So much to be thankful for and so little ability to express it:
- Alexa's home. She arrived at 3:30 A.M. last Sunday morning. The kids didn't know. The day before was Ezra's birthday, and since we were pressed for time to do all the things we had going for that day, I had told him that we would give him breakfast in bed on Sunday morning (it's kind of like birthday cake in our family--it may not be everyone's favorite thing, but it's expected by both the givers and the receiver), and I'd get a special surprise for him. Anyway, so we had 6 Japanese high school athletes staying with us that weekend (OK, so there's a thing or two that happens here that I don't get around to blogging about--yatahay), so our boys were all sleeping in Sam's room. The girls got up to make Ez's breakfast, and we took it down with a cheery rendition of "Happy Birthday". We just stood there chatting for a while and trying to wake up Sam and Jake (teenagers sleep like newborns--awake when you'd like them to sleep and vice-versa), when Kait asked me what the special surprise was for Ezra. "Oh yeah. Just a second, I'll go get it." So I ran down to my room where Lex was sleeping and told her that we had a little window of opportunity to totally surprise the rest of the kids. She got up and grabbed the gifts she had brought for Ez and you should have seen those faces when she walked in the room!!! It was so fun! For a second everything just stopped, and then Kait threw herself at Lex and held on. She kept her eyes squeezed shut like she was afraid of waking up from a dream. Jacob kept saying, "It's Alexa! It's Alexa! Sam wake up! It's Alexa!" and wiping his eyes with a shirt I had tossed to him (he was still under the sheets). The little kids were just watching with big grins on their faces as if they weren't quite sure what was going on--it was great!
- Wonderful friends. Not the least of which happens to be my husband. I learn so much that I need to know and understand and work on from watching my friends and they are so kind and patient and tolerant of me that it just amazes me sometimes. I'm also grateful for the ability to store these friends in my memories and recall those incredible people who aren't physically near me anymore for whatever reason and the things I gleaned from my association with them.
- Time and perspective. I don't think I'm particularly slow to understand concepts, but I am very slow to put them into practice. My aunt used to say, "Oh, if I only lived as well as I know." But I can look back on my life from here at almost 50 and see that in many things I am better--I am kinder, more empathetic, even stronger in some ways. I'm thankful that the Lord has given me the time to have the experiences that have helped to polish off at least some of the rough places.
- The ability to realize my blessings. I knew that the Lord doesn't think or act the way we do and many blessings I asked for came in the form of trials, but I found that I was having a hard time recognizing these things. So I asked the Lord to help me so I would have the joy that comes from feeling grateful. He did and I do. Very grateful.