Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Culmination

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Sure, Christmas is awesome with the message of Jesus's birth...and the immense decorations and gifts...

But, for the Latham family...Thanksgiving is the one time of year when everyone from my dad's family comes in. It's definitely a full house.

There's nothing like a Latham could easily be on tv. It is that entertaining. Some of the greatest laughs have come from things that have happened on Thanksgivings past.  

I'm thrilled that my kids get to experience this. The joy of sharing an epic meal, time outside playing with a ton of cousins, the Macy's parade and then the dog show before it gets noticed and turned to football games...

It is a precious time for me. It is something that I look forward to all year. It's a part of my legacy.

My parents are generous people. They continually open up there home to people. The food seems boundless, and you cannot come to my parents house without eating something. Everyone has to eat, and you usually don't leave without leftovers either.

This year, Lee & I got to expand the Thanksgiving celebration. We hosted a UL Chi Alpha staff Thanksgiving at our house. We had a great much so that the interns and a few staff had to leave for meetings, and they came back around 9:30 pm to eat more and bring leftovers home!

I love that there is a time to celebrate gratitude. To express thankfulness by sharing with others. To know that God has provided all that we have (and so much more), and He's shown His faithfulness to us time and time again.

It really is my favorite time of year...and it seems like Thanksgiving is just the culmination of a year of thankfulness and gratitude for all that God has done for us, and it builds anticipation for all He's going to do for us in the next year.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Worst Sound...A Baby's Grumbling Tummy

Last week was rough!!

Brennan started getting really fussy and running a fever late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I thought it was just teething...I mean, he had 4 teeth coming in at the same time. But the fussiness just wouldn't stop. He wasn't sleeping at night, which meant that Lee & I weren't sleeping at night.

Thursday night, I started noticing little blisters around the corners of his mouth...and I attributed it to the enormous amount of drool that was coming from the boy...after all, he was teething...or so I thought.

Friday morning, I took him to the doctor. The last time he teethed this bad, he had an ear infection to go along with it...and I didn't want to go into the weekend with a sick baby.

So, Lee brought Bella to the cafe with him while Brennan and I went to the doctor.

He just hadn't been his usual self...and it was so sad. He hadn't been eating or drinking anything...and every time he tried, he would just scream in pain. It broke my heart.

While we were in the room, waiting for the doctor, I heard his stomach growl. It was the first time I'd ever heard it...and it broke my heart even more.

I almost started crying. I thought of mothers around the world who are holding a baby whose stomach is growling, and there is no food for them to feed them. It must be the most awful feeling in the world. I cannot even imagine not having anything for my baby to eat. And I don't know about where you are, but our food banks in Lafayette have been dealing with shortages.

I cannot imagine not being able to feed my hungry babies...

"give us this day our daily bread..." Matthew 6:11

"I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging for bread..." Psalm 37:25

Brennan has the hand/foot/mouth virus. It's called a disease, but that sounds so harsh, and the doctor told me that it was a virus. He said he diagnosed dozens of patients with that just this week.

He also told me that it would get worse before it got better, and he prescribed this mixture of benadryl and some kind of novicain kind of medicine to numb his mouth. And the biggest fear was that he wouldn't eat and would get dehydrated and have to go into the hospital (which one little girl who had this virus had just been discharged that morning).

The medicine and the healing of power of Jesus worked. He slept a lot since his big sister wasn't home to wake him up...and I got to catch up on a little sleep too. And he has been feeling so much better...his little blisters got worse all over his body, but he barely scratched them. He started eating like a horse.

And he's very happy once again. He's such a funny little boy.

Miraculously, Bella hasn't gotten the virus. I'm praying that she won't.

Now that he's better, I'm going to start working on getting food for a food bank here in town.  I can help one mom not hear her baby's tummy grumble from lack of food in the house...and I don't want to stop there.

I'm so thankful that the Lord provides for my family. Since we are missionaries, our salary does not come in a normal way...but that's ok. We have never gone without. It may have been tight some months, but we have always had (and will always have) food, clothes and shelter.

I've been blessed...and I want to make sure that I get to share that blessing with others...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bella's Prayers

Every night we have family prayer time before Bella goes to bed.

Yes, I try to show her as much as we can about praying without ceasing...but at night, we have a specific prayer routine that we do.

We thank God for Bella & Brennan, and for being faithful to us by providing and meeting our needs, and then we present our requests before God.

We've been doing this for a while, and we even pray for the same things every night. So much so that she can finish our sentences for us.

And it's been really neat to see God answer those prayers.

For a long time, we prayed for our friends the Buckels to get a house. Their living situation was not ideal, and Chris told us once that his little girl asked him when was Jesus going to build their house. We knew that God was doing something, but when you hear that, it just breaks your heart for them.

Well, we didn't know that God's answer to Bella's prayer for them a house would be answered by giving them one they would have to move from Thibodaux, Louisiana to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to get!

But God doesn't always answer our prayers like we think that He should.

I saw this post on twitter, and it's been stuck with me ever since:

"If you're making your life choices based on money opportunities, your not even giving God a chance to blow your mind." Gil Gatch

I have been trying to make some decisions based on my monetary needs instead of waiting for God to provide for my needs. I was trying to take away the opportunity for Him to blow my mind.

It's the whole thing of Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and don't lean in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (emphasis on ALL is my own...)

I have been doing what Lee would call "scheming..." I've been trying to find a way to stay at home with my babies and still work a little to make some extra money. And I haven't felt peace about any of the options or opportunities I've come up with. So I have waited, and I'm trusting in Him...

And He's continually providing. And it's not like the way I thought He would. But I'm ok with that.

So, God is answering our needs for our provision and the provision of our friends...for blessings for family and friends and our missionaries...

And I cannot explain to you how excited I get when another one of her prayers gets answered with a "yes" right before our eyes. I know that she fully doesn't understand yet, but I know that the building blocks and foundation of her faith are being poured right now.

And I want her to have a firm, secure foundation in her faith in God.

I'm so thankful that God hears our prayers...even my little Bella's...