Thanksgiving - how I love Thanksgiving. I have truly wonderful memories of Thanksgiving from as far back as I can remember. This is one of the years where my birthday falls on Thanksgiving! My birthday celebrations have always been special because it always falls around a holiday spent with people I love. It was extra special to celebrate year 52 with all my kids here in Chicago - and some really dear friends that joined us. I love cooking for everyone!
It has been fun to look at the posts over this last month on facebook as people have been recounting all the things they are thankful for. I try to make it a habit to do this often -- to soak up every days blessings and to approach each day with a grateful heart. Since I just turned 52, I thought I would post 52 things that I am thankful for - and then I thought how very long that post would be and I would lose most of you quickly - so I'll do 24 for the 24 days of November. If I live as long as the list of things I love - I will live to a very old age!
1. My Savior - Jesus. Without Him, I wouldn't have this life that I am so thankful to live.
2. My husband Alan - my closest friend and my favorite person to hang out with. He is faithful and he loves me so unconditionally.
3. My daughter, Ashely - my first born - who makes my life so rich. She loves the Lord and she makes the world a much brighter place. Spending time with her is amazing.
4. My daughter Heather - Joy personified - she lights up a room when she walks in and she makes me laugh hysterically all the time. Any time spent with Heather is a great time.
5. My son in law - James - Ashley's husband. If I could have ordered a husband for Ashley, it would be him. He loves the Lord and he loves Ashley. What more can I say?
6. My son in law - Cooper - Heather's husband. Cooper is a passionate guy about all of the things he loves - including Heather. I appreciate his sense of humor and His love for the Lord.
7. My parents - I feel so fortunate to have such amazing parents that are happy, healthy and a whole lot of fun.
8. My in-laws - they raised a mighty fine man that I am married to. They are kind and giving.
9. My out-laws - in other words, my son in laws' parents! James and Sharon Thorne - Dan and Julie Brenton - Amazing people who have blessed me so much. It is so wonderful to know that my daughters are a part of these great families.
10. My church family -- this includes people that I am still close to from First Baptist Arlington, Westchester Baptist in NY, Karl Road Baptist in OH, The River Church in CO, Destination in Chicago and the two churches that I grew up in - Willow Meadows and Tallowood. Churches full of people who have shaped me and continue to do so.
11. Young Life - without this ministry, my life could have taken a much different path. I will be forever grateful for the volunteers and staff that saw something in me worth investing in!
12. Kim Talley - I can not make a post like this without being thankful for Kim Talley - that YL staff person who was Jesus with skin on to me. Eternally thankful.
13. My dog Quincy - my constant companion.
14. My home states -- TX, NY, OH, CO, IL
15. My mentors - Mom, LaVon, Ann, Rosemary and Doris - godly women who have showed me what it is to walk with Jesus at every stage of life.
16. Teenagers - I have had the most amazing experiences with teenagers over the years in teaching high school, YL and in church ministry.
17. Mountains - I love Colorado and the mountains speak to me in a way that no other terrain does. It is as if the Lord is whispering my name as soon as I see those first snowy peaks.
18. Cities - that's right - I love the mountains and I love big cities. Living in Chicago is such an incredible experience. I love the variety of people, the neighborhoods and all the ethnic food.
19. Working Out - I love to exercise - running, spinning, lifting weights, hiking . . . I love all of it.
20. Friendship -- I have had the privilege of walking through life with some of the most amazing people on the planet.
21. Bible study - I love studying the Bible on my own and I love small group Bible studies. God's Word is endlessly fascinating and dear to me. My Bible is my most prized possession.
22. Neighbors - I LOVE my neighbors. They are my Chicago family and they bless me so much.
23. Music - I love to listen to all kinds of music. Music touches my soul like nothing else.
24. Grace - my favorite word - my driving passion. Without the grace of Jesus - I would be no where.
If you have not come up with a list for today - take time to do so. Your heart will be overflowing with all the good things in your life - even if times are hard.
I am thankful for those of you who take the time to read City Chat. It has been a growing experience for me and I truly appreciate your encouragement.