Sometimes I'm flooded with thanksgiving over an answered prayer, and my heart swells. My Paul has gone three days without a headache, after 9 consecutive days with migraine, and my right ankle has been normal for four days now. Time to advertise God's goodness, but before I list my blessings, I want to say to anyone out there suffering and still waiting for answered prayer: God. is. still. good.
Immanuel means "God with us". He is always with us, beside us, inside us, eclipsing our pain, redeeming our brokenness. We should advertise his glorious ways, praise Him from the mountaintops, even when the pain persists, because Immanuel (God with us) rescues us, every day.
What's currently blessing me:
~ Paul thoroughly enjoying a Christmas Origami book. He spent hours making origami ornaments to place in our tree branches.
~ Paper chains overflowing in our home.
~ The boys "doing school" even while on vacation. They wrote a long, silly, irreverent version of The Twelves Days of Christmas, during which I felt it necessary to forbid any potty humor. I'm so happy there are two little girls in my home, as well as two as-yet unrefined boys.
~ Little David in the church nursery, a toddler after my own heart, ran up to me and hugged me when I came into the nursery last Sunday, just like he does when his own mom shows up. Okay, maybe it was because he had the messiest diaper imaginable and needed me, but still. It set my heart all aflutter.
~ No more headaches for my Paul.
~ A lady from church coming later this month, with her two girls, to teach us to knit. She had triplets late in life and all three of them have multiple problems, including one who is almost grown and is three years old, cognitively speaking. My friend's husband passed away eight years ago, and we are thrilled to perhaps somewhat fill a family void in her life, and vice versa. My Beth loves playing dolls with her daughter.
~ The Lord's faithfulness, always.
~ Reading the book of James with the children, alongside the book of 1 Kings, which is sometimes hard reading.
~ This winter has been harsh so far, and no problems with our older furnace. (We keep it at 64 at night, and 66 during the day, but our noses are still always stuffed up this time of year, from the drying tendency of forced heat. My children never complain of being cold, and sometimes the boys take their shirts off during their made up PE games.)
~ The children using our flat driveway and disc sleds to make up "The Winter Games". They go back and forth, doing different exercises with the sled. I love their ingenuity, but not their competitiveness.
~ They all have a little bit of money, which they want to use to buy each other Christmas presents. They have been making each other birthday presents these last two months (4 birthdays in just over 2 months).
~ A horrible legislative bill was introduced in the Ohio legislature, requiring parents and children to be interviewed separately by child protective services before a homeschooling request is granted. Additionally, they have to be interviewed twice more during the school year, and must submit to "interventions" if their request is initially denied. They can also specify if a family can homeschool on their own, or must use a public e-school. The good news? The Homeschool Legal Defense Association will fight it for us. It's so over-reaching that it's unlikely to pass, but it does have three sponsors in the legislature, and it speaks of the lengths to which the government may someday go to take away parents rights. Such ridiculous bills are becoming more common, but HSLDA has been very successful in upholding parents' rights so far. The bill is a response to a fatal child abuse case that had nothing to do with homeschooling families.
~ A sweet friend sponsoring us for Christmas, and another friend's gift card paying for a Christmas ham. It's hard and very humbling to accept such gifts, and I wish I could graciously say "no thank you we're fine", but the Lord reminds me that it is not about me, but about how he chooses to shine his glory. I can't cross my arms in stubbornness and refuse to allow Him to shine, for when a Christian gives, it's a manifestation of his glory shining through them, and despite my sinful pride, it's a beautiful thing.
The family voted on it and ham won over turkey. I don't care for the taste of ham, but I like that when we have ham for Christmas, my husband makes it, leaving me to choose and make delicious side dishes. And even though hams are horribly expensive, between soups and other dishes, they do provide protein for a lot of different meals before they're used up.
~ A wonderfully simple and delicious way to make cranberries (we've been having them weekly). Using a frying pan, place washed, fresh cranberries in a single layer, along with a half cup water, and 1/2 or 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you prefer them. Heat at medium temp. until you hear them pop, about three minutes, usually. Then turn the heat to the lowest setting, and cook for five more minutes only. They will remain whole and taste heavenly.
~ The Lord is my strength and my song.
What are you thankful for today?