This past week, my entire family came to visit me. My brothers (both of whom serve in the military), my little sister, and my parents all came to Dallas for a whole week! We spent the time touring the city, visiting my favorite things downtown, riding the trains, walking around White Rock Lake, making a full Thanksgiving meal, ice skating, shopping, touring the Dallas Art Museum and eating fantastic food. It was a blast.
Being with my family this Thanksgiving was more than I could ever ask or be thankful for. And yet, there are so many more things that I’ve been given.
1. Jesse’s new school: Not only does Jesse have a great job, making a better salary than either of us have ever had (which really isn’t saying much, har-har!), but he works for a great school. If I were to hand pick the perfect school for our boys to someday attend, his school would be in the top 2 or 3 that I’ve found in the entire country (I used to research cities…it’s a weird hobby). Not only do we believe in the school’s mission 100%, but our boys will be able to attend for a super-affordable fraction of their steep tuition. The school is just big enough to have a good football team and most sports you can think of, yet still keep a 10-15 kid per classroom ratio. They are also classical, which has always been at the top of my wish list for the boys!
2. Our group of friends: When we left Dallas the first time, 3.5 years ago, we knew that we were leaving a very special community of friends. Not a single one of them has moved– they just multiplied their offspring. 😉 When we get together, our kids have the best of times, and even though they break everything in sight, it’s wonderful to watch them beginning life long friendships, just as I did with the kids of my parents’ friends. Not only do we have all of our old friends, but quite a few have recently moved into the area and have joined our group. I feel that I could easily become just as close with many of these newer friends as I am with the older! I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many people who hold my beliefs and can encourage and strengthen me daily.
3. This blog: What started out as a way to journal a few thoughts and recipes here and there has been a whirlwind of fun and growth for me this past year. I’ve made quite a few “blog friends”, won a lot of free stuff, and even made a little money, all within a year. I had 3 of my foster-care articles go completely viral, which was a dizzying but exciting experience. I feel blessed that there are so many people out there who resonate with what I’ve been through and that I’ve even been able to help other foster parents not to feel so alone.
4. My church: While we loved our small parish in CA, it was an hour long drive every Sunday (and mid-week, if we could make it). Now, it takes us 12 minutes, so we’re able to go to as many mid-week services as we can cram in our schedule. Both of our priests have been great for us and for the kids. Gregory just started church school this fall and is in love (his church school teacher gave him a big hug and actually carried him to class the other Sunday!). After liturgy, the moms grab our coffee and head for the fenced in playground where we talk for about an hour while the kids go nuts. I often look forward to church because I get to spend time with many of the people I love most. I used to feel guilty about this, thinking that I should be going just for the ability to worship, but then I realized one morning as I looked around the parish– this is what Heaven will be like. Giving glory to God with the angels and all of my friends for eternity.
5. Jesse: Hubby gets to go last, but hey, that’s what he gets for being the most important. For 8.5 years we’ve been married, together for 3 years before that. I cannot fathom how he has put up with me over 11 years! And yet, here we are, miles and miles closer than we were when we got married, despite foster care, 3 cross country moves, and 2 kids. This guy is not only the best birthing coach and partner, he is the best dad. I mean, how many moms can say that their husband changes 50% of the diapers, despite the fact that he works all day? He gets up every Saturday morning while I sleep, just so he can spend “guy time” with his boys. I truly don’t know where I’d be without his steadfast love and guidance in my life. God brought me the perfect partner to spend the rest of my life with, and I am thankful.