls with Biblical values.  Something in me remembered the big church on Northwest Highway that I'd always wondered about.
On a beautiful October morning, I packed up the girls and drug my best friend and her roommate to Park Cities for the first time.  I was in love.  In a church of literally thousands, the director of women's ministry came over and introduced herself to us during meet and greet.  How could she possibly have known it was our first time there?  We happened to visit on the anniversary of the church's founding, and the pastor outlined the wonderful history of the church.  It all started with one simple statement:  "There ought to be a church in the Park Cities."  The berobed choir was amazing, and the soloist clearly loved singing for the Lord.  Jamie never came back, ultimately finding her home in Wylie, but I just knew it was where I belonged.  My family stayed there for four years.  I sang in the choir, loved on babies, and Jonathan and I were married by the young marrieds minister from there.  When Celestia's father was hospatilised (and ultimately died) I first went to church and sat in the middle of the aisle of the sanctuary all alone, praying for him before I could muster the courage to enter the emergency room.
When Celestia was in first grade (and Tatiana was still in pre-k) we moved here to North-of-Everywhere, and she couldn't handle the late Wednesday nights at church.  Every Thursday, like clockwork, she was getting in trouble at school.  She cut clothes with her scisors, stole other students' classwork, and was just downright mean.  One Thursday afternoon, I was sitting in her teacher's classroom (I worked at the school) chatting about the phenomenon, and it occurred to me: we were keeping her out too late the night before.  She just couldn't handle it.  We would have to find something closer to home.
I tried out several chruches, and none seemed like a good fit until a sweet couple from First Baptist Anna knocked on my front door one Sunday evening and envited us to church.  We had not had a proper church home for almost a year, and everyone was very inviting.  In our time at First Anna, I sang on praise team, loved on bigger kids, and saw both of my girls baptised.  Our time there recently came to an end.  This time not for any logistical reason, but because I felt that God was calling me to move on.  Where to next?  I visited for a month at FBC Wylie, but as much as I love Jamie, that was her home, not mine.  We tried some other churches earlier in the year - FBC Melissa, FBC Haslet, Cottonwood Creek - all nice churches, but none that gave me that sense of "home".
Two Sundays ago, I walked back in to Park Cities Baptist.  Despite the huge new addition that had been nothing but a construction crater the last time I had been there, it was like we had never left.  Sure, the pastor has moved on as well as the choir director, and the teacher of the class I attended.  The children's minister is different, and I'm certain that they've added staff.  But it felt the same.  I still know so many of the faces.  Everyone there is still so welcoming.  It still felt like home.  Sunday morning, I had no intentions of making any decisions one way or another, but when the meet and greet time rolled around, Celestia and Tatiana both skipped over to say hi to friends from their Sunday school class.  Both girls flipped to the songs in the hymnals (Yes, some churches really do still use them.  Yay for reading music!) and sang even the songs that they didn't really know.  Tatiana leaned over to me after about five minutes and said "mommy, I like sitting in the pews better".  Suddenly I knew, that there was no need to think about it any more.  We were home.  Don't ask me why God has called me to a church 45 minutes away from where I live, with a group of people who are WAY above my socio-econimic status.  All I know is that He has.
What about you?  What makes your church a "home"?