We walked up a dusty, rocky hill in the scorching heat of the sun. As we approached the top of the hill we saw dirt laden bare feet coming toward us. We looked up to see beautiful smiling faces. To the right was a shack made of tin and dried palm branches. To the left a newly built latrine awaiting the arrival of a brand new shiny commode. We greeted the smiling faces. As they realized we were there to deliver the commode, they praised God and thanked the pastor over and over again. The woman quickly realized they would not have to climb further up the hill to use the restroom anymore. They will no longer track bacteria filled feces into their home or step in others’ waste. The grandmother invited us into her humble home. A home in which she raises all six of her grandchildren on her own. She was beyond proud of her newly poured concrete floors that the local church so graciously provided for them. She was radiating with gratefulness that they no longer have to deal with dirt floors, which meant mud when it rained. Mud inside their very own home. Her ten-year-old granddaughter showed us a cross-stitched prayer that hangs on the wall. A prayer she prays every day before school and before bed. We prayed with this precious lady and her granddaughter before we left. They radiated with thankfulness that we came by, especially that we delivered their first ever toilet. I left in awe, processing what I just witnessed.
I think about this recent experience when I think about thankfulness. I went to the Dominican Republic a couple of weeks ago, and this truly was an experience I was part of. This family was beyond grateful for a toilet, y’all. They no longer had to take care of business outside, up the hill. When I say I was in awe, I was in awe. I still am. I think about that sweet grandmother’s face and her absolute gratefulness. Then I started to think about me. How often do I take things for granted? Am I even thankful for running water I can drink? A toilet I can use for waste? My family’s health? Then I thought about that granddaughter. I thought about the fact that she is growing up in a shack, yet she prays at least twice a day. She’s so grateful for what she has. And I think… How often do I even pray?
Thanksgiving is here. We are in the midst of the thankfulness season. We hear all the time that we need to be thankful. I truly urge you to sit and reflect this Thanksgiving. Reflect on the things you take for granted. Those things that would be extremely missed if you didn’t have them…take a toilet for instance. Would you like to hike up a hill, bare footed to go to the bathroom? In a place where others do the same? Me neither. Jot down some of those things you take for granted every day. Begin to thank God for the little things that wouldn’t be so little if they weren’t around. Think about the sweet family I talked about who couldn’t stop thanking God and us for the blessing of a toilet and concrete floor. The Thanksgiving cooking can wait for a little bit… take a little time to reflect and truly be thankful this holiday season.
And while we’re at it, I have a little suggestion. At summer camp a few months ago I was challenged to have a “Thankful Journal.” This pastor and his wife write down three things every day they’re thankful for. It truly brings things into perspective, and you begin to look more closely at the “little things.” A grateful heart brings great joy… to you and to those around you. Just think about Proverbs 17:22,
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Begin your journey of living life with a grateful heart on a regular basis! I know this pessimist right here needs to! Happy Thanksgiving, you beautiful women! Thank God for that toilet of yours today!
Mississippi Mud Pie
This is my FAVORITE dessert in the whole wide world! I promise it’s worth the steps!
P.S. I grew up calling it Mississippi Mud, but people here call it Chocolate Delight. Just a side note!
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter
2 cups pecans
Blend & bake in 9 X 13 pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.
2 cups powdered sugar
2 – 8oz cream cheese
2 t. vanilla
2 cups Cool Whip (Need 16 oz tub for second and last layer)
Blend sugar, cream cheese & vanilla. Fold in Cool Whip, spread over first layer, cool.
2 – 3 oz pkg. Instant Chocolate Pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 t. vanilla
Beat together until smooth. Pour over second layer. Add the rest of the Cool Whip on top. Garnish with chocolate sprinkles.