Turning 40!

I can’t believe I’m even having to type this post.

Of course, the alternative doesn’t sound so good right now either, LOL!

Am I really this old??  Where has the time gone?

If you had told me at age 20 that at age 40 I would be expecting my 12th child, raising a garden and chickens, I would have laughed and laughed.

I share often how thankful I am that it’s not up to me to make the decisions and direction for my life.  The Lord has been good to me in more ways than I can count, but in honor of my 40th, I wanted to share 40 things I am most grateful for….

1.  The love of God.

His sovereignty in my life, His leading, and His love have carried me through the most painful, and the most joyful of times.

I am nothing but broken without Him.

2.  My husband, Paul.  He is my best friend.

We laugh into the night over the little things that happen in our home each day.  We share happiness, and love, and memories I would not trade for anything on this earth.

I know the Lord sent him for me.  As long as I live, I will see him as a gift from the Lord.

3.  My mother.

I have watched her sacrifice for me and others around her.  I have watched her work hard for the things she has, and again the things she shares with others.

She loves with a BIG love.

She has the gift of mercy…anyone who knows her can see it shine so clearly in her life. It’s a sweet thing to watch and see in action.

4.  My father.

Though I have no relationship with him, I’m still thankful for him.

I realize without him, the life I have not would not be possible.  I see his face so often when I look into the faces of my children.

I remember him as so handsome and so tall.  It is painful at times, but mostly makes me happy I can still carry part of him with me.

I pray often for him and his family.   The Bible speaks of the Lord restoring years the locusts have eaten.  Perhaps one day….

5.  Paul’s Mom.

She was one of the most intelligent women I have ever met.

Though she passed many years ago, she is still missed.

I am thankful to have the privilege of sharing memories of her with my children.  There are traits I see in each of them that remind me so much of her.

6.  Paul’s Dad.

He has to be one of the most relaxed, easy-going individuals I have ever met.  He is what many dream of when they think of what they would want in a father-in-law.

7.  My Grandmother.

I’ve posted about my recent visits with her.

It’s been hard to see her almost slipping away, but I am so very thankful for the memories and moments I have had with her.

I spent many weekends with her as a little girl.  I have a fondness for the days when I would go with her.  We watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Friday nights.  *smile*  Good times.

8. My Great-Grandmother.  I’m so grateful for this woman’s influence in my life.

I wish I could remember exactly how many birthdays I spent with her…how many days, period.

She spent most of her days listening to old gospel music and preachers on her radio.  We would sing hymns and she would read her Bible.

She was faithful, and steady, and beloved by many.  I miss her to this day.  If I close my eyes and think hard, I can almost smell her house.

9.  Courtney.  Paul and I really weren’t big on children until we had this sweet little one.

After her birth, I sat for hours in her nursery rocking and singing to her.  She has always looked at the world with a sense of awe.

As a grown woman, I still see my baby in those amazingly, beautiful blue eyes.    I adore her.

She is beautiful inside and out.

10.  Joshua introduced me to the world of little boys.

Wow, what I would have missed if he had not been part of my life.  What was once a fear of boys, has become a sense of admiration and joy!  Boys, and well, now men, are amazing to me.

I love his strength and his perseverance.

God has been so good to teach me this lesson.  I would have missed so much….

11.  Jacob brings more joy to my life than I could ever put to words in this post.

The moment I first looked into his eyes, I was in love.  How does this happen so quickly?!

Ever since, he finds his way to making me laugh almost each and every day.

He works, and has grown into a man right before my eyes.

12.  Jessica, my baby girl- so tiny at birth, we could hardly hear her cry.   She seemed so broken when she was little.

I’m thankful for God mending her broken heart and making her whole.

I’m thankful for the young woman she has become- learning to help around our home.

She is precious, and has a giving, and wonderful heart.

13.  Matthew is just beginning his teens.   He is stepping up toward becoming a man, like his older siblings ahead of him.

He works hard and is diligent in the tasks he is given.  He has a tender heart- and a loving spirit.

He is expected to be the largest of my boys when he’s grown, and yet takes care of his younger brothers and sisters with the most tender of care.

He makes me smile when I look at him…I see so much of his father.

Being born just after Paul’s mother passed, I often tell him, he brought healing to our family.  We had suffered a devastating loss, and the Lord allowed us to have him.

14.  Timothy, my aspiring chef!  Wow, do I look forward to the days ahead with this young man!  He studies cooking magazines and cookbooks.  He is already asking lots of questions about spices and gardening.  The days ahead seem to have some exciting prospects!

At this time, he is known for being one of my more quiet children.  If you spent much time in our home, it would become obvious it can really go either way.

He is VERY literal.  He makes jokes you may not catch for several minutes, but will keep you laughing for the rest of the day.  He is such a huge help with his younger brothers and sisters.

I’m thankful for his light blonde hair and his big blue eyes.

He makes my heart just melt when he walks into a room.

15.  Benjamin.  All boy…and he still loves to cuddle!  (I know, this probably won’t last too much longer, but I’m enjoying EVERY minute!)

He is growing into quite the gentleman.  Sunday is my favorite time of the week with Ben- he often sits by me in church.  He helps with the baby, and will hold my hymnal while we sing, or my Bible while we’re reading.  In the afternoon, we all rest from the long week.  He comes into the room where I am and will sit, not by me, but against me.  🙂  I *love* it!

I love his adventurous nature.

I love that he loves reading the Little House books.

I love how he loves Darby (I think she sees him as her favorite toy!).

16. Emma.  Miss Emma.  Where would we be without her?!

At six, she is the meaning of the dramatic, and of femininity.  She is constantly trying new things, constantly working to make things look beautiful around her.

She is tender, and doting on the little ones in our home.  I think these are all qualities that will one day make her a wonderful wife and mother.  I think this is where a woman begins her journey toward learning to make her own home.    It’s a sweet blessing to watch and share.

17.  Jonathan is quite a little man.

He just had a birthday and I know he’s a year older.  These years are where I usually start to see my boys no longer as toddlers, but as growing men.  Still, he’s small enough and young enough to grab him at any moment for hugs and kisses at which point he usually says, “Maaaammmmmaaaaa….”.  (He loves it, I secretly know it!)

I’m thankful for his smile and his big eyes!  I’m thankful for this time that he still plays at my feet while I’m reading or holding a smaller child.

He is a very good little boy!

18.  Meredith….just this morning, she has been creating giggles around our home.

I think she looks just like Paul.  It makes me laugh to see them in conversation across a room, it’s almost like Paul has a little copy of himself…only this time with longer hair and more feminine features.  He thinks I’m crazy and that she looks nothing like him.

Wow.  I look at her and feel like I could be looking at him.  I love seeing him in our children.  I love to play with her soft curls, knowing that this was just like his at her age.

It’s just special to me.

Meredith is a sweetie!  She was named for the verse that says “a merry heart doth good like medicine”.  She lives up to her name.  She can make the world smile around her.

19.  Darby, my precious Darby.

I’m still figuring out her personality, but she is just a sweetheart.

We love to play with her hair.  🙂

She is mainly a happy baby (unless you are trying to have her sit through church on Sunday mornings!).  I look at her and am thankful and humbled the Lord led us to not rejecting blessings He had for us.

If I had lived my life the way I had originally planned, I would have missed this sweet little girl.

I can’t stand the thought.

20. Jackson- my unborn little one.

I’m thankful to feel his little movements. I’m thankful to feel his growing body inside of mine….even when he feels as if he might break my ribs.

I’m thankful for the man he will be one day.

I’m thankful I will get to see his face in just a few short weeks.

21.  Our home. This has been one BIG blessing.

I’ve always said I thought nothing was too big for God. This house has certainly proved it to me.

It is a blessing that could have only come from God.

We were always working to make the most of our little home, but it has been nice to spread out and watch God provide in BIG ways.

22.  Time with my family.

I’m incredibly thankful for the time I spend with my children and husband. Because we homeschool, I am here with them each and every day. I see them read first words, and write their first letters. Just today, Jessica, has been stitching a project. It’s been fun to see her progress in a new skill.

Paul, could be gone for long periods of time, but when he’s home, we have lots of time with him. We have had him here each day, all day for many days now. The children linger in his office or on the side of his arm chair. He’s been teaching Jacob to drive, and can be heard chatting about history or some recent news story. This week, he’s been working to record Bible stories for our littles.

I realize most families don’t have this kind of time together. One day, my children will be grown and in homes of their own. I will never once look back and regret spending this time with them. They are precious, special blessings.

23.  Christy. My dear friend.

She has been like a sister to me.

Just last night, Courtney and I were sharing with Paul last year’s birthday experience. I had pretty much cried all day. Paul was in California for two months, I had just placed Joshua on a plane across the US. It was a rough day. She stepped in, tracked his flight for me, and then showed up with flowers and chocolates. Ahhhh….this woman knows me so well.

She is a gift from the Lord!

24. Tonya….also a gift from the Lord. She may never know the healing she has brought to my heart.

She is a joyful person, always giving folks the benefit of the doubt, always looking for the best in any situation. Just thinking about her brings a smile to my face and a thankful heart.

25.  Blogging Friends– you all know who you are! It

is not unusual at all, to receive a letter or an email from one of you ladies. You are an encouragement and have become friends. I’m very thankful for all of you!

26.  Precious friendships….(and you know who you are!). I am blessed to have many friends- both old and new.

I’m amazed often at the phone calls or letters that arrive just when I need them most.

It is a blessing to share in your joys and your struggles, and to have you share in mine. I look forward to your visits and to the days ahead with each of you.

27.  Our church family. I do use the word “family” on purpose.

This last year, we have lost members and are seeing lots of new ones- whether they have joined the church or are being born to existing families. I’m amazed to see the generous, tender hearts these church members have toward one another. I love to watch them care and pray for one another.

We are blessed by our church family!

28.  Music- Whether Courtney, Josh, Jacob, Jessica or Emma playing an instrument, one of our littles singing, or just Jessica or Darby humming as they play or go about their day, I’m am very thankful for the gift of music in our home.

There is hardly a time when there isn’t something playing peacefully it the background.  It’s a blessing to me….

29.  Our animals– who would have thought I would be the one with lots of chickens (those chickens do some of the funniest things!), a dog and two cats??

I certainly would have been the last to think I would end up with so many furry and feathered creatures around. We are always learning something new about them. They are fun to watch- and more fun to watch with my children. I never realized how important they would be to me- I’m thankful for them.

30.  Health. This year we have had a few health issues (mostly Paul), but for the most part, we have been blessed with good health- and another good pregnancy.

The children have had a few little viral bugs here and there, but nothing big (well, except that event with Matthew!). With this many folks, it could definitely be a lot worse!

31.  My husband’s job. Paul is blessed to work for a Christian company with good values.

He has had steady work this year, and managed to finish his degree.

His work has allowed us to pay off bills, and make some much-needed purchases for our home. I’m thankful for his position, and his willingness to work. I’m thankful for his company, and will continue to pray for their success in coming years.

32.  Beauty in Nature.

Perhaps one of the easiest things to overlook each day- but I often tell my children, God didn’t have to paint beautiful sunsets. He didn’t have to give us lovely flowers, or colorful butterflies. He could have made everything black and white- and yet, He didn’t.

We should always be thankful for the blessings He sends- but look for the less obvious things as well as those that stand out.

33.  Homeschooling is still a struggle….even after so many years!

I enjoy the time with my children each day, but I still find myself questioning curriculum and schedules every year and every season.

I would have thought by now, we would have it all figured out! 😀

Oh well, I’m thankful for homeschooling for many reasons, but it certainly does keep me striving to be better, striving to do better, for my family. That is always a good thing!

  Monthly fellowship meeting–it’s funny- I think people have this perception I’m planning a big Bible study each month.

When we first started meeting, I really had thought about planning a devotion and perhaps a craft project for the little ones each month. As I spoke with my friends, I realized, most of us just needed some time to chat each month. –Really, just a little time to step out of the normal rhythm of life and share some laughs (and sometimes some struggles), with friends. If it’s possible, my children may actually enjoy it even more than I do– they are often counting days until our next fellowship.

I hope it blesses those that attend as much as it does my family!

35.  Midnight meetings in my room with my older children are not uncommon in my home.

I love that they like to come lay across my bed to chat late in the night when the littles are sleeping. We chat about all sorts of things, and generally all go to bed giggling over something discussed. I think they are fun people- I’m thankful (joyful, even!), to have experienced life with them as they grew…and maybe even more thankful that they WANT to sit and chat with us each night!

I’m thankful that none of the things we were told about how awful teens are have turned out to be true for our family.

Paul and I have spent many late nights in prayer and discussion over decisions we were making with our children.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s leading in this area. I’m thankful we hold their hearts. I’m thankful they are growing, and do not bring us grief, but immeasurable joy.

36.  The opportunities that have come for my older children this last year to year and a half, have been extraordinary!

The job and educational opportunities, and even friendships only the Lord could have planned and provided have been incredible. I think I spent so much time when they were little worried over how things would fall into place as they grew older, it’s AMAZING to see how the Lord works out the details!

37.  All forty of these years.  This last year, especially, I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have lived these years.

We have lost many friends this year, some around my age.  The Lord has been good to allow me this time.

I hope I make the most of every moment.

38.  OK. I may be a little thankful for the gray hair springing up on my head.

I am a little sad at times….I don’t look as young as I used to– I know in our society, youth is worshiped.

I am glad for this hair….hoping it’s a sign that maybe I’m growing a little older, and a little wiser.

I would hope the Lord is leading me to a closer walk with Him.

39.  The laughter in my home.  Someone here is always laughing.

This morning,  Paul is telling me I need list how thankful I am he wears underwear.  Well, that’s a given, LOL.  I’m not sure I would have listed it, but since I am thankful, I guess I will include it in the list.

40.  The time the Lord will allow me on this earth- the days not yet seen, the moments not yet passed, the memories not yet made.

I pray that I am thankful in all things knowing that before I was born, the Lord knew them all!

Well, this is longer than I had originally intended.

I’m sure most of you haven’t read the whole thing, and that’s O.K.  I think I just needed to say thank you, publicly, to the Lord for the blessings He has given to me.  God is good!

Wishing you well today–

With my love,

4 thoughts on “Turning 40!

  1. Happy Birthday to you my dear (hoping to meet and get to know in person one of these days) friend. Hope you have the most wonderful birthday ever!

    Denise in NC

    1. Thank you, Denise! I hope we can meet in person one day, too!

      Thank you, for the birthday wish! It was wonderful…..

      Blessings to you!

  2. Well, I did read the whole thing and thoroughly enjoyed every wonderfully written word. I expecially enjoyed getting acquainted with each of your children. You (and they) are truly blessed!!
    And Happy Belated Birthday!!

    1. Ahhh….you are so sweet!

      I just thought I needed to take a minute and reflect on all I have to be thankful for. I think I cried through most of my list when I was writing. 🙂 God is good!

      Thank you, btw, for the birthday wish!

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