Weekend Gratitude is Getting to Be a Habit!

Dear friends,

I didn’t know when I wrote my first “Weekend Gratitude” post that I was starting a series! Here we go for round five! It’s been an interesting weekend – the kind where happy little surprises greeted me around each corner. And I know I’m going to have a fabulous weekend next weekend visiting family in Maryland, so I’ll continue at least that long. Meanwhile, how about you? What makes you grateful right now? Leave a comment!

Saturday morning I just couldn’t seem to get out of bed. So sleepy! So I am grateful for a chance to sleep in, which I rarely do. As soon as I acclimated to morning, I headed to the computer to work on lesson planning for our next unit study on the Civil War. Even though we aren’t scheduled to “do school” this week, I am trying to get a jump on it since I will be out of town for a few days. It’s amazing how fast a Monday morning can sneak up on me. I am grateful that I can still home school my kids, even after nearly 20 years of it. I am always having to try something fresh or tweak my system. This week, our tweak was to spend less time on literature and history in the morning, in favor of math, writing and science. We were somewhat more productive, but I think more tweaking is in order… I am grateful that I’m not locked into a system. I have the freedom to use my creativity and experience to optimize my kids’ education through home schooling, or, as in the case of my 16 year old daughter, to use public school when that fits the need best.

After lunch, I took the three youngest children out on errands. Our first stop was Brightlight Books to pick up a copy of a literature book which my daughter Lydia needs for her AP English class. I am grateful that they had this obscure book, which is currently in very high demand by local high school students, in stock for only $4 (when they didn’t have it a few days before) and that I had store credit available to pay for it! I also noticed that they are selling Brightlight “food for your brain” T-shirts. Very tempting! (Note: I went back and bought one a few days later!) Next up, the discount bread store where we bought about 16 packages (mostly premium whole wheat bread, but also bagels, English muffins, flat breads, etc.) for only $1 each. Oh, and a box of donuts for Sunday morning. Yum. I am grateful for thrifty places to buy food (for the stomach and for the brain) for our very large family!

We also stopped by a new store labeled “Discount Club” which was full of stuff like fancy electronics, designer jewelry and perfumes that I didn’t want to buy. As soon as I spotted a rack of vulgar T-shirts in full view of my children, I took the kiddos firmly by the hand and walked out. Blech! Good thing the store is a temporary one renting a spot in the shopping center. It should be gone in 5 weeks. Good riddance! I guess I would have to say I am grateful for common sense and discernment to skip the junk and go for the good stuff (“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8).

Our final stop for the afternoon was Walmart, for one of our weekly grocery runs. (I also go to Aldi at least once a week, and Sam’s Club every other week. We eat a lot.) By the time we got out of there, two of the kids were getting punchy and I was quite crabby. My whole brain was getting foggy. I became very grateful for my bed again. Nap! Restored sanity is a very good thing. Grouchy PMS mommy is not. At Walmart, we bought a new keyboard for our main computer since my attempts to clean lemonade out of our old one the night before was not completely successful. The real problem with the computer, though, was probably caused by Internet Explorer, which kept either freezing, letting me type only one key every few seconds, or popping us out of programs every few seconds. We switched to Google Chrome for our browser. So far so good. I am grateful that my father taught me to be computer literate over 30 years ago when I was a teenager. (It paid my way through college.) I’m still not a major techno whiz, but I don’t tend to get intimidated by computers, and I can usually do at least a few things to alleviate our woes.

On Saturday evening, my husband and I used an Outback Steak House gift card that we had received to go out for a belated Valentine dinner. Scrumptious!  I am definitely grateful for seasoned steak and garlic mashed potatoes, and even for fresh vegetables. While we were waiting to be seated at a table, he noticed an older couple hobble in. He immediately jumped up from the bench to give them room to sit down. I really admire that about him, and I’m grateful to have a husband who is a gentleman. I hadn’t been paying attention. We had a very fruitful conversation at dinner, and then on the way out, we stopped to talk to our friend Amy who was eating with her daughters.

While we were driving home, we remembered that two of our boys needed new pants to wear to church. We decided to stop by Walmart to look for some and to buy some ice cream to take home to the kids. (Much more cost effective than buying dessert at Outback, I must say! Makes the kids happy, too! They really liked the blueberry-pomegranate flavor. Who knew you could get it in a store brand?) We were standing in the boys’ clothing section debating about whether to get husky or regular size, when a lady came bounding over, squealing with delight. It was a lady who had worked for my husband when he was the facility manager many many years ago. Looking at me for permission, she said, “I just have to give him a hug! Such a good man!” That was fine with me! We all had a really nice chat. I remember visiting her family at their apartment many years ago at Thanksgiving time and that her husband had died the following year. This lady had also befriended my mother-in-law the year she got sick and passed away. It is good to reconnect after so many years. The funny thing is that while we were walking in to the store, I had a feeling we would run into someone we hadn’t seen in a really long time. Whenever I am in a place that I hadn’t planned to be, I get the sneaking suspicion that I am there for a larger serendipitous reason. I mused to my husband that because we stopped to talk to Amy at Outback, we were in the right place at the right time to run into his former co-worker. So I am grateful for “divine coincidences” and old friends.

This morning (Sunday) I decided to look up the Bible passage that pastor Dave Abney would be preaching about today. Jonah 2:8 popped out at me: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Even if it’s difficult, it’s not a horrible thing to lay down a habit, possession, or belief that is only dragging you down or damaging your soul. If it’s a false substitute for true satisfaction, you’re only doing yourself a favor if you turn away from it to walk in God’s grace. True? I am grateful for the Scriptures that bring wisdom to life.

This morning we also officially joined Lake Baldwin Church, so I am a Presbyterian again after 31 years away. When we were chatting with our senior pastor Mike Tilley after the service, I was telling him about the Presbyterian church I attended as a teenager near Baltimore, and about my friend Anne who had invited me there when I was in 8th grade. When I mentioned that Anne now goes to a multi-cultural, justice-minded PCA church in inner city Baltimore, Mike suggested that I go meet the young man who had played the keyboard during worship. Calvin’s father is the pastor of a church in Baltimore that fits that description, and I strongly suspect it is the same one since I noticed that Anne and Calvin’s mother Maria are friends on Facebook.  In fact, Calvin just e-mailed and says he does know Anne a little, and her father even better.  He also sent a link for his mother’s book, A Thousand Resurrections, which is about urban ministry. I got tears in my eyes just reading a few pages of the preview on-line.  So another serendipitous coincidence in meeting Calvin! Sweet! I am grateful for all of the interconnections in my life. And I am SO grateful to Anne’s family for reaching out to me and picking me up for church every week for two years. That made such a huge difference to me!  I am grateful that Timonium Presbyterian gave me a rock solid foundation of Bible, evangelism, and world missions, and I can’t even imagine what my life would be without that!

After lunch, my husband and I headed over to our former church, Metro Life, to record a two minute audio tribute to our daughter Joanna for her graduation from The Regent Academy home school program this June.  This is one of the photos in the slideshow that will accompany the recording. We are grateful to have such a sweet daughter who has a contagious smile, creative gifts, and a big heart for multi-cultural ministry. I can’t wait to give her a big hug when she and Rachel return from Italy in May! And I’m grateful that they got to drive up along the French coast to Monaco on Friday with the Walti family, and that they will start teaching English on Tuesday in Chiavari, Italy. I love that my girls can go have a Grand Adventure and I can’t wait to see their new pictures when they post them at www.abbondanzadivita.blogspot.com.

And now I am sitting her blogging about gratitude, and my heart is filled with thanksgiving for those who take the time to read about “Virginia’s Life, Such As It Is.

Thank you! And I would love to hear from you!

Virginia Knowles

P.S. I leave you with the song “I Need You” by Josh Bales, our worship leader. He sang this for the offertory today to accent the sermon on Jonah 2. You can download it on iTunes and enjoy the haunting melody, too. I love how God turns our desperation to grace. “Now I will celebrate for all the thousand ways that You have shown me grace!”

“I Need You”
by Josh Bales

My heart is restless in me
My wings are all worn out
I’m walking in the wilderness
And I cannot get out
I need You, Oh, I need You
Blessed Savior come
I need You, Oh, I need You
Fill the every longing of my soul

Oh, how I need You, Lord
I need Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

My bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end
A downward spiral of despair
And I keep falling in
I need You, Oh, I need You
To You my soul shall fly
I need You, Oh, I need You
Yaweh, how I love You more than life

Oh, how I need You, Lord
I need Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

Your silence is like death to me
So won’t You hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
Way over mountains high
Though I can see the valleys,
They’re all just passing by
It’s not that I am stronger
Look at my feeble wings
But I’ve been lifted higher
Yaweh’s lifted me in His own strength

Oh, how I love You, Lord
I love Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The God who always will endure
Now I will celebrate
For all the thousand ways
That You have shown me grace
And made my heart in grace to stay
You’ve made my heart in grace to stay
You’ve made my heart in grace to stay

A band called The Swift recorded Josh’s song. Here is the YouTube of it!


About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Books and Authors, Fellowship of Friends, Grace and Wonder, Lake Baldwin Church, Music, My Children, Penny Pinching, Weekend Gratitude. Bookmark the permalink.

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