So I fully intended to participate in the Facebook tradition of posting my daily thanks during November this year. I like the idea of taking time to intentionally focus on a spirit of gratitude, and when so many (me included) often use Facebook as a public medium for complaints about every minute detail of our lives, I like the overall tone change on my feed, especially after the inane, hyperbolic political blathering that dominated much of October’s Facebook status updates.
I started on the right path.
I mean, who isn’t thankful for a peacefully sleeping child? I continued on the road of thankfulness.
I don’t know about y’all, but I find the exercise of searching for something to be thankful for each day (knowing I’m going to report it to the world), makes me more aware of just how much I have to be grateful for. The small things become significant as warm mugs of hot tea, perfect fall days, newly-discovered television wonders (hello Parenthood!), or time to sit and play carols at the piano become share-worthy moments.
I only wish I could have maintained this “attitude of gratitude.” Unfortunately, early November hit me with this:
And my November was swallowed by a sick baby, the rush to finish a final grad school project, and a thousand other things. Of course, every single day of this month has still been literally overflowing with blessings. I just allowed myself to get too busy to stop and take note of them.
So this is me saying I’m sorry for taking my blessings for granted. I don’t pause often enough to take account of just how wonderful, rich, and full my life is, so this evening, I’m sitting still and thanking God for all that He has provided. (And next time I get on Facebook and complain about the dog pooping on the floor or Charlie’s dirty socks crammed into my couch cushions again, you can just link me here. I’ll probably still complain, because that shtuff stinks, but you can give the redirection a try at least.)
I am thankful for…
My God and His grace. For the gift of living in a country where I can freely worship, study, question, explore, and discuss. For writers, thinkers, and truth-tellers like Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, Jen Hatmaker, the Wayward Follower, Matthew Paul Turner, Jon Acuff, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Francis Chan, David Platt, and so many others who have reinvigorated my faith and give me courage in trying to BE the hands and feet of Christ.
My husband. For his commitment to me and our marriage in the good and bad times. For the comfort I feel in completely being myself with him, and the way heartaches shrink when encircled in his arms. For how hard he works to provide for our family and his adventurous and fearless spirit. For his goofy grin and completely, ummm….unique laugh.
For the way his eyes light up as he throws himself into the floor to wrestle with our daughter, the sound of his voice as he sings Billy Joel lullabies, and his complete lack of hesitation at taking two young men into our family. He’s an amazing dad! For his desire to make a difference with our lives.
(Note: I did not mention the tractor parked in my garage. I think it’s worth mentioning that this did NOT make the thankful list. Dear.)
Ellie. My silly, inquisitive, fearless little whirlwind. For her “squishy-face” grin, her complete adoration of food, and her UFC-worthy tackling of the dog….okay, and sometimes smaller children. For the way my heart swells every single time she laughs. For every silly-dancing, crazy-signing, paci-addicted, doll-wagging moment, I’m thankful.
Ian and Herdest. For the endless source of entertainment from teasing them about girlfriends. Just kidding. I never do that. For their surprising gentleness and skill in caring for Ellie. For the conversations about work, school, family, and life that leave me
ridiculously only a little worried. For the warmth as we all decorate the Christmas tree, and Charlie teaches them to make the best hot chocolate. For the incredible pride that comes from seeing how hard they work and excitement to see what they will make of this life.
Family. A sister who calls too early to sing silly Thanksgiving songs. A recliner-preferring dad who braves Black Friday crowds so I don’t have to shop alone. A Mom who effortlessly feeds 22 people with enough leftovers for a week and takes the sick baby at 5 a.m. so I can go back to sleep. A brother-in-law who instigates a full-scale leaf-fight. In-laws with rockin’ fondue Christmas Eve traditions. For cousins who come to play. For the knowledge that despite our differences, family is fierce.
My friends. For the wonderful people who accept me for all that I am. For late-night conversations in parking lots and on back porches. For memories made on beach trips or at bad movies or over afternoon coffee. For advice on surviving our kids and commiseration when the advice fails. For ugly-crying and hysterical, snorting, laugh-crying. For those that challenge me to be a better person and the strength found in shared struggles.
Open-adoption. For Ellie’s birth family, our growing relationship, and the opportunity to share our story. For all the members of the triad who write and speak bravely about needed changes in adoption practices. For those that open their hearts to children whether through international adoption, foster-adoption, or domestic infant adoption.
Blogging: For a hobby that allows me to stay connected to the outside world and provides daily encouragement in my roles as a Christian, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, etc. For the e-mails and comments from people who took the time to read my words and found acceptance, inspiration, healing, or love there. For a record of the unending journey from who I was into who God wishes me to be.
Profession: For the years I spent as a teacher and for the brave souls who continue to fight the increasingly impossible battle to provide meaningful instruction in public school. For the incredible gift of being able to stay home with my daughter. For the opportunity to focus on grad school, volunteering, and other projects, and the lessons learned about embracing each stage of life.
Also, in no particular order, I’m grateful for…
The Baby Signing Time dvd (because it means I get a shower), cheese (the only bribe that works for combing Ellie’s hair), date nights (especially with red wine and a babysitter), restaurants (so we don’t starve), yoga pants, down comforters and heated mattress pads (because Charlie sleeps with the fan on when it’s 30 degrees), Kids’ Day Out, cupcakes, weekend get-aways (especially to Nashville where friends chauffeur us around to gourmet ice cream parlors) , clean sheets, colorful scarves, red boots, Noonday (and other ethical, awesome companies), and a million other things.
Did you offer daily thanks this year? If not, feel free to catch up here. What are you most thankful for today?