Thinking about Thanking

Today at my brother’s house, my little niece, Charlotte Ann, had a prayer/speech she had prepared.  In it she wanted us all to think about what we were thankful for, and the plan was then to share those thoughts.Brenda in thought

We never did get around to sharing our thankful thoughts.  We were too busy eating and playing games and eating and yelling over each other to try to be heard and eating and laughing and eating and accusing the guys of cheating and eating and actually cheating ourselves.  Until we were so full and so hoarse and so tired that we all scattered and went our own ways to our own abodes or wherever else we had planned to go.

The thing we didn’t do, of course, was share in our bounty of thankfulness.  And bounty is an accurate description of the list of things to be thankful about:

1.  My salvation through Jesus the Christ.

2.  Family who love and fight and play and strive to make time to get together as our families expand and that time is more precious.

3.  A home.

4.  Plenty of food.

5.  Work that provides me with a paycheck and work that must be done in order to keep a clean house, grow a garden, have a lawn… you get the drift.

6.  The opportunity to help others whether it is monetarily or hands on.

7.  Good choices.

8.  Good doctors and staff that actually care about one’s health.

9.  My church.

10.  You guys who read my blog.  🙂

As I ponder on my good life, my heart cries for those who are in real struggles right now:  mental health, the fight for life as they struggle with a disease, the loss of a loved one, drug addiction, sexual abuse, hunger, oppression of different forms…

God, pour mercy and grace upon these people.  Give me direction to turn my thanksgiving into theirs as well.

I Love Good Days

Yesterday was a good day.  My nephew, Mike, came and helped me mow and trim the yard and wash my car.  It was fun being around him;  he’s a hard worker who does a great job.

Today I got an Apple computer.  I haven’t decided if this has been a good day yet or not; still working on the computer.  But being in church was good.  It’s always nice to give God at least a few hours of my week.

Then tonight I checked my little blog, and there was a new comment.  That’s always thrilling to get some posts on your blog, read them, respond, enjoy the whole blog experience.  Tonight’s comment was a sweet note from another blogger with similar problems with her son as I have with my son, schizophrenia.  So I toggled on over to her blog to write her a personal little note and got caught up reading about her trials and memories and other blog materials.

The whole point of this blog tonight is to let you know that she is not having a good day.  As a matter of fact, it sounds like she needs our prayers and, in fact, has asked for them.  Her name is Michelle.

The people of Norway are not having a good day either.  I know this because I have seen their pictures splayed across my computer, and those pictures are of hurting, crying, distraught people.  They need our prayers as well.

Oh, I could go on and on about people that aren’t having a good day, and I hope that you are not one of them.  But if you are, let me know because I am on a mission this week to pray for the hurting and the downcast.  If you had a good day, as I have, tell us what was good about it.  I love hearing good stories.

♪♪♪ Movin’ On Up… To The Bright Side ♪♪♪

There used to be a sitcom on television called The Jeffersons. 

The Jeffersons

 Their theme song went “movin’ on up, to the East side” because they were coming up in the world to a better financial position.  I love to take little diddies and put a word or two of my own in there to make it mine.  This is one of them.

My movin’ up has nothing to do with being well off monetarily and everything to do with being well off mentally.  It’s been a struggle to move up now for about half my life:  a long, long time.  First was a bad marriage and divorce to overcome while coping with a child not yet diagnosed with schizophrenia, being bewildered at every turn with every psychiatrist from the one who specialized in children to the one that worked for the local health department, and all the others in between; the death of another child’s best friend and the subsequent battle with drug addiction; depression and anxiety problems; the death of my second husband and years of mourning what could have been, what could have been done differently.  Pain… and more pain. 

The only reason I mention those things at all is to tell you about my good, dear friends without whom I could not and cannot live.  They are the reason I am movin’ on up.  They are the rocks that anchor my distraught psyche, the rocks upon which God has set me, the pavilion wherein He has hidden me.  I so totally love them all. 

praying friend

They have prayed my son alive because I am as certain as I sit here that he would have died without their shawl of prayer wrapped around him. 

hugging

 They have wrapped us in their arms as well with hugs that left us giddy with delight and comfort. (You  know who you are, Howard.)  They have come to me in the night, flashlight in hand, when I feared I had run over my little cat, Bo, to look for him, all three kids:  Joseph, Tyler, Emily, and Mom Cheryl.

Dolores (a/k/a Grandma to Kate) gets out in the cold to fetch me a gallon of milk so I don’t have to get the grandgirls out; brings me blog-warming gifts (picture coming soon); and teaches me to be kind and loving and accepting of all people.  Terah, who loves me with agape love that fills my soul with lightness, who makes a way to bring me back from the precipice of darkness, who finds my Eagle’s Nest that I might hide under the shadow of His wing (Psalm 17:8).  Jeri Lyn, who takes my burdens into herself to ease my morbid obsessions, that I might not worry about the evil that could befall my little ones.  Joy, who stood vigil at my husband’s side as he lay dying.  Alberta, who always has my back, always worries about me, always seeing about me.  These are only a few; God gave me many.

The study group who saw me through that first year of extreme sadness; the group God brought together just for me.  Ah, how He loves me.  This group who are now my sisters, these women whom I will forever have a bond.  How I love them. 

my sisters

Yes, I am movin’ on up, to the bright side.  And I say Thank You, Lord.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.  Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.  For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.  And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord …  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”  Psalm 27

Susannah’s Apron

One of my most favorite apron stories is the one of Susannah Wesley’s apron.  Susannah was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, good men.  She was the mother of at least ten children.  So you can imagine how many appetites, big and small, physical and emotional, this mother had to appease, whet, feed.  She had to have plenty of aprons because she had to have done a lot of cooking, carrying eggs in from the chicken coop, wiping snotty noses and dirty faces, hauling fresh vegetables from the garden, or mopping sweat from her brow.  A busy woman.  A good woman.

How do I know that?  Her apron.  Not only did it do duty as a work horse; it was also her prayer room.  As a mother with next to no privacy, (I can’t even imagine having all those children and no dishwasher) she would sit in a rocker and put her apron over her head, the signal for all boys and girls to leave Momma alone for she was entering her time of prayer, her “my space.”  An apron?  In the middle of a chaotic household?  What about “me time”?  Where’s Calgon?  Where’s solitude and put up my feet?

Susannah had a big appetite… for God and His Holiness.  She would sit in her rocker with her apron over her head and pray for her children.  I wonder if they knew to tiptoe around her, giving her the privacy she craved to be alone with her God, to talk with Him, just the two of them together, under an apron.