30 DAYS OF THANKSGIVING 2013
I am thankful for the power of prayer.
I am thankful for the WORD of God, Jesus in the flesh as well as written pages of Scripture.
"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
I am grateful that God's mercies are new every morning.
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lam. 3:22-23
I am grateful for the gift of joy! It comes in thousands of ways, big and small, and I long to more fully embrace this gift by embracing the many forms in which it arrives.
"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3
On the 4th I was thankful for God's JOY, so this day I am thankful for His STRENGTH.
"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10b
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I am thankful for God's WISDOM and SOVEREIGNTY.
Personal Example 1: God removed my family from our familiar home in Texas and moved us to Wisconsin, which had many various results--the most important one for me was that because of this move (among other particular circumstances), I met my amazing husband Ted Jacobson!
Personal Example 2: Left to our own devices, Ted and I would have had 2, maybe 3 kids. Bwahahahaha!! Thank you, Father, for your sovereignty that has graciously overcome our human plans and replaced them with your perfect plans.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Now that we've shared the news with the grandparents, I can say here that I am thankful for THIS!
(Tobin's own words):
"On Saturday I had a talk with Mom. Arden was at Laser tag for Noah Mack’s birthday party. I confessed that I felt like there was something inside of me making me do bad things and making me a bully. We read some Bible verses, talked for a little bit, and prayed. Then I accepted Jesus into my heart, and immediately I could feel that the thing that was inside was gone. I also felt a lot happier. That night, I told Dad about my choice. He was very happy also. The next day we told Chaplain Keith. He was so excited!"
I am thankful for unconditional love. My parents showed me this from the time I was a baby; they prepared me to know and understand God's unconditional love for me. I am also blessed to be loved like this by my wonderful hubby, and together we strive to pass it on to our children. May we love those around us unconditionally as well, for who knows but the Lord what burdens they may carry?
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
This year I've been posting some of the more abstract things I'm thankful for, but today I'll take a different tack and say I am so grateful for the opportunity to live in Italy. Naples has its share of problems--just ask anyone on the Living Abroad in Naples FB page, LOL. But we choose to love wherever God puts us, praying that we can make it just a little bit better before we leave! So grateful for the chance we have to experience a different culture, to travel, to learn and get outside of our little American box.
And at this moment, I'm thankful for the sounds of our kids and Italian neighbor kids playing together in the garden.
I'm thankful for sleep, more so when I don't get enough of it.
Dear God, PLEASE let Seanin sleep better tonight! Amen.
Poor snarfling baby. He went 8 hours Thursday night only to get a cold or something Friday. It's been pretty miserable around here ever since...
I am thankful for the liberties we enjoy as Americans, but even more, I am thankful that we can be free from sin because of what Jesus did for us. THAT is a freedom that will NEVER be taken away...but it is also one with a great responsibility.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13
I'm thankful for the wonderful friends I've met through PWOC during our time in Naples! There's nothing better than finding like-minded sisters to journey along with.
"9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
I am thankful for what I too often take for granted...a full pantry, fridge, and freezer. I can pull out what I need to make meals for my family each day. And that's meals, plural, plus snacks and often dessert. Too many people around the world don't have this luxury.
"The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing."
I am thankful for our overall health. Some coughs and sniffles notwithstanding, we are pretty hearty individuals!
"I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." Psalm 118:17
I am so thankful for mornings...hang with me here! I'm not naturally a morning person, but I've learned to appreciate the quiet early hours. For one thing, it's the one time of day I can enjoy a cup of hot coffee and quiet time with my husband. For another, I am guaranteed, thanks to the grace of our Lord, a fresh start to a new day. It doesn't matter if yesterday I blew my resolution to refrain from dessert...it's all right if I went to bed cranky...and the spilled milk, overflowing trash, bickering siblings, unfinished school lessons, and so on? Well, they just don't seem quite as overwhelming in the light of a new day. Thank you, Jesus.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14
I am thankful for my sweet baby Seanin, with a dimpled smile and gurgling noises that make me giggle no matter how badly my day is going. I love my chunky monkey!
I am thankful for my silly ham of a two-year-old Zaden, with his big eyes and entertaining expressions, both facial and verbal. Though he is a one-child wrecking crew, I love him!
I am thankful for my lovable, happy-go-lucky Lucan, who lives in a world of imagination and adventure and tries to pull me in with him when I'm tied to the mundane. "Mommy, I love you 100 times!" Love this kid!
I am thankful for my independent, imaginative Kenna, who doesn't know the meaning of "can't" (nor how to ask permission ahead of time, seemingly, lol). I love this loyal, affectionate, all-out little girl!
I am thankful for my sweet and silly Arden, whose energy and easygoing personality entertains and inspires family and friends alike. I love this tender, huggable, non-stop growing boy!
I am thankful for my (rather mischievous) jokester Tobin, whose love for words and knowledge helps him spin fantastic puns and single-handedly keeps the library in business. I love this silly, huggable, non-stop learning boy!
I am thankful for my creative, tenderhearted Charis, whose broad range of talents and interests gives her unique opportunities for enriching the lives of all those around her. I love this helpful, generous, loving girl!
I'm grateful for our home. Despite power outages and sewer issues, among other minor inconveniences, we DO have power most of the time; we have plumbing; we have heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. We have plenty of space to do life. What a blessing.
I'm thankful my husband has a job to support his family, and I'm thankful I can be a stay-at-home mom. Really, I am grateful.
But next year when the NATO exercise rolls around? I'd like to be alone on an island somewhere. Please?
I posted a few pics of our homeschool Thanksgiving celebration on Monday but neglected to actually write this out: I am extremely thankful God has blessed us with such a wonderful, supportive community of homeschooling friends here in Naples. Through this group our kids have formed their closest friendships, and I as a mom have a lifeline of encouragement, support, and ever-flowing blessings from the other women we meet up with regularly.
I am so grateful for my dear parents John and Irene Keist and for the way they raised my brother John Keist IV and me. We are blessed with a godly heritage.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:14-15
I am so very, very grateful for my husband Ted and the marriage God has blessed us with. He excels at so much and deserves many accolades for the amazing job he does in his career—but because of the nature of his work, he gets to make his bosses shine in the limelight instead of having the spotlight on himself. This is a reflection of who he is all the time, not just at his job. As a husband and daddy, he quietly does things that are hardly glamorous—folding mountains of laundry, changing diapers, fixing the random weird things that go wrong in our house, and much, much more. After 16.5 years of marriage, he knows me better than anyone else on earth and somehow still loves me! He is my rock who builds his life on The Rock; he is the best friend and lover I could have ever dreamed of; he knows how to make me laugh and gently dries my tears when I cry. He encourages and blesses me every day, and I am so thankful God brought us together.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
I am thankful for family traditions and memories! The past 2 Thanksgivings we have broken with tradition to create some different memories—we have traveled to another place in Italy and eaten Italian food! Last year it was Capri; this year it was a tiny mountain town, Atri, along the Adriatic coastline. We stayed in a 3-bedroom apartment (freezing cold the first night but finally warm by our last day there) and enjoyed having NO agenda other than spending time together.
I am thankful for the beauty of God’s creation: sunshine, snow on mountains, frost-covered branches, and the misty sea, a few of the sights we enjoyed in Atri.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
I am thankful that the season of THANKSGIVING comes first—it is a perfect lead-in to the season of GIVING as we remember our Savior’s birth!