Today, I am thankful. I was reluctant to take all four kids (mine + babysitting charge) to the park despite how much they wanted to go. I didn't want to put the effort into it. But we loaded everybody up in the car anyway and Jungle Monkey (her Indian name) beamed at me as she buckled herself in:

"God answered my prayer from this morning! It didn't rain!"

This little girl who worried about wearing her jacket hood and messing up her hair, who wanted to take an umbrella to school just in case, who is always so eager to help and talk and talk and talk and talk, had a prayer answered today.

And me, too.

The weather was beautiful. When I called out the ten minute warning for leaving the park, I wanted to beg me to stay longer even as they were begging. I had to drag myself back to the car, too. The temperature and wind and sun were all just right and felt like the best kind of simple, yet cosmically huge, gift today.

Then this evening while I got pictures off the camera and carried Lucy around on my hip, I kept thinking that today I'm so grateful. So thankful. So blessed.

So, thank you, God, for answered prayers. Thank you, Jesus, for salvation, for redemption, for a Real Hope. Thank you for closed doors and open ones. Thank you for exciting things, for humbling experiences, for the chance to sit and chat with a friend this morning while our kids played together. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about truly difficult and painful, heartbreaking situations, and still laugh with each other and find solace and direction in your Word.

Thank you for posts like this one and thank you for your presence. Thank you for little boys that are so eager to tell stories (Sam's new one today: This is a car, it's driving like our car. It's going to the park. There's a girl inside. Her name is Emily. She's eleven). Thank you for rosy, plump baby girl cheeks and peals and peals of laughter, and throat-squeezing hugs from little boys. Thank you for giving Jungle Monkey a sunny afternoon and a new friend to play with at the park.

Thank You, Jesus.