Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Persimmons anyone?

On Thanksgiving morning, we were sitting around watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when the phone rang. It was our Korean friends wanting to drop off a gift for us. The gift turned out to be a fruit basket and some Choco-pies (they've given us these before and they are like a Moon Pie). In the fruit basket were apples, kiwi and some persimmons.

We'd heard of persimmons, but probably nobody in the family (except maybe Grandma) had ever eaten one. In fact, my main association with persimmons was that if they are not ripe, they make you pucker! These were bright orange and looked to be ripe and ready to eat. But none of us knew exactly how to eat one.

Google and YouTube to the rescue! I'm sure we could have found several choices of videos to watch (or articles to read), but somehow we stumbled on this one. Based on the fact that it was an Asian family who brought us the fruit, this instruction video seems appropriate.

We enjoyed tasting this new (to us) fruit and we appreciated the thoughtful gifts that our friends brought to us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Parade Party

Our entire Thanksgiving weekend was special for our family. We had lots of good times together as a family making memories and remembering Dad. One of the highlights for me was our Thanksgiving Parade Party on Thanksgiving morning.

It all started with Daniel saying that he'd like to stay home and watch the parade in his p.j.'s (instead of he and I going to walk/run the Boulevard Bolt, which has been a Thanksgiving activity for us in the past). I liked his stay-at-home idea this year and decided I'd invite the rest of the family over too. Jeanette got in the spirit by bringing several costume-y things for the girls to dress up in and I bought them each a balloon (what's a Macy's parade without balloons??). We had a great time lounging around watching the parade on TV and being entertained by our own personal parade!

I think this may become a new tradition for our family on the years when we are all together on Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for thankfulness

I know I've been quiet on this blog lately. I have so many feelings and thoughts, swirling around in my head and heart, and I need to make time to get them down on paper. Some of them will make it to the blog . . . eventually!

Today, on Thanksgiving Day 2011, I am so thankful for the ability, privilege and gift of thankfulness. I am thankful that the Lord has put thankfulness in my heart, mixed in with the sadness and grief, because thankfulness brings joyfulness.

In his letters to the churches, Paul repeatedly told them (and now us) to be thankful in all circumstances. One that has stuck with me through the years is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
Today's devotion in Jesus Calling gave perfect insight to this (referring to Ephesians 5:20, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."):

"Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction:  You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience . . . those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain. Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity." (pg. 343)
I am so thankful for Jesus and that because of Him, I can have salvation and joy and thankfulness. Even when my heart is sad and missing my dad (which it is and will be), I can be glad. I can have joy. I can be thankful. And the Lord has done this!

"I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 The LORD is God,
   and he has made his light to shine upon us.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
   you are my God; I will extol you.
 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalm 118: 21-24, 27a, 28-29, ESV

Monday, November 14, 2011

If I had a "bucket list"

I guess everyone has at least a mental "bucket list" but if I had one that was written down, I would have "attend a Chris Tomlin concert" on it. And after this past Friday night, I would be able to cross that one off my list. In fact, I think I'll leave it on my unwritten list (or if you want to know a little-known fact about me, I am such a list-maker that if I have just completed something that I had not written down on a list, I'll still add it after the fact, just so I can check it off . . . weird, I know).

Back to the concert, it was a sold-out show, at a large church in Murfreesboro, about 45 minutes away from my house. Of course, it was on a Friday night, and there was traffic, but my friends and I still made it there in plenty of time and even though I was tired after a busy work-day and week, being there energized me and I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to experience a night of worship like that.

This tour was the "And If Our God Is For Us" tour and he opened with "Our God" and then kept us on an upbeat, on-our-feet, hand-clapping, giant screen karaoke worship experience for probably an hour. Then Chris and the band took a break and speaker, Louie Giglio came up and preached for about 30 minutes (awesome) before Chris came back to finish out the night. I wish that I had a set list so that I could remember the order of the songs that they played.

It was fun to get to experience the concert with four friends, two who I've known since college, and two who go to church with me now. I think we were all so glad that we went and for those who are kicking themselves for not getting a ticket, don't worry . . . I'll let you know the next time the opportunity comes around and you can cross it off your "bucket list" too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Two Sisters and a Cousin

I would be remiss to not show some pictures of my sweet nieces and their awesome big cousin from Halloween earlier this last week. I've also got to share some cute pics from the pumpkin patch (unfortunately, the big cousin wasn't able to come).

Disclaimer:  The reason why this is just being posted today is because I was tripped up by the pictures. I do NOT know why Blogger won't do vertical pictures, but . . . whatever

Have you ever seen an angel drumming? 
So glad she decided to wear her halo and wings (it was a dilemma earlier in the day)

Here is the world's squirmiest flower! :-)

Not sure why the flower is crying, but the angel wasn't tellin'.

Sweet sister moment at the pumpkin patch

Love, love, love these sweet faces!

There was a picture of them from the front, but don't know where it went.

A "90s Kid" with the flower and the angel. Cousins R Great!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Praying down the number

Throughout the past few years, I have had a greater awareness and interest in adoption. I don't have all of the statistics, but I know that there are hundreds of thousands of children all over the world who have lost one or both parents (147 million is a number that has been put out there). I obviously can't "fix" that problem on my own and I don't feel God calling me to adopt a child into my family, but I do feel like there are some things that I (we) can do to help.

I can give financially to support adoption and even though I am limited in what I can give, I have been blessed 100 times more by even having a small part in bringing a child home to an adopting family. Click here to see an amazing story of one family who recently brought home a daughter from Uganda. It's "the rest of the story" from a story I shared earlier this year.

I can also pray for adopting families and children who need to be adopted. Some bloggers are starting a new initiative to help us remember to pray for adoption:  PRAY DOWN THE NUMBER AT 1:47 PM. You can read about it on their blog, but basically, where ever you are at 1:47pm each day, just stop and lift up orphans to the Father - pray for friend's adoptions, pray for the orphan who is hungry, pray the for the orphan that is sick, pray for the families sitting on the fence about adoption, pray for orphan/adoption ministries, pray for those serving orphans, whatever God lays on your heart to pray.

Wouldn't it be cool to be standing in line at a store and hear a bunch of phone alarms going off at 1:47pm as reminders to pray for orphans and adoptions? Or to see someone with a "147" written on her hand. It'll be even more amazing to see what God does in answer to these prayers!