30 Days of Thanks: Days 18-20

Dear whomever has the ability to fix my technical issue- please do so. I don’t like blogging delayed.

Day 18: Thankful for the Pastors

I thank GOD that I was born to a preacher, but there have also been other Pastors influential in my life.

One of the advantages of growing up as a Pastor’s kid is that I got to meet many amazing (& not too amazing) Pastors of many local churches in my region.

One of those Pastors happened to me like an earthquake. Pastor Mark.

Pastor Mark pastors a small young church plant about an hour from where I now live. By GOD using him, I came into a true saving relationship with Christ Jesus in February 2011.

Mark lovingly would call me out when I did wrong, but also would remind me of what remains the greatest lesson that a Pastor has taught me so far:

GOD loves the mess we are, and if we surrender, GOD can use that mess as a MESSAGE.

Day 19: Thankful for the ability to hear, see and speak

I don’t know if my parents have ever told me what my first words were. But I grew up being a talker, often getting into far too much trouble for talking in class.

When I went into my 30s, I found myself retreating some and becoming less talkative. Much of that was maturity, I hope. Perhaps I have learned to listen more and talk less (2 ears, 1 mouth kind of reminder). Another part of that is that I began to write more, more than I had before.

As far as sight, I do indeed thank GOD for the amazing wonders of HIS creation that I have gotten to experience. I have hiked over 200 miles of trails, seen 20 different waterfalls, visited nearly every state east of Kansas (sans Maine, New York, and New Jersey).

I am thankful that I have also seen the adorable smiles of my sons, the beauty of my sister getting married and having her first child, and even seeing the final moments of a loved ones life.

Hearing. Have you read much of my blog? You may have stumbled over the fact that I am hearing impaired, having suffered profound hearing loss in my left ear.

Yet, I love Music. Music is such a big part of me. I love to listen to music from classical Chopin to the Christian Rock of Toby Mac.

I am blessed for what I can hear, though over the last year have taken more delight in sounds. Somethings I may have once heard easily no longer can I hear.

It is in that loss of hearing that I have TRULY learned to be thankful for what I can see, what I can say, what I can hear.

Day 20: I am thankful for my job and for my coworkers

I love what I do. Sure, like any other job, my job is not without its problems or things that I may even complain about. But I truly love what I do. I get to go to work Monday through Friday, knowing that I may very well get to help someone.

I get to work with some of the greatest, yet quirky, people alive. I love my crew. Each day as I leave, I always tell them the same thing: “Everybody be careful getting home”.

Because there have been the times I lost coworkers rather unexpectedly. Or they didn’t make it home without injury.

My current coworkers are a stellar bunch of all-stars. The department I work is in majority made of of employees that have been with the company at least 10 years. These seasoned Ladies and Gents share their work experiences, their life experiences, and their lives with me. We often see each other during the week more than we see our own families (sadly).

In 2008, the economy bit me hard. I not only went through the loss of one job but two due to cutbacks. Jobs were very scarce in my area, and many people moved away to find other employment. I stayed, applying with no results.

I would pick up some part time work, but would not return full-time into the workforce until 2010.

The economy in my area has greatly improved over the last 9 years, and new jobs have begun to peak through in limited amounts. I know how tremendously blessed I am to have had my current employer for over 3 years, and my current position in the company for just over a year. It is a triple blessing that I love my job and do look forward to it, even on it’s hardest of days.

My current job and coworkers have taught me a tremendous lesson over the last year: I have a work family, even when my biological family can’t be there for me.

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30 Days of Thanks: Day 16

Day 16: My Cousins

I was blessed to grow up with more cousins than most people. As I stated in my Day 14 post, I come from a huge family.

My cousins were my best friends, my play mates, and often times my closest family.

Two of those cousins in particular were the closest thing that I ever had to having older siblings.

I love recalling those days when we would be ankle deep in the creek trying to catch minnows or frogs.

The greatest lesson that I ever learned from my cousins is that it is more than okay to challenge yourself and, in fact, it is encouraged.

I am blessed to have at least two of my cousins currently serving in the US Military, so a special recognition to them.

What of you- did you grow up close to your cousins? If so, what lessons did they teach you?

 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 15

Day 15: My Uncles

As I stated in my post yesterday, I come from quite a large family.

My mom has two brothers that have passed away, and four living brothers. My dad only has one brother. But that only counts my uncles by birth, not those by marriage.

I have learned a lot of interesting things from my uncles. My dad’s brother begin to teach me chess at the age of 4. The most important lesson imparted to me by any of my Uncles is that I cannot forget where I came from.

I am not one that will ever say that we are forever confined by the raising we may have had. I will state that we must not forget our roots, or where we come from.

I know I am from a family rich in military history, plentiful in Christian faith, and sprinkled with a good dose of dark shadowy characters. I know I am also from a family where I am the first girl grandchild on each side to have a college degree.

What of you? Have your uncles taught you any life lessons?

30 Days of Thanks: Day 14

Day 14: My Aunts

I have a unique family tree, of which my mother is one of 13 children. My dad, however, is one of 3.

I have many aunts, and many of them have played an influential role in my growing up. Two of my mom’s sisters helped to raise me, and my dad’s little sister was like a bigger sister to me.

I won’t try to list something that they have individually taught me. That could be quite a lengthy post. The greatest lesson that I have learned from ANY of my aunts is that family is always family, but sometimes you have to distance yourself from them.

I have always had a strong sense of family, perhaps because of the large family that my mom comes from. I have had to learn as I have been growing up that I can still be someone’s biological family, but that does not mean that I have to have the person continually in my life.

What of you- have your aunts been a big influence in your life? If so, what lessons on life have you gained from them?

 

Ponderins: Unpublished March 2011

(For a little while, I worked as a journalist with my hometown newspaper. Weekly, I wrote a column entitled ‘Ponderins’, which challenged people to think about certain things. The following piece was submitted to the editor at the end of my stint as a journalist & was never published.)

Memaw isn’t a Knox County native, but she would surely tell you that this is home. Last week, my Memaw would suffer a fall that would send her to a local hospital.
Her many children and grandchildren and some great-grandchildren would gather at the hospital, torn by the waves of progress and set backs.
At one point, one of my Aunt’s aid, “times like this is when families ought to be closer”.
Reality is, that families are never really like what we think they ought to be. If we have a small family, we say they ought to be big. If they are too tightly knit, we say that they ought to have some distance.
We complain about what they are and wish for what they ought to be.
Family is so precious. You can make more friends, and you can find new love. Family once gone is simply gone.
It is never easy in families. They will fued, argue, and say hurtful things. Family relationships are like any other relationship – they involve flawed people.
Here are some things on family for ya’ll to ponder on this week:
(1) Don’t let illness or death be the only time you call them or to go see them. And don’t just wait for holidays either.
(2) Allow your family the kind of leaveway that you grant your friends. If nothing else, we should be just as willing if not more to forgive our family.
(3) Say ‘I love you’ every time you see them. You never know when it might be the last time.

There are things that I would like my family to be, but I am content that they are just my family: Johnsons, Mills, Lowes and Brocks.
I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on what families ought to be.