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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Discipline of Thanks

Today is my Birthday . . . and I am devoting this post to a few things to be thankful for, in honor of the June 25th  meditation in my devotional book. Because today was a doozy, with enough crazy vortex-of-crisis type events to make me wonder . . . including the last straw, a psychotic woman who started attacking me when I went out to see what she needed in my kitubbi (no harm done, and when she lunged for Heidi who was holding all the pizza toppings at the time I managed to deflect her).  Thankfulness opens the heart to communion with God, which I sorely need, so here goes.
+Jack and Julia, who are doing a great job of taking care of me without Scott, Luke, and Caleb here . . . pitching into chores with dog, cows, water, bikes, dishes, etc., solicitous of my Birthday happiness.  They are an amazing pair and a joy to be with.  
+Goats, which were sent home today with a variety of needy people. Picture a petite little mom with AIDS tugging at the rope of a massive white horned beast, her baby on her back, setting off for home!  Earlier I had the privilege of listening to the pre-distribution speeches, as our visitors Craig and Dick shared from the story of the abundant filling of oil for the widow, surely a closely related picture to the replenishing supply of milk these animals will provide.  As they talked I watched one of the mothers:  I had mourned with her when, in the pre-ARV pre-UNICEF era, we watched her son Dickson waste away and die.  She had no surviving children at that time, a real tragedy here.  But now she has a healthy 6 month old who tested HIV negative, and will stay that way by drinking the goat's milk provided today.  Having sat with her at Dickson's grave made it all the more sweet to see her receive life, and hope, in the form of the goat today.
+Team.  The young single crowd surprised me this morning when I slipped away to the Masso's empty house for prayer, preceding me with fresh home made muffins, and several scripture passages (including my Dad's favorite Psalm 121) written out, my favorite hymn, and flowers.  I felt very loved.  All day long people popped in and out to check on me, and then tonight put together a great cake-and-ice cream post-pizza celebration.  I'm humbled and heartened by the kind words on my cards, and the acts of service.
+Kevin home from the hospital, two weeks from death to beginning the rest of life, God's mercy.
+Cell phones, which allowed me to talk to my husband, my mother, friends in Sudan, Uganda, America.
+The USA football (soccer) team . . Ok bear with me but it was really fun to watch them beat Spain, to hang out with my son and some of the guys and enjoy a game where heart and determination beat the odds.  Hopeful for our life in general.
+Dancing:  we ended the evening with an all-out dance party, candles and a whooping bass, on the porch under the bougainvillea and a damply humid dark sky.  


Craig and Lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Jennifer!! May God shower you with blessings (in addition to psychotic neighbors - thank God He made you and Heidi hearty women who can withstand even physical attacks). There is never a "day off" - even on your birthday, but we are thankful for you and your ministry and your showering others with love and grace. Craig and Lisa

Cindy Nore said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am so glad your day held some celebratory moments and much deserved moments of love and affection towards you. Praise God for your sweet kids, for cell phones that let you talk to your husband and your precious mother, who gave you life, for goats and soccer teams, for muffins and scriptures that your Dad loved, for Dickson's mom now having a healthy baby and a goat, for dancing and candles and the hope of a blissful eternity one sweet day where there is nothing BUT dancing and love and laughter and life - with much love, Cindy Nore

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday, Jennifer. Today is my husband's 84th birthday, and the two of you have some common characteristics--bottomless generosity of spirit and wonderful endurance. I am grateful for both of you.
Thank you for sharing Scott and Caleb on your birthday. It was good to see Scott again (and chat about U of C alumni), and I truly enjoyed meeting Caleb. He is a very impressive young man. I hope that we HMB Methodists will can come up with a belated birthday present for your unselfishness. May God bless you all your days. Judy in HMB

Tricia said...

Happy Birthday! And I like your take on thankfulness. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Barbara Elwood said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNIFER! Thanks for all you bring to those around you. I always enjoy starting my day with one of your blog entries.