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My grandmother had a son who was continuously ill for his entire life. He died at age 21. Sometimes before he died, my grandmother said to my mother, “You know, Frances, folks get very tired of hearing bad news. They don’t want to know how things are going when things never get any better.”

My grandmother was a wise woman.

When things are bad day after day, year after year, folks get tired of hearing about it. They no longer ask how you are, how are things with you, because they no longer want to know. If you can’t provide good news, they don’t want any at all.

I think they forget how very much one who is caught in an endless cycle of bad news desperately wants to have good news to share. They forget the pain of the one who can’t ignore the trials for they are all hers.

I write a lot about turning pain Godward for God has chosen to bless my life with a lot of pain: my father was an abusive drunk, my mother was bi-polar, I have two wayward children, chronic health problems and many other issues including, for the last six years, rather devastating financial problems that just seem to get worse and worse month by month. They got worse again today and, if nothing changes, will be much worse still in the very near future.

However, that isn’t what I want to write about tonight.

Tonight I want to tell you how very blessed I am. For, in so many, many ways, I am very blessed indeed. Ready? Good! For starters, I am the mother of 9 of the most beautiful children in the world (biased? perhaps but I know it’s true anyway!); all of them are beautiful, each in their own way on the outside, but most of them (sadly, only most) are also absolutely devastatingly beautiful on the inside where it really counts and, more importantly, these inside-beautiful ones, all love God. The oldest son has been called by God to preach. The youngest son, age six, has been asking deep theological questions and my little girl, age 8, has no difficulty telling you what was in the cup that Jesus prayed would pass from Him and, as I have several others who know what it means to really love God, there’s more good news besides that. Plus I have several more little ones who never made it to birth waiting with the Savior and when I get to go Home, I’ll finally get to meet them face to face!

Oh-oh! Little children’s giggles. I adore little children’s giggles…they just sound so delicious when they do that (strange maybe but, to me, no other word will do there!)

And, we have several crazy cats that keep us endlessly entertained and two old dogs that want to do nothing but sleep, eat and be loved on; did you know that loving on animals is highly beneficial to the one doing the loving? I’m sure you did but now you’ve heard it again!

Ready for something else that’s great? Though I have continuous issues with bronchitis and even pneumonia most years, this Fall, so far, God has protected me from both of them!! (Whistling, clapping hands, stomping feet, celebrating time here! It just feels SO good not to have faced those so far this Fall!)

Moving on, (this is a real biggie!): I am blessed with a very few, very dear, very true, friends who know all about my troubles and keep coming back to ask, “How are things?”, anyway; (you know who you are and I love you all lots!).

Still more: right now, the kitchen is fairly well stocked for once due to God providing some mighty good sales for us when we went shopping the other day so not only are our daily meals mostly assured for this month but Thanksgiving Dinner is mostly taken care of (everything else is left to prayer).

For some tremendous, unexpected, blessings: I was recently gifted with an iPod, something I could never have gotten for myself, so now I can listen to sermons or to the Bible while I cook and clean. Also, we have a precious friend who gifted us with a kitchen table since we no longer had one so now my family gets to eat Thanksgiving dinner together (as opposed to on couches and chairs in the den where it would have been eaten). Truly wonderful blessings, indeed!

Also, I was blessed recently to find a few sweaters for myself for $1.00 each at a yard sale. Now I have something to wear to church this Winter. And, speaking of church, the Lord has seen fit to provide us with a good one in our new town. (BIG reason for rejoicing here!) And, though I miss our old church, I am still in contact with that preacher and his family (who also happen to be long-term family friends) and I feel very blessed by that!

You know, I really could go on and on: After four years of shaky employment and nearly two years unemployment, my husband has a good job doing something he loves and though it doesn’t pay much, it is secure. I have a computer on which I can write and blog, blog and write. I have many books to read (thanks to past yard sales and such) so I am kept entertained (during those rare moments I have time in which to seek entertainment!). I love to cook and that’s a blessing as it makes providing meals on a tight budget easier (this really is something as most of the women in our family hate to cook). The sun is in place as is the moon. I get to be home with my children and be their Mommy and their teacher! We each have 10 fingers and 10 toes. And, each night, our little children have their own list of things they want to thank God for and they always include thanking Him for their nose and their toes (as usual, children have better perspectives than many adults).

Above all, I and many in my family, have the ultimate blessing: that of salvation through the precious blood of Jesus. Nothing can take that away.

There’s more blessings to recount but I won’t keep you up all night. Suffice it to say that I (like anyone) can choose to concentrate on the issues facing us (and they are myriad as they possibly are with you), I–like many–can give way to fear over the bleak financial future we are facing, I can be sad that Christmas is bearing down and no money for gifts for my children is in sight…OR…I can choose to look at the very real blessings that I have and give the Lord the thanks He deserves.

All that said, having looked things squarely in the face tonight, thanking God is the decision I choose to make: So, with much soul searching and with much gratitude, for these (and many, many more) wondrous, amazing, beautiful gifts, Lord, I give Thee thanks.