Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks (1-10)

Since November 1st, many people have been posting on Facebook or on their blogs daily about the things that they are thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving being this month.  I decided to do this a bit differently.  I am keeping a record of things that I am thankful for each day, and I will post them on here when I can.  I wanted to do it once a week, but as we can see, that did not happen!
Day 1:  I am thankful that God sent His son, Jesus, to be our Savior.  Without Him, how lost I would be.  These lyrics came to mind as I thought of my thankfulness to have Jesus as my Savior, my Comforter, my Counselor, my Friend, my Peace, and my Love.

“God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus.

He came to love, heal and forgive.

He lived and died, to buy my pardon.

An empty grave is there to prove

my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, all fear is gone!

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives!”
Day 2:  The best earthly gift that I have been given is my husband!  I am thankful that God picked Mark and I out for each other.  He has loved me through a decade of ups and downs.  I couldn’t ask for anyone better to spend the rest of my life with…to be the father of my children…to be my best friend!  I am so thankful that he serves and follows Jesus.  He cares for and provides for his family above and beyond what anyone would expect of him.  He gives of himself for us.

Day 3:  I am thankful for Mark Jr.  God chose to bless Mark and I within the first year of our marriage with a baby boy!  He has truly been a blessing.  God has kept His hand on Mark Jr. from the beginning.  His start was a little “rough” as there were some complications in the pregnancy (you can read about that in an earlier post), but Mark Jr. has since been the “picture of health.”  He has had colds and allergy problems from time to time, but for the most part, he has only been to the doctor for his yearly check-ups.  He has a tender heart…he hates to see or hear of people suffering.  He says that he wants to be a pastor or a missionary someday…and his personality seems to be “fit” for that…I just want him to continue to follow Jesus in whatever he does.

Day 4:  Thirteen short months after Mark Jr. was born, God blessed us with another boy, Caleb.  Caleb had quite a few complications when he was born…although the pregnancy was uncomplicated (something else that you can read from an earlier post).  God healed Caleb…and Caleb has also been very healthy since then.  Caleb is a bright spot in our family.  He always wants to be close to people…giving hugs, holding hands…  He is the one that most often just comes up to Mark or me and tells us that he loves us out of the blue.  He is a very sweet boy, and I am so thankful that God decided to give him to us!

Day 5:  I am thankful that I am no longer the only girl in our house!  :)   Sarah Grace was born in March 2006, twenty months after Caleb.  So, when she came along, I had 3 children, all under the age of 3 in my home!  It was very busy, but I was still thankful for God blessing us with another child.  She is truly a ray of sunshine…rarely ever is she not smiling, laughing, or telling some AMAZING story that she has thought up!  She is very girly…loving anything pink or purple…and wanting to play with dolls or dress up.

Day 6:  I am thankful for my other family members.  My parents are a 10 hour drive away…  Most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and long-time friends live there as well.  I am thankful though that I still have them as a part of my life.  They are still able to travel to see us and the children.  I know that it is something that they look forward to.  My family has always been special to me…I always enjoyed our family get-togethers.  I miss them, but am thankful that we still communicate regularly, and see each other when we can.  They sacrificed for me throughout my life, and now that I am a parent, I can see how much they have done for me.

Day 7:  I am thankful for my in-laws.  From the first time I met Mark’s family, I have been treated as one of the family!  They took me in, they are there for me when I need them, and they are always willing to listen and help when things come up in our lives.  I have never been treated as the “in-law,” but as the daughter or the sister or the aunt…whichever title fits with the family member.  I heard many horror stories prior to marriage about people and their “in-laws.”  My “in-laws” do not match up with those horror stories, and I am very thankful to have them in my life.

Day 8:  I am thankful for my church family.  I may be biased, but I think that I have the best church family and pastor to lead us in the world today!  My church family has been there to support, encourage, and pray for me and my family…they always have a kind word, a hug, or a smile to share whenever we gather together.  I enjoy the praise time in church…listening to my brothers and sisters praise the Lord for what He is doing in their lives brings me joy.  I have never met a person more knowledgeable in the Scriptures than my pastor (who also happens to be my father-in-law).  He has taught me so much, yet I still learn something new from him.  No matter what question comes up, he can lead us to the answer in Scripture.  He says that if he doesn’t know the answer, he will find it…but I can’t remember an occasion where he was asked something that he could not come up with a reference to answer it with Scripture!  I am thankful that he takes on the task of shepherding us, and that God blessed him with the knowledge and desire to preach the Word!

Day 9:  I am thankful for my friends.  A few years ago, I reconnected with a friend because of Facebook.  She and I were best friends when we were 7 years old.  We were best friends for several years.  As people sometimes do, we went our separate ways, with our separate friends, and did not really have much contact after middle school.  We were friendly to each other, but when we thought of friends, we probably didn’t think of each other.  I saw her MANY years later as my church was doing a walk against abortion…and she, her husband, and their daughter were there.  We talked for a while, but didn’t really CONNECT.  I saw her again years later, after I married and had two children of my own.  We didn’t really have a lot of time to reconnect then either, because she was going one way, and I was going another.  After that meeting though, I kept trying to remember what her last name was so that I could try to “find” her.  Thanks to Facebook, showing me “People You May Know,” I did “find” her.  We had so much in common after all of these years.  She and her family came to visit us one summer.  We had so much fun together.  We keep in touch, sometimes daily, but at least weekly now.   She is once again one of my best friends.  I am thankful for our friendship, and thankful that God reconnects people in His perfect timing.
Besides my husband, I have one other best friend.  She and I met a few years ago, thanks to our homeschooling group.  When I have spent time with her, I leave encouraged and refreshed.  She is definitely a God send in my life.  She is the first REAL friend that I made here in South Carolina.  Moving from Tennessee, where ALL of my family and 28 years worth of friends were living, it was difficult here not knowing anyone.  She has been there for me more times than I can count, and I am so thankful for her friendship. 

Day 10:  Speaking of our homeschool group, I am very thankful for them.  When my husband and I began researching the laws about homeschooling in the state of South Carolina, it didn’t take us long to decide which option we wanted to go with.  This was the only option that had a local, thriving group.  During the first year of getting started, I was in regular email communication with the president of our group at the time.  She and I had never met in person, but she was quick to respond to me, and helped me out in numerous ways.  One of God’s little surprises happened one Sunday morning…we had a visitor to our church.  She didn’t really intend on visiting, but we were meeting at our local library at the time, and she happened to show up.  On Sunday, we were the only people in the building…so when we let her in, she said that she would just stay for church.  Afterward, several people came over to her to introduce themselves…  My husband said, “Hi, my name is Mark Gould, and my wife, Hillary…”  With that, she interrupted him, and said, “HILLARY?  HILLARY GOULD?!?  Where is she?!”  I was with my children…but she made a beeline to where my husband had pointed me out.  She told me who she was!!!  She was the president of our homeschool group!  We finally got to meet.  After that, she has also been a great encourager to me.  Many families in our group have encouraged me…as many of them have been homeschooling longer than I have.  We have a weekly co-op…so that children can make friends, and parents can make friends as well.  It has been a blessing to our family.  My husband and I were just talking the other day about what an awesome group of families are in this group.  We are so thankful for the group, and all of the families that make up the group.

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