A month for giving thanks


I’m starting this two weeks late, but I’d like to spend the rest of the month counting my blessings, naming them one by one (or two), and posting them here daily.

The Batesville Camera Club’s theme for the next meeting is “Things I’m Thankful For.” We’re to take pictures relating to that theme and share them at the Dec. 9 meeting (see details in my Nov. 13 post).

And, while I didn’t take the picture I will post here (as soon as it’s available from my niece Catie), it illustrates what I’m thankful for on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Today, I’m thankful for my new sister-in-law, Lisa.

She is a direct, specific answer to one of my most-heartful prayers. No, she’s an answer to two prayers. Aww, I could probably stretch it to three:

No. 1: When I began getting to know Lisa a couple of years ago and suspecting that my brother may end up marrying her, I quickly realized that she’s a very special woman. She’s a great mom to her kids and now a great wife, stepmom, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law to my family. I’m thankful for a wonderful sister-in-law. I had prayed that we would be close as family members.

No. 2: My best friends live in California, and I see them every few years at best. I had prayed for a good friend locally. And, while I don’t expect to magically become BFF’s with Lisa (friendship takes time and can’t be forced), I see a good future for us. JT, you treat her like a queen, because I want her to stick around for a long time! Since Bruce and I moved here in May and JT and Lisa were busy expanding his house so that Lisa and two of her three kids could move in (they got married in July), we’ve all been busy and Lisa and I haven’t spent a ton of time together, but not for lack of desire.

No. 3: Today, over lunch, the subject of walking or running came up. I was so excited about the decision we made, I can’t even tell you how the conversation started. Result: Lisa and I are going to be walking buddies and then running buddies (she wants to run a marathon – I told her I’m good for maybe a half-marathon). I have gotten way overweight and have realized that in this stage of my life, accountability is going to be the key factor for me.

I have been successful with weight loss (at least temporarily) in the past with other methods – sheer force of will and a formal support program (Weight Watchers, more than once), but I no longer suffer from the delusion that I can do this on my own.

I also know that my obsession with food is a form of spiritual bondage. I’m working on that, too. (I told Lisa, though, that when I’m working out I tend to make better food choices. It’s psychological.)

With the accountability, it helps that those who are going to be holding my feet to the fire are like-minded spiritually. Lisa and I talked a lot about God as we did our brisk three-mile walk this afternoon. He has worked on the heart and character of each of us over the years – in different ways but for the same reasons: to make us whole and to mold us to his character, so that we can bring honor and glory to Him.

Besides Lisa, I have to thank the Lord for Betsy. Sweet Betsy has already become a wonderful friend this year. When Bruce and I sit in our “normal seats” at church (when we don’t decide to move outside our comfort zone and sit with people we don’t know), we sit behind Betsy and her husband, Tommy (he plays in the worship band, so they have to sit in an easily accessible spot). They came to our party last week, and she even brought homemade cookies!

Despite the fact that she is petite (a good, swift puff of wind would blow her away), Betsy likes to eat, but she likes to eat healthy. I do, too, in theory, but I’ve been so hit-and-miss with that over the past few years. She has already encouraged me just by her example.

But even more, she and I talked about running last weekend. I told her the reason I had chopped off my hair and bought running shoes was that it’s time to quit messing around and get fit again. She told me some positive changes she has made over the years, including cutting out soda pop. (I’ve been a diet Coke fiend but have cut back quite a bit this year already.)

This morning when I saw Betsy, she asked if I had done any walking this past week. My first thought was, “Oh, crap! Why did she have to ask me that?” I fumbled around with an excuse, but later I realized that on the only day I had daylight, I did walk. It’s too dark to walk by myself in the mornings, and this past week it was too dark each evening when I got home (what with my class, visiting a sick friend in the hospital, working a bit of OT).

That is why I am so very, very grateful for Lisa. Now I will have someone to walk with each day, and then run with when we get to that point.

But back to Betsy: Even though I was uncomfortable answering her question, I’m so glad she asked. Betsy cares enough to stick her neck out. She had the courage to try to hold me accountable.

After all, isn’t that what I said I needed the most?

God is good, and he has given me two special women to walk this journey with.

Thank you, God, for Lisa and Betsy.

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