I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32, NIV1984

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giving Thanks . . . Summer Travel, Family Stories Edition

He never drove a car his whole life.  He drove a red Farmall tractor.  He drove it to work every day, and then he drove it home.  He was the custodian at the elementary school down the road, and even the kids at school called him PaPa.  When he drove home in the afternoons, the children would line up down the road and take turns riding on PaPa's tractor.

With his meager income, he bought a big old piece of land so each of his daughters would have a place to call their own.  And he built his wife a little cinder-block house that some have said is still the sturdiest thing in town.

I never knew him.  He'd already flown away to heaven when I came along.  But his story lives on, and the house he built still stands.  And for one glorious week this summer, I slept again beneath the tin roof of that little cinder-block house.  I listened again to the stories that never grow old.  I sat again around the old table in the kitchen, watched the kids ride the go-kart beneath the pecan trees out front and laughed with them over the sticky-sweet goo of the marshmellows that we roasted out back.

The kids played so hard that their muscles ached in the morning.  We laughed so hard around that table that our sides hurt with the laughing.  And we drove home grateful for the ones who've gone before us - their lives and the legacy they left - and for the ones whose stories the Lord is writing even still.

Continuing to count His endless gifts and grace:

1381  climbing in the van, the four of us, for the trip to Grammy's house
1382  our miracle van making it all the way there
1383  cousins who are BEST friends
1384  boys shooting BB guns and bows & arrows all day long
1385  kids taking turns, riding the 2-seater go-kart
1386  cousins jumping, turning flips on the trampoline
1387  piling on the air mattress for a sleep-over
1388  boy-child teaching his cousin to catch & throw a lacrosse ball
1389  firstborn joining her older cousins, babysitting the younger ones
1390  the 2-mile boardwalk through the woods
1391  all the cousins coming over for pizza
1392  lingering long at the kitchen table, catching up on family news
1393  kittens playing in the yard
1394  boys playing under the pecan trees out front
1395  watching a deer nibble apples off the tree
1396  hummingbirds sipping from the feeder by the window
1397  the light in the trees
1398  hearing the old stories again
1399  learning new stories I'd never heard
1400  Mississippi Mud waiting in the fridge when we arrived
1401  tomatoes on the vine out back
1402  pecan trees hanging heavy with fruit
1403  my mother-in-law's pot roast! Yum!
1404  the comfort of her grace and kindness
1405  her beautiful, amazing laugh
1406  roasting marshmellows, tasting their sticky sweetness
1407  fireflies over the field at night
1408  helicopter fly-over, all the kids waving as he flies back over again
1409  lunch and a game of checkers at the Old Country Store
1410  driving the long road home

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:43, NLT

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