THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

(Written in no particular order:)

I'm thankful for being married to a man who loves God and loves me. I'm grateful that he is a hard worker and a wonderful provider. He is one of the most intelligent men that I've ever known. He has a nerdy sense of humor, is geeky, likes Sci-Fi and fantasy genres of TV shows and movies, has an engineer's sense of logic (which means that he thinks his logic is always right... and I'm just mistaken in my logic!), and there are times when his thought process puzzles me. In many ways, we are as different as night and day! But we each have different strengths and weaknesses, that in our own odd way, compliments one another. We laugh and enjoy life together. We've found common ground that ties us together. We enjoy many of the same things.... country life, nature, sunrises and sunsets, eating, the Princess Bride movie, experiencing new things, being home-bodies, church, and family; just to name a few. We pray together each day. When we get irritated with one another, as all couples do from time to time, we find a way to reign our emotions back in and work through the problem, in order to honor our vows and strengthen our relationship. I'm so thankful that I have a husband who is as committed to our marriage as I am. I'm thankful that God is the center of our lives.

I'm thankful for a nice home that is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I'm so happy that inside our home we have comfortable furniture and all that we need. We have groceries and enjoy frequent home-cooked meals. We may wish that our home was located in a less populated area, where a busy street didn't run in front of it, but we do enjoy our big yard and have good neighbors.

I'm thankful for indoor plumbing and running water. Yes, I know what it's like to do without both! We had an outhouse and had a cistern where the "water man" brought his tanker truck and filled it with water, until I was six years old. I'm grateful for an electric washer and dryer. When I was a kid, Mama had a wringer washing machine and hung all the laundry outside (year round) on a clothes line to dry. I'm so happy that fabric has changed over the years so that it doesn't wrinkle so easily, therefore, everything doesn't have to be ironed.

I'm thankful for stretchy pants with elastic waistbands.... for flip-flops.... for no longer having to buy hair dye and not mess with coloring my hair.... for a heated mattress pad on our bed on cold nights.... for toilet paper.... that wearing pantyhose is no longer in style (yay!!).... and for comfortable PJ's.

I'm thankful for wonderful in-laws and extended family. When I married Jon, I acquired a new family, who have been wonderful to me. We've all heard the nightmare in-law stories, but thankfully, God blessed me with a godly mother-in-law and father-in-law who loved and accepted me; and whom I love in return. I always thought it would be cool to have a big brother, when I was growing up (I had 5 sisters, instead!). God blessed me with 5 big brothers; one through my marriage to Jon and four through the marriages of my sisters. In addition to a great brother-in-law, through my marriage to Jon; I was also blessed with my one and only sister-in-law. Having no biological brothers, I never had a sister-in-law prior to my marriage to Jon. In addition, I also gained special nephews-in-law, nieces-in-law... then great-nieces-in-law and great-nephews-in-law. Then there were the aunts and uncles and cousins who welcomed me with open arms, when I married into the family, whom I am grateful for.

I'm thankful for good health. Jon and I have been greatly blessed with healthy bodies, minds, souls, and spirits. We pray over them daily and thank God for blessing us with health in all these different areas.

I'm thankful that I know how to cook. I grew up with a mama who was an awesome cook... who taught my sisters how to cook.... who taught me how to cook. There's nothing better to eat than good country home cooking!

I'm thankful for those cold winter evenings when Jon and I get to relax in our recliners, watch TV or movies, and drink hot chocolate.

I'm thankful for Sunday afternoon naps!

I'm thankful for my sisters! My oh my, I am so incredibly thankful for my four older sisters!! I cannot imagine what life would have been like without them!

I'm thankful for aunts, uncles, and cousins. I grew up with a close-knit family, where we spent a lot of time with my parents siblings and their families; especially on my mom's side. We visited, went to church together, laughed together, cried and grieved together when we lost loved ones, listen as the uncles would tell stories, and truly loved and cared for one another. How blessed it is to have such a wonderful family!

I'm thankful for godly parents who taught my sisters and me about God; who prayed with us; who were positive role models to us; who genuinely loved their daughters. We truly loved spending time together and doing things as a family. I am eternally grateful for the godly heritage that my parents gave to me and my sisters.

I'm thankful for chocolate... vanilla ice cream... Mexican food... meat and potatoes... sausage and bacon... sweet iced tea... cheese...

I'm thankful for memories! Memories of my parents, memories of my growing up years in the country, memories of family moments, memories of answered prayer, memories of hardship and tough times, memories of.... everything -- both the good and bad -- for they helped shape my life.

I'm thankful for friendships; some which I've had for many, many years. People who have seen me in both good and not so good moments, yet they still love and like me!

I'm thankful for nephews and nieces and great-nephews and great-nieces! One of lives sweetest blessings has been that of being an aunt!!

I'm thankful most of all for God. People often say that, both christians and non-christians, to the point that it almost sounds trite and rhetorical at times. Movie and music icons will win an award and thank God. "Thank God it's Friday" has become a common expression, especially after a difficult week; yet being truly thankful to God has very little to do with it. At times, it's as if saying that you're thankful for God has become more of a saying, then being truly heartfelt. So when I say that I'm thankful for God, I almost feel as if some think, "Well, you go to church! Of course, you have to say that you're thankful for God, or you'll sound ungrateful and like a heathen!"

With all my heart, I am deeply thankful for having a relationship with God. I'm thankful that I know, beyond a doubt, that my heart is right with God and that I have an assurance of eternity with Him. I'm beyond grateful that in all of life's moments, both the good and bad, I have Jesus to lean on and trust and turn to. I'm so filled with gratitude to God for His peace and joy that is ever present in my heart. As thankful as I am for all the things listed above, it would all be meaningless without God in my life.

I could go on and on, listing things that I'm thankful for. I could write pages regarding blessings and answered prayer and things that God has done for me. I just wanted to share a few things that I am thankful for, in hopes that you, too, would begin thinking about things that you are thankful for and that you would take time this Thanksgiving season to stop and count your blessings. No matter if life is going well for you at this time, or if it is filled with difficulties; there are still blessings that you can dwell upon.

Happy Thanksgiving! May this holiday be filled with God's blessings and protection upon you and your family. May your heart be filled with gratitude for the things that God has done for you. Be blessed!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I'm thankful that we have this newsletter, and an opportunity to share.

I'm thankful that God is such a loving and patient god. I'm thankful for all the blessings He has given us, and His protection over us. We truly can't count the times He has blessed us one way or another. He loves us, even when we prove we aren't worthy of it.

I'm thankful for my own family, and the family I've married into. I'm glad they (the family I married into) are all good cooks, but I've gained about 50 pounds since I started dating Loretta. I don't entirely blame her or her sisters for that. I had a little to do with it.

I'm thankful that Loretta and I are in such good health. We haven't had any need to go to a doctor or a dentist in about a year. And the last doctor's visit was more to get over a sniffle quickly before a party.

Our families have been through several scares or tense times, and I'm thankful that God has gotten us through each one.

I'm thankful for more, but you can be thankful, now, that I'm not going to list every one.

ON THE MENEWE:

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 pan.

1 stick butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter; add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Evenly spread over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Last Sunday morning at church, Pastor Janie preached a short sermon, then had people within the church read scriptures on giving thanks and then share something that they were thankful for that happened in this past year.

This is what Jon and I were thankful for: The company that Jon has worked for the past 8 years has been a wonderful job for him. The owner of the business is a strong christian man, who has always been very bold in his witness and has tried to always allow God to be the center of his decisions. The lower gas prices over this past year has been nice when filling up your vehicle; but it has been really tough on gas and oil related businesses. In addition, there is a large company who has contracted out a lot of jobs to the business where Jon works over the past few years; but have not done so this year, due to a series of events that has affected their own company. Spending and budget cuts were made, in order to try and get Jon's work through this difficult period. There were a few months when work was slow, especially for the group in which Jon works, and he was a bit concerned about possibly being laid-off, and knew that there could be a slight possibility of losing his job all together. We tried to be wise in our spending and put money in savings, just in case this should happen. But on the flip side, God would occasionally place someone or something to give to financially. I think perhaps it was a time of testing for us. Would we be willing to give, even in the midst of knowing that there was the possibility that we could face Jon being laid-off or losing his job; or would we allow fear to prevent us from giving and fully obeying God? We [thankfully] chose to honor and obey God! Work has picked up and things are looking up! A couple weeks ago they had a company-wide meeting letting the employees know that the spending and budget cuts have been lifted; overall, it has ended up being a very profitable year; and the company is still strong and doing very well!! Praise the Lord!!! God is faithful; God is good; and God has greatly blessed us this past year!! Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving and praise!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

I want to stop comparing and start celebrating who God made me to be. - Lysa Terkeurst

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org