I know Advent has begun and I'm ready for it and I'm feeling the need (pressure) to write something about it. The 1st Sunday of Advent was beautiful and I feel like my soul has moved into this season.
However, I've not blogged over the Thanksgiving holiday and I feel the need (on this last day of November) to make one last nod toward Thanksgiving before I move on. So here it goes...
In my sermon on Thanksgiving Sunday I challenged our congregation to be more willing to share our gratitude. Twenty years ago I worked retail and remember being told that when customers go away upset they tell at least 10 (if not more) while when they go away happy they may tell no one. This has stuck with me and I wonder about it. And so I challenged people to make sure we express our thanks and even share it.
In that line of thinking, I want to share some recent pleasant experiences (of many varieties)...
1) Although not the most significant one on the list, I have to give a big "hurrah" to our birthday party experience at Chuck E. Cheese's. Can I be honest here? I didn't expect to have rave reviews of said birthday party. I really thought I'd just endure it for the sake of my now-five-year-old. And frankly when I first looked at the brochure my primary thought was that it was a little pricey. However, it was a GREAT birthday party! We did it on a Saturday morning (yes, they open at 9 a.m. - who knew?) and so we were virtually the only people there. We got personal attention. Everything was well organized and happened in a timely fashion. When we left both the five-year-old and his mommy had smiles!
2) The week before Thanksgiving we got family pictures taken. Yesterday we got to view the proofs and I couldn't be happier. In fact I keep looking at them wondering where that lovely family came from. :) Our photographer, Kelly, and his wife, Ronda, were wonderful and the pictures really are art. If you happen to live in SW Missouri, let me recommend Kelly Lawson Photography.
3) If you know me in person, you'll know that I love Iowa. I've referred to it before as the place of my birth and the home of my heart. We were there for Thanksgiving and again I was reminded about how grateful I am for the place where I grew up. Although the people around me certainly had the greatest influence, I believe that much of who I am is very connected with that place.
4) I am grateful to pastor this wonderful church in SW Missouri. I think too seldom do we who serve in this way pause with wonder and gratitude at the many ways people invite us in to their lives and trust us with their deepest selves. I stand in awe.
5) I am a proud owner of a Hyundai Santa Fe and would recommend this little SUV again and again. As we were on the road adding hundreds more miles to the 120,000+ it already has, I was realizing how reliable it has been and how safe we feel in it.
6) As this month of Thanksgiving comes to a close I am grateful for my husband, my children, my parents, my sister, my grandparents, my friends, my clergy colleagues...so many people who love me in spite of myself, who keep me grounded and remind me who I am, who share life with me...people to whom I don't often enough say "thank you."
So, what are you thankful for? What big or little experiences would you like to shout from the rooftop (or at least post a little something about)?