Thankful and Blessed

Recently, on a cool but beautiful fall day, our family had the rare afternoon of everyone being home.  Don't get me wrong, this took some major coordinating by mom, but it worked and all of us were home for a full 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon.  Get eight kids, who range in ages from 2-18, all home for family pictures is not an easy task.  Autumn goes to college in Bismarck and does not come home often due to work obligations.  She was coming home and therefore mom made it a priority to use this weekend for pictures!  As you can tell from the picture above, we had at least two boys that were less than thrilled about this family activity, but we all survived and we got some pretty great pictures too!  

During our pictures I must admit that I became a little discouraged on more than one occasion.  Michael (2) was not having it at all, little did I know that he was getting sick and by the next morning was in pretty rough shape.  Ava and Ella drove each other crazy, one girl couldn't find anything to wear that she liked, someone else didn't like her hair and we were all mostly running behind with getting ready.  At one point I stated out load, "if only pictures could go as great as I hope one day."   Everyone looked at me and I'm pretty sure they knew that mom was feeling a little defeated.

Later that evening after we had eaten and cleaned up dinner, said goodbye to cousin Erin, checked over Autumn's vehicle and hugged her goodbye until Thanksgiving, checked homework, and tucked everyone in I finally had a moment to myself to reflect on the day.  Had it really been as hard as it felt during pictures, no not really.  In the moment it was exhausting.  But that's all, a few moments of exhaustion.  Well....maybe 18 years of exhaustion but whose counting.

In my exhaustion I often have to remind myself that the things/people who tire me out the most are my greatest blessings.  My family, those eight kids, are my greatest blessings next to my husband Jason.  I once read something about being grateful for all the laundry I do for my kids, because there are people out there who are childless and dream of having laundry to do for kids. That really stuck with me.  I still don't enjoy all the laundry, but I am thankful I have it to do.  I am thankful that my kids are able to be active and participate in sports, despite having to take a few of them to physical therapy due to injuries and spending hours in the car each day driving them to and from their events.  I am thankful for a busy schedule, because that means we have jobs and activities to go to.  I am thankful for our friends, who step in the gap to help us out with our large family when mom is sick and can't get everyone where they need to be.  I am grateful for a barn to clean and the work it takes to keep our animals alive and safe because I know it is fulfilling a dream for Jason and we are working to help cure Huntington's Disease.  These are just a few things that I count among my blessings.  What are you blessed with?

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am especially grateful for the village that surrounds our family and farm to help make what we do at Harvest Hope Farm possible.  The volunteers who have stepped up to help us get big jobs done are irreplaceable.  The kids and families that attend our camps help us keep doing what we do because of their excitement to learn.  Our partners in the community that support Harvest Hope Farm financially.  Your prayers, your encouragement, your belief and your hope for a cure for Huntington's Disease means the world to us.  For all of this, we are grateful and blessed.

As I close, I want to draw your attention specifically to the special feature HD research update in this newsletter.  I encourage you to take the time to read this to learn more about the progress that has been made with the GM1 research.  I am especially grateful that we are able to be a small piece of this research, that we have a flock of sheep that is healthy and prepared for breeding for GM1 research.

May this Thanksgiving allow you time to rest and enjoy your blessings around you and may you always have moments to feel grateful and blessed!

Lynn and Jason

Photo credit: Cariveau Candids