Chapter 36: Thankful

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Grand Canyon, Spring 2011–Live Life.

I always thought my aunt and uncle’s house in Alexandria, VA was the real “White House”.  It was a beautiful house in an awesome neighborhood, and we spent many Thanksgiving’s there.  We never had turkey, we had ham and macaroni and cheese–my aunt’s famous macaroni and cheese; thinking about it makes my mouth water. My mom, her favorite brother, my aunt, my sister, my cousin Martha sat around the table and ate like normal families– those were times of happiness in the midst of so much pain.  My heart was then as it is now full when I am in the midst of people I love.  It was then and is now the balm that heals pain—even if it is a short break from reality.   I learned to make the mac and cheese shortly before my aunt died, and it became a bit of a signature dish around my own house on not only Thanksgiving, but any day where we had family over for a holiday.

Thanksgiving was quickly approaching in the fall of 2006 and I was determined to have everybody together.  His mom asked me if I was going to make my mac and cheese because she wanted to plan her blood test around it, so that she could eat all that she wanted.  In my heart I knew that I wanted both kids there and I wanted it to be the biggest, happiest Thanksgiving Day ever.  I didn’t know why; but I was determined to make it happen.  We flew his son and pregnant girlfriend in and his daughter came over and we created one of the very few good memories I have of that time in my life.  I made everyone dress up so that we could take pictures together; and we did.  I can’t stand to look at them now, nor can I throw them away.  I had no plans to leave when we had that special Thanksgiving, but less than 60 days later, I did just that.  In January, that will have been 8 years ago.
“You know my soul, you know everything about me there’s to know, you know my heart and how to make me stop & how to make me go…” Kelly Clarkson “Thankful”
 
On a day like today, words fail me.  The last 8 years have been no cake-walk, but yet my heart is full of gratitude, hope and love.  All day I have been sending and receiving text messages of Thanksgiving greetings;  from people post 8 years ago—the ones that still are walking with me through the trenches, and of course people that walked in the abyss that was before.  Then there are those of you who read this blog that I don’t know but have been so encouraging to me as I have written through part of my journey.  It’s crazy how your comments after each post added to the healing; and drove me to a purpose.
“I’m thankful for the blessing and the lessons that I’ve learned with you by my side I’m thankful so thankful for the love that you keep bringing in my life in my life thankful, so thankful”
 
So, what now?  What is the purpose?  Well, I am not sure of the totality of the purpose, but I do know that this story, the parts you have read and a lot you haven’t needs to be published.  I am not looking forward to the next few months. I will not be able to make those chapters available to you.  Part of the publishing deal is to not post and also pull down the existing blog. It will be hard not getting your heart felt feedback; the random request to share the blog with somebody in a crisis; or the opportunity to get involved myself. However, bunkering down and writing is the only way we will get to OUR purpose; and your prayers will be invaluable to me as I write, edit, put together and ultimately get the book to print.
I am nervous, because I realize the gravity of telling a story like mine.  I am nervous because it’s still such painful memories. So I cherish your prayers as this process is not over; but like all painful and hard things; it will be so worth it.  And this is the realization of a dream as I have always wanted to write a book; just not this one.
I still want to be a resource to those of you who desire that; and some of you are not on Facebook.  I will, occasionally update on Facebook, and certainly that will be the first medium I will use to let you know it is completed, and where you can find it.
In the meantime, you can reach me at this email address: amy_lloydjones@yahoo.com.
I would love to hear from you during this process, the hope is to have it published late spring early summer 2015.
The apostle Paul wrote letters to his “people” as he traveled and preached the gospel.  Those letters, available for all of us to read, are ones where he encourages, and asks for prayers.  So, I can’t think of a better way to say what is on my heart on this day of Thanksgiving than words he used himself.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” Phil 1:3
 
Until then, my sweet friends, I encourage you to keep fighting for the under-dog.  Remember the Hope that makes redemption stories like mine possible.  Love God and get you some people that will do what mine do for me—love you with everything they have.  In fact, this kind of love—
Patient.
Kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast.
It is not proud.  
It does not dishonor others.
It is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I love you guys, and on this day where we focus of that for which we are thankful, all of you are on that list.  And I can only say two words.
Thank You.
 
I love you guys, and on this day where we focus of that for which we are thankful, all of you are on that list.  And I can only say two words.
Thank You.
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