I wish I could say that, because I have been gone for so long, I have tons to catch you all up on. If I did, it would be a lie. I have no new news, no new projects, no new anything.
Currently I can be found in Delaware, spending time with my brother and sister-in-law and their adorable baby boy and girl. I had a nice break from work this week, because Henry's family took a week-long vacation to Hawaii (must be nice, right?). My sister had just gone through some new obstacles in caring for her twins, so one-by-one family has headed to Delaware to help them out around the house and to care for these little joys. I have loved the break from work, the chance to visit family that I hardly see, and to get some out-of-my-ordinary-life time to simply rest.
Back at home, (to which I will be heading tomorrow) I have a few projects started or at least well implanted into my creativity brain. One project, which is a surprise for Mr. Allen's family (and I will be keeping one in this Allen home to enjoy) is a Christmas-y project that is long, hard work, but I can't wait to see finished. I will be revealing the project after Thanksgiving, since that is when the gift will be given. Maybe it will still give you time to start and finish the project... that is, if you set aside a few days/hours to really get into the holiday spirit before December. The other to-be projects are Thanksgiving-y, so they will be moving to the top of my crafty list when I get home so we can fully enjoy them before December comes. I'll be sure to share those too.
I want to talk about blessings for a second. This month of November, a time for Thanksgiving, has been a complete blessing to me as it reminds me to stop and consider all of the blessings that God has given me. My Thankfulness tree has been a physical reminder for me to stop and think each day before I head out the door and again as I settle in at home after work. I am truly blessed... beyond my expectations, beyond what I deserve. And it is hard for me not to be discouraged as we deal with a job loss, low income, daily trials that cast shadows too scary and monstrous for our little family to handle. But these daily reminders to take time and think about and be truly grateful for the wonderful blessings God has given us is sweet. And it is running so deep within me right now. I can't help but praise God for who He is and what He is doing in our lives.
One blessing in particular: friendship. This summer, moving to Chicago full-time, moving in with my husband, changing everything about our lives in such a short time was extremely challenging. I found myself discontented, burnt-out from newness, and ready to run back home so many times. I prayed for God to lead me to some answers of why I was frustrated and beat-down. It was a long summer in good ways and bad. I had a hard time not focusing on the fact that I was lonely in this new city and needed my roommates and best friends nearby, but that just wasn't an option. (Don't get me wrong, I am madly in love with my husband and he is my best friend. But I am so used to having girlfriends, to having someone to chat with and hang out with. It was weird for me to be living a one-woman life.) Eventually, after much specific prayer to God to send me some friends, He started answering... loudly. I love looking back and seeing His hand in it.
We have been so blessed to meet people through our church, Armitage Baptist. We have a small group we got involved with early on that has couples and families who are being real with us and loving us, and after some weeks together, we have really been able to build relationships. Also, through our Sunday School class, we have met friends that, although the relationships are just starting out, I can tell are going to be good for us as a couple and for me individually.
I am thankful for friendship, for companionship. God didn't put us on this earth to live alone or to even be isolated with a few people, but rather to live in community, constantly building each other up and investing into each other. We have been overly-blessed with new friends. Last week we had 3 friend-dates with families, and this coming weekend we have 4 more.
Praise be to God for knowing our needs, for meeting them, for exceeding them. He is so good. It is so good to be thankful. Happy November! Take time today to be thankful. Make a list of blessings and let it bless you again as you gratefully consider each one.