od never fails. We are told you will believe it when you see it. But living by faith is knowing it is the other way around. You see it when you believe it.
Last week I named gifts of ugly to beautiful that God gave me. Some gifts from God that should have been included that I am sure our friends in Nigeria would certainly agree with me on are the gifts of the Anawim Home -The Poorest of the Poor Orphanage, the gift of the Faith Alive Hospital, and the gift of St Pius X School for Boys. These places were built from nothing and in places where some might say it could not be done. But that is not how people of faith saw it. They believed. The ugliness of poverty, disease, hunger, homelessness and hopelessness became the beautiful gift from God of places that provided healing, food, shelter, education, hope and love. The stories of how these places came to be are wonderful and inspirational. They are similar to Mother Teresa's story. You can read about them in detail on our website. (#15) Thank you God for these great gifts. (#16) Thank you for the courageous faithful followers of Jesus who helped these places become a reality. (#17) Thank you God also for the faithful followers of Jesus who prayed for these places and those people.
Thank you wonderful God, my Savior, my Friend.
The gifts to give thanks for this week are gifts of smell:
(#18) Thank you God for the gift of smell. There is such an abundance of good smells to be thankful for that it is hard to chose. I will chose summer smells since I am enjoying some of them right now. Summer is my favorite season. It is when my family and I get to spend the most quality time together. School is over and there is that special freedom of no homework, the pool opens, vacations happen, etc.
(#19) flowers in gardens or hand picked bouquets
(#20) chlorine pool water
(#21) sunscreen lotion
(#21) food cooking on outside grills
(#22) the ocean breeze
(#23) babies necks
(#24) cotton candy
(#25) Christopher's deodorant
(#26) Sophia's scented sprays
The sweet perfume of flowers blooming everywhere is so wonderful! The best flowers to put on the table are hand picked bouquets straight from the garden or bought at the market if you can not grow your own. My favorite summer flowers are the blueish purple hydrangeas, peonies and zinnias.
I love the smell of chlorine water at our community pool. I watch the children splashing around and playing in the pool every summer. This brings me joy. My children are teenagers now. They are too cool for the pool! They spend their time now, if they go to the pool on the chairs suntanning! (#27) Thank you God that we are able to belong to a community pool.
Which brings to mind the smell of sunscreen lotion. This is an ultimate summer smell. This says summer has arrived! Everyone is enjoying the gift of the warm rays of sun from God slathering on the lotion to make sure they do not get sunburned. (#28) Thank you God for allowing us to enjoy relaxing days in the sun with our families that You provide for us.
Enjoying time outside with our families means grilling food outside. This produces a fabulous sensational scent. There is just something about dining alfresco. Food not only smells better - it tastes better. Our family loves to roast marshmallows by the heat of the grill when we are done dinner. When daylight turns to dusk and we turn to candles it is so special. Here it is again - it is in the simple moments - the simple moments are what we relish in life.
Another glorious scent we get to partake of in the summer is that of the ocean breeze. (#29) Thank you God for our many blessed beach family vacations. As soon as our car nears the beach town we enjoy I can smell it...that ocean breeze fragrance. It announces the beginning of our vacation. We have been going to the same beach since our children were babies. I remember the smells of my children at the beach when they were babies. They would nap under the beach umbrella. Then when they would awaken, the smell of their necks was so sweet as I kissed them and held them tight. Then soon they were toddlers and I remember the smell of sticky cotton candy that they loved so much but seemed to have more all over their face and hands somehow than ever got into their mouths! Now....now the smells of them in our house this summer.... My son, Christopher has this male scented deodorant (actually advertised as fresh scent) that is permeating the air. My daughter Sophia, has many scented body sprays that she chooses from daily. Today's choice is some fruity blend. Our house is quite "perfumed." I am sure we will bring home new and interesting memories of smells from our vacation at the beach this summer with our teenage children!
Thank you God for all the smells of summer. Thank you God for all the blessings you continue to pour upon our lives like belonging to a community pool and going on a vacation to the beach. There are those in this world who do not get to do this. We must remember this always.
Thank you wonderful God, my Savior, my friend.
As I write this post, I think of the people in Nigeria who do not have much and those who have much devastation. The people there certainly do not have the material things I write about in this post. I started this thankful journey in honor of the Nigerian people I met. Their strong faith and perspective of seeing what was important in their lives and being thankful to God despite their many hardships was so inspirational to me. I feel that if I never mention any material gifts in my posts at all I would not be authentic. I thought of never mentioning anything that did not refer to nature or people but I decided against it. This is my life. The people in Nigeria know the life we live here in America. They told us they love America. They were so grateful for every little thing that was done for them. They are not bitter. They know that none of us are perfect and that wealth in itself is not success. They just "get it." That is all I will say for now. I remember always crying as I was writing stories about them in my journal! I did not know what I was doing, but they loved me anyway... this strange middle aged woman who cried a lot, kept losing her stuff, got sick and seemed to always be praying. They were very kind. They wanted to know about my life and all of the missionaries lives and asked us to share stories and show them pictures of our families. They would love to hear from you too.
TO YOU MY FRIENDS IN NIGERIA:
My thoughts are with you this summer. Dr. Chris, Mercy, Sr. Oresoa, all the sisters and the children of the Poorest of the Poor, Pastor Ben, Pastor Esther, Blessing, Amos, Daniel, Little Chris, Rhoda, all the hospital staff, counselors, sewing school women at Faith Alive Community, and Fr. Abell ....How are you? Please take care of yourselves. We at HFWAF are praying for you. I am so grateful to God for meeting and getting to know YOU. (#30) Thank you God for this miracle. This is the truth - you are the most loving, accepting group of people I have ever met. I have made another new commitment in my life in honor of all of you. I will share it in my next post.
I am grateful to you wonderful God, my Savior, my friend.
Think of at least three gifts of smell that you are thankful for in the upcoming week. If you would like to, share with us in the comments section below.
Singing songs of praises to you God for the scented gifts of summer...and for all of your endless gifts...
You Are Wonderful!