Thankful Thursday

I'm barely going to get this in before midnight here, due to my determination to finish my Blogger Reflection post this morning, and being gone most of the rest of the day, but better late than never, I suppose!

1. First things first. Last week I posted in TT about a birthday I was thankful for...and this week I am thankful for another birthday. We celebrated Emlyn's 6th birthday last weekend. How thankful I am for this very special little girl! Just last week, a lady at church who had taught Bayley for a couple of years, but hadn't spent much time with Em until recently, said, "They sure are different!" And they are. They are both girly girls, for sure, but where Bayley is much more like Billy's (Italian) side of the family, Em is much more like my side. When she was born, we called her our *Indian baby*...she had thick black hair that stood straight up on her head and would not lay down no matter *what* we did. My grandmother would have said that was the Choctaw coming out in her, and I agree! Em reminds me much of myself at her age...except that she is the bug killer extraordinaire (which I still won't do!). It's so funny to watch this dainty little girl lie in wait and then *smack* the little critter with a shoe or whatever else is handy! Otherwise, she is our *lady*. She loves kitty cats, notebooks, and all things *tiny*. She is my most *contented* child, and she loves to learn. Up until premature labor hit with Ammah Grace at 30 weeks, Em had been my most difficult pregnancy (a near miscarriage/bedrest, hospitalization for dehydration, a wreck, a broken ankle at 8 months, and my first c-section, due to breach presentation), but she was by far our easiest baby. I am so thankful for our Emlyn O!

2. We started our homeschool co-op today, and I am thankful for a husband who has stepped *out* of his comfort zone (without my even asking) and re-arranged his work schedule to teach a beginning drawing class to 17 6-12 year olds (yes, that said 17!). They had a blast today, and I appreciate his commitment to homeschooling our children, and his desire to be involved in that as much as he can, more than he will ever know.

3. I am thankful for air conditioning! Even though we've had a pretty *mild* summer here, with only a few weeks of temps into the 100s, and back into the 90s now, I am *so* thankful for air conditioning...in the van, in our house, and most everywhere we go.

4. I am thankful we have started school once again, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool our children. We had planned to school more during the summer than we did...but our summer didn't work out *quite* the way we had planned. :) I am so ready to be back on schedule, and get into our books! What a blessing to have a houseful of children and a houseful of books!

5. I am thankful that I didn't cry in Wal-Mart tonight. Sounds crazy, I know. But for those reading who don't know me personally, my dad died 2 1/2 years ago after a very painful struggle with cancer. I was a Daddy's girl, extremely close to my dad, and although I knew that his death would be very hard, I was completely unprepared for the enormity of what hit me when he died, or how long it would be so intense. For a *long* time, any time I ran across anything that reminded me of him (which was constantly, it seemed), I would at best get teary-eyed, and at worst completely dissolve in tears. Unfortunately, I shed my share of those tears in Wal-Mart (which led to lots of strange looks, as you can imagine.;-)) A new product he would have loved, the sight of an older man who resembled him, an eye-catching card I would have bought for him...there were all kinds of things that would re-open that wound.

My poor husband and a couple of long-suffering friends endured much as I worked through the grief. As much as I was in some ways rejoicing that I knew that he was in Heaven, completely healed and no longer in pain, the huge hole his absence here left took a long time to heal...and will never be completely gone. God showed Himself faithful in many ways through that time, taught me much I wouldn't have learned any other way, provided people to encourage and comfort me (and cry with me and make me laugh), and began to show me that He truly is the "Father to the fatherless." Finally, just over a year ago, the intense grief began to dissipate, and I began to be able to be reminded of Daddy and smile at the good memories rather than being overwhelmed with sadness that he was gone.

I still cry sometimes because I miss him...but those times are much fewer and further between than they used to be. And tonight in Wal-Mart, I realized again how far God has brought me...has brought all of us, since December 2004. I stood in front of a huge display of books about the history of Razorback football, and thought, "Wow, Daddy would have loved that." And then I thought, "That would have made a great Christmas present." And I steeled myself for the tears I thought would come. But they didn't. I smiled, put the book back on the display, and finished my shopping. I am so thankful that God is faithful to see us through our grief, and to bring joy in the morning.

Whew! I think the later it gets, the wordier I get (not that I have ever been accused of being terribly brief at *any* hour of the day!) I am thankful for much to be thankful for...even if it isn't going to be officially posted before midnight.:) Visit Iris at Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursdays ...and encouragement every day!


kel said...

Great post.
We loved starting coop today too it is so great.

Joyful Days said...

See you bless me all over the place. I am so sorry about your losing your dad. You understand where I am right now. Mom was in ICU for Boo's birthday and I had to sign the card from her and Dad (I had to buy it too). And I thought this was just the beginning of many things to come. This last week and a half has been surreal. Much to process through. But Mom's service was beautiful and there were moments of joy. But the steps are going to be many and long.

Peace in the LORD,