Rebecca, Andrew & Joshua

I had the best day yesterday. I have so much to be thankful for. I drove to Franklin to spend the day with the kids. The minute I got there, we piled into the van and went to Covenant (where Danny teaches) to see a performance of The Three Little Pigs by The Nashville Opera. It was excellent. Then we all went to lunch together.

Just before I left the house, I checked my email one last time and noticed that my darling husband had left a sweet message on my Facebook "wall" telling me he thinks I'm the most wonderful woman in the world. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for John and the way he loves me. He consistently makes certain that I know how much he values and appreciates me. He calls me in the middle of the day to tell me. He sends me emails. Yesterday he wrote on my wall. And he shows me in the way he treats me and in the endless thoughtful things he does for me. Sometimes it's the act of doing some little thing for me that I really should have already done myself. But instead of ever pointing out what I have overlooked, he does it for me. I am not as "on top of things" as he is, but nothing he does for me -- no matter how small -- ever goes unnoticed or unappreciated. I am so blessed. I appreciate having such a kind, considerate, loving husband who is so EASY to love!

On the way to Covenant, Rebecca told me that my arrival was "a ray of sunshine" in their week. When you get to be my age, you have a lot of friends who also have daughters-in-law. I am well aware that not every mom gets to feel appreciated, unconditionally loved and accepted by her daughter-in-law. I often think about how blessed I am that Rebecca even wants me around and wants the kids to be close to me. I don't take that for granted. And our relationship is very important to me. I am so thankful we get along and enjoy spending time together. I have never felt unwanted or like a visit from Grandma Shari is something to be endured. But the "ray of sunshine" comment was so nice and made me feel extra-loved. I thanked her for saying that, but in my heart I was thinking, "Really?"

After a leisurely lunch with the whole family, including Danny, we (Rebecca, the boys and I) strolled the Green Hills Mall. I had two reasons to be there (Mac and Hallmark). And as we were heading for the exit, Joshua told Rebecca that he wanted dessert. Since he and Andrew had already shared a giant cinnamon roll at Panera, she told him he had already had dessert. I asked him if a cookie sounded good and he said yes. So we went to Christie Cookies and got treats. While we were eating cookies, I explained to Joshua that when I'm with them, he should always ask Grandma Shari if he wants an extra dessert.

I love being a grandma. I'm thankful I have been blessed with healthy, beautiful, darling grandsons. And I can't wait to meet our next little addition in the spring! As I enjoyed Joshua and Andrew yesterday, I glanced at Rebecca's tummy several times and wondered what his little personality is going to be like. Joshua and Andrew are so different.

Last night we attended the annual Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites. Our pastor was given an award for businessperson of the year. I'm sure there were many reasons the Chamber selected him for this honor. I know that one reason had to have been his conviction that our church should be a blessing to our community and his efforts in making that a reality. In spite of the obvious reasons, I still wondered if it was possibly an awkward award for him to receive as a pastor. But he so graciously made it about others instead of himself. And he thanked the Chamber for having the courage to honor a church in this way. It was a wonderful evening. And there were so many of us there from WOC, it almost felt like a church banquet.

We have not gotten out and done something like this in quite a while. And I really enjoyed the evening. As person after person told John how great he looked, I was beaming and feeling SO thankful for how amazingly good he really DOES look. Just last week he finished six rounds of strong chemotherapy for his CLL. And he has quickly bounced back after every single one. He has not come down with any infections or complications from treatment. He has tolerated the treatment well and was able to finish all six rounds. He may not have gotten a complete response (still has some lymph nodes we can feel), but he's gotten a good response. The nodes are down. His neck looks completely normal again. He looks younger than he has since diagnosis. And he felt good enough to attend an event like this within a week of his last treatment. That is a lot to be thankful for.

As usual, it took me a while to leave because there were so many friends I needed to hug on the way out. And I told John on the way home how good it feels to go to an event like this and enjoy being with my friends as opposed to feeling like the only person who doesn't know anybody!

When I first moved to Murfreesboro (because of John), I didn't know anybody in this town other than Mark and Anita. John seemed to know almost everyone and, of course, Mark Pirtle DOES know everyone! Whenever we would go out (especially with Mark and Anita), it seemed as if I was constantly being introduced to new people and so MANY people. I wondered if I would ever be able to simply remember names with faces. I don't think I even entertained the idea that I would wind up being close friends with so many. I just looked forward to being able to remember who everyone was! And I truly wondered if I would ever feel like I fit in. My life changed so much when I married John (all for the good, but lots of change nonetheless).

God has blessed me with an amazing "new" life. Not only did God bless me with a wonderful husband and marriage, but through John I have been blessed with so many great people and relationships. Today, it's almost as if I have always lived here. It feels like I've always been married to John. And it feels like I've known so many of my "new" friends my entire life.

It was a long journey getting here, but I finally feel like I'm home where I belong.

Yesterday was one of those fabulous days, from beginning to end. Yesterday was another reminder of how good God has been to me. I am so thankful for my many, many blessings!


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