It's been a very long time since I have written the "Thursday thirteen" - my thankful Thursday post. So here goes.
Today I am thankful for:
1. The long conversation I had with my brother, Darryl, today. He is a very cool dude that I don't talk to nearly enough.
2. The telephone message left by my brother, Otis, a pretty cool dude in his own right. I'm sorry I missed his call, but it is an honor to be thought of and called by two of my three brothers. The third lives in the middle eastern country of Qatar, so it's far less likely that he will call me...
3. Time at the library with my daughter. To collect books to read. To sigh over all the books I'll never get to read. To give thanks for the wonder that is the public library. To finish another volume of my journal: one chapter ends. Another begins.
4. An excellent vegetarian meal, prepared and enjoyed with my daughter. My son at soup my mother made a few days ago, and my hubby was not yet home.
5. The seminar I attended this afternoon about estate planning and design. I had no idea there were so many options for how to distribute our estate to our children, to our church, and to other charitable organizations when we pass away. How exciting to know that decisions we make today about our finances can affect people for many generations beyond our own. And it doesn't take a lot of money to make a big difference.
6. Milk chocolate almond clusters from Trader Joe's. Yum! I balance the less-than-ideal milk chocolate with the dark chocolate almond bark. It all evens out in the end - at least, that's what I tell myself.
7. New clothes purchased while in the company of my best friend last weekend. Thanks for the awesome shopping extravaganza, Karen. I hope you are wearing your new stuff every day.
8. Spending a brief amount of time with Karen's family, her parents, her sister, and her very cute and very quiet niece.
9. The half-hour the children and I spent in prayer this morning. Today is the national day of prayer. First we quietly wrote in our journals the names of people and situations (like the war in Iraq) that we wanted to lift before the throne of grace, seeking grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. And if ever there was a time of need in our nation and our world, it is now.
Then we went around in a circle, the three of us, and for nearly TEN MINUTES we named people, friends, politicians, situations, families in need of prayer. Out loud. My children's memories for people's names and needs are amazing. Their compassion runs deep. The tears flowed. Lord, listen to your children praying. Lord, please, have mercy.
10. The children's California Achievement Test results. The outcome of the CAT has served to affirm and confirm our decision to homeschool them. They both did extremely well. I am proud of them and of myself. Together we are learning from each other, about each other, from the world around us, and about the world. The Silvermine Academy Rocks!
11. An ongoing friendship I have with a young man named Daniel Sanchez. I am amazed that a man who will spend most of the next 20 years behind bars is in such high spirits in every letter he sends to me. Today I received a packet of beautiful drawings, each of which wished me a Happy Mother's Day along with eleven pages hand-written and typed communication. He admitted to his crime and was sentenced to more than 20 years for an act that would normally earn less than 10 years. I pray that someway, somehow this young man's unjust sentence will be reduced. May God have mercy on him and his family.
12. The testimony of a friend who was sexually assaulted by two men about three years ago. She told me that in the midst of that horrible act, she felt the presence of God as never before; she said it felt like He was holding her in the palm of His hand. She has since been able to help other women who have gone through similar horrors. No, she would never wish her circumstances on anyone else, but she told me, through tears, that her belief that even the worst of situations eventually work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose would not be as strong as it is if she had not gone through those dark and painful moments and all that has followed. What a story!
13. The beautiful days we have had here in Charlotte of late. The bright sun warms us by day. The full moon brightens our spirits by night. The grass is green. Flowers are in bloom. Trees are casting shadows and swaying in the breeze.
Thanks be to God.