The Thankful Song

macy

This is one of my favorite Veggie Tales songs,

“The Thankfulness Song.”
I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that’s all around,
That’s why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
‘Cause He listens to my prayers,
That’s why I say thanks every day!


In the Spirit of Thankfulness

Staying on the theme of the Thankfulness Countdown, today I’m thankful for people willing to fight for you.

fight

In my life (and mirrored in this picture), the best fighters have always been my siblings and my parents (now, of course, my own husband and children as well). We’re kind of a tight bunch. We’re feircely loyal and annoyingly talkative about it. But I love it.

I’m also thankful for the bigger family, the Church, that is capable of the same fighting FOR one another when we are at our best. Like a traditional family we have our bouts of in-fighting and petty disagreements, but we are also capable of great charity toward one another. I’m thankful for that.

The Thankful Countdown

I have a guest post up at Anne and May today. Anne’s comment there reminded me of a great lesson Dan uses when he is working with worship teams and church congregations. He relates our ability to worship God to the work of a muscle. The more you train yourself to see God for who He really is and give him the honor and respect that He deserves, the stronger those worship muscles get. You progressively learn to worship longer and more authenically as you practice.

Thankfulness is another muscle that we need to exercise. In his wonderful book, The Glorious Pursuit, Gary Thomas writes: “The virtue of thankfulness is power to the soul. God offers it to us to drive out the spiritually degenerative illness of bitter, negative thinking.” Remember when Oprah used to have her audience write in a Thankful Journal everyday? Not a bad idea!

lookingup

Really, most of the time, espeically living with this crew, thankfulness comes pretty naturally for me. But it is still good to be reminded that being thankful, like any of the Christian virtues, is something that I can cultivate. In this upcoming Thanksgiving season I’m going to try to be more purposeful in exercising these thankful muscles.

Why I Love Rare Finds

I have run the Rare Find feature several times on this blog. I love introducing you to people I believe are living the exemplary life of a Rare Rock. They don’t have to be famous or powerful or outwardly beautiful. These are simply people who are living life according to a higher standard, people pursuing the discipline of God, people embracing the life they have been given with gratefulness and grace.

Sometimes a Rare Find isn’t a person but a ministry or a church. These are the groups who are showing the world what it looks like to be a living stone. They might be fighting for global justice, washing the feet of the saints, or just trying their best to show others the love of Christ.

Today I’m thinking about a BIG group of people for my Rare Find. This could possibly be my favorite kind of person: a Rare Find in an unexpected place. This weekend Dan and I had the chance to travel to a church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to lead worship for their Sunday night service. We knew something of the congregation, mostly that they were small. We knew the pastor, and Dan was quick to tease him about the old choruses he made Dan play on the piano.

The room we entered surprised us. The decor was extremely modern, the location was downtown. Our sound tech offered his assistance in black clothes and the remains of many tattoos across his knuckles, but his spirit was sweet. He served us with excellence.

As the congregation entered the room we began to realize what a contrast there was between the mostly older people (“gray hairs” as our sound friend lovingly referred to them) took their obviously established seats in the room. When a singer/guitar player opened up with a Jesus people song that everyone in the room knew except us, I began to worry that our contemporary choruses weren’t going to go over very well.

But then I saw the sound guy in the back again, closing his eyes and worshipping along with a style of music that was clearly not his preference. Still, he understood that worship is for God, not for us. When we asked if there was anyway to get a little more sound coming out of our monitor he explained that he has to keep the sound levels low for this particular congregation. He was a humble servant, a Rare Find in an unexpected place. I felt like we might have been there just for him, and him for us.

Our sets went fine. The congregation was willing to try new songs and responded well to our pastor’s message that night. As we left the impressive brick building in the downtown area, Dan asked the kind woman driving us to the airport about a particular red truck in the parking lot, one of the last vehicles there. “I’m guessing that truck belongs to Chuck. Is that right, Ma’am?” Yes, indeed. There in the middle of a lot full of Lincoln’s and other sedans sat a hot red pick-up truck on lifts with flames painted up the sides and decals covering the back window.

That’s what I love about the Church!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Today I’m doing homework. I’m also pouring over course descriptions for next semester and a copy of the requirements I still need to fulfill in order to graduate. And for some reason, all of that has me thinking about dreams and what I want to become when I grow up. (I am teaching right now – and I love it – but I am teaching in an unaccredited situation and that is about to change. My school is moving toward accreditation and, therefore, so am I! It is nice when some decisions just almost make themselves.)

Last year my father, who is a family physician, decided to take a law enforcement certification course so that he could serve as a security officer at our church. My brother tagged along and now he wants to make a career out of criminal justice.

It is interesting to me that some people follow a childhood dream to their vocational life’s calling while others find a particular career later in life. Some choose a job for the money, others for the location or the hours. Some dreams get interrupted and returned to later. Some dreams fade away entirely.

Today I wonder, what is your story? Are you in the vocation of your dreams? Did your dream find you unexpectedly? Or are you still waiting for the dream to unfold? Maybe you just work out of necessity and feed your dream in other ways? How did you KNOW what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or are you still trying to figure it out?

Dear Claire,

claire21Today you are six! You’ve been practicing for this day for months now and it is finally here. You picked out a special blue sweater for school and I found pretty gold bows for your hair. We even used hairspray!

You were born on a Tuesday six years ago and Tuesdays have never been the same for me. You came in a hurry, you teeny, tiny little baby! But then you took your time in the hospital before we finally got to take you home. 115 days! The NICU was a big, busy place but you got lots of attention. You still like big, noisy places.

A few days after you were born Daddy read you a book called Good Night, Princess Pruny Toes. A sweet nurse had glued a red bow to your head and you slept on top of a fuzzy pink blanket. You looked like a little princess bird. We cried a little bit because we were so happy to have you, little bird. And you still likclaire11e princesses.

Tonight we will eat cupcakes with purple icing and give you gifts like Disney Princesses art supplies and a cute purple dress. You will probably laugh a lot and shout, “I rock!”

I’ll probably get a little teary eyed when you blow out those six hot pink candles. You might even say, “Mom, WHY are you crying?!” But don’t worry about me. I just couldn’t be happier that you are here and I can’t wait to see what you’ll say to me next year.claire3

Happy Birthday, Claire Bear!

You certainly are the life of our party!

You Are What You Say

smilingnolaThis is what I saw last night. Nola Serenity, my baby sister’s first baby! Doesn’t she look like she’s smiling here?! I would post something big and important and spiritual, but what could be better than this? What could be bigger or more spiritual?

My mom used to always say that the way a woman acts during labor is a reflection of her true character. For instance, when watching a sitcom where the heroine threw punches at her husband, my mom would remind us that it shouldn’t be like that. You know, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks kind of thing. And I recently heard a sermon about how these are the very words that Jesus was worried about – the ones that come out when we aren’t in front of a crowd or trying to impress someone.

Who knows if this theory is actually true, but if it is, then my sister gets big Rare Rocks points today. In the middle of the hardest part of labor, she actually looked up at my mom and said, “Wow, this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”

“And then she smiled, I think,” the midwife added as the two were telling us the war story.

Now that is Rare Rock material! Happy Birthday, Nola! Happy Motherhood, Tia!