Monday, February 27, 2012

Capture Gratitude: Counting Gifts

“There is no event so common place but that God is present within it, always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.”  Fredrick Buechner               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
60. Running
We're coming up on one year of my being a (very slow) runner. I don't even know how to explain deciding that I like can tolerate running after 40 years of hating it, but I'm thankful. And at the moment, my time at the gym is one of the few times of the day when no one is screaming for my attention or crawling all over me. And I either am outside (weather permitting), or I get to watch Good Morning America. Heavenly.
61. Speaking of alone time...

I'm SO THANKFUL that Matt has a flexible schedule. He works many evenings, and because of meetings with college students, usually works until 6:30. That means he can stay with the two younger boys while I take Luke to school & go to the YMCA (see #60). He also works on Sundays. He is supposed to take a day off during the week. And on that day off he stays home with the little boys and I either meet with one of my college girls (on alternating weeks) or get time alone. Love time to journal, read, pray and blog in a coffee shop. I love my kids, and I'm always thankful that I get to spend my days with them. But time alone fills my cup.

As of yesterday, we have a 12 year old. I can't believe it. We are so proud of him and thankful to the Lord that he is ours. At his family birthday dinner (#63) we each shared things that we appreciate about Luke - a new family tradition that I am in LOVE with. It was so fun to hear Luke be praised by each person in the family (we had 15 people here). He was a little embarrassed, but the rest of us loved it.

63. Family
We had such a fun weekend celebrating Luke's birthday. His grandparents came in Saturday to spend the night, go to church and then see Luke's (last minute heartbreaker loss) basketball game. Then the rest of the family (minus the Texas folks, of course) came in for lasagna and fun family time. I didn't grow up regularly seeing my grandparents, aunts & uncles, or cousins. Love this time for my kids sake, and also really enjoy it myself.

And y'all. The dessert I made? The peanut butter filled cupcakes came out really good. Can't wait to share.

64. Specifically: The McCutcheon Family. Relationships that could be really hard, but instead are a GIFT.
These are the grandparents who came in early for Luke's birthday. Verle & Linda McCutcheon are Julie's parents - Matt's first wife, and Luke's first mommy (in case you didn't know, Julie died from complications of breast cancer just after Luke turned 3.) Next year they'll be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. So cool.
Meeting Julie's family was one of the scariest things for me when I was engaged  and getting married to Matt. I knew it would be hard and painful for them, and I knew they would be worried about someone else coming in to mother their grandson.

That first meeting was emotional and hard. But over the years, I've seen that the McCutcheons, instead of being a hard or awkward relationship, are one of God's biggest gifts to me. Verle and Linda, as well as Julie's sisters and brother have embraced me as their family. They encourage Matt & I as parents, and they've taken our younger 2 as their own grandchildren/nephews.

I'm sure whenever they're with us, they think of what could have been, but isn't. Coming to visit us, for them, means returning to the home where Julie lived. It means going to church in the room where Julie's memorial service was held. It means watching someone else love and mother Julie's son.

But they come, and they love us. Most of all, they love Luke so much and pray for him every day. We praise God for them.

65. Little Boys' hearts
I've been working with some friends on a project to bless a little girl I fell in love with in Uganda. She can't be adopted (either domestically or internationally), and my heart has just been broken for her. I was on my phone and facebook pretty continually for a bit discussing her with some friends and brainstorming what we could do, to Tobin's frustration (MM was napping.) I explained to him why I was ignoring him, told him the little girls' story and how I was hoping we could be a part of blessing her. He said, "Just a minute mom!" and ran upstairs. And came back down with this:

He offered the contents of his piggy bank to help her. I don't know how much 2 quarters, a silly band, and a My Little Pony hairbrush (??) will help her, but it still brought tears to my eyes. Thankful for his heart.