I have sweet potatoes in the oven, getting the marshmallow top nice and gooey. They're for the kids' Thanksgiving dinner today. I promise to post pictures when they eat it. I remember last year Leah ate her pumpkin pie with chopsticks. So, look forward to great pictures... :)
I have so much to be thankful for...
1 - Blue skies. Looking out my window today, the sky is beautifully and clearly blue! This is definitely something worth noting in Beijing.
2 - Health. Other than pneumonia, this has been an illness-free fall for Jacob and me. Compared to last year, when Jacob was sick w/ respiratory stuff the whole time, that's a big deal.
3 - Going Home. I might not have mentioned this on the blog before, but next week we're going home for about a month and a half. Lots of time with family and friends is in the works, and we're really excited. It's been about 8 months since we've been stateside.
4 - Intimacy. This morning in my quiet time, I realized that in the last 4 months, I've grown more deeply in love with my savior... I think there's something about hard times that really bring me closer to Him. Whatever it is, I'm thankful for the new level of closeness.
5 - My Husband. He's my friend and my encourager. He holds me accountable in ways that others don't, and he never fails to listen to me. China has been baptism-by-fire for our marriage, and I can honestly say we're better for it.
6 - Friends. I'm surrounded by such an incredible community. They are really more than just our friends -- they're our family here. We're naturally kind of loners, but living in this community has forced us to rely on others, help others, and open up to others. Again, we're better for it.
7 - Faithfulness. Our Father is always faithful and always remembers us. He works for our good, and he redeems, restores, and transforms all circumstances for his glory. I'm finding that I trust him more and more, even when things around me don't make sense.
8 - Worship. A Chinese woman comes and cleans our apartment one morning a week. It not only helps us out, but it gives her a job -- something she really needed. She works for a lot of the foreigners around here, and by working at all our homes, she's able to get full-time employment. This morning I was home with her because I needed to make the sweet potatoes. Anyway, she's a precious lady, and she's great to help me practice my Chinese. She knows what who we believe in. Today I was able to give her the Book, if you know what I mean, and we were listening to a Chris Tomlin CD. She started singing along with one of the tunes, even though she didn't know the words. It was the most beautiful worship I'd heard in a long time. It filled my heart with happiness and thankfulness.
I think all thankfulness is rooted in an acknowledgment of His mercy, grace, and goodness in our lives, and the ensuing joy overflows into the lives of those around us. That's the outcome of thankfulness. There's nothing else I'd rather do than bring glory to His name by sharing his love with those he puts in my path... orphaned children, a sweet cleaning lady, the woman who sells noodles. Whoever it may be, may I always worship his name by bringing his love into their lives.