On the tenth day of Thankfulness, my blessings to share with thee...
1. I am thankful for the period of time that we spent as youth leaders years ago. Besides being a real learning and growing experience for us - we created some great frienships that are still thriving!
2. Dustin - we just received a video update from this particular "youth" - who is now in his twenties and working with YWAM in Texas. What a blessing to have been part of his life and to have seen him grow and mature and get to the point where he is now, working full time in ministry. He is incredibly talented and it will be exciting to see just how far he goes!
3. Ashton - she was a teeny-bopper when we first started with the youth; and to see how far she's come is awesome. She stuck around PA for awhile and was part of our church, but now she's back down in Texas at YWAM as well - being obedient to what she feels God called her to. She has really become a dear friend (despite our age differences) and I'm very blessed that in the very short time that she's home for Thanksgiving break - she's making a point of coming to visit me!
4. Laura - she was one of the older girls when we started with the youth - and we formed a strong relationship early on, and it has grown, and strengthened over the years. She is like family! She was even with me through my labor and delivery of Eva - we played Settlers - it was a good time. Through youth group - we also began a friendship with Luke - and got to watch Luke and Laura's relationship grow and then were blessed to be part of their wedding last year!
5. Rachel - she was also one of the older ones in the youth group - and since high school, she started traveling with a missions organization, and through them, met her current boyfriend and moved to Texas. We miss her dearly - and my kids are beginning to think that all the people we love move to Texas! But I am so blessed that through that time of being youth leaders - which we felt totally unprepared for, but felt that it was a need we could fill - we gained some truly wonderful lifelong friends - and for that I am so thankful.
6. And as I'm thinking about my friends from different aspects of my life - I have to include my "on-line" friends. When I was on bedrest with Eva for nearly 6 months - I spent a LOT of time on the computer, and I found the website 'What to expect when you're expecting', which has message boards for your due date month. During that time, I got to know a bunch of other ladies who were due in June 2007 - and we really formed a bond - we sent each other baby gifts when our little ones arrived and we still send Christmas cards. I have now been part of this message board for over 2 years! I have formed some really great friendships - Annette, Jenn, Deb, Denise, Amy, Angela, Tamra, Danae, Cheri and more! - girls from all over the US that I never would've met if it weren't for my difficult pregnancy with Eva. And I'm so blessed to actually have the opportunity this year to meet a few of them in person! So, I'm thankful that God took something as difficult as bedrest to bring me some very special blessings!
7. I'm thankful for the friends I made like 18 years ago when I switched to a private school in fourth grade. Anita was my Best Bud - though a somewhat odd couple we still make - since there's about 9 inches height difference between us! Our lives have gotten full, but I can count of getting a phone call about once a month, and catching up and talking and laughing like we just hung out last weekend. We've weathered college, dating, marriage, babies, new houses - and we stick. She was one of the people I called when my dad died. I know I can count on her for support, prayer and help if I'd need it at any point. This is what true friends are.
8. Another sweet friendship that I developed back in elementary school was with Mindi - apparently I felt some sort of draw to very short friends, as she too is more than a head shorter than me. But we too have maintained a sporadic, but strong friendship over the years. She too got married shortly after high school and we have daughters only a few months apart in age! Though she lives nearly an hour away - she was such a support to me when I was on bedrest during my pregancy - she came and brought food, entertained my children with a living room picnic, offered all sorts of help like babysitting and cleaning - and in general was a big encouragement. We rejoiced with them last year too as they added a little boy from the Ukraine to their family! We are so blessed to have their whole family in our lives.
9. Since this turned into a friends post - there's 2 more that I can't neglect. Miranda kinda happened into our lives about 8 years ago. Just out of high school, she had just gotten engaged to our pastor's son - and our pastor suggested that perhaps we could spend some time with Luke and Miranda, as another very young married couple. I can't remember which was first - them coming to Joey's birthday party or our after church pizza lunch - but after that we were hooked. During their engagement, they spent almost every weekend at our house. They are such a part of our life now! We've shared new babies, new houses, new jobs - even Luke working for us for a while, which was great fun. I was blessed to be able to be with Miranda when she delivered her first baby the day before my birthday this year! And I'm so blessed that their little Elliott will call me Aunt Bets (I'm not even sure if they know how much that means to me!).
10. One more friend to finish out my 10 blessings for today. Ang - I met Ang when we started going to Catacombs church about 19 years ago, and with our gangliness and glasses - we became fast friends! Our lives have taken some round about roads over the years - she went to college while I stayed home and had babies - but in the last like 6 years or so, we have had a closer relationship than ever. She is my art buddy - for several years now, she and I have worked together on the art projects for the greenhouse openhouse - and it's always a special time of laughing, teasing, and using our God-given talents together. This year, I had too much on my plate, so I am not working at the greenhouse to prepare for our poinsettia show - the first time in 10 years. And Ang has taken over with the artwork. I am so thankful for her. And speaking of which - she's here to drop off her kiddos so she can go paint!
4 years ago