I was SO SO SO excited to have two awesome friends, John and Jill, come up to visit me for Thanksgiving. Not only that, but we were joined by two of my wonderful new friends, Allison and Sam. I decided that I wanted to host my first Thanksgiving this year. I have been doing a lot more cooking lately, thanks to my "From Scratch" experiments (learning how to make one new thing from scratch a week). My only goal was not to set anything on fire. Setting the bar pretty low means less chance of disappointment.
Well I'm pleased to say not only did I not set anything on fire, but by the grace of God everything came out how it was supposed to, and warm all at the same time. Beginners luck you could say. I was so incredibly grateful and have John and Jill, and Allison and Sam there. I realized I have plenty else to be thankful for as well. It's easy to think of the big things, but every once in a while when the overwhelming grace of all the small blessings add up it really makes a big impression!
My first blessing was thinking of all the new people I have gotten to know here. VISTAs are great and a lot of fun to be around. Everyone works very hard and is passionate about what they do, and yet somehow no one takes themselves too seriously. Then there are the people in Deer Lodge who have opened up and welcomed me in, as if I've always belonged here. People have given me their phone numbers to make sure I had someone to call "in case of homesickness." Others have left small gifts around the office for me if they thought it was something I might need. As a matter of fact, the majority of things I used to make and serve Thanksgiving dinner were all borrowed from people working at the court house. I asked to borrow a roaster and a knife from one woman. Instead, she lent me a roaster, a knife, 2 plates, a huge thing of foil (how did she know that would be so handy??), and a bread basket. Another woman heard that I was trying to make my first Thanksgiving and just volunteered to bring a bunch of serving plates and bowls, just in case. I ended up using everything they loaned me. Everything fit perfectly, and I had exactly enough. Thank you Lord for a delicious, blessed Thanksgiving.
I was given a book to read called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. In it, she stresses the importance of being content with the gifts God has given you, as well as recognizing those gifts. She raises the point that sin is created out of ingratitude. We are searching for more and more, never fully realizing the miracle it is to just have life. Instead of constantly thinking "I will never be fulfilled if I don't..." it should be more like "I can't believe I already have so much in my life." That's especially important for me to remember now. It's easy, at least for me, to get distracted from the idea that I am merely a vessel. I become preoccupied with the good I am trying to do, or the things I need to accomplish. When instead I need to remember that just being alive is a gift. I need to do nothing with that gift besides use it as God intended. John said something while he was here, "Also, you come from a background of faith." At the time, I had been going on about how it wasn't that hard to adjust to life in Montana (besides the weather) because I enjoy the company of people of all ages. I can't even remember all the other pointless things I was saying. But when John added in that small sentence, without intention of correcting or preaching, I knew he was totally right. It could matter less about any other element that seems to have helped me along the way up here. What matters in a background of faith.
I still don't know where I am going after this. I'm looking in to a lot of different options and have many different ideas. But I'm not worried. After all, it's not about what I think needs to happen, it's about knowing that whatever happens is a gift. I long to find myself a shining diamond of God's love, set in a ring of faith, on display only for His glory on His hand.
I'm off to craft like a Christmas fiend. Less than 2 weeks until home (and warm)!!