November 22, 2012

I am thankful for...

My beloved parents, David and Julia, and their commitment to pursue Truth, Jesus, love, sacrifice and service for God's glory and the advancement of His kingdom on earth.  They mean so much to me, and I am profoundly grateful to have them as a huge part of my life.  So many of my peers and even close relatives have experienced the breakdown of their parents marriage, and I have been graciously spared.  What a gift.  What a treasure!

Joel my one and only "big brother" who has been such an inspiration in my life since I was a wee girl.  It has been a real joy to see him grow and mature into a godly young man of God.  He has pursued His calling on his life in the areas of politics, Christian Apologetics, Creation science, discipleship, and honest business.  He is so interesting to talk with, and I am glad to have a relationship of trust and respect, where we can mutually share about our struggles, joys, trials, blessings and life happenings.  I am excited to see where the Lord will lead him next, as he plans on beginning grad-school in January.  He is such a blessing and encouragement to many!

Caleb who is now a "distant" brother, geographically, but not in my heart or mind.  It's hard to watch him grow up, because that means I am getting older too.  And yet, and I am filled with anticipation at the mighty works I know Jesus has planned for him to accomplish.  How thrilling it was when he shared that he had begun taking a Spanish language course through a local homeschool co-op.  His desire is to reach out to the Hispanic people in his community, and the Lord is preparing him for such opportunities.  He is such a fun guy, and always smiling, when he enters a room it brightens.  I miss his warm humor, and his deep insights on life and what the Lord is showing him, daily.  Thank God for texting and Sundays.

Phoebe is, as I have said many times, my best friend.  Her enthusiasm for life, her smile, her quiet, wise ways, and her brilliance all inspire and challenge me to never stop learning, to enjoy life and let the little things that could annoy me, go, to have a trust in Jesus that grows each day and embrace life to the fullest.  She minsters to me through her amazing baking skills, and her gentle rebukes.  I love it when she mischievously pulls a "fast one" on me, and I laugh in spite of myself.  She has a way of giving me confidence, and she's often by my side.  Her love for Jesus and her understanding of His word and Truth in general is refreshing from one so young.  I look forward to seeing her continue to grow in the beautiful bright and radiant young lady the Lord desires her to be.

 Jo and I have become better friends in the last year or so.  Before we used to butt heads quite a bit... but thankfully, for us both, we have matured and been able to resolve much of those conflicts.  I am so grateful to have not just one, but two, beautiful, highly-talented and caring sisters.  Jo's creativity is something I love to watch as she makes crafts or brain-storms ideas.  I love to encourage her when she comes to me with an idea, or possibility.  God has given her an amazing artistic eye, and a special touch for the piano.  Whenever she sits down to play some classical piece or a hymn, I am blessed.  The fact that she is almost entirely self-taught, blows my mind, continually.  I enjoy our midnight heart-to-heart chats, with Phoebe and how we always seem to have the most to say after we've turned off the light.  Her sensitivity and desire to please the Lord are so wonderful, and encouraging to my spirit. 

Jaden is my bebe-brodder, haha. ;)  He'll be ten soon and that really is hard to believe!  Seems like just yesterday I was holding him, shortly after his birth.  He is growing up so quickly, and I adore his childish ways, that are so innocent and funny.  Recently he has begun to loving reading and it is fun to watch him read through a book of his choice, although he still prefers when someone else reads to him.  I love our bike rides, times at the park playing on the playground or swinging.  Baseball, basketball, and ultimate frisbee are also things we share in common and enjoy together.  His smile is goofy and his spirit is full of life.  I know the Lord has amazing plans laid out for his life, and I look forward to cheering him on as He leads my dear Jaden-bug.

I am so very grateful to my Grandma Kautt, who has been graciously hosting my family in her home since my Dad resigned back in the spring.  She shows her love for me through her cooking, her caring conversation and her smiles and love.  I am glad that she is still with us, and that we can share a little more in her life each day. 

I am also thankful for the experience of being surrounded by godly, encouraging friends.  I have way too many to count, which is such a HUGE blessing, and just because your picture doesn't appear in the series above, doesn't mean I am not thankful for you (those were just the pictures of my friends I had available).  My life is richer and fuller because of you and your precious time that you invest in my life.  Special thank yous go to the following families and individuals who have played a big part in my life this year:

- Amy (even though we talk infrequently, I am always refreshed at your passion for Truth and how you are humbly, gently seeking Jesus and encouraging those around you to do the same.  I was especially blessed by that one chat we had this summer, late one night, and what an encouragement it was to me.  I am so blessed to know you and your dear dear family)
- Brittany (what a true blessing to get to know you even better this year dear.  Our conversations about the things of God have challenged, sharpened and strengthened my faith.  I am indebted to you and love you greatly!)
- Camille (you are such a dear, sweet friend and I thank God for you on a regular basis, for being there with me through thick and thin and always encouraging my spirit.  I love you dear!)
 - Aunt Cee (for all of the love gifts you have bestowed on our family through the last many months, they have been a tremendous help and blessing, your affection and care for our family means a lot and we are so thankful for you!)
 - C. family (for all of your help and guidance leading up to Dad's resignation, and for assisting us in our camper project, with house cleaning and packing, and of course for your tireless friendship and health care efforts for my Mom, we love you all so much)
- G. family (your love and support through prayers, phone calls, personal visits, meals shared, texts and facebook conversations raised our spirits, and encouraged us through some dark times.  We love you guys!)
- D. family (Isaac was such a helpful renovation assistance to Joel in the camper project, and a close companion of Caleb throughout the move and even now, and for Mrs.' sweet hospitality and kind words of wisdom and encouragement, and of course how could we forget what a great friend Andrew has been to Joel and Caleb)
- Elizabeth (your sweet spirit and heart for Jesus have ministered to me since I first met you such a short time ago.  I smile each time I think of you, and thank the Lord again for how we became friends, and what a blessing you are to me.  I love you!)
- Hannah (dear sweet Hannah girl, I am so thankful for you and your passion for Jesus.  You are an inspiration to me, and I love when we can get together or talk on the phone. You are a dear dear friend, and I love you) 
- Mr. J. (for your care and concern for our family, even before you met us in person, and all of the prayers and your generous spirit.  We thank God for men like you!)
 - Mr. and Mrs. J. (for your encouragement to Dad and Mom, and your love and support for our entire family throughout the painful church situation and ensuing move, I am so grateful)
- Mr. and Mrs. K. (for your love and concern expressed through phone calls, visits and prayers that have lifted our spirits - you guys are an inspiration)
- M. family (for allowing Dad and Mom to have a weekend away in your guest house, I know that ministered to their spirits, and for your love, prayers and support over the months and last couple of years, we are always so blessed when we get together with you guys.  God-speed!)
- N. families (Mr. and Mrs. for your prayers, cards and phone calls; Kevin and Courtney for your love expressed through phone conversations and prayers, for sharing homeschool resources with our family, we are so grateful)
- Mr. and Mrs. P. (for your love and concern, and understanding, for the prayers and cards, we are so thankful for friends like you guys and are excited about how the Lord is using you both in a new place)
P. family (there are WAY too many blessings to count when it comes to you guys, all the Sunday Bible studies, and afternoons of fellowship, the phone calls and meetings with Dad, sharing your helpful boys who took part in the final house cleaning sessions, supplying boxes and just for being there during some tough times, we love each of you dearly)
- Sara and Mrs. P (for all of the help you gave with packing and cleaning the kitchen and entire house, inside and out, and for Sara's magnificent help with the window cleaning project, for your encouraging conversations with Mom, Mrs. P., she is always blessed when she interacts with you.  God uses you all to bless others, and we were deeply touched by your service to our family.  We love you all!)
- Sian (even though we've yet to meet, our interactions over the internet, especially on chats, have meant so much to me.  I love how you are seeking the Lord's face and favor with your life, and what a blessing that is to everyone around you, including me.  May He bless you always dear one) 
- Kerri S. (thank you so much for being a friend and encouragement to Mom, and for being her new health go-to person, you are a real blessing to our entire family as you minister to our dear Mother)
- The T. family and church family at Bella Vista (for your gifts of love and many prayers on our family's behalf.  We are so so grateful for the Christian charity you extended our family in a time of need)
- Larry W. (who gave us invaluable insight into what to look for if we built a house, and other encouragement as our brother in Christ, thank you for showing selfless love and service towards our family)
- Mr. and Mrs. W. (for blessing our family with your generosity, and for being friends with Mom, I know she has been blessed by her conversations with you Mrs. W, as she has shared with me, thank you both)

I know I am leaving out someone (please forgive me), these are the ones who came to mind.  To everyone else (you know who you are) who has ministered to our family this year, I am so thankful for you and the blessing you have been to me personally, and to my family!  I thank God for you. 

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
I Corinthians 2:1-12

 Thank you Jesus for everyone who has touched my life in 2012, what a true blessing and gift they have been.  I ask that you would in return, pour out Your great blessings on them and cause them to know and experience Your love in an even greater, more powerful way.  I am so so grateful... my cup is running over, and streaming down the side.  May those blessings touch the lives of people around me. 

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