Sunday, May 05, 2013

On Lattes and Listing and Thanks

Thank You.

Two very important words. For the one who says them and the one who hears them.

I often neglect the public listing of my furlough thanks. Over the past months we have been graced with many mercies from dearest family, friends and even complete strangers. Saying thank you is so important and I love to do it. And yet, I often let the fear of leaving someone out stop me from beginning a public list at all.

But my Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte changed all that.

Here’s how.

On one of my passes through the Starbucks drive thru, a kind stranger in a pick up truck in front of me paid for my coffee. I was surprised and encouraged. This unexpected kindness changed the course of my day.


I couldn’t wait to share that same joy with someone else. This simple act by a stranger persistently challenged me over my final weeks in America to remember that kindness truly breeds kindness. Large or small, when we act in generosity, the world changes for the better. 


I’m going to start a thank you list, out loud, right here. I hope it will change the course of someone’s day for the better.

And that, just like my latte, inspire more of the same.

Pay it forward, as it were.

Here we go---

*thank you to the Cashes and the Moneys--grandparents who welcomed us for shorter and longer than expected visits respectively. The Uganda ministry is costly in many ways, but it is arguable that Nana & Papa and Grammy and Granddaddy pay the dearest price. We are grateful for their support, welcome and persistence in staying connected to each of us. We love you, deeply. Thank you all for everything!
*thank you to the kind gentleman who helped lift my luggage upon arrival in Florence Italy. I do not know your name but you seriously blessed my day!
*thank you Dr Cochran, Dr. Coate, Dr. Propst, Dr Burnett, Dr Brown and Dr Rutherford for your kindness in serving our family. We are grateful.
*thank you Mike & Koni, Kristi & Allan for sharing your lives and time with us, working to give cousins together time, and continually welcoming us home, even though we are so very separated by time and distance. We love you.
*thank you Steve and Dana for the wonderful example of service you have set in caring for Dana’s mom through much suffering. We are so sad to have not hugged your necks this furlough, but we are very grateful for your faithful care for Margaret and Richard. You were exactly where you were supposed to be. We love you both so much!
*thank you to New Life Church for your heart and your welcome. We were uplifted among you as we worshiped and communed. Our children feel such a part of your youth group and children’s ministry—you were a home to them and we all treasure this.
*thank you to Sherwood church of Christ for being family and dear friends to my parents. They love being among you and serving Jesus with you. We are grateful for your fellowship, your prayers and our bond in Christ.
*thank you Metro church of Christ for so many years of faithful devotion and support. You are a stable supportive influence in our lives and in the lives of our children. Thank you for your hugs, smiles, meals and esteem. You are a gift to us.
*thank you Uncle S’more (aka Greg Woods) for making memories with our family for all these years. Living scattered about diminishes the number of constants in our children’s lives. You have been a constant—a minister to our whole family. We are so thankful for your wisdom, your listening ear, your discernment and your prayers. We are also very thankful you chose to marry the amazing Dottie! So enjoyed our fun time together. Love you both!!!
*thank you Devin and Melissa for taking your family on that fun cruise and loaning us your suburban while you were gone :) SO blessed by your generosity!
*thank you King Flight schools for making video curriculum that teaches flight ground school so well.
*thank you Benjamin Franklin for the gift of electricity
*thank you to every sweet person who made their washer and dryer available to me. Truly one of my highlights this furlough was washing clothes in machines. Truly.
*thank you to Glenwood church of Christ for every hug, face-to-face conversation and prayer. Sitting around your tables and sharing food, seeing how your children have grown and sharing memories of when our kids were babies, hearing your words of encouragement and realizing God’s ongoing plan for our fellowship together has blessed us again. You are dear, dear folks and we are thankful for your participation in our family and the ministry in Uganda. We love you.
*thank you to every single woman who pulled me close and whispered into my ear words of hope, and solidarity and esteem and blessing. Words of understanding. I cannot think past those moments of blessed interaction without tears of gratitude. I cannot always find spoken words to express pain in my life, but some of your wise, knowing eyes saw into the depths and acted in love. I give praise to the One who joins us. And I am thankful.
*thank you Kregg and Anne for hearing our story and sharing yours. You have beautiful hearts and we are so blessed to know you and your family. 
*thank you to Trisha, Melinda and Sharon for including me on Fridays. I LOVED our study and prayer. LOVED knowing you each better. LOVED speaking of God and His persistent care in each of our lives. You were an equipping gift to me. Thank you.
*thank you Uncle Wade for making wonderful memories with all the cousins. You are a gift and we are thankful for you!
*thank you Cherise for being my best friend and advocate— You will always be one I am deeply connected to—I am beyond grateful that this connection is so much stinkin’ fun! I love you and I am so proud of you!
*thank you Jana Miller and Trisha Wall for being faithful, stalwart friends. Thank you Trisha for the gift and fun you bring to our lives; laughing with you is one of my favorite things to do especially as it blends so easily with deeper conversations and heart sharing. Your support through the last few years has been deeply sustaining.  You are a treasure to me and to so many others. Thank you Jana for supporting our family in SO many practical ways. Homeschool curriculum, groceries, packing, directions, places to stay, rides to and from places, clothes…you have done it all. It is so easy for me to be around you. I can rest when we are together and I treasure that.  Thank you for the laughing and sharing and listening. I miss you already.
The fact that you two amazing ladies are close friends to my flesh and blood sister is a most sacred blessing. I am in awe of how God has moved among us. Love, love, LOVE you!
*Thank you Stephanie Harris for being a great friend and having amazing parents :) I feel like I know you better after this last week of hanging out with your folks. Thank you for helping us make Dallas arrangements for our travels.
*Thank you Curt & Jan for such warm generosity to complete strangers. We could never have planned for the intersections and connections we would discover in our conversations. I am so grateful to know you both. Thank you for opening your heart and home to us.
*Thank you Suzy Jeffrey for a wonderful visit that filled my heart with good things. WOW! Laughing, crying, learning, sharing…we covered a lot of ground over those fancy scrambled eggs :). I loved being with you and praise God for making it possible!
*Thank you Morton and Suzy for a wonderful prayer of blessing on our last night on US soil. We look forward to more visits with you if God makes a way. So blessed by your stories and appreciate you learning ours.
*Thank you Kelly Vaughn.  Your obedience to God’s leading has greatly impacted my life. I am so grateful that after all those years of hearing about you, I finally got to know you in person. A kindred spirit if I ever had one--I love you, dear friend!!!
*Thank you Randy & Kelly for everything! The visit, the concert, the listening, the prayers.  We treasure the comfort of sharing our hearts with others who know of our life ‘through the wardrobe’. We are so thankful for your friendship and can’t wait to be together again.
*Thank you Jeff Morrison for being such a supportive good friend. Thank you for always being willing to help out in any way you can. Thank you for loving and raising those boys so beautifully. We love all three of you.
*Thank you Dennis Dossey for your encouragement. We are excited to see where this will lead us. So thankful for our time at Bammel.
*Thank you Robert and Amy for being faithful, dear friends. Thank you Robert for standing with Jeff and embracing this ministry. A trip to my home in Africa?! YES!!! Come see us. We love you!
*Thank you Bammel church of Christ for hosting Soul Link. Such a blessing for our girl and for us.
*thank you Hollye--for everything.  I love you! And I miss you!
*Thank you Amy Hosch for being there. And for lunch. And for sharing life with us, in this distant way that we can. I so appreciate you and love you!
*Thank you Kendra King for stepping into my world and speaking such beautiful encouragement. I love you—
*Thank you Roger McCown for your knowing and understanding support. You and Liz bring encouragement to us. Thank you for hearing us. You guys have such a beautiful family—loved our time with you!
*Thank you Wes and Kim Crawford for moving to Tyler! So amazed by the connections we discovered in our conversations. Our God is amazing. Looking forward to more time together as God makes a way. Thank you Wes for that terrific sermon on lament---PREACH!!!
*thank you Jack and Tootsie Hooper for everything. Your generosity blesses so many. We are deeply grateful for your persistent love and care for our family and this ministry. We love you!
*thank you to countless, beautiful people who invited us into their lives for a meal or a moment to visit. We were blessed by every invitation, even if we were unable to get to you. Our lives are so full of amazing people. Thank you for your effort to stay connected with us.
*thank you Shelli Presley for the prayer and easy conversation—no matter how many years pass we just start up like we talked 30 minutes ago—I am incredibly grateful for this. Incredibly grateful for you!
*thank you Maury and Jacqueline for so many years of faithful friendship and service—we love you both!
*thank you Donita for the gift of a great haircut; how very many years you have served our family with all things beautiful. I love sitting in your chair!
*thank you Jana, Sarah and Emily for driving to Tyler so that Jana and I could sit together at Glenwood. And visit at Mercado’s. And solve the world’s problems while our kids play basketball in the gym. Your showing up set my Tyler experience a-right. Love all of you Millers!
*thank you Joanna Neel for making me eat that cobbler and blue bell ice cream—and for serving with a big spoon :)
*thank you Dewayne and Cynthia for hearing us. Can’t wait to welcome you in our home.
*thank you Don and Sanna for praying so faithfully for our family and this ministry. We love you--
*thank you kind stranger in a Ford pickup—that was the very best Vanilla Latte I had all furlough!

And may the list go on…

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