Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Belated Thansgiving!

First of all, the initials for names thing is quickly getting old so I will be using real names from now on. Chris is the very loving and very intelligent husband, Josh is the smart and goofy soon-to-be nine year old, and Andy is the rapidly growing and very determined six-and-a-half month old.

OK. About Thanksgiving. This was my post on my Myspace blog page last year:

Since writing is not one of my strengths I don't usually blog, but I was thinking of a few things that I am thankful for on this day, Thanksgiving.
-a God who loves me beyond measure!!!

-my family(there are too many to list)
-great friends
-a warm home to live in
-my overflowing closet and dresser
-good food(anyone say TURKEY!)
-a nice soft bed and pillow
-snow and a hot summer sun
-the miracle of a new life
I too often take these things and more for granted. I just wanted to take some time to reflect on the many blessings in my life. Last night I did a little shopping with my husband and son. It was sooo cold and snowing. I usually end up complaining about the cold, which I did, but I also thought about the men and women and children that are stuck in the cold either homeless or unable to afford to heat whatever it is they call home. I got into a warm car then came home and turned up the heat in the house. I am so incredibly blessed! I need to take lots more time everyday to be grateful for all these blessings. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! I know I will!

This year I actually acted upon what has been my hearts desire for many years. My heart has been heavy and my eyes fill with tears anew for those who struggle to make ends meet and really have nothing. I have had a life filled with blessings and abundance and therefore have felt overwhelmingly convicted to "give back." I have also desired to instill compassion and generosity in the hearts and minds of my children. So that being said, my family and I decided to attend the Walk To End Hunger Event at the Mall of America. Well, I decided for us but Chris and Josh (and even Andy), without complaint, joined in. I created our team page on the website and sent out emails to several people asking for donations and pledges. Little to my knowledge, most of the emails didn't make it to their destination. As soon as I discovered this problem, Chris sent out a Facebook plea for support. Our initial goal was $250 and we ended up raising $160. Not bad at all! Next year I will do things a little different knowing what I know now as far as gathering pledges but my plan is to make it a tradition. Nevertheless, it was a great experience for us and not only did it do our bodies good but also our hearts.
The really fun part of the morning for me is kinda selfish.

I was on the news!


And I didn't sound like a blubbering idiot!

Andy doesn't like to hang out in his stroller for long periods of time (or short ones for that matter) so we took turns carrying him. At one point my arms got really tired so I put him on the floor, grabbed his hands, and began walking veerrryy slloowwllyy. First, one cameraman with a large camera began filming us, then Andy, walking. Then, another cameraman with another large camera began filming Andy. He got his shot and we continued to walk. That same cameraman approached us a few minutes later asking if I would do an interview. By this time Andy was in my arms again. I said "Sure" and so he asked me several questions. He said the first question was going to be really hard. I could tell that he was being facetious but I braced myself anyway.

"What is your name and how do you spell it?"
What is my name? What is my name? (It's really hard to concentrate when you have a large camera facing you and a bright light shining on your face.)
"Liz, L-I-Z, Russell, R-U-S-S-E-L-L."
"Where are you from?"
Where am I from? Where am I from?
"Cottage Grove."
And the rest I only vaguely remember.
What was shown on the news?
"To raise funds for the hungry and to teach my children to give back"

So only about three seconds of fame but..


The rest of the day was glorious. We spent time with family and friends chatting, laughing, and eating and I got to make turkey and stuffing in the oven for the first time. It turned out very well and I stuffed myself silly pretty much the entire day.

I am so thankful for many things but a blog that I read sent out this challenge. The Bible tells us to not only be thankful in the midst of everything but for everything also. That is incredibly hard as we face unbelievable tragedies and sad circumstances. My difficult thing to be thankful for truly is what I went through with Josh's father. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to face but God began shaping me and molding me through the tough times. He continues to do so when I allow Him. How can I be ungrateful for what God has given me even when I've had to go through the fire to obtain His blessings? That is something I must continually keep in my mind and heart.

What are you thankful for during this season of giving thanks? What feels completely unnatural to be thankful for?

JOY and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isaiah 51:3b

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