Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
So today is a day to give thanks. Each day is, of course, but today I will celebrate our blessings! I had a rather down month - changing hairstyles, coming to grips with my new-found allergy to clay (or at least the mold in clay), dealing with the affects of my genetic detox issues ... well, the list goes on. But there is a bigger and better list that I am dealing with today. After all, down times are just valleys. We get the vision on the mountaintop so that we can wade through the valleys. And the mountaintops are transient too. CS Lewis said something along those lines in the Screwtape Letters - we know we are alive by the ups and downs. Only a dead person's life is a flat line.
Today a friend showed up unannounced with a water filter. We've been struggling with the city water - apparently they flush with extra chemicals in March. This has resulted in huge intestinal issues and peeling skin on my part - and nasty tasting coffee for Chris. So, we've been buying distilled water and taking short showers. But today my friend showed up and dropped off the filter - she bought it for herself but thought of our situation and immediately ran over and dropped it off for us to borrow. So now there is a merry sound of dripping water in my kitchen - the sound of a friend, given to me by God, who loves me.
We have a huge dog pen in our living room. Yes. A dog pen - about 6x12 feet. This was given to us by Chris's brother. And because of that, our furry family is reunited! This may not seem like a blessing to you, but it certainly is to us! The girls have spent countless hours playing outside with their dogs. Yesterday and today was taken up by sewing - and now our two "outdoor" dogs are sporting felt backpacks and racing jackets! The dogs inspire the girls to spend countless hours outside, running in the sunshine with the dogs (another blessing, since Kailee's vitamin D levels have plummeted again - back to supplementation!). Our family seems somehow more complete with our pets - and Chris has brought his bees back also! Our scattered family is coming back together.
Everywhere that I look in our house I see love - an old futon from friends is so much more friendly than our camp chairs! Folding tables from a dear friend support our school books every morning. We cook on pans from that same friend, supplemented by dishes, cups, crock pots and more, donated by our church family. We sleep cozily under blankets and comforters provided by several of those same people. Our heads rest on pillows, borrowed from or purchased by our family from God. My children wear clothing provided by my mother and donated by friends. Our shelves are stacked with board games, cards and videos, all lent with love. School worksheets are printed out on a printer provided by church family. Cold days see us wrapped in coats, bought and donated by that family. Our bedtime reading lamps bring light to our evenings and love to our hearts.
We have a tractor - a big old tractor from the 1960's. We were able to purchase it from the family who is letting us live in this house. Chris rigged up a seat on the thing that is pulled behind - yes, I do not know what the thing is called - I think it levels the ground. But it makes an excellent seat for one. Yesterday I sat on it and Chris drove me around the 30 or so acres with me laughing like a child in back. And the kids get so much pleasure from driving our old riding lawn mower around!
Spring has sprung (sort of - it's kind of cold today). We've been enjoying daffodils, grape hyacinths, camellias, flower quince, and forsythia. And soon enough the irises, yarrow and gardenias will blossom. The figs will set and the grapes will leaf out. Hopefully we won't be here when the grapes are ripe, but we do have the pleasure of watching everything come alive again. (and I have permission to dig up anything I'd like for our new home! Yeah!)
Despite some interesting turns and bumps over the past year, giving up everything, moving twice, sleeping on air mattresses, etc, etc, etc, my family is still thriving. Chris has high pressure what with work and trying to begin our house, but he and I are still close and happy. The kids love running around the property and playing with their pets. School is progressing (slowly) and we still love volunteering at Hope Reins. Our life is empty and full. Empty of all the stuff. Full of wonder, love, Christ's love.
An interesting tidbit that we just learned in Latin (don't be too impressed, we are only on day 2). But do you know the Latin word for stuff? Impedimenta. Yes, that's right. Makes sense, doesn't it?