GIVING THANKS: A Month of Thankful Posts

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During the month of November 2012, I joined the multitude of others on Facebook who posted something each day for which they were thankful. I went into my own little project expecting to have a hard time coming up with things to say, as I vowed that each post would be unique and not the obvious. I really wanted to look at my life and dig for the smaller things that genuinely make me thankful, and I wanted to take the time to tell my Facebook world about some people that I hope know I am thankful for them, but don’t always say it, in public or private.

Well, as usual, I shouldn’t have worried. It was so easy….almost too easy….as sometimes I wanted to post more than one thing a day, but I didn’t, because I wanted to really meditate on that entity or feeling or thing or person who made me feel grateful at that moment. Actually, the hardest part was digging deep for new and interesting adjectives…a daunting exercise for this former English teacher. Not sure I succeeded at that part.

A couple of nights ago, it dawned on me that I didn’t need to wait until next November to document, catalog, and share things and people I am thankful for. I am going to keep on posting my thankful statuses as I feel them, because after a month and a half of not typing one, I could feel myself feeling frustrated with little things…irritated in ways that I really didn’t feel very often during the month of November.

I believe that, for me, by focusing on the joys in my life, I actually felt more joy. So I decided to share those statuses here, embellished with photos, links, and other little extras, to hopefully encourage you, my sweet readers, to create your own version of thankful statuses, whatever that may be…and when you do, please let us know what you discover and what you learn…

….’cause I bet the treasures you unearth will help us be thankful, too….and not just in November.

November 1

Gonna join this month of being thankful, and am going to do my best to stay away from the obvious and really dig deep to try to remember the things that normally don’t come to my mind when I say my thank you prayers….my own little exercise.

So tonight, I’m thankful for the mistakes I’ve made….and continue to make. I’ve had some phenomenal teachers in my life, but you, my mistakes, have taught me what not to do. So, thanks.

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November 2

Tonight I am thankful that God is the ultimate match-maker.
One example: I babysat Murray Ann, having no idea we would end up in law school together. Without her by my side, I don’t know that I would be a judge or an attorney today. She found a lost love…took a broken road to get to Les, who has become someone I admire, trust, and really “get.” These two will get married next weekend, and I will be honored to read scripture at their wedding.
Apart from each other, they are two people that I count as friends who are family. Together, they are family I count as friends.
And I am deeply thankful for the countless things they bring to my life, as individuals and as a couple…and mostly, that God brought them to me because He knew how much I needed them.

Mr. and Mrs. Penn-To-Be

Mr. and Mrs. Penn-To-Be

November 3

Rebels

This is going to sound pretty trivial, but: Today, I am thankful for SEC football in general and Ole Miss football in particular because a) it comes during a time of year when the weather is schizophrenic but most days, like today, it feels amazing outside, and that makes me happy b) it gives me something to look forward to each week, win or lose, because is entertainment at its finest and it gets me out of my own life for 3 hours every Saturday c) watching a pretty, long pass being completed or a hard hit at the line is exhilarating d) it reminds me that my husband was a dang good defensive end (even if he played for the wrong team) and though he doesn’t play anymore, he’s still big, strong, and tough, and finally e) Slow Dixie is equal to hearing the theme song from Rocky, only better.
Are You Ready? Hotty Toddy!

"We may not win every game, but we never lose a party." Tailgating at its finest...in the Grove

“We may not win every game, but we never lose a party.” Tailgating at its finest…in the Grove

(And oh yeah……FEED MONCRIEF!!)

November 4

Tonight, I am thankful that I live in a community that is so giving and so concerned about people who are hurting. I am thankful that I have been graced with many “saints” who I call friends who give so freely, so generously, to so many different causes, to so many people in need. I am thankful that they are willing to set an example for me and others who are still growing up and trying to figure out how best to balance life and use the talents God gave us. I am thankful that those people are abundant in this small space I call home. To every one of you, when you give to others, you teach me and many more how to give, and your gifts are multiplied.

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{Found a great blog post about one visitor’s mecca to Canton…great pics too!}

November 5

Tonight, I am thankful that I live in a free country, one that allows me to cast a ballot for the candidate of my choice. I am thankful for every member of our military, past and present, who fought for me to have that right, and who keep this nation safe, and who keep America great. I am thankful, tonight and every night, to be an American.

Land of the Free

November 6

So, tonight, I am thankful that my hope doesn’t lie in the President of the United States, or any other earthly leader. Every one of them, regardless of party, policy, or ideology, will let me down. The One who holds my hope, on this Earth and eternally, never will. Praise be to the One who created us, who gave us free will, and whose arms are around us perpetually.

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November 7

So tonight, Beth Moore said that if we had never experienced rejection, we would not be able to fully realize the depth of true love and acceptance. So tonight, I am thankful for all of the rejection I have experienced…and will experience…because the love I feel every day from the people who know me and love me anyway, who have my back, who give to me so unselfishly, who are patient with me, who pray for me, who show me all the time that they value me…you know, those folks who REALLY love me…is worth every hour, minute, second of the pain that rejection caused. Y’all are some kind of special, and I sure love you back.

This is the bible study we are doing now by Beth Moore. Click the picture to see a short intro to the study.

This is the bible study we are doing now by Beth Moore. Click the picture to see a short intro to the study.

November 9

I missed my thankful status yesterday but this one is good enough for 2 days…my aunt Diane’s cancer markers were even farther down than last time and she will see a surgeon next week. He is still in the miracle business, my friends, and I am beyond thankful for my special aunt and for His healing hands.

Mac and his Mimi...my precious, delightful, Christ-centered aunt.

Mac and his Mimi…my precious, delightful, Christ-centered aunt.

November 10

Today, I am thankful for this GORGEOUS weather, making Murray Ann & Les’ perfect day even MORE perfect!

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November 11

I am thankful today for quiet moments.
I’ve had an afternoon at home alone. I’ve fixed a blog post about two veterans and their sacrifices. I’ve done laundry. I’ve organized some drawers and closets. I’ve started thinking about Christmas. I’ve thought about the wedding I went to last night and how beautiful it was and how thankful I was to have been a part of it. I’ve not worried about much, and I’ve not dwelt on anything I HAVEN’T done. I’ve whispered to God quite a few times, and even though we missed church today, I’ve felt all day that He was very, very near.
So today, I’m thankful for today, and the beautiful quiet it brought with it.

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November 12

Tonight, I think it is only right to honor a life well lived, a woman well loved.
I am thankful tonight for the life of Lanette Weeks.
I am thankful for the way she lived…always smiling (in public), always asking about me..so much so, that I would walk away from a conversation with her, only to realize that I hadn’t even asked how SHE was doing…but I believe she did that on purpose because she didn’t want us to dwell on the disease that lived inside of her, to pity her; rather, she wanted us to be real with her.
I’m thankful for the relationship she had with my precious “Big,” my Aunt Marsha, the way they were able to really talk, really share, really love each other….because for all of you who have noted how amazingly Aunt Marsha took care of Lanette, she gave Aunt Marsha memories that no one else could that have nothing to do with hospitals and treatments.
I am thankful for Lanette’s laugh…it was really a funny laugh, and it made ME laugh.
I am thankful for her relationship with Jesus, and that she knew exactly who she would be with when the time came.
I’m thankful that she was a role model as a mother…if she could physically get to one of her children’s events, she did it, and while we were never really thinking about the fact that, to her, it was a gift to be able to drop Ginny Claire off at school, when to us, it was just on our list of things to do.
I’m thankful that, though I was on the periphery of her life, she taught me what grace is.
Grace is knowing you are dying, and still giving, still laughing, still smiling, still hugging, still thanking, and still praising Him.
So tonight, I am thankful that I was allowed the pleasure of knowing such a fine, Godly example of a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, a Christ-follower, and a human being as Lanette Weeks.

Lanette with her precious family, minus Tyler. I wish I could see what she is seeing!

Lanette with her precious family, minus Tyler. I wish I could see what she is seeing!

November 14

I left yesterday’s thankful status off of FB…but I had one, I promise.

So tonight, I am thankful for the books I have read, from childhood to now, that have shaped me, and that God gave the authors the talent to put together stories that had the ability to change me from the inside out….6T4V8TAPA17RG_1MEM6VL_PH_P_LS

…books like The Giver, Bridge to Terabithia, Stargirl, To Kill a Mockingbird…books that gave me friends I could visit whenever I liked, friends that, if they walked out from the pages, I would know them anywhere, like those I made in The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Ya-Ya, and Beach Music…and books that took me out of my own life and entertained me, made me think, brought me into the mystery of the plot like The Rule of Four, Mortal Fear, The Secret History, The Awakening, and The Things they Carried. I’m thankful that those authors believed enough in the stories inside them to put them on a page and the give them to the world…and I’m especially glad they found their way to me.

[I can’t help it…the book dork in me is forcing me to post my favorite line from each book…so here goes….”Simply stated, although it’s not really simple at all, my job is to transmit to you all the memories I have within me. Memories of the past.”
– Lois Lowry, The Giver, Ch. 10….“Shh,” he said. “Look.” “Where?” “Can’t you see’um?” he whispered. “All the Terabithians standing on tiptoe to see you.” “Me?” “Shh, yes. There’s a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arrving today might be the queen they’ve been waiting for.” ~Bridge to Terabithia…..She saw things. I had not known there was so much to see. She was forever tugging my arm and saying, “Look!” I would look around, seeing nothing. “Where?” She would point. “There.” In the beginning I still could not see. She might be pointing to a doorway, or a person, or the sky. But such things were so common to my eyes, so undistinguished, that they would register as “nothing” I walked in a gray world of nothing.” ~Stargirl….“Naw, Jem. I think that there is just one kind of folks. Folks.”~To Kill a Mockingbird…” I don’t know. You see, there are four of us. If Grandfather is looking for us it would be easier to see four than one.” ~The Boxcar Children, Book 1….“The case called for plain, old-fashioned police leg work!”~Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective….”I climb to the attic and discover my mother. She is a mixed gift pack.”~Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood….

…possibly my favorite quote of all times from a book….”I could bear the memory, but I could not bear the music that made the memory such a killing thing.” ~Beach Music …“Life is simple. The more complicated you believe yours is, the less you know of your true condition. For a long time I did not understand this. Now I do. You are hungry or you are full. You are healthy or you are sick. You are faithful to your wife or you are not. You are alive or you are dead. I am alive.” ~Mortal Fear….“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”~The Secret History….“The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies”~The Awakening…“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”~The Things They Carried

November 15

Tonight, I am thankful for my court.
From the clerks…amazing women (and James) who are extraordinary people and who make my life so much easier because they do their jobs so well…to the brave LEO’s from all agencies who choose to protect and serve this county and who guard my courtroom like it is their own home…to the attorneys who give their all defending their clients, who may not always like my decisions but still treat me with respect and dignity…to our County Prosecutor and Public Defender, who give so much of themselves to their work with passion and intelligence…to my bailiff who reads a devotional with me everyday before he calls court into session and stands watch over my bench until he calls it out…to the other judges with whom I serve, who I respect immensely and am proud to call my friends… to Cathy who makes sure our court sparkles and shines….to that darling female detention officer who makes me look forward to arraigning prisoners…not to mention the representatives from a local probation service who choose to give their time and offer themselves to our courtroom….
I work with some of the most competent, kindhearted, smart, fiercely protective, strong, loving people, and though I believe I would like doing what I do anywhere, it’s the folks who make up the MCJC who make me love it.

My work verse

My work verse

November 16

Tonight, I am thankful for the holiday season….for the lights and the music and the time spent planning special gifts we will buy or make…the time we get to spend with family…and especially the unexpected kindness that is so often shown this time of year to those who need it most. Every bit of the holiday season makes me happy, and for that, I am thankful.

Fulton Street, NOLA

Fulton Street, NOLA

November 17

Despite (probable) popular opinion, even if the Rebels had won tonight, my thankful status wouldn’t have been about that. Instead, tonight I’m thankful that I have a relationship with my great-aunt Mary Alice, my Nana’s sister, and that I go to spend time with her today. She is so different than Nana…hard-headed, opinionated, doesn’t care if she offends, private, and doesn’t offer her soft side very often. But her hands are my Nana’s hands, and her words, though delivered differently, are so very Nana-like, and through her I feel like I get to continue an earthly relationship with my Nana long after she has been gone….because Aunt Mary Alice loves me for me, and I love her for her, and she shares her memories and her wisdom with me, and when she kisses me goodbye and tells me she loves me and to lock my doors, I know it isn’t my Nana, but it is dang close.
Mac and his Great-Great. She refuses to take a photo while looking in the camera. I suppose one day when she isn't hear any more, we will only remember one side of her face...but I dare not tell her to do differently!

Mac and his Great-Great. She refuses to take a photo while looking in the camera. I suppose one day when she isn’t hear any more, we will only remember one side of her face…but I dare not tell her to do differently!

November 18

Tonight, I am thankful for my in-laws. It is embarrassing to say that this was not always the case. For much of my marriage to Scott, I’ve acted like a petulant child where they were concerned, and I am ashamed of the way I treated them and felt about them. They didn’t deserve it. Marrying into a family is an adjustment, and mine took way longer than it should have….so it is with sincerity and love that I say tonight, not only am I thankful for the people who created Scott and made him who he is, I am thankful for all of the unique ways they love my child, I’m thankful I got to be with them this weekend, and I look forward to actually being the daughter-in-law they deserve. Happy Thanksgiving, MawMaw and Papoo.

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November 20
“Tonight, I’m thankful that my family likes each other enough to want to travel together for the holiday. I’m thankful that we were able to have dinner with our precious friends that we met due to Katrina, and that being with them 7 years later feels like old times, but under much better conditions. I’m thankful to be in a city that I love with the people I love the most.”
Our sweet friends that Katrina brought to us..

Our sweet friends that Katrina brought to us..

November 21
Thanksgiving in New Orleans…a tradition my parents started after Nana and Mac died to begin something new for our family. We haven’t been since Mac was born, and this has been a trip to remember. Tonight, I am thankful for the memories we are making together, and for the love that exists between us, not just because we are related by blood, but because we choose it.

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November 22; Thanksgiving Day
I was sitting outside our hotel this morning, and music was being piped through speakers. A beautiful instrumental version of Come Let Us Adore Him filled the air. I found myself tearing up…felt like Gods voice reminding me of where it all began…with the birth of His son. His blessings are abundant, and there is SO much to be thankful for, today and every day. If you feel grateful today, my hope is that you (and I) will show it by helping someone else who needs it…so that we may love others like He first loved us.
Pu-lease click on this picture!

Pu-lease click on this picture!

November 23

Today, I am beyond thankful for this girl…my sweet baby sister, Anna, 12 years younger , born 25 years ago today. I may be the older one, but she has taught me about kindness, loving others, and being genuine all the time…Happy Birthday, Pants. I love you more than I can tell you! Xoxoxxxxxx!

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November 24

Tonight, I’m thankful I got to watch the Egg Bowl with my boy cousins, minus Patrick. When we were little, they were like my brothers…now as adults, though I don’t see them nearly as much as I would like, it still feels the same…and they will call me a dork for saying this (which I am used to), I treasure the relationships I have with each one of them and I miss them when I don’t see them. They are good people, and though it would be impossible to be in their inner circle, I’m so proud to be close.

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November 25

Tonight, I am thankful for my mama.
My mama is strong. She is the rock of my daddy’s business, her house, and in our family. She is our North Star.
My mama is generous. She would never want recognition for what she does for others, and I love the fact that she gives when no one is looking and she doesn’t want credit for it…and she will, undoubtedly, be embarrassed that I even wrote this (but she will get over it. 😉 )
My mama is sensitive. She is incredibly realistic, but when something hurts her, it hurts her to her core, and she can’t help it. It is who she is, and when she is hurt, I ache.
My mama is strict. She sees things in black and white, and she has always wanted her children to be “good,” and to not be a burden on others. In that aspect, I have failed her miserably throughout my life….but she loves me anyway…and thought I don’t do everything I know she wants me to do, her voice is inside me and disappointing her is devastating.
My mama is Godly. She believes the Bible, and she tries to live by the Bible. She taught us that His word is truth, and she has told us that if we want answers, we can have them if we will take the time to find them.
My mama is fun. She has said she was a better mama to big people than to little people, but I think she shortchanges herself…she makes every occasion special. She makes trips magical. Her eyes light up when we walk in a room. She delights in the little things…and she makes every little thing, big.
My mama is special. She comes from special. She is the perfect mix of her parents…my Nana and my Mac. She carries both of them inside her so beautifully, so richly, that they still live because she lives.
My mama is an incredible wife. She still looks at my daddy like she must have when they were young, she still calls him “Bod,” his nickname in high school, and she protects him with the ferocity that she reserves for no one but us.
My mama is a mother and a mommy. She has said that she loves her children hard and she loves them deep. She is right. She expects a lot, but she is soft at all the right moments. And there is nothing more exhilarating than knowing you have pleased her, and nothing that can make you feel more cared for than being inside her embrace.
My mama has her faults….but her faults are few compared to her positive attributes.
My mama is mine, and I am so proud of her as a woman, a mother, a wife, a citizen, and a child of God
…and I’m even more proud to be “one of us.”

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Clink the link to order this print...

Clink the link to order this print…I just did.

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November 26

Tonight, I am thankful for this girl, my friend Emma.
She is my British Best Friend…a London native who made my time there worth every second. She has become my family, and my own family adores her, which lets me know she is the real deal. It has been 11 years since we worked together in London, and it often feels like it was yesterday.
The hardest part of being her friend is that I don’t get to

see her face…I don’t get to hug on her when its a bad day, and I can’t immediately tell her about the tiny moments that I know would make her laugh, and she can’t just come sit on my porch when its a porch night…and I hate that. But her presence in my life is huge, and though she is much better about emailing than I am, she knows that she can tell me anything and vice versa.
This girl adds an element to my life I’d have never had. She reminds me that there is a great big world out there with lots of interesting people in it. It is such a gift to be able to tell Mac about his “Auntie Em” (who he thinks lives in a castle), and that he will grow up with her as a part of his life.
I strive to hold the kind of kindness and generosity in my heart that she has in hers…and I hope, one day, that we will be able to spend the kind of time together that friends who love each other as much as we do deserve.
Embug, you are one of a kind, and tonight, I am SO thankful for you.

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November 27

[I skipped a post, because I was feeling the way I felt in November 28th’s status, and our internet went out, and I just didn’t have the energy to post from another source. It took me a day to get to the place where I was on the 28th. Sometimes, it just happens like that.]

November 28

I admit it. This week I feel like I’ve been just been sucked dry. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the to-do list has seemed to multiply by the hour, Mac has been wild, and even the cat just doesn’t get the hint, no matter how many times I take him out of my lap. I’ve been mentally overwhelmed. But, doing these thankful statuses this month has made me stop and think about trying to remember to be grateful…so tonight, I’m honestly grateful that I’m being pulled in a hundred directions because that means I have the job I wanted, I’ve got people in my life who have hired me and who need or want me to do something for them, I’ve got a child who wants to be near his mama, and I even have a cat who likes sitting with me. I am grateful tonight that I have responsibilities and obligations because I lived a long time without them and lacked any fulfillment….and I’m especially grateful for whoever started this thankful status month, because without it, I know I would have never stopped to think about the fact that if I didn’t have these frustrations, I wouldn’t be living the life I live.
And I love this life…

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November 29

Tonight, I am thankful for my husband,
The other day, Mac sounded out the word “Hot,” and he said, “Hey! That is what you call Daddy!” And it is. And he is.
You could search the world over and find no other couple as different as we are…our likes and dislikes are polar opposites. I know I boggle his mind, and vice versa. I don’t like dead animals. He doesn’t like books. We have very little in common. On the surface.
But, when it counts, I’ve learned that my Hot is so sensitive. He is big and tough and strong, but his heart is tender. I called him today when I won a trial, and his tone when he said he was proud of me…well, I really don’t have words. He is in my corner. He is on my team. And I am on his.
He is talented in ways that may not make headlines, but in the real world, they are invaluable. His carpentry skills are second to none. His knowledge of nature…real and human…are spot on. And he blows my mind with the little things, the practical things that make our household function…things he understands that I am incapable of comprehending.
He is a MUCH better cook than I am, and he forgives me for that. Most days, he cooks for himself and doesn’t tell me I’m a horrible wife because of it.
He loves his family. He loves his child. And he loves me. And that alone is worthy of all of the thanks in the world..because he sees the worst of me, and he stands by me. He sees me at my weakest, and he picks me up. He may not totally understand what goes through my disjointed, convoluted mind, but he doesn’t have to….he knows that at the end of the day, he just has to be there. And he is.
Tonight, I am grateful that he chose me.

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November 30

Well, this is day 30, which marks the end of thankful statuses. That makes me sad, because I have learned much about what it means to really find the bright side of anything that seems bad in my life this month.
But I saved the best for last.
Tonight, and every moment of every day and night, I’m thankful that on April 9, 2008, I became a mama…and not just to any child. I became Mac’s mama.

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By far, over anything or any other person who has ever entered my life, I am thankful that God sent him to me.
You know, I fully recognize how fortunate I am that I was able to conceive Mac, carry him to term, and give birth to him with no complications. I am further lucky that he was born healthy and has stayed healthy. This in itself is a gift, and I don’t take it for granted. I know many of my Facebook friends have dealt with much pain in this area, and your pain is shared.
Further, I am thankful for every lesson, every moment, every laugh, every story that Mac has given to me. He is a funny kid, and, to me at least, he’s an interesting kid.

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He has a personality, and he is inquisitive and sensitive and wild as ten bucks and full of life. He makes me want to bottle time every single day, and he makes me never want to forget that, in that moment, I marveled at his “littleness,” or at the way he said something, or a hug and kiss when I needed it most…and I tend to record those moments here. So to you, thanks for letting me indulge myself. Facebook has become his baby book, and I have opened it to you. Y’all are sweet to let me.

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Mac’s body is a mini Scott Stacey. His curiosity about everything physical, he gets from Scott. The day I had to get him (at 3) to show me how to crank the 4-wheeler, the times that he barrels through the door wanting to tell me about his latest kill, only to stop and say, “Oh yeah. You don’t like dead animals…”, the time I looked out of our bathroom window and say my 4 year old speeding around our house in our golf cart, all by himself..I can’t help but see what Scott’s mama must have seen when he was little. They are one in the same.

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But his mind is a lot like mine. He has a huge imagination. He loves stories and movies and music…but more than that, he wants to know WHY something is the way it is and how it works and if he can’t figure it out, he just makes it up. Totally me.
Seeing my child be such a precious mixture of my husband and myself is both enthralling and scary. I know with my mind comes deep anxiety and a depth of emotion that is hard to control. With Scott’s physical nature, he is fearless. And that combination is terrifying.

But it is also exhilarating. I wake up everyday, just waiting to see what he is going to say to me. I value our conversations on the way to school and when I pick him up. He makes me laugh, and marvel at the world, and wonder about all of the things that I inherently know, that he doesn’t…and when he laughs, I am so tickled because his laugh is so cute and he laughs with everything in him….and when he cries, I feel like I could rip my skin off my body because I don’t want him to hurt, ever.
He brings out a tenderness in me I didn’t know existed, he makes me think about topics I haven’t contemplated since I was his age, and more than anything, he makes me want to be a better person, so he will be able to say, I was proud of who my mama was. I have a long way to go….but he is a phenomenal teacher.

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So, I realize this post is longer than long, but I could write about this little creature for days. I love him with every fiber of my being…and without him, I would be forever lost.
This month of thankful has lead me to this: loving Mac has given me a tiny glimpse into the sacrifice God made when he sent his only son, Jesus, to Earth, to die on the cross for me and for you so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. Being the mama of an “only son,” I can now say with certainty, there is no greater love.
So tonight, not only am I grateful for this precious being I helped create and get to call my own, but I am even more grateful that I have a heavenly father who loves me….and you…even more than I love Mac.

And that is a lot.

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