Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I read in November...

1. Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren F. Winner ****
2. Crossed by Ally Condie ***
3. Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo*
4. The Litigators by John Grisham ***
5. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins***
6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant*****
7. Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison*****
8. Escape by Carolyn Jessop****
9. Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz*
10. Believe It, Be It: How Being the Biggest Loser Won Me Back my Life***

I'm pretty satisfied with 10 books this month. I'm still hoping to break over 100 before the end of the year but we'll see how it goes. Advent is a pretty busy time in my business :~)

Total books read in 2011: 92

P.S. the * mean how many stars I rated the book. You'll notice a couple of one stars. That's always a bummer when a book just isn't good.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I had some precious one-on-one time with both my kids. Eli took a very long nap this afternoon so it was just me and Emerson for several hours. She chatted, helped me wrap some presents, found every snowman in our Christmas box, and then asked me to take their pictures.
She held them up and said, "cheese" then politely said, "thank you mama"

And another set of snowmen. (At some point she decided she no longer wanted to wear her pants this afternoon). 

Then tonight I put both kids to bed at their regular time. Emerson fell asleep instantly, Eli however because of his nap did not. After he was in their for about an hour it became apparent that he wasn't yet tired and I didn't want him to wake his sister. So I had him come out and sit with me.

Of my two kids Emerson is louder, more vocal, more demanding, and requires way more attention. So I especially cherish my time with Eli. Tonight sitting on my lap in his quiet soft spoken voice he asked me about Charlie, Hannah, and Grammy. (Charlie and Hannah are cousins). He then said "home?" 

He doesn't often initiate conversations he mostly just parrots everything we say, so I adored that he was  communicating with me. 

Then he went and got these small santa and snowman figures that light up and plug into my computer. As they changed from color to color, we practiced saying each of them. 

Of course then his daddy came home and Eli pretty much went crazy with excitement.

I hope that I have more opportunities each day to spend time with my kids one-on-one. I love having time with each of them, they're so different and I love the opportunity to cherish and honor the things that make each of them, so beautifully and uniquely them. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

We briefly lost Eli tonight & other musings...

~Turns out he fell asleep randomly on our living room floor about 20 minutes before his bedtime. We quickly changed his diaper and put him into his pajamas so we could put him in bed.

While we were doing this Emerson was watching with some interest and finally she shouted, "Wake-up!"

Haha crazy girl she never likes to let her brother sleep. I then decided she and I should go clean the play room as a distraction. Luckily, she thinks picking up the play room is great fun.

~We also put up a couple of our nativity sets today. I was explaining each piece to Eli and Emerson, reminding them to just look with their eyes. Emerson was so cute.

She stood on a chair and just stared at the pieces. She was especially transfixed by the animals. Each time I came to check on her she was giving the camel a kiss. She also decided that baby Jesus is actually her baby cousin Charlie who just visited for thanksgiving.

Then when Marcus came home from work she took his hand and said, "come here" and she showed him each of the nativities set up.

~I'm excited for our Christmas tree. I told them that very soon we were going to put a tree up in our house. I always forget that two year olds don't grasp the concept of soon, in a minute, tomorrow etc. Eli grabbed his shoes and headed for the door. He was showing me that there were plenty of trees to pick from right outside the window.

~Christmas is truly magical through the eyes of a child, and I can't wait for all of the festivities and traditions we do as a family. We saw Santa (From a distance) at the mall on friday and while they have no desire to get close to him they now recognize his picture and know that he says, "ho, ho, ho"

I'm hoping I can convince them that a quick picture with Santa won't be so bad.

~ I read two books today. I love when my kids play well enough that I can read. I also really love that after Marcus came home and I was sitting on the couch with my blanket, space heater, and a book reading. Emerson grabbed her own blanket and book and we read together. I so hope she always loves books and I really hope Eli will grow in his love of books as well (If only I could get Marcus to read more since Eli is his little shadow.

~We had pictures taken for our christmas cards last week. I'll post more of them tomorrow but just want to share one tonight.
I love this picture. It's so authentically them. Running and laughing together.

~ Eli just woke up. I wish he'd sleep through the night. Off I go...

This was a random all over the place post. Goodnight.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Still hosting family...

I hosted my family this year for thanksgiving. 4 of my 5 siblings came and so did my mom and they all stayed at our house.

At one point we had 10 adults and 5 kids two and under in various locations around our home. Every room was occupied and so I haven't had a chance to sit down and write, or upload pictures.

Everything went pretty well. My niece fell on thanksgiving and it required a quick trip to the ER but she's a tough girl and no worse for the wear and thankfully her nose wasn't swollen, but oh my goodness did it swell and bruise instantly. It looked so awful.

I set the table, did a thanksgiving liturgy, even baked a few things (which I never do). Although as I was doing some of the prep on Wednesday night I might have said, "who in the heck thinks this cooking stuff is fun?" Marcus just laughed at me. I really do wish I could enjoy cooking, but I just really really don't.

Overall, we had a very nice thanksgiving. I'll write the real post with pictures once all of family is gone tomorrow.

Now we move onto advent which starts tomorrow I can't wait one of my favorite seasons of the year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Children fascinate me...

I adore watching Eli and Emerson play and communicate with each other. For the most part they get along amazingly. Yes, there are moments when they're both arguing over the same toy, or when Eli decides it's funny to take his sister's pig and watch as she tries to get it back.

But overall they are great companions and playmates to one another. As I type I'm watching the two of them right outside the door. They're playing their own version of catch with a tennis ball. Which involves throwing the ball and the other one chasing it, not matter where it lands.

Emerson threw the ball behind her and Eli simply ran the distance to retrieve and then went back to his starting place. While watching they're also very clearly having a conversation. Some of it I can understand, like "catch, bubba, get it, be back, here" others are in a language all of their own, but they seem to understand one another perfectly.

Chatting, playing, laughing.

That's what I'm thankful for today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And then there are these moments...

Moments of pure joy and laughter.

And for all those many moments in a house with two 2 year olds I am thankful. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The continued sting of infertility and prematurity...

I know I shouldn't let things bother me, but that knowledge does very little to actually help. Today I went to a baby shower for a women in my congregation who's due in the next few weeks.

It was a very nice shower and overall I had a really good time. There were just a few things that have been weighing on me since them.

1.) There was another two year old girl there. She's exactly 1 month older than Eli and Emerson. However, this girl can talk. In complete full sentences, she can have actual conversations, she can sing entire songs. Her language skills were just insane.

Which of course got me worrying about Eli and Emerson again. I know they're still behind in language. They're making progress, especially Emerson, but for the most part they still very much just parrot whatever we say. So if we ask them a question they just repeat the last word of it. "What color is this" answer: "this". "Do you want to take a bath?" Answer: "Bath"

They do have a few phrases that are independent of parroting, but they can't hold clear conversations, they don't know any songs, they can't "really" answer any questions with clear fully constructed sentences.

I don't know at this point if they're still affected by their prematurity. I was always told the expectation was for them to be caught up by two, but they are so not.

This little girl is also fully potty trained (but I don't really care so much about that).

I think what bothered me more is that once the mom realized that our kids were essentially the exact same age the difference between mine and hers was so clear. Mine were still very much babies compared to this other little girl, the difference was really astounding to me. Plus the mom kept saying "M--- you're just so smart" and then encouraged her to keep showing off all of the songs and things that she could do.

I hate that Eli and Emmy are still behind. I'm thinking of re-calling early intervention and seeing if they'll re-evaluate them. I wasn't satisfied with the last evaluation and would just like them to check in and see where we're at.

2.) Of course when you're at baby showers everybody likes to talk about their own pregnancies and births. Someone asked me how much weight I gained with the twins and I said 32lbs. They were shocked that it seemed like so little and then one women said, "Maybe your not eating enough is what caused them to come early."

As the mom of preemies I already question pretty much every second of my pregnancy wondering if I could have done something different. Having some essentially place blame on my shoulders for their prematurity never feels good.

3.) The fertility of others is still sometimes hard for me to handle. My best friend from high school just delivered her second baby on monday. We went through our first pregnancy together.  Three new babies are expected in my congregation in the next several months (and that's really wonderful and exciting), but sometimes it still stings a little.

The weird part is I do not want another child right now at all. But I think the hard part is not knowing if we'll ever truly be in a position where it's even possible.  The costs of the IF doctor and the necessary procedures to even get pregnant are so expensive, and none of it is covered by insurance.

Plus I absolutely do not want to repeat a multiples pregnancy. My first one did not go well at all and I have so much fear that by body will not handle another one either and I'll have even earlier preemies and more NICU time and all that goes with it.

While the pain of infertility has without a doubt diminished (I don't cry when others give birth any more yay for progress), it's still there. Some twinges of sadness, resentment, disappointment, that for us family building will never be simple or easy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2.5 year olds are funny...

Eli and Emerson continue to crack me up especially as their language skills improve.

Whenever Marcus calls from work both Eli and Emerson have to talk. Not only do they have to talk but they have to talk with the phone on both ears.

After they each had talked Emmy said, "pig talk" so I put the phone up to piggy's ear and Marcus had the following conversation with Emmy's stuffed pig. "Hi piggy, oink, oink, oink, oink"

Emerson could hear him and she starting smiling and then said to me, "Daddy crazy." haha it was hysterical and so perfectly described the situation. Apparently her dad oinking at her stuffed pig is crazy.

Their new favorite phrase is "I be back" they say it all the time and are pretty sure that as long as they let us know that they're going to come back they can go and do whatever they want.

At target yesterday, Eli turned to us and said, "I be back" and then took off walking, full of confidence and purpose in the other direction. He wasn't very pleased with us when we didn't take his word that he would in fact be back.

On Sunday I was looking for our check book and couldn't find it. I was talking out loud like I do and I was saying, "Where's our checkbook? Have you seen our checkbook Emmy? Where's our checkbook Marcus?"

Then I think Emerson must have thought I was stupid because she wandered over to my massive book shelf, grabbed a book of the shelf and handed it to me. "here book mama."

Funny kids of mine.

I do not look like a child...

I'm going to vent (again) about the comments people make to me about how old I look.

Yesterday, I was told repeatedly by several women in the community that I look like a child. Over and over and over again. "You really do look like a child, how could you be the pastor you look like a child. My husband said look there's the pastor and I couldn't believe it you look like a child."


I might look younger than I am (maybe I don't really see it to be honest) but I DO NOT LOOK LIKE A CHILD.

And guess what people it's actually not a compliment to be told over and over again that I look like a child. It's insulting.

It's insulting because people make assumptions about your life, I'm not a teenage mother.

It's insulting because people talk down to me and generally tend to treat me like a child/teenager.

Let me give you an example. When I was 22 in college and volunteering at the church. I was prepping a craft for the children which involved cutting cardboard out with an exacto knife. When I grabbed the exacto knife a woman walked up to me and said, "No, no honey I'm not sure you should be using the knife."

It was pretty awkward for her when I explained how old I was and that I could actually use sharp objects.

It's exasperating, it's not a "compliment" to be treated like a child so stop it. Obviously as the pastor of a church and the  mother of two children I'm not a child so stop telling me that.

Thanks all done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm so behind...

On everything.

Work, blogging, housework, holiday prep. (I'm hosting at my house that could be interesting).

I haven't been sleeping at all, which is so incredibly horrible, so most days I merely try to stay conscious and keep up with my children.

I have so many stories I need to write down before I forget, plus I still need to finish my halloween posts before thanksgiving.

Please let me sleep tonight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last night was not good...

Our family was a little bit of a mess today because none of us got any sleep last night. Marcus was up all night with a stomach bug, I just couldn't sleep (which isn't altogether unusual for me but it was worse last night).

Emerson kept escaping and coming into our bedroom, and Eli woke up crying throughout the night wanting a bottle. So he was awake and every time he saw Emerson escape he started crying again.

I finally fell asleep around 5:30am and so of course morning came much too soon. Today was just not good. Marcus and I napped in shifts. Eli and Emmy weren't overly delightful due to lack of sleep.

Here's hoping tonight and tomorrow is much better and that the rest of the family can avoid getting whatever Marcus has.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 12: Productivity...

I'm so thankful that today was so productive. Usually saturdays are consumed by worship prep and sermon prep. Today oddly enough I was blessed with energy (which never happens, maybe it's because I actually slept last night for once).

I was able to get everything done for work by 4, plus do 5 loads of land. It's so nice to have my Saturday evening not be stressful, busy, and hurried.

Day 11: Music...

I adore music and I'm so grateful for the moments when Eli and Emerson ask me to turn on the music and we can dance.

Today it was adorable I was preparing the music for my worship service. Emerson grabbed the hymnal and before I would start a new song she would flip through it, select one, and then dance like crazy to a hymn.

Haha, I hope they're always so enthusiastic.

Eli also has a special love for music. He often asks for the ipod and walks around bobbing his head to the beat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Things you shouldn't say to 2 year olds...

"Do you want to go to Disneyland?"

Now granted they have no idea what Disneyland is but they did hear me ask if they wanted to go somewhere.

So their natural inclination was to grab their shoes so we could go. It was not well received when I tried to explain that the only place they were going right now is bed.

We counted on our hands 7 months until we might go to Disneyland but they were ready for some kind of adventure right now.

Oops. They now have shoes on with their pajamas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 10: My Calling...

Today I am grateful for my calling into ministry. As I've mentioned before I felt a call to ministry at a young age and began to vocalize and answer that call when I was in high school. I then spent 7 years obtaining the education I needed and all the while seeking and praying and finding full assurance that ministry is what I intend to do with my life.

There's a book I've written about before called, This Odd and Wondrous Calling by Lillian Daniel and Martin B. Copenhaver and the title of the book so concisely sums up my feelings about ministry.

There are aspects that are really difficult to get used to, in fact I'm still working through a lot of the kinks and quirks and oddities that go along with ministry. 

But those are minor compared to the great wondrous gift. 

Lillian Daniel in her book writes the following:

I love being a minister. Even when the ministry is hard, it's more fun than any other job I can imagine. Where else can you preach, teach, meet with lead abatement specialist and get arrested for civil disobedience all in the same week? 
Where else can you be invited into the living room of new mothers and into the hospice rooms of the dying, and find hope in both places? I do love being a minister. I love agility it calls forth, and the chaos that only Jesus could organize into a calling. 
But mostly I love observing God's presence in the lives of people of faith. Mostly I love those moments when, from the position of paying holy attention to my own community of faith, I notice the power and presence of God. There are moments when we are practicing our faith together in ways that have become ordinary, but God's grace breaks in and we realize that we are part of something extraordinary. (pg 2-3)  
Isn't that beautiful. I have the privilege and honor of being trusted and invited into some of the most sacred moments in peoples lives. I will be honest the before actually entering into my own church I was really nervous about doing funerals. Wedding and baptisms yes please. Funerals... I was just scared.

Scared that I would not be enough. Scared that I couldn't offer the families all they needed in the midst of their grief. Scared I wouldn't be able to find the words.  Last month I did my first funeral and it was beautiful. Family and friends gathered to share, remember, and say good-bye and we ushered this woman home to be with her parents and her late husband. In that moment I knew I was doing the work I was called to do.

I no longer was afraid I didn't have the words or that I wouldn't be enough.

I am grateful for this calling to ministry and I am grateful to mentors, professors, friends, pastors, and especially to Marcus who helped me answer this calling.
I'm not going to lie I feel a little like I'm playing dress up when I put on the clergy collar. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 9: Naps...

Eli and Emerson took a nap today. This never ever happens.

Of course it involved me laying in my bed with them (even though Eli eventually fell asleep on the floor next to my bed). And Emerson the little diva princess of mine requested her feet to be rubbed. To quote her exactly, "rub feet mama." (Except when she says rub it sounds more like yub).

And if I stopped she would demand it again loudly "rub feet" so I did because I really really wanted her to nap and they did!!

And for that I am thankful. Now if only they could do this every day. Wishful thinking on my part.

Eli can spell...

he's a genius! Okay, he can't really spell but he and Marcus had a hilarious conversation at bedtime tonight.

However, before I tell you the story I have a confession to make. Here it goes...

Eli and Emerson still get a bottle before bed.

We've tried not to give them bottles but it makes Eli so sad, then one of the EI therapists had the grand idea that if we put water in it they would stop asking for a bottle altogether. So we tried that strategy. While they would still prefer milk they'll take water over nothing.

Every night before bed Eli says the same thing. "baba, milk"

and we say, "no water."

Tonight Marcus was saying to Eli, "No M-I-L-K for you"

and without missing a beat Eli said, "No milk, (then he sort of sighed) water."

He knew Marcus was spelling milk and that he wasn't getting any, see he's a genius.

In other thoughts I wonder if they'll ever get over the bottle.

My children amuse me...

We have Apple TV (as opposed to cable) and we often stream Barney episodes off of it. Today Eli was standing directly in front of the device so the remote wouldn't work.

Emmy was getting more and more frustrated with her brother and I kept saying, "Move please Eli."

Finally, Emmy took things into her own hands. She ran up to him, grabbed him around the waste and wrestled him away from the front of the TV. Eli was not impressed by this sneak attack.

I let them do their thing (because why not really) and I got the episode started.

Emmy let go of Eli and said, "See Bubba, works, okay."

And then went and sat back down. It was hysterical haha.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8: Marcus as a Dad

I'm so grateful that Eli and Emerson have Marcus as a daddy. I strongly believe that Marcus was called to be a dad in the same way that I am called to ministry. The same way so many woman are called to motherhood. For as long as I've known him he's wanted kids and then when we found out that because of the diagnosis of azoospermia that for us having kids wasn't going to be what we alway imagined and envisioned. I have never been so confused and angry with God because it didn't make sense.

I had fears and anxieties about all of that but from the very second that we found out I was pregnant was the most attentive and excited daddy to be I've ever seen. That poor guy was put through the wringer during my pregnancy. He was constantly worried about me and our babies.

One day after one of our appointments with the MFM when we learned that Emerson had a single artery umbilical cord, we knew that although unlikely, this could cause some problems. Marcus put his hand on my stomach and said, "I guess you worry about your kids before they're even here."

And he is the best dad I have ever seen. The most hands on dad, and I have adored watching him with our babies from the very beginning. I'm so grateful that when I was dealing with PPD and PP anxiety that Eli and Emerson had their dad to fill in all the ways that I couldn't.

When they were still in the NICU and Marcus had to return to work as soon as he got home he would say, "Let's go to the hospital and see our babies."

The first night that Eli was home Marcus slept on the floor of the nursery.

Marcus did 90% of all the nighttime feedings because he's amazing and because mentally I just wasn't in a place where I could do it.

For the last 15 months he was a full time stay and home dad and I am so grateful that we were able to make that work. If only it still could for a little bit longer.

And now from the moment he gets home all time and attention is focused on the kids. They love their daddy and he loves them more than anything in the whole world.

He amazes me and I could not do this motherhood thing, let alone twin motherhood without him by my side.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 7: Books...

Right now as a I type I sitting in our living room, snuggled under a big heavy blanket, drinking a Dr. Pepper, with a book. It's heaven.

For as long as I can remember books have pretty much been my most favorite thing in the entire world. I love to read books, look at books, collect books, talk about books. Oh, how I love to talk about books. I think if I could be in about 7 or 8 book clubs with others who love to read and discuss books just as much I would be in heaven.

A new book has a way of cheering me up, and I often find inspiration and meaning from the words and experiences of others between the covers. For my ordination process I have to meet with a committee annually and write papers. One of the questions they asked was what books I've read to enhance my ministry. They probably weren't expecting the extensive list of books I've read since I've seen them last.

Reading for me is a spiritual discipline. When I can't read, or don't make time for reading I often feel as though something is missing. The void can generally be filled with a book.

So on this 7th day of November I am so grateful for my love of books and the fact that I have access to so many of them. I hope that Eli and Emerson will love books and reading too (especially because knowing me should they ever request a book I probably won't be able to resist buying it for them).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 5 & 6: Eli & Emerson

I'm thankful for Eli and Emerson. They are crazy and hysterical and exhausting.

They are my little prayed for blessings and miracles. I love them and in all their crazy 2.5 year old self.

The danger of preaching when you're tired...

Me: Marcus how was my sermon today?

Marcus: Good, except you said circumcise instead of circumstance

Me: You noticed? I was hoping that wasn't obvious.

Note to self, get more sleep.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 4: Productive days of work...

especially while staying home with 2 toddlers. Today I had no choice but to work all day. Marcus was at a training all day and so I had to make a go of being productive with the kids around.

I actually got a lot done. Eli and Emerson were in a remarkably good mood today, the played independently quite well. The laid in my office and watched a movie for a little bit and then they played some more.

I still prefer to not work from home but today went better than I anticipated and for that I'm grateful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3: Language...

Eli and Emerson's speech has always been a concern for me. I still think that they're behind where they should be but they've come so far especially Emerson.

She's doing so much better stringing words together and although she mostly mimics still we do get an actual answer or a response. This morning Emerson crawled into bed with me and we were reading a book together. (Marcus and Eli were in the kitchen). Marcus called for Emerson to come eat her eggs. Emerson looked at me and said, "Daddy crazy." haha I dies laughing.

Yesterday I told her I was going to take a shower and her response to that was, "mama stinky" and whenever Marcus sings Emerson says, "daddy don't"

Eli is also coming along and although he's not doing as well putting words together he's so cute when he tells me stories in one word a time. I worked in town today quite a bit and had several meetings. When I came home Eli told me about their day.  He said, Emmy. Owie. daddy. and then he kissed the air.

In essence he was telling me that Emerson got an owie and daddy kissed it better, but instead of saying kiss he showed me a kiss. So cute.

I'm so grateful for their continued language development and how far they've come.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2: Morning Prayer...

About 5 weeks ago I started a 6 am prayer service that meets every Wednesday. My congregation picked the time (I gave them the option of morning, noon, or evening). I'm not a morning person so at first I was really dreading the 5:30 am wake up time each week.

However, I've grown to really love the 30 minutes of focused prayer every week. I find that even though I'm the one leading the service that I still get to be in a meditative place of prayer. (Often when I lead worship on Sundays it's hard for me to actually feel like I'm worshipping). I love it but leading it is very different than participating. Prayer isn't like that. I can fully lead the service and participate too.

I love that I have that space each week, and faithful members of my congregation who join me in prayer each week. I also love that all the prayer requests I see on the various forums and from my friends and family I can intentionally lift up those concerns.

What I read in September & October...

I failed to do my monthly reading round up last month so here's two in one. I'm still disappointed in the number of books I've been able to read. I'm not going to make my yearly goal at all. Oh well, such is life I suppose. There are worse failures. I just wish I had more time to read these days. Writing a sermon every week takes up a lot of time.

1. Catcher, Caught by Sarah Honenberger
2. I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith
3. This Odd and Wonderous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers by Lillian Daniel
4. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles
5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
6. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
7. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
8. Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life by Dara Torres
9. Admission by Jean Korelitz Hanff
10. Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

1. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
2. Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
4. Lola and the Boy Next Year by Stephanie Perkins
5. The Sacrifice of Tamar by Naomi Ragen
6. Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
7. Girl Meets God: ON The Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren Winner

Total for these two months: 17 months
Total for 2011: 83 books

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1: My Medication...

For the past two years I've used the month of November to be attentive and aware of the many blessings in my life, and I  make a concentrated effort to find gratitude in all things.  Unfortunately, this exercise
doesn't always come easily. There are times when I'm having such an awful day or week or moment that my instinct is to instead focus on the negative. It takes effort on my part to shift my thinking.

So on this day I'm grateful that I finally have my medication. I'm thankful for the 6 very generous individuals in my life who took it upon themselves to ensure that I did not go one more day without it. My instinct when offered the money for my medication was to refuse it. However, I've come to realize that there are times to be the one who gives, and there are times to be the one who receives. That's part of what it is to be in community with one another. Whatever that community may be.

In fact I preached that very lesson in my sermon 4 days before I was gifted the funds for my medication. I wrote as part of my sermon:

"I see the ways that we are called to be both the one who gives and the one who receives. To sometimes be the one giving strength, offering a helping hand, and literally helping to feed one another, and I also see the ways that sometimes we are each the bird at the bottom of the feeder. To weak, to sick, to tired, to find the strength on our own."
So often when I preach a sermon I find the ways in which I too need to continue to grow, and so I received with immense gratitude and humility. And I am so very thankful for this very expensive bottle of medicine that will carry me through the month of November.