For the past four or five years, I have had a Thanksgiving tradition - to write 100 blessings for which I am thankful, sometime on Thanksgiving Day. I love the song "Count Your Blessings" and I find it very good to literally count my blessings, all of which are from God. So, here is my list of 100 Blessings for this Thanksgiving. (Note: Beyond the first 11 or so, the blessings are not necessarily listed according to priority.)
I am thankful for...1. God - my Saviour, Heavenly Father, Redeemer, Creator, Healer, Provider, and so much more!
2. Salvation - a gift I can never repay, but one that causes me to live and love in gratitude.
3. God's Word - that encourages, convicts, teaches and exhorts me.
4. My loving, supportive and encouraging parents, who above all, pointed me to Jesus
5. My beautiful, talented and ever-so-sweet sister (who will be celebrating her birthday the day after Thanksgiving).
6. The opportunity to live and serve here in Uganda. It has been such a blessed experience.
7. My fellow missionaries - for their example, dedication, friendship and support.
8. The entire SHIM family - as diverse as we are, we share a united vision for transformation of the islands.
9. My wonderful friends and family back home who support me with their gifts, as well as prayers, counsel and encouragement.
10. My special church family at Westport Community Church.
11. Wonderful friends who have blessed me with their steadfast love and friendship.
12. Sunsets - Like the gorgeous one outside my window.
13. Wonderful advances in technology that allow me to keep in touch with folks around the world, like Internet, e-mail and Facebook. :)
14. Music - that lifts my spirit, encourages my soul and points me to Jesus.
15. Seasons - though they are not so evident here in Uganda. :)
16. Rain - such a precious gift here.
17. A place to sleep, eat and live that is comfortable. No, it doesn't have running water, but is that a necessity? ; )
18. God's faithfulness throughout my life.
19. The lively worship of Ugandans - I love it!
20. Coffee - every good morning begins with coffee. :)
21. The beauty of Uganda - it's so green!
22. My five senses.
23. The way God has shaped me - for His service!
24. The students of Lingira Living Hope Secondary School - they completed their third term today.
25. The dedication of the Lingira Living Hope teachers - to their students and their God.
26. The shepherds (pastors, elders and others) that God has placed over His flock.
27. My big sister and mentor, Karina (Thomas) Smith, whom I have known since age seven and who has been a big influence in my life.
28. The rest of the Smith family, too - Andy, David and baby on the way!
29. New life - spiritually and physically.
30. Chocolate - God did a good thing when He created chocolate. :)
31. Past experiences, which God has and is using today.
32. The church - the body of Christ where I find fellowship, encouragement and a place to worship God.
33. Solar power - which enables me to use my computer, have lights and keep my chocolate cold. :)
34. Rainwater - a huge blessing, especially when it is caught in one of our tanks.
35. Smiles - what a beautiful enhancement of a face. :)
36. God's creation - from the most fragile flower, to the most majestic and interesting creatures, to the bounty and diversity of trees, clouds, and so much more!
37. Past heroes of faith who inspire and challenge me by their examples.
38. God's forgiveness, which enables me to walk in freedom from guilt and fear of judgment.
39. Drinking water - pure, fresh water to quench the thirst!
40. Laughter - that brightens our faces, lightens our burdens and is good for our health. :)
41. God's sovereignty that works all things together for good to those who love Him.
42. Macaroni and cheese - that traditional American food that is a delicacy here. :)
43. Those who are enduring and have read this far.
44. God's promises - which He always keeps!
45. God's provision - I have not lacked for He knows my needs!
46. Order and structure - that keep this earth turning and enable other spheres of our lives to continue running.
47. Our Founding Fathers and others who established America as a Christian nation.
48. Young people - I love their energy and enthusiasm, especially when they are using them for God!
49. Prayer - to share my heart with God and to hear from His.
50. Health - a true gift from God.
51. Encouragement - which comes in various forms and from many sources. :)
52. Great authors like A.W. Tozer, Elisabeth Elliot, C.S. Lewis, and so many more!
53. That I am halfway through this list! : )
54. The blessings God has poured out on Shepherd's Heart International Ministry (SHIM) this year to enable the ministry to continue and accomplish some big projects.
55. Faithful sponsors who enable our students to go to school.
56. God's goodness, which He pours out on me, whether or not I deserve it.
57. Miss Amanda who has been a great roommate and friend!
58. Light - because it would be terrible to always be in the dark.
59. A very happy and blessed Thanksgiving celebration - with good food, good fellowship and a great focus on God and all of His blessings.
60. That I am not somewhere where it is cold and snowy. : )
61. Mashed potatoes - let me just say I hope they are included in the wedding feast in heaven. : )
62. Popcorn - another heavenly food.
63. Photographs - capturing special moments and people!
64. The color blue - it is just beautiful, what more can I say?
65. Colors overall - our God is so super creative to come up with so many different colors.
66. Chance encounters - which are actually ordained by God.
67. Older Christians who are still enthusiastically and passionately serving Jesus. I met one today and I was truly blessed.
68. Eyes - Windows to the soul. They can tell you a lot about someone and are beautiful, too.
69. Frogs - cute creatures and some of my favorites.
70. Hymns - We sang a few today as part of our celebration and I was so blessed to sing my heart out and reflect on the words, after quite a few months of not singing them.
71. Hot showers - a rare treat here. : )
72. Different nations, races, cultures and tribes - God created and loves all of them!
73. The opportunity to learn new things and especially to learn from others.
74. Blogs - I am blessed, encouraged and inspired by the blogs I read which are authored by my Christian friends.
75. Boundless Webzine - I have often been encouraged by this ministry. (Visit http://www.boundless.org/)
76. Old friends, and new ones, too.
77. Memories - special treasures of the past.
78. Ice cream - my favorite dessert!
79. An education - not an opportunity every person has.
80. Rice - my favorite food! I think God designed my tastebuds for Uganda. : )
81. God's protection - something I too often take for granted.
82. Puppies and kittens - pretty much any baby animal is cute. : )
83. Hope - In God's promises and in a glorious eternity.
84. Computers - they make my job much easier.
85. Rest - for recharging.
86. My grandparents - though they are all gone, I cherish the memories of time spent with them, and the heritage they left.
87. Holidays - a time to celebrate, remember and be with family and friends.
88. Mistakes - and thankful I can learn from them. :)
89. Quiet - what it is right now while everyone else is in bed. : )
90. Soap - what a dirty world this would be otherwise.
91. Freckles - I have 'em and I like 'em. : )
92. Gifts - to be able to give and to receive.
93. The privilege of growing up in the small town of Clatskanie. : )
94. The blessing of being homeschooled.
95. That God created me to love words.
96. Wafers - one of my favorite Ugandan desserts (hazelnut flavored is the best). : )
97. The assurance that God knows my past, my present and my future.
98. Thirty years of life.
99. Undeserved kindnesses - from God and others.
100. That I have 100 reasons (and more) to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!