It may be a little strange, but they are about 7 things I am thankful for that AREN'T happening right now - yes that's right I am saying thank you that there are lots of positive things out there that AREN'T happening to our family!
Firstly - we're singing Hallelujah* because we AREN'T going as a family to New Wine this year. We cancelled last year because I was about to give birth to ThirdSister, and after a trial go of camping in May, it was decided there would NOT be 1-infant-2-girls-2 adults on a campsite for a week of worship, teaching and fellowship, because we anticipated it would present more difficulties than we could survive right now (even with God's grace!). Obviously, the elder girls were upset as they enjoyed New Wine 2010 so much, but I know we will be much happier as a family not forcing ourselves to struggle through (and another, needier family has benefited from the places we provided for them.) Several of our friends are going and I will be making sure to pray for them and the family we provided for to have an amazing time! Also, there are plenty of other (see Take 3 below) opportunities for learning about Jesus and the world this coming week.
I'm also happy, if that's the right word, to be NOT pregnant. Accepting is perhaps a more accurate term. If it happens, it happens and I'll be joyful, but instead of having the topic on my mind I can now readily accept that there are other fish to fry - especially the year of ministry training ahead - and that not being pregnant means many other things. I can more fully the three children we have; eat tandoori shellfish without worrying about repercussions; not be permanently nauseous; and so on. AND I can find the joy and meaning in God's plan for our family, instead of desperately trying to control things, which is something I always want to do, but don't always achieve!
I am *delighted* the children are NOT at school. We have over 6 weeks of time at home to enjoy one another, and learn more about the world, and our faith (and other faiths - did you know it's Ramadan for the whole of August?). So far, the children have honed their bedmaking and baking skills, visited the library and done SO MUCH READING, played in the garden, taken trips to the park, and visited with grandparents (oh and did I mention a 4 day trip to the coast?!). We have great plans for the weeks ahead, including one of our favourite art galleries, meeting up with friends and visiting SecondSister's godfather in London (and seeing Legoland UK.) I LOVE being around all three children, I LOVE not having to do the school run, I LOVE not having to make school lunches and I especially LOVE.......
...being able to teach my kids things about the world and our religion without being their primary teacher. We do (from time to time, not every day) making music, growing things, cooking things....Bible study, prayer, faith discussion about things like the East African drought crisis....we learn about art and ballet and books...and we do this in a joyful and profound way, during our time away from the structure of school, in a way I know I would not be able to perpetuate on a daily basis if I homeschooled. It brings me so much happiness to interact with my kids in this way and watch them drink up knowledge without being sat at a desk....but I am thankful I get to do this in addition to their fantastic Church of England schooling.
I am thankful that FirstSister and SecondSister aren't here tonight. They are having sleepover with their grandparents and Daddy was over there earlier observing great fun - painting outside, a big bubble bath together, and general happy times. It also gave me an opportunity to nap when the baby did, enjoy a calm and delicious Indian meal with my husband, and have a bit of relief and time out from the intensive looking after that generally goes on around here. I do miss them, but I'll appreciate them all the more on their return AND.....
...it gave me the opportunity to enjoy the baby! ThirdSister turns 1 next week and I am giving thanks that she is NOT a baby anymore. I do miss the season of babyhood terribly, especially as she is already walking pretty confidently and babbling (and we are not pregnant, - refer to Quick Take 1)...but she's amazing as a toddler, and we got to hop into the bath together tonight and listen to 'Jesus Be The Centre' a favourite worship song (lyrics below), and it was EASY and FUN. And, I remember listening to the song from when we struggled with her settling at nights, and feel joyous and thankful at how far we have come since then.
7. And finally - I'm thankful I'm not a Muttering Mother anymore! Due to some unanticipated problems merging two Google accounts, I've made a positive change and launched this new blog which I feel has given me a new lease of life, so to speak. It feels like a bit of a rebirth, and it's early days yet for the blog, but I'm excited about the posts to come!
Jesus be the centre
Be my source be my light Jesus
Jesus be the centre
Be my hope, be my song Jesus
Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in my sails
Be the reason that I live Jesus, Jesus
Jesus be my vision
Be my help
Be my guide Jesus
*Thanks to the wonderful Jennifer at Conversion Diary for hosting. She's had some unconstructive criticism this week over at Catholic Register, but watching her conversion story on ESPN has been one of the highlights of my week!
** The group I sing with, Torkard Ensemble, issued us with our scores of Handel's Messiah yesterday - and we definitely sing H-allelujah with an H rather than the more familiar Allelulia of our hymnbooks today! Whichever - praise the Lord!