In this lovely “thanks-giving” season, those in the USA turn to thoughts of home, family, friends, turkey, food, and to giving thanks and remembering God’s goodness. I do not cease to be amazed at the bounty of God’s goodness in the feast eating and food — we do live in a country blessed with bounty. We are fortunate and I wonder how often we remember to stop and remember, when so many of the seven billion on this planet live in poverty and hunger. While I eat and give thanks and joyfully spend time with others, I do remember and think of the others in the world who are not so fortunate.

My days have been full to the brim with the activities of the season, with homeschooling, with extra-curriculars, and with the general stuff of life, which explains why I didn’t post much last week!

After returning from my hometown and my father’s unexpected heart-related issue, I was sick with a virus which knocked me out for a day or two. But before that, I was hit by a sinus infection in late September which has taken me weeks to recover fully from. After nearly two months, I’m feeling more like myself. I’ve felt like a little child with a runny nose for nearly two months! Weird, never had that before, but thankful to be better!

I’ll say all the rest in my gratitude list:

534. Finally– needing less kleenex! I was taking kleenex everywhere……and thankful to be feeling better… recovered…yay, oh big yay!!

535. A mild autumn up until now!

536. Honey crisp apples.

537. A meaningful Messianic Seder dinner for the home school co-op we are part of. It’s not the right time of year, but we are studying ancient history so it fit in with the time period, and as a unit celebration, we held a Seder.

538. Attending a very fun, exciting Novice Speech & Debate Tournament for home-schoolers. I had so much fun myself, watching all the young students, ages 12 and above, give speeches and debate in their very first tournament. They were dressed very professionally, conducted themselves professionally, courteously, and were encouraging to one another. It gives me hope to see how many young people are being trained in character development and in articulation– learning how to articulate clearly about their faith, and about other things that matter… in short– these ARE the future leaders, in training. My daughter has been asking to be part of debate for 2 years now, and finally this year, it worked out for her to attend a debate class. And well, as a proud mama, I share that my daughter and her teammate placed 2nd in the tourney– they won all 3 of their rounds! That was quite exciting for us all. We didn’t expect anything at all– certainly no placements or wins– but it was surely an encouragement to have that honor of winning! Besides the 2nd place, though, my daughter had so much fun that day, laughing with the other kids in between the speaking rounds. It was, to me, the way a debate or speech tournament should be– organized, and with kids who are serious during the rounds, but also having so much fun with other kids who share similar interests. I just can’t say enough about the whole experience and what they are learning. I’m also thankful I was able to work out my schedule so I could be there all day– from 8 am until 8pm! And I even had fun also with a friendย  of mine and talking to other people there…. fun, fulfilling day for me personally, on different levels. At the end of the day, we all celebrated with pizza together. I could go on and say even more, but I’ll stop here. ๐Ÿ™‚

539. A special “Fiddler on the Roof” performance– with another group of home-schooled students. Again… so much “good” being poured into the kids by adults who care……

540. We should call this the “drama season” in our house, since all 3 kids are in an upcoming Christmas play. My 10-year-old son received “the most improved actor award” from the director the other day, and this surprise “award” was such a boost to his confidence! At first, he was only just reading his lines… but then just recently, he really got more into it and improved his character, his expression, his tone. And what is wonderful is that the director noticed and thanked him for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ God is good. Sometimes I feel as if small things (or big things) often go unnoticed… but the truth is that God always sees and notices even if others do not.

541. Having a few friends from the same 10 year old’s Sunday school class over for games and pizza recently. Such a fun night… I do enjoy having my kids’ friends over!

542. My daughter reaching out and inviting someone to a church youth event. They were both so excited.

543. Finally– back to my women’s Bible study after many weeks of not being able to attend… back to a rich study of I Samuel.

544. Pruning bushes. Never thought I’d say thank you for that, but I actually enjoyed getting those clippers out and it was quite a good little workout.

545. Finished planting the rest of the tulips last weekend, with the kids’ help. Now… let’s see what comes up in spring…

546. Watching the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy again… I just finished movie #2…and I can’t recall whatย  happens in movie #3 at all….Love those movies.

547. Being busy in a good way.

548. A sweet note from a friend.

549. A kind word and prayer from a friend.

550. A kind e-mail.

551. Hearing my kids laugh.

552. Listening to my 8-year-old give a speech. (He just took a speech class this past fall, and I love listening to him). He fought going to the classes occasionally (and so did his older brother), but in the end, it was a valuable experience and I dare say they even enjoyed it.

553. A recent home-school co-op which focused on ancient India and China. It was fun having a friend share some of her cultural background from China… and it was fun to share some of my personal experience, too, as a native of India, but who grew up in the U.S.ย  I enjoyed the discussion on comparative religions we had– comparing Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucius, and Dao. It was so good for the kids. I hope and pray seeds of what was spoken take root and grow. ๐Ÿ™‚

554. Good bye iPhone. We’ll be saying good-bye real soon. I liked you while you were mine. But we can no longer afford to keep you. Thank you for keeping me “plugged in”! ๐Ÿ™‚

555. A fun and wonderful trip to the zoo for a zoo class today! And I have another story, again, how God works out little details: Up until last night, I still wasn’t sure how I was going to do this— because for the zoo class, the parents can only drop off the kids (unless we want to pay the zoo admission price) and then leave the kids at the zoo… but that didn’t feel right to me, and neither did I want to fork over the admission price for just an hour or two. But just last night, the coordinator of the class e-mailed, looking for another chaperone (and chaperones get in free!) So I responded that I was available… and there you go, dilemma solved… I didn’t have to leave the kids at the zoo and even attended one of the classes and got in free as a chaperone. Bonus: I learned some new things! Did you know that there are “rainforests” in the US? Yes, there are! They are in the Northwest– they are not “tropical” rainforests, but they qualify as a rainforest because of the amount of annual rainfall! ๐Ÿ™‚ What do you know, you learn something new every day! We also got to watch some funny ape and gorilla antics at the zoo… they were certainly active today.

556. A lovely peppermint mocha from Starbucks.

557. A couple of very kind twitter comments about my writing… brightened my day!!

558. Coming up with a couple of “new” outfits by putting different things together inย  my closet… isn’t that so much fun, ladies! ๐Ÿ™‚

559. My youngest dressing up as “King David” for our church’s annual Fall “Heavenly Party”… he made his own crown… they play games, do crafts, did a “corn maze” in the church basement (with cardboard boxes) and talk about heaven. Sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚

560. Some fun pics my daughter took of her brother playing in the leaves…

I’ll be stopping here for this week’s list. Happy Thanksgiving!