Many of my blogging cyberfriends (like Ann Voskamp and Sherry Graham and more) keep Gratitude Journals and post lists of things they are thankful for every so often. (Ann Voskamp even turned her list into an amazing book, One Thousand Gifts, which made it to Amazon's Top 10 list!) I figured I would join them at least once with a list of things for which I am grateful from this past weekend.
I'm afraid my list is a bit more wordy than the usual pithy poet format my friends use, but that's OK. It's my list, not theirs. The big event this weekend was the 4th annual Books & Beyond conference, so my first several entries are related to that.
- I'm grateful first for my dear friend Cheryl Bastian, who organized this conference again even though she is 8 months pregnant with her 7th baby. She is my hero!
- At Books & Beyond, I loved Debbie Strayer's encouragement to moms, Jim Weiss's sessions on story telling and historical heroes, and Tina Farewell's practical advice for wives.
- My Saturday morning workshop session, "With Literature and Justice for All" went better than I had hoped. It sounded really bumpy while I was rehearsing, but I was able to adjust my notes and print them out in much larger font to make them easier to read. So I was able to relax and let it flow naturally and only went a few minutes overtime. (Usually, I run out of time long before I run out of material!)
- A teen helper, Christina Mitchell, recorded most of my session with the video camera my daughters gave us for Christmas. I hope to figure out how to upload it to one of my blogs soon, along with my handouts. It's in MP4 format, so I might need to download a file converter to edit it in Windows Movie Maker. Any ideas here, folks?
- I loved talking to all the sweet folks who stopped my book table in the vendor hall, and I sold more of my books (The Real Life Home School Mom and Common Sense Excellence) than I expected -- more than enough to pay my printing bill! I still have a few copies left over for when I speak at NearHim Home Educators support group meeting in March.
- Thad "held the fort" at home very well while I was gone, despite not feeling well from a lingering cold.
- Lydia was already fixing spicy black bean soup for dinner by the time I got home.
- I had a productive evening helping one of my children organize a bedroom. I will spare you the identifying details, and I will most certainly not post a "before" picture. :-)
- Naomi and Micah designed their own board game on Saturday. I promised I would play it with them today. I love it when my kids are creative and work together!
- Sunday morning, Thad made oatmeal with chunks of apples. Yummy and warm on a cold morning!
- I loved worshipping and learning at Lake Baldwin Church with eight of my kids. The music was great (a mix of hymns and contemporary), Mike Tilley's encouragement on "Rhythms of Grace: Community" (on 1 Corinthians 12:12-26) was excellent, and I enjoyed meeting some more of the lovely people there as well as chatting with some I've already met since we arrived in September. Yes, I'm very grateful for this little church that has made me feel at home and appreciate God's amazing grace freshly.
- My kids had a great time in Sunday School, as they always do. So I am thankful for the wonderful people who love kids enough to volunteer to teach them each week!
- Thad had stayed home sick, but had lunch (French bread pizza) almost ready when we got home. Then he took the kids to Kewanee Park for a couple of hours so I could take a nap since I was exhausted (as I usually am on Sunday afternoons). What a guy!
- Then Thad made delicious tacos and enchiladas for dinner. Are you seeing a pattern here? I did not cook a single meal on Saturday or Sunday, except for microwaving some chocolate chip pancakes Saturday morning and chopping up some fresh veggies for a salad for Sunday lunch. Yeah! Now it's back to cooking five nights in a row. (I've relieved Joanna and Rachel from cooking duties until they come back from Italy.)
- The boys were going to youth group last night, so Thad and I were going to use the remainder of our Panera gift card while they were there, rather than make two round trips to the church office. Unfortunately, Panera closed at 6 PM! Huh? Oh well! I had noticed a sign at Arby's about $1 chocolate turnovers, so that's where we ended up.
- The boys had a blast at youth group, not only with the fun activities, but with discussing how God should be our top priority. So, besides Sunday school teachers, I'm thankful for youth workers, too! I know middle school can be a really challenging age group (though it is personally my favorite to teach) so kudos to them!
- At Arby's, Thad and I had a great chance to chat and pray about the coming week, and he said it's OK for me to start checking out flight schedules to go visit my family in Maryland next month for my sister Barb's 50th birthday. (Someone else is paying for the plane ticket, but it means he's "holding the fort" again for a few days while I'm gone. No easy deal when you have a bunch of kids!) Barb is planning her birthday trip to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which I love! I haven't been there in forever, at least not since we moved back to Florida almost 18 years ago. I'm psyched! Even more importantly, I love spending time with my big sister, as well as the rest of my family. I hope it actually works out.
- When we got home, I read some stories to the three younger kids -- an Uncle Arthur story, one from the Golden Book Treasury, and another picture book. After being at a literature conference this weekend, it only seemed fitting to come home and read to my kids!
- I'm really glad that I didn't have to prepare a complete set of weekly lesson plans since I had done them ahead of time. Actually, I did something totally different than my regular lesson plans last week, so I just saved them for this week. It worked. We've started in with some great literature and history this morning, it's independent learning time right now, and then we're off to the YMCA home school P.E. classes just after lunch.
- As I was finishing up typing this (most of which I wrote last night), nine year old Naomi was writing a paragraph about our trip to the Orlando Science Center last week, and asking me to spell words like hurricane for her. Then our kindgartener Melody got into the act and copied from Naomi's paper. Yes, this is kosher - at least in this context. Look at what she did! (See below, along with a picture of Naomi in the hurricane tube with the wind about 70 mph!)
- Thad and the kids have really blessed me with their affection. They keep me well supplied with hugs and kisses and back rubs.
- Most of all I am thankful for God's grace and strength to keep moving forward, doing the things I love to do -- along with plenty of things I do just because they need to be done. It's all good.
Think! What are you grateful for? Are you ready to start your own list? To get you started, why don't you post just one thing in my comment section?