Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The blessing of... Family

GreaThings 2011

I'm going to depart a bit from the GreaThings schedule today, and instead of doing the assignment (letter I) mention my Family. God really has blessed me with an amazing family.

Dad is a man of God with a passion for the Lord. He loves teaching, almost as much as he enjoys learning. We often pass book recommendations back and forth between us. As much as he enjoys learning new things, another important quality is that he is discerning in the materials that he reads and how they line up with the whole of scripture. He also has amazing faith in God. I could tell stories, but there isn't space. :-)

Mom is the most patient person I know. Seriously. She is loving, supportive, and probably the only person I actually talk to on a (almost) daily basis. She has lived a life of dedication to God first and to her family next, and provided me with a wonderful model to follow with my own family.

Dallas, Josiah, Jonathan
Josiah is the 4th and youngest of the brood. He loves army men and computer games, but has some amazing insights as well. I remember my surprise when I walked into the computer room one day and saw a note (a LARGE and DISTRACTING note) reminding him not to get on the computer till AFTER he'd done his quiet time for the day.

Dallas is the 3rd of the brood. His hobbies are varied, but almost always in the arts. He's pursued dulcimer, drawing, photography, piano, computer graphics and I forget what else--with varied levels of success. He also has commitment, as shown by his job--an early morning (as in, 3am) shift.
Jonathan with Amanda and Abigail 
Jonathan and I were pretty close growing up, partially due to our closeness of age, and partly because we were the only two siblings that had our own room. I remember when he was fairly young and new to having his own room he'd come to my room just to visit. I also played more pranks on him than any of my other brothers... Now he's a banker, web designer, and one of the most committed people I know. A man of his word.

Amanda is my sister-in-law (married to Jonathan), but I've told her it's just a matter of convenience. She was my best friend and a part of the family LONG before I knew my brother would be obliging enough to marry her to make it all permanent. She's the closest thing to a "real" sister that I've ever had, down to rooming together for a couple months a few years ago. She's artistic, fun, gave me a cute little niece, and conveniently lives about a half a block away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Difficult times God used

GreaThings 2011

For this post in GreaThings we are looking at difficult times of the past year that we are grateful for.

When looking back over the last year I see that there have been many challenges my husband and I have faced together. Many of them have been alluded to in previous posts of GreaThings, or at other times as I've been writing through this year. But when I think of defining moments of this year, there is only one Difficult Thing that stands out. That is loosing our first little one.

In other posts this year I've talked about the hardships of our loss. I've talked about how to treat a grieving mother. I've told my personal story of loss. I've mentioned that, even though I'm expecting again, I still think about our first nearly every day. I need to point that out, because my focus for this post is going to be very different. Instead of focusing on how hard it was to loose my baby, I want to look at the good that God has been able to work out of the loss.

Encouragement of the Saints--I had no idea before we lost our little one how much little kindnesses count. A listening ear. A bouquet of flowers. A bracelet to remember. Practical help. Our church (primarily, though there were others as well)  covered us with love. They grieved as we grieved. But they also encouraged us to find joy in our ashes, to trust God with His plan for our lives, and to carry on.

Shared experience--I'm a practical gal when it comes to most things. I'm not very good and dealing with emotions--especially other people's emotions. It follows that comforting isn't my forte. While that is still true, having now experienced the loss of a child it is much easier to identify with those who are grieving over the same loss. It is easier to feel their pain. Easier to passionately intercede with God on their behalf. Easier to share their tears.

My relationship with my husband--Any major event that doesn't pull a couple together will push them apart. This definitely brought my husband and I closer together as we shared the pain of loss with each other. While our relationship has always been incredibly stable, I doubt we would be where we are today in our depth of understanding of one another if we hadn't shared this difficult experience.

Value of life--Pregnancy is much more valuable to me than it used to be. While I've lost the innocent youthful assumption that nothing could go wrong, I've gained a greater value of time. I understand that there are no guarantees that my current pregnancy will come to term. I pray it will, but God's will may be different and I have accepted that. Because I am constantly aware of the brevity of life I actively value each day that I have with my little one in a way that I don't believe would be possible if I hadn't lost a child.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessings with "T"

GreaThings 2011

Our next project in GreaThings is exploring blessings starting with the letter T. That one is super easy for me--its The Church!

When I married my husband I wasn't just marrying him, I was also marrying his ministry. I became his help-meet, and his dreams and goals became my dreams and goals. After his relationship with God and his family, my husband's greatest passion is his ministry. While that entails many things at the moment, the most concrete form of ministry is to our church.

Answered Prayers of 2011

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreatThings we're looking at some answered prayers and miracles from this past year.

While there have been a number of answered prayers this year, the ones that stand out most to me are the ones related to transportation. Even though we've only been married a little over a year, my hubby and I have had a rough run with our vehicles.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The blessings of.... In-Laws!

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreaThings we are exploring blessings that start with the letter A. The main blessing that came to mind for this letter is my Amazing In-Laws. I really do have a fantastic extended family, and that isn't overstating the truth one bit. In fact, as I've never introduced my family on the blog before, I'm going to let you "meet" each one of them along a few words about their general amazing-ness.

Papa and Mama Rohlin
 Mama and Papa have been the best mother and father in laws a girl could ask for. Even before I was aware that their son would be my husband someday, they'd already "adopted" me into the family. Mama taught me piano for a number of years--and for a long time the biggest reason I enjoyed my lesson was because I had her all to myself for an hour! :-) Papa often had me back in his office, discussing the future and the past, and listening to whatever was going on in my life. While marriage has changed things (no more piano lessons!) they are still the best mother and father in law ever! (and I happen to love it when they laugh! :-)

Melody with her husband Donald
and little  girl, Danielle.
Melody is Richard's only older sibling, and the only other one that is married off at this point. She and I don't get to spend much time together (due to living quite a distance apart!) but we do have quite a lot of similar interests as her newest little one (a boy!) is due just two months before mine.

Faith, Grace, and Hope
Faith is an aspiring  young photographer (who took some anniversary pics I'm looking forward to sharing soon!). She has really been focusing on the Lord this past year, and I know is going to do some amazing things!!

Grace is one of the most passionate people I know--and about all the right things! She's also one of only two pen-pals that regularly sends me letters the "old fashioned" way.

Hope sees more than most people, and talks less about it--making her unusually wise for her age. She's also been a lifesaver the past couple months, as she's my helper in our new Keepers class. Between the two of us we keep that class busy!

Harmony and me

Harmony has been growing up way too fast lately *smile.* She's one of my older Keepers girls, and quite ready to help! I've loved having some extra time to spend with her.

Arthur (and assorted nuns)

Arthur may have cried at the altar during our wedding when his oldest (and only) brother abandoned him to a houseful of girls, but he's seemed to hold his own quite well since then. He is loving and affectionate--but as ready as ever for a good duct-tape sword fight!

Christiana is one of the all-time cutest little girls, and THE MOST experienced flower girl I've ever met! (to the tune of 4-5 weddings worth of experience). She's one of the most imaginative and enthusiastic little girls I know.

The whole clan together

Friday, November 18, 2011

A heartbeat!

As I'm having trouble uploading an MP3 File into my post, please click over to my hubby's blog to hear the single best sound I've heard this year.

Blessings with "E"

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreaThings We're going to be exploring some blessings that start with the letter "E." From least to greatest:

I'm thankful for Email and Envelopes. I have several friends who regularly correspond with me via either email or "snail" mail. Every time I see a letter from them I'm excited, because in addition to being fun to read, each of those letters is a written version of "I Love You" that I'll be able to hold on to for years to come.

The greatest thing that I'm thankful for is every minute I've had that I've been Expecting. All told this year I've had 23 weeks with my babies, almost 30 weeks by the end of the year. That means that while my time has seemed so brief,  I've spent well over half the year with one of my littles. It has been a privilege to be a mama, and one I have thanked God for many times.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scriptures for the year

GreaThings 2011

Today in the GreaThings challenge we are looking at Scriptures that have been meaningful to us this year. While there isn't a single scripture overarching over the entire year, there have been many that have been an encouragement to me during specific circumstances.

 Earlier this year when my new-to-me car was totaled, and we had three job schedules divided between two people and one car (that I couldn't drive), the verse that my husband I claimed was Philippians 4:19. We claimed that verse again a couple months ago when our ONLY car bit the dust and we had two job schedules, divided between two people and NO cars. Then there were the months

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanking God for... Romance

GreaThings 2011

It's the second day in the GreaThings challenge, and today we are exploring one or two special blessings that begin with the letter R.

My first blessing is Romance.

What is Gratitude?

GreaThings 2011

I've been wishing for a Thanksgiving related challenge to participate in with my blog, but couldn't think of what exactly. Then yesterday evening I saw that Chantel is hosting the GreaThings challenge on her blog. Although I'm starting a bit late, this is just what I've wanted so I'm going to hop on anyway! :-)

The first portion of the challenge is to define what gratitude is. I've been thinking about that all morning, and I realized that before I can define gratitude I have another couple words to define. Bear with me, it'll tie in.