How we End (and Start) a Year

Yesterday morning we had a special “kansha reihai”, or thanksgiving worship service. We combined our house churches, and had a regular worship service followed by lunch (lasagna made in the crockpot by 3 of us!). During lunch, we sat with people we don’t normally interact with each week and shared what we are thankful for over this past year. It was a really special way to celebrate our final worship service for 2007.

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I recently read an interesting article in my favorite literary magazine, O (OK, so its not a literary magazine, but I still love reading it once in a while!). It is about a TV anchorwoman, Deborah Norville, who recently wrote a book based upon years of interviewing people on television. The book is called: Thank you Power: Making the Science of Gratitude Work for you. Also based on research that has been done, she shares about what happens when people are grateful: they are more optimistic, more apt to help others, more joyful, and genuinely healthier…People who are grateful recover faster from trauma. Norville shared that become more grateful has changed her approach to everything, and made her appreciate “little slivers of life that might have bypassed me before.”

Good things to think about as we end 2007… so often I’m so focused on what’s next that I forget to be grateful. It is a discipline… and worth carving out special worship services to practice.
So, here are a few of the things that I am grateful for this past year:
–God’s providing a new car for us — the very one that Eric loved so much!
–Owen’s transition into Japanese kindergarten, and his language acquisition. His teacher told us recently that he is smiling every day now because he can communicate and has made many friends.
–The many new friends we have made as a result of Owen’s being in school. Most of my ministry energy the past six months have shifted focus to the moms and families in Owen’s school, and we’re so thankful for their openness.
–Our Asian Access family here: The Thomsons, Ryus, and Reiko. We continue to grow together in many ways, and we are so thankful that God has given us wonderful family.
–Friends and family from the US who have visited or cared for us in so many ways: notes, packages, calls, emails… we do feel really loved and connected.
–Ten years of marriage to a great guy…and three amazing children. I really am blessed. Thanks, God, for what you continue to do in our midst, for working and changing me, for your daily, unchanging care for me.

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