Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Light is Thanks

Thanksgiving 2001, a light began shining in the darkness of my life.  I was living in Newberg, Oregon after graduating from George Fox University and was in the midst of a season of depression like I have never experienced before or since.  I had no idea where I belonged in the world or what to do with my life.  Every door seemed to be sealed.  My path was shrouded with the darkness of night and I could find nothing to be thankful for.

The message at dear Newberg Friends Church that Thanksgiving Sunday began something in me that has continued to this day…the revelation that gratitude is the key to joy.  The premise was that an attitude of entitlement crushes joy; forsaking gratitude leads to darkness of soul. 

The text was from 1 Chronicles 29:10-14 (ESV). 

“Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly.  And David said:  ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.  In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.  And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly?  For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.’”
What struck me that day was the realization that everything  I have is an undeserved gift.  Every good thing is from God and my response of sacrificing the gift back to the giver brings joy.

Wherever we are, every one of us experiences difficulty.  But I tell you that there is hope in the darkness. First, our hope is in Jesus.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”    Romans 15:13 (ESV)

 And secondly, it is in opening our eyes to the gifts around us and giving thanks even in the midst of adversity.

This Thanksgiving is no different for me this year.  It has been a year of incredible difficulty, but I think that after thirteen years of practice, it is getting easier to give thanks, realizing that my life overflows with blessings straight from the hand of the Father. Here are some of the things I'm deeply thankful for today:

  1. Obviously, those four beautiful children, each with his or her own unique song to sing.  Each one brings me such joy.
  2. The restorative properties of a morning outside in the mountain air.
  3. A faithful, thoughtful, brave husband who grows in perseverance every day.
  4. Several good-arm-days for Mark in a row.
  5. Knowing that trials result in growth.
  6. Long-term friendships with  truly wonderful women.
  7. The glorious hope we have in Christ.
  8. Knowing that even in my small, quiet life, Jesus knows me and sees me and that I don't have to please or impress anyone else for my life to have importance.
  9. The freedom to teach our children at home, building a strong family culture based on the beliefs we fix our lives on.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Not Too Spooky

Thursday night was our family pumpkin-carving party.  There were mummy-dogs to eat, cider to drink, and everyone had lots of fun scooping pumpkin-guts and designing their jack-o-lanterns.  Grammy and Gramps even joined the fun via Skype!  Last night, we filled our front window with the finished glowing gourds.  Oh, how we love making memories like these together!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kites and Things

My husband loves to fly kites.  An individual who counts bowling, bowtie-wearing, vinyl collecting, and kite-flying among his greatest pleasures, Mark is not your everyday guy.  Maybe that's why I think he's so special.  Anyway, here are some pictures from three weeks ago, before the aspens lost their glow and the elk lost their mojo!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lunar Eclipse

Here is a sample of our view of this morning's lunar eclipse.  Misty strands of haunted October cloud nearly shrouded the spectacle, but in the end, we still got some really nice glimpses of the copper ember of moon and a sparkling Orion through the cloud breaks.  Grace and Ava joined us on our 4 am adventure, buried under layers of blanket and coat.  They seemed slightly less impressed than I remember being as a child viewing my first eclipse.  We couldn't let them miss the show, though...not with this week being the week we study Copernicus and Galileo in history!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hunt for Wings

The girls are studying flying creatures in science this year...everything from insects and birds to bats and flying dinosaurs. We've been enjoying using these splendid autumn days to scavenge for sightings.  So far we've seen everything except the bats and dinosaurs!

Grace shows off the leaf she found with insect eggs on it.

Meanwhile, the boys stay busy by fishing the school-day away.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Looking Back at Summer

Grace decorated her own birthday cake.  Her favorite color is yellow.  Can you tell?

Happy 8th!

Enjoying the Cherry Days parade in Paonia on July 4.

Is it coming yet?
Grace's new friend.

Ava and her hand-crafted crab apple mud cakes.

Testing her umbrella in Gramps's hay-field irrigation sprinklers.

Gem Lake,  Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sisters in Gem Lake.

The Gem Lake trail is 4 miles round trip, with the first half being a steep uphill climb.

I only had to carry a couple of 3-year-olds on parts of the return hike.  Impressive!

Enjoying the pool while sisters took swimming lessons.

A nature walk on the Calf Creek Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The hiking stick her Grandpa Nydell made her.

We identified lots and lots of wildflowers!
My hike to Chasm Lake in August.  Pretty amazing!

My favorite view from Trail Ridge Road.

A moody morning in Paonia.

Craft time at Grammy and Gramps' house.

Gideon's face painting from "Pickn' in the Park" in Paonia.  He IS his favorite animal!

They are such boys!

Ava and the tire swing her daddy made.