I have so many things to blog about, I didn't know how to tie it all together (I somewhat frown upon scattered writing -- even though I am quite prone to do it myself), so I decided to write them in a series of thanksgivings to the Giver of All Good Things.
1. Topping off the list of blessings this weekend, was my short trip to Illinois. I drove up Saturday morning with my little sister Abby as my only passenger (bless her heart, she never asked to stop and use the bathroom -- now that's fortitude!). I was able to see quite a few dear friends at their day of Upward Basketball. Any of you who know me well or have read my blog for a while know how much I love the children in my life. It was so precious to see so many of them, hug them, talk to them, hold them on my lap, see their smiling faces surprised to see me. Going into the trip, I was excitedly thinking about how great it would be to see everyone and catch up with old friends. For whatever reason, it didn't dawn on me how sad it would make me. I found myself getting teary over and over. I wept a bit walking up to the McCurdy's to see Anna (who was sick). And on the way home, it all broke loose. I sobbed and sobbed like I hadn't done in weeks. In fact, I haven't cried like this since the last Sunday at Calvary when I walked through the basement at church and thanked the Lord for His tremendous blessings He'd poured out on me there. Why on earth did I think that a short visit like this would be fun and easy? Driving away was like having an organ ripped from my body. And since I was all alone, I just talked to the Lord about it. A praise song came on the radio, and I just wept and worshiped for a few minutes. My far-away friends who are reading this, please know that your children are still so dear to my heart as they ever have been. The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be His Name!
2. A LONG phone conversation with my dear Christen on the way home. I am not much of a phone-conversationalist, because I always feel like I am bothering whoever I call. But Christen is a great talker, and she didn't mind at all! It was wonderful to catch up with her, to talk about what we were reading, to hear her be so real about struggles she is going through. It was such a timely blessing from Jesus to be able to talk to her for so long.
3. A gourmet dinner hosted by Kevin, my friend from LifeWay. Josh and I joined Kevin and a cluster of his friends for a wonderful Sunday dinner. One of these days, I'm going to blog about the hospitality we've experienced here (it blows me away!!), but for now, suffice it to say that it was warm, comfortable, well-prepared, thoughtful and delicious.
4. Starting a prayer journal. I love journals. I've had this pretty little one sitting on my bookshelf empty and begging me to start writing in it for several months now. Today, I grabbed it off, and took it to church with me, meaning to take notes in it, but (and this is so silly, I hate to even write it, but I do hope you'll understand), the only pen I had with me wrote in blue, and I just didn't want to start my lovely journal with obnoxious blue ink! So I took notes in the bulletin, and brought the journal home still unmarred. While I was doing my laundry this afternoon, I brought it downstairs (with a black pen), meaning to write prayer requests in it. I was suddenly filled with inspiration, and I began to write out my prayer. I used to do this in high school, but I have so rarely done so in my adult life. I'm so excited! What better use for it than to simply to write my adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to the Maker of the Universe?!