Thankful for Help

A couple weekends ago, we went for a hike at Butterfly Hill in Cherry Creek State Park. It’s a favorite hike for us – just over a mile with views of the mountains and lots of prairie dogs to spot. At the top of the hill is a large cairn where we stop so Bea can rearrange the stones or add new ones.

IMG_9172.JPGI posted a picture of her in action and a friend commented that it reminded her of Ebenezer stones. In Hebrew, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” It’s mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12, when Samuel places a stone as a remembrance of God’s help against the Philistines.

Today, Ebenezer stones are used to help us remember a time God has been faithful. Some write a word on a stone in remembrance; others place stones in a symbolic pile. Our church sets aside a Sunday each year to listen to life stories and place stones at the front of the church.

I’ve loved preparing for Thanksgiving this year. Doing our nightly thankful tree leaves has helped ground our family and ready our minds for Thursday’s celebration. I love looking at the leaves each day. We’re thankful for friends, for time changing diapers, for community, for paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, family, our table, bathrobes, and hats. We’re thankful for big things and small, for every day things and masterpieces.

In this week before our Thanksgiving meal, I also want to take time to recognize and be thankful for how God has helped us. As we balance exploration with boundaries in our parenting, I need God’s help. As we deal with vacillating expectations at work, I need God’s help. As we learn to love as Jesus has taught – the least first and our enemies as our neighbors, I need God’s help.

And I’m learning that God’s help comes in so many forms. It comes in partnering with Frank on this parenting adventure. It comes with encouraging texts from my mom at my lowest mothering moments. God’s help is in friends asking and listening and advising. It’s in a poem read and a devotion written.

While I’m thankful for so much, I’m mostly thankful for the help I receive on this journey. In big ways and small, in every day moments and masterpieces, I’m learning to stop and place a stone for the moments God has helped me.

How have you experienced God’s help recently? As we approach Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

ButtonDon’t forget, if you’d like to contribute a prayer for Advent, I need it by November 30 at the latest. Thanks for sharing your voice!

Thankful

It’s November 2, the beginning of a month of thankfulness. We’ve been contemplating a new house. Our 1100 square-foot, 1952, three bedroom, one bath ranch is just fine right now. Many people tell us a good marriage only works with more than one bathroom (or even, more than one sink in that second bathroom) but we’ve managed four years sharing a bathroom and a sink. With a 15-month old and thoughts of adding another child (not for a while, though) we wonder how long we’ll fit in this house. The thing is, this house was just fine for the few generations before us. Do our kids need their own bedrooms? Do we need a five-piece master suite? In an age of excess, it’s hard to separate what we need – what will be best for our family – and what we need to keep up with the Joneses.

I wanted this first post to set some sort of theme for this blog. A theme I’m not quite sure of yet. Since I finally decided to take the plunge in November, I guess I want this to start out as a blog of thanks. Not in a Pollyanna, glad game sort of way, but in an honest, justice-driven, making-a-difference way.

I am thankful for our small-but-cozy house. I am thankful that we have an income that supports owning a home. I’m thankful that our life-choices have allowed me to stay home with our daughter, even if it means a smaller home. And, I’m thankful that we’re in a place to take our time wondering about our future home. If we do decide to invest in a bigger home, I’m thankful that we have the luxury of time to wait for the right home in the right neighborhood.

It’s easy to say, “Be thankful for the little things,” and this month, my goal is that: To reflect on and truly be thankful for even the things I’d like to change.

What little things are you thankful for today?