In the spirit of praising God, allow me to post a (partial) list of great things God has done in my life. It being Valentine's Day, this is also my love letter to God, more or less.
1. Unlike some people, I had awesome parents, who loved me.
2. They gave me the best possible religious upbringing, with both the sacraments and the focus on truth from the Catholic Church, and the community and focus on personal relationship with Jesus from the Charismatics.
3. He gave me my friend Kathryn.
4. I got to live with my grandfather for two years, so that I had the chance to get to know him well before he died. I also got to know other relatives better, while living in the beautiful city of Seattle.
5. God gave me Ken.
6. He healed my dog Saddle.
7. I got a good education - both at the private high school I went to, and for my bachelor's in college.
8. I had a beautiful wedding, that came together, despite my personal ineptitude at planning, in a beautiful way. (The church still had the Easter flowers everywhere - a particularly nice wedding present from God.)
9. God gave me Kyrie. And I got to share the experience of my first pregnancy at the same time as Kathryn went through hers. Thank you for that, God.
10. He gave me Elijah.
11. He gave me Savi.
12. He called us out to the Pacific Northwest again, and arranged a home for us here in the suburb of Portland. Only God could have arranged our blind leap into one of the few well-kept, pleasant, and affordable apartments in this neighborhood of crappy complexes. And just to make it particularly clear that this was where God wanted us to be, when I walked into the local parish for the first time, half a continent away from where I had spent most of my life, the priest greeted me by name before I had the chance to introduce myself1.
13. Through a set of crazy coincidences2, God hooked me up with friends here in my new home.
14. He led me to the charismatic prayer group at my parish. During one Life in the Spirit Seminar, I felt God telling me, "Look around. I give you these people."
15. He gave me Gabe.
16. My nausea with Gabe's pregnancy was worse than usual. Someone in the prayer group got a word for me, that God wanted me to sleep more. I started sleeping in, and my nausea decreased dramatically.
17. With guidance from the book Waking the Dead and from my prayer group, I began to learn how to hear what God is telling me. His guidance in even little things has been invaluable.
18. When I asked God if he wanted me to have an epidural with Gabe's birth, He healed me of a painful childhood memory that was inhibiting me from enduring physical pain. Then he gave me a sense of freedom at the thought of not having an epidural, and pointed me at some Bible passages about the pain of birth leading to glory. And then he made Gabe's birth a quick, interesting, and relatively easy one.
19. A person in the prayer group with a gift for discerning others' gifts informed me that I had the gift of understanding, which has greatly enriched my life and given me something to contribute to the group.
20. During a time when my husband was unemployed, God taught me how to trust that He would take care of us, and gave me repeated encouragements to help me do this.
21. He gave me Julie.
22. He gave Ken his current job.
23. When we visited Minneapolis, and Elijah left his backpack on the light rail, we got Pooh Bear back.
24. There's so many little things God has done in my life, and the overall effect of many of them is that I am slowly - ever so slowly - becoming a little bit more disciplined and growing in virtue. (I think; this might be an illusion brought on by not being pregnant for over a year.)
25. He gave me Mary to be my mother.
1. Turns out he was the guy who had taught my 7th grade science class, back in the Twin Cities. It took me 5 minutes of talking with him before I finally placed his voice and figured out that I hadn't recognized him because he'd grown a beard.
2. My brother Ben went to college in Texas with a girl named Hilary who has a sister named Ursula who lives in the Portland area. Through that, I met up with Ursula once, but I did not have a vehicle at the time to get together any more. Months later, a woman named Faith saw a comment I had posted on a blog, and we started chatting. At a gathering at her parents' house in Salem (I had a van by now), I met Faith's friend Sia, who invited me to a Moms & Tots gathering in Portland. I was pleasantly shocked to discover the gathering was at Ursula's house. I brought with me a book that Ben had borrowed from Hilary.