Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks 2008

Thanksgiving 2008
Dear Friends and Family,

We’ve been learning in school this year the history of America. It is recorded that the Pilgrims sang Psalms in worship and particularly found Psalm 107 to be a comfort during their difficult travels and settling. No don’t doubt this was also part of the praise they offered up on that first Thanksgiving:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.

They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,

for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things. –Psalm 107:1-9

We have had an encouraging time today focusing on Lord’s faithfulness and goodness during the past year. As we share in thanksgiving, we hope that you, too, are reminded of God’s many works and are prompted to share it with others.

What has God done? How has He helped you?

Sean - According to the glorious riches that are in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19), several school related blessings have been provided.

Monica - Being a mom, though never truly alone, can be isolating at times. I have been praying for several years for some closer relationships and for balance in how this would realistically fit into my life. This year God blessed me with several new friends while deepening relationships that were already dear to me. Being known and loved by other sisters in Christ has been an incredible encouragement to me this past year.

Hannah - “God has helped me with my school work.”

Lydia - “He has given us a house to live in and protected it while we were away. A big storm caused a big tree in our backyard to be struck by lightening, but our house was not harmed.”

Miriam - “God was with us when we traveled. It took a long time.”

Elizabeth - “God protected us in storms. There was tornado a couple of blocks away.”

Joseph - “He made the trees grow.”

Rebekah - “Helps me when I get an ouchy.”

John - Delivered me from my crib

What has God taught you?

Sean - “For a guy who likes to work hard, I had a delightful time getting to rest and learn this summer. Since the beginning of this school year I’ve been thankful for an extra freelance writing job, but never had as much stress in my life. I’m learning how to trust in God through this and not be filled with anxiety. Even though the amount of work hasn’t decreased, nor have the deadlines, I’m thankful for the peace that God provides.”

Monica - “God has taught me a lot about stewardship. About a year ago I felt convicted that we needed to be more intentional with our resources and really praying and asking for His best. I’ve been amazed at the many wonderful ways He has seen fit to provide for us this year. Sometimes it’s the smallest things, like the milk we drink, that gives me reason to praise. Now that the economy has declined, I see in hindsight more of His care for our family in preparing us and allow us to practice now for whatever the future may hold.”

Hannah - “To be more patient with the little kids and take time to listen to them even when it’s hard.”

Lydia - “God has taught me how to spell. Last year every single word I wrote down was incorrect, but now when I’m doing my spelling in school I spell twenty right and only five wrong!”

Miriam -“To knit and to be able to use my own hands to make something for someone else.”

Elizabeth - “How to do art in art class.”

Joseph - “I am making an engine right now, but it’s upstairs, because I’m going to make a car. God shows me how to invent.”

Rebekah - To be a big helper to mommy.

John - To be gentle (in process : )

What is your favorite memory of this past year?

(As you will read, many of the memories mentioned involve the time we spent in Florida in June. Sean was the recipient of a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship Award which sent us for an extended stay in Cape Canaveral.)

Sean – “My weekend away with Monica this Fall which included some training with other regional instructors, speaking at the conference and watching Calculus the Musical with my wife laughing hysterically.”

Monica - “Having a month to just rest and be with my family. I’ll cherish it always. Oh, and witnessing a sea turtle nesting on the shore at night was amazing!”

Hannah -“Seeing the dolphins and manatees swimming around my kayak.”

Lydia - “Walking down the sidewalk to get to the beach and feeling the hot sand on my feet.”

Miriam - “Touring the South Bend Chocolate Factory.”

Elizabeth - “Watching the kid’s play, ‘Mission to Mars’”

Joseph - “Seeing the rocket launch and the smoke going all the way up in the sky!!!”

Rebekah - “Seeing Pooh Bear at Disney World.”

John - Getting a HUGE box of Lego’s this summer at a garage sale. (He’s been busy ever since.)

There are many, many more stories to tell of our Great God’s goodness. Yes, there have been hard times and struggles along the way, but He has seen fit to sustain and uphold us. We know that there are many of you as well who have your own reasons to praise. We’d love to hear from you!

Many Blessings,

The Bird Family


Alaina said...

What a wonderful letter of reflection. I love how you have each child participate! And great family picture.

Love the new look!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I love this every year. I can't wait to hear more about your new friendships. I've been praying the same for myself, you know. ;)

LOVE the photo. I want it for my fridge!

Tisha said...

This is wonderful Monica!! I love the picture too...

the roberts family said...

Great letter (loved everyone's input) and the picture is amazing, and makes our job seem really easy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nathan Enas said...

It is good to give thanks to Yahweh! Thanks for the encouragement and the fellowship in Christ.

Amy K said...

Love your thoughts and how the kids express thankfulness and looking back on the year in their own words. How creative. Your family is a blessing. :)

Rachelle said...

I'm so glad I got this! Did you know that (in your portrait) your darling family forms a big, long smile? Ha, that's what I had when I read this! Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Love this! Wha ta great idea and what a great shot. Might have to swipe this for my own records of my kiddos :0