Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the Thanksgiving list

For the last several years, we have been making Thanksgiving lists. We always talked about thanks and remembered what we are grateful for on Turkey Day, but thanks to our wonderful Pastor, we have a tradition of the list. Our kids have to make a thanksgiving list BEFORE they can make a Christmas list-it's the rule. Now, well meaning relatives who are bound and determined to get their shopping done usually beg for lists before, so we allow a little wiggle room, but for the most part, it's thanksgiving list, then Christmas list.

I think it's a good way to live: give thanks before you ask. Remember your blessings before you put out your hand for more. I want to be the one who thanked Jesus, not the one of the nine who forgot.

It's also made the whole process a lot of fun. This year, it's a bit of competition between the girls as to who has more items and Gabe is writing a bunch of his "thankfuls" himself for the first time. After dinner on Thursday, while we are listening to "Christmas Island" (jimmy buffett) for the first time this year, the kiddos will make their Christmas lists.

So, in the meantime, here is my thanksgiving list. I am grateful for:

God, my faith even when it seems too small or not enough
my family, big and small, the ones I enjoy and the ones who drive me crazy
my oldest daughter who is growing too fast for me, but just right for her
my younger daughter, who is changing and growing just as God wants her to
my son, who is still my baby even as he is learning to read!
my husband, simply my life-even with our hectic existence lately
my home, which after a year and half still takes my breath away
my friends-couldn't live without them
coffee, specifically Starbucks (again, don't want to live without it)
the change of seasons
the change of presidents
a warm home on a cold day
having enough always
our cars, with their combined mileage of nearly 300,000 miles!
pedicures (though infrequent)
messy kisses from a 4 year old
the occasional chance to sleep in, even though it comes with a wiggly kid or two
the chance to be a writer, and the hope of more to come

I am sure there are more, but I have to wake someone for school. Oh, yeah, I am thankful for school :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

apparently, I suck at being grateful

Well, my best intentions to keep up with my blog have as usual, gone by the wayside. I don't know why I neglect this little spot; sometimes I don't know why I write it either. But, for what it's worth, I do.

So, let's see, it's almost mid month and am I still living in gratitude? I am not sure. I am finding it hard to concentrate lately and getting caught up in and rattled by the minutia. Small, but time consuming writing projects that make me feel less like a writer and more like an outsourced drone, tedious household tasks that need to be done again even before they seem finished the first time (laundry for example), not enough time with the people I love, not enough creativity, not enough warm socks and hot coffee, too many phone calls, but not enough conversation, abrupt emails that should have said more, wondering if I am on the right path these days.

All that sounds like ingratitude, huh? Well, this morning knocked me off my feet. My middle child, who is always full of either vinegar or sugar, came into the kitchen dressed for school and nearly took my breath away. Where did my little one go? Not the baby, not even the toddler, but the little girl, with the rounded cheeks and soft features, the one that always had trouble waking up and would want at least 20 extra hugs every morning? Thankfully, she is still snuggly, but she is looking so grown up.

I dropped everything and sat down with her to tell her all my favorite things about her from when she was little and from now. How when she was little, she used to sneak in her sister's room and lay on her bed and play with her stuff while she was at school. I also confessed how I did the same to my sister when I was little. I told her how much I love it that she is reading my books from when I was a kid (Charlotte's Web this week). Also, how Charlotte's Web was the book she carried around and "read" when she was 2.

So, I am grateful, so very humbled and grateful. Grateful perhaps beyond mere words for this answer to prayer. See, things with this girl have been tough lately. She's been having a tough time and so have we. We have all needed patience that only God could give us and I have been praying and praying for help. And, today, here it was. I saw her through new eyes. My most fervent prayer is always to see people as God sees them, not as I see them, and I think today, for a moment, that prayer was wholly answered with my daughter and, I am grateful.

When God sees her, I think he must see her like this:

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Ahhh... November. To the retail industry and most of the media, this month is nothing but a speed bump on its hurried way to the biggest money making holiday known to our western culture. Of course, I am talking about Christmas, but that has become the holiday-that-must-not-be-named these days. But, to me, November is a welcome respite, a time to reflect, to think and to be quiet before the hustle and bustle of Advent and Christmas. The trees look bare, the leaves having all but fallen. The weather is chillier and darkness comes earlier.
While Thanksgiving isn't a religious holiday, I think the Pilgrims had it timed just right. Give thanks for the harvest, give thanks what will carry them through the long winter. While I may have the conveniences of modern life and don't have to store up supplies for the coming season, I do have to take stock of what I have in my life and give thanks. And, I plan to do that here for November. Some will be deep (I hope) some will be frivolous, but I will be grateful for all. So, today, I am grateful for the opportunity to express my gratitude here on this blog. And, if you are reading, I am grateful for you.

Rejoice always
Pray without ceasing
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus for you