November 25, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 25

Day 25:  Today is Thanksgiving!  Where to start?!?  I am thankful for so many things; good food, great family, a safe trip, the love and mercy of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour... I am surrounded by blessings all around - they truly overwhelm me.

Today was our first Thanksgiving without our favorite #1 son.  I had a few weepy moments over the last couple of days - but I am thankful that he is safe and doing well.   I am thankful for the family that made him a part of their own for this holiday, gave him a bed to sleep in and filled (or attempted to fill) his bottomless belly.  It makes it easier to be away from him knowing he is still being cared for by a 'mom' and harassed by some substitute little brothers.  

I will be thankful for that today - and tomorrow I will continue to plan how I am going to spoil him when he comes home at New Year's!

November 24, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 24

Day 24:  Today I am thankful that my 7 year old 'tough-guy' son is not too old to still sit close and cuddle with his mom.  *happy sigh*

November 23, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 22 & 23

Worked yesterday, came home for about an hour and then went straight to Cub Scouts - so no time to post.  Today we get caught up!

Day 22:  Monday I was thankful that, even with all the running around, I was still able to find time to sit down and eat a meal with my family.  It may not have been a gourmet feast (it was grilled cheese) but it was still time to

November 21, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 21

Day 21:  Today I am thankful for progress!  Between popcorn sales, Cub Scouts, planning a Christmas program and life in general, our office/craft room/overflow ended up looking like this:

November 20, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 20

Day 20:  Today I am thankful for the $1500 worth of Trail's End Cub Scout Popcorn that Keith and Colin delivered.  It was 20 degrees out today.  And windy.  And cold.  Did I mention it was cold?

Great job guys - I'm proud of you.  (And really glad I didn't have to deliver it.)

November 19, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19

Day 19: Today I am thankful for peppermint hot cocoa and a warm house when its only 22 degrees outside.  Enough said!

November 18, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

Day 18: Today I am thankful for the simple things.  Like pizza. 

I love pizza.

I adore pizza. 

And I am not picky about what kind of pizza I eat.  Except no smelly fishies or ham/sauerkraut combinations. (I mean...seriously?  That's just gross!)  There's your basic pepperoni or cheese pizza, your bonus two-topping pizza, your 'adult' pizza (which at our house is anything that has more than just pepperoni or cheese on it - otherwise known a 'real' pizza), your meat lovers, veggie lovers and taco pizzas. And  let's not forget about the dessert pizzas!!  Anyone hungry yet?

But what I like most about pizza is that if we are eating pizza for supper that means I didn't have to cook. And, so, that makes two things for which to be thankful!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a large slice of deep dish Canadian bacon and pineapple waiting for me. Yu-um-my!


Your turn!
What's your favorite kind of pizza?

November 17, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 17

Day 17!  Today I am thankful for mu-uuu-sic!!!  It always amazes me how music can affect the moods of the people who hear it.  Need to pep up and get motivated?  Put on a little pop or rock (Toby Mac gets me going.)  Need to wind down?  There's gospel, classical, soft rock, instrumental...

And there is a style of music for every person, every occasion, every mood, every moment.  I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to music.  I seriously like just about anything; 50's, 60's, 70's, rock, pop, gospel, hip hop, light jazz, R & B.  Anything goes, depending on my mood - as long as it doesn't have screaming in it.  Which means no heavy metal or opera - screaming is screaming, no matter if it's the fat lady or the scrawny Brit singing it. (Oh, and I guess I should mention I prefer my music to not be vulgar or offensive either.  If I can't listen to it with the kids in the room...)

And music is EVERYWHERE!  We've got CD's, mp3s, iTunes, Sirius satellite, radio...  I love that I can listen to my favorite radio stations online.  So even on those snowy, blowy North Dakota winters when I can't pick up a radio signal, I can just go online and!   It is also so wonderful that I can listen to music online at work - where a radio signal could never penetrate those 5 foot thick cement walls (not to mention I am in the only office without a window.  Ugh.)  There are days when I really need the positive encouragement that only Christian radio can bring.

I love what Heavenly Homemakers has to say about Christian radio:
I have a kitchen radio and I promise you that God uses that thing to speak right to me some days.  On the occasions that I feel overwhelmed with work and dishes and schedules and life…I flip the radio on and pray for God to quiet my heart and fill me with His truths so that I will not allow myself to hear Satan’s lies about how “I’ll never get all my work done” and “There just aren’t enough hours in the day” and “I can’t keep up with all of this, what is the matter with me?”  Lies. 
Combated by truth.  The truth that comes through Christian music.
And it’s available 24/7 right through the radio.
Sometimes I need it more than water.
And it changes my entire attitude and heart.
My thoughts exactly...

One of the few things I love as much as a new book, is new music.  My two new favorites right now are on the light side.  First off, we just purchased Susan Boyle's new Christmas CD, "The Gift" - talk about eclectic!   About two measures into the first song, I was checking the cover to make sure we'd bought the right CD.  Although it has a few traditional Christmas favorites on it, this is not your traditional Christmas CD when it comes to song choice.  But the whole album flows together beautifully and I think Keith and I listened to it at least 6 times straight through on the way home from Minneapolis last weekend.  And if you really want it - Target's got it for $7.99 right now!!

Oh, and if you get it - give me your feedback on song #2: Hallelujah.  I think they're getting their bible stories mixed up  [was it Samson and Bathsheba or David and Delilah? ;=) ]

I heard about my other new favorite from Sarah Mae over at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee.  She wrote about the music of John Tibbs this week on her blog.  Great stuff - just take a listen and check out these lyrics:

Slow down you troubled world. 
The storm has come to pass.
Take a moment and feel loved again; His love will last.
Unloved soul open your eyes
darkness you can feel the light
as it wraps its loving arms around your broken life
everything is fine
keep breathing, keep singing your song
keep loving, keep crying, 
your tears will soon be gone and all this pain and suffering
will one day just
be a memory
hope and wait for His harmony
He is our remedy.


Music for the soul.

Be Blessed.


Your Turn!
What music do you like to listen to and why?

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 16

Day 16 (can you believe we are HALFWAY through this month already!) :

I am thankful for a husband who chooses to work hard to provide for his family.  Today he is unloading rail cars in the rain - not a glamorous job but one he can be proud of.  My husband has always done what he needed to do to take care of us - at times working 2 or 3 jobs, not just to pay the bills, but also so I could have the privilege of being a stay at home mom.  I am blessed - truly blessed - and for that I am thankful.

November 16, 2010

And They Gave Thanks...

They wandered in the desert,
They cried out to the Lord and he delivered them.

     Then they gave thanks.

Some sat in darkness in prison,
Then they cried out to the Lord and he delivered them.

     And they gave thanks.

Some were fools in anger,
And yet, when they cried out to the Lord, he delivered them.

     And they gave Him thanks.

Others went out to sea - to war,
They cried out to the Lord and he delivered them.

     And they remembered to give thanks.

Their ground dried up,
But when they cried out to the Lord, he delivered them!

     And they REJOICED and gave Him thanks!

Give thanks!  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.  His love...HIS love - endures forever!


Psalm 107, 136 NIV

November 15, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 15

Day 15:  I am SO thankful to have been married to my dear sweet husband for 20 years as of today!  I CANNOT imagine being married to anyone else.  He is such a treasure - definitely a 'keeper' :) We have had some bumps in the road and some sorrow - but also lots of joy and laughter!!!   Thank you, Keith, for putting up with me for all these years and I look forward to at least 20 years more.


PS - a big thank you to my friend, Billye Coenen, who took this fabulous photo (and many more) for us to celebrate our anniversary. We had an absolute blast and it was totally worth running around outside in November in a strapless dress! If you are anywhere near the Alexandria, MN area, be sure to check her out at Coenen Photography or on Facebook!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 13-14

Where did the weekend go?!?  We were in the cities and had a fabulous weekend and although I didn't get to a computer to post, it doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about what I was thankful for!  So let's get caught up:

Day 13:  I am thankful to live in a country with SO many options - even if all the options aren't American made.  I just visited my first IKEA store - uffda!!  Do I even want to tell you how long we were there (3 hours), how many times I said the phrase "how cute!" (about a gazillion), or  how serious I am about just packing up and moving into the IKEA store (ok, only half serious.)

Day 14:  I am thankful for cold hard cash.  Now that we know 'cash is king' and have reformed our ways, we haven't used a credit card in over 3 years.  So even though we shopped hard this weekend, we paid cash for ALL of it and that made the 'thrill of the shop' even sweeter.  No credit card surprises at the end of the month.  Woo-Hoo!

November 12, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12

Day 12: Today I am thankful for Pretty. Nails. and friends with 'Skills'.

Warning:  Girly stuff ahead.

Today I did something I have NEVER done.  I got my nails done!  OK - so not that big of a deal in the whole "global-eternity" scheme of things, but in the "I'm-off-to-celebrate-my-20th-Anniversary-in-style" scheme of things...TOTALLY a big deal!!  Take a look...

LO-OVE IT!  I am sure that they will look gorgeous when my sweet friend Billye takes photographs of us this morning.  Billye is the owner of Coenen Photography in Alexandria, MN.  Since Keith and I have no wedding pictures (lo-onggg story), she agreed to take some photos of us for our 20th Anniversary.  I am so excited and, at this point, I have still managed to keep the whole event a surprise from Keith - even after he ironed his own tuxedo shirt the other night.  (Maybe that's another thing to be thankful for:  a husband who doesn't ask a lot of questions. Tee-hee!)

November 11, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 11

This says it all:

And a big shout out to our favorite Marine, our son, Lance Corporal C.M. Samuels.  
We love you and are proud of you!!

Home from Boot Camp! (Nov 2009)

November 10, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10

Day 10:  Today I am thankful that my children are learning the difference between a 'want' and a 'need' and that people are more important than things.

Colin, age 7:

Things I want:  boy toys, Dairy Queen ice cream, a play set house, a dog, a cat.

Things I need: Water, Food, Air, House ... LOVE.

Oh, bless his little heart *sniff-sniff* (Although, I'm not quite sure if DQ ice cream is on the right list.  Kidding!)

November 9, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 9

Day 9:  Today, I am thankful because I have kids who are not only known for being good students but, more importantly, they are consistently known for their character.  It was so wonderful to go to conferences tonight and hear that my children are kind, respectful, helpful and sincere.  Nothing could make me prouder.

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
   to be esteemed is better than silver or gold

                                                                                                                                    - Proverbs 22:1

November 8, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 8

Day 8:  Today I am thankful for radio stations that give away free tickets to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater right before my 20th Wedding Anniversary celebration weekend in the cities!!!! 

Yes, I won tickets off of our local radio station, KBMW, this morning!!  And I've already called Chanhassen and reserved seats for Fridays night's performance of "All Shook Up" (yes, an Elvis inspired musical!)

I am doubly excited about this because Keith and I had talked about going but, after checking prices online, we decided it was DEFINITELY NOT in the budget!!!  I had been looking for some good deals (steals) online for a couple of months now with no luck at all.  With our anniversary trip to the cities being this weekend, I had given up.  God is so good, and as usual, his timing is perfect!

I am sure we'll have a great time.

And I'll try to behave myself - but we are talking about ELVIS here (*swoon*)!!

PS - For those who may be wondering, yes, I do know Elvis is dead (at least that's what 'they' tell us.)
Your turn!
What's your favorite Elvis song?

November 7, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 7

Day 7:  Today I am thankful for this long, beautiful fall!!!  Especially when it means that my husband, who was gone farming the WHOLE month of October, was able to find time to finish up some projects around the house and yard.  Including putting up my Christmas lights - Woo-hoo!!  (OK, I might have to break my own rule and dig out some Christmas music.  Tee-hee.)


Boys #2 and #3 'helping' dad with the Christmas lights.  
None of my boys ever miss an excuse to get up on the roof.
Mom has learned to just stay in the house and 'not look'.  Uff-da!

November 6, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 6

Day 6:  I am thankful for my 3 beautiful boys.  They are all SO different yet definitely all come from 'Samuels Stock'!  I am also thankful for the 4 Samuels babies waiting for us on the other side.  Our hearts ache for you at times, but we know we will see you someday - and what a reunion that will be!

November 5, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 5

Day 5:
I am thankful for all of our new neighbors, especially for the 9 year old boy that is quick becoming a permanent member of our household.  Watching my sons make new friends is a beautiful thing.

November 4, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 4

On Day 4, I find myself thankful for all the times I have been protected from danger.

Part of the reason I am thankful for this today is because of the scary dream I had last night.  I won't go into detail other than to tell you that it spooked me enough to remind my husband - twice - to lock the door on his way out to work.  Yeah, it was that bad. Blech...

The other reason is because I just experienced this protection the other day.  I was pulling out into traffic from a parking lot.  Just as I pulled in to an empty lane, a very, very large pickup decided he was going to switch lanes and he wanted my spot.  I sped up as fast as I could in my little soccer mom van but the faster I went, the faster he accelerated.  I know this may sound paranoid but, to be honest, I think the gentleman was trying to cause an accident.  Just as all I could see in the rear view mirror was chrome steel bumper, the truck came to almost a complete stop like he'd run out of gas.  The whole incident probably only lasted 15 seconds but it took my breath away and I was thanking God for his protection all the way home.

Whew!  There is a reason I don't drive in the cities - I can barely handle the dangers and perils of small town America.


Your Turn!
When in your life have you felt 'protected'?

Psalm 91:4 
"God will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you."

Entering His Courts in a Fit of Whining and Grumbling

Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in everything, with prayer and petition, 
and with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus."  
Philippians 4:6

This is the first verse I ever memorized on my own and to this day it remains my favorite.  It encourages me and reminds me to keep my focus in the right place - which means, much to my selfish pride's chagrin, not on me. I need reminding of this - often.

God's word frequently encourages us to give thanks, praise and appreciation to Him for all we have.  God also tells us to 'enter his courts with praise'  - but many times, when I go to God in prayer, I just skip to a little whining and a whole lot of complaining.  You know, something like this:
'Oh, Lord!  This is SO hard... this person is driving me nuts ...and that person is so insensitive...and how are we supposed to pay this bill...and my job is killing me...and my husband never listens.  And have you been paying attention to little Johnny - at all?  Can't you see where he's headed?  I am SO overwhelmed - You know, I have to do it ALL by myself ...I wish I could just take a break or go on vacation - get away from it all!  And WHY can't I have a new shiny Toyota Highlander with leather seats and a blue-tooth sound system like the cool parents on the TV commercial?

Oops, ok, got a little too personal there but you get the point and I hope you can relate.  If not to the Toyota Highlander part, at least to the rest of it. (I find myself wondering at this moment if God ever wants to just cover his ears and sing "La-La-La-La-La...  I. Can't. Hear. You!")

So why are we supposed to approach God (enter his courts) with praise?  I think for a couple of reasons.

First of all, and most importantly, for HIM: He is worthy of all our praise.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the healer, the Savior, our strength, peace, joy, provider.  He is eternal and all knowing, compassionate and so, SO patient and merciful.  Our reasons to praise him are as unending as he is.

Secondly, for us:  praise adjusts our attitude.  When we begin our day and live out our lives with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, we find a lot less to complain about. I realize this is easier said than done and it's definitely something I need to work on.  My complaining mouth has gotten me in trouble one too many times and I am working hard on 'taming' my rebellious tongue.  But I am learning, sl-ow-ly...

I am learning things like:
It is hard to complain about dirty laundry and washing dishing when you are giving God thanksgiving for your husband and kids -  the reason you have dirty laundry and dirty dishes. 
Its hard to complain about extra paper work at the job when you are giving God thanks for providing you with a job so that you are not unemployed.
Its hard to complain about not being able to go out to eat steak when you're giving thanks that you have food on your table and your children are not going hungry.
Its hard to complain about not having a nice shiny new vehicle when you're thanking God for being debt free and stress free since you no longer worry about paying those credit card bills.
Can anyone agree with me on this?  When we have an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, all of a sudden there is less to run to God with to complain and grumble about.  But if we don't have things to complain about, what will we talk to God about?  I'm-a-thinking (ooh, scary - thinking!) that maybe, just maybe, if and when we stop finding things to complain about and we stop grumbling and whining, we'll find we can sit down with God and for once, just listen.

Listen?  Really?  Well, that's a novel idea.  I might have to give it a try.

Hmmm...or maybe I'm just randering.  What do you think?



Your turn!
What are some things that you are thankful for?


PS - Writing this post encouraged me to get out a book I bought quite a while ago.  I got it, started reading it, loved it but then got distracted by another book (big surprise!)  Any-hoo,  its a great book and I encourage you to check it out.  
 "The Prayer That Changes Everything" by Stormie Omartian.

November 3, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 1-3 (Oops)

A lot of my friends are doing '30 Days of Thankfulness' and I've been wanting to participate, too.  But as with everything else these days, I am a little behind.  They tell me its 'better late than never' - so without further adieu, here are my first 3 days:

Day 3:  I am thankful that I am blessed enough to be able to afford to go get my hair done.  What a treat - and I always feel instantly 29 again!!!

Day 2:  I am thankful for a job where I am needed and can feel productive.

Day 1:  I am thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to be creative, have fun and express myself.  (Even at those times when I probably should have kept it to myself (tee-hee!)

There you have it.  I am oozing thankfulness, don't you think?  Well, its a start anyhow...



Your turn!
I am challenging you to start your own 30 day list - and share it!  Gratitude is contagious!
What are some things that you are thankful for?