Oops...time got away from me! Sorry!! I hadn't been writing on here for so long that I'm out of the routine...
Today started out good- but I was frustrated with DOG HAIR! You see, our Arkansas dogs must be thinking they are still there because they are now shedding uncontrollably (it's just about spring in Arkansas). I somehow thought their bodies would acclimate quickly to the snow and cold weather of the northwoods and they would be 'on schedule' for the climate here. But, I guess everything takes time... So, none the less, we have a disgusting amount of dog hair that is floating around. I confined the two big dogs to a section of the house while their going through this phase- I figured it would be contained better and easier to clean every day... So, we armed ourselves with dog brushes and the vacuum cleaner every day trying to expedite this process. Probably a hilarious thing to watch from the outside but you just have to understand my extreme dislike for animal hair! **Side note: We have 8 people, 3 cats and 3 dogs in our new (smaller than before) home. And it's winter so we can't bust out into the outdoors just yet...
Anyway, all that to say that I started sweeping, dust mopping and sucking corners out with the vacuum to find any possible stray animal hairs before I felt a freak out moment come on. (Ha! I can laugh at myself on this...hope you are too!) Hubby surprised us and came home early last night from working away. He (and his mama) took all the kiddos to see great grandma in the nursing home this morning. So, I got them all packed up and I vowed to clean and clean some more by the time they got back.
I put some music on and began the morning pick up routine of toys, folding blankets on the couch, gathering stray water cups, finding misplaced hankies (we've been sick on and off for 3 weeks!), and switching the wash out. It was while I grabbed a stuffed animal off the floor upstairs and returned it to Princess' bed that I became overwhelmed with thankfulness.
See, usually I am praying throughout the day for God to give me the strength (and patience) to be the absolute best mama I can be to the kiddos He's given us. Usually I am praying for discernment and patience for what feels like endless bickering and bantering back and forth. Not to mention our sweet, overtired, teething, sick/runny nose Angel Baby stuck to my pant leg. Usually during school time I am bombarded for hours with "Mom, I need help. Mom, I'm frustrated (tears streaming down). Mom, I doooonnnnn'tttt wwwwwaaaannnnttt toooo ddddoooo sssccchhhooollll........all the while falling down across the couch and into a heap on the floor as if his back just broke in a million pieces and he lost all of his strength to go on even one more moment.
Usually I don't get a moment for my bath and to get dressed much before 11am (or even by lunch sometimes). Usually things get cluttered everywhere-very quickly...and I have just about as much disdain for clutter as I do animal hair. I'm constantly needing to remind myself that I am doing God's work, right here as a stay-at-home-mom. This is my mission field and this is THE most important and most special job for me. I'm always reminding myself that I need to have joy in the runny noses, the getting up at night to comfort bad dreams, the endless piles of laundry and dishes and yes, even the bickering. Because you see, this is a gift I've been given. A very precious gift.
And that's why thankfulness hit me head on this morning. Thankfulness that God has given me a man who loves me more than anything else in this world. A man with a heart as big as the sky. A man who will love and protect his family before anything else and a man who will do anything to take care of us (like work away during the week during these tough economic times so we don't have to go without).
Thankfulness that we have a roof over our heads and extended family coming out of our ears who love us and support us. Family who stops in to see how we're doing, family who calls, emails, and texts to see what we need and if there's anything they can do to help. Family who has welcomed us home with open arms as if we had never been gone, as if 5 years was a blink of an eye.
Thankfulness that I have beds to help make, stuffed animals to pick up off the floor, laundry to (endlessly) do, dishes to (endlessly) wash, noses to lovingly wipe and foreheads to smooch on. Thankfulness that we have so many kids and so many animals, it's because of all of them- all mixed up together- that we constantly have so many smiles and giggles going on around here. We have children with very happy and carefree hearts.
Thankfulness that God has recently shown me that our obedience has not been in vain. He's shown me that love is breaking through and that we are truly winning the heart of our (almost) 17 year old daughter. What a precious gift all in itself! All of the tough times in the past and all of the turmoil hasn't been for nothing. We've continued to do what He's asked of us, never looking back, trudging forward, and we're beginning to see fruit. Whoa.... it almost seems miraculous...
All of these things are priceless. And yes, I'm even thankful (today) for our dogs. :)