Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

Alright, I'm going to do it.  I'm going write about what I'm thankful for, during this month of Thanksgiving.  I know it's trendy and cliche, and that is not me, but I have a LOT to be thankful for this holiday season.  I always do, but right now in particular, and as I reflect over the past year, a lot of things are coming to mind. 

#1 - Financial security
One year ago today we had three daughters (12, 4, and 3) and 2 foster sons (7 months, and 1 month old).  Derrick had been laid off for a month, and the holidays were fast approaching.  A daunting situation for any family.  This past year has been so full of blessings.  Yes, finances were tight, but we've been MUCH worse off in the past.  We've spent the last several years working on getting out of debt and cleaning up our financial mess, so when this so-called hardship hit, we were prepared and we hardly felt the bump.

#2 - Christmas
I worked a part time job in November and December last year, and everything I made went towards Christmas.  Since Derrick was off work, I had the flexibility to work without worrying about a babysitter, and we had the best Christmas we've ever had (I'm talking about gifts here, and the ability to buy some nice things for our kids.)  Don't get me wrong, we're not a very materialistic family, but after years of buying dollar store gifts for our kids for Christmas, it felt good to be able to buy the family a Wii and some other nicer things that weren't going to be broken within 2 weeks of opening them.

#3 - 5 kids, 2 babies
When we got our 2nd baby (he was 4 days old), the older baby was 5 months old.  After one week, I felt so overwhelmed with trying to care for 2 infants, plus the older kids.  Our oldest was in school, and the next was in preschool - half days, and I had to drive her every day.  It was too much, but Derrick got laid off 2 weeks later, and for the next year we were both available at home so I didn't have to carry the load by myself.  I could run errands without dragging all the kids with me, and I had help with all the day-to-day tasks.

#4 - New Van!
Our large family was outgrowing our mini van, and it was time to upgrade to something bigger.  With our tax return we were able to buy, with cash (literally!), a 12 passenger van.  It's the nicest, newest vehicle we've ever owned.  Now we can go on long trips without worrying about how we're going to fit all of us, plus our stuff, into the van.  It has been such a blessing.

#5 - Lunch Dates
For a few months in the spring Derrick and I made arrangements to have a weekly lunch date.  It was wonderful, that's all I can say.  We discovered a lot of great local restaurants around Elkhart that are now some of our favorites (Georges Gyros and Unique Blends are definitely our top 2!)  When I started working in the summer, the lunch dates came to an end, but it was great while it lasted.

#6 - Family Vacation
We had the most wonderful opportunity this summer to go on a 2-week family vacation.  We road tripped around the country - visited 13 states, saw some of our country's most famous and awesome attractions - some natural, some man made.  We saw the Rocky Mountains (camped in them, and drove through them), Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore, to name a few highlights).  My summer job paid for it.  I don't think, if he were working, we would have been able to take 2 weeks for that trip.  We did it fairly cheaply - we either camped or stayed with family.  We tried to do a lot of our own meals instead of eating out.  We didn't buy too many souvenirs, though I kind of wish we'd bought more.  The girls brought home "rocks from the Rockies" as their best souvenirs. 

#7 - Finally, a Job!
Well, wonderful as this past year has been, it's not sustainable as a lifestyle.  We've been living on unemployment, and that's not meant to last forever.  Now we have 3 kids in school, and just the babies are home all day.  Even my girl in preschool gets to take the bus, so I don't have to shuttle her back and forth.
The time has come, and Derrick has been getting restless. 

Last week he started a job as an electrician for Norfolk Southern (railroad company).  He'll be working in the yard. His drive to work is about 10 minutes.  There will be little to no travel.  And they never lay off (from what we've heard.)  We are both excited and apprehensive about this new direction our life is taking.  Apprehensive, mostly because it's new and unknown. As with most things, there will be pros and cons to the job, but for now, we are extremely thankful that he has found permanent employment. 

And even more than that, we are thankful to God for not only taking care of our needs over the past year, but using what could have been an extreme hardship to pour out His blessings on our family.  I'm not in any way trying to make a statement about God making life easy during hardships, or trying to preach that God will pay your bills.  As I said before, we've had our share of hardships, through which we've learned many valuable lessons.  In fact, I'm sure that some of those lessons are what got us through this past year.    We've had times when we couldn't and didn't pay our bills.  All I'm saying is, this wasn't one of those times.  In this particular situation and time in our lives, God chose to put aside those hard life lessons, and just give us blessing after blessing.  I know that in the future I will look back on this time of unemployment as a year that was really a great time in our family.   


  1. congrats on the job my uncle works for them he got laid off but he was a cunductor they nevev lay off the other people though and the insurance is awasome :)

  2. I think recapping over your year is a good way to gain perspective. I like reading about it too, so thanks for showing your thankfulness.

  3. what a year!
    and i just have to agree with you
    God is so good.
    and He has different plans for different seasons of our lives.
    i'm so grateful that this has been a pleasant season for you. and i pray that you continue to walk in joy and thankfulness.
    love and hugs to you.