Our Sunday sermon ended with a charge to make a list of 30 things we're grateful for. OKAY! :)
I'll do it in "public" then! I'm going to go ahead and say "salvation and Jesus" as givens...and here we go.
1. Family: all of 'em. Even the nuttiest of them are endearing. Jerod and I are both blessed to have great, supportive, and loving families.
2. Jerod: he's kind, real, smart, honest, tall, and awesome...long-suffering, patient, and interesting. And he likes me back.
3. Baby Shepard: I don't even know him yet, but he's been so sweet inside that he will surely be sweet outside. What a blessed and easy pregnancy it's been! Can't wait to meet this one.
4. Renovatus: my family in Charlotte. The place I feel at home. The place where my faith is grown and challenged and spurred.
5. My Pastors: dang. It's unreal how much I care for them.
6. My small group: there's nothing quite like a group that will cry with you and laugh with you, then pray with you...and sometimes do all three at once. With t-shirts.
7. Air-conditioning: no lie. I thank God for it about once a day in May - October.
8. My job: I rarely dread coming to work. I have great co-workers and work in a beautiful place that has felt like home since I was 18 years old. I make next to no money, but at least I like what I do. That says a lot.
9. My house: it's cozy, cool or warm depending on my needs, filled with love and fun antiques, fish and a dog...a great place to prop my feet up and feel at peace.
10. Godly heritage: when my faith falters, I can rest on the faith of my "fathers..." I know that God has sustained us, and that He always will.
11. Woods: I don't wander into them nearly enough; but whenever I do, I feel refreshed and serene. Especially if the woods are in the mountains and smell slightly of damp moss and ferns.
12. Creativity: I realize that any creativity I have is a gift from God. I don't take it for granted. I love the feeling of crafting something new or interesting or finding a new use for an existing thing...or stringing words together that work just so.
13. A good "ear": I love being able to sing along with the radio without hurting small dogs in my vicinity. It's a joy to sing. I can always find a way to poke holes in my talents and wish they were somehow better or more like "so-and-so's," but I am grateful that I enjoy opening up the pipes in the shower.
14. The imac computer: If it were a person, I would hug it. Every day. It's the greatest computer on the planet.
15. E-mail: Odd, you think? Makes my life much easier...especially at work. I'd always rather write than talk, I guess. Good for documenting as well. I like e-mail.
16. Living between mountains and beaches: I love that if I need to/want to, I can be at a mountain or a beach within 3-4 hours. Need to make this happen more often, but thankful for a good geographical location in the world.
17. Being debt-free: Not everyone can be in this boat, and we've worked hard with God's help to make it happen. But having no credit card debt or extraneous debt is a blessing, indeed.
18. Education: So thankful to have been given opportunities to further myself and be challenged.
19. Birkenstock and Dansko shoe companies: given my foot condition (Fred-Flintstone-Flat), I am always thankful to have shoes that don't hurt my feet and are kinda stylish.
20. Travel: France, England, Africa...their people and beauty are etched in my heart and mind. And for all the places I've yet to visit, but can dream about...Italy, Greece, Germany, Japan, New Zealand. I can hope.
21. Mexican food: Cheese dip. Nachos. Fresh Salsa...yummo!
22. Books and Reading: For escape and information, I am thankful for the worlds I discover through literature and even the less-than literature
23. Mornings with no agendas: You know those days when you wake up and don't have a pressing "to do" list? Yeah, I barely know them...but I make sure I have one every now and again. A little coffee and space to think and be. You know, the ones when you can wear pyjamas for lunch?
24. Climate variations: I know, weird. But I love that I live in a place where I get all four seasons. About the time I'm getting done to death with one season, things change. Leaves fall or things sprout. I am not wandering around a desert or sweating year-round or sporting parkas every day. This makes me happy.
25. The Bible. The character of God revealed in the stories of real, fallible folk. God using broken instruments to make beautiful music and give us wisdom beyond our understanding.
26. Ice cream: glorious. in just about every flavor. any time.
27. Sunday afternoon naps. Weekly.
28. Missionaries and workers for justice: Thankful for all who risk lives and give up comfort to share the love and mercy of Jesus here and abroad
29. Clean/running water & modern restrooms: seems simple enough. But not everyone has access to such things.
30. Cell phones: I mean, you don't have to answer it just because it rings...but it's nice to keep in touch with folks and to get a quick answer to "are we out of milk? 'Cause I'm at the store..."