Five Things Thankful

Between politics, international instability, violence, and hatred, it is hard to find readily available good news sometimes.  Even an event like the Olympics, which should be filled with celebration, enthusiasm, and excitement, has been overshadowed by the frightening stories surrounding this year’s host city.

I want to know about the events of my world.  It is important to be aware and involved in our local, national, and world societies.  But without an occasional respite from the negative noise, I can go a little bit crazy.  The constant exposure to really depressing information is, well, depressing.

Every day I take some time to be thankful for the gifts and blessings bestowed upon my family and me.  Today, I thought I might share my five favorites from the past week here on the blog.

Because good news is good for all of us.

We spent this weekend with lots of extended family.

Several months ago, my parents started planning and organizing a small family reunion for this summer.  Almost everyone invited was a complete stranger to me.  While I am usually uncomfortable in these sorts of social situations, this time I was not apprehensive and actually looked forward to it.

I am so glad that Todd and I made the trip to meet my extended family.  I enjoyed time with cousins I never knew existed.  I heard new stories about my grandparents (and Todd’s grandparents, too) from my grandmother’s siblings.

My brother and his wife made some of the best smoked meat I have eaten.  Ever.

The girls were able to play on the lake and go tubing–yay for water fun!

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And we relaxed.  Oh, has this been the summer for relaxing.  My house is dusty.  My storage room is barely safe to navigate.  My vegetable garden does not exist.  But we have relaxed, traveled, and enjoyed a much slower pace of life.  And I am thankful.

Two weeks of school are officially complete.

The first week of school is always a honeymoon period for our family.  We have bright, shiny textbooks.  The pencils are still sharp.  Everyone is so happy and cooperative.

Week two always looks a bit different.  Everyone forms opinions by that time about which subjects are awesome and which are dreadful.  Mom realizes squeezing grocery shopping into the schedule is a bit more difficult.  Attitudes (mom’s too) are more likely to rear their ugly little heads.

We had some rough spots this second week of school, but overall, things went well.  I have hope that this will be our best homeschool year yet.  In addition to math problems, French lessons, and essay writing, we had some fun.

Natalie taught herself how to play the theme song from the 1960s television show, The Munsters, on her violin.  Later, Jocelyn and she melted butter in the driveway with magnifying glasses.

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We had a model of the solar system in the dining room.  And nearby, Jocelyn built a nomad “hut” in the living room.

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And this is exactly why we homeschool.

I resolved a health insurance issue.

Last month, when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, she needed a round of antibiotics to cure it.  When I arrived at the pharmacy counter to pay for said antibiotics, I learned there was a glitch with her insurance coverage.  It took Todd and me many, many hours over the course of a month to finally resolve the glitch with the insurance provider.

And while the monetary cost of that glitch was not significant, if the problem continued unresolved our daughter was not ever going to get a prescription covered by insurance again.  Ugh, right?  On Friday, we finally got it fixed.  As I left the pharmacy with my refund in hand, I did an honest-to-goodness leprechaun jump and clicked my heels.

We finally finished our large purchase process.

A few weeks ago, I shared that Todd and I were in the midst of determining whether or not to make a large purchase.  After much debate, conversation, and prayer, we decided that our family would benefit from owning a camper.

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Today, we committed to one.  We wanted a travel trailer that was short (so we could tow it with our existing vehicle and it could be stored easily), but also felt spacious for our entire family.  This was not an easy task, but with a murphy bed for us adults, a set of bunks for the kids, and a slide out for table seating, we found just the right fit.  This weekend we get to bring it home.  And in a few weeks we will test it out for the first time.

We are done shopping for fall.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that back-to-school shopping is somewhat non-traditional.  We need a few school supplies, but aside from textbooks and software, the list is considerably shorter than one for most families.  And school clothes?  We buy those on an as-needed basis throughout the year.

All we really needed this year were a couple pair of dance shoes.  This week, the dance shoes came.  These are the excited feet.

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And these are the feet that stayed still long enough for a picture.

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We had a good week.  There were ups and downs.  Times when I rejoiced.  And times when I thought I might lose my mind.  But in the end, I am thankful.