I've got a head start on my list of thanks this week!
1. Marcus' yearly blood-work for his kidney and liver function turned out normal. We are praising God! He's got his annual abdominal ultrasound coming up in a few months, too. After that, we don't have to worry about his kidney and liver for another year! Another praise is that the phlebotomist who drew Marcus' blood got it on the first try, which is 100 times better than a few experiences we've had in the past. It still took both me and Mike to pin him down, but at least it didn't take multiple pokes and the crazy wrestling match only took a few minutes. I'm going to write down the phlebotomist's name for future reference so we can ask for her again next year: Cherise!
2. Pastor Dan's Sunday message struck a chord with me. I'm thankful that through the Parable of the Landowner in Matthew 20, God exposed the reason why it was so hard for me to rejoice with others who had blessings that I thought I deserved more than them. It's due to the pride and legalism that is so deep-rooted in my heart. I came away from Sunday feeling as though God shed a spotlight on the source of my envy and bitterness that I tried to fight on my own. I could write a ton about this, but I'll leave it at that. :-) I'm just thankful for the undeserved grace God has already given me.
3. My friend, Jenny Lee, gave her Gospel testimony on Sunday and I'm so thankful I got to hear it. Mike and I have known Jenny for years and we've been in the same Bible Study group off and on for as long as we've known her. This year, it's been our privilege to be in the same Care Group with her again because we've seen how the grace of God has taken a hold of her heart. Every time she shares, I learn so much from her because she exudes the beauty and rest of Christ. What joy!
4. I'm thankful that Marcus has been insisting that he walk from the car to his classroom every morning he goes to school. I used to have to hold him and push his walker at the same time because he didn't want me to leave him. Now, as soon as I get him out of the car, he gestures to have me put him in his walker so that he can walk all by himself. In the hallways, all the teachers and staff and parents who pass by stop to admire his big-boy status and to cheer him on all the way to Room N. Then, he finds his favorite puzzles, gives me a "Bye-bye," an "I love you," and a kiss, as if to say, "Later, Mom!" I love it!!
5. I'm thankful for the chance to plant flower seeds with Audrey. Our neighbors are ALL so good at making their patios look beautiful. The most embarrassing thing is that our next door neighbor's front and back patio look like the re-make of the Garden of Eden. And ours? Uh, once we get out there a few times a year, we have to weave our way through the cobwebs and wash off all the grime that has settled on all our nasty stuff. Our neighbors must look at our area and think that the only things we cultivate are death and spiders, because I even managed to kill our few cactus plants. But through Audrey's persistence, we've actually kind of tidied up the place and put some flower seeds in little pots. She's been watering them daily and I really really hope they grow!! In the meantime, it's been neat to see her interested in this little project of ours.
6. I'm thankful that Marcus has conquered his fear of grass! You should have seen him about a year ago. He would do this crazy Cirque du Soleil balancing act on his butt cheeks so that no other part of his body would touch the grass. But we realized this past Easter that he not only wasn't scared of it anymore, but he loved crawling through it! (We hope he can overcome his fear of tents, tunnels, and parachutes soon, too.)
It probably helped that Audrey was showing him the ropes while foraging for eggs like a ravenous wolf!
BTW: Thank-you to the Children's Ministry for hosting such an awesome Easter outing for our kids!
7. I'm thankful that I caught another one of these moments between the kids. Here they are, figuring out a new toy together.
8. I'm thankful for an email I received this week from someone who has been reading my blog for a while. I've never met her, but I do know her husband from college and through a mutual friend, she was introduced to my blog. She went out of her way to write a gracious email to tell me how God brought her through a painful time in her life and somehow, God's work in our trials encouraged her during her heartbreak as well. I was floored by this, and was overcome with thanks. I mostly write my posts to chronicle for our family God's goodness to us. But if ANYONE is encouraged by even a TINY bit of God's faithfulness in our lives, it is just grace upon grace. Yet another reason to be thankful for our trials.