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Friday, November 23, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving in a very low key manner.  We stayed at home and spent family time - just the four of us.  We started the day by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade snuggled together in our bed.  The twins played with Tim while I cooked.  Before eating, the twins wanted us to hold hands and stand in a circle so they could say the prayer - priceless!!  We had turkey (roast), dressing, gravy, vegetable casserole, corn casserole, mac & cheese, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and rolls.  After eating too much, we watched football and all took long naps.  Tayden is still coughing quite a bit, so he took an extra long nap.  This evening, we loaded up in the car (to get out of the house) and drove by Wal-Mart and Best Buy to check out the Black Friday madness.  We ate round two and played some more before the kids went to sleep.

We truly have so much to be thankful for - here are just a few of our many blessings:
We are saved by the grace of God and promised eternal life.
We have a GREAT marriage that has endured the highs and lows of life and parenthood.  I married my best friend and love him more each and every day.
We are both healthy and have two healthy, amazing children.
We have been given two children that turned our world upside down.  They test our patience and make us laugh many times a day and we cannot imagine life without them.
We have a house that is messy, with crayon scribble wall decor, but it is HOME.
We have amazing families that love us and support us.
We have wonderful friends that we consider family.
We both have jobs that allow us a great deal of time to spend with our family.

Today I came across the Caring Bridge page of a ten year old boy from Abilene - Rex Fleming.  He has been battling brain cancer for two years and his journey is nearing the end.  His father's words really hit home with me as he talked about preparing to lose his son.  They have had to have very real conversations, that they never imagined having, with their precious son.  I cannot begin to fathom the strength and courage this family has as they endure this tragedy.  Rex is in a great deal of pain, having frequent seizures and they love him so very much that they want his suffering to end so that he can claim his eternal reward and have his health restored.  They are leaning on their faith to get them through this unimaginable situation.  This family's struggle made me realize that one of our greatest blessings is one that I take for granted every single day - that Brooklyn and Tayden are healthy.  I will never forget the long list of problems the doctor warned us could be possible if the twins were born ten weeks early.  We prayed for the best and feared the worst, and today nearly three years later we have two healthy children with no physical disabilities, vision problems, learning disabilities, or heart problems.  God beat the odds, not just once, but twice and we will be forever grateful.

It is very hard not to get distracted by Christmas shopping, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, decorating, cooking, and all of the other routine tasks of this life - but the truth is that none of that truly matters.  
I think of the Fleming family and their uncertainty that Rex will live to see Christmas, or even next week, and I am reminded that my focus should always be my family.  I should spend my days hugging my children, praying with them, reading to them, working puzzles with them, holding their hands, singing and dancing with them, baking real and imaginary treats with them, teaching them important life lessons, playing outside with them, snuggling with them, comforting them, tucking them in, laughing with them, and most of all - LOVING THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!  Being able to do these things is what I am most grateful for today.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Russells! 

I found these nuggets that come in the shape of letters - just happed to pull out TR.

Brooklyn's balloon wand from one of her classmates' birthday party.

Tayden's sword - he was more interested in the animal crackers.

Thanksgiving cards from the twins to Mommy and Daddy.

She had a cracker in her mouth.

Our Elf on the Shelf arrived this week.  He will make his grand debut tomorrow.  The twins decided to name him Christmas.  We read the book and talked about how each night he will go to the North Pole and report to Santa on their behavior.  Then, each morning, we will have to find him in a new hiding spot.  If they touch him, his magic disappears.  Let's see how long that lasts!